Each week in the Star-Tribune we’ll look at some of the top performers from the previous week and give you a brief preview on what athletes and teams to keep an eye on for the upcoming weekend.


Higher Than The Rest

The season-opening loss to Sheridan wasn’t a promising start, but since then Rock Springs has won five straight and scored 80 or more points in three of them. Freshman Graedyn Buell is second in Class 4A with 21.7 points per game and leads 4A with 6.7 assists. Teammate Noah Spence is second with 5.7 per contest.

Defending Class 2A champion Wind River has just one loss so far and that is to Class 4A Green River. Other than that, chaos has reigned over the competition and the Cougars look primed for a repeat. Jayin Trumbull has returned to average 26.5 points and 14.7 rebounds per game, both of which give him at least a share of the 2A lead.

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Natrona County opened the season with a win over Star Valley but has gone 0-4 since, including a disappointing overtime loss to Laramie and a 19-point loss to Sheridan. The Mustangs will seek revenge when they travel to Sheridan to play the Broncs on Friday, although Sheridan has looked sharp so far.

Knocking on the doorstep of Class 2A contenders is Rocky Mountain, which went 4-0 to start the year going into Thursday’s road game at 1A powerhouse Burlington. Things don’t get easier for the Grizzlies, who host Wind River on Friday night. Rocky Mountain leads 2A with 56-percent field goal shooting and is led by Lathan May (16.8 points per game), Ethan Price (12.0) and Jonathan Allred (11.8).


Higher Than The Rest

There may have been no more impressive start to the season than that of Lyman. The Eagles beat three Class 4A teams to improve to 6-0. Reigning Star-Tribune Player of the Year and junior standout McKinley Bradshaw leads the way with 26.7 points, 12 rebounds, 7.0 steals, 3.3 assists and 1.3 blocks per game.

In Class 1A it is all about returning champion Encampment, which leads the classification with 60.0 points per game and a perfect 6-0 start. No team has gotten within 25 points of the Tigers, who have three players averaging double figures (Noelle Peterson, Paige Powell and Hailey Barkhurst). Powell also averages 13.8 rebounds and 6.2 assists.

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While Gillette has been going up against out-of-state competition, the Camels haven’t exactly been taking it easy and this weekend is proof of that. The Camels compete in a Las Vegas tournament and began with a team from Brea Olinda, California, on Wednesday.

A single two-point loss is the only blemish so far for Greybull, which goes into the big bout on Friday at Burlington before the new year. Kendall Wright has averaged 12.8 points per game so far for the Buffaloes, who have held teams to an average of just 28.8 points.


Higher Than The Rest

Cheyenne East senior Gunner Bartlett shined last weekend, leading the Thunderbirds to a few dual victories by beating Laramie’s Price Campbell by pinfall in 1:00 before going 8-0 at the Flatwater Fracas in Grand Island, Nebraska, at 182 pounds. Five of his victories there were also by pinfall.

Last year’s Class 3A runner-up at 132 pounds, Buffalo’s Hunter Elmer, went 8-0 at the Battle In the Big Horns, which included six wins at 138 pounds and two victories at 145. Three of his wins were by decision, one by major decision, one by technical fall and two by pin.

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Most wrestling teams will not compete this weekend, instead resting for the next weekend for one final tournament of 2017. However, Thursday night there was a Sheridan quad involving Kelly Walsh, Natrona County and Thunder Basin, which involved some of the best wrestlers in Class 4A.


Higher Than The Rest

Lander standout Noah Gans won at the Pinedale Invite last weekend by edging out Natrona County’s Adam Pickett in the freestyle and winning the classic by just under two seconds.

Natrona County sophomore Madyson Willis won the classic at Pinedale by almost exactly two seconds. She finished third in the Friday freestyle as well.

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All seven nordic ski teams take a two-week break before reconvening in Casper for the second race on Casper Mountain.


Higher Than The Rest

Green River freshman James King has been swimming out of his mind. He was the third leg on both winning 400 freestyle and 200 medley relay teams, as well the individual winner in the 200 and 100 freestyle at the Green River Invite.

Nick Kulow, the standout sophomore from Lander, may be a big reason the Tigers win yet another state championship. Kulow was the opening leg on the winning 200 medley relay team and was the second leg of the 400 freestyle relay team. He also won the 500 freestyle by almost 13 seconds and the 200 IM by 7.5 seconds.

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There are no impactful meets this weekend involving multiple teams, but Green River and Lander had a dual late Thursday.

Follow sports reporter Brady Oltmans on Twitter @Brady_CST