NC boys bball

Sheridan's Parker Christensen defends Natrona County's Jhett George during their game Dec. 9 in Casper.

Josh Galemore, Casper Star-Tribu

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.

BOYS BASKETBALL

Higher Than The Rest

Potential is slowly becoming reality for Sheridan, which went 3-0 last weekend with one-point victories against Green River and Rock Springs while cruising to a 24-point win over defending state champion Kelly Walsh. After the weekend the Broncs (7-2) are now tied for the best record in the East Conference with Gillette.

Rebounding from a loss to Burlington wasn’t easy but Saratoga has now won four straight, including a dramatic 82-80 overtime win against Southwest Conference rival Encampment. With that being the only conference game played so far, the Panthers are on top of the competitive division.

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This is a big weekend for Lovell as the Bulldogs host ranked Class 3A Cody before taking on another 3A contender, Worland. The Bulldogs are currently ranked No. 5 in Class 2A by the Star-Tribune and could move up the ladder with impressive wins.

If Newcastle wants to prove it is a legitimate threat, this is the weekend to do it. The Dogies travel to No. 1 Buffalo and then Wheatland this weekend. It’s a tough start to the 3A portion of their schedule but it will answer any questions that remain about the Dogies.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Higher Than The Rest

With four wins in two days Buffalo proved that it can be a contender in Class 3A’s East Conference. The Bison fought through geographic rival Cody while cruising to wins against 2A teams Lovell, Wyoming Indian and Greybull.

There may be no hotter team in the state than Lusk. The Tigers have now won seven straight games, including three last week. They ran through Kaycee, Big Horn and Tongue River and are currently 9-1 and No. 2 in the rankings.

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Thunder Basin has been a surprise so far, standing second in the Class 4A East Conference before conference games have been played. The Bolts have a chance to cement their standing or get knocked down when they host Natrona County and Kelly Walsh this weekend.

Another one of Class 2A’s surprises has been top-ranked Greybull, which can enhance their No. 1 ranking with victories this weekend. They travel to defending state champion Big Horn before hosing Tongue River on Saturday.

WRESTLING

Higher Than The Rest

Kelly Walsh freshman Analu Benabise saved his most impressive feat to date for last weekend, winning the Shane Shatto Memorial Tournament at 138 pounds. He even went through Buffalo standout Hunter Elmer in the semifinals to do it.

Standout junior Hayden Walker went 9-0 for Kemmerer, including seven pinfall victories at the Thoman Soda Ash Memorial last weekend. He was a perfect 8-0 in dual action before topping Evanston’s Rylie Griggs again in the “Best Brown v. Best Gold” championship dual.

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Kelly Walsh hosts the Trojan Border War this weekend, which is a novel concept. For the first time the Trojans, Natrona County, Douglas and Star Valley will compete against teams from bordering states in a dual tournament.

Smaller programs will convene on Fremont County for the Don Runner Invitational at Wind River this weekend. Any champion to come out of that tournament will carry a lot of momentum going forward.

INDOOR TRACK

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Opening track meets can now take place and most teams will travel to South Dakota for the Spearfish (S.D.) Invite hosted by Black Hills State.

ALPINE SKIING

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The season formally opens as all six alpine ski teams in Wyoming will participate in the Laramie Invitational at Snowy Range this weekend.

NORDIC SKIING

Higher Than The Rest

Natrona County junior Adam Pickett won the Don Jacobson Memorial Invitational on Casper Mountain last weekend, furthering his case for a championship this season. He won the freestyle and took fourth in the classic.

Emilee Robins of Lander made a surprising jump in the standings to take second in the classic at the same meet. Laramie’s Abigail Whitman won with a time less than 2 seconds faster than Robins.

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Nordic skiers get a break this weekend with no in-state competition.

BOYS SWIMMING

Higher Than The Rest

Powell’s Kacey Creed was part of the Panthers’ winning 200 medley relay team in addition to his individual win in the 100 breaststroke at the Powell Invitational. The senior also took second in the 100 freestyle and was the anchor leg on the third-place 200 freestyle relay team.

Sophomore Kellan Chadderdon was a major factor for Kelly Walsh as the Trojans won the Sheridan Invitational. He won the 100 butterfly, took fourth in the 200 IM and was the third leg of the winning 200 medley relay team.

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Most Class 4A teams will meet in the pool at Cheyenne South this weekend for the Cheyenne Invitational.

A small, yet talented collection of Class 3A teams meet for the Worland Invitational. That includes upstart Worland and Powell, as well as perennial power Lander.

Follow sports reporter Brady Oltmans on Twitter @BradyTrib

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High School Sports Reporter

Brady Oltmans reports on high school and local sports. He joined the Star-Tribune in July 2016 after covering prep sports and college soccer in Nebraska. He also contributes to University of Wyoming sports coverage. He and his dog live in Casper.

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