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Fall sports season a good springboard to the winter contests for Wolverines

Nov 12, 2013 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff Writer

It's transition time. Season to new season. Sport to new sport.

A look back at the fall of 2013 will have us remembering that Riverton High School won its first Class 4-A state title in a boys sport.

Riverton also won a state track title in 1963 while competing in the largest classification of that time, Class AA, and has won four state titles in Class 3-A football.

RHS won the 4-A golf crown with three freshmen and a junior. Plus, the Wolverines had the top golfer in Wyoming in freshman Easton Paxton, who won the state title by a whopping 11 strokes after persevering through the personal heartbreak of losing his mother to illness just months before.

Youth also played a significant role in the solid second-place conference regular season of the Riverton Lady Wolverines volleyball team.

Next year, Riverton will return two all-state athletes in Kiley Ridgway and Jensyn Pettit to the team that sent both regular season conference champ Kelly Walsh and Cheyenne Central home at the state tournament -- and beat state champion Casper Natrona twice in the regular season

Jordan Settlemire will be back next year for the Riverton Lady Wolverines swim team. Her goal to go under 1 minute in the 100-yard butterfly is admirable for the Wolverine swimmer who already has been on the medal stand at the state swim meet for the past two seasons.

And the Riverton Wolverines boys football team was young, too, only needing to replace a handful of starters to its team as it prepares for next year. The Wolverines to a man will tell you that their sights are already set higher next year. RHS will work to replace the sting of three straight losses at the end of their season, including their final regular-season loss at Lander.

But first-year coach Pat Patterson hit the field running when he pulled together football camp workouts last summer just days after being named head coach and now has a complete off-season to get ready for the 2014 campaign.

On a personal note, without question, it has been an absolute pleasure to work with the coaches at Riverton High School this fall. After wins and after losses, the coaches on my beats were available, honest, humble and friendly. To Patterson, Adrian McNamee and Chad Fallin, and your staffs, a huge thank you. You are all a pleasure to work with.

Also on a personal note, it is a time of ultimate transition for my uncle, Reuben Blumenshine, and my heart and prayers are with him and his family as he meets the challenges of new illnesses.

Before moving to Colorado, Uncle Reuben gave a lot to the youth and the community of Riverton. He was my first Babe Ruth baseball coach, coached for years in Riverton's Little League baseball program, was a longtime local scout leader, and gave much to Riverton's softball and bowling programs. We all can learn from his example and live fuller lives if we make a commitment to give back to our community like my Uncle Reuben did.

Have a great sports week. Go Big Red!

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