PHILIPSBURG – Getting a college scholarship after a great junior or senior season is a noteworthy accomplishment.
But getting one when you haven’t competed in two years, well that’s something extraordinary.
Granite High School’s Madison Huckfeldt realized her dream of wrestling at the collegiate level last week, signing a scholarship offer with the University of Providence in Great Falls.
“I went through a lot academically and personally last year,” recalled Huckfeldt. “I had adults, classmates and family telling me that I wasn’t anything I said I was. It hurt and was really hard.”
Huckfeldt had been Granite’s only athlete to participate in the Flint Creek Co-Op’s wrestling program her freshman and sophomore years. But when the two wrestlers from Drummond graduated in 2017, the Co-Op voted to drop the program. And with Huckfeldt being the only wrestler at Granite, the school board voted to drop the program entirely due to a lack of athletes and its expense.
Still wanting to pursue her dream and without a prep team to compete with locally, Huckfeldt considered transferring to Anaconda so she could compete. She eventually decided against that option and linked up with her present coach Lucio Zell.
“She lost an opportunity to compete due to a lack of numbers,” said Zell. “I knew she had goals and I told her that the door wasn’t closed on that opportunity.”
Zell got Huckfeldt into a training regimen that included workouts with him and the local USA Titans wrestling club, a group of K-thru-8th grade kids that train to wrestle and compete in area events. Its Zell’s hope that as the kids in that program get older and move into high school that the wrestling program can be reinstated.
“In the middle of summer I approached him (Zell) about training and working out,” explained Huckfeldt. “I knew that if I didn’t at least try I’d have a lot of regret. He’s an amazing guy. He’s one of those people that if you have him in your corner, you know you’re gonna have all you need.”
Huckfeldt filled out online recruiting forms for Providence and a community college in southern Oregon to try and keep her dream alive. But when she heard back from the Argos’ Head Wrestling Coach Caleb Schaeffer about four weeks ago, she realized that her dream was going to become reality.
The College of Providence welcomed her with open arms last week, with Huckfeldt signing her scholarship offer with Montana’s only collegiate-level women’s wrestling program.
But for Huckfeldt, that was just the beginning.
She was also chosen as one of four Montana seniors for an award through the Jobs for Montana Graduates (JMG) program. The honor includes a scholarship and a chance to attend the Jobs for American Graduates (JAG) program with other honorees from around the country.
Like her odd path through the wrestling ranks, Huckfeldt’s being part of the local class came in an unusual manner.
“I was never supposed to be in JMG, supposed to have Study Hall that period,” explained Huckfeldt. “My mother pout me in JMG, but I was planning to have study halls 5th, 6th and 7th periods.”
When the award was announced her mother, Shannon, asked if she was glad she had got her into the class. She acknowledged she did.
Huckfeldt will get the opportunity to attend the JAG conference starting November 14, competing in some leadership skills events against students from across the country. There she’ll have the opportunity for further recognition and possible scholarship monies.