Dogie reflections

Sonja Karp


nother year has come and gone, and already the 2021-22 high school sports seasons are in the books.

It seems like forever when volleyball, football, girls’ swimming and cross country stretch their legs to kick things off in August, until soccer and track cross the finish line in May, but year after year, I find myself surprised when I am writing my last articles.

The past three seasons have been fun. There’s been drama and heartache over the last 10 months, but there has also been joy and excitement throughout the 11 seasons. 

We’ve seen state champions stand atop the podium, and we’ve felt the agony of defeat as we watched the dream of state championships slip away.

There was drama to begin 2021, as the Dogie football program went through some growing pains. 

Homecoming week began on a Monday last September with the uncomfortable uncertainty that there would be a team with coaches, much less a game, as tensions within the organization made the future uncertain. 

Those uncertainties faded by week’s end, however, as the team took the field and battled Tongue River to take their first win of the season in dramatic fashion. What seemed to be a fractured squad at the beginning of the week put forth a total team effort as they worked together to drive senior quarterback Slade Roberson into the end zone in overtime to take a 4-point victory.

From there, the Dogies were on a winning streak until losing a very close heartbreaker to Wheatland, which put an end to their playoff hopes. 

They ended on a good note, however, and took a season that looked to be doomed and turned it into something they could be proud to be a part of.

Meanwhile, the Lady Dogies volleyball team had a banner year, punching their ticket to the 3A State Tournament for the first time in seven years. Unfortunately, they ran into the juggernaut that was the west side of the state and went two-and-out, however they will return in the fall with that experience to make a run for it again.

Then came the winter sports season.

Returning nearly every starter from the 2020-21 team where they finished just short of bringing home hardware at the state tournament, the Lady Dogies were poised to make a run for the title. 

And make a run they did!

The season began with a blizzard denying them the opportunity to compete, so they were a weekend behind
when they tipped off at the Stateline Tournament. The Lady Dogies would suffer their first, and only, loss of the regular season as Belle Fourche managed to just get by them by a margin of 4 points.

The young, but experienced group of juniors (with only one senior), rolled through the remainder of the regular season without suffering a single defeat — and beat Douglas twice in the process. They had quite a few blowouts where they cruised to an easy win, but they had to fight to come from behind to get wins the hard way as well.

They headed into the post-season positioned for a title run. It would be the regional tournament where they would run into a tough Lady Bison squad in the semi-finals who became the first team in Wyoming to defeat them. 

No longer would there be a regional championship trophy, but a state championship was still on the horizon. 

Unfortunately, the Lander Lady Tigers squashed that dream by edging them out in the opening contest. 

They still brought home the consolation trophy from the state tournament — the first since 2008 — and ended their season with only three losses, which is the best finish for a Lady Dogie hoops squad in my tenure and beyond.

Senior Josh Womack ended his career as a Dogie by winning his way to the top
of the podium in the 195-pound weight class at the 3A State Wrestling Tournament. It was his first title and the Dogies’ only championship of the season.

Finally, the spring season got under way. Boy’s soccer felt the sting of disappointment as they missed out on a state tournament berth in the final week of the season. The girls, on the other hand, made their way to Cheyenne where they found themselves up against a tough west side who dominated the culminating event and brought home every piece of hardware there was to be had.

Such are the ups and downs of high school sports. They create memories to be cherished and freeze in our collective experience times that will live forever. The book is closed on 2021-22, and I can’t wait to open it back up for 2022-23.

But first, summer.


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