Feb 12, 2013 - By Craig Blumenshine, Staff Writer"And down the stretch they come," echos in our minds when we see the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes and watch those amazing horses give their all to every stride at the end of a big race. We can't believe our eyes as we watch favorites fade. Just the same, we are amazed when the ponies we are rooting for make their runs towards unbelievable finishes and greatness.
This winter sports season, as it heads into its stretch run at Riverton High School, has a chance to be unlike any we have ever seen.
It will take some luck for sure, but it's not often when have we been able to say that the RHS wrestlers and boys basketball teams have a chance -- a good chance -- to simultaneously win their respective conference tournaments. Both were close last year.
The Wyoming High School Activities Association calls these tournaments culminating events.
To the athletes, especially for Wolverine seniors, these upcoming conference and state tournaments are emotion-filled climaxes that have taken years and years of preparation. Winning is everyone's goal, but particularly for this class of seniors that has, perhaps, been the hardest-working off-season group of athletes that Riverton has ever had.
This year also is special because two young men, one a wrestler, and the other a basketball player, have both excelled and are having all-state seasons while being coached by the most important men in their lives -- their dads.
TJ Galey, already tabbed an all-state football player, has been coached by his father Jay in two sports, football and wrestling.
I believe coach Galey, Riverton's head wrestling coach, when he told me that he, "doesn't really know who I'm going to respond to that until it's all over" when I asked him how he would feel as he coached TJ at his final conference and state tournaments.
Basketball big man Seth Quayle has had a dominating year already for his Riverton Wolverine team. His dad, Dick, has logged as many miles as any coach helping this group of seniors prepare for these final weeks together. For years, Quayle was coaching this group when they were crisscrossing the state and competing in elementary and middle school tournaments in the offseason.
Both coaches have served Riverton well while balancing that tightrope of coaching their sons and their teams.
So as the season winds down, wrestlers Galey, Rudy and Beau Batista, Ahren Wempen, Gavin Wilson, Jacob Flesher, Casey Savage, Tyler Allen, Dawson Steeds and their teammates, and basketball players Quayle, Xavier Webb, Jordan Belville, Kade Salisbury, Coley Nicholls, Michael Johnston, Wyatt Meyer and their teammates will write what certainly will be a chapter to remember for the RHS matmen and basketball teams.
But that's not all to Riverton's winter season. There are dark horses in every race, and Riverton's girls basketball players proved over the last several weeks that they are only getting better.
They gained their first conference win in five years Saturday after what many heartbreakingly close losses.
Let's not forget about our boys swimmers. Eli Horyza is having one of the best seasons in RHS boys swimming history.
Besides qualifying for state in all the individual events, the team captain set a school record earlier this year.
With their tapers behind them, Horyza and his fellow swimmers have a chance to perform and maybe stand on the medal podium at the state meet.
Support Riverton's wrestlers when they host the Class 4-A West regional championships this weekend in their own Wolverine Gym. It may be the start of a very special Riverton stretch run.
Have a great sports week. Go Big Red!
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