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Possible class shuffle for Big Red in works

Mar 14, 2017 By Craig Blumenshine, Staff Writer

On the heels of Riverton's first-in-school history state boys basketball championship, there was talk all around Casper as to whether this group of talented Wolverines could have also won the Class 4-A state title.

And the answer was, this year, maybe.

But most years, likely not. Time has proven that Riverton struggles to compete year in and year out with the largest schools in Wyoming. There are exceptions: boys soccer and more recently, boys basketball, have had more success competing against Wyoming's most populated schools.

That's why Riverton activities director Reggie Miller, along with Cody's activities director Tony Hult, are pushing hard for Wyoming to consider a classification system that will have sports and activities classified like football with 10 schools in Class 4-A and 12 schools in Class 3-A.

"No football coach that I know of complains about their conference, class or travel schedule. They just don't, so it make since to look at it for all sports and activities," Miller said Tuesday morning.

Wyoming currently plays with a five-class football system.

Initially, a 16-team per class schedule for basketball, volleyball and track, with Riverton and Cody competing with the likes of the Casper, Cheyenne and Gillette schools, appeared to have momentum for implementation beginning in the 2018-19 school year.

Should the 16-team proposal ultimately prevail, Riverton would be one of the smallest schools in the classification, but would compete in a conference that would have the three largest schools in Wyoming: Kelly Walsh, Natrona and Rock Springs, all more than twice the size of Riverton. Gillette, currently has the largest high school, but will split into two schools next year.

After having near unanimous support from the Wyoming High School Activities Association board of directors early on, Miller now thinks the 16-team proposal is losing steam.

"Equity in size is dramatically disproportional in the 16-team proposal," Miller said. "And that concerns me."

Hult calls the 16-team per class idea, "grossly unfair."

Travel is also a major concern for Miller. He's projected the 16-team idea would have Riverton's Wolverines and Lady Wolverines adding 372 additional miles of travel (and additional time out of school) per sport with schedules he has projected.

"It's been nice to have all our our sports and activities in the same class this year," Miller said, adding that old rivalries with Cody, Powell and Douglas are back and that Class 3-A fans travel better which has improved the atmosphere in Wolverine Gym this season.

The 10-12-14 school per class proposal for all sports with the possible exception of wrestling and soccer, supported by Miller and Hult, will be considered by the WHSAA at its April 25 meeting.

Have a great sports week. Go Big Red!

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