“Cokeville and Torrington are in the same classification.”

If someone would have said this to you 10, or 20, or 50 years ago, no one would have blamed you for doing a double-take.

But that’s Class 2A in 2020 for you.

Big Horn, Upton-Sundance and Cokeville are opting up. Torrington is shifting in due to reclassification. Buffalo, Greybull and Moorcroft are gone. Thermopolis is switching conferences.

Those shifts alone would normally be enough to turn an entire classification into a head-scratcher. On top of that, though, the returning talent in Class 2A is spread out across multiple teams.

Expect upsets, uncertainty and unpredictability.

Four questions to answer

What’s new in 2A? Is “everything” too strong a word? Class 2A’s dynamics shifted completely with the introduction of five new programs (Big Horn, Upton-Sundance, Torrington, Tongue River, Cokeville) and the departure of three others (Buffalo, Greybull, Moorcroft). Those changes may have made 2A the most interesting, and competitive, classification of football in Wyoming.

Which conference will be the most fun to follow? The West. At the top, this was a boring conference in 2019: Mountain View won its six conference games by an average of 49.33 points. But of the six games between the teams that finished in spots 2-5 in the conference standings (Lyman, Big Piney, Lovell and Pinedale), five were decided by eight points or fewer. Those four teams return similar levels of talent. And with Mountain View graduating a bunch, with semifinalist Thermopolis moving from the East to the West Conference, and with 1A power Cokeville opting up, the 2A West could be the most parity-filled conference in the state regardless of classification.

So no love for the East? The West will be fun to follow for its parity. The East will be fun to follow for its uncertainty. With four new teams, including a handful who have never faced each other, the East will be a new adventure every single week. And that’ll be a blast.

So who’s gonna win it all? Lulz. Of course, defending 1A 11-man champ Big Horn is up there, as is last year’s 2A champ Mountain View. But at least four or five other teams are true, legit threats to make it to the 2A championship this season. Watch out for Thermopolis, Upton-Sundance, Torrington, Wheatland, Big Piney, Lovell, Cokeville and Lyman; they’re all capable of a title-game run.

Four players to watch

Carson Bates, Big Horn. Bates will likely be a three-time all-state selection by the time the season is done, and with good reason. He’s a dual threat on offense — he ran for 1,169 yards and also had 523 receiving yards last year. But he might be the most prominent big-play threat in 2A this year, and his 12.6 yards per carry helps show that.

Nate Barnes, Cokeville. Barnes was Cokeville’s top player on both offense and defense — and that’s saying something. As a junior, he ran for 996 yards and eight touchdowns, but he also fronted Cokeville’s defense with 151 total tackles, a number topped by only one other player in all of 11-man football in Wyoming last year.

Logan Cole, Thermopolis. A two-time all-state selection, Cole had a smaller piece of the running game last year but was a bigger piece of the Bobcats’ approach in the passing game and, maybe even more critically, on defense, where he comes into 2020 as Thermop’s leading returning tackler. As his game grows, he’ll be even more versatile.

Colby White, Pinedale. What more can he do? White was one of 2A’s top tacklers a year ago, finishing second in the class in defensive points per game while notching 82 total tackles, including 32 solo and seven for loss. He also led the Wranglers’ rushing game with 803 yards.

Four key games

Week 2’s West Conference games, Sept. 11. As noted, the West will be a parity-filled conference this year. Gaining a victory early could be the momentum spark for the rest of the season, so those Week 2 games (Big Piney at Thermopolis, Lyman at Cokeville, Mountain View at Lovell and Pinedale at Kemmerer) will be crucial.

Wheatland at Torrington, Oct. 16. If anyone in the East can hang with the Rams or Patriots, it’ll likely be one of these two. If the Bulldogs or ‘Blazers can knock off either one of the frontrunners, this Week 7 rivalry game could have huge playoff implications.

Mountain View at Thermopolis, Oct. 16. Don’t forget how good of a season the Bobcats had last fall. They proved to be true 2A contenders. Even with all the parity in the West, this Week 7 matchup could decide who the conference’s top seed is in the playoffs.

Big Horn at Upton-Sundance, Oct. 23. The showdown between what might be the top two teams in the East doesn’t come until Week 8. The Rams have historically dominated this series, but both teams could be undefeated in conference play by the time this one rolls around.

Predicted order of finish

East Conference: Big Horn, Upton-Sundance, Torrington, Wheatland, Glenrock, Newcastle, Burns, Tongue River. West Conference: Mountain View, Thermopolis, Big Piney, Lovell, Cokeville, Lyman, Pinedale, Kemmerer.

Preseason top five: 1. Big Horn; 2. Mountain View; 3. Thermopolis; 4. Upton-Sundance; 5. Torrington.

Way-too-early title game score prediction

Big Horn 35, Mountain View 30. Even with a move up, the Rams are still loaded for a deep playoff run in 2020. Don’t be surprised to see them win their third in a row.

What are your thoughts on an expanded Class 2A field, 16 teams deep? Leave a comment, or drop a line on Twitter or Facebook.

Next Thursday: Class 3A.

–patrick

Note: This is a breaking news story. It will be updated as necessary with new information as it becomes available. Be sure to refresh your browser to see the latest version of the story.

Wyoming Indian High School became the second school on the Wind River Indian Reservation to cancel its fall sports schedule, WIHS activities director Keith Bauder said.

In an email to wyoming-football.com, Bauder said the school will start classes online. The school will reconsider moving back to in-person classes on Oct. 1, with the earliest move to face-to-face classes being Oct. 16.

“It is sad for our students but we have to look at the safety factor first for students and families in our area,” Bauder said via email.

Wyoming Indian’s Board of Trustees voted 5-0 Tuesday to continue classes online. The school announced the decision on Twitter.

Wyoming Indian joins St. Stephens as schools that have had to cancel fall sports and move classes online to start the semester. St. Stephens’ school board made a similar move last week.

Wyoming Indian plays in Class 1A nine-man football and Class 2A in cross country and volleyball. The Wyoming Indian boys cross country program has won 22 state championships, including 13 since 2003. The girls cross country team won its first state title last year.

In an interview with wyoming-football.com on Wednesday, Bauder said the decision from the Board of Trustees helped put first the safety not only of the students but of the community.

“It’s sad because you know how important it is to the kids,” Bauder said. “Out here, families are very close and big, and their culture is family (centered).”

Both Wyoming Indian and St. Stephens are on the Wind River Indian Reservation, where a stay-at-home order has been in place for several months.

“There were so many ‘ifs’ and no answers,” Bauder said. “You can do all the planning you want, but when you’re working with ‘ifs,’ you can have every precaution you want, and (there’s a chance) it still happens.”

Bauder said students from schools closed by COVID-19 could compete for other schools for the fall sports season. When the closed schools re-open, though, those students have to choose whether to stay at their new school or return to their old school. Once students make that choice, Bauder said, they have to stick with it or be subject to traditional transfer rules.

“We haven’t crossed that bridge, but I’m sure we will,” Bauder said. “It’s sad (to lose students), but it gives the kids the opportunity to compete, which is good. We just hope we can get them all back again.”

This story will be updated as new information becomes available.

–patrick

This story was updated at 8:53 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 5, with comments from Bauder.

Not long ago, I shared that I’ve been doing a lot of Wyoming track and field research, trying to find individual state champions back to 1922.

I shared the results of that research here. I found a lot, but not everything. So now I’m asking you, dear reader, for some help.

I need first names of these state track champions to help make these listings complete.

Y’all came through the last time I did this, in 2014. And I’m ready to ask for your help again.

First name needs are listed first; missing event champions are listed below that. As I receive updates, I will cross them off this list.

To submit names or missing information, leave a comment on this post or email me directly at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

+++

Missing first names

BOYS
50
Class AA
: Hays, Riv, 1935; Dir, Wor, 1927; Cover, The, 1926; J. Driscall, The, 1925.

100
Class AA
: Dawson, Whe, 1948; Moon, Kem, 1945; Hays, Riv, 1935; Melinkovich, RS, 1934; Starman, RS, 1931; Dir, Wor, 1927; J. Driscall, The, 1925.
Class A: Bishop, Riv, 1954.
Class B: Pingrey, DF, 1960; Davinson, Kem, 1957; Garrett, Pin, 1951.

220
Class AA
: Dawson, Whe, 1948; Moon, Kem, 1945; Hays, Riv, 1935; Starman, RS, 1931; Dir, Wor, 1927; J. Driscall, The, 1925; Driscoll, The, 1924; Teninty, The, 1922.
Class B: Davinson, Kem, 1957; Berrier, Lym, 1951.

440
Class AA
: Hammer, StM, 1950; Anderson, GR, 1945; Jaycox, Pav, 1942; Raymon, GR, 1941; Ono, GR, 1940; Landman, CC, 1936; Knepper, Buf, 1935; Gamble, Riv, 1930; Turner, NC, 1928; Dir, Wor, 1927; Ingraham, The, 1926; Northrup, Pow, 1925; Ekdall, CC, 1924; Coleman, Lan, 1923; Hanson, Glk, 1922.
Class A: Fisher, Lus, 1970; Fowled, GR, 1954; Harkins, Wor, 1952.
Class B: Brown, Alb, 1965; Martinez, MV, 1962; Herrera, Lin, 1960; Reece, Lym, 1954; Gregory, HS, 1951.
Class C: Rademan, LaG, 1965; Brown, Alb, 1963; Rochlitz, Carp, 1960.

880
Class AA
: Dolan, Lar, 1970; Carroll, Pow, 1950; Wallace, StM, 1947; Sullenberger, Tor, 1946; Heron, Wor, 1944; Allen, Lar, 1942; Rogers, Dou, 1941; King, RS, 1936/1937; Pirtle, GR, 1935; Thatcher, Dou, 1926; Northrup, Pow, 1925; Gobel, NC, 1924; Smith, Gre, 1923; Porter, Park, 1922.
Class A: Boyd, SS, 1965; Johnson, Tor, 1958.
Class B: Asay, Byr, 1965; Spoonhunter, SS, 1961; Smith, Bas, 1960; Weglin, Hunt, 1954.
Class C: McKinney, Vet, 1965; Yeik, Yod, 1962/1963; Hillbird, RR, 1957.

Mile
Class AA
: Lind, CC, 1970; Carpenter, CC, 1969; Smith, Eva, 1947; Collins, RS, 1946; Buchan, RS, 1944/1945; Davidson, Lar, 1942; Scriffin, The, 1940; Chavarria, Tor, 1937; Landman, CC, 1936; Redfern, Whe, 1935; Thoelke, Lus, 1932; Brown, Buf, 1931; West, NC, 1929; Esmay, Dou, 1927; Thatcher, Dou, 1926; Brown, Buf, 1925; Pegg, Bas, 1922.
Class A: Mullens, UP, 1965; Walters, Wor, 1960; Pendley, Pow, 1959; Richard/Richards, StM, 1957/1958; Laue, Riv, 1954.
Class B: Soule, PB, 1970; Brown, SS, 1963; Goggles, SS, 1961; Baird, Cowl, 1956.
Class C: Carter, TS, 1969/1970; Wood, TS, 1965; Vieyra, RR, 1962/1963; Chamberlain, LaG, 1960; Martin, FtL, 1958; S. Starks, Enc, 1957.

2 Mile
Class AA: Carmago, CC, 1969.
Class C: Thomas, Arv, 1970; Allary, LaG, 1969.

120 hurdles
Class AA
: Dowler, CC, 1957; Moore, Cod, 1950/1951; Espach, Lar, 1949; Rauchfuss, Pow, 1947; J. Croft, Tor, 1946; Bloom, Pow, 1945; Stine, GR, 1942; T. Chapin, Riv, 1935; Gentle, Dou, 1932/1933; Montague, Lus, 1930; Teninty, The, 1922.
Class A: Kemp, GR, 1969; Byers, Lan, 1960; Hanlin, Dou, 1957; Kincaid, Cod, 1952.
Class B: Fullmer, Lin, 1970; Williams, Byr, 1969; Sievers, Pin, 1965; Pingrey, DF, 1960; Fiero, Lym, 1956; Jackson, Han, 1953/1954; Gregory, HS, 1951.
Class C: Smith, Bur, 1965; Rudloff, Gld, 1962; Ainsworth, Yod, 1961; Martinez, Yod, 1958; Huckfeldt, Vet, 1957.

180 hurdles
Class AA: Freeman, Lar, 1969.
Class A: Hagemeister, SS, 1965; Noel, GR, 1954.
Class B: Ecklund, Alb, 1970; Fullmer, Lin, 1965; Pingrey, DF, 1960; Rees, Lym, 1958; Davinson, Kem, 1957; Davison, Pin, 1956; Ellison, Day, 1954; Ellison, Bas, 1953; Berrier, Lym, 1951.
Class C: Kaufman, LaG, 1969; Smith, Bur, 1965; Martinez, Yod, 1957.

200 hurdles
Class AA
: Rauchfuss, Pow, 1947; J. Croft, Tor, 1946; Stine, GR, 1942; Sims, RS, 1941; Berta, RS, 1937.

220 hurdles
Class AA
: Gentle, Dou, 1933; Brundage, Cod, 1931; Montague, Lus, 1930; E. Penfield, The, 1925; Teninty, The, 1922.

Discus
Class AA
: Quinlavan, CE, 1963; Mrak, RS, 1947; Neilson, Eva, 1946; Kienlen, GR, 1945; Heron, Wor, 1944; Steiteler, RS, 1940; Steniac, Sup, 1936; Jurich, Reli, 1935; Fitzmorris/Fitzmaurice, CC, 1932/1933; Cover, The, 1925/1926; Monihan, Whe, 1924; Rhone, CC, 1923; Peyton, Dou, 1922.
Class A: A. Anderson, Dou, 1960.
Class B: Haynes, Gld, 1958; Partridge, Cowl, 1954; Walters, Lin, 1951.
Class C: McPherren, TS, 1965; Rochlitz, Carp, 1957.

High jump
Class AA
: Kipper, Lar, 1970; McGarvin, Wor, 1951; Maher, GR, 1951; Gregory, HS, 1950; Howery, HS, 1948; Heron, Wor, 1944; West, Whe, 1941; Sinadin, Mid, 1938; Fleischle, CC, 1936; T. Chapin, Riv, 1935; Thompson, Mid, 1931; Markley, Pow, 1929; Riche, NC, 1928; Ingraham, The, 1926; Haith, PB, 1923.
Class A: Powers, Gre, 1970; Hatch, Kem, 1963; LeBar, Dou, 1960; Nelson, Gil, 1957; Lawrence, Whe, 1956; Morey, Riv, 1956; Royer, Pow, 1956; Vines, Gil, 1954.
Class B: Cochrane, UP, 1963; Stoddard, MV, 1963; Dalton, Cowl, 1960; Raymond, Mort, 1958; Gregory, HS, 1951.
Class C: Dooley, Brl, 1970; McPherren, TS, 1963; Herring, Enc, 1960; Palmer, Bur, 1959; Whited, Carp, 1957.

Long jump
Class AA
: Fermelia, RS, 1948; Jew, RS, 1945; H. Braden, GR, 1941; Fleischlie, CC, 1936; Freeley, Cod, 1933; J. Debernardi, RS, 1931.
Class A: Jay, Tor, 1970; Benson, Gil, 1969; Thurmond, Dou, 1957; Lawrence, Whe, 1956.
Class B: Brown, Alb, 1965; Wirth, Byr, 1963; Brisch, Han, 1958; Stephenson, Lin, 1951.
Class C: Swarm, LaG, 1965; Brown, Alb, 1963.

Pole vault
Class AA
: Haug, GR, 1951; Walker, GR, 1945; McKethan, The, 1944; Garrett, CC, 1935; Broderick, Mid, 1929; Cover, The, 1923/1924; Walters, Dou, 1922.
Class A: Schulyer, Gre, 1960; Brow, Dou, 1960.
Class B: Sussex, LaG, 1970; Gurney, BP, 1965; Mollenbrink, Sun, 1959; Brown, DF, 1958; Trenholm, Gld, 1958; Johnson, Bas, 1958; Partridge, Cowl, 1954; Robbins, Sunr, 1951.
Class C: Garrison, Gld, 1962.

Shot put
Class AA
: Terwilliger, GR, 1950; Taggart, Cod, 1945; Bozanic, Lan, 1944; Stevens, Eva, 1941; Perkovich, RS, 1937; Thobro, RS, 1936; Jurich, Reli, 1935; Morgan, CC, 1934; Davidson, CC, 1932/1933; King, Cod, 1930; Major, Cod, 1928; Whelan, CC, 1925; Beall, Bas, 1922/1924.
Class A: Ricks, Jac, 1969; Schuyler, Gre, 1965; Vines, Gil, 1954.
Class B: McIntosh, Pin, 1957; Lookingbill, Mort, 1955; McColley, PB, 1953; Cozier, Pin, 1951.
Class C: Barkell, Egb, 1957.

Javelin
Class AA
: Begovich, RS, 1940; Loffing, Tor, 1938; Perkovich, RS, 1936/1937; Powell, The, 1933; Erickson, CC, 1932; Walters, Cod, 1931; Major, Cod, 1928; Erickson, CC, 1927; Cover, The, 1926/1924.

GIRLS
50
Class AA
: C. Saunders, Gil, 1972.

100
Class B
: C. Curtis, Bas, 1971.

220
Class B
: C. Curtis, Bas, 1971.

440
Class AA
: K. Madrid, Lar, 1971.
Class B: M. Fuller, Chu, 1971.

880
Class B
: S. Brunson, Sun, 1971.

50 hurdles
Class AA: S. Scutt, KW, 1971.
Class B: F. Williams, Bas, 1971.

High jump
Class AA
: L. Schuller, Wor, 1971.

Long jump
Class B
: F. Williams, Bas, 1971.

Shot put
Class B
: C. Standefer, TS, 1971.

Softball throw
Class B
: F. Williams, Bas, 1971.

+++

In addition, winners are missing for these years, classes and/or events:

BOYS
All classes, all events: 1972, 1968, 1967, 1966
1971 Class B
: triple jump.
1969 Class B: two mile, discus, long jump, shot put, triple jump.
1969 Class C: discus, long jump, triple jump.
1965 Class A: discus, high jump, long jump, pole vault.
1965 Class B: discus, high jump.
1965 Class C: high jump, pole vault, shot put.
1964 Class C: long jump.
1962 Class AA: discus, high jump, pole vault, shot put.
1962 Class A: discus, long jump, shot put.
1962 Class C: discus, long jump, shot put.
1961 Class A: 120 high hurdles, high jump, long jump, pole vault.
1961 Class B: 120 high hurdles, 880 relay, discus, high jump, pole vault.
1961 Class C: 100, 220, 440, mile, 180 low hurdles, 880 relay, mile relay, discus, long jump, pole vault, shot put.
1960 Class A: long jump.
1960 Class B: discus, long jump, shot put.
1960 Class C: discus, long jump, shot put.
1959 Class A: 100, 220, 440, high hurdles, low hurdles, 880 relay, discus, long jump, pole vault, shot put.
1959 Class B: 440, high hurdles, high jump, long jump, shot put.
1959 Class C: 100, 220, 440, high hurdles, low hurdles, 880 relay, mile relay, long jump.
1958 Class C: 880, low hurdles, discus, long jump, pole vault.
1956 Class B: 440, 880, discus, high jump, pole vault, shot put.
1955 Class A: 100, 440, mile, high hurdles, low hurdles, high jump.
1955 Class B: 100, 220, mile, high hurdles, low hurdles, 440 relay, discus, high jump, pole vault.
1954 Class A: discus, pole vault.
1954 Class B: long jump, shot put.
1953 Class A: 100, 220, 440, 880, mile, high hurdles, low hurdles, 880 relay, high jump, long jump, pole vault, shot put.
1953 Class B: 220, 440, 880, mile, discus, high jump, long jump.
1952 Class A: high jump, pole vault.
1952 Class B: 100, 220, 440, high hurdles, low hurdles, 880 relay, discus, high jump, long jump, pole vault, shot put.
1951 Class B: 880 relay.
1934 all-class: 50, 440, 880, mile, 120 high hurdles, 200 low hurdles, discus, high jump, javelin, long jump, pole vault.

Again, if you can help, post a comment here or email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com.

–patrick

Note: This is a breaking news story. It will be updated as necessary with new information as it becomes available. Be sure to refresh your browser to see the latest version of the story.

St. Stephens Indian School has canceled all fall sports for 2020, including football, and will have students participate in remote learning until at least Oct. 16.

An announcement from St. Stephens Superintendent Frank No Runner announcing the changes was posted to the St. Stephens school’s Facebook page on Friday afternoon.

The post said the St. Stephens school board met Friday morning and decided to move forward with several changes to start the school year.

Those changes include no sports for high school or junior high students and online learning until at least Oct. 16.

In his post, No Runner said safety was the primary concern for the decision.

“It was hard to come to this decision, but we are thinking about student and staff safety, and for our elders, if we lose them we lose valuable cultural and traditional knowledge that cannot be replaced,” No Runner’s post said.

The full post is available here:

In an interview Friday afternoon with wyoming-football.com, St. Stephens football coach Billy Brost said he understood the decision but was also frustrated by it.

“I know they’re trying to do right by the kids and the teachers and the families, but it’s just heartbreaking to me that everyone else is going to be playing and we’re aren’t,” Brost said.

St. Stephens’ cross country and volleyball teams will also have their seasons canceled. The football team was scheduled to play in Class 1A nine-man, while volleyball was set to move from Class 1A to Class 2A this fall.

Per capita, Fremont County — where St. Stephens is located — has had more cases of COVID-19 and more COVID-related deaths than any other Wyoming county. Data from the Wyoming Department of Health shows, as of Friday, 411 laboratory-confirmed cases of the disease in the county. Of the 26 COVID-related deaths in Wyoming, 10 have been in Fremont County, the most of any Wyoming county.

Along with St. Stephens, three other high schools — Wyoming Indian, Fort Washakie and Arapaho Charter — also operate on the Wind River Reservation. Of those, Wyoming Indian is the only school to offer full varsity athletics. Other Fremont County schools, those off reservation land, include Lander, Riverton, Wind River, Shoshoni and Dubois.

Brost said while he will miss coaching, he will also miss teaching; he teaches social studies at the school.

“It’s not just about sports,” he said. “It’s so many things that high school kids should have the right to experience that they don’t now because of this pandemic. … My heart breaks for them because they so need that interaction.

“They’re being robbed of it, and fingers crossed that things calm down by the beginning of October so we can have kids in our classroom.”

This story will be updated as new information becomes available.

–patrick

An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified No Runner’s position with St. Stephens schools. He is the superintendent.

No classification exemplifies the changes that reclassification can bring like Class 1A nine-man.

The classification came together in two waves — one the wave of programs who decided against opting up to 11-man and playing in Class 2A, the other wave the group of six-man schools who made the jump up.

Somehow, they all fit together in nine-man. Wyoming’s first attempt at a nine-man classification since 1994 is a fun experiment. Whether it will last is still up for debate, but the longevity of nine-man will, one way or another, be influenced by the first season.

Last time Wyoming messed around with nine-man, it lasted only six years.

This time, two waves of misfits will help decide if nine-man is a failed experiment or a fixture for years to come.

Four questions to answer

What should we expect from this classification in 2020? In short, who knows? This classification didn’t even exist last year, and as an amalgamation of former 11-man and six-man teams, literally anything is possible. The only team that reached the 1A 11-man semifinals last year that’s still around in 1A nine-man this year is Southeast, and that vacuum at the top creates all kinds of opportunities for something new.

Does any one team have the advantage in nine-man’s first season? No. But three teams keep getting mentioned by nine-man coaches: Lusk, Southeast and Rocky Mountain. Those programs have the talent and experience that other coaches envy, and that edge puts those three programs near the top in nine-man’s first go-round.

What about the former six-man programs? Watch out. Four former six-man teams are moving to nine-man this year, and they’ve all got potential. Saratoga, Riverside and Lingle all bring back at least one player who was all-state at six-man.

What’s the most overlooked thing about nine-man’s new setup? The renewed rivalries. Lingle-Southeast is returning to Goshen County, and Riverside-Greybull comes back to Big Horn County. Meanwhile, four Fremont County schools (Wyoming Indian, St. Stephens, Shoshoni and Wind River) form a quadrant of regional rivalries that will be fun to explore.

Four players to watch

Drake Lamp, Lusk. Lamp is trying for something rare this season — his fourth all-state selection. He led Class 1A 11-man in rushing last season in both total yards (1,633) and yards per game (204.1). But he’s never had a chance to play in a playoff game, and that’s gotta be motivating.

Tryston Truempler, Shoshoni. Truempler is the Wranglers’ go-to player. He was third in all of Class 1A 11-man last season with 26.4 defensive points per game and was by far Shoshoni’s leading tackler. On offense, the quarterback also led Shoshoni in both passing yards (747) and rushing yards (640), accounting for 11 touchdowns.

Tyler Banks, Rocky Mountain. On a senior-laden Grizzly team, Banks has plenty of support. But his role as a leader on both sides of the ball can’t be understated — he ran for 1,049 yards and eight TDs last year and was also second on the team with 66 tackles.

Noah Rimmer, Saratoga. Rimmer is a beast for the Panthers. He led Class 1A six-man in receiving yards last year despite not playing in the postseason, and he finished fourth in six-man in defensive points. His skills translate well to nine-man, and he’ll help the Panthers stay in the East Conference race.

Four key games

East-West Jamboree, Aug. 28. In a classification with so much uncertainty, a series of scrimmages during Zero Week in Casper could be the source of a lot of clarification. Nine teams are scheduled to attend the first-of-its-kind mass nine-man jamboree.

Lingle at Southeast, Sept. 11. Both the Doggers and Cyclones want to challenge for the No. 1 spot in the East Conference. The fact that the Goshen County rivals face each other in the conference opener is certainly clear, and motivating, to both squads.

Rocky Mountain at Shoshoni, Sept. 11. Two top contenders for the West Conference championship also meet in the conference opener in Week 2. This game, win or lose, will help set the pace for the rest of the season in the West.

Riverside at Greybull, Oct. 9. These two southern Big Horn County rivals haven’t played each other since 2014, and Riverside hasn’t won this game since 2008. Having the rivalry back is nice, but this game will also likely have big postseason implications, too.

Predicted order of finish

East Conference: Southeast, Lusk, Saratoga, Lingle, Moorcroft, Wright, Pine Bluffs. West Conference: Rocky Mountain, Shoshoni, Riverside, Greybull, Wind River, Wyoming Indian, St. Stephens.

Preseason top five: 1. Southeast; 2. Rocky Mountain; 3. Lusk; 4. Shoshoni; 5. Saratoga.

Way-too-early title game score prediction

Southeast 28, Rocky Mountain 26. Class 1A nine-man should be a class full of parity, and several other teams have the goods to make championship runs. On paper, though, the Cyclones and Grizzlies have the best chances to be the last two teams in November.

How much fun will the uncertainty of nine-man bring to us in 2020? Leave a comment, or drop a line on Twitter or Facebook.

Next Thursday: Class 2A.

–patrick

Wyoming’s fall sports schedule will start on time.

The Wyoming High School Activities Association made that announcement Tuesday on its website.

The WHSAA announcement said the decision to continue sports as scheduled in the fall was made in consultation with the Wyoming state departments of health and education.

Practices start Aug. 10 and Aug. 17 for various sports, including Aug. 10 for Class 4A football and Aug. 17 for other football classifications.

In an effort to reduce large gatherings of people, the WHSAA decided to move 2020 football championship games to host sites for each classification. War Memorial Stadium at the University of Wyoming has hosted championship games since 2009. The WHSAA football guidelines posted on its website said this was “with the hopes of returning to the University of Wyoming the following year.”

The WHSAA gave schools directives to create their own plans on how they will handle shared equipment tees, ball bags, footballs and so on for practices. Schools will also need to create their own standards for game days on how to handle ticket booths, bleacher seating, concession stands, locker rooms and restrooms.

WHSAA guidelines do specify the elimination of pregame and postgame events such as tailgating and barbecues. People working at events will also be required to wear face coverings, and gloves are recommended.

The WHSAA also suggested following guidelines from the National Federation of High Schools to limit contact and exposure. For football, those recommendations include the elimination of pregame/postgame handshakes and the extension of the team box to the 10-yard lines, among others.

See the WHSAA’s press release here and its specific football guidelines here. Other sport-specific considerations are here.

–patrick

I’ve been doing a lot of research on state track meets this summer. With that, I’ve revamped and updated the listing of Wyoming’s state track and field champions to reflect winners back to 1922.

Wyoming’s track and field champions are listed here. Previously, I listed girls champions back to 1973 and boys champions to 1974, the extent to which the Wyoming High School Activities Association archives exist. Now, girls listings go back to 1970, the year of the first girls state track meet, and boys listings to 1922, the year of the first boys state track meet.

I used online archives available through the Casper Star-Tribune to access old records. However, not all years or events are available in the Star-Tribune’s online archive. Here’s what I am missing:

All results needed: 1972 (boys only), 1968, 1967, 1966.

Years where winners for at least one event are needed: 1971 (Class C), 1969 (Class B and C), 1965 (Class A, B and C), 1964 (Class C), 1962 (Class AA, A and C), 1961 (Class A, B and C), 1960 (Class A, B and C), 1959 (Class A, B and C), 1958 (Class C), 1956 (Class B), 1955 (Class A and B), 1954 (Class A and B), 1953 (Class A and B), 1952 (Class A and B), 1951 (Class B), 1934 (one class), 1925 (one class).

As you can see, this is a work in progress. But that’s OK! If you can provide any help filling in holes in the listings I have posted here, email me at pschmiedt@yahoo.com. Here are the listings.

I am also in search of first names for some of the new champion listings. I will put up a separate post detailing those needs in the next week or two.

–patrick

A 24-point first quarter was the difference in Nebraska’s 52-25 victory against Wyoming in the Six-man Shootout all-star football game Thursday in Harrison, Neb.

Nebraska scored on its first three possessions in the first quarter and converted on all three two-point kicks to take a 24-0 lead. Wyoming never got closer than 14 points the rest of the game.

Hanna’s Conor McGraw scored all four Wyoming touchdowns.

His first came in the first minute of the second quarter, as he scored from 23 yards out to cut Nebraska’s lead to 24-6. But Nebraska scored late in the second quarter and led 32-6 at halftime.

Wyoming had some life in the third quarter. McGraw scored again on Wyoming’s first drive of the third quarter, trimming Nebraska’s lead to 32-12. After a Nebraska fumble on their next drive, McGraw scored again on a 74-yard run to make the score 32-18 midway through the third quarter.

However, Nebraska scored on its next drive to boost its lead to 38-18. Nebraska scored on its first drive of the fourth quarter and added another touchdown on its next drive to run the score to 52-18.

McGraw scored on a 65-yard run late in the fourth quarter for the final margin.

This year’s game was originally scheduled for Chadron, Nebraska, but was moved to Harrison after COVID-19 concerns for the campus of Chadron State College, where the game would have been played.

Wyoming leads the all-time series 5-4.

–patrick

Note: This is the first of five classification previews for the 2020 season at wyoming-football.com. Previews will run every Thursday for the next five weeks.

Since its reintroduction to Wyoming in 2009, six-man football has seen nothing but dominant champions.

The combined record of the 11 six-man champs since 2009 is 115-2. Only one champion (Kaycee in 2015) had an in-state loss during its championship season.

For comparison, the champs in 4A, 2A and 1A 11-man have a combined nine losses in that span; 3A champs have a combined 12 losses.

Domination isn’t just an expectation in six-man. It’s a requirement.

This year’s dominant team is a bit tougher to find, as four teams leave for the new nine-man division, one team comes back to varsity play for the first time in almost 30 years and another returns after a couple years away.

While the conversation starts with last year’s champs, it doesn’t end there — not in a year where parity could actually be part of the season in a classification that rarely sees it.

Four questions to answer

Can Snake River make another shutout run like last year’s? No. Snake River’s nine consecutive shutouts last year is a feat we’ll likely never see again in six-man. And the Rattlers graduated six all-state players, leaving opportunities for several other teams to fill the void left by those departing seniors.

But can Snake River repeat as champs? Ask the coaches, and they’ll give you the standard answer — they’re the champs until someone beats them, that makes them the favorites, and so on. But six-man should have parity at the top this season, and several teams are capable of making a title run.

So who’s the favorite? Dunno. One of the challenges in assessing the preseason prospects is that of the 40 players selected all-conference last season, only 14 return, thanks to graduation and teams moving to nine-man. Farson and Burlington have three returners apiece, and Hanna and Kaycee two apiece, so pencil them in at the top for now.

What’s new this year? With a little luck, two “new” teams. Encampment played a mix of varsity and sub-varsity teams last year and finished 5-2, and the Tigers will be a fully-fledged West Conference team this year. Meanwhile, Ten Sleep has missed the past two seasons due to low numbers but is scheduled to return in 2020.

Four (OK, five) players to watch

Parker Clawson, Farson. Clawson was incredibly valuable on a balanced Pronghorn team last season, leading them in receiving (30 catches, 436 yards) and finishing second in tackles. He’s also Farson’s only returning all-state pick.

Devon Grosstick and Jase Smith, Hanna. They’re not twins, but they put up similar numbers in 2019. Grosstick, a senior, caught 25 passes for 376 yards and had 202 defensive points; Smith, a junior, caught 22 passes for 290 yards and had 208 defensive points. As Hanna’s two returning all-state picks, they’ll be key in getting the Miners back to Laramie.

Zander Risner, Snake River. The Rattlers’ only returning all-stater has a lot on his shoulders as a junior. He’s Snake River’s only returning player who had more than 20 tackles last year — and he had 78. That total included 19 tackles for loss and 11 sacks.

Dalton Peterson, Encampment. Even though the Tigers didn’t play a full varsity season last year, Peterson made his presence known. As a junior, he led 1A six-man in defensive points per game with 33.4 and was one of only three six-man players with at least 100 tackles; the other two played deep into the playoffs, while Peterson accomplished his feat in only seven games.

Four key games

Snake River at Hanna, Sept. 5. Both the Rattlers and Miners are going to look drastically different than they did when they met for the state championship last season. And if either wants to be a contender to return to Laramie again this season, a victory here in this non-conference but intra-county contest will be mighty helpful.

Farson at Burlington, Sept. 11. The West Conference is always competitive in six-man, and both the Pronghorns and Huskies should be near the top again this fall. Winning this one — the conference opener for both squads — will go a long way in reaching the goal of a conference championship.

Snake River at Encampment, Sept. 12. The Tigers’ first official conference game comes at home against the defending state champions. What an opportunity for Encampment to prove it belongs in the discussion as something more than a novelty.

Hanna at Kaycee, Oct. 23. On paper, the Miners and Buckaroos should be near the top of the East Conference again this season, so when they meet in the regular-season finale, it’ll likely be for way more than just pride.

Predicted order of finish

East Conference: Hanna, Kaycee, Hulett, Guernsey-Sunrise, Midwest, NSI Academy. West Conference: Farson, Burlington, Snake River, Encampment, Dubois, Meeteetse, Ten Sleep.

Preseason top five: 1. Farson; 2. Burlington; 3. Hanna; 4. Snake River; 5. Encampment.

Way-too-early title game score prediction

Farson 44, Burlington 38. The West Conference will be top-heavy, and that’ll prepare those teams for postseason play. That said, though, six-man appears to have more balance than usual, so don’t look for one team to dominate the season like we’ve traditionally seen.

What do you think about the potential goings-on in six-man this fall? Leave a comment, or drop a line on Twitter or Facebook.

Next Thursday: Class 1A nine-man.

–patrick

The ninth version of the Six-man Shootout all-star football game between Wyoming and Nebraska will be this week.

The game will start at 5 p.m. Thursday at Sioux County High School in Harrison, Neb.

Team Wyoming includes:

GUERNSEY: Alex Delgado, Preston Elmore.
HANNA: Conor McGraw, Shane McGraw.
HULETT: Dalton Butler, Dawson Butler, Jhett Letellier.
MEETEETSE: Asa Eldredge.
ST. STEPHENS: Trenton Friday, Salem Ynostrosa.
SARATOGA: Menphis Smith.
SNAKE RIVER: Wyatt Duncan, Tony Enriquez, Karter Evans, Oscar Herrera, Taylor Otte.

Wyoming’s head coach is Jack Cobb from Snake River, the defending state champion. Assistant coaches are St. Stephens’ Billy Brost, Hanna’s Zack Scott and Snake River’s Sam Weeldreyer.

Nebraska’s roster was not yet available but will be posted here when shared publicly.

The game was pushed back from June 6 and moved from Chadron, Neb., to Harrison.

Wyoming won last year’s game 52-50 and leads the all-time series 5-3.

Also of note, the Can-Am Bowl, a six-man all-star game between players from across America and from Saskatchewan, was canceled for 2020. Wyoming has had representatives in the Can-Am Bowl every year since 2014.

–patrick

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