UP IN SMOKE: High school sporting events canceled, moved because of air quality

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Unhealthy air quality issues from wildfires in Montana and the West are disrupting high school sporting events in the Flathead Valley and western Montana.

The Flathead Invitational cross country meet scheduled for today at Rebecca Farm was canceled Thursday afternoon. The Flathead activities office made that announcement.

Twenty-nine high school teams and 20 junior high schools were scheduled to participate in the 3:30 p.m. event. It will not be rescheduled.

Also canceled Thursday were Class AA soccer matches in Missoula — Flathead at Missoula Hellgate and Glacier at Missoula Big Sky. Those were league outings and will be rescheduled. Flathead is scheduled to host Big Sky on Saturday at 11 a.m./1 p.m. (boys/girls) while Glacier entertains Hellgate at 10 a.m./noon (boys/girls) pending air quality.

Tonight’s football game — Frenchtown at Libby — has been moved to Frenchtown.

The Libby Invitational golf tournament at Cabinet View Golf Course on Thursday was canceled.

In Class A boys and girls soccer, home matches for Whitefish and Polson versus Billings Central and Laurel on Friday and Saturday will now be played in Billings and Laurel.

Eureka is still scheduled to play Thompson Falls at home at 7 p.m. today, but the event is tentative.

Athletic director Ed Newell said the school will review air quality and consult with local weather officials this morning before making a final decision by noon. If the Lions are unable to play tonight, plans have been made to play at 1 p.m. Saturday or Sunday afternoon, if possible.

“We had talked about changing it (to another venue),” Newell said, “but the areas we were looking at had started to experience the same problems, as well.”

Eureka’s cross country team, originally scheduled to appear at the Flathead Invitational, is now considering competing in Bozeman on Saturday, pending air quality.

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