Laramie and Lander will be favored to defend their titles this weekend at the 2019 Wyoming State High School Boys Swimming & Diving Championships in Gillette.
Last year, Laramie won the Class 4A title in dramatic fashion, winning the meet’s final event — the 400 free relay — to edge Thunder Basin and Kelly Walsh. The Plainsmen finished just two points ahead of the Bolts and 11.5 points in front of the Trojans.
With record-setting junior Max DeYoung leading the way, Laramie is once again favored. DeYoung won state titles in the 200 IM and the 100 back and swam on two winning relay teams last year. DeYoung (200 IM, 100 free), Collin Fontana (500 free) and Chris Bury (diving) helped lead Laramie to the 4A West Regional title two weeks ago.
Cheyenne Central won the 4A East with Jake Geyer (100 breast) claiming the only individual gold, although the Tribe also took first in the 200 medley and 200 free relays.
Other swimmers to watch in 4A include: Green River’s Michael Richmond (200 free, 100 fly), Kelly Walsh’s Ian Pfaff (50 free), Cheyenne South’s Jared Price (200 free, 500 free), Thunder Basin’s Gunner Poley (50 free, 100 free) and Cheyenne East’s Walker Marshall (200 IM, 100 fly).
In 3A, Lander will be seeking its 23rd consecutive state championship. And based on this season’s results and the number of returnees from last year’s team the Tigers should get it.
Lander senior Caleb Huelskamp (50 free, 100 breast) and juniors Ryan Brinda (200 free) and Nick Kulow (200 IM, 500 free) all won individual state titles last year.
At the West Regional two weeks ago they combined with Jonny Kulow (50 free, 100 fly), Preston Plaisted (diving) and Colton Wietzki (500 free) to help the Tigers win 10 of 12 events, including all three relays.
Sublette County’s Jackson Fouras (200 IM, 100 breast) kept Lander from sweeping the top spot of the podium.
If any team is going to challenge Lander for 3A supremacy it figures to be Rawlins, which won 10 of 12 events to easily capture the East Regional.
The Outlaws won all three relays and Dalton Coleman won two individual titles (200 free, 100 breast) to lead the way.
Buffalo’s John Wonka (50 free, 100 free) was the only non-Rawlins swimmer to finish with gold.
Action gets underway Thursday morning at the Gillette Aquatic Center with the 4A prelims. The 4A finals are slated for Friday morning, followed by the 3A prelims. The 3A finals take place Saturday morning.