On Saturday, the Rawlins boys basketball team won the state basketball championship. Just a few months ago, the Outlaws finished a winless football season.

Turns out that such a jump is more common than I thought. With Rawlins this year, now 12 groups have pulled that off, and one school has done it twice…

Other teams to jump from a winless football season to a championship basketball season in the same school year?

Wyoming Indian, 2019-20
Campbell County, 2017-18
Burlington, 2015-16 (Huskies’ transition from 11-man to six-man, so there’s a pretty big asterisk here)
Lander, 2007-08
Wyoming Indian, 1990-91
Meeteetse, 1986-87
Kelly Walsh, 1974-75
Burns, 1971-72
Goshen Hole, 1966-67
Albin, 1953-54
Laramie, 1922-23

–patrick

A short Twitter thread from @wyominghoops regarding the upcoming 3A/4A state basketball tournaments…

–patrick

Some thoughts on the 1A-2A basketball regionals/state weeks I posted to @wyominghoops on Twitter a few days ago:

–patrick

Last season, the Kelly Walsh boys basketball team finished 3-15.

So far this season, the Trojans are 11-1.

The turnaround that KW has seen so far is laudable, and if the Trojans keep it up, it could end up being one of the best single-season turnarounds the state has ever seen.

In April 2013, I brought to your attention some of the biggest single-season turnarounds and falloffs in Wyoming football history.

This post is designed to do the same, but this time for basketball: the 10 biggest turnarounds and the 10 biggest falloffs in both boys and girls basketball history.

Certainly, a lot goes into a dramatic increase or a dramatic falloff. Big improvements come from a variety of reasons, including classification changes and infusions of talent. For example, the single biggest turnaround in Wyoming’s basketball history (by far, just look at the numbers) came from the Big Horn girls team in 1998, which had a freshman unit that eventually won a pair of state championships and had an unbeaten season in their senior year. That’s something you just can’t coach.

The top four falloffs for boys, though, all involved a coaching change — more a signal of a coach abandoning a bad situation than anything else. (My dad, Jim, was involved in the No. 2 falloff of all time as the new head coach at Mountain View in 1978 after the Buffalos had won three consecutive Class B championships. That same season, though, he coached the MV girls to third at state.) However, the top four falloffs for girls all involved the same head coach for both seasons. So go figure.

Some changes, though, are a reflection of bigger happenings in a community. For example, the Superior boys in 1962 had little control of their fall from 24-4 to 2-14. The area’s mines closed at a precipitous rate that year, with the final closure of the D.O. Clark Mine in March putting more than 70 miners out of work and bringing about the closure of the high school. As for more of Patrick’s family connections, my uncle Lee moved to Wheatland in 1972 as a junior in high school and was part of the Wheatland 1972-73 turnaround that made the top 10, but that move just happened to coincide with the beginning of the construction of the Laramie River Station power plant near Wheatland that brought a big influx of new people to Platte County.

Here are the lists of the biggest single-season turnarounds, in both directions:

The top 10 biggest improvements, boys:
Lingle, 1990, .759 improvement (from 3-17 to 20-2)
Cokeville, 1941, .717 improvement (from 2-13 to 17-3)
Rock River, 1955, .711 improvement (from 1-13 to 18-5)
Meeteetse, 1976, .700 improvement (from 1-19 to 15-5)
Hanna, 1955, .657 improvement (from 3-16 to 22-5)
Torrington, 1985, .645 improvement (from 2-17 to 18-6)
Sunrise, 1939, .613 improvement (from 3-14 to 15-4)
Rozet, 1941, .607 improvement (from 6-16 to 22-3)
Wheatland, 1973, .601 improvement (from 4-17 to 19-5)
Riverton, 2017, .595 improvement (from 10-17 to 28-1)

Top 10 biggest falloffs, boys:
Burns, 2004, .870 falloff (from 20-3 to 0-19)
Mountain View, 1978, .850 falloff (from 24-0 to 3-17)
Pinedale, 2011, .778 falloff (from 21-6 to 0-23)
Arvada-Clearmont, 1991, .763 falloff (from 21-2 to 3-17)
Medicine Bow, 1980, .750 falloff (from 15-5 to 0-17)
NSI, 2003, .737 falloff (from 14-5 to 0-18)
Saratoga, 1984, .735 falloff (from 21-4 to 2-17)
Superior, 1962, .732 falloff (from 24-4 to 2-14)
Guernsey-Sunrise, 1998, .725 falloff (from 17-5 to 1-20)
Kemmerer, 2005, .715 falloff (from 23-4 to 3-19)

The top 10 biggest improvements, girls:
Big Horn, 1998, .783 improvement (from 1-19 to 20-4)
Laramie, 2006, .631 improvement (from 1-20 to 19-9)
Newcastle, 1978, .628 improvement (from 2-9 to 17-4)
Natrona, 2020, .619 improvement (from 1-20 to 16-8)
Dubois, 1989, .587 improvement (from 4-14 to 17-4)
Green River, 1982, .572 improvement (from 3-17 to 13-5)
Meeteetse, 1996, .549 improvement (from 2-15 to 12-6)
Mountain View, 2014, .546 improvement (from 2-22 to 17-10)
Riverton, 1983, .542 improvement (from 10-14 to 23-1)
Tongue River, 2003, .527 improvement (from 4-15 to 17-6)

Top 10 biggest falloffs, girls:
Lyman, 1996, .800 falloff (from 23-0 to 4-16)
St. Stephens, 2020, .794 falloff (from 23-3 to 2-20)
Rocky Mountain, 1994, .775 falloff (from 20-4 to 1-16)
Midwest, 1983, .747 falloff (from 17-4 to 2-17)
Dubois, 1981, .746 falloff (from 18-3 to 2-16)
Mountain View, 1999, .727 falloff (from 25-0 to 6-16)
Sundance, 1986, .720 falloff (from 17-5 to 1-18)
Wright, 2020, .715 falloff (from 19-6 to 1-21)
Big Horn, 1991, .714 falloff (from 15-6 to 0-19)
Guernsey-Sunrise, 2006, .713 falloff (from 26-1 to 6-18)

**Note that these are incomplete records, since I’m missing 354 boys season records since 1960 and 286 girls records since 1976. I’m sad about that. You can help.

–patrick

For the five team sports offered by the WHSAA — basketball, football, soccer, softball and volleyball — four-time all-state selections are quite uncommon.

In fact, among those five team sports, only 14 boys and 48 girls have been four-time all-state choices.

As noted previously here, only 21 players — five boys, 16 girls — are four-time all-state basketball selections.

Oddly enough, a similar ratio exists for fall and spring team sports. For fall, three boys are four-time all-state football selections, while 13 girls are four-time all-state volleyball picks. And in spring, two boys and 19 girls have been four-time all-state soccer choices.

Softball was first sanctioned in 2021, so no four-time all-staters will come from that sport until at least 2024.

Lyman’s Tayler Anderson and Kelly Walsh’s Madison Vinich are the only players to be four-time all-state in two different team sports; both were four-time picks in volleyball and basketball.

The fall four-time all-state selections are:

Volleyball
Wendy Anderson, Cokeville, 1987-90
Stephanie Laya, Tongue River, 1993-96
Katie Nate, Cokeville, 1996-99
Meggie Malyurek, Big Horn, 1997-2000
Erin Scherry, Big Horn, 1997-2000
Tayler Anderson, Lyman, 2005-08
Paige Neves, Burlington, 2006-09
Madison Vinich, Kelly Walsh, 2014-17
Haedyn Rhoades, Douglas, 2015-18
Danilynn Schell, Kelly Walsh, 2016-19
McKenzie Earl, Rawlins, 2017-20
Demi Stauffenberg, Lander, 2018-21
Alexis Stucky, Laramie, 2018-21

Football
Ty Barrus, Meeteetse, 1987-90
James Caro, Kaycee, 2009-12
Drake Lamp, Lusk, 2017-20

For soccer, the four-time all-state choices are:

Girls
Marcee Owens, Natrona, 1988-91
Liza Schmidt, Cheyenne Central, 1991-94
Erin Bowler, Cheyenne East, 1995-98
Jenny Watkins, Lander, 1995-98
Lindsey Sosovec, Cheyenne East, 1995-98
Monica Trujillo, Cheyenne East, 1995-98
Jessie Zebroski, Lander, 1997-00
Melissa Speiser, Natrona, 1997-00
Enedina Vasco, Riverton, 1998-01
Ariela Schreibeis, Laramie, 2007-10
Bridget Schumacher, Cody, 2009-12
Jessica Freeze, Jackson, 2010-13
Sarah Erickson, Cheyenne East, 2011-14
Hannah Bailey, Cody, 2014-17
Taylor Stoeger, Green River, 2014-17
Casey Wassum, Worland, 2015-18
Lexi Pulley, Laramie, 2015-18
Eli Olsen, Buffalo, 2016-19
Grace Roswadovski, Campbell County/Thunder Basin, 2016-19

Boys
Jared White, Cheyenne East, 1992-95
Robert George, Kelly Walsh, 2013-16

+++

Individual sports are harder to track because what constitutes “all-state” varies from sport to sport. However, across a variety of individual sports, we can keep track of four-time state champions, something that’s maybe even harder to do than all-state in a team sport.

Cross country: Three girls have won state cross country four times, one each at the 4A, 3A and 2A levels:

Sarah Balfour, Natrona, 4A, 2001-04
Emily Higgins, Rocky Mountain, 2A, 2002-05
Sydney Thorvaldson, Rawlins, 3A, 2017-20

No boys have ever won state cross country titles four times, although Saratoga’s Grant Bartlett has a chance to do so at the 2A level next season.

—-

Golf: Two boys and two girls have finished as four-time state champions:

Boys
Easton Paxton, Riverton, 4A, 2013-16
Hardy Johnson, Thermopolis, 2A, 2018-21

Girls
Mardi Johnson, Buffalo, 3A, 1991-94
Whittney Coon, Lusk, 2A, 2003-06

—-

Gymnastics: Although no longer sanctioned by the WHSAA, two boys (across four events) and four girls (across six events) have been four-time event or all-around champions.

Boys
Chris Santistevan, Laramie, vault, 1984-87
Steven George, Laramie, pommel horse, rings and all-around, 1989-92

Girls
Jennifer Perry, Laramie, uneven parallel bars, 1979-82
Amanda Murdock, Kelly Walsh, floor exercise, vault and all-around 1985-88
Julie Kasper, Campbell County, all-around, 1996-99
Kaitlyn Balfour, Natrona, uneven parallel bars, 2005-08

—-

Nordic skiing: Jackson’s Willie Neal is an eight-time champion, winning both races at state every year from 2005-08. Jackson’s Anna Gibson won the freestyle race four years in a row from 2014-17 and won six individual titles in all after winning the classic races in 2016 and 2017, the most individual championships for any one skier on the girls’ side.

—-

Swimming: Three boys and five girls have the distinction of being eight-time individual champions, never losing an individual race at state (as swimmers are capped at two individual races at state). They are:

Boys
John Green, Sheridan, 1984-87
Phil Rehard, Rawlins, 1993-96
Jake Rehard, Rawlins, 1995-98

Girls
Cindy Miyake, Laramie, 1974-77
Yvonne Brown, Campbell County, 1980-83
Shelly Smith, Greybull, 1981-84
Marsha Landowski, Newcastle, 1987-90
Katie Peck, Buffalo, 1996-99

(Note that individual swimming records at the state meet are woefully incomplete prior to the 1970s.)

Track and field: Eight boys and 58 girls have won a single event four consecutive times. See that list here. However, no track athlete has ever won 16 individual championships (winning your maximum of four individual events every year for four years). The closest to that mark is Mountain View’s Amber Henry, who won 15 individual titles from 2005-08, and Campbell County’s Emily Moore, who won 14 from 2003-06. (Those don’t include relay titles.)

The boys with the most individual championships are Byron’s Tom Bassett and Medicine Bow’s Leonard Padilla. Basset and Padilla both won 12 individual championships, Bassett from 1974-77 and Padilla from 1969-72. However, both competed in eras prior to the cap of four individual events per person at the state meet.

—-

Wrestling: In all, 24 wrestlers have finished their careers with four state championships. They are:

Dave Edington, Saratoga, 1957-60
Ray Sanchez, Cheyenne Central, 1962-65
John Lucchi, Rock Springs, 1970-73
Lanny Schneider, Worland, 1984-87
Russell Davis, Upton, 1988-91
Bobby Thoman, Wind River, 1995-98
Troy McIlravy, Campbell County, 1995-98
Cody Grant, Torrington, 2001-04
Jeff Wood, Campbell County, 2004-07
Jared Hatley, Torrington, 2005-08
Kasey Garnhart, Greybull-Riverside, 2005-08
Tyler Cox, Campbell County, 2006-09
Auston Carter, Powell, 2007-10
Dani Fischer, Campbell County, 2010-13
Bryce Meredith, Cheyenne Central, 2011-14
Justin Lewton, Worland, 2011-14
James Teichert, Cokeville, 2012-15
Tevis Bartlett, Cheyenne East, 2012-15
Kye Catlin, Powell, 2013-16
Donny Proffit, Kemmerer, 2016-19
Tate Stoddard, Glenrock, 2016-19
Dawson Schramm, Kemmerer, 2017-20
Jace Palmer, Kelly Walsh, 2017-20
Analu Benabise, Kelly Walsh, 2018-21

—-

Indoor track and alpine skiing have never had a four-time champion in any one event, although alpine skiing records are incomplete.

–patrick

If you follow sister site wyoming-basketball.com on Twitter (or if you follow wyoming-football.com on Facebook, where an occasional wyoming-basketball.com update will show up), you will by no doubt have seen that I enlisted the help of former Wyoming high school coach John Tate to come up with the top 25 boys and top 25 girls basketball players from the state since 1976.

Not everyone agreed with John’s choices, which is fine — we’re all entitled to our opinion, and I love the discussion that these kinds of lists can generate.

What we’re not allowed to do, though, is fudge our facts. And what’s become increasingly clear from the comments left on Facebook, on Twitter and on the site is that we grossly overestimate the number of four-time all-state basketball selections who have played in Wyoming.

Thanks to a collection of research posted on wyoming-basketball.com, we now have full all-state teams back to 1932 available on demand for every season.

And we have a list of two-time, three-time and four-time all-state selections. Type in “4x” into the search bar here, and you’ll see the list of four-time all-state selections is small, just 21 players — 16 girls, five boys — all-time.

The five boys? Wyoming Indian’s Myron Chavez (1983-86); Snake River’s Dale Reed (1986-89); Ten Sleep’s Logan Burningham (2010-13); Buffalo’s Trey Schroefel (2013-16); and Pine Bluffs’ Hunter Thompson (2014-17). That’s it.

The girls’ list is longer and includes:

  • Amy Carver, Mountain View, 1977-80
  • Deb Sylte, Newcastle, 1978-81
  • Debbie Jacobson, Evanston, 1985-88
  • Jamie Crawford, Greybull, 1986-89
  • Sara Horton, Greybull, 1990-93
  • Molly Marso, Campbell County, 1995-98
  • Sunny Guild, Mountain View, 1995-98
  • Mary Brown, Thermopolis, 2001-04
  • Alysia Kraft, Encampment, 2002-05
  • Tahnee Robinson, Lander, 2003-06
  • Tayler Anderson, Lyman, 2006-09
  • Robbi Ryan, Sheridan, 2013-16
  • Madison Vinich, Kelly Walsh, 2015-18
  • McKinley Bradshaw, Lyman, 2016-19
  • Ky Buell, Rock Springs/Cheyenne East, 2017-20
  • Allyson Fertig, Douglas, 2018-21

So if you want to claim that someone who wasn’t listed among John’s top 25s deserved a spot there, or deserved a higher spot, totally cool! Let’s talk about it; you might just be right. Be sure to leave a comment on those posts (girls and boys) on wyoming-basketball.com.

But if you want to claim that someone was a four-time all-state selection and they weren’t, well… now you’re a liar. Because you now have the tools to know better.

–patrick

Updated 9:49 a.m. Dec. 31 to include Chavez, who was unintentionally left off the first list.

Entering the state tournament 21-0, the Douglas girls are the odds-on favorite to win the Class 3A championship.

And why shouldn’t they be? The Bearcats have been rolling all season long, and for the better part of the past four years. Douglas won 3A titles in 2018 and 2019 and were in great position to do so again in 2020 before COVID-19 wiped out the state tournament.

Historically, though, Douglas’ odds are only about 50/50.

Since 1990, the last year where full records of all state tournament participants are available, 28 girls teams and 17 boys teams have entered their respective state basketball tournaments undefeated.

Only half the girls teams (14 of 28) and only 29% of the boys teams (five of 17) finished their seasons unbeaten, completing the undefeated gauntlet with three Ws at state.

The girls teams to go undefeated were:

  • 4A: Gillette 1991, 23-0
  • 3A: Douglas 2018, 27-0
  • 3A: Douglas 2005, 26-0
  • 3A: Mountain View 1998, 25-0
  • 3A: Lyman 1995, 23-0
  • 2A: Tongue River 2013, 28-0
  • 2A: Tongue River 2005, 23-0
  • 2A: Big Horn 2001, 26-0
  • 2A: Tongue River 1997, 22-0
  • 2A: Lusk 1991, 22-0
  • 2A: Lusk 1990, 21-0
  • 1A: Snake River 2012, 28-0
  • 1A: Burlington 1998, 24-0
  • 1A: Cokeville 1990, 21-0

The girls teams who came up short in that quest for perfection?

  • 4A: Natrona 2012, 25-1 (lost in championship)
  • 4A: Green River 1996, 23-1 (lost in championship)
  • 4A: Sheridan 1992, 22-1 (lost in semis)
  • 3A: Douglas 2013, 28-1 (lost in championship)
  • 3A: Star Valley 2001, 25-1 (lost in semis)
  • 3A: Mountain View 1997, 23-1 (lost in championship)
  • 2A: Southeast 2015, 24-1 (lost in championship)
  • 2A: Big Horn 2010, 28-1 (lost in championship)
  • 2A: Pine Bluffs 2004, 22-1 (lost in semis)
  • 2A: Tongue River 1996, 24-1 (lost in semis)
  • 2A: Wright 1999, 21-2 (lost in quarters/consolation semis)
  • 2A: Tongue River 1994, 22-1 (lost in championship)
  • 2A: Saratoga 1992, 22-1 (lost in championship)
  • 1A: Guernsey 2006, 26-1 (lost in semis)

In the boys’ ranks, it’s even harder to finish off an undefeated season. In the past 32 years, only five boys teams have finished undefeated:

  • 4A: Gillette 1993, 23-0
  • 4A: Gillette 1991, 23-0
  • 3A: Thermopolis 2004, 25-0
  • 2A: Big Horn 2011, 28-0
  • 1A: Snake River 2012, 28-0

And the others who have come up short?

  • 4A: Gillette 2010, 26-1 (lost in championship)
  • 3A: Star Valley 1993, 23-1 (lost in quarters)
  • 3A: Torrington 1991, 22-2 (lost in quarters/conso final)
  • 2A: Southeast 2010, 26-1 (lost in championship)
  • 2A: Wind River 2008, 29-1 (lost in semis)
  • 2A: Lusk 2001, 22-1 (lost in championship)
  • 2A: Tongue River 1999, 22-1 (lost in semis)
  • 2A: Wyoming Indian 1994, 22-1 (lost in championship)
  • 2A: Upton 1994, 22-1 (lost in quarters)
  • 2A: Pine Bluffs 2017, 26-2 (lost in semis/3rd)
  • 1A: Burlington 2013, 26-1 (lost in semis)
  • 1A: Arvada-Clearmont 2001, 23-1 (lost in semis)

Remember, wyoming-basketball.com has a ton of research available for you to peruse, including every state tournament score since 1918 and the most complete season-by-season records for teams across the state you’ll find anywhere.

–patrick

I’ve long been playing around with the idea of listing regional and district basketball tournament champions on wyoming-basketball.com.

Well, it’s done. Thanks to several solid hours at the computer and a bit of help from “Stat Rat” Jim Craig to fill in a few years I couldn’t, wyoming-basketball.com now has that list of regional and district tournament champions.

Keep in mind the list is for tournament champions, not for regular-season conference champions.

Here are some interesting numbers that came out of this research:

Boys
Most district/regional championships: Cheyenne Central, 36
. Close: Natrona, 30; Campbell County, Rock Springs, 29; Lovell, 22; Star Valley, 20; Burlington, Wyoming Indian, 19; Buffalo, 18; Big Horn, Lusk, Sheridan, Tongue River, 17.
Fewest (active programs only): Cheyenne South, Normative Services, 0. Close: Thunder Basin, 1; Riverside, Wright, 2; Farson, Hulett, Newcastle, Riverton, Rocky Mountain, Saratoga, 3.
Longest active drought (active programs only): Laramie, since 1969. Close: Rock River, since 1970; Glenrock, since 1981; Meeteetse, Riverton, since 1989; Newcastle, since 1990.
Most consecutive: Cheyenne Central, 11, 1955-65.

Girls
Most: Tongue River, 23. Close:
Douglas, 22; Burlington, Campbell County 19; Kaycee, 18; Cokeville, 17; Southeast, 16; Star Valley, Wyoming Indian, 15; Mountain View, 14; Lusk, 13.
Fewest (active programs only): Cheyenne South, Cody, Glenrock, Thunder Basin 0. Close: Meeteetse, Moorcroft, Riverside, Rocky Mountain, St. Stephens, Sundance, 1.
Longest active drought (active programs only): Ten Sleep, since 1976. Close: Meeteetse, since 1977; Moorcroft, since 1980; Newcastle, since 1981; Hanna, since 1982; Kemmerer, Rock River, since 1985.
Most consecutive: Lusk, 12, 1989-2000.

Click here to see the full list of district and regional basketball champions in Wyoming since 1932.

–patrick

Wyoming-basketball.com, sister site to wyoming-football.com, now has every all-state basketball team dating back to 1932.

Both boys and girls all-state or all-tournament teams are listed in full. More than 5,500 entries are included. The listings also include players who were two-time, three-time or four-time all-state.

“Stat Rat” Jim Craig helped research several all-state teams, including all teams prior to 1953. Jeremiah Johnke of the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle also helped find teams. Thanks!

–patrick

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