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Banovich Falls. Victim of Missoula-Helena Crime Link?
by Jerry Throckmorton of the Eastern Montana Track Writers Association.
Saturday, October 10, 2006

The Missoula men's team appears to be picking up some of Helena's nasty tricks for disrupting fair and equitable Montana Cup races.  With the excitement surrounding the fact that Billings will have a full team for the first time since 2003, Missoula had apparently become nervous about the impact Billings would have on the men's team race.

As a result, Casey Jermyn and Anders Brooker of Missoula lured Billings' team captain Tony Banovich deep into the woods north of St. Regis under the guise of a friendly trail run.  Unbeknownst to Banovich, the Missoula men had also recruited two west coast thugs to join the group.  During the course of the run, while sandwiched between the two thugs, Banovich was tripped by a booby-trapped root.  It appears as though Banovich suffered two cracked ribs in the resulting fall.  Although he is expected to still compete in the Montana Cup event, it is unknown what effect the injury will have on his fitness level.

The two suspected hit men have been identified as Josh Ricardi and Jonathon Gibson, both currently of the Seattle area.  The two ruffians are known associates of Jermyn from their common time at MSU-Bozeman.  However, Ricardi's father Nick, outraged that his son could be involved in such a devious act, has hired a private investigator to sort out the facts.  Although the investigation is ongoing, it does appear as though the plot may have been instigated and backed financially by Helena's powerful rogue fundamentalist running group which is led by rick Judge.  Although not yet formally charged in this case, Judge has been the subject of several previous Montana Cup grand jury panels. 

When asked about the incident, Gibson's response was that "the old fart should get off the trails and into the rocking chair".  Ricardi had no verbal comment; but, the smirking grin on his face suggest that he concurred with Gibson.  Jermyn and Brooker were not available for comment in this report, and reports indicate that they have secluded themselves in the Sesame Creek drainage outside of Plains.

Banovich apparently holds no hard feelings towards the group.  "I know that Casey and Anders were just scared of getting showed up by an old guy.  I understand that.  They're just trying to level the running track.  And, Josh and Gibby are just a couple of impressionable young guys who have been corrupted by spending too much time in Seattle.  And rick is just being rick.  I'm just trying to take the high road and look forward to an exciting Montana Cup."

This year's Montana Cup will be held on October 28 at Pipestone, giving Banovich eighteen days to heal before his competition.