The 2010/11 Wyoming athletics season has come to an end and we’re all patiently waiting for the 2011 sports season to start. This time of year seems to drag on forever. The past Wyoming sports season was full of ups and downs for the Cowboys and Cowgirls. After Dave Christensen started his first year at UW with a 7-6 record and a New Mexico Bowl victory hopes were high for the Cowboys. A couple of painful losses, including the tragic death of freshman linebacker Rueben Narcisse, and the Cowboys quickly found themselves at the bottom of the Mountain West standings. The Cowboys finished 3-9, but ended the regular season on a high note as they kept the Bronze Boot in Laramie with a 44-0 thrashing of Colorado State. After the season concluded Austyn Carta-Samuels announced that he would not be returning to the Cowboys, leaving a big hole for the Pokes to fill at the quarterback position. In other changes, OC Marcus Arroyo left UW for a job at UC-Berkeley and was replaced by former Bowling Green coach Gregg Brandon.
The Cowboy basketball team was looking to rebound from a poor previous season after finishing with three conference wins, but had a hard time getting it going. Early on in the season the Pokes lost Afam Moujeke to injury and the season got progressively worse from there. At the end of the season the Cowboys finished with a 10-21 record, second worst in the Mountain West. The finish cost Heath Schroyer his job. A few weeks after the conclusion of the season, and after an extensive interview process, the Cowboys decided on former coach Larry Schyatt to lead the way in 2011. Schyatt had a previous stint in Laramie where he coached for one season then left for Clemson. He comes to Laramie from the University of Florida where he coached under Billy Donovan.
The Wyoming Cowgirls started their season with the announcement that All-MWC honoree Emma Langford would not be returning to Laramie, rather taking up pro basketball in her native Australia. From there the Cowgirls didn’t get down, but they chose to rise to the top of the MWC. After stringing together a few impressive wins the Cowgirls were in a dog fight at the top of the MWC with Utah and TCU. Eventually the Cowgirls faltered down the stretch and ended up in the WNIT. The Cowgirls finished 2-1 in the WNIT, losing to Colorado in the third round. They finished with a 24-9 record, another impressive season for coach Joe Legerski. Aubrey Vandiver finished as the MWC player of the year and MWC first team, along with teammate Hilary Carlson. Both will be greatly missed by Cowgirl basketball.
The Cowboy wrestling team was looking to build on previous success where they saw Joe LeBlanc finish as an all-American and the Pokes won the WWC outright, snapping Northern Iowa’s streak of wins. The Pokes instead had a very up and down here, by losing duals to Nebraska and Oregon State, then winning the Reno Open. They had an impressive finish at the Virginia Duals and ended the season with three straight dual losses to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, and WWC champ, Northern Iowa. At the NCAA tournament the Pokes finished with two all-Americans, Joe LeBlanc and Shane Onufer, but had a disappointing finish in the NCAA tournament when Joe LeBlanc’s points were deducted for missing weight before the championship round. The Pokes will be looking for a big finish with a strong group of seniors leading the way.
Cowgirl volleyball had their own high note this year when sophomore outside hitter Jodi Purdy was named to the MWC 1st team. Cowboy swimming also has an award winner as Mark Murdock was named honorable mention All-American by finishing in 12th place at the NCAA championships in diving. Cowgirl swimmer Kelsey Conci earned honorable mention all-American for her efforts in the 100 yard freestyle at the NCAA championships. Cowboy golfer Gabe Maier received an invite to the NCAA regional championships and got a 24th place finish to end his Cowboy career.
A few highs and a few lows for Cowboy athletics. The 2011 sports season is nearly upon us and soon we’ll find out how that season will go. Cowboy football is about a month and a half from the beginning where they will taken on Weber State on September 3rd.