Daily Archives: March 15, 2013

Enrollment climbs to 509

by nathan oster

Big Horn County School District No. 3 has gained 18 students since Oct. 1, pushing its total student count to 509 and forcing school administrators to hire extra help of meet the needs of its growing student population.

“We’re a good 15 students over where we’ve been the last three or four years,” said Supt. Barry Bryant, who said the elementary school has seen the biggest gains.  As of Tuesday, the enrollment at GES stood at 217, which included a second grade class bursting at the seams with 46 students. The middle school enrollment was 129 and the high school enrollment 163, both as of Tuesday.

Bryant said he didn’t have an explanation for the growth, but that some of the new students come from families who moved here to work for the railroad.

Erin Michelena, who grew up in the Greybull area and did her student teaching in the district, has been helping at the second-grade level, Bryant said.

Looking ahead to next year, Bryant said the district plans to hire at least one more elementary teacher because it wants to move current fourth-grade teacher Kerri Thiel into the role of an ELL/intervention specialist.

Betsy Jean Yorgason

Jan. 17, 1946 – Feb. 26, 2013

Betsy was born January 17, 1946, in Greybull, Wyoming, to James Scott McNiven and Betty Gene Morrow McNiven.

Betsy attended school in Burlington, Wyoming and graduated from Burlington High School in 1965. While attending school she learned a very strong work ethic by working on the family farm. That work ethic remained a part of her up until her final day.

Betsy attended business college in Bakersfield, California after graduation from high school. She then moved on to Washington, D.C., and was the secretary at the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the agent in charge of the Washington, D.C., field office. She was a part of cases such as the “Patty Hearst” case. She gave up this career in interest of marriage and starting a family.

May 31, 1973, Betsy married Francis Leland Yorgason in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. Their first child, James Joseph Yorgason, was born March 13, 1974, in Pocatello, Idaho. LeeAnn Yorgason followed two year later on January 17, 1976 in Powell, Wyoming. Their final daughter Susan Michelle Yorgason was born February 12, 1979, in Mason City, Iowa.

Betsy lived for service, especially where children and church were involved. She operated a daycare out of her home in Charles City, Iowa, for 25 years. Much of her pride and joy came from this opportunity to teach and care for these children along with her own. She served her church and various communities in many different capacities. Along with service she had a lifelong love of music and taught herself to play the piano.

Betsy is survived by the love of her life and eternal companion, Francis Leland Yorgason of Perry, Utah; son James (Rossana) Yorgason of Pleasant View, Utah; daughter Lee Ann (Norman) Nix of Las Vegas, Nevada, and daughter Susan of Farmington, Utah. Betsy is also survived by two grandchildren, Noelle Krystine and Nicholas James Yorgason.

On behalf of her family, a special thanks to Doctors Lance Bryce and Brian Dawson, Advocate hospice staff, especially RN Misti and CNA Lola, special friends and nurses Callie Johnson and Sunshine, who were so close in the end and who all gave her impeccable care.

Funeral services were held at the Perry, Utah Stake Center, 685 W. 2250 S. Perry, Utah 84302 at twelve o’clock noon on March 1, 2013. Burial was held in Burlington, Wyoming. Services were under the direction of Serenicare Funeral Home of Providence and Ogden, Utah.

(Paid obituary)

Nancy Tolman Murphy

OBIT MurphyNov. 6, 1941 – March 4, 2013

Funeral services for Nancy Tolman Murphy will be held Saturday, March 9 at 11 a.m. at the Hobble Creek 14th Ward in Springville, Utah. Nancy died March 4, 2013, at her home in Springville.

She was born Nov. 6, 1941, in Washington, D.C., the daughter of David Elden and Nedra Carlston Tolman. She was raised in Arlingon, Va., and graduated from Wakefield Senior High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from BYU and for many years taught ninth grade English at Vernal Junior High.

She married William George Murphy, a Greybull High School graduate, on Aug. 18, 1967, in the Salt Lake City LDS Temple.

Nancy’s greatest joys were her family and the gospel. She loved music, sports, reading, gardening and the changes of the season.

She was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served in many capacities.

Her husband William George Murphy preceded her in death.

She is survived by her six children and their spouses: David and Gina Murphy, Theron and Jody Murphy, George and Brinli Murphy, Dale and Wendy Murphy Eaton, Michael and Amy Beaver and Stephen and Charlotte Murphy; one brother and sister-in-law, David and Connie Tolman, and 22 grandchildren.


Carlson named all conference

by marlys good

GHS junior Ceirra Carlson has been named to the Class 2A All-Northwest Conference team. She joins Emilee Reasch, Amanda Robertson and Kim Shumway of Lovell, Brittany Vigil and Cydnie Clark of Riverside, Shauna Loman and Kallee Wilson of Rocky Mountain and Dana Bjorhus and Jordan Leyba of Thermopolis.

Bjorhus was named Northwest Conference player of the year, with Lady Bulldog Coach Chris Edwards honored by his peers as the conference coach of the year.

Lady Buff Coach Jeff Hunt said Ceirra’s selection “was no surprise. Ceirra had a great season and her stats are comparable to the conference player of the year (Bjorhus).” Carlson averaged 13.3 points per game, had 118 rebounds, dished out 57 assists and had 74 steals.

“Ceirra scored in double figures 22 times and nine of those were 15 points or higher,“ Hunt pointed out. “She was a threat every time she stepped on the court. She was also one of the best defensive players on the court, every game. She has received compliments from throughout the state.

Summing it up, Hunt said,  “It was just a great year for her; I’m looking forward to watching her play next season.”

Ceirra is the daughter of Mike and Shelby Carlson.

Gonzalez makes all-conference team

by nathan oster

The Greybull Buffs put one player, Payton Gonzalez, on the Class 2A All-Northwest Conference team, which was released following the completion of last weekend’s state tournament in Casper.

Gonzalez, a junior guard, led the Buffs in scoring, averaging 11.2 points per game, and in steals, finishing the year with 65.  He also ranked second in assists with 55 and pulled down 61 rebounds, including 29 on the offensive end.

He was also one of Greybull’s top shooters, connecting on 43 percent of his two-point attempts, 60 percent of his shots from the charity stripe, and with 26 treys on 106 attempts, was the team’s top threat from behind the arc.

“No one puts in as much gym time as Payton. He attends every open gym, every summer league game, and every tournament we participate in and that hard work has paid dividends,” said Coach Jim Prather. “In his first year as a varsity starter, Payton was our leading scorer. He also was our team leader in steals, forced turnovers, and deflections.

“To be named all-conference and be only a junior is quite an achievement. This year eight of the 10 selections were seniors. Seniors dominate these types of selections, so for the other coaches in our league to recognize Payton’s body of work during his junior season shows the respect he has earned in our conference. If the past is any indicator, Payton will be in the gym when we start in April to work on improving his game. We are fortunate to have him coming back to play for the Buffs next season.”

Greybull finished fourth in the conference and 9-18 overall.

Cody Savage, who led the Bulldogs to the 2A title last weekend in Casper, was named the conference’s player of the year.  He was joined on the all-conference team by teammates Dylan Hultgren and Ryan Clark.

Other first-team all-conference selections included Bryce Ward, Kirby Winland and Michael Bernhisel of Rocky Mountain, Tanner Abbott and Kacy Conner of Thermopolis and Clint Getzfreid of Riverside.

All-state team

The 2A all-state team was released on Tuesday and it included the following players:  Cody Savage and Ryan Clark of Lovell, Bryce Ward of Rocky Mountain, Tanner Abbott of Thermopolis, Mathew Wigglesworth of Big Horn, Levi Peterson of Moorcroft, Travis Romsma of Burns, Hunter Dockery and Travis Smith of Lusk, Alvin Spoonhunter and Trevor Williamson of Wyoming Indian and Jordan Sims of Big Piney.

Herrins honored for 72 years together

by marlys good

It was Oct. 12, 1940 when Marcella Johnson and Dan Herrin entered St. Vincent’s Catholic Church in St. Paul, Minn., clasped hands and vowed: “…for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, honor, and cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.”

After weathering 72 years of “better, worse, richer, poorer, sickness, health,” Marcella and Dan are as committed to each other as they were as newlyweds.

Dan and Marcella were both 18 years old when they began dating, and 22 years old when they exchanged vows.

As teenagers, what drew them together?

“There was a group of young girls and young boys, and Dan and I were both the oldest,” Marcella said, bright eyes flashing. “He was very intelligent, good-natured, a real gentleman.”

Dan said Marcella was his first and only girlfriend. “She was good-looking, pretty. I just liked her looks,” he said.

Dan worked “in a hamburger joint,” he laughed, putting in 10 hours a day, seven days a week, for a hefty $19 paycheck. Marcella worked 40 hours a week at a union-run printing plant and earned $14 per week.  Their first home was an unfurnished four-room “upper duplex” they rented for $17 a month.

Times were lean, but it was a happy time, both recall. “We didn’t think about it. Things (like that) didn’t bother people back then,” Marcella said. “Nine months and 10 days from the day we were married Julie Ann was born,” Dan said.

Dan joined the Marine Corps when Julie was 3 years old. He was stationed in California and Marcella wanted to see him again before he shipped out to Pearl Harbor (and eventually Okinawa) so with 3-year-old Julie in tow, pregnant with their second child, Marcella boarded a train and set out.

It was wartime and “the train was so crowded. People were standing up; but I didn’t have to,” she laughed. Dan and Marcella spent a couple of days together before he left and she returned home.

He was overseas for 15 months. When he returned Dan recalled taking a cab to his home, opening his arms to be welcomed by Marcella and Julie, and Ellen, just learning to walk, shyly looking on in the background, not realizing it was her “Daddy.”

Dan went to work as a federal meat inspector and life returned to normal. An avid hunter and lover of the outdoors, Dan had been hunting in Wyoming, and always wanted to come back to live. The opportunity came when a small meat-packing plant in Casper went federal. Dan jumped at the job opening and in the early ‘60s and they moved to Casper. By this time the family had grown to include sons Charles (now deceased) and Daniel.

Marcella had never been to Wyoming but came “because Dan wanted me to. That’s the way it was; it’s always been that way.”

Although life has had its ups and downs, the couple said they have never argued very much. Marcella said Dan has always been a hardworking, dependable man, “always understanding and respectable.” She said it’s important that “you marry someone you LIKE. That is as important as loving them. And it is important to have a sense of humor. Dan has a better one than I have,” she admitted.

Dan said the couple’s successful marriage “just evolved that way. We were attracted to each other and we love each other.”

Summing it up, Marcella said simply, “It is just like we were supposed to be together.”

Lifelong Catholics, their faith is and has always been an integral part of their marriage. They renewed their wedding vows on their 50th anniversary.

Father Tom Ogg of St. Mary Magdalene and Sacred Heart Catholic churches in Worland and Greybull, representing Worldwide Marriage Encounter, the original faith-based marriage enrichment program in the United States, sponsored by the Catholic Church, presented Dan and Marcella with a framed parchment certificate for being “the Longest Married Couple in Wyoming.”

Father Ogg said, “It is such a joy and blessing to recognize fidelity and permanence in marriages these days.”

Worldwide Marriage Encounters was conceived to focus positive attention on marriage and to honor those who had been married the longest in the world, the United States, and each individual state.

Nominations were open to all couples, regardless of religion and WWME received hundreds of nominations from family, friends, neighbors, pastors, church secretaries and from the couples themselves. Nominations were sent via email, phone calls and letters that were compiled into an Excel spreadsheet and sorted by state and length of marriage.

Hospital plans unveiled to rave reviews

by barbara anne greene

The reconstruction and modernization plans for South Big Horn County Hospital brought oohs and ahs for those seeing the presentation from Dan Odasz from Plan One Architects. Odasz presented a three dimensional view of the proposed additions and new construction at the Feb. 21 monthly board meeting.

While the final colors and finishes haven’t been chosen, the concept of the new look is beautiful. It features a covered entrance with room for two vehicles for drop off. Odasz said even though the phases they are working on are in the back they needed to design the front as well in order to be consistent in roof height, aesthetics, etc.

Phase one was completed last year with the radiology and lab addition. Phase two construction will be the new emergency room and mechanical plant addition. This will be on the west side or the back of the facility.

Phase three construction will be the inpatient services addition. This will also be in the back next to the emergency entrance. There will also be a side entrance that faces north.

Phase four of construction will be the dietary and central warehouse. This will be built on the south side of radiology and have much closer access to the nursing home. There will be a loading dock as well. New water and sewer lines will be a part of this project.

The existing nursing home will stay the same.

Eventually the board hopes to have a new outpatient clinic, administration and physical therapy additions as well. That is when the covered entrance comes in.

The request for bid will go out end of April or beginning of May. Odasz noted there was a lot interest from contractors already. The project estimate is as follows: Emergency room and mechanical plant addition — $2,992,685; inpatient services ‑ $1,390,603; dietary and central warehouse; $2,055,325; legal fees — $50,000; cost escalation for one year – 1 percent — $65,000. Total $6,553,613. The total new construction will be 17,000 square feet.

Copies of the plans and costs are available at the hospital for the public to view.

In other business at last Thursday’s meeting:

•Board member and treasurer Jack Preston gave the financial and treasurer  reports which were approved and accepted unanimously.

•Hospital administrator Jackie Claudson gave a nursing home, clinic and hospital reports.

“The nursing home is doing amazing,” said Claudson. The residents enjoyed the Valentine party and the students from the Basin school who came to visit. The staff is doing well with the new computer system. They are doing the documentation and doing a nice job.

In the clinic/hospital report, Claudson indicated that the biggest thing going on is the continued learning on the new computer system. She is talking to staff regularly to continue to move the system forward. “They are all trying very hard.”

Claudson also discussed that as a critical access hospital they have to do a community health survey every three years. There will be a group coming to help do the survey that was hired by the Wyoming Hospital Association. In addition to community involvement the board will also need to be a part of it. This will happen sometime in March.

•Board president Diana Elliott talked about a seminar put on by the American Hospital Association that three of the board members attended. The seminar was called, “Making a difference for patients. The boards role in quality and safety.”

Elliott said, “As a board we are answerable  to the whole community. Not just the voters who elected us and not just for the tax dollars they entrusted us with. We are answerable for the quality of health care. Quality care from the staff, doctors, nurses, lab, x-ray, dietary, housekeeping, maintenance … the whole. Our job is to make ourselves aware of the problems, issues and make sure they are fixed.”

The board does not fix these problems but they need to know about them and that there are procedures in place to fix them and that the procedures are followed through with, she added.

The board agreed to have a work meeting at least once a year. They will be reviewing the mission and vision statements to make sure they reflect what the board wants them to say. They will also get more involved in the Quality Assurance Program (QAP) at the hospital so they understand more what is going on and that actions are being taken to fix issues if there are any.

Board member Sue Antley recently attended her first one. She said, “It was very interesting and done very well.” The QAP is held once a month. Representatives from each department meet at least four times a year with the QAP coordinator.

New canal board members elected

by nathan oster

As annual membership meetings go, it was a doozie, featuring talk of lawsuits, allegations of wrongdoing by public officials and even claims that ballots from a recent election had been improperly counted and reported.

But by the end of the night, the members of the Shell Canal Company had had their say. The results of the first “annual membership meeting” held Feb. 4, 2013 were declared invalid, and as the clock neared 11 p.m. the membership finalized its new board, which now consists of Quinton Noyes, Tom Delaney (incumbent), LeRoy Klitzke (incumbent) and Ray Weese, along with holdover Gary Good.

Voted out of office were Barbara Burbridge and Boyd Van Fleek. While Burbridge simply failed to win re-election, Van Fleek was removed from office prior to the end of his term by a vote of the general membership.

The Shell Canal Company has approximately 130 members. Approximately 70 showed up for Monday’s annual meeting, which was moved from the Greybull Public Library to the Greybull Elks Lodge to accommodate the anticipated large turnout.

Those in attendance on Monday, and the proxies they brough with them from people unable to attend, accounted for approximately 3,500 of the 3,776 acres that are served by the canal between the base of the Big Horn Mountains and the Greybull town limits.

By show of hands, the membership agreed to set aside 32 acres belonging to Adele Snyder due to questions about her proxy — as both Delaney and a neighbor staked their claim to it, citing conversations earlier in the day with Snyder.

Delaney, as president of the board, had called for Monday’s meeting in a Feb. 11 letter to the membership. In that letter, he questioned the qualifications of Tom Goton Sr., who had been elected Feb. 4.

In that election, the initial report of the votes cast suggested that the three seats had gone to Burbridge, Goton and Delaney.  A letter that was sent out a few days later, however, after the voters were checked out, suggested that a different threesome had won:

When asked about the status of the ballots from that election, Rebecca Burbridge Dalin reported that they were no longer in her possession, as she had thrown them away.

In Delaney’s letter, he stated that, according to the bylaws, Goton’s election was invalid because he does not own land served by Shell Canal Company or reside in the immediate area surrounding the corporation’s property.

Delaney said he had verified it with the courthouse, and that Robert’s Rules of Order clearly state that if a person is elected does not meet the eligibility requirement, the election is be declared void.

The first question for the membership on Monday night was whether it was, in fact, a valid election.

Goton asserted that it was, saying that he had purchased the land in question on Feb. 1 and that all the papers had been signed — he just couldn’t turn them into the title insurance until Feb. 6.

He argued however that that wasn’t even a valid concern, since “our bylaws say that two members of the board don’t even have to have water rights to be on the board.  I was duly elected.  It was a legal meeting, I had the second highest number of votes, and there were four more below me.”

He suggested that the push to have his election invalidated was “crooked,” adding, “Somebody is on the take from somebody.”

Goton added, “This is just an attempt to keep me off the board.  Something is going on. … If this isn’t remedied, you’re all going to lose some of your water rights.”

Van Fleek, the canal company’s largest property owner, cited “Wyoming water law” in argueing that the results of the election were, in fact legal.

Delaney challenged the assertion of impropriety, saying later, “All I’m trying to do is get everything out in the open. It’s not me.  The only thing we could go by was courthouse records, and we have a map that shows what (properties) have water rights and what properties do not.”

Before deciding on the validity of the election, the members heard arguments from both sides.

Bill Burbridge said, “Have you ever heard a ‘re-election’ after the first one, on any level of government?  All the information I’ve been able to find indicates that when there is an election, if there discrepancies, you should try to work through them and figure out who won.  You should not have another election. It’s just not done.”

VanFleek said that in his research, “in 45 years of minutes, I only documented one time when the Shell Canal held an illegal meeting — and it was when a quorum was not present but business was conducted anyway. That didn’t happen this time.

Lee Madsen and Dean Waddell were the most vocal proponents for holding another election, particularly since the original ballots were no longer available to determine who actually the most binding votes.

The membership ultimately sided with them — and strongly, voting by a nearly two to one margin to throw out the results of the Feb. 4 election and to vote again.

First up was Burbridge’s two-year term.  Three candidates were nominated: Burbridge, Goton and Noyes.  The membership favored Noyes, by a margin of 2266 shares to Burbridge’s 1,300.  Goton didn’t receive any votes.

Next up was Delaney’s two-year term.  Again three candidates were nominated:  Holden Harder, Delaney and Clark Letellier.  In the end, it was Delaney who got the nod, with 2,165 votes.  Harder ran a strong second, followed by LeTellier.

The final seat, a one-year term, came down to Leroy Klitzke (who had been on the board) and Burbridge.  The membership gave the nod to Kliltzke, who received 2,179 votes to Burbridge’s 1,313.

Prior to that last vote, Van Fleet informed Delaney that he intended to “take this to court,” saying that it had been “an illegal meeting” because, among other things, it was called to order by



The second half of the meeting centered on Wyo-Ben, its ownership of 126 acres of adjudicated water rights and the filing of a petition by Van Fleet for the “involuntary abandonment of those rights.”

Dale Nuttall, the Wyo-Ben mine superintendent, told the membership that Wyo-Ben has been using the water to wet down its road. While that isn’t consistent with the “agricultural” or “domestic” purposes spelled out in the water right, Nuttall said Wyo-Ben has been working for the past three years to rectify that.

In fact, he said Wyo-Ben and Shell Canal Company had an agreement in place in which Wyo-Ben would continue to use the water. The canal, in turn, would get the water that it doesn’t use — and last year, Nuttall said Wyo-Ben used only 6 percent of it and turned the rest back to the canal company for its use.

Wyo-Ben also paid $40,000 to the canal company last year, Nuttall said.

Van Fleet’s actions, however, put that in jeopardy. He filed an involuntary abandonment of water rights with the state. Unless he decides to withdraw that petition, the state will issue a ruling, and if it sides with Van Fleet, it would mean a reduction in water for all canal users, plus higher assessments for users who would be responsible for greater shares of the improvements taking place along the canal.

Rick Magstadt, vice president of Wyo-Ben, said Wyo-Ben was working on the transfer of its 126 acres to the canal company in exchange for an enlargement of the canal, which would allow Wyo-Ben to continue using water to wet down its roads.

Magstadt said he was confident that Wyo-Ben and the Shell Canal Company would come to an agreement, but that Van Fleek’s actions jeopardize it.  “We’re looking for a solution, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to be possible now.”

Van Fleek said he had personal reasons to file the petition, saying that not enough progress had been made by Wyo-Ben.  As the largest user of water on the canal, he said he’d be one of the primary recipients of the return flows.  He added that he believes Wyo-Ben has been using water illegally for the past 30 years, to the detriment of himself and other canal users.

Van Fleek said he felt it was his “duty” to file the petition, but Bev Hankins challenged that.

“Our bentonite plant is more important than you are, Mr. Van Fleek,” she said. Addressing the membership, she added, “He is a selfish man who wants to take (the water right for) a little bit of land that kept their road wet.

“This is wrong, Mr. Van Fleek, and you are not a good citizen.”

Van Fleek said later that the filing of the petition was as way to “force the issue” with Wyo-Ben, saying that three years had passed already without a resolution. Should Wyo-Ben make “a good faith effort” to rectify the problem, he stated that he would withdraw the petition.

The membership, again by a nearly two to one margin in shares, later voted to remove Van Fleek from the board, citing his actions which went against the wishes of the membership as a whole.

Ray Weese was then appointed to complete the remaining year of Van Fleek’s term.

As the meeting was drawing to a close, both Burbridge and VanFleek spoke in different terms about what lies ahead. Burbridge, who has served on the board for the past 10 years, said she was ready to move on.

“I really didn’t care all that much if it got on again,” she said. “I’ve been on the board for 10 years and feel like I’ve done a lot of work. I’m a little water user. I was on (the board) for everyone else, just trying to get everything reconciled and get everything right.

“It’s clear they don’t want to go down what I think is the right road.  They want to go down the road of the good ‘ol boys.”

As for Van Fleek, he said simply, “I’m going to continue to ensure that the laws that govern our system are upheld.”

And how are going to do that, since you’re no longer on the board?

“That has yet to be determined,” he said.


Lady Buffs sent home by Wind River, WIHS

by marlys good

The Lady Buffs lost the battle from the charity stripe, and were tossed into the loser-out bracket by Wind River, 65-52, in their opening game at the Class 2A West Regional tournament in Riverton Thursday.

Officials called a total of 47 fouls (31 in the first half) and 61 free throws were attempted, with Wind River hitting 24 of 39 and the Buffs 11 of 22.

The Buffs started slow, down 12-5 at the end of the first quarter, but regrouped, picked things up and challenged Wind River through the remainder of the game.

Coach Jeff Hunt said he didn’t know what to expect from the Lady Cougars, but felt “like we gave it our all. It was a fast-paced game that we couldn’t slow down, but we stayed with them and made several runs. In the end it came down to free throws and we just couldn’t make ours, and they made them when it counted.”

Both Ceirra Carlson and Brett Stephens fouled out and Biri Gallegos and Sarah Bockman were saddled with four apiece. That made a big difference in the game.

“We fouled too much, but we had to toward the end of the game just to have a chance,” Hunt said.

Carlson had a “great” game, Hunt said, scoring a game-high 21 points that included two three pointers, and grabbed a team-high six boards. It took a lot of effort as the junior had battled the flu all night and was still sick during the game.

The Buffs could not get in synch for the loser-out Friday morning game with Wyoming Indian and lost, 66-46, to the Lady Chiefs.

“It was difficult for us to get anything going offensively, and we didn’t play very good defense and it cost us. We had to press the whole game just to stay in it, and we had way too many turnovers (32),” Hunt said. “We just never got anything going.”

Hunt was proud of his team, “We could have stopped playing at any point, but didn’t. The girls battled right ‘til the end. We showed a lot of character in a very emotional game, especially for our seniors who knew it was their last.”

Coach Hunt said he felt like the Buffs had a “pretty good season considering all the obstacles we had to adapt to throughout the year. We set goals, and we met several of those goals. I definitely learned a lot about myself, and about the girls. I am so proud of them and how they played all season long. We had our ups and downs, like most teams, but they reacted so well no matter what the situation. I know when I look back at this season I will always see it as positive. I worked with a great group of girls who played their hearts out day in and day out. We surprised some people, including ourselves, a few times.”

Hunt singled out his seniors, Sarah Bockman, Biri Gallegos, Michaela Denniston, Georgi Hall and Hunter Grant, “who were freshmen when I first started with the girls program, and we‘ve had a lot of fun together over the years. They will leave a huge void, not just in the basketball program, but in the school and community.

“Sara, Biri and Michaela have been varsity players since they were sophomores. Michaela has been such a great defensive player; she works as hard, or harder, than any player I’ve ever coached. She is the type of player we had to ask to leave the gym so we could go home to our families. Sarah and Biri really stepped up; both of them did whatever it took to keep their starting spots. They wee great leaders for the younger players. Georgi improved more than any other play and earned herself a starting spot. She became one of our go-to players these past few weeks. Our last senior is Hunter. She is just a great team player who always put the team first no matter what the situation. I am going to miss all of them and have really enjoyed watching them grow into such great young adults.”


Greybull 5  20  12  15 — 52

Wind River  12  18  16  19 — 65

GREYBULL — Michaela Denniston 0 1-2 3, Georgi Hall 2 0-0 4, Ceirra Carlson 8 3-6 21, Biri Gallegos 2 0-2 4, Brett Stephens 1 4-4 6, Karlina McIntosh 3 3-4 9, Jordan Kraft 3 0-2 7. Totals 19-63 11-22 52.

3-POINT GOALS — Carlson 2, Kraft; Lonedog, Groesbeck, Sorenson. REBOUNDS — Greybull 16 (Carlson 6, Stephens 5); Wind River 25. STEALS — Greybull 13 (Gallegos 5), Wind River 13. ASSISTS — Greybull 10 (Denniston 3); Wind River 4. TURNOVERS — Greybull 21; Wind River 27.


Greybull    9  18    4  15 – 46

WIHS  17  17  16  16 – 66

GREYBULL: Denniston 1 0-0 3, Hall 0 2-2 2, Carlson 3 5-8 13, Gallegos 2 4-6 8, Stephens 1 1-2 3; McIntosh 2 4-5 8, Sarah Bockman 3 0-0 6, Kraft 1 1-6 3. Totals 13 82 17-30 45.

3-POINT GOALS — Denniston, Carlson 2; McGill.  REBOUNDS — Greybull 31 (Stephens 10); WIHS 37.  STEALS — Greybull 14 (Denniston 3); WIHS 22.  ASSISTS — Greybull 7; WIHS 1.  TURNOVERS — Greybull 32; WIHS 36.

Fourth-place finish nets G-R trophy

by nathan oster

A season that began with question marks up and down the order and with only six kids having any state wrestling experience whatsoever ended on a high note for Greybull-Riverside last weekend at the Casper Events Center.

The Buffs brought home a trophy, which was the goal, finishing fourth in the 21-team field with 126.5 points and trailing only 2A champion Moorcroft-Hulett (which set a new 2A team record with 263 points), Cokeville (170) and Lovell (147.5).

“I always play the bracketology game where I count points … and we came in right about where I thought we would,” said Coach Mark Sanford. “In one scenario, I had us having 13 points more; in another three points more.

“But Lovell scored 18 more than I thought they would, too, so give credit to them.”

Thirteen of G-R’s 15 state qualifiers won matches in Casper.  Leading the charge were its eight placers: Luke Zeller, second at 160; Cole Hill, third and 145; Spencer Redland, third at 195; Jesus Burgos, fifth at 138; Rob Nuttall, fifth at 170; Zane Edeler, fifth at 220; Tanner Bernstein, fifth at 285; and Matt Brown, sixth at 182.

Zeller was the only Buff to make finals.  The reigning 2A champion at 160, he coasted through his first three matches before losing to his old nemesis, Nathan Grant of Lovell.  The two met seven times this year, with Grant winning five, Zeller two.

The match in Casper was tight throughout. Zeller scored the first point on an escape, but Grant scored two big takedowns to build a 5-2 lead.  A false start penalty brought Zeller to within 5-3, but that was as close as he would get.  With Grant in control, Zeller need an escape and a takedown to win.  He went for it — but it didn’t work out as planned, as he ended up in an awkward position. Grant covered him and ultimately got the pin with just 11 seconds left in the match.

“It was disappointing, but Luke was going for the win, and you can’t fault him for that,” Sanford said of the final seconds of the match.  The loss was a difficult one for both athlete and coach.  Two days later, Sanford struggled to put Zeller’s career into perspective.

“It’s tough,” he said. “He’s done so much, from USA all the way through high school, and he’ll go down as one of the best wrestlers I’ve ever coached.  Definitely one of the most knowledgable about wrestling.”

Sanford recalled that Zeller and fellow seniors Dylan Brenner (who was unable to wrestle this year due to an injury) and Nuttall were the last remaining members off Greybull-Riverside’s championship team in 2010.  They were also together as the team dealt with tragedy off the mat.

“The most impressive thing about Luke is that as a senior, he really stepped up as a leader. They’d finish up running stairs and he’d grab three or four of the more inexperienced kids and lead them back to the wrestling room where they’d work on stuff.  Before this year, he never really had to be a leader.  It was impressive. We had more returning placers last year and we didn’t get a trophy.  This year we did — and Luke deserves a lot of credit for that.”

Both of Greybull-Riverside’s third-place finishers were good stories as well.

Cole Hill “probably had the best tournament of anyone on our team,” said Sanford, noting that the freshman’s only loss was to Luke Lovett of Moorcroft (who went on to place second) and that he picked up four other wins.  Several were impressive, including one over 41-15 Alex Ferguson of Wright and another over 27-19 Hyrum Hopkin of Lovell.

But the third-place match was the icing on the cake.  In it, he faced Wyatt Hageman of Lingle-Fort Laramie, who entered the tournament with a 36-3 record. In the semifinals one night earlier, Hageman had battled Brigham Teichert of Cokeville before losing “the bloodbath” 4-1.

Hill wasn’t intimidated. He battled Hageman through three periods and into overtime before posting the 7-5 win.  “It was the best match of his high school career so far,” said Sanford.  “What a nice win and a nice way to end the season.”

The memorable part of Redland’s weekend was the way he finished.  He easily won his first two matches to make semis, where he lost in heartbreaking fashion to Colby Thurston of Lusk, the No. 1 seed from the East.  Thurston scored the winning point with one second left when the ref whistled Redland for stalling.

But the Riverside product responded like a champion, “wrestling the last two matches better than he has all season.”  He won both to finish third. “Spencer was aggressive from start to finish.”

Sanford said that if Redland can avoid the type of mistakes that cost him a place last year (when he was fourth, instead of third), and this year (when he was third, instead of second), he’ll likely find himself in the finals next year as a senior.

Redland and Hill’s final wins came in the midst of what Sanford would later call “one of the best rounds I’ve ever seen from any of the teams I’ve taken to state.” It came in the third- and fifth-place matches Saturday afternoon, as Burgos, Nuttall, Edeler and Berstein made the Buffs a perfect 6-for-6 in that round.  Only Matt Brown lost — and his was by injury default.

Burgos went 4-2 for the weekend, and one of his winscame over Brody Lay of Lingle-Fort Laramie, who entered with a 35-15 record.  Burgos also beat his old nemesis, Dalton Perkins of Wind River, in his first and final matches of the tournament.

“Zeus did a great job,” Sanford said. “Coming in fifth…it was a nice finish for his junior year.”

Nuttall capped his career by winning three of his five matches in Casper.  Quite a finish for a wrestler who, when the season began, didn’t even know if he’d be recovered enough from an ankle injury in football to even compete. His big win came in the quarters, when he defeated Travis Jinks of Southeast, 4-2. Sanford credited Nuttall for the way he finished, shaking off two straight losses to defeat Jinks again in the semifinals.

“Rob has gone through so much in his athletic career,” Sanford said. “But he has battled through it all. I didn’t know if he’d wrestle this year, but Rob’s a fired up, emotional kid, so he just kept working. It was nice to see him finish the way he did. It was an emotional moment for all of us.  I’m proud of him, just for having that opportunity in the first place.”

Brown won his first two matches, including a clutch 7-1 triumph over Cecil Brockman of Burns-Pine Bluffs, to earn a spot in the semifinals.  But a loss to Tel West of Moorcroft there was followed by another setback, 5-1, to Zane Hladky of Lusk in which Brown suffered an injury. He injury defaulted in the fifth-place match, where his opponent would have been Brockman.

“Matt had a good season coming off swimming last year,” said Sanford. “He gets a few things taken care of, like getting better on his feet, and he’ll be a tough kid to wrestle next year.”

Edeler was the master of the pin in Casper, winning all four of his matches by fall.  His only losses were to Jacob Wells of Saratoga and Patrick Forster of Shoshoni — and Edeler avenged the Wells loss by sticking him in just 36 seconds in the fifth-place match.

Edeler placed second at state last year, but the “the weight class was a little different…and we were a little different too,” said Sanford, adding that he’d like to see Edeler “add a leg attack” instead of simply relying on his throwing ability, which he described as “the best on the team.”

Bernstein was hobbled by an ankle injury, but he still managed to win his first two matches before running into Justin Irene of Hanna in the semis.  Irene had a big edge in weight, and at one point his knee landed hard on Bernstein’s ankle, agrivating the injury. Bernstein lost that match as was held out of his next match so that he could focus on the fifth-place math, in which he gutted out a pin in 2:49.

“Tanner did a really good job,” said Sanford. “He should be a force next year too.  The key for him is, he always brings it on Friday and Saturday.  If he can learn to bring it like that in the practice room, it’s really going to help.”



Five other Buffs won matches, but did not place, including Luis Burgos at 106, Ryan Peoples at 126, Jarrod Johnson at 160, Tommy Bernstein at 170 and Luke Young at 182.  Sanford had good things to say about all of them.

Burgos didn’t get a lot of mat time but showed good potential.

Peoples produced three team points with a big pin and showed great effort.

Johnson won two matches, both of them by pin. In one he surprised his coach by simply refusing to lose.

Bernstein used “a great effort” to notch a one-point victory in one of his matches.

Young “did a really nice job too,” Sanford said, noting that he won his match by pin and, like the others, made solid improvement during the sason.

The two Buffs who didn’t win matches had one thing in common: tough draws.  But both Marshall Gibbs, at 113, and Anthony Eibert, at 152, are young and have good potential, according to Sanford.

As he looks ahead to next year, Sanford believes Moorcroft and Cokeville will again be strong, but that if things break right, his team could be in the mix as well.

“When you think about it, for nine of our 15 kids, this was their first experience in a state wrestling tournament,” said Sanford, adding that injuries derailed several others, including Brenner, Oscar Gomez and Chris Ogg, who could have been factors in Casper.



TEAM SCORES: Moorcroft-Hulett 263, Cokeville 170, Lovell 147.5, G-R 126.5, Shoshoni 95, Wright 85, Thermopolis 80.5, Lingle-Fort Laramie 80, Southeast 65.5, Burns-Pine Bluffs 64, Dubois 61, Saratoga 61 ,Wind River 59, Rocky Mt. 57.5, HEM 55, Kemmerer 53.5, Lusk 40, Big Piney 27, Upton 16, Sundance 13, Wyoming Indian 6.

106 — Luis Burgos (5-8) lost by fall to Thomas Garvie (LFL), 0:33; pinned Tayte Payne (Coke), 0:30; lost to Keanen Pfisterer (WR) 6-4.

113 — Marshall Gibbs (12-27) lost by tech fall to Connor Wilkinson (SHO), 15-0; lost by fall to Orion Smith (Wri), 2:50.

126 — Ryan Peoples (4-24) lost by fall to Merritt Hageman (LFL), 3:29; pinned Mark Ballou (Sho), 3:32; lost by fall to Joey Bassett (Lov), 4:17.

138 — Jesus Burgos (25-18) defeated Dalton Perkins (WR), 6-3; lost to Toby Reynolds (Moor), 4-1; pinned Jarred Glenn (Moor), 0:49; defeated Brody Lay (LFL), 8-2; lost to Bonner Brown (BP), 11-0; defeated Perkins, 7-3 to place fifth.

145 — Cole Hill (28-21) pinned Caleb Sipe (The), 1:46; defeated Alex Ferguson (Wri), 3-1; lost by fall to Luke Lovett, 1:55; won by tech fall over Hyrum Hopkin (Lov), 17-2; defeated Wyatt Hageman (LFL), 7-5 in overtime to place third.

152 — Anthony Eibert (17-30) lost by fall to Rylie Richardson (HEM), 1:05; and lost by fall to Rylee Roberts (Kem), 1:57.

160 — Luke Zeller (38-8) pinned Josh McCracken (RM), 1:48; pinned Kaleb O’Connor (BPB), 1:07; pinned Preston Neiman (Moor), 1:11; lost by fall to Nathan Grant (Lov), 5:49, to place second.

160 — Jarrod Johnson (5-12) lost by fall to Julian Preston (SE), 3:24; pinned Hunter Quick (Wri), 0:45; pinned Justis Fisher (BP), 3:29; lost to Kaleb O’Connor (BPB), 10-2.

170 — Tommy Bernstein (5-11) lost by fall to Jacob Beck (Lov), 0:55; defeated Garett Story (BPB), 6-5; lost by fall to Travis Jinks (SE), 4:23.

170 — Rob Nuttall (9-5) defeated Ian Davidson (RM), 12-3; defeated Travis Jinks (SE), 4-2; lost by fall to Colter Linford (Coke), 3:25; lost to R.J. Seaman (HEM), 4-2; defeated Jinks (SE), 7-4, to finish fifth.

182 — Luke Young (8-12) lost by fall to Tel West (Moor), 1:21; pinned Dustin Grande (Moor), 2:14; lost by fall to Cecil Brockman (BPB), 0:49.

182 — Matt Brown (19-15) won by forfeit over Logan Welch (Kemm); defeated Cecil Brockman (BPB), 7-1; lost by fall to Tel West, 5:23; lost to Zane Hladkly (Lusk), 5-1; lost by injury forfeit to Brockman (BPB) to finish sixth.

195 — Spencer Redland (22-15) pinned Nash Jolley (Lov), 5:24; defeated Colton Stees (SE), 12-6; lost to Colby Thurston (Lusk), 3-2; won by major decision over Clayton Svalina (Moor), 9-1; pinned Stees (2:26) to finish third.

220 — Zane Edeler (17-16) pinned Chase Meeker (BP), 1:06; lost to Jacob Wells (Sara), 9-8; pinned Eli Childers (BPB), 1:32; pinned Kodey LaMont (BPB), 0:58; lost by fall to Patrick Forster (Sho), 2:52; pinned Wells, 0:36 to finish fifth.

285 — Tanner Bernstein (22-12) pinned Hazer Hinkle (Sara), 2:56; lost to Justin Irene (HEM), 8-2; lost by injury default to Charles Oldman (WR); pinned Galen LeGois (Sho), 2:49 to place fifth.