Chiefs hosting Eagle Volleyball Players

When St. Stephen’s didn’t offer a contract for a volleyball coach late last summer, it put a handful of girls in a difficult situation looking for a place the play.

The Wyoming High School Activities Association has a long history of schools signing agreements so their athletes can compete in sports not offered at their present high school. In the St. Stephen’s case, the upheaval that led to the termination and rehiring of the entire staff at the school left the volleyball program without a coach.

“A St. Stephen’s mom contacted us, her daughter wanted to play,” Wyoming Indian Athletic Director Keith Bauder said. “We figured this was the best way to do it. Sign an agreement with the WHSAA and that way they could still go to school at St. Stephen’s and play. This way they can return to St. Stephen’s without any conflicts.”

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A total of five girls from St. Stephen’s joined the Wyoming Indian team, all at the junior varsity level though they are eligible to play varsity per WHSAA rules.

Wyoming Indian and St. Stephen’s compete in the Class 2-A Southwest but have combined this year {h/t Randy Tucker}

“Their numbers were down and only had to take the girl’s enrollment, not the entire student body,” Bauder said. “We stayed under the 2-A limit that way.”

Similar agreements are in place around the state. Greybull and Riverside combine for Wrestling though they are near the demarcation for Class 3-A.

Burns and Pine Bluffs combine for both wrestling and cross country and their combined enrollment placed them in Class 3-A in both sports.

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For several years, the Upton-Sundance Patriots competed in Class 1-A, 11-man football, but recent changes including the addition of a 9-man division have the Patriots playing in Class 2-A football.

In these combinations, the larger school is the host school with the specific gender enrollment of the smaller school added to the total enrollment.

The Lady Chiefs are hosting St. Stephen’s volleyball players this season {h/t Randy Tucker}

Class 3-A begins with roughly around 200 students in grades 9-12, if a 2-A school with an enrollment of 140 combined for wrestling with a 1-A school with 45 boys, the total would be 185 students and the program would remain in Class 2-A as an example.

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“Years ago we put in a rule that eliminates the small school being the host, so we count the visitor’s boys or girls only,” WHSAA assistant commissioner Trevor Wilson said.

At present, there are no problems at Wyoming Indian with the volleyball merger.

“There aren’t any battles between the Eagles and the Chiefs,” Bauder said. “They’ve all gotten along.”

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In recent years local schools have combined often for specific sports. Shoshoni track and basketball standout Oliva Thompson ran to a state championship as a Riverton Wolverine in recent years, and Shoshoni track and basketball star Hailey Pince set several Riverton swimming records in a similar mutual schools agreement.

More recently Kaden Dower, a four-time state sprint champion at Western Heritage Lutheran Academy played football at Shoshoni.

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