2019 The Year in Sports Pt. 1

Feb. 8
Lady Lancers introduce new volleyball coach
 TORRINGTON – Eastern Wyoming College announced the appointment of Dante Geoffrey as the new head volleyball coach, becoming only the third coach in program history.
He comes to EWC after serving as the head volleyball coach at Lamar Community College in Lamar, Colo.
While at Lamar, his teams accomplished many milestones despite playing the role of underdog for three seasons. In 2018, Lamar earned its first victory over a nationally ranked opponent, and in 2017, Lamar’s third-place finish at the regional tournament was the program’s best on record.
The 2017 squad also produced its first-ever NJCAA National Player of the Week award-winner. Before becoming a head coach at Lamar, Geoffrey served as the assistant coach for Northwest College in Powell in 2014 and 2015. While at Northwest, the team had back-to-back NJCAA Final Four appearances, and won two Region IX North titles.
“EWC has great resources, programs and people. When this opportunity presented itself, it was a no-brainer to apply,” Geoffrey said. “There is a great opportunity to do special things here at EWC, in a very competitive region that I’m familiar with.”

Feb. 13
Meyer to retire from coaching at the end of the season
TORRINGTON – The Torrington High School wrestling team wrapped up the regular season with an emotional 54-19 victory over the Cheyenne Central Indians Friday evening.
The win sent head coach Doyle Meyer out a winner in his final home dual as THS made it official that Meyer will be retiring from coaching at the conclusion of the season.
“It’s not so much about the win,” Meyer said. “It’s more about the administration. It’s about the parents. It’s about the wrestlers when it comes right down to it. To watch over the years that many individuals come through the program and do such a great job. The support this program has had is just amazing.”
When the final hand is raised in victory at the Casper Events Center in two weeks, Meyer will have completed his 17th season at the helm of Blazer wrestling.
March 6
Buzzer-beater sinks Southeast
CASPER – Tied at 46 with 1.4 seconds remaining in the Class 2A State Championship game, Wyoming Indian called a timeout to set up a play with the inbounds pass coming near midcourt.
Lady Chief Alex Trosper sank a desperation heave from 30 feet away to lift Wyoming Indian over the Southeast Lady Cyclones 49-46 and to claim the state championship after back-to-back runner-up finishes.
“Like I told the girls, basketball is a game full of six or 700 hundred plays, and you can’t hang it on one,” Lady Cyclone coach Jennifer Scheer said. “Maybe a ball goes in that shouldn’t have. Maybe one falls out that could have gone in. Maybe you come up with a rebound that we didn’t. Maybe we get a jump ball instead of a foul. There are too many plays to hang it on one.”

April 17
Nickal wins wrestling’s top award
TORRINGTON – It all started right here for Bo Nickal.
Some of Nickal’s earliest memories of wrestling took place on the mats in Torrington.
“I remember being in the wrestling room, practicing and watching the high schoolers compete when my dad was coaching there,” Nickal said. “I still use a lot of the techniques I learned back when I was six, seven, eight years old in Torrington.
He credits his father and grandfather for helping him develop his love of the sport during his early years in Torrington.
He lived in Torrington until he was in fifth grade. Then they moved to New Mexico for a handful of years before ultimately ending up in Allen, Texas, for his eighth-grade year.
Now, Nickal is a three-time NCAA champion, and it was announced on April 1 he had won college wrestling’s top honor – the Hodge Trophy.
“It was exciting to hear that I won the Hodge,” Nickal said. “It was something I’ve been working for a long time. I feel very grateful and appreciative of all the opportunities I’ve had to be able to finish my career at Penn State and to know I’ve made the most of my time. I’ve had a ton of fun competing. I can look back and be proud of myself of how hard I’ve worked, and I gave 100 percent effort every second that I had.”

April 26
Records fall at Best in the West
SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. – Southeast freshman Jordan Stoddard, junior Morgan Ekwall and Lingle-Fort Laramie senior Kaelyn Riley had a record-breaking day, setting four school records and one meet record Tuesday at the annual Best in the West Invite in Scottsbluff, Neb., featuring the top track athletes from Southeast Wyoming and the Nebraska Panhandle.
Stoddard went 4-for-4 on the day, winning the 100-meter dash (12.85 seconds), 200-meter dash (26.18 seconds), high jump (5 feet, 6.5 inches) and was the final leg of the 4x400-meter relay (4 minutes 9.99 seconds).
“It was pretty great. It’s a good feeling, actually. It was very tiring but very, very worth it,” Stoddard said.
Stoddard’s height of 5-6.5 in high jump, not only set a new Southeast record, but it broke a Best in the West record which stood since 2002.
However, Stoddard wasn’t the only Lady Cyclone to pick up a win. Junior Morgan Ekwall’s toss of 39-6.5 won shot put and was also set a new school record.
For Riley, her final triple jump attempt landed 35 feet, 8.5 inches from where it started, setting a new Lady Dogger record.
“Mentally, I’m a lot stronger than I was,” Riley said. “I think coming back from my knee injury and not doing well at state last year, I just have a new mentality. Mrs. (Kim) Lenhardt, Mr. (Mike) Lashley and Mr. (Brandon) Gifford coaching me has been day and night for me.”
She led the event throughout until her final jump when the athlete before her topped her distance.
“I told myself not to shut down and told myself to take off like I was running a 100,” Riley said.
She felt it was a good attempt when she landed but wasn’t sure until the 35-8.5 distance was announced.

May 1
Stienmetz named as next Blazer football coach
TORRINGTON – Friday morning, to an arousing applause from the Blazer football team, Russell Stienmetz walked on stage in Torrington High School auditorium as their next head coach.
Stienmetz replaces outgoing coach Mark Lenhardt, who is taking over the reins at Rock Springs High School.
Stienmetz has served as an assistant coach for the Blazer program for 12 seasons.
“First thing, I want to give thanks to Mr. (Dave) Plendl and Mr. (Chase) Christensen,” Stienmetz said speaking to the players. “We have a great tradition and it will continue. That tradition starts in the summer at weights.”
With his longevity, it was a perfect fit to carry on the recent success following back-to-back trips to the Class 3A State Championship game in Laramie.

May 22
Stoddard, Ekwall win state championships for Southeast
CASPER – Southeast freshman Jordan Stoddard and junior Morgan Ekwall brought home individual state championships during last weekend’s 2A State Track and Field Championships at Kelly Walsh High School in Casper.
Stoddard cleared a height of 5 feet, 4 inches to top the high jump field, while Ekwall threw 39-1.5 to win shot put.
Stoddard also picked up a trio of second place finishes.

Harris tops shot put to win state title
CASPER – Torrington High School junior Corbin Harris won the team’s lone individual state championship over the weekend at the Class 3A State Track and Field Championships in Casper.
His toss of 48 feet, 3.5 inches was more than a foot better than Lovell’s Quinn Lindsay.
Harris was one of three Blazers to compete in the event. Junior Brandon Deen was 16th with a throw of 38-3, while senior Scotty Woodruff fouled on his three preliminary throws.
Harris also placed fifth in the discus with a throw 141-4, while Woodruff finished seventh in 128-10.

L-FL’s Riley wins three state titles
CASPER – Lingle-Fort Laramie senior Kaelyn Riley won three individual state championships over the weekend to lead the Lady Dogger track and field team to a third-place finish.
Riley won the 100 and 200-meter dash finals, along with long jump.
In the 100-meter finals, Riley ran the only sub-13 second race in 12.83 seconds, outrunning Taylar Scott of H.E.M., who finished second in 13.29 seconds.
Riley also dominated the 200-meter dash in 26.30 seconds. Miya May of Meeteetse crossed the finish line in 27.75 seconds for second place.
Riley topped the long jump field by six inches, winning the event at a distance of 16 feet, 7.75 inches.

May 29
EWC golf records best finish in school history at nationals
MELBOURNE, Fla. – The Eastern Wyoming College golf capped off a historic season with a 13th-place finish at the NJCAA National Golf Championships.
The Lancer run to nationals saw the team win 11 of the 13 tournaments they participated in during the 2018-19 season, including 10 victories during Region IX action.
“It was awesome. It was a special week for us,” EWC coach Zack Smith said. “It was our best finish we’ve ever had at nationals. The guys worked really hard this year, and it paid off.”


© 2020-The Torrington Telegram

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