What makes a championship-caliber team? Is it great coaching? A strong program? Tradition? Or is it something much more straightforward: athletes?
Ten times in Wyoming state history, one group of senior athletes has been so dominant that it has put a monopoly on that year’s football, basketball and track state championships. Winning any one of the three is difficult enough; winning all three in the same season takes a special group of athletes. Only one school (Snake River) has ever done it twice, and the Rattlers did that in back-to-back years.
Here are the 10 groups that have accomplished the football-basketball-track sweep in the same academic year:
1958-59 Sheridan (shared football championship)
1968-69 Byron (shared football championship)
1977-78 Cheyenne Central
1980-81 Kelly Walsh
2010-11 Snake River
2011-12 Snake River
It’s also possible the 1941-42 Cheyenne Central teams did the same — the Indians won football and basketball, but the track champion is unknown for that year. Anyone with an hour to spare and access to some microfilm want to look that one up for me?
None of these schools also won the state wrestling championship. Actually, it’s arguably more difficult to pull off the football-wrestling-track sweep — only three schools have done that in one year:
1965-66 Cheyenne Central
1982-83 Star Valley
If any of Wyoming’s five football champion schools (Cheyenne East, Powell, Big Horn, Cokeville and Meeteetse) want to join either list, they definitely have history against them. But the right mix of athletes could make such a sweep happen.