Billings News

Jun 16, 2014 9:30 PM by MTN News - Billings

State Games scholarship winners announced

BILLINGS - The Big Sky State Games has selected its $500 scholarship Character Counts scholarship winners, who will be recognized at the 29th annual Opening Ceremonies Friday, July 18.

Winners were chosen based on their character, community involvement, and participation in sports. Character Counts! promotes sportsmanship and fosters good character by teaching, enforcing, advocating, and modeling, the "Six Pillars of Character": trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.

High school juniors during the 2013-2014 school year that have participated in the State Games were eligible to apply for the scholarship. Selecting students who are finishing their junior year in high school ensures that the winners may be observed as role models during their senior year.

The 2014 winners are:

Madison McLaughlin, who has an outstanding Big Sky State Games participation history including: Track and Field for the past ten years, Golf three years, Volleyball one year, and the 5k Road Race for two years. McLaughlin is a two-time qualifier, Track and Field and Golf participant in the 2005 and 2007 State Games of America (SGA) held in Colorado Springs, CO. In the 2007 SGA she took home the bronze in Golf. She has also received many awards and honors during her high school career, including: the 2006 & 2012 Montana USA Track & Field Athlete of the Year, Christian Character Award, 2014 DECA Champion, Pure Performance Board Member, and 2014 International Career Development Conference Delegate. Madison works as a childcare provider for young children.

Solenn Jacobsen, who has been a Big Sky State Games participant for many years. She swam the back stroke, free style, breast stroke, and IM, for eight years, and participated in the 100m hurdles, long jump, and triple jump in Track and Field for four years. Solenn is a well-rounded individual. She is a National Honor Society member, won most improved player in the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 basketball seasons, won gold at State FCCLA, and received honors in choir in 2011 and band in 2013; with superior ratings for a piano duet in 2014. She also excels in math, earning the highest score in 2013 on the Intermediate Math Meets Test. Solenn works as a lifeguard at Baker Recreation Center and teaches swim lessons.

Wylie Leo, who participated in Archery/Bowhunting in the 2009 Big Sky State Games winning gold, and also in Archery/Bowhunter Freestyle where he took home silver. Wylie is very involved in the workforce, while maintaining academic excellence. He has been on the Ennis High School Honor Roll and received Academic All State for basketball, football, and track since he was a freshman. He also was awarded a Citizenship and Sportsmanship Award in the 9th grade. As a sophomore, Wylie maintained perfect school attendance and was inducted into his schools National Honor Society. Wylie has worked at Bear Creek Ranch, Hawk's Ridge Ranch, Sugar High Restaurant, and TKO Invasive Weed Management.


Michael Buster, who brought his Track and Field skills to the Big Sky State Games field in 2010, 2011, and 2012. He also participated in Basketball in 2011. For the past three years he has received Academic All State recognition for football, track, and basketball. Michael is a member of the National Honor Society and a Member of the Society of Torch and Laurel. A very notable honor includes being a recipient of the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Sciences Award of Excellence in 2014. When it comes to sports, Michael won AMP Athlete of the Year in 2014, the Iron Man Award in the 2013 football season, and the All Conference Running Back and Outside Line Backer in the 2013 football season. Currently Michael volunteers at St. Vincent's hospital in the Patient Services Department.

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