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Dillon's Kee Christiansen reflects on championships, looks toward Montana State after Shrine Game

Kee Christiansen
Posted at 7:05 AM, Jun 14, 2024

BUTTE — After coming up short in both the football and basketball playoffs as a freshman, sophomore and junior, Kee Christiansen got to enjoy a storybook senior year.

At quarterback, he helped guide the Beavers to an undefeated season and scored the walk-off, championship-sealing 2-point conversion run in overtime against Columbia Falls in the title game.

And in basketball he played a key role as the Beavers overcame an opening-round Western A divisional loss to Columbia Falls, won out the remainder of the postseason and eventually rolled defending champ Lewistown to seize the State A title.

"I knew our boys were going to be able to get it done this year," said Christiansen, who will play quarterback for the West Team during Saturday's 77th Montana East-West Shrine Game at Daylis Stadium in Billings. "In past years we just came up a little short. I think our team chemistry was just a little bit closer this year. And so we were able to rely on one another a little bit more."

The last time the Beavers claimed football and basketball championships in the same academic year was 2016-17 when Troy Andersen helped lead Dillon to the pair of titles.

"Just being able to compare us to something that Troy Andersen did is something cool because he's one of the greats, as well as other people in that (class)," said Christiansen.

He'll now get a chance to play one final time alongside former Dillon teammates Cooper Anderson, Max Davis and Landen Peterson in the Shrine Game before turning his attention to joining Montana State's football team in the fall.

The Bobcats offered him a spot on their roster as a preferred walk-on last November and he signed with MSU a month later.

"It's been exciting being able to know that I'm going to the next level, playing football still and just doing what I love," Christiansen said. "But it's not going to be a piece of cake. I'm going to have to work my butt off every moment I'm there and just make sure I'm always working hard."

He's excited to be following in the footsteps of past Beavers like Andersen but is especially glad to be carrying on his family's legacy at MSU. His father Matt played linebacker for the Bobcats from 1987-91 and, according to a non-exhaustive analysis from MSU Athletics, was the first Montana State football player to hail from Dillon since 1946.

The Bobcats have had at least one Dillon native on their roster since Monte Folsom in 2014 and, with Jace Fitzgerald transferring from MSU to hometown Montana Western for his junior season, Christiansen is poised to carry on the decade-long tradition of having a former Beaver suit up as a Bobcat.

Christiansen's older sister Kylie was also an MSU athlete competing in indoor and outdoor track and field from 2017-21.

"The Cats have always been in our bloodline," he said.

Christiansen can look back on his unforgettable senior season with Dillon and look ahead to suiting up with the Bobcats. But for the next few days, his focus is on the Shrine Game and knowing that he's playing his final game as a high school athlete for a higher purpose.

"Something we've talked about all week is, 'Bigger than me,'" he said. "Its great knowing that we're one of the biggest states in fundraising (for Shriners Children's Spokane) out of the whole U.S., so it's a great feeling."