HELENA — The Montana High School Association announced its 15th batch of MHSA/Wendy’s Athlete Hall of Fame inductees on Thursday.
The five inductees for the class of 2022 are: Spencer Frederick, Christy Otte, Fred Paoli, Mat Seidensticker and Gary Wagner.
The MHSA Athlete Hall of Fame includes nomination categories for “Modern Era” and “Legacy”. The Legacy category is for applicants who graduated at least 50 years prior to the year of induction.
All of this year’s inductees fall into the Modern Era category, with the exception of Paoli, who is this year’s Legacy inductee.
This year, the MHSA Board of Directors passed a change in the way inductees are recognized. Rather than the MHSA Hall of Fame Banquet that was held in conjunction with the MHSA Annual Meeting, friends and family can hold a recognition function in the inductee’s local community at a time and a more convenient place to maximize the participation and support of each new inductee.
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The location of the MHSA Athlete Hall of Fame is at the Fortin Center on the campus of Rocky Mountain College in Billings, where there is a plaque commemorating each inductee into the second level of the gymnasium. There is also a page on the MHSA website (mhsa.org) dedicated to all inductees.
Spencer Frederic (Scobey High School 1997)
Frederick led his Scobey basketball and football teams to state championships. A state champion in 1996, Frederick was named Class C State Tournament MVP. The infamous 1997 snowstorm derailed the Spartans’ bid for an undefeated season and back-to-back state championships and to the place, they had to settle for the consolation trophy. Both years, Frederick led his team in scoring and rebounding. He was an all-state selection in 1996 and 1997 and was named to the 1997 Montana-Wyoming All Star Team. In 1996 he was also named American Legion Baseball Tournament MVP as a star player of the Scobey Blues.
Three games into his freshman football season, Frederick broke his arm and did not play again until his senior season, when he excelled as a linebacker and tight end for the state champions. of 1996. Frederick earned all-state selection on both offense and defense and was drafted to play football for the Montana Grizzlies.
With the Grizzlies, Frederick was a second-team All-Big Sky Conference as a junior and a first-team All-Big Sky Conference as a senior. He played in two FCS championships, winning the title with his team in his senior year. Frederick was voted team captain for the 2001 national championship game and the team’s most inspirational player. He signed as an undrafted free agent with the New Orleans Saints in 2002 and played until a second ACL injury ended his football career.
Christy Otte (Billings Central High School 1994)
As a freshman, Otte struggled to keep up with early summer basketball conditioning practices, but was later voted the most improved in basketball that fall. In the 1991 Class A track meet, she placed in the top four in the 100, 200, and 400. Otte’s secondary sport was volleyball, where she contributed to the Rams varsity team for three seasons. In her final year as an average hitter, she led the team in wins, blocks, and hitting percentage. Otte was also salutatorian of his promotion.
Otte has won eight individual state track titles and anchored five winning relays. During her junior and senior years, she placed first in 60 individual races and second in only the other two. She was also proud to anchor 34 of 39 relay races to victory. She led the Rams to state titles in 1993 and 1994.
Otte then raced for the Montana State Bobcats, winning 10 individual Big Sky Conference titles in indoor and outdoor track and qualified for four NCAA Division I championship competitions. In 1998, she placed eighth in the 400 at the NCAA Division I Indoor Championships, earning All-American and Academic All-American status.
Fred Paoli (Great Falls CMR High School 1972)
Paoli was a standout football player and wrestler at RMC in the early 1970s. He was all-state on defense and offense in 1970 and 1971 and was named the state’s most valuable defensive player in 1971. In wrestling, Paoli took second place at 185 pounds in 1971 and won the state heavyweight championship in 1972.
Despite all these achievements, Paoli was not offered a scholarship to play football in college. Paoli was thought to be too small to play major college football. He walked to Colorado State, his father’s alma, and earned a full scholarship in two weeks. He was team captain his senior year and was part of the All Western Athletic Conference first team at nose guard. He was also on the All Western Athletic Conference varsity team and was also named to the All-American third team.
Paoli went to law school, which had a rugby team which he immediately joined. He fell in love with the game and in 1982 made the United States rugby team. He played for the USA rugby team from 1982 to 1991, including two World Cup appearances in 1987 and 1991.
Mat Seidensticker (Shelby High School 1995)
Seidensticker participated in basketball and completed his four years of high school. He attended the Kremlin-Gildford (now North Star) his freshman and sophomore years before graduating from high school at Shelby. Siedensticker earned Class B basketball honors in both his junior and senior years (1994 and 1995). He was selected to the Great Falls Tribune All-State Men’s Basketball Team, the Montana-Wyoming All-Star Game, and as a McDonald’s All-American Nominee his senior year. Seidensticker averaged more than 23 points per game, recording more than 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds during his high school basketball career, and his 64 consecutive free throws made over 18 games in 1995 is an MHSA record. .
Seidensticker excelled in several track events, including hurdles, jumps and relays. He was a member of consecutive Class B track and field state championship teams at Shelby (1994 and 1995), winning individual championships in the 110 high hurdles and high jump while scoring 38.5 points in the of the state meeting in 1995.
After high school, Seidensticker received a scholarship to continue playing basketball in Montana. He was a regular contributor in 109 games as the Grizzly, including an NCAA Tournament appearance in 1997. Seidensticker was twice named the team’s best defensive player, sharing the award in 1998 (JR Camel) and the sole recipient in 1999. He shared the Most Inspirational Player award in 1999 (Mike Warhank).
Gary Wagner (Le Havre High School 2005)
As a starting quarterback, Wagner was 22-2 at Havre High and 27-1 at Carroll College. At Haven High, Wagner was all-conference and all-state in football in both his junior and senior years, and named to the Great Falls Tribune Super State team. He was selected for the East-West Shrine game and the Mon-Dak All-Star game, where he was the offensive MVP. Wagner is in the MHSA record books for points scored, passing yards, completion percentage and TD assists. He was a shooting guard for Havre and the basketball team’s defensive MVP in 2005. Wagner was part of four consecutive divisional and state tennis championships from 2002 to 2005, and is one of the tennis players the most decorated in the state. Paired with doubles partner Marc Mariani, the duo took second place in their sophomore year and went on to be undefeated state champions in both juniors and seniors.
At Carroll College, Wagner was a starter for three years, but suffered a season-ending injury in 2008. He led the Saints to a semi-final in 2009 (13-1) and an unbeaten national championship season ( 14-0) in 2010. He was named Offensive MVP of the National Title Game and Frontier Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Year. He was also a finalist for the 2010 NAIA Player of the Year. Gary left the NAIA as one of the most effective passers to play the game.