The wild, wild west

Sonja Karp


he culminating events for fall sports has revealed a trend which is a little troubling for those of us on the eastern side of Wyoming. Or at least sobering for those of us who are fans of eastside sports teams.

The westside is tough!

I knew as the state volleyball tournament got under way last week that the 3A westside teams were going to be a challenge. I mean, they have dominated the top four or five in the rankings all year long, and looking at records throughout the season, I could infer that there was some talent on those teams. As the tournament got under way on Thursday, it became quickly apparent that I had underestimated just how good they were, and that they lived up to the hype.

It started with the game between Buffalo, who went in as the No. 1 seed from the east, against Pinedale, the No. 4 seed from the west. 

Buffalo had ended the regular season with a winning record and had shown themselves to be pretty tough against not only the quadrant teams, but also the cross-quadrant squads from the southeast. After watching them a few times, I anticipated that they would advance to the semifinals.

I was wrong. Though the sets were pretty competitive, the Pinedale Lady Wranglers swept the Lady Bison in three straight sets, and they began what would be a long, disappointing day for eastside teams.

From there, the westside continued to dominate, taking down Douglas, Burns and Newcastle — all in three straight sets (only one of which ended with a team from the east scoring more than 15 points). 

The eastside did not win a single set on the first day. At that point, I started to think that there wouldn’t be a single team among the top four that didn’t represent the west.

On Saturday, Buffalo managed to take one set in their loser out game against Lander before the Lady Tigers prevailed to send the Lady Bison home. But then Burns stepped up to get the east represented as they defeated Pinedale in three, hard-fought sets to send them home.

Burns would only win that one match though, as Lander got the better of them for third place. So, the top three trophies went home with westside teams.

It’s not just volleyball in which the west side is dominating this year. 

The football championship match-ups are set, and, looking at the five different classes, every team but one who are playing for the title come from the west side of the state. Sheridan is the lone eastside representative, even though 4A doesn’t actually divide the state into east and west conferences.

At the 3A state swim meet last weekend, the first three places went to westside squads, and looking back at 3A state cross country, seven of the top eight teams were from the west. 

It remains to be seen, obviously, whether or not this trend will continue into the winter sports seasons, but if the fall is any indication, we on the east may need to step things up to be ready to take on those teams from the wild, wild west.


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