Fall sports are finally backAug 27, 2017 By Scott Akanewich, Sports Editor
Finally, it's here.
Despite the fact we're still enjoying summer and the autumn equinox isn't until Sept. 22, school is back in across Fremont County, which means it's fall sports season.
It also means we can all get on with our lives now that the once-in-a-lifetime eclipse has come and gone.
However, the closest star to Earth still played a role on Saturday at Bill Bush Stadium in Lander as the Tigers football squad hosted a pair of opponents for a jamboree.
Funny, whenever I hear the word "jamboree," I expect Roy Clark to be there picking away at his banjo like a madman, as bumpkins line dance like it's going out of style around a bunch of hay bales.
But, enough about Pavillion on a Saturday night.
Hey, we kid because we care, Cougars fans.
Anyway, I digress.
Back to "The Bush."
Have I mentioned the Tigers play their homes games in the shadow of the scenic Wind River Mountains?
The football hasn't been pretty for the past few years, but the scenery always is.
It was the first time Lander had eschewed Friday Night Lights for Saturday Afternoon Sunshine, and it was a lovely day.
Next for the Tigers is the real thing on Friday, when the Wolves of Green River come calling.
Up the road in Riverton, the Wolverines hosted Evanston in a week-zero battle which saw Big Red on the wrong end of a big beatdown, losing 21-8.
Many Wolverine weapons from last season are no longer in the arsenal, as the likes of Brady Fullerton, Teron Doebele and Kyren Higgs have moved on after graduation and it showed.
Although on the defensive end, 21 points allowed is certainly an improvement over last season.
But, it's only one game and Big Red will get better.
The important thing, football is back.
Not to mention all the other fall sports we love: volleyball, cross country, swimming, golf and tennis -- even rodeo (yee-haw!).
Not a moment too soon.
Late summer provides great weather, but not much in the way of local sports action.
Bring it on, baby.
Lady Rustlers rising
At Central Wyoming College, the Rustlers are also gaining momentum for the fall season, beginning with the Lady Rustlers' volleyball squad.
With a diverse roster of homegrown players including Riverton's Brooklenn Thompson and Wind River's Bailey Wilson, as well as other players from across the state, country and globe, new head coach Darshaya Gallard's side is shaping up as a squad on the rise.
Central defeated Western Wyoming Community College in a preseason match, as sophomore Kayla Coles and freshman Rylee Burmester teamed up for a combined 23 kills against the Mustangs.
Cross country, golf and rodeo are also gearing up, so if you want to see the highest level of athletic competition in Fremont County, get out and see these squads in action this fall.
Gridiron is back, but so is everything else, so here we go.
Stingley finished 14th in his first-ever high-school cross country race against rugged competition at the Kelly Walsh Beartrap Invitational in Casper on Friday.
The speedy Spartan has seemingly transitioned to life as a Wolverine seamlessly, crossing the finish line in a time of 19:18.50 and was the second-fasted freshman in the field. Well done.
Jaren Draper, Riverton,
When your team only scores eight points in a football game, it's usually not good and results in a loss, as it did for the Wolverines at home in their season-opening 21-8 defeat to Evanston.
However, when you score all eight points yourself, it's a pretty good game, which is what Riverton's Draper did on Friday night at Wolverine Field.
Draper caught seven passes for 108 yards and scored Big Red's only touchdown of the game on a 29-yard reception, then added a successful two-point conversion for all of Riverton's points.
For good measure, he also led the Wolverines with 23 defensive points. Excellent.
James was victorious at the Star Valley Invitational, firing a 74-71-145 on the par-70, 6,017-yard layout of the Valley View Golf Course in Afton on Friday and Saturday, which was good for an 11-shot victory. James jumped out to a four-shot lead after the first round of play and never looked back for his first career win.
Very cool, indeed.