Last Wednesday afternoon, the H.E.M. 2013-14 winter sports season of basketball and wrestling ended with an assembly of the high school and junior high students. Varsity letters were awarded, and some athletes were recognized with the H.E.M. awards of “Miner Tough” and “Face of the Program.” The “Miner Tough” is an award based on a list of characteristics developed by Jay Bilas about what makes a tough basketball competitor. The “Face of the Program” is given to the player the coaches feel is a model for their program, an athlete who leads his/her teammates by hard work, integrity, and pride. Russ Wiggam, the H.E.M. athletic director, opened the assembly by thanking the parents, the PTO, and the H.E.M. staff for their support through the season.
Clif Jones, boys’ basketball head coach, was next to the podium, thanking the parents who traveled to the road games and the bus drivers. Mr. Jones said, “We probably didn’t have as good a season as we would have liked to have had, but we were playing our best basketball at the end of the season this year.” Mr. Jones chose Andrew Finn, freshman, for his most improved player of the season. Jason Nowak, sophomore, was named “Miner Tough.” Aaron Scott, also a sophomore, was awarded “Face of the Program.” Celsey Meyer, junior, was recognized for making the Second Team All Conference at Regionals, and Quade Palm, senior, was on the Honorable Mention All Conference Team.
This 2014 season, Quade Palm set two school basketball records. He tied with his brother for most blocked shots and broke his record for most blocked shots in a career. He was also was the state leader in 1A for blocked shots with an average of 3.4 per game. Quade was the top scorer on the Miners team this year with 316 points for the year, followed by Celsey Meyer with 175 and Trevor Rice with 170. Quade led the Miners in rebounding with 198, followed by Trevor with 109 and Celsey with 101. Celsey was the top H.E.M. player for assists with 72. Trevor Rice had the most steals with 52, followed by Christian Gonzalez with 39, Wyatt Phillips with 36, and Jake Sutter with 35. This year’s team roster included freshmen Brandon Scott, Jarrett Niemark, sophomore Jason Nowak, Jacob Sutter, Aaron Scott, Wyatt Phillips, and Andrew Finn, Juniors Trevor Rice, Ty Pembleton, Christian Gonzalez, Celsey Meyer, and senior Quade Palm.
Travis Ward, junior high girls’ basketball coach, thanked Emily Phillips for her great job at her first year of assistant coaching. He said, “We didn’t have the greatest season, but we had fun.” Mr. Ward also mentioned that it was a “different thing for me” to have fifth graders on the team. (This is the first year that the school has allowed fifth-grade girls to play junior high basketball.) He then awarded Junior Varsity basketball letters to eighth graders Jessie Friederick, Caycee Born, Morgan Kenneda, Jayden Potter, Miranda Kilvington, seventh graders Cloe Olsen¸ Jessica Nelson, Mackenzie Finn, sixth graders Megan Hunter, Kiley Jones, and fifth graders Austyn Tuttle, Hayley Felton, Madison Campbell, Amy Campbell, and Adrienne Broadwater.
Mr. Dario Soto, junior high boys’ basketball coach thanked all the parents, grandparents, and fans who supported the team. He said it was a learning experience “for just about all of us.” The Junior High team finished the season 5-12 and 4th in the tournament which, to Coach Soto, was good for this young team. He praised his team’s attitude, “I hope they keep the attitude that they have.” Mr. Soto’s team included one eighth grader, Jordan Potter, seventh graders Tyler Goodro and Johnathan Moniz, sixth graders Alexander Claice, Conor McGraw, Shane McGraw, Basil Phillips, Brendan Reeves, James Wentz, and fifth graders Devon Grosstick, Taylor Kennedy, Josh Lee, Ura Murray, and D’Andre Stroman.
Jackie Jones, girls basketball head coach, whose assistant coach did not return this year, opened by thanking Clif Jones and Zack Scott. She thought “things worked out quite well” with the three of them sharing the responsibility of coaching both the boys’ and girls’ teams. Ms. Jones pointed out the Lady Miners had only won four games in the previous two years, but this season they won 11 games. Some highlights of the season she mentioned were “destroying Saratoga here at home, our double overtime win against Encampment in Encampment, and beating Guernsey and Meeteetse each twice this season.” She credited their successes to “turning ‘me’ into the whole ‘we’ factor.” Coach Jones said this year the Most Improved Player award could have gone to any of the freshman on any given week, stating, “No matter who we put out there, they contributed to what was happening,” but she finally picked freshman Cheyenne Tomkins due to her performance at Regionals. Coach Jones awarded sophomore Haley Clark the season’s Miner Tough award, citing her position as top rebounder in 1A with 10.4 rebounds a game. Sophomore Haley Clark also was chosen for the Second All Conference Team by the regional coaches. Ms. Jones named two juniors, Shelby Bowen and Maggie Johnson, for the Face(s) of the Program award. She said, “These two have been our team captains since they were freshmen. They were thrown to the wolves early, and at different times during the season we could not have had the success we did without the two young ladies who will be named Face(s) of the Program.”
This year Haley Clark led the Lady Miners in scoring with 257 points. Shelby Bowen had 206 points and Maggie Johnson 171. Clark captured 260 rebounds this season, Johnson 180 and Shelby Bowen 149. Johnson led in assists with 54, followed by S. Bowen with 42 and Clark with 40. Freshman Cheyenne Tomkins had the most steals with 69, followed by Johnson with 61 and Clark with 38. The Lady Miners for 2014 included juniors Maggie Johnson, Brittany Dys, and Shelby Bowen, sophomores Darby Bowen and Haley Clark, and freshmen Rosy Kinder, Cheyenne Tomkins, Ellen Kenneda, Cheyenne Hunter, and Perri Freeman.
Mr. Riddle, Junior High wrestling coach, said “This year for wrestling our team was quite young. The majority of our team was all sixth grade kids, and they stepped up. Most of them didn’t have a lot of experience in major competitions. Some of them had gone through the USA program and wrestled there but for the most part those kids were fresh kids, and they for the most part all stepped up and did very well.” He then introduced the team and awarded the junior high varsity letters.
Lyle Richardson, high school wrestling head coach, praised his team for work, attitude, and for the positive way they represented their school. He said, “Our kids are the most valuable investment we can make in life…..These guys represent our school, they represent coach Riddle and myself very well…. they represent the sport of wrestling well, and I appreciate that.” Coach Richardson’s “Face of the Program” award for “hard, work, attitude and leadership” went to Dakota Trump. Kenny Wohl was recognized for setting the school escape record of 64. Mr. Richardson said about his team, “These guys, not one of them, ever complained about the work that we had to do and, after last year, that was a refreshing, refreshing thing.”
Coach Richardson finished the program by addressing the athletes in all the sports, saying, “I would like to ask you young athletes in all sports – put in the off season work! I don’t care if it is running, a combination of running, push-ups, sit-ups, shooting basketballs, throwing footballs, lifting firewood, whatever it takes …..It makes a difference for not only the girls but the boys.”
H.E.M. Junior and Senior High Track practice started on March 17th. Many of the high school and junior high winter athletes also participate in field and track events in spring. The first high school meet is on April 4 in Wheatland. The first Junior High meet is in Green River on April 2nd. H.E.M. does not host home track and field meets due to the non-regulation track size.