A Year in Review

A look back at 2023's top Sports news from January - June

Posted 12/27/23

January 2023

WHS senior overcomes odds at the end of the tunnel

WHEATLAND – It was the end of a very long tunnel for Maxx Meyer Thursday night and from the adversity of a sports injury, he made his initial comeback at Wheatland’s only home wrestling event this year against Laramie High School.

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A Year in Review

A look back at 2023's top Sports news from January - June


January 2023 

WHS senior overcomes odds at the end of the tunnel

WHEATLAND – It was the end of a very long tunnel for Maxx Meyer Thursday night and from the adversity of a sports injury, he made his initial comeback at Wheatland’s only home wrestling event this year against Laramie High School.

It was 125 days almost to the moment that Meyer had his high school football career cut short on kickoff return. Meyer sustained a brutal hit that broke both his tibia and his fibula in his leg. After months of painful rehab and still feeling a bit of pain in the leg, he stepped on to the field of battle again, this time for the WHS wrestling team. This would be his first competition since the break sidelined him and he had surgery to put the bones back together.

He wrestled in the 220-weight classification and he was going up against Jamison Bade from LHS. It was at a point in the third period that Meyer got the advantage, rolled and pinned Bade for the victory.

Lady Bulldogs chalk up two more wins

WHEATLAND – The Wheatland High School Lady Bulldogs played two home games last week and came out with wins against Gering, Nebraska and Cheyenne South.

In the Thursday night clash, the Lady Bulldogs came up against a very disciplined veteran team in the Bulldogs from Gering. The first quarter was a dogfight as both teams played stingy defense and pretty much shut off all routes to the paint.

For the Bulldogs, Brinley Heimsoth was honed in from the perimeter and hit five shots from the arc for the game. The Lady Bulldogs were down by three at the end of the first quarter and then doubled up the Gering girls in the second to take a 17-14 halftime lead.

In a very physical game, girls from both teams were diving for balls and causing jump situations. By the end of the third quarter, Wheatland had taken an eight-point lead, which they would extend to the fourth and finally come away with a 46-36 victory.

Bulldogs split in  weekend action

WHEATLAND – The cross-county rivalry of Torrington and Wheatland always brings stiff competition and fierce, physical play from both sides and Friday night’s game was no exception. 

The Bulldogs, who have had to move from a dominant one-person offense last season to a more controlled team concept this year, began the game as they have for most of the month of January. They are running a deliberate passing offense, not looking to score unless it’s a sure thing. They built a lead of 8-0 with 29 seconds left in the first quarter and left Torrington trying to catch up by shooting a lot of shots from the perimeter which were rushed and off the mark. The combination of a deliberate set-up game on offense and a stifling pressure defense put the Bulldogs up 8-2 at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter was a carbon copy of the first quarter and slowly went up 16-4, then up to 18-8 with 1:40 left before the half. By halftime, the Bulldogs had a 26-13 lead. Torrington made adjustments in the locker room and came out firing. Unfortunately for the Blazers, they ended the game only 2-of-16 from the perimeter and shot only 35% from the field.

The Blazers chipped away into the fourth quarter and made it a one-possession game at 35-32. Free throws down the stretch sealed it for Wheatland who walked away with their fourth win of the season, 40-35.

February 2023

Wheatlane Wrestling competes at Ron Thon Invite

RIVERTON – The Wheatland High School wrestling team traveled to Riverton for the annual Ron Thon Invite on Friday and Saturday.

The Bulldogs took four varsity wrestlers to the event and came back winless for the weekend.

Caden Davis (126 pounds), Hayden Hocker (132), Maxx Meyer (195) and Barak Bertoch (220) had first-round byes, but all four lost in their next two matches. Davis lost to a pair of Star Valley wrestlers by pins in the first period, while Hocker also lost both his pins in the second period. Meyer lost his first match by pin and was elimited from the tournament with a 7-5 decision loss to Kelly Walsh’s Mekhi Bovee. Meanwhile, Bertoch lost both his matches by medial forfeit.

The junior varsity wrestlers had better luck at the Ron Thon as the Bulldogs placed four in the top six.

Bulldogs gain a split on the road courts

NEWCASTLE – The Wheatland Bulldogs moved their season record to 6-14 this past weekend as they lost to Buffalo 38-31 and defeated Newcastle 43-24.

With their ball-control offense they once again limited possessions for their opponents and held Buffalo to just 38 points. The only other team that has been able to accomplish that this year was Cody. The game was close throughout the game with neither team gaining a big advantage. At halftime, the score was 22-18 and down the stretch Buffalo pulled away going to the free-throw line.

Lee Raser was the leading scorer for the Bulldogs with 10 points followed by JP Anderson with nine. Jacob Hyche and Brice Stenson had four points apiece, and Colton Halverson and Aric Suko each contributed two points. 

Wheatland qualifies 13 for state wrestling

WHEATLAND – For the second year in a row, the Bulldogs had five wrestlers returning to Wheatland with hardware around their necks as 3A East Regional placers. With some wrestlers having fuller brackets than in past years, they had their work cut out for them. 

Wheatland started the day with three Bulldogs wrestling the first matches on each mat. When the day was nearing a close four would be wrestling the third and fourth place match and one would be wrestling the first and second place match. Cooper Meyer claimed fourth, winning his first match of the day taking a loss on the second match and then winning his next two on the consolation side of the bracket and finally falling in the last match. 

March 2023

Kumelos makes history:  Lady Bulldog wins state championship in first ever girls’ state tournament 

CASPER – Wheatland Bulldog wrestlers brought home three state placers and are part of Wyoming history. The end of high school wrestling took place this past weekend in Casper with the state championships. 

Lady Bulldog wrestler Alex Kumelos was a part of Wyoming history winning the state title in the 125-pound weight class, in the first sanctioned girls’ championship. Wheatland High School joins just 12 other schools in an elite group to be home to a Wyoming girl state champ. Kumelos had a tough fought match against Natrona’s Andraya Canchola where Kumelos dominated her opponent by points, and it came down to a nail-biting finish in the third period. Canchola couldn’t gain the momentum needed to defeat Kumelos. 

Bulldogs heading back to state tournament; will play Lyman

TORRINGTON – The Wheatland Bulldogs are returning to the Wyoming High School 3A Boys Basketball State Championship. This week the boys will open against the Lyman Eagles who finished their season 17-7. That tipoff will be at noon this Thursday, March 9.

Their Cinderella story began on Thursday as the Bulldogs headed into the regional tournament with an 8-16 record. The task at hand was to win two games to get them back to the state tournament after being eliminated in last year’s regionals by Douglas and Thermopolis.

Thursday evening the games were running behind and the Bulldogs had a lot of sitting before getting on the court. Their first opponent was Glenrock and the game turned out to be a dogfight with neither team giving up any ground. At the end of the first quarter, Wheatland and Herders were deadlocked at six points apiece and by halftime Wheatland opened a slim 15-12 advantage which they held through the third quarter. For a brief and shining moment for the Herders, they took a 26-25 lead before JP Anderson sliced through the lane for a two-point basket that got the Bulldogs the lead which they were able to hold with slim two-point margins for the rest of the way. Wheatland went 7-for-7 at the free-throw line to help cement the 38-34 victory. 

Kumelos in the  inaugural class of All-State female wrestlers

WHEATLAND – Ariel Kumelos made history twice this year. 

The first time was when Lady Bulldog wrestler Ariel “Alex” Kumelos was a part of Wyoming history winning the state title in the 125-pound weight class in the first sanctioned girls’ championship. Wheatland High School joins just 12 other schools in an elite group to be home to a Wyoming girl state champ. Kumelos won a hard-fought match against Natrona’s Andraya Canchola where Kumelos beat her opponent by points, and it came down to a nail-biting finish in the third period. Canchola couldn’t gain the momentum needed to defeat Kumelos. 

The second time, Kumelos made history was becoming a part of the inaugural class of female wrestlers who were named to the Wyoming All-State Lady Wrestling Team at the 125-pound weight classification.

Lady Bulldogs split season home openers 

WHEATLAND - The Wheatland Lady Bulldog Softball Team has been busy getting ready for their third upcoming season. The team remains in the east conference which also consists of Campbell County Thunder Basin, Cheyenne Central, Cheyenne East, Cheyenne South and Laramie. Wheatland by far is the smallest of all the schools in the conference which dominated at the state tournament last year. 

“This year we are excited to have most of the players returning as we only graduated four seniors last year,” Jodie Fitzwater, Lady Bulldog head coach said. “We have eight new players joining the team. The players bring a wide range of skills, positional play and experiences with them which will make the team more diverse and competitive this year. We are anticipating more wins and a stronger season finish with a goal of making it to state this year.” 

April 2023

Area athletes participate at Wheatland High School Invite

WHEATLAND – The Wheatland High School Invite which was scheduled for Friday, March 31 was moved ahead to Thursday in anticipation of bad weather coming to town.

Thursday morning there were 24 teams scheduled to roll into Wheatland and search for the football field. At 7 a.m., it was 20-degrees and a thick fog had encompassed Platte County making visibility very difficult for bus drivers. Dubois was the only team that was late due to the fog and the track meet started on time in very cold temperatures which then gave way to warmer sunshine which burned away the fog. By the afternoon most of the crowd was shedding their parkas and blankets and applying sunblock until about 2 p.m. when cloud cover rolled in and the winds were gusting to 50 mph.

Lady Bulldogs playing inspired ball on the road

LARAMIE – The Lady Bulldogs are in the midst of an extended away schedule and are proving to be able to win on the road. 

“We had some great outings from both the junior varsity and varsity teams this past week,” coach Jodie Fitzwater said. “The teams continue to grow and improve each outing.” 

To start off this past week’s action, the Bulldog junior varsity team traveled to Laramie and played a doubleheader against the Plainsmen JV team. In the first game, the Bulldogs took the high-scoring game from the Plainsmen with a score of 11-6.  Wheatland got things moving in the first inning taking advantage of a wild pitch and scoring on the passed ball. 

“They continued gaining momentum with each inning with their bats and aggressive base running,” Fitzwater said. “The team racked up eight hits on the day and they had nine stolen bases in all with Allison Blum leasing the team with two. Tatum Struble was on the mound for the Bulldogs, and she surrendered six runs on three hits and struck out three.” 

Wheatland does well at snowy Douglas Invite

DOUGLAS – On yet another adverse weather week, the track team from Wheatland did well in the icy weather and snow flurries. It hasn’t been the best season for spring sports in Wyoming, but the teams are still managing to muddle through. 

“We had a cold and windy day on Friday in Douglas,” coach Matt Hazen said. “But many of the athletes performed well. We had some snow flurries as well throughout the day, being our fourth track meet in what seems to be the shortest season of my tenure, I am very glad the meet happened. The weather has been a very limiting factor and we continue to hope it will improve as we push toward regionals and state.”

May 2023

Bulldog golfers persevere through adverse conditions

TORRINGTON – The Bulldog golfers began the week on a dry course but finished the week in soggy conditions.

“We finally got a chance to compete this spring, but of course, the weather impacted play,” coach Tony Nichols said. “The tourney in Torrington started off chilly and windy and remained that way until there were only a few holes left. We did not have any girls competing, so our boys squad toughed out the elements to place third as a team.”  

The boys shot a respectable 362 team score only to fall a few shots short of Torrington (346) and Cheyenne Central (356). The Bulldogs were led by Brecken Sandlian who shot an 88 and finished in a tie for 10th. Sandlian was followed by teammates Maxx Meyer and Ryland Petroski who both shot 90 and finished in a three-way tie for 12th. Brock Peasley shot a 94 and Dylan Nelson 96.  

Bulldogs sending 16 athletes to state

RAWLINS – The Wheatland High School track teams did well at the 3A East Regional Track and Field Championships in Rawlins last weekend. There are seven girls and nine boys that have qualified for state.  The girls finished fourth place in the track and field championship while the boys took fifth place.

“The weather outlook was pretty bleak early in the week for the regional track meet in Rawlins,” coach Matt Hazen said. “... The athletes did well this year with 16 athletes punching their tickets to the state event. We had two school records get broken at the regional meet and we had many personal bests. It was a great meet ...”

Nichols breaks two school records 

CASPER – The Wheatland High School track and field teams wrapped up the season last weekend at the 3A State Track and Field Championships at Kelly Walsh High School in Casper.

The Lady Bulldogs finished sixth with 55 points, while the boys’ team placed 10th with 28 points.

The Lady Bulldogs were led by Lily Nichols and Desirae Iacovetto, who picked up the team’s only individual state championships on the weekend. Both earned multiple medals at state.

Nichols won long jump at 17 feet, while Iacovetto won the 100-meter dash in 12.43 seconds.

Iacovetto also finished second in the 200-meter dash in 26.04 seconds. 

Nichols set two new school records in the 800-meter run in 2 minutes, 18.07 seconds, and the 300-meter hurdles in 46 seconds. She finished second and third in those events, respectively.

“Lily Nichols won girls long jump on the first day of state track in the cooler temps and rain. She jumped 17 feet and sealed her spot as the 3A state champion for the event. She also earned all-state honors for girls’ long jump,” Hazen said. “Lily also ran well in the girls 300-meter hurdles. She broke her own record during prelims and again during the finals with a new record time of 46.00, almost a full second of improvement from her final regional time last week.”

June 2023

Lobos look to improve under new head coach

WHEATLAND – Although Jake Montoya was born in Cheyenne and spent early years there, he migrated north with his family and carved out a strong sports niche in Wheatland.

Montoya who wanted to play goalie in hockey as a young boy was in a town where that wasn’t an option, and his father, Tony Montoya, brought forth the similarities to being a catcher in baseball and a goalie in hockey and the youngster started his long career on the diamond.

“I grew up with my dad and watching sports,” Montoya said. “I graduated from Wheatland High School in 2009 and ended up going to a few different colleges along the way. I played at a junior college in Western Nebraska and then transferred and went to Adams State University to finish up my degree.”

New WHS trap coach leads team to conference title

WHEATLAND – The Wheatland High School trap team, under new head coach Kurt Schiller, took the conference championships in the 1A conference this past season with 1,848 points.

This week the veteran marksman will lead his team to the State Shoot in Torrington. 

“I was in business for over 40 years,” Schiller said. “We fished Glendo for years, and I convinced my wife to go up and look at some houses in Glendo. She was kind of dead set against it because when she was younger, they showed horses and she hated to come to Wyoming because of the wind.”

After tracking weather in the foothills of Colorado, they found the wind patterns in Wheatland almost identical. The couple then made the decision to move to the Wheatland area.

Lobos drop conference games, split with Hawks

WHEATLAND – The Wheatland Lobos ‘A’ squad dropped a pair of conference games to the Torrington Tigers Monday, June 19 before splitting a doubleheader with ‘AA’ Cheyenne Post 6 Hawks Sunday in Cheyenne. 

The Lobos opened the week with tough losses to Torrington, 9-5 and 5-2, but capped the weekend with a split with the Hawks, losing game one 7-2 and winning the nightcap 8-6. 

On Monday, the Lobos and Tigers entered the fifth inning of game one tied at 3-3, but Torrington used a six-run fifth inning to put the game out of reach, despite the Lobos out-hitting the Tigers 10-7.  Arik Suko finished 2-for-4 at the plate with two RBI, while Ryland Petroski was 2-for-4 with a run driven in. Kenny Rasner was 1-for-3 with a double and RBI, while J.P. Anderson, Nolan Schaffner, Austin Warren, Lane Nix and Simon May each added a hit for the Lobos. 

Petroski took the loss on the mound, tossing 4.1 innings and allowing nine runs (seven earned) on six hits with six strikeouts. Nix went 2.2 innings in relief and gave up just one hit with two strikeouts.