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Restore state soccer tournament to one location

May 24, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

The Wyoming High School Activities Association needs to make sure in the future that the Class 3-A and 4-A state soccer tournaments are in the same city and the same venue.

Last weekend, the Class 3-A state soccer tournament was held in Jackson.

The Class 4-A tournament was put on in Rock Springs.

After covering the Lander Valley High School Tigers all season, I had the opportunity to attend the 3-A tournament in Jackson.

Staff writer Craig Blumenshine made the trip to Rock Springs to watch the Riverton Wolverines play in the Class 4-A tournament.

"The board made the decision last April," said WHSA associate commissioner Trevor Wilson in an interview on Wednesday. "I recall that they wanted a change for a few years and then see what happens. It allows some other communties to host a state tournament. It wasn't convenient for college coaches to come watch. The one positive for newspapers is that each of those places had Internet access."

In the past 10 years, I have covered state soccer matches in Cody, Laramie, Sheridan and Jackson.

This was the first year the state decided to make it in two different cities. I'm not a fan of the change.

It just felt weird not having the state tournament all in one place. I thought having the two tournaments in two different places hurt the fan attendance. I have enjoyed the past state tournaments where the Riverton Wolverines and Lander Tigers have played in the same venues. Sometimes they even played at the same time just on different soccer fields.

I'm not the only one who missed the state tournament being at the same place.

When the Class 4-A postseason awards were announced early this week, RHS boys soccer coach Erly Cornejo said it was different having the 4-A state tournament by itself.

"The biggest thing with me was the atmosphere," Cornejo said. "Everybody gets to see everybody play (when there is one venue). In the past. when Lander was playing, we would go watch them play. When we were playing they would come watch us. It was just a different atmosphere.

"It didn't feel like state (this year)."

Sheridan has a great place to watch the tournament at the Big Horn Equestrian Center on the polo grounds.

The only bad thing (for me), there wasn't any Internet.

After a couple of years attending the tournament, I figured it out by sending my stories from Big Horn High School.

It was about a 10-minute drive to the school to get the stories sent from my laptop.

I liked it when University of Wyoming hosted the state soccer tournament a few years ago.

The reward for the championship match was playing on the same field as the University of Wyoming cowgirl soccer team plays on.

The two soccer tournaments will be played in Rock Springs and Jackson for two more years.

After that members of the WHSAA board will reopen the bidding for state tournaments.

I have seen Riverton host a number of regional soccer tournaments. With planning, school officials could pull it off by hosting a state tournament in the next three years. Riverton is located in a good place with a number of good hotels and resturants for fans to enjoy, and the main venue at Wolverine Field is unsurpassed in Wyoming.

I rank Sheridan No. 1 in state state tournaments that I have seen, and Laramie a close second.

I just want the state soccer tournaments to be in one place.

That only makes sense to soccer fans in the state of Wyoming.

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