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Let's give thanks -- for sports

Nov 26, 2017 By Scott Akanewich, Sports Editor

On this Thanksgiving weekend, I'm very thankful for what you're reading about right now.

Sports.

If it weren't for all things athletic, life wouldn't be remotely as interesting as it is for me.

Not to mention I wouldn't have a job -- or at least, this one.

Sure, I have other interests -- movies and music -- to name a couple.

But, it's simply not the same.

In my current capacity as sports editor of not one (The Ranger), not two (Lander Journal), but three (Wind River News) different publications across Fremont County, I get to see a lot of sports and actually get paid to write about them and bring them to you -- the readers -- my people.

Every now and again, I get to witness something very special, like this season's Riverton-Lander football game, which was a historic battle won on a booming, last-second kick sailing through the crisp autumn air at Wolverine Field.

Or the electric atmosphere in Rustler Gym (or The Corral, as some have come to calling it) a few weeks ago when the Central men's basketball squad beat Laramie County Community College in a barnburner of a home opener which had the entire place jumping.

Last month, I was afforded the opportunity to brave our only snowstorm so far this winter to traverse across the white wilderness of Sinks Canyon Center outside Lander during Central Wyoming College's cross country invitational.

All in a day's -- or a night's -- work.

We're also thankful for all the cool people we meet and get to interact with during our travels across the county (all of you know who you are).

Coaches, administrators, parents and of course, the players themselves are like one big, extended sports family for me.

One thing about covering sports in our local atmosphere is the connection with the community which is developed over the course of time and after being here now for almost two-and-a-half years, I can honestly say that connection for me is pretty strong.

No rooting in the press box?

Please.

We want all the local home teams to do well when they hit their respective fields and courts, because it's a lot more fun writing happy recaps than having to accentuate positive of which there isn't a whole lot at times.

But, more than that, once you get to know the people you're covering, you want them to do well.

Life is all about relationships and as we know, sports are a microcosm of life.

For that, I'm very thankful.

Three stars

We're itching like a wool sweater for the winter high-school season to begin and practice gets underway on Monday, but for now, we're thankful for the presence of college basketball right here in Fremont County, which keeps us busy while we wait for the prep ballers to be back in action.

No. 3

Paulani Tarawa, Central Wyoming College, basketball

Last week, Tarawa was our No. 1 performer and makes the grade again this week, with a double-double of 29 points and 14 rebounds in the Lady Rustlers' last-second loss to Utah All-Stars at the Mustang Invitational in Rock Springs on Saturday.

Well done.

No. 2

Irshaad Hunte, Central Wyoming College, basketball

If we've said it once, we've said it a hundred times.

Certain athletic accomplishments will get you automatic consideration for one of our weekly stars and posting a double-double in a basketball game is one of those things.

For the second week in a row, Hunte has earned the No. 2 spot, with a 28-point, 11-rebound effort in Central's 92-76 victory against Planet Athlete on Friday.

Honorable mention to Rustlers teammate Devon Colley, who poured in 26 points in Central's 94-85 Saturday loss to Utah State-Eastern.

Excellent.

No. 1

Rylee Burmester, Central Wyoming College, basketball

Burmester had her second consecutive monster weekend at the Mustang Invitational, scoring 29 points in Friday's victory, then adding 24 points and 10 rebounds in the Lady Rustlers' Sunday defeat.

Don't know what they feed young athletes in Afton, but the former Lady Brave of Star Valley must still be dining on the same fare (or getting plenty of care packages from home), as the freshman forward is currently pouring in points at a prolific pace.

Very cool, indeed.

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Rylee Burmester (21) has made a habit of blowing past defenders on her way to the basket of late for the Lady Rustlers. Photo by Scott Akanewich

Rylee Burmester (21) has made a habit of blowing past defenders on her way to the basket of late for the Lady Rustlers. Photo by Scott Akanewich


Rylee Burmester (21) has made a habit of blowing past defenders on her way to the basket of late for the Lady Rustlers. Photo by Scott Akanewich

Rylee Burmester (21) has made a habit of blowing past defenders on her way to the basket of late for the Lady Rustlers. Photo by Scott Akanewich

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