A year in review: Top sports stories from 2020


January

VandeBossche … All American

DICKINSON, N.D. ñ As a little boy Derick VandeBossche couldn’t wait to play Tiger football with his older brother Matthew for their father, head coach Matt.

The brothers played in two state championship games together for Lusk, during a stretch in which Niobrara County High School made four trips to Laramie in five years.

Derick’s decorated high school career included three All-State awards, 2013 1A East Defensive Player of the Year, 2014 1A East Offensive Player of the Year, 2014 Casper Star Tribune Super 25 and Shrine Bowl participant.

He followed Matthew to Dickinson State University and became a Blue Hawk. When he signed his letter of intent he mentioned that he just wanted to play football with his brother some more.

After a redshirt season, in any attempt to get on the field he became the team’s deep snapper. That lasted just one year as he joined Matthew in the defensive secondary for the perennial contenders in 2017 and 2018.

February

Niobrara County senior named to Shrine Bowl

LUSK ñ For the first time since the trio of Zane Hladky, Martin Fitzwater and Derick VandeBossche in 2015, Niobrara County High School has a representative in the Shrine Bowl.

Damien Molzahn was a four-year starter for the Tigers and amassed some impressive stats, in becoming Lusk’s 37th player selected to the prestigious game. He was a three-time all-state selection (seventh in school history), made the Casper Star-Tribune’s Super 25 second team in 2018, a two-time team captain, a three-time 1A East All-Conference honoree and a four-time Tiger Ironman.

Molzahn finished his career 18th in school history for career rushing yards with 1,384, while scoring 11 touchdowns and totaling 1,530 yards all-purpose yards.

He led the team in defensive points twice (2017 and 2018) while finishing third as a freshman and second as a senior. He scored 544 career defensive points, 30 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, six fumble recoveries, two interceptions, four pass breakups and one blocked kick.

March

Coffman, Bemis win state titles

CASPER ñ Emery Bemis and Colton Coffman finished their respective seasons with their arms raised as Wyoming Class 2A State Wrestling Tournament championships on Saturday evening at the Casper Events Center for the Niobrara County High School wrestling team.

Coffman defeated KC Gibson of Wind River in a 16-5 major decision to claim the 106-pound championship, while Bemis pinned Hulett’s Joseph Kennah to claim the 170-pound bracket championship.

Coffman rolled to an opening round fall win over Saratoga’s Cale Mowry, while scoring a 15-0 technical fall win over Izaiha Sevenski. In the semifinal round, Coffman defeated Kemmerer’s Karl Haslem in a 15-10 decision to reach the championship match.

At 170 pounds, Bemis went 4-0, pinning his way to a state title.

Lady Tigers take fourth

at state tournament

CASPER ñ The Niobrara County High School girls’ basketball team embarked on their third straight trip to the state tournament last weekend but were denied a trophy once again.

With the Casper College women hosting the Region IX tournament, all 2A first round games were held at Natrona County High School on Thursday.

The No. 2 seeded Lady Tigers faced Rocky Mountain in the first round and nerves certainly played their part early on for both squads.

Lusk led 6-4 after one period and even deep into the second the teams traded turnovers at an alarming rate.

Courtney Rowley scored a layup and converted the freebie for a 12-7 halftime lead. NCHS eased out to an eight-point lead with just over two minutes left in the third period, but a late 3-pointer from the Lady Grizzlies trimmed the deficit to 24-17.

May

Former Lusk resident

completes 51st marathon

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. ñ Candy Dooper, her daughter Dani Wilson, and Tina Carstensen, all of Lusk, traveled to Myrtle Beach, S.C., in March to join former Niobrara Electric Association General Manager Tony Anderson, and his wife Mary, as Anderson finished his 50th marathon on March 7.

Following Tony’s six-and-a-half-year tenure as manager at NEA, the Anderson family moved to Oconto Falls, Wisc., in 1998 and then to Traverse City, Mich., in 2003, where Tony was hired by Cherryland Electric Coop. He ran his first marathon that year and soon after began formulating the idea of a 50-state mission.

Inspired by fellow Seattle Rock N Roll Marathon runners who were competing to raise money to fight cancer, Anderson got the idea to test his own endurance for a cause and joined forces with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Michigan. Tony established Marathon4Kids (M4K) in 2009 to raise funds for BBBS and set his lofty goal of completing 50 marathons in 50 states by 2020, which he later amended to include Washington, D.C.

His goal became a reality this past week on May 3, as he ran his 51st marathon and picked up his final state, Ohio, by running the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon.

November

Glenrock ends NCHS

volleyball season

PINE BLUFFS ñ The Niobrara County Lady Tigers familiarity in the Hornet’s Nest wasn’t enough in the first round of the 2A Southeast Quadrant Regional.

Thursday’s one-and-done format for 2020 was different, yet similar, as the Lady Tigers faced Glenrock for the third time in three weeks.

The Lady Herders won the first two sets by 25-13 and 25-16 scores. NCHS rebounded in the third set with a 25-13 win but ran out of steam as Glenrock closed the match with a 25-14 fourth set win.

Tigers’ title hopes denied

YODER ñ Hundreds of fans wearing red and white filled the south sideline, while hundreds of blue-clad fans packed the north sideline at Teeters Memorial Field last Friday night. Not only is it one of the best rivalries in Wyoming, the 2020 Class 1A 9-Man state championship game was a rematch from barely a month ago.

The skies were dark and the wind blew, but for a Friday evening nearing mid-November, football weather was perfect.

Fourteen seconds into the game, Jasper Caldera stripped the ball from the Cyclone runner Brant Fullmer, but the offense couldn’t take advantage.

Southeast was forced to punt, and the Tigers made good on the next series. Walker Kupke delivered a toss to Mason Wells. Wells made a nice catch and nifty run to the endzone for a 35-yard touchdown. Caldera was held up on the conversion, but Lusk had struck first.

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