Both Glenrock and Guernsey-Sunrise will be in search of new head football coaches this year.

For the fourth time in four years in 2023, Glenrock’s football team will have a new head coach.

Longtime assistant Carl Federer, who took over the team as head coach in 2022, will not return to the position, co-activities director Sharon Tietema confirmed to via email Sunday.

The coaching position is listed as accepting applicants on the Converse County School District No. 2 website. Tietema said application review will begin at the end of April.

The Herders went 1-7 last year and did not make the playoffs for the fourth year in a row. Previous head coaches recently for Glenrock have included Paul Downing in 2021 and Ryan Collier in 2019-20.

Meanwhile, after seven years as the head football coach at Guernsey-Sunrise, Curtis Cook has resigned.

In an email to, Cook said he will stay in Guernsey and continue to coach basketball — Cook took over as the girls head coach for the Vikings this year. Cook said he made the change to spend more time with his family.

Cook finished 24-37 with the Vikings, including five playoff appearances in seven seasons. The Vikings made the transition from Class 1A six-man to Class 1A nine-man last year but finished 0-8, being outscored 529-32.

Statewide, Campbell County, Rock SpringsEvanstonGreen River and Lander are also searching for a head coach for next season. Meanwhile, Riverton has hired a new head coach for the 2023 season. If you know of other head coaching changes in the state, please email me at


A couple weekends ago, both the Class 1A girls and Class 2A boys championship games produced something interesting — the same two teams who reached those games in 2022 also made it in 2023.

In the case of the 1A girls, Upton avenged last year’s loss to Southeast and won its first girls basketball championship. In 2A boys, Pine Bluffs won its second straight, beating Big Horn for the second year in a row (both times by exactly 11 points, oddly enough).

Those games got me thinking about all the times we’ve seen the same two schools go against each other in back-to-back years in a state championship game, no matter the sport.

Across the WHSAA team game sports (basketball, soccer, volleyball, football and softball), the same two teams have played each other in consecutive years in the championship game 116 times. The defending champ has won 66 of those, or 57%.

  • In basketball, the defending champ has won 21 times in 41 matchups.
  • In soccer, the defending champ has won 13 times in 22 matchups.
  • In volleyball, the defending champ has won 14 times in 25 matchups.
  • And in football, the defending champ has won 18 times in 28 matchups.

Four times, two teams have played each other in their respective championship games four years in a row. It’s happened twice in volleyball: From 1996-99, Cokeville beat Burlington four straight times in the Class 1A volleyball championship, and from 2003-06, Star Valley and Wheatland played four times in the Class 3A volleyball championship, with Star Valley winning three and Wheatland one.

It also happened once in football and once in boys soccer. From 1953-56, Worland defeated Torrington four consecutive times in the Class A football championship; from 2008-11, Cody and Buffalo played four times in the Class 3A boys soccer championship, with Cody taking three of those four.

Another eight times have produced three-peat championship matchups: University Prep and St. Stephens in Class B boys basketball from 1959-61; Lovell and Wyoming Indian in 2A boys basketball from 1984-86; Natrona and Campbell County in 4A girls basketball from 1999-2001; Douglas and Lyman in 3A girls basketball from 2019-22 (no tournament in 2020); Laramie and Campbell County in 4A girls soccer from 2009-11; Natrona and East in 4A girls soccer from 1987-89; Natrona and Sheridan in 4A football from 1936-38 and again from 2016-18.

Here is a list of all the times we’ve seen repeat championship game pairings:

Basketball (21 repeats, 20 changes)
4A boys (2 repeats, 5 changes)
2003: Sheridan 62, Campbell County 61
2002: Campbell County 76, Sheridan 49

1993: Campbell County 72, East 69, OT
1992: Campbell County 57, East 56 OT

1973: Rock Springs 57, Central 54
1972: Rock Springs 89, Central 80

1960: Rock Springs 59, Sheridan 47
1959: Sheridan 52, Rock Springs 46

1956: Central 48, Natrona 46
1955: Natrona 67, Central 45

1946: Natrona 47, Central 32
1945: Central 45, Natrona 39

1928: Rock Springs 35, Central 30
1927: Central 21, Rock Springs 9

3A boys (1 repeat, 2 changes)
2004: Thermopolis 70, Kemmerer 61, OT
2003: Thermopolis 66, Kemmerer 60

2002: Douglas 43, Star Valley 41
2001: Star Valley 69, Douglas 63

1972: Buffalo 66, Green River 57
1971: Green River 74, Buffalo 67

2A boys (5 repeats, 2 changes)
2023: Pine Bluffs 49, Big Horn 38
2022: Pine Bluffs 52, Big Horn 41

2003: Lovell 63, Lusk 50
2002: Lovell 78, Lusk 71, OT

1986: Lovell 66, Wyoming Indian 54
1985: Wyoming Indian 74, Lovell 67
1984: Wyoming Indian 90, Lovell 64

1961: University Prep 48, St. Stephens 18
1960: St. Stephens 71, University Prep 55
1959: St. Stephens 56, University Prep 50

1950: Byron 31, Cowley 27
1949: Byron 32, Cowley 24

1A boys (2 repeats, 1 change)
2007: St. Stephens 52, Burlington 46
2006: Burlington 49, St. Stephens 47

1960: LaGrange 54, Carpenter 48
1959: LaGrange 57, Carpenter 56

1956: Veteran 68, LaGrange 45
1955: Veteran 68, LaGrange 50

4A girls (5 repeats, 2 changes)
2022: East 51, Cody 41
2021: East 52, Cody 37

2018: Campbell County 65, East 41
2017: East 53, Campbell County 50

2001: Campbell County 63, Natrona 57
2000: Natrona 87, Campbell County 84, 2OT
1999: Natrona 76, Campbell County 61

1997: Campbell County 88, Green River 68
1996: Campbell County 76, Green River 53

1986: Sheridan 29, Rawlins 26
1985: Sheridan 33, Rawlins 28

1980: Rock Springs 48, Sheridan 46
1979: Rock Springs 59, Sheridan 51

3A girls (5 repeats, 3 changes)
2022: Douglas 45, Lyman 37
2021: Douglas 51, Lyman 11
(no tournament 2020)
2019: Douglas 56, Lyman 41

2017: Star Valley 44, Worland 43
2016: Worland 44, Star Valley 35

2010: Jackson 49, Powell 42, 2OT
2009: Jackson 43, Powell 29

2003: Thermopolis 48, Star Valley 42
2002: Thermopolis 46, Star Valley 43

1998: Mountain View 48, Douglas 46
1997: Douglas 68, Mountain View 51

1989: Star Valley 50, Powell 43
1988: Star Valley 46, Powell 45

1984: Douglas 61, Wheatland 51
1983: Wheatland 56, Douglas 51

2A girls (1 repeat, 1 change)
2008: Big Horn 47, Tongue River 32
2007: Tongue River 49, Big Horn 43, OT

2006: Tongue River 55, Lovell 51
2005: Tongue River 64, Lovell 39

1A girls (0 repeats, 4 changes)
2023: Upton 59, Southeast 54
2022: Southeast 58, Upton 53, OT

2014: Lingle 60, Cokeville 48
2013: Cokeville 59, Lingle 55

1983: Manderson 54, Snake River 51
1982: Snake River 62, Manderson 50

1979: Byron 60, Snake River 57
1978: Snake River 51, Byron 32

Soccer (13 repeats, 9 changes)
4A boys (4 repeats, 2 changes)
2021: Jackson 2, Thunder Basin 1, OT
(no tournament 2020)
2019: Jackson 1, Thunder Basin 0

2014: Laramie 2, Campbell County 0
2013: Laramie 2, Campbell County 1

2011: Sheridan 2, Laramie 1
2010: Laramie 2, Sheridan 0

2003: Kelly Walsh 1, East 0
2002: Kelly Walsh 1, East 0

1999: Central 1, Kelly Walsh 0
1998: Kelly Walsh 2, Central 0

1989: East 1, Natrona 0 (SO)
1988: East 1, Natrona 0

3A boys (2 repeats, 2 changes)
2021: Worland 1, Powell 0
(no tournament 2020)
2019: Worland 2, Powell 0

2011: Cody 2, Buffalo 1
2010: Buffalo 1, Cody 0
2009: Cody 5, Buffalo 1
2008: Cody 2, Buffalo 1

4A girls (5 repeats, 5 changes)
2022: Thunder Basin 2, Rock Springs 0
2021: Rock Springs 2, Thunder Basin 0

2019: Thunder Basin 2, Central 1 (SO)
2018: Central 2, Thunder Basin 0

2017: Campbell County 4, Laramie 1
2016: Laramie 4, Campbell County 2

2015: East 1, Sheridan 0
2014: East 6, Sheridan 1

2011: Campbell County 2, Laramie 1 (SO)
2010: Laramie 2, Campbell County 0
2009: Laramie 1, Campbell County 0

2002: East 2, Campbell County 1 (SO)
2001: East 2, Campbell County 0

1991: Natrona 2, Sheridan 0
1990: Natrona 4, Sheridan 1

1989: Natrona 2, East 0
1988: East 3, Natrona 0
1987: East 5, Natrona 2

3A girls (2 repeats, 0 changes)
2018: Cody 2, Worland 0
2017: Cody 2, Worland 1

2010: Jackson 1, Buffalo 0 (SO)
2009: Jackson 2, Buffalo 0

Volleyball (14 repeats, 11 changes)
4A girls (3 repeats, 3 changes)
2021: Laramie 3, Kelly Walsh 0
2020: Laramie 3, Kelly Walsh 1

2017: Kelly Walsh 3, East 1
2016: East 3, Kelly Walsh 0

2008: Kelly Walsh 3, Natrona 1
2007: Natrona 3, Kelly Walsh 1

2004: East 3, Kelly Walsh 1
2003: East 3, Kelly Walsh 1

2002: Kelly Walsh 2, Riverton 0
2001: Kelly Walsh 2, Riverton 1

1976: Natrona 2, East 0
1975: East 2, Natrona 1

3A girls (2 repeats, 3 changes)
2022: Mountain View 3, Lyman 2
2021: Lyman 3, Mountain View 2

2006: Wheatland 3, Star Valley 0
2005: Star Valley 3, Wheatland 0
2004: Star Valley 3, Wheatland 1
2003: Star Valley 3, Wheatland 1

1981: Wheatland 2, Star Valley 0
1980: Star Valley 2, Wheatland 1

2A girls (2 repeats, 1 change)
2017: Sundance 3, Wright 0
2016: Wright 3, Sundance 0

2008: Big Horn 3, Mountain View 0
2007: Big Horn 3, Mountain View 0

1981: Pine Bluffs 2, Saratoga 0
1980: Pine Bluffs 2, Saratoga 1

1A girls (7 repeats, 4 changes)
2013: Cokeville 3, Lingle 2
2012: Cokeville 3, Lingle 0

2011: Cokeville 3, Kaycee 0
2010: Kaycee 3, Cokeville 2

2009: Burlington 3, Cokeville 2
2008: Cokeville 3, Burlington 1

2003: Snake River 3, Burlington 1
2002: Burlington 2, Snake River 1

2001: Cokeville 2, Snake River 1
2000: Cokeville 2, Snake River 1

1999: Cokeville 2, Burlington 1
1998: Cokeville 2, Burlington 0
1997: Cokeville 2, Burlington 1
1996: Cokeville 2, Burlington 1

1994: Burlington 2, Cokeville 0
1993: Cokeville 2, Burlington 0

1992: Cokeville 2, Pine Bluffs 1
1991: Cokeville 2, Pine Bluffs 0

1987: Cokeville 2, Ten Sleep 0
1986: Cokeville 2, Ten Sleep 0

Football (18 repeats, 10 changes)
4A (5 repeats, 4 changes)
2018: Natrona 28, Sheridan 14
2017: Sheridan 28, Natrona 14
2016: Sheridan 56, Natrona 28

2002: Rock Springs 36, Campbell County 14
2001: Rock Springs 22, Campbell County 19

1992: Sheridan 27, Campbell County 9
1991: Sheridan 27, Campbell County 8

1981: Kelly Walsh 35, Rock Springs 0
1980: Kelly Walsh 20, Rock Springs 7

1969: Laramie 22, Worland 14
1968: Laramie 48, Worland 0

1938: Sheridan 6, Natrona 0
1937: Natrona 19, Sheridan 0
1936: Sheridan 14, Natrona 0

1935: Rock Springs 19, Sheridan 0
1934: Sheridan 26, Rock Springs 6

3A (6 repeats, 0 changes)
2021: Cody 41, Jackson 24
2020: Cody 34, Jackson 13

2002: Worland 17, Star Valley 14, OT
2001: Worland 6, Star Valley 0

1998: Riverton 9, Star Valley 7
1997: Riverton 23, Star Valley 20

1956: Worland 46, Torrington 12
1955: Worland 16, Torrington 14, OT
1954: Worland 32, Torrington 7
1953: Worland 13, Torrington 7

2A (3 repeats, 4 changes)
2019: Mountain View 24, Buffalo 14
2018: Buffalo 43, Mountain View 18

2014: Mountain View 28, Big Horn 19
2013: Big Horn 47, Mountain View 22

2012: Lyman 22, Lovell 20
2011: Lovell 21, Lyman 13

2008: Glenrock 18, Kemmerer 0
2007: Kemmerer 22, Glenrock 0

2001: Big Piney 24, Mountain View 14
2000: Big Piney 44, Mountain View 28

1991: Thermopolis 6, Lovell 0
1990: Thermopolis 21, Lovell 20, OT

1957: Byron 20, Kemmerer 0
1956: Byron 19, Kemmerer 7

1A (all levels) (4 repeats, 2 changes)
2019: Big Horn 55, Cokeville 7
2018: Big Horn 56, Cokeville 3

2014: Cokeville 26, Lusk 6
2013: Cokeville 13, Lusk 12

2003: Big Horn 29, Lusk 8
2002: Lusk 31, Big Horn 0

1984: Cokeville 12, Midwest 8
1983: Cokeville 20, Midwest 6

2017: Kaycee 55, Farson 30
2016: Kaycee 41, Farson 30

2012: Dubois 54, Snake River 30
2011: Snake River 54, Dubois 33


The Burns’ girls recent Class 2A championship, accomplished in a season in which the Broncs finished under .500 with a 14-15 overall record, raised a good question in the Wyoming high school sports trivia circles: How many basketball teams have ever won state with a losing record?

The answer, it appears to be, is two.

The Burns girls join the St. Stephens boys of 2004, who won the Class 1A championship despite an overall record of 11-17, as the only teams to win state with a losing record.

However, this comes with a caveat — the records of four girls championship teams and one boys championship team since 1931 are not yet available.

Those five champions with missing records are:

  • 1967 University Prep boys, Class A champions
  • 1977 Snake River girls, Class C champions
  • 1978 Pine Bluffs girls, Class B champions
  • 1978 Snake River girls, Class C champions
  • 1979 Byron girls, Class C champions

Records prior to 1931 are a bit spotty, as well, as tournaments prior to that year were not yet organized by the Wyoming High School Activities Association, which didn’t come into existence until then.

As always, if you can help me out, please do! Leave a comment on this post or email

Of note in this discussion is the Pine Bluffs girls of 1994, who finished 14-7 on their way to a title. A faulty state tournament preview story inadvertently put their record at 10-12 at a couple places on this site. That record was inaccurate. A big thanks to friend of the site “Stat Rat” Jim Craig for double-checking the Hornets’ final record that season.


Mark Lenhardt, the coach at Rock Springs for the past four seasons, has become the new head football coach at Riverton.

Lenhardt announced the decision Thursday in a letter that was subsequently reported by SweewaterNow and the Rock Springs Rocket-Miner.

In the letter, Lenhardt thanked the administration, assistant coaches, parents and players.

“I love these players, parents and coaches which have made my life so fulfilling,” Lenhardt wrote, “and hopefully they can take something from our experience together to enhance their lives and future.”

Lenhardt, a Cheyenne native, wrote that the move will help him spend more time with his children, Brandon and Bradie, and open up a career opportunity for his wife, Kim.

“For a large part of Kim’s and my marriage she has had to move where my opportunities existed,” Lenhardt said, “and it is time for her career to become more important and watch her chase her career dreams as well.”

Rock Springs went 22-20 under Lenhardt and reached the Class 4A championship game in 2021. Prior to that, Lenhardt coached at then-Class 3A Torrington, going 46-31 over eight seasons and leading the Trailblazers to two 3A title games in his final two seasons.

Riverton, a Class 3A school for football, has had seven consecutive losing seasons and has missed the playoffs the last two years, winning only one game in both the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

Riverton is the first Wyoming program to announce a new head coach for the 2023 season. Statewide, Campbell CountyEvanstonGreen River and Lander are also searching for a head coach for next season. If you know of other head coaching changes in the state, please email me at


The Campbell County Camels will have a new head football coach in 2023.

The Gillette News-Record reported last week that Andrew Rose, who had been the Camels’ head coach the past four seasons, resigned in November.

The Camels had two winless seasons before Rose, a Campbell County alumnus, took over prior to the 2019 season. The program had steady improvement, going 4-6 each of the past two seasons, but did not notch a playoff victory in that time. The Camels finished a combined 11-28 under Rose the past four years.

Statewide, EvanstonGreen River, Lander and Riverton are also searching for a head coach for next season. If you know of other head coaching changes in the state, please email me at


FATE-ball selects opponents via the spinning wheel; the team that won the matchup between those last two teams is out, while the winner gets matched up with another team on the wheel. Last team standing wins!

If you’re having fun with this, let me know and I’ll do a round 2.


One thing that constantly amazes me is that no matter how much research I do into Wyoming’s sports history, I always keep finding more interesting things.

The latest? Wyoming’s 1930 all-state football team, published in a Nebraska newspaper published in 1957.

Yep, you read that right.

The 1930 all-state team was one of just a handful of missing all-state teams on, a list that now includes only the all-class teams from 1926 and 1932 and the elusive 1994 Class 1A nine-man team.

But I did not expect to find the 1930 all-state team the way I did, published in an out-of-state paper nearly 30 years after the season was done.

In doing research for a big project (details coming, maybe this summer), I fell into a deep dive of looking into Sheridan’s 1930 championship team. I started looking into a few of the players, particularly guys like Raymond “Jeff” Doyle, Sheridan’s speedy halfback; center Rusty Thompson; and end Clarence Brokaw. They were cornerstones of the Broncs’ team that beat Laramie (and later Cody) for the championship in the final year before state-sanctioned playoffs and the formation of the Wyoming High School Activities Association.

When I threw their names into a search on — a subscription made possible by the site sponsors (thank you!) — I stumbled into a column from the Oct. 29, 1957, edition of the Scottsbluff Star-Herald in Nebraska from Bill Madden. More on him in a bit.

In that column, Madden said the upcoming game between Scottsbluff and Laramie would be his first time seeing the Plainsmen since 1930, when he was a boy in Sheridan and the Plainsmen came north for a key game. He then went into detail on the 1930 game between the Plainsmen and Broncs, which for all intents and purposes decided the state championship, and those who played in it. Madden said the rosters included five all-staters from Sheridan (Doyle, Thompson, Brokaw, guard Clint Endicott and tackle Albert Husman) and two from Laramie (end Lester Forsyth and fullback Wes Christenson).

But in addition, he also mentioned the other four players named all-state that year: tackle Dan Sedar and quarterback Porter Davis of Natrona, guard Fay Thompson of Midwest, and halfback Don Tottenhoff of Cheyenne Central.

That’s 11 guys. An all-state team from that era only had that many. I double-checked the names in other publications and yearbooks I could access online, and the list looks legit. No unexpected names here.

However, Madden didn’t cite his source, which is always a big question in research like this. After looking into his career, though, if there’s one Nebraska journalist whose word we can trust on matters like this, it’s Madden’s.

Madden grew up in Sheridan an avid sports fan and attended Hastings College in Nebraska. From 1955 to 1974, Madden was a sportswriter for the Scottsbluff Star-Herald; he then moved on to the nearby Gering Courier, where he stayed until he retired in 1991.

He was named to the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame in 1996; his bio said he was “a noted historian of high school athletics.” In reading a selection of Madden’s work, it’s easy to draw comparisons to Chuck Harkins, Casper Star-Tribune sports editor in the 1970s and the one person who has taught me more about Wyoming sports than anyone else I’ve never met. Madden died in 1997.

In his 1957 pontifications of a 1930 football game and the all-state players in it, Madden didn’t need to cite a source because he was the source. That’s good enough for me.

The 1930 all-state team is now listed among this site’s all-state listings — with any luck, never to be lost again.


Some digging into Jackson’s early days turned up four new games for the listings — two against a nearby rival, one against a college and one canceled by snow:

I added Jackson’s first two games in program history, a 26-6 victory against Driggs, Idaho, on Oct. 17, 1930, in Jackson, and a 12-0 loss to Driggs on Oct. 24 in Driggs. Jackson played four other games that season against the Jackson town team, but games against non-scholastic opponents are not counted in the listings. I also added Jackson’s Oct. 4, 1930, game against Big Piney that was supposed to be Jackson’s first game but was canceled due to snow.

I also added Jackson’s 18-0 loss to Ricks College, Idaho, played on Sept. 16, 1932; I also added it to the missing games list as I could not determine a location, although it was probably in Idaho.

In addition to the Jackson updates, I also added the location for Torrington’s 51-0 victory against Guernsey on Oct. 16, 1931; it was in Torrington.

I also added Cowley’s coach for 1936; it was G.W. Rollins.

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


Between now and the second weekend of November 2023, a lot is possible.

We do know that, at the end of it all, five teams will be crowned champions, and 60 others will be left to chase.

Just which teams will win those five championships, we won’t know until the clock in War Memorial Stadium hits 0:00 on five separate occasions.

That doesn’t mean we can’t speculate.

So, here’s some way-too-early speculation on what might happen almost exactly 10 months from now on which teams might be the title holders come the end of a season that’s still months away from starting.

Class 4A
1. Cheyenne East
: With five first-team all-state players coming back — and with the rest of 4A only having four combined — the Thunderbirds are the early favorites to win it all in 2023. That tally also includes QB Cam Hayes and RB Drew Jackson, a good place to start.
2. Sheridan: Never, ever rule out the Broncs, who will need to replace a talented senior class but always seems to do so no matter who’s on the roster. DB Dane Steel, the conference defensive player of the year, and lineman Alex Haswell are the key pieces on which to rebuild.
3. Cheyenne Central: Central’s five returning first-team all-conference selections gives the Indians just as many as East, and a lot of that strength rests in an improving defense that could carry the team early.
4. Thunder Basin: Returning QB Alonso Aguilar gives the ‘Bolts some experience under center, a necessary piece for a team that has lots of holes to fill.
5. Rock Springs: The Tigers return some key offensive pieces in QB Michael Faigl, RB Brycen Cooms and WR Goodness Okere but might need to outscore opponents until the defense comes along.
Wild card: Natrona. The Mustangs were a senior-loaded bunch last season, but they always seem to be in the same position every season and usually come out OK on the other side. Some untested talent will need to grow quickly.

Class 3A
1. Star Valley
: The defending champs return three all-state picks, tops in the classification. The biggest offensive weapons are gone to graduation, but a solid group of up-and-coming players should make the Braves the favorites from day one.
2. Douglas: Douglas is loaded with solid returners, including QB Trey Rinn, linemen Tegen Seeds and Malachy Lehnen and maybe the best up-and-coming junior in the state in Carter Archuleta. The Bearcats will definitely be the East favorites.
3. Buffalo: The Bison had a solid campaign in 2022 and with four returning all-conference players (tied with Douglas for the most in 3A), they should be right in the championship discussion again this year. RB Will Hammond emerged as a solid offensive centerpiece.
4. Cody: How will the Broncs react to losing all 13 of their all-conference picks and all nine of their all-staters? If Cody’s returners learned anything in practice, it’ll be time to show it in the games.
5. Powell: A trio of returning all-conference selections, led by all-state WR Trey Stenerson and QB Jhett Schwahn, should put the Panthers in a good spot entering 2023.
Wild card: Evanston. The Red Devils get back a pair of all-staters in Cohen Morrow and Brady Roberts and could be a team on the rise but will need to adjust to a new head coach.

Class 2A
1. Lyman
: Three teams in 2A return four all-conference players; Lyman just happens to be one of them. The Eagles’ title hopes went awry in 2022, but honestly — a play here, a play there and maybe we’re talking four-peat.
2. Big Horn: The defending champs proved a lot in their title run, and with a pair of returning all-staters in Kiefer Dunham and Drew Heermann, the Rams should be in the chase for a repeat.
3. Tongue River: The Eagles had a breakthrough season in 2022, and they did so with a bunch of younger players leading the way. With four all-conference players returning — all of whom were key pieces of TR’s turnaround — watch out.
4. Mountain View: The Buffalos’ four returning all-conference players might be the most exciting group of talent returning to any team in 2A. Both Jayce Schultz and Carson Eardley were all-state, and they lead a group that’s eager to return to the top.
5. Cokeville: Three all-conference players (but no all-staters) return for Cokeville, and it goes without saying that the Panthers consistently put out winners.
Wild cards: Lovell and Newcastle. For opposite reasons, two teams show up here — Lovell, last year’s runner-up, gets back just a pair of all-conference players and loses a senior class that was clearly carrying the bulk of the weight. Newcastle, meanwhile, improved significantly last year and gets back a trio of all-conference selections, enough to compete in the East.

Class 1A nine-man
1. Pine Bluffs
: In a classification that was hit hard by graduation (only six returning all-state players statewide), the defending champs earn the recognition of early favorite by returning four all-conference choices, tied for the most of any team in 1A nine-man.
2. Big Piney: The Punchers get back four of their five all-conference choices and lead the state with a pair of returning all-state picks in seniors Karsyn Gurr and Ruben Stoutenberg.
3. Southeast: The Cyclones don’t return any all-state choices but do get back four of six all-conference picks, setting them up well to compete in the East.
4. Lingle: The Doggers will rely on two returning all-state choices in Louden Bremer and Kaiden Riggs, who both made the team as sophomores, to be leaders in 2023 for a team that was one big play away from hosting a playoff game.
5. Wind River: RB Cooper Frederick is the centerpiece of a Cougar game plan that will rely on him heavily, but in a depleted West Conference, that may be enough to carry the day.
Wild cards: Rocky Mountain and Shoshoni. Between them, they combined for 18 all-conference and 11 all-state choices. Every single one has graduated. Underclass talent will have to develop in a hurry for them to stay in a title conversation.

Class 1A six-man
1. Burlington
: Last year’s runners-up return four all-conference players, tied for the most in six-man with Kaycee, but with some key players graduated, rebuilding will need to happen fast.
2. Dubois: RB Wyatt Trembly set a single-season rushing record in six-man last year, and his presence alone will keep the Rams competitive — which is good, because four all-conference players will leave upon graduation.
3. Encampment: The Tiger trio of all-conference players (Quade Jordan, Ryon Miller, Kaben Pickett) will be tough to top as seniors, and that experience will help Encampment find some success, especially early.
4. Snake River: The Rattlers have had back-to-back undefeated seasons, but this might be the year they come back to earth. They’ll still be competitive with all-stater Isaiah Skalberg leading the way, but the senior class is thinner than usual.
5. Kaycee: Four all-conference returners will help Kaycee improve, and all-stater Vaun Pierson will help set the pace for a thin but improved Buckaroo squad.
Wild cards: Meeteetse and Midwest. Both the Longhorns and Oilers return all three of their all-conference choices, and Meeteetse’s Joseph Pina was the North’s co-defensive player of the year. Both teams should be improved in 2023.

What do you think, in January at least? Who’s poised for a breakout year? Leave a comment and share your ideas. And then let’s keep talking for another 10 months until all of this actually, finally, gets settled on the field.