Coaches and Media turned in their first ballots of the 2011-12 basketball season. Last year, only two of the eight teams that were #1 in the first poll actually won the state title. They were the Little Snake River boys and the Lovell girls. This year has both of those teams on top of their divisions once again to start the year.
Five different teams received #1 votes in the 4A boys. Defending Champion Gillette would take 9 of the 17 top votes to rank#1. Sheridan got three and are second, Evanston got one while Natrona received three. They are tied for the #3 spot. East got 1top vote and ranks fifth. Laramie, Riverton, Kelly Walsh, and Rock Springs also received votes in 4A. Natrona was the pre-season favorite last year.
As far as this weekend’s games go…Green River will visit both #2 Sheridan and #1 Gillette. #5 East will start off against ranked opponents as the Thunderbirds host #3 Evanston on Thursday, and then #4 Natrona on Friday.
For a second year in a row, Torrington is the pre-season fave in 3A. The Trailblazers brought in 10 of the 18 top votes. Last year’s runner up Wheatland is second with 5 #1 votes. Lander got a couple and ranks third while Buffalo, last year’s champion, got 1 top vote and ranks fourth. Powell is in the fifth spot. In all, 13 teams received votes in 3A in the opening week.
Torrington will start their season in Nebraska. Wheatland could be in for a tough day on Saturday, as the Bulldogs will be in Cody to play both #3 Lander AND #5 Powell. #4 Buffalo and #3 Lander hook up on Friday in Cody.
21 votes were cast in 2A with 16 of them going to Lovell. The Bulldogs take the #1 spot with Wyoming Indian 2nd. Burns is third with Big Horn and Kemmerer tied for fourth. Big Horn, last year’s 2A Champions, received 3 first place votes but not much else. 15 teams in the 2A boys received 2 votes for the top five or more. Last year’s pre-season poll saw Wyoming Indian ranked #1.
Lovell will start the season on Friday in Basin vs. #5 Kemmerer, and then will play Saturday at #3 1A Burlington. Wyoming Indian does not have a game scheduled for opening weekend. The Chiefs visit Lovell, next Thursday. #3 Burns and #4 Big Horn face-off in Lusk, in the season-opener for both teams, early Friday afternoon.
For the second year in a row, Snake River is #1 in boys basketball. If you were to put their basketball #1 streak with their football, it would make for a year and a half of the Rattles on top of each poll. They received all 11 first place votes to top the poll. St Stephens is 2nd with Burlington third. Kaycee ranks fourth with Ten Sleep fifth. 10 teams received votes in 1A.
#4 Kaycee and #5 Ten Sleep will play in the Upton tournament this weekend. #3 Burlington will host #1 2A Lovell on Saturday. Not much else going on in 1A as far as ranked team vs. ranked team goes.
This is the first time we can remember a team getting the most #1 votes in a class and ranking third in a poll. Laramie took 7 of the 16#1 votes but rank third. Gillette got the LEAST of the three teams with #1 votes, but ranks #1 thanks to lots of #2 and #3 votes. Sheridan took 6 top votes and is 2nd. Gillette, by the way, won the 4A division last year. Natrona ranks fourth with East fifth. Sheridan was last year’s pre season choice to win the division. They fell to Gillette in overtime last March.
Like the boys, Green River starts the season by visiting both #2 Sheridan and #1 Gillette. #3 Laramie and #4 Natrona will oppose each other in Cheyenne to start the season on Thursday. Natrona visits #5 East on Friday.
Defending Champion Wheatland is favored to do it again this year in 3A Girls. The Lady Bulldogs pulled 10 of the 18 #1 votes. Douglas got 7 and are 2nd. Cody is third followed by Torrington and then Star Valley and Buffalo who are tied for fifth. Jackson, last year’s #1 pre-season choice, got 1 #1 vote to start the year.
Wheatland and Douglas need to be careful not to look ahead to their early season clash next Saturday at Douglas. The Lady Bulldogs have business to take care of in Buffalo first, while the Lady Bearcats will be in Worland. The only match-up of ranked teams this weekend, will be on Saturday, when #3 Cody visits #5 (tie) Buffalo.
Lovell was #1 ranked last year to start the year. They won the 2a title and are favored to do just that again this year. The Lady Bulldogs got 18 of the 19 top votes to start the season. Tongue River ranks second with Big Horn third. Wyoming Indian got a #1 vote and is fourth. Pine Bluffs ranks fifth. In all, 14 teams got votes in 2A.
#3 Big Horn and #5 Pine Bluffs will do battle Friday night in Lusk. #1 Lovell will visit #4 1A Burlington on Saturday.
Cokeville is favored to repeat in 1A girls basketball. The Panthers were one of four teams with #1 votes and they had the most with 6 of the 10. Kaycee got 1 and is 2nd. Little Snake River picked up a couple and is third. Burlington got 1 and is fourth. Farson is the #5 team. Burlington was last year’s pre-season fave.
There are no matchups this weekend in 1A involving ranked team vs. ranked team. #4 Burlington hosts an inter-class game vs. #1 2A Lovell on Saturday.
See the Voting Breakdowns
Today, the United State Senate Committee on Indian Affairs honors the first full-blooded Native American woman to be drafted by the WNBA, Ms. Tahnee Robinson.
Ms. Robinson is an enrolled member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. She is also Eastern Shoshone, Pawnee, and Sioux. She was born and raised on the Wind River Reservation near Fort Washakie, Wyoming. Tahnee was graduated from Lander Valley HIgh School where she was an All-State basketball star for the Lady Tigers. Before transferring to the University of Nevada in 2009, she attended Sheridan College. In her first year as the Wolfpack’s guard, she was named the Western Athletic Conference’s (WAC’s) Newcomer of the Year and the first-team All-WAC last year. In the 2010 and 2011 season, Ms. Robinson served as co-captain. At the end of the season, she was ranked ninth in the nation for scoring. She again made the All-WAC first-team and named to the WAC All-Tournament Team. She was one of five finalists for the Sullivan Award, an annual award that goes to the nation’s top amateur athlete.
Ms. Robinson was drafted by the Phoenix Mercury and traded to the Connecticut Sun earlier this year. She now plays for the Hapoel Holon in Israel’s Premier League. She was also recently named the official spokesperson for Big Brothers Big Sisters.
–United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
The Lander Photo Group is exhibiting photographs at the Robert A. Peck Arts Center Gallery at Central Wyoming College from Dec. 1 to Feb. 11.
A public reception is scheduled in the Gallery on Dec. 7 at 6:30 p.m.
Photographs by Mary Allen, Neelon Crawford, Brad Christensen, Tony Henry, Ken Kidder, Aaron Schuster, David Schuster and Sara Wiles include documentary, landscapes, portraits, architectural and abstract forms. The photographers use color and black-and-white film and digital formats, experimenting with a variety of alternative techniques.
The Lander group of photographers began meeting informally in 2005 and eventually attracted more photographers, including commercial and fine art photographers who work both full and part-time at their art.
Some of the photographers have traveled extensively while others have mostly stayed home taking images in their own back yard. As a group, the artists share ideas, technical knowledge, and our personal “decisive moments.”
The show at CWC includes selected works by the Lander Photo Group. The Gallery is open during regular college hours and is open to the public.
--Central Wyoming College
(Lander) – Main Street, aka US Highway 287, recently was upgraded for pedestrian and vehicle safety. “Countdown” clocks were added on downtown intersections to let pedestrians know how much time remains before a traffic light changes, and inlaid vulcanized crosswalks were refreshed to make them more visible. At the Intersection of Highways 287 and 789, a flashing yellow left turn signal was installed.
The Wyoming Department of Transportation made the safety updates, which also included the installation of much more visible LED lights in place of light bulbs in traffic signals several years ago.
The updates to Lander’s Main Street began when the entire street was reconstructed in the early 1990s. Trees and decorative lamp posts were added along with sky-shielded streetlights and pedestrian amenities, including benches, trash cans and sidewalks shaded red.
Speaking of safety, a new countywide drunk driver enforcement program is starting Dec. 3. A DUI Task Force, comprised of each law enforcement agency in the county, including the Wyoming Highway Patrol, Bureau of Indian Affairs Police, the Fremont County Sheriffs Department, and each municipal police department, will be conducting sobriety checks and patrols throughout the winter months at various times to keep drunk drivers off of the streets and highways.
LARAMIE, Wyo. - The Wyoming wrestling program already has built a solid program over the last three seasons, and announced Friday that it had added more talented pieces to that foundation, including a state champion wrestler from Lander Valley High School.
Wyoming coach Mark Branch and his staff announced the signing of five student-athletes for the fall of 2012.
The signees include Dylan Schumacher, Hays, KS; Brent Havlik, Kimble, SD; Ben Stroh, Chinook, MT; Jordan Hanson, Lander, WY; and Drew Templeman. Orting, WA. The five were recruited because of their skill on the wrestling mat and their dedication to academics.
“All these guys are strong academically. That’s what we were looking for when we were recruiting them – kids who can come here and succeed in the classroom,” Branch said. “But the things they’ve done on the mat (are exceptional.) … I think with what we add in the spring, we’re going to be looking at the best recruiting class we’ve ever had here.”
Jordan Hanson, Lander, Wyo. (Lander Valley HS) – 285 pounds Hanson was a Wyoming state champion at heavyweight in 2011, cruising through the state tournament, winning all four matches at state by fall. He also was fourth at the state tournament in 2010 as a sophomore. Hanson didn’t start wrestling until he was in high school, and stands at 6-foot-3 and weighs in at 275 pounds.
“He’s a big heavyweight, which is what we’re looking for,” Branch said. “He’s a Wyoming kid who got a late start and just dominated his junior year. He went across the county and wrestled at (four-time Olympic medalist’s) Bruce Baumgartner’s heavyweight camp, which is the best heavyweight camp in the world, so his commitment is to wrestling. The fact he’s got just a few years under his belt and he’s already having so much success made him really attractive to go out and make sure he stayed in state.”
–UW Sports Information Office
“I’m just thankful to be in a community that is so generous to us so we can be generous to others,” said Audrey Eaton at Lander’s Care and Share Food Bank. “People have been great; this is the time of the year when we receive the most donations because people are thinking of others for the holidays.”
(Riverton) – More jobs for Fremont County could be the result of a major natural gas field expansion now in the Environmental Impact Study phase. EnCana Oil and Gas recently outlined plans for the continued development of its Moneta Divide Field, formerly known as Frenchie Draw, located between Moneta and Hiland in Fremont and Natrona counties north of US Highway 20-26. The EIS could take at least a year or more to complete.
EnCana’s Wind River area manager John Schmidt and local Production Coordinator Mark Halseide, both of Riverton, said the play totals 265,000 acres, the majority of which is in Fremont County. In a recent presentation to the Riverton Economic and Community Development Association the pair also reported the development could consist of up to 4,200 wells, all but 600 of which would be drilled by EnCana. Other firms involved in the play include Noble Energy and ConocoPhillips.
The project could generate up to 300 permanent jobs with perhaps 600 jobs during the construction phase, Schmidt said. A majority of those workers are expected to come from Fremont County.
Under the company’s proposed plan, Halseide said the Moneta Draw Field would feature drilling rigs powered by natural gas instead of diesel. He also said EnCana’s vehicle fleet is being converted to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as well. The change from diesel, combined with development of a collector pipeline system to deliver well production to a central processing location, would reduce emissions by 85 to 90 percent. The central processing area would separate out gas, oil and water, greatly reducing the need for truck traffic between the wells.
This fall EnCana opened its first CNG vehicle fueling station in the county, at the South Federal Boulevard Pit Stop Travel Center in Riverton. The CNG pump is the first one in the Wyoming north of Interstate 80.