Making an all-state football team is a challenge.

Making an all-state football team as an underclassman is even more challenging.

Making an all-state football team as an underclassman and then making all-state again after changing schools, though, is so rare that the number of incidents in Wyoming where that’s happened can be counted on two hands — and you’d still have fingers left over.

One player in Wyoming will be trying to do just that this year, as Dom Kaszas, an all-state selection at wide receiver for Sheridan last year, will play his senior year at Cheyenne East.

An examination of the 11,060 all-state selections on wyoming-football.com shows that Kaszas’ attempt, if successful, will accomplish something only a handful of players have ever done — reach all-state status with two separate Wyoming football programs.

The list of names is short — seven for sure, and two more maybes where I need to get your help.

The seven players who have done this before, in reverse chronological order:

  • Josh Dawson, Jackson/Star Valley: Dawson was an all-state selection as a sophomore at Jackson in 2015, then finished his career at Star Valley as a junior and a senior, where he was all-state both in 2016 and 2017.
  • Jordan Roberts, Campbell County/Sheridan: Roberts’ transfer might be the most famous in state history. He was an all-state running back at Campbell County as a sophomore and a junior in 2009 and 2010. He then moved to Sheridan as a senior, where he set the state’s all-time single-season rushing record (2,688 yards), which still stands.
  • Boyd McMaster, Big Horn/Lusk: McMaster was a second-team 1A all-stater as a junior at Big Horn in 1986 and a first-team 2A all-state pick in 1987 as a senior at Lusk. Both times, he was chosen to positions on the defensive line.
  • Ron Cathcart, Greybull/Lander: Cathcart was a Bighorn Basin star as a junior with Greybull, notching an honorable mention to the Class A all-state team in 1962 at guard. Then he transferred to Lander for his senior year, earning Class AA honorable mention all-state honors at tackle in 1963 with the Tigers.
  • Larry Dickman, Shoshoni/Morton: Dickman’s journey is one of the most interesting I’ve ever seen. As a sophomore, he played at Morton; as a junior in 1962, he was at Shoshoni, where he was honorable mention to the Class B 11-man all-state team as a guard. Then, as a senior, he went back to Morton, where he was a 1963 Class B first-team all-state guard.
  • Larry Kellner, Hulett/Upton: A running back, Kellner was a Class B eight-man honorable mention selection to the all-state team as a sophomore with the Red Devils in 1961. His junior and senior years, though, he played at Upton, where he earned first-team Class B all-state honors in both 1962 and 1963.
  • John Turner, Saratoga/Evanston: Turner was a second-team all-state selection in the Class B eight-man division while playing at Saratoga in 1961; he was also a heck of a basketball player and was team MVP. As a senior, though, he played at Evanston, earning first-team Class A all-state recognition as an end.

Two other instances of possible transfers have popped up, but I have yet to prove anything definitively on whether they’re the same person or two people with the same name in similar times:

  • Devin Wilson, NSI/Moorcroft: There was a Devin Wilson, a junior, who was a Class 1A all-state selection while playing at NSI in 2007; there was a Devin Wilson, a senior, who was a Class 3A all-state selection while playing at Moorcroft in 2008. I don’t know if they’re the same guy.
  • Matt Miller, Kemmerer/Big Piney: There was a Matt Miller, a junior, who was a Class A all-state selection at offensive tackle at Kemmerer in 1979; there was a Matt Miller who was a Class B first-team all-state selection at offensive and defensive tackle at Big Piney in 1980. Again, I don’t know if they’re the same guy.

If you, dear reader, can provide any insight on either of the two cases above, leave a comment on this post!

–patrick

I was able to add a couple more first names to the all-state listings thanks to some help — Cindy Asay in Lovell hooked me up with some first names of Lovell players, and Andrew Towne at the Torrington Telegram chipped in some Torrington first names.

Update: Thanks to those of you who left comments below to help — they were valuable! And another big thanks to the Stat Rat, Jim Craig, for helping me find the others so far.

Update 2, Sept. 4, 2022: With some more help from the Stat Rat, we are down to only six first names that are still missing. I’ve cleaned up the list below to remove names that have been found.

Thanks for the help!

And here’s a list of the first names I’m still missing for all-state selections, by school:

Buffalo
1929: Metcalf

Douglas
1922: F. Rice

Lovell
1925: Brosheaus (maybe Brosious)

Midwest
1935: Barsh

Thermopolis
1925: Guffey

University Prep
1920: Sonners

–patrick

Some recent site updates, thanks to new information I found through yearbooks and old press clippings:

Torrington beat Lyman, Neb., 34-6 on Nov. 8, 1934, in Torrington.

Noted that the game between Oct. 13 and 16, 1943, between Buffalo and Campbell County was played in Gillette; it’s still on the missing games list because I have yet to pin down a date.

Noted that the Oct. 15, 1966, game between Jackson and the Rock Springs JV was canceled due to snow.

Noted that the Oct. 9, 1956, game between Reliance and Pinedale and the Oct. 11, 1940, game between Ranchester and Big Horn were not played.

Noted that Ranchester’s coach in 1948 was Bert Johnston, not Silas Lyman.

Updated Campbell County’s coaches for 1943. The Camels actually used three coaches that season — Chet Bowen for the first game, Ray Ritter for the next three games, and Ben Dobbs for the final four games. It was war times.

Corrected the spelling for Campbell County’s coach from 1950-52; it was Albert Consbruck.

I’m also working on a separate all-state project, and in that work I’ve corrected a handful of misspellings or players listed with the wrong team in all-state listings. I’ve also added about a half-dozen first names for players who were missing those names on lists. I’m still missing 50 first names on all-state teams from 1920 to 1936.

All of the updates have been made on all the relevant pages.

–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

The 2021 Casper Star-Tribune Super 25 was released on Friday. Here are the first team, second team and third team selections.

The offensive and defensive players of the year, along with the coach of the year, will be announced at Friday’s Super 25 banquet in Casper.

The 2021 team will be added to the Super 25 listings here in the next few days.

–patrick

Thanks to the continuing research of “Stat Rat” Jim Craig, I have added the 1958 Class B all-state teams to the all-state listings. This was the first year for the Associated Press to choose a Class B all-state team. Thanks to Jim for his help, as always!

I also added some first names to all-state players from Douglas, Rock Springs and Cheyenne Central from the 1920s and 1930s. I still have 78 all-state players from 1920 to 1939 whose first names are unaccounted for. They include players from Basin, Buffalo, Cheyenne Central, Cody, Cowley, Douglas, Evanston, Gillette, Green River, Greybull, Kemmerer, Lander, Laramie, Lovell, Midwest, Newcastle, Powell, Riverton, Rock Springs, Sundance, Superior, Thermopolis, Torrington, University Prep and Worland. Let me know if you’re interested in helping me out to find these!

I believe the only all-state teams I am now missing are the 1994 Class 1A 9-man and the all-class teams from 1932, 1930 and 1926. The last three may not have been chosen, but I know for sure that 1994 team was. Anyone out there who can help with that?

–patrick

The 2021 Wyoming all-state football teams were released Saturday by the Wyoming Coaches Association.

Among the 180 players selected were 37 players chosen for the second time and nine for the third time, including the first three-time all-state selections for Riverton, Star Valley and Wheatland.

Three-time all-state players chosen were Jackson’s Colter Dawson and Sadler Smith; Lusk’s Dylan Molzahn; Riverton’s Lucas Engle; Sheridan’s Carter McComb; Snake River’s Zander Risner; Southeast’s Ryan Clapper; Star Valley’s Lucas Chappell; and Wheatland’s Jake Hicks. Engle, Chappell and Hicks are the first three-time all-state players from their respective schools, according to current all-state listing availability.

Repeat selections were Cheyenne East’s Gavin Goff; Cody’s Daniel Gorman, Matt Nelson, Luke Talich and Jonathan Williams; Douglas’ Keltan Ewing and Rylan Wehr; Dubois’ Max Claar; Encampment’s Koye Gilbert; Farson’s Cree Jones; Green River’s Dylan Taylor; Jackson’s Matt Carney, Brody Hasenack and Sam Scott; Kelly Walsh’s Cameron Burkett; Lusk’s Dayne Lamp; Lyman’s Rho Mecham and McKoy Smith; Meeteetse’s Dace Bennett and Kalvin Erickson; Moorcroft’s Zane Linder; Natrona’s Kaeden Wilcox; Pine Bluffs’ Stu Lerwick, Diego Paniagua and Ty Sweeter; Powell’s Toran Graham, Lane Shramek and Hawkin Sweeney; Rock Springs’ Isaac Schoenfeld and Cadon Shaklee; Rocky Mountain’s Nate Minemyer; Shoshoni’s Nathon Cousineau; Southeast’s Cord Herring; Star Valley’s Lane Oesch; Torrington’s Beau Bivens and Chase Miller; and Wheatland’s Kade Preuit. All were on their respective 2020 all-state teams.

Click here to see the full 2021 Wyoming all-state football teams. Lists are also available on the WCA website.

–patrick

Post updated 6:21 p.m. Nov. 20 to fix the total number of players selected.

With the publication of “A Century of Fridays: Wyoming High School Football, 1894-2020,” I’ve been alerted to a couple mistakes in the book. And that’s very much appreciated — I want to get it right, and your help is essential to that mission!

When I started exploring some of the things brought to my attention, other errors also revealed themselves. I’ve caught and corrected as many as I can over the last month.

It’s definitely frustrating that all of these got caught literally weeks after the book came out, but I definitely want to get this right. So… here are the latest site updates:

WRONG SCORES/OPPONENTS

Lovell defeated the Billings Skyview, Mont., JV 18-0 on Sept. 11, 1993; I had Skyview’s varsity winning against Lovell 24-6 the previous day.

Shoshoni beat Morton 19-18 on Sept. 27, 1968; I had Morton winning 18-14.

TRANSPOSED SCORES

I’m not sure who to blame for this one, but it appears someone either at the Casper paper or working for the Associated Press in the late 1980s and early 1990s had a habit of occasionally transposing scores. I’ve caught several already, and with the latest round of updates, I caught a few more, both from that time period as well as a couple others:

Evanston beat Cheyenne East 6-0 on Sept. 17, 1993.

Rawlins beat Douglas 26-0 on Sept. 2, 1988.

Kelly Walsh beat Natrona 23-9 on Oct. 10, 1987.

Newcastle beat Glenrock 21-6 on Oct. 19, 1984.

Greybull beat Tongue River 51-0 on Oct. 25, 1968.

South Rich, Utah, beat Lyman 18-6 on Sept. 15, 1967.

NEW GAMES

I added Bear Lake, Idaho, beating Evanston 22-0 on Sept. 5, 1975, in Montpelier.

MISSING SCORES/OTHER INFO

I added the result for Pine Bluffs’ 19-12 loss to Sidney St. Patrick’s (Neb.) on Oct. 14, 1955.

I added the result and location for Glendo’s 64-14 victory against Harrison, Neb., on Oct. 25, 1955. (Incidentally, this took the top spot for Glendo’s highest scoring game in program history.)

I added the score for Lingle’s 46-18 victory against Harrison, Neb., on Oct. 7, 1953. (I had that Lingle had won, but I was missing the score.)

I added the result for Glenrock’s 18-6 victory against Guernsey on Oct. 5, 1939.

I added the result for Cheyenne Central’s 20-0 victory against Sterling, Colo., on Nov. 20, 1935.

I added the score for Star Valley’s 65-0 victory against Jackson on Oct. 20, 1934. (I had that Star Valley had won, but I was missing the score.)

I also noted that the game scheduled for Oct. 6, 1934, between Jackson and Driggs, Idaho, was not played.

DATES AND LOCATIONS

I added the location for the Oct. 21, 1955, game between Pine Bluffs and Morrill, Neb.; it was in Pine Bluffs.

I added the location for the Oct. 30, 1953, game between Harrison, Neb., and Glendo; it was in Harrison.

I narrowed the date range and fixed the score for the game between Albin and Lyman, Neb., in 1951. The date range was narrowed to sometime between Sept. 20 and Sept. 26; the score was actually 46-6 Lyman, not 41-14. A location for the game still hasn’t been figured out.

I added the date for the Sept. 29, 1950, game between Sunrise and Glenrock.

I narrowed the date range for the 1949 game between Star Valley and Malad, Idaho, to between Oct. 20 and Oct. 22.

I corrected two dates for games from Jackson and Pinedale in the 1944 season. The first game between Jackson and Pinedale was played Oct. 20; the second was Oct. 27. Previously, I had an unknown date for the first game and Oct. 20 for the second… turns out they were a week later than I had previously noted.

I added the date and the location for the Sept. 13, 1940, game between Jackson and Midway, Idaho; it was in Jackson.

I added the location for the Nov. 3, 1932, game between the Natrona juniors and Glenrock; it was in Glenrock.

I added the date and the location for the Nov. 6, 1931, game between Manville and Harrison, Neb.; it was in Manville.

RECORDS

I fixed records for Burns in two separate seasons. Burns went 3-4 in 1991; I had them at 4-3. Burns also went 1-3-1 in 1944; I had them at 0-4-1.

ALL-STATE

Thanks to the help of “Stat Rat” Jim Craig, I’ve added first names for the honorable mention selections on the 1953 all-state team. Thanks to Jim for his help!

All of these updates have been made on all the relevant pages.

–patrick

In late October, 1999, my senior year of high school, I was sitting in Mr. Balfour’s class when one of my friends came into class and told me: “Patrick, you made all-conference.”

Surprised wasn’t the right word. Confused was more like it. The only thing I could think was to wonder why my friend would play this joke on me.

It wasn’t a joke. In 1999, the four head coaches in the Class 1A-Division II Powder River Conference awarded me a spot on the all-conference football team.

I didn’t deserve that spot.

And I knew it.

Even on the worst team in one of the worst conferences in the classification made up of the the smallest schools in the smallest state in the country, I shouldn’t have been all-conference. I was (and am) 5-foot-7, maybe 150 pounds (bigger now). I made up for being slow by being weak, too.

My stats reflected that reality. I started at tight end/wide receiver and safety; I had maybe six catches all season (no touchdowns) and roughly 50 defensive points (no interceptions).

But I showed up to practice every day. I played hard. I was coachable. I didn’t cause any problems off the field. And I appreciate that my coaches deemed me worthy to nominate and other coaches agreed.

That was enough to make me a quota filler.

My all-conference selection is emblematic of all-conference football in Wyoming as a whole. Certainly, it’s not a new problem, but 2020’s selections revealed just how easy all-conference honors are to earn.

Consider the number of players who were recognized as first-team all-conference selections this year: 359. Yes, 359 different Wyoming players were named first-team all-conference selections after the 2020 season.

Of those, 76 came in Class 4A, 79 in Class 3A, 93 in Class 2A, 71 in Class 1A nine-man and 40 in Class 1A six-man.

But the number 359 barely scratches the surface.

Class 4A’s numbers game

The most absurd recognitions come in the classification with the biggest schools. In Class 4A, some level of all-conference recognition is barely above that of a participation award.

The problem in 4A is that there are three levels of all-conference recognition: first team, second team and honorable mention. The 76 players I mentioned before were first team, on which there are 92 available spots across the two all-conference teams (4A gives all-conference and all-state honors by position). There were another combined 66 second-team spots, and this year there were 93 combined honorable mention selections.

That’s 251 possible all-conference choices. In one classification. For 10 teams. Quick math: That averages out to 25 selections per team reaching some level of all-conference recognition.

Basically, all you have to do to get an all-conference selection in Class 4A, all things being equal, is start. With 11 positions on offense, 11 positions on defense, kicker, punter, returner, and there’s 25 positions to nominate for the roughly 25 positions per school available for all-conference.

This year, 174 individuals filled those 251 spots in 4A. And as you dig in, you begin to see some of the absurdities.

Thunder Basin had 40 all-conference choices — almost double the number of available starting spots on Thunder Basin’s team. In all, 25 different ‘Bolts players were named all-conference to those 40 spots. Of those Thunder Basin choices, 16 were on offense and 19 were on defense, with the remainder falling into special teams or “at-large” selections.

Now, pay attention, because this is where the absurdity starts to show: at the position breakdown. Thunder Basin had eight defensive linemen, seven defensive backs and five wide receivers make all-conference.

At least for Thunder Basin, it was easier to get all-conference recognition than it was to earn a starting position in 2020.

For as fine of a team as Thunder Basin had this year, even that is pushing it. This isn’t just a Thunder Basin problem, though.

Natrona and Sheridan had 22 individuals named all-conference — Sheridan’s players to 31 spots and Natrona’s to 28. That’s not all that far behind Thunder Basin.

Also, it’s not just an issue of the top teams soaking up all the spots: Nine of the 10 Class 4A teams had at least 11 all-conference selections on offense. Thunder Basin, as noted, had 16; Campbell County had 14; Natrona and Sheridan had 13; Central and Laramie had 12; East, Rock Springs and Kelly Walsh had 11 apiece.

Then again, when you have that quota of 251 spaces to fill, you’ve gotta get a little creative.

That’s how guys become quota fillers.

All-state is problematic, too

All-state awards are much more selective. More spots are available on all-state, though, than ever before, as well — this year, 186 players were named first-team all-state across Wyoming’s five classifications.

A look at the all-state teams of the past shows how much the teams have been expanded, with numbers creeping up bit by bit, year by year.

The 186 players named all-staters in 2020 is the highest number in Wyoming history. This year’s total breaks a record set in 2019, 2018 and 2016 of 182.

Here’s a chart that shows the incremental creep of all-state awards. (Note that the dip in 1994 is due to incomplete data; the 1A nine-man all-state team from that year still has yet to be found.)

Historically, the biggest jumps are when Wyoming adds a classification of football — from 89 selections to 110 between 1982 and 1983 with the move from three to four classes, and the jump from 109 to 140 selections between 1989 and 1990 with the move from four to five.

Even so, the 140 players on Wyoming’s first five-class all-state teams in 1990 collectively total 46 fewer players than the 186 players recognized in 2020.

(If you really want to dig deep on this, click here to see a breakdown of the number of all-state players by classification and year.)

The solution?

What coaches and administrators across the state need to decide is if all-conference awards are exclusive.

Right now, they’re not.

In another 20 years, how many of the 359 first-team players across the state who were given all-conference recognition will say the same? How many of those 174 individuals across the gamut of 251 first-team, second-team and honorable mention selections in 4A? How many of those eight Thunder Basin defensive linemen?

Heck, how many will say it now?

I think one answer is to change all-conference (and all-state) teams to true team selections. By position, choose 11 players for offense, 11 for defense, three for special teams for an even 25 players per conference; adjust accordingly for nine-man (9-9-3 for 21) and six-man (6-6-2 for 14). Across Wyoming’s five classifications and 10 conferences, that’s 220 players: 50 in 4A, 3A and 2A, 42 in nine-man and 28 in 1A.

For all-state, that would be 25 for 4A, 3A and 2A, 21 for nine-man and 14 for six-man; in all, that’s 110 all-state picks.

If coaches want to recognize their players, they can continue to do so with team-specific awards. That would truly be more meaningful than a recognition so watered down that it might be mistaken for a joke.

The legacy of a quota filler

I never framed my all-conference award, and I never hung it on my wall. I’m not even sure where it is, to be honest. It’s probably buried among perfect attendance honors and report cards, but I’ve never felt compelled to go look for it.

This is totally antithetical to who I am, though. I’m a nostalgic dude. I love keeping the past alive. I think often about my experiences in high school sports. I’ve been known to watch the occasional game tape on YouTube. And I run this website. My wife has called me Uncle Rico, and sometimes I wonder if she’s not joking.

But the all-conference honor I got as a senior?

I didn’t deserve it, and I know it.

It means so little to me because it meant so little to the ones who bestowed it on me.

–patrick

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A few weeks ago, I broached this topic on Twitter, asking if the number of players selected for all-conference honors was too many, too few or just right. Here’s what you all said:

What do you think? Be sure to leave a comment.

Some updates to the site:

I added David Jones’ 1982 rushing season to the individual records listings. The back from Saratoga had 1,976 rushing yards that year, good for ninth all-time.

I also added a few new first names to the all-state listings from 1920-39. I’m still missing more than 100 first names, though, so if you can help filling in those gaps, let me know.

I also added the 2020 Casper Star-Tribune’s Super 25 first team to the Super 25 listings. Thanks to Jack Nowlin at the Star-Tribune for providing the details necessary to make that happen!

I also added a page for the Wyoming-Nebraska Six-man Shootout game, listing game results, coaches and players for each year.

I also added a page for Wyoming high school football players who played at least one NFL regular-season snap. This information was previously on my blog, but I wanted to give it a more permanent home.

–patrick

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