by nathan oster
A team from Greybull High consisting of seniors Dane Gifford and Elliott Robertson, junior Alex Havener and sophomores Annaliese Fitzsimmons and Jake Gifford was among the 11 Wyoming squads that competed in the final Wyoming Academic Challenge meet of the season.
The competition was held at Central Wyoming College in Riverton.
After four rounds of pool play, Greybull had 590 points after winning its first two rounds and coming in second in the last two.
Overall in pool play, the team finished ahead of four teams, but behind six including Cheyenne East, Campbell County and Big Horn who were tied for second, Tongue River and Riverside who tied for third, and Big Piney who finished in fourth.
GHS beat out Laramie, Worland, Sheridan and Evanston, but it wasn’t enough to get the team into the medal round.
“But I was very happy with their play,” said Lynn Forcella, the team’s advisor. “It was solid all day long led by the strong showings of Alex Havener and Dane Gifford.”
The first round saw a back-and-forth competition between Greybull and Campbell County which came down to the last 10-point question. Havener came through for the win, 160-150.
In game two, Greybull jumped out to an early lead, ahead by 10 questions at one point, before Tongue River pulled ahead at the halfway mark. The Buffs lagged behind for the next 10 questions and then finally surged late to win by 20 points, 190-170.
Game three pitted the team against the eventual state champion, Cheyenne East. “I felt that we played a little scared, but in reality held our own against the big team,” said Forcella. “Although we lost 210-140, I was not at all disappointed in our play.”
In the last game of the day Greybull fell short to Big Piney but finished ahead of Evanston with the scores going 130, 100 and 70, respectively.
In the championship round Cheyenne East went on to gain top honors for the day followed by Big Horn, who was also the small school championship team. Campbell County took third over-all, finally beating out a tenacious Riverside team in a five-question playoff.
GHS graduates “the Great Dane” this year, Dane Gifford, and “he will be missed for his solid presence over the last four years,” said Forcella. “It was pretty fun to watch how every year he got stronger in competition. This year he was our team captain and led our team with poise.”
Elliott Robertson “will also be missed, not just for his presence on the team but also because he is just such a fine young man. He is always a pleasure to take with the team and always an excellent representative of Greybull.”
Alex Havener was a pleasant surprise this year, according to Forcella. “He has always done well, but I saw serious growth in his play over the course of the season. He just came on so strong,” she said. “He should easily step into that senior leader role next year.
“We have six strong sophomores coming up in Annie Fitzsimmons, Lynae McBride, Emma Nelson, Andrew Bottom, Justin Bacus and Carly Mosegard as well as two quality freshmen in the ranks, Margaretha Tinglund and Kevin Sample.
“If we can keep those kinds of numbers and that quality of players, I think we are going to see some good things happen in the next couple of years. We should continue to be a threat and maybe even move into the position of being the team to beat.”