The past 12 months flashed by at an alarming rate. Over that amount of time every state champion was crowned in every sport. Likewise, high school careers came to a close while others burst with possibility.
Some familiar faces stayed in prominence while newcomers took their rightful spot at center stage.
There’s a lot to digest from 2017 in high school sports. Here’s a recap of some of the biggest moments of the calendar year:
1. Sheridan and Kaycee won their third consecutive state football championships.
Sheridan completed its three-peat in Class 4A by beating Natrona County for the second year in a row, while Kaycee continued its dominance of Class 1A/6-Man by extending its state-longest winning streak to 30 games with a 55-30 win over Farson. That streak is tied for the second-longest in state history, trailing only Laramie’s run of 34 consecutive from 1959-63.
2. The Kelly Walsh boys basketball team ended a 36-year state championship drought.
Led by a senior group of seven, the Trojans established themselves as contenders through the non-conference season and survived the conference grind without Star-Tribune Player of the Year Jaxon Hiatt with enough to make a run for the championship. Rock Springs now has the longest drought in Class 4A at 41 years.
3. Jackson once again swept the alpine and Nordic skiing championships.
Boys and girls alpine and Nordic titles have gone to Jackson every year since 2012.
The Nordic teams were led by Broncs phenom Anna Gibson and bronze finisher Max Wilbrecht while the alpine teams were led by S.J. Huser and Ben Klausmann. The closest any team got to Jackson in any skiing event was the 30 points Natrona County finished behind the Broncs in the boys Nordic state meet.
4. A duo of inspiring wrestlers took home state championships at the 152-pound division.
In Class 4A, Natrona County’s Brett Brenton won his second consecutive title just months after his girlfriend died in a car accident. Then, in Class 3A, Cody’s Dan Beaudrie returned to the state meet to win less than two years after his body was mangled in a car accident that almost took his life.
5. Sundance beat three-time defending state champion Wright to win its first state title since 2006.
Sundance’s volleyball program lulled for a couple of years before the Bulldogs returned to the state tournament in 2016. The Bulldogs returned to the top of the Class 2A mountain with the state championships this year.
Every year from 2005-10 the Bulldogs were in the state tournament semifinals. That streak was broken and Sundance didn’t make the tournament from 2011 until the 2016 revival. Leading the charge were all-state selections Teila McInerney and Molly O’Connor.
6. After years of anticipation Thunder Basin opened, giving Campbell County two Class 4A high schools.
Most returning standout football players left Gillette for Thunder Basin while the volleyball and cross-country programs stayed fairly even. The Bolts also got the better of the girls swimming talent, most notably in standout Sani Carsrud.
7. Laramie’s Albert Steiner edged teammate Philip Henry to win the Class 4A individual cross-country championship as well as give the Plainsmen their sixth consecutive state title.
The Plainsmen have yet to be dethroned since winning the program’s first state title in 2012 after Liam McInroy also finished in the top eight.
8. Kelly Walsh swept the boys and girls state golf team titles.
No Class 4A school had swept boys and girls golf titles since Natrona County did it back in 1993, but that’s exactly what Kelly Walsh did this year. Taj Sutherland led the boys by tying for third while Jocelyn Olson’s first-day 82 led her to the gold by a six-stroke margin.
9. Behind Grace Dereemer’s title in No. 1 singles, Cheyenne Central won its third state championship in four years.
The Tribe had competitors in the semifinals of all events except No. 3 doubles to help gain enough points (56) to hold off Kelly Walsh (48).
Doubles wins by the teams of Kylie Spangler and Josette Bowers, as well as Taylor Delaney and Savannah Allsop helped the Trojans to the runner-up finish.
10. Star Valley swept the boys and girls outdoor track seasons, both by comfortable margins.
The girls doubled up second-place Mountain View (142-71) while the boys nearly accomplished the same feat against second-place Douglas (165-86.33).