May 27, 2014 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorThe new Wyoming Indian High School graduate has won the last two Class 2-A Wyoming cross country individual titles for WIHS coach Chico Her Many Horses.
Wilson Clifford is setting the pace for the new Central Wyoming College men's cross country program as the first runner to sign a national letter of intent.
The history making moment took place Friday in the office of CWC dean for student services and athletic director Steve Barlow.
The new Wyoming Indian High School graduate has won the last two Class 2-A Wyoming cross country individual titles for WIHS coach Chico Her Many Horses. Clifford graduated from WIHS last week.
"It feels pretty cool," Clifford said. "It was a good feeling, and I'm excited."
Clifford said he enjoys being a role model in athletics for the WIHS fans. He also was a key to helping the Chiefs capture a state 2-A boys basketball championship in March.
"I'm close to home," Clifford said "I can go home whenever I want and go to school at the same time."
Clifford was a part of four boys 2-A state team titles under Her Many Horses.
"There are too many things that I learned from him to name," Clifford said. "He is the best running coach that I have ever had."
The Chiefs have won eight consecutive team championships.
"I was just glad and blessed," at Wyoming Indian, Clifford said. "We take cross country pretty serious. It has become a tradition.'
CWC cross country coach Al Lara has been on the job for five weeks and said he couldn't be happier with Clifford as the first man on his roster.
"It's a great feeling," Lara said. "Wilson was high on our list, especially when you are starting this late with the recruiting. I was worried about getting some kids."
Lara believes more athletes will be signing in the near future.
"We verbally have five of them," Lara said. "Two of them have already enrolled on campus, and they will be on the team."
Big things are in store for Clifford in the next couple of months.
"I would like a team captain out of Wilson," Lara said. "I would like him to take a hold of being a leader and an example of being the leader for the rest of the team.
"I really feel like Wilson can do that."
Practice doesn't officially start until Aug. 1. Lara will give his runners a workout program they can do in the offseason.
The schedule is still being put together by the CWC officials.
Lara is eager to practice to begin on the CWC campus.
"It seems to be going in the right direction," Lara said. "I will have a full team of men. Hopefully come on August we will have a couple of women."
Lara has had positive reaction about the CWC program. He has been attending track meets all spring and was at the state track meet last weekend in Casper.
"There has been excitement, and we are going back to some of these juniors who won't graduate until next year," Lara said.
CWC also has added men's and women's golf to the school program.
"These new athletic programs will be a tool for students to continue their education," Barlow said. "That is what we are looking for and hoping for. We are wanting kids that will come here and compete.
"We believe that (Clifford) can. We want good kids both in the classroom and on the field. It's very exciting to have him on board."
Barlow said Lara is making CWC known around the state.
"This first year is going to be interesting," Barlow said. "We have a great program. I believe that we have a very outstanding and dedicated coach.
"We are going to recruit some kids who are going to be good caliber in what best fits the school."
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