Created as a tribute to the event’s most eminent contributors and competitors.
2019 Sarah Graves
2018 Meg Brooker
Meg was raised in Mullica Hill, NJ – just a stone’s throw from the shores of the Atlantic. She, twin-sister Kate and younger brother Erik grew up as part of a skiing family; and, she was a soccer player through the fall of 9th grade.
That winter, while at Kingway High School, she took part in indoor track – and, as they say, the die was cast. While she never won a state title in high school, she became a solid performer in XC and track (1,600 and 3,200 meters). It was during those high school year that she fell in love with the all the things the sport offered – especially at events like the Penn Relays.
She then moved on to Towson University in Maryland and walked on to the track and XC teams. Her performances were strong enough to ultimately earn her a scholarship; and, she ultimately developed into an all-conference performer at the 5,000 meters (track).
She made the move to Missoula on Labor Day in 2006; and, went to work at the Runner’s Edge in the spring of 2007. That same spring, she was invited to join the Mountain West Track Club. At that time, Mountain West had athletes on their roster like Canadian Olympians Courtney Babcock and Dianne Cummins.
While competing for Mountain West, she continued to focus on the track (5,000 meters) and cross country. She ultimately set a PR of 16:29 in the 5,000 and took part with her teammates in USATF Club Nationals Cross Country.
During this time, she also became a fixture at Montana Cup; wearing the Maroon jersey of Missoula. She’s won the race in 2008, 2009 and 2012; and, has been part of winning team in 2009, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2018.
In 2012, she married Anders Brooker. Later that winter and into the early spring of 2013, she began have issues with her vision while out running. Because of the symptoms, she ultimately saw a medical provider and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. In April she had successful surgery, followed by a full recovery.
The recover was successful enough that she returned to racing at the Montana Cup, finishing 5th in 2013, 4th in ’15 and 5th in ’16. She raced again in 2018, finishing in 22nd – but, we expect that she was 1st place in the pregnant division – as we was in the early stages of her first pregnancy.
She and Anders welcomed Will Jay this June. Meg continues to run (now pushing Will in the stroller); and, Will has been a frequent visitor to some of the biggest races in Montana (The Rut, Missoula Marathon, etc.)
Meg has also demonstrated a commitment to excellent customer service, product selection and retail display working alongside Anders at the Runner’s Edge in Missoula. These efforts helped the store to be named the Number One Running Specialty Store in the US for 2019.
With her kind heart, competitive spirit and commitment to excellence, Meg Brooker has demonstrated all the attributes necessary to be included as part of the Montana Cup Hall of Fame.
2015 Scott Creel
2014 Alan King
In childhood, Alan’s family moved a lot, and he bounced around to different schools. His first crack at running was in track in the 7th grade to inauspicious results. He skipped running in the 8th grade but decided to give it another try as a freshman. In his first race, he was lapped by everyone on the track in the 3200 m. He then moved down to the 800m to try his hand at a more fast-twitch effort, but when he got a stress fracture in a practice time trial, he took it as a sign he wasn’t meant to be a runner.
However, his coach, who was also his guidance counselor, kept nagging Alan to come out for Cross Country, a sport Alan hadn’t even heard of. The counselor called him every day that summer until he had convinced him to come out in the fall of his Sophomore year. Alan found, to his surprise, that cross country courses were much more fun for him—on the trails, you could go out of sight and not have that uncomfortable feeling of being under the microscope like in track. In the City Championships, the last meet of the year for the JV squad, he finished 6th, just one place away from making it to State. His coach had told him that getting a ribbon (a top ten finish) wasn’t realistic. That was the kind of remark that could light a fire under his feet. Alan still didn’t want to return to the evil oval of track that spring, however, but after more nagging from his coach, he agreed that he would come out for the first meet and if he still didn’t like it, the coach would stop nagging him. He got second place in that race. Like missing state by a single place, it was enough to make him hungry.
By senior year, he had dreams of winning state altogether. The previous year, a 15:30 had been fast enough to crown a state champion. Alan ran a 15:20 but finished 6th. Always humbling, but now tantalizing and oddly encouraging, running was becoming a central part of Alan’s life. And he was determined to make big improvements in his college career at Dakota Wesleyan University in South Dakota where he would become the first person in his family to earn a college degree.
The mixture of success and near misses, however, would continue to plague him there. College was very frustrating for Alan, though he excelled academically. As a college athlete, he mostly learned about what not to do. Each year, he was out for 3 to 6 months from injuries likely incurred from overtraining. Though he qualified multiple times for Nationals in Cross Country and twice for both outdoor and indoor track, he never got that All American finish that he was gunning for. In the end, he felt like he hadn’t met his full potential. He was burned out and ready to let running go for a while.
It was good timing. He and his wife Becca (who he had met in college) both accepted jobs as teachers in Kasigluk, Alaska, a remote town of 570 people on the inland tundra that wasn’t very conducive to running anyway. Running back and forth on the wooden boardwalk was possible but tedious. The best option was to run on the Johnson River itself once it had frozen up in the winter—if you were fine with it being extremely cold and windy. But slowly, like the Alaskan thaw, he started to get the itch again. There happened to be two runners in town who Alan had occasionally beaten in college but who had each gone on to become Olympic trials runners afterwards. The ice began to break even more with this realization. Becca picked up on this and bought Alan a treadmill in the second year of their Alaskan sojourn—he was becoming hard to live with, but this purchase helped. Eventually, the ice broke up entirely, and Alan and Becca moved back to Billings (to live in his brother’s basement) mostly so Alan could pick up the old running habit once more. And he brought home an ideal running partner in Alyeska, a sled dog and perennial escape artist who was to be Alan’s trusty running buddy for years to come.
He ran an 18 minute 5K on moving back that hurt much worse than the 15s he ran in college. Steadily, he increased his mileage back up to the fifties and sixties. For speed work, he did races on weekends. Like many post-college runners (and like Quentin Cassidy himself), the lure of the marathon was the event he targeted for his comeback. He had always been best at gutting out long distances. In his last year in college, he had qualified for Nationals in the marathon with a fast half, and he had run that marathon in 2:43 without much training. His greatest marathon success would come in the summer of 2007 at the California International Marathon in Sacramento. The weather was terrible, but the elite field went out too hard, and Alan found himself passing most of them in the latter half of the race. His goal had been sub-2:30 and despite the terrible weather, he was able to attain that goal. He finished 9th in 2:29:21.
Like the two runners up in Alaska, Alan hoped to be an Olympic trials runner. Unfortunately, however, he would never attain that goal. USA Track and Field would move the goal post several times during this journey. Training for a 2:21 or 2:22 seemed realistic, but once the qualifying time was moved to 2:18, it seemed to be almost beyond reach. Looking back, Alan wishes he had been able to train for this with incremental improvements rather than gunning for the qualifying time (and blowing up) in multiple marathon attempts during those years. Maddeningly, his other running events (his Montana Cup races and a 1:07 half marathon, for example) continued to improve by leaps and bounds, but Marathon success remained elusive.
Undoubtedly (to this correspondent, at least), Alan’s best results as a runner were his 3 Montana Cup victories—1 of them (2010) as an organizer of the race itself. Alan boasts an impressive top-seven in 7 of the 8 Cups he raced. He was top 3 in six of those eight. Tragically, the men’s Billings teams that King organized over the years never finished higher than third place, and the Billings Blacks were never able to bring that trophy home to the Magic City.
These days, Alan applies his considerable experience to coaching. First at Rocky Mountain College (where he was my coach for several years), later at Culver Stockton College in Canton, MO. For the past few years, he has been the head Track and Field coach at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. Since being in Oregon and taking a second long break from running (during which time he became a more than decent pole vaulter), Alan is getting that running itch again. He recently did his first 20 mile run in five years and is getting some consistent mileage.
Does he have plans to crash any future Montana Cup races? Alan demurred on this question, choosing to mention how difficult it is for a coach to get away over a weekend in the fall, but he didn’t rule out the possibility entirely. I like to think it’s just possible that we might see this Billings harrier’s fleet feet (now 40 years old) out on the course again—probably from a considerable distance behind. — Joel Harris
2011 Tony Banovich
2010 Ann Seifert
2007 Ray Hunt
2006 Robert Sowers
2005 John Hartpence
2004 Patrick Judge
2004 Nicole Murray
See HOF Criteria for more information on the nomination and induction processes.