Student-athletes who earned all-state honors in eight sports throughout their high school careers comprise this year’s Milward Simpson Athlete of the Year nominees.

All together, the 10 finalists earned 73 all-state honors, won 39 individual state titles and played on 25 state championship teams during their high school careers. Eight of the 10 Milward Simpson Award nominees have signed to continue playing at Division I schools.

The five girls finalists are Jackson’s Anna Gibson, Cheyenne East’s Cosette Stellern, Thermopolis’ Jules Ward, Mountain View’s Hannah Behunin and Gillette’s Kalina Smith.

The five boys finalists are Riverton’s Easton Paxton, Torrington’s Logan Harris, Douglas’ Eric Jamerman, Sheridan’s Hayden Hastings and Pine Bluffs’ Hunter Thompson.

The Milward Simpson Athlete of the Year Award is considered to be the most prestigious honor bestowed upon a Wyoming high school athlete. This will be the 42nd year for the award, which is named in honor of the late Milward Simpson, a former Wyoming governor (1954-58) and United States senator (1962-67) from Cody.

Simpson served as the team captain for the University of Wyoming football, basketball and baseball teams and earned varsity letters in each sport from 1917-21. He turned down a professional baseball contract to attend Harvard Law School before returning to his home state.

Last year’s winners were Robbi Ryan of Sheridan and Zach Taylor of Gillette.


Jack Nowlin returned to the Star-Tribune in 2007 after eight years covering Michigan State University athletics. A Wyoming native, and a graduate of Jeffrey City High School and the University of Wyoming, Jack serves as the Star-Tribune’s sports editor.

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