Libby Logger Golf bids unconventional season farewell Montana State Tournament comes to a close, Loggers await next years season

2020 Divisional Logger Golf Competitors.  Front: McKenna McNulty, Kayley Svensbye, Gabby Fantozzi.  Back: Landon Haddock, Reece Malyevac, Thomas Roark, Coach Rohrer, Dylan Buckner, Mason Gotham. Photo Courtesy of Ruth Fenn

 

By Stacy Bender

 

“Normal?  I’m not really sure what that is anymore!“ said Logger Coach, Dan Rohrer in a recent interview as the 2020 Golf Season drew to a close.  “Our world has changed more in the last six months than I can remember it changing in the last 60 years.”

This year’s competitive journey for the Libby Logger Golf Team certainly seemed to model every lesson the game of golf is known for delivering.  Cooperation, humility, hard work, resilience, patience, problem-solving, visualization, overcoming stressors and more.   When asked if he might share one nugget of encouragement he found himself consistently passing along to this year’s players, Coach Rohrer said, “I like to tell my team, ‘Change the things you can change and accept those that you can’t.’”

Straight, no-nonsense advice which he has shared with his athletes for nearly 40 years and this year’s team demonstrated all the way to both Divisional and State competition where unprecedented challenges awaited them.  “It was a cold and windy day for the Divisional golf tournament in Polson,” shared Rohrer.  “The rounds were slow and the course played difficult.  As we left the course at the end of the day, there weren’t a lot of smiles.”

Current sporting event restrictions in place had kept the teams from interacting for even a moment on the Divisional course.  There was no awards assembly, no practice on the range, clubhouse access was limited.  “It was very strange,” described Rohrer, “The kids stayed in their vans until their 15 minutes on the putting green was allowed.  But in the end, they all did their best given the circumstances and I could not be more proud of this group with half of the team being new to High School Golf.”

Driving home from Polson that night, official results from the day began to trickle in via email and several of those heavy hearts and minds within the van were uplifted again by the news that half of the Logger Team had qualified for State Competition in Butte the following week.

On Wednesday, September 30, the Loggers again loaded into their van, bound for the 3-Day State Tournament held in Butte.  The Logger golfers would find even more restrictions awaited them, yet the weather proved much more cooperative – sunshine and zero wind on the course.  “Our golf wasn’t quite as good as the weather,” quipped Rohrer, “but given the set of challenges this team overcame to arrive at the State level, I believe those returning next year will be back with heightened maturity, perspective, patience and acceptance towards anything that comes their way.”

Kayley Svensbye, the sole Senior Golfer and female athlete to represent the Loggers at State, agreed that her final showing was definitely not her best, scoring 126 and 132.  “I was just so nervous overall.  But being the only female representing Libby, I was able to join the Browning Team on the course.  They were so welcoming and super kind.  It was a great experience to end my season.”  Kayley shared she intends to keep playing the game beyond high school and reminding herself to have fun, as Coach Rohrer consistently told the team to do first and foremost.

LHS Junior Golfer, Landon Haddock, noted nothing could ever top the challenges this season laid out before he and his teammates.  “But Coach Rohrer stuck with us,” Haddock said.  “He consistently reminded me to just find my comfort zone and go with it, not to let too many people tell me what to do.  And it worked.  I accomplished my goals this year, including making it to State for the first time.”

Haddock also shared that he was grateful for having gained an entirely new level of tolerance and relationship with his fellow teammates as they spent countless hours in the team van waiting…  and waiting…  and waiting a bit longer for each event.

“I do believe that the biggest shift in experience this year has been the lack of friendships developed out there on the course,” Rohrer shared of how the 2020 season directly impacted his athletes this year.  “However, watching the Logger team get to know one another a bit better while ‘quarantined’ to our van has certainly been a silver lining of sorts.  I would just like to thank the players, their parents, and our school administrators for helping to make this season happen for the kids, despite the challenges.”

“While out playing a game of golf with a Libby judge,” Rohrer recalled, “He said to me, ‘I have seldom if ever had kids stand before my bench that participate in sports and school activities.’”  That conversation has stayed with the Logger Coach and continues to keep him looking forward to yet another season of providing guidance while fostering skills and life lessons that will continue to prove that observation true – no matter the circumstance.

2020 Divisional Tournament – Logger Athletes Final Scores
Boys: Mason Gotham – 97 (25th), Landon Haddock – 100 (27th), Dylan Buckner – 101 (30th), Reece Malyevac – 103, Thomas O’Rourke – 124
Girls: Kayley Svensbye 113 (25th), McKenna McNulty – 133, Gabby Fantozzi – 155

2020 State Tournament – Logger Athletes Final Scores
Boys:  Mason Gotham – 97 and 105, Landon Haddock – 105 and 91, Dylan Buckner 117 and 26
Girls: Kayley Svensbye – 126 and 132

Judy Graham Memorial Playground opens at Libby Elementary School

By Stacy Bender

 

On Monday, October 5, a project of love and honor just 10 months in the making came to fruition on the front lawn at Libby Elementary School.
Judy Graham, a long-time, loving educator for Libby Public Schools passed away on the morning of November 23, 2019.  Because Judy left such a lasting impression on the Libby community, her fellow educators, and countless young children, the idea of erecting a playground in her honor was shared with the Graham family who welcomed the gesture with open arms.
Judy was an elementary and early childhood educator across the Libby community for nearly 30 years before she passed.  Her philosophy regarding children was clear:  kids should have time to move and play, be loving and kind, make mistakes and learn from them, and most of all just be kids!
In December of 2019 an ambitious campaign was launched to raise $70,000 for the playground to be erected on the LES campus.  “We laid out a design with intent to provide play space for children from 5 to 12 years-old,” shared close friend to Judy and fellow educator, Doreen Gruber.  “And then we chose colors that reflected the outdoor surroundings which Judy loved.”
Nearly ten months to the day later, made possible by countless donations, fundraising drives, and grant awards, the playground is now installed and officially open for recess and community play.
The Judy Graham Memorial Playground committee along with the Friends and Family Organization expect to hold a dedication for the new play area once final signage for the new equipment has arrived and been installed.
In the interim, both students at LES and the community at large are now welcomed to enjoy the new play space.  Rule #1, “Be Loving and Kind.”  Rule #2, “Have fun and play!”

Judy’s granddaughter,  Everly, took the inaugural slide at the Memorial Playground with her dad and Judy’s son, Justin Graham, who is now a Kindergarten teacher at Libby Elementary School. Jay Graham looked on as his son and granddaughter christened the playground erected in loving memory of his wife on October 5. Photo by Stacy Bender, The Montanian.

 

5th/6th Grade Lumberjacks tame Eureka Lions on homefield 

 

By Stacy Bender

 

“Whoa!  That’s a lot of people,” said one member of Libby Elementary 5th grade Lumberjack Football Team as he turned from the practice field and back toward the sideline to prepare for Saturday’s match-up with the Eureka Lions.  As the morning fog cleared and warm-ups came to a close, the western edge of LES field had become lined with several parents, grandparents, friends and family members anxious to see the local teams in their first home appearance this season.
A presence which seemed to play an intrical part in boosting the Lumberjack players towards what would become back to back wins over the Lions.  The 5th Grade team would leave a final of 8-6 up on the scoreboard, while the 6th Grade team would ultimately walk off the field with a 24-8 victory.
“This was the first win over Eureka for the 6th Grade team,” shared Coach Deshazer on Sunday afternoon, “not even as the 5th Grade team last year had they beat the Lions.  So this was a big day for them.”  To celebrate, the players were later treated to a pizza party at the roller rink.
“These teams continue to improve each week,” Deshazer added, “Their dedication and hard work is truly paying off for them.”
Local fans will have the chance to catch the budding athletic drive amidst these Loggers-In-The-Making one last time locally on Saturday, October 17th, beginning at 11:00 am at Libby Elementary field.

Top: 6th Grade Lumberjack, Hunter Rooney, receives a little pre-game encouragement along the sidelines at Libby Elementary as the 5th Grade team wraps up their victory hour on Saturday, October 3. Bottom: 6th Grade receiver, Will Escudaro awaits a pass from quarterback Zane Dodson during the 4th quarter of Saturday’s match-up against the Eureka Lions. Photo by Stacy Bender, The Montanian