Belgrade senior Zayne Konkol was among 28 student-athletes who signed to play football at the University of Montana-Western on Feb. 5 in Dillon.
Tuesday, Konkol held a second signing in the commons area at Belgrade High School to celebrate with family and friends.
The 6-foot, 225-pound defensive tackle/defensive end looked at a handful of other programs before choosing UM-Western.
“The football program’s going in the right direction,” he noted, “and I want to be a part of that.”
The Bulldogs posted a 7-3 record this past season, including 5-0 at home, under head coach Ryan Nourse. Despite seven victories, UM-Western did not qualify for the NAIA postseason.
Konkol was a two-way starter for the Panthers and recorded 46 tackles (19 for loss), forced three fumbles and had a sack this past season. He earned second team all-conference honors as Belgrade finished with a 1-8 record in its first year as a Class AA program.
Konkol also looked at Montana State University, Montana Tech and the University of Mary in North Dakota before choosing UM-Western.
“I knew MSU wasn’t going to work out for me because I was undersized,” he said. “Mary was really expensive and Tech, they just stopped talking to me.”
In addition to football, Konkol likes the block scheduling that UM-Western offers its students. He plans to either study kinesiology or business.
“I chose Western because the schooling would be a good fit for me just because I’m not the best when it comes to school. I struggle and the way that they do their block schedule would be really nice,” Konkol said. “If I took the kinesiology side of things I’d want to go into like being a sports trainer. And if I took business I don’t know what I would do yet.”
Konkol also competes in wrestling and was among eight Panthers to qualify for this weekend’s state tournament in Billings. He takes a 21-12 record into the event at 285 pounds.
“I’m just hoping to place. It would be my first time placing ever in a state tournament,” said Konkol. “So it would just be nice to do that.”
Editor's note: Belgrade teammate John Mears also recently signed with UM-Western as a kicker, and Manhattan defensive back Kyle Hotvedt is joining the program in the fall too.