Noxon senior signs with Dawson CC

Weltz will continue basketball career in Glendive


John Hamilton

NOXON SENIOR Rylan Weltz has signed a national letter of intent to play basketball at Dawson Community College. Pictured playing in the 2019 District 14C tournament, shooting over Sanders County rival Brandon Knudsen of Hot Springs, Weltz will join the Buccaneers of the MonDak Conference when school resumes this fall.

Rylan Weltz signed a national letter of intent last week, declaring his intention to play basketball for the Dawson Community College Buccaneers, the Glendive junior college announced in a press release last week.

A two-time All-State C basketball performer for the Noxon Red Devils and an athlete for all seasons during his time at NHS, Weltz was a District 14C all-conference player all four years of his prep career. His final decision as to where to go to school and continue playing basketball came down to two schools – Dawson Community College and nearby North Idaho College in Coeur d'Alene.

Weltz felt that Dawson was the best fit for him after connecting with the Buccaneers' coach.

Weltz said Hot Springs coach Scott Fredrickson played a role in his recruitment to Dawson.

"He contacted their coach, put in a good word for me, thinking I might be a good fit for them," Weltz said, "and it fell together over the last few weeks."

"Rylan will probably be the strongest guy in our program next year but he adds much more than size," Dawson coach Joe Peterson said in the press release announcing Weltz's signing. "I think he's a hidden gem in Montana and we are excited we get to develop him, and I'm sure coming here will open up a world of opportunities for his future."

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Listed at 6-6, Weltz averaged about 24 points and 13 rebounds per game this past winter.

Weltz will be entering a winning program with some local connections in Glendive. The Buccaneers went 14-0 in the MonDak conference and 27-7 this past winter, losing in the first round of the NJCAA tournament, which was eventually cancelled before completion.

Former Bigfork star Beau Santiestevan, who played a key role on two Viking State B title teams several years ago, played for Dawson the past two seasons, and eventually earned a scholarship to Rocky Mountain with his fine play at Dawson. Weltz would undoubtedly like to follow a similar trajectory in his basketball career.

Weltz's full tuition and books will be paid for in Glendive, a place he has never been to as of yet but will soon become quite familiar with. He said he will pursue studies in business at Dawson College.

Weltz also played football and competed in track and field all four years of his high school career, except of course, this spring which has been largely washed away by COVID-19.

Selected for the annual 6-Man all-star football game along with fellow Noxon senior Michael Antonich, Weltz did not know the current status of that game, which is scheduled for June in Highwood, but the thinking is it will be canceled.

Weltz and Antonich were All-State C football picks last fall and led the Red Devils to the 6-Man playoffs a second straight time.

Like most students in western Montana, Weltz has been taking online courses from his former classroom teachers and observing social distancing rules as he works toward graduation.

Weltz's parents are Ryan and Tamra Weltz of Noxon, and those two are going to have to get used to some mighty long road trips to follow their son. Having grown up as Red Devils in the far northwest corner of sparsely populated northwest Montana where long road trips were always required anyway should help.

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"Yes, long drives," Tamra said. "Definitely used to several hours at a time but 11 is a bit extreme." Welcome to your new long-distance world Mr. and Mrs. Weltz.

Besides being Rylan's father, Ryan Weltz served as head basketball coach for the Devil boys this past season, and has coached both the Noxon girls and boys teams at various times in the last few decades.


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