Second straight State Championship, celebration for RHS

BY: Shawn O’Brate

BUFFALO – Much like last year the Riverton High School (RHS) golf team was very, very good throughout the Fall season. Their team won three tournaments during the season and, individually, Parker Paxton dominated and won every single course that he played on in the past two months. 

The team capped off the season with a 34-stroke victory in Worland for the 3A East Conference Championships, Paxton won the weekend individually by 24 strokes–just two places ahead of teammates Kyler Graham and Brodie Dale who have really stepped up this season.

The Riverton High School Golf Team celebrated their state title by riding on a fire engine down main street Monday afternoon. Parker Paxton (in red) won his third straight individual title at this year’s contest. (p/c Carl Cote)

That week the girls of Riverton also did really well, placing second behind Wheatland, and coach Lars Flanagan said things really “clicked” for the Lady Wolverines’ golf team that second day which is something they’ve been waiting for. 

The following week the team traveled to Buffalo to compete in the 3A State tournament, facing off against their local rivals and 3A West Conference champions, the Lander Tigers. 

In Buffalo, many of the same players made themselves known on the leaderboard. 

For the girls, the Lady Wolverines finished fifth with a total score of 629 at the end of the weekend just behind Cody (622) but still ahead of Lander’s girls (658). 

Individually, Lovell’s Erika Cook (156) finished on top while the superstar from Green River, Isabell Salas (158) finished extremely close. Riverton’s Tylynn McDonald (197) finished 7th overall while Lander’s Keigann Watson (207) finished 14th, just ahead of Riverton’s Aspen Ablard (208) who finished 15th. 

The boys of Riverton once again made the entire field shake in their shoes throughout the weekend tournament in Buffalo, finishing on top as a team with a score of 638. Lander’s total score of 691 would put them at fifth, just one stroke behind Lovell and Worland’s score of 690 (T-3rd). 

This is the boys’ second straight State Championship victory but Paxton, a junior at RHS, has finished on top of the individual bracket for the third-straight season. He finished with a two-day score of 137, 15 strokes ahead of Evanston’s Sam Dolezal and 21 strokes ahead of fourth-place finisher Riley Stoudt from Lander. 

Riverton’s Dale (159) finished 6th while teammate Graham (160) finished right behind him. 

Riverton’s Brodie Dale really stepped into his own league this season and finished 6th overall at the State Championship in Buffalo this season (p/c Carl Cote)

After returning from Buffalo, waiting the rest of the weekend to finish, and drudging through an entire day of school on Monday, the RHS boys’ golf team took the “super fun” firetruck ride through Main Street of Riverton and around the town as they got to celebrate once again. 

“It was sweet,” Paxton said afterwards, “it’s one of the highlights of high school…and having a town rallying behind you and cheering you on is super awesome.”

Congratulations to the Riverton boys and girls, and the Lander boys and girls, on a stellar Fall golf season, can’t wait to see what Spring and Summer bring for everybody next year!