PINEDALE – With about 14 swimmers from Pinedale and another 14 from Big Piney competing for Sublette County this season, the team has twice as many athletes as it has had in years past.
“I feel like we have a lot more guys than last year,” PHS senior Levi Douglas said. “Those numbers will make us a lot stronger.”
“To have 30 guys is pretty awesome,” coach Brian Gray said. “Some years we’ve had 12 or 13.”
Not only does Sublette have a lot of swimmers on its team, it has a lot of swimmers that competed in the state championships last year back.
Sublette finished fifth at the 3A state championships last season and most of those swimmers are back.
“We have 10 or 12 returning state qualifiers,” Gray said. One of the team’s strengths is its upper classmen at both schools. “We have a lot of leadership,” Gray said.
Pinedale’s contingent is all back while only a couple Big Piney swimmers graduated.
Tanner Boespflug has also returned to the pool after missing most of last season with a broken ankle.
“It feels perfect,” Boespflug said about his ankle. “I got it back to the way it was.”
The two schools will practice together on Tuesdays and Thursdays and practice in their home pools on the other days.
When they do practice together, however, it adds some competitiveness to the workout.
“It’s cool – it helps us out a lot,” Douglas said. “It allows us to train together as a team to get stronger.”
The team will also have some divers, as many as three, for the first time in a while, giving Sublette another opportunity to score team points.
The swimmers have different goals, but Douglas summed up what they’re all trying to accomplish. “Never stop improving,” he said.
“If we get 15 guys to state, that would be good,” Gray said. “We’d like to place in the top half at state, but the top-three is always what we’re shooting for.”
Lander, who has won 21 straight state titles, remains the team to beat.
After that, however, there’s a lot of uncertainty. “Three-to-five should be fairly tight this year,” Gray said.
Sublette will begin its Season Dec. 8 at the Pinedale Aquatic Center, taking on Kemmerer and Lander in a triangular.
Sublette also has home meets Jan. 12 in Big Piney and Jan. 26, Jan. 27 and Feb. 8 in Pinedale.
Swimmers can qualify for the state tournament at almost every tournament, as long as they hit the state-qualifying time.
“We’ve got to keep everybody healthy, get a bunch qualified and we’ll be all right after that,” Gray said.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Boespflug added. “It should be good.” n
red 11 points in the first five minutes as part of a 19-5 run and Holtzmann sank a pair of 3-pointers after that to help stretch it to 43-30 at the break.
In the second half, Wyoming cut it to 55-50 with 11:19 to play before 3-pointers by Pemberton and Holtzmann and two layups by Amigo helped move the Pioneers back into a double-digit advantage.
Justin James led the Cowboys (5-2) with 17 points. Hayden Dalton added 12 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals.n