LARAMIE – For the first time in 17 years, The Wyoming Chapter of the National Football Foundation has awarded its top Scholar-Athlete honors to two young men, who coincidentally both hail from Wright High School in Campbell County.

Named as the state’s top Scholar-Athletes were linebacker Holden Fauber and quarterback Ryan Haefele, two young men who sit at the top of their senior class with grade point averages of 4.0 and a long list of athletic, academic and community accomplishments. The pair are coached by Larry Yeradi.

The Wyoming Chapter awarded $22,200 in scholarships at the Saturday night event at the Hilton Garden Inn and University of Wyoming Conference Center in Laramie.     As the state’s top scholar-athletes, Fauber and Haefele are now eligible to be in the running for top honors in the West Region of the NFF.

The two were chosen from a field of 12 finalists from eight different high schools after 69 state athletes were nominated for the honors, according to the Wyoming Chapter.    The Chief Operating Officer of the NFF, Matthew Sign of Dallas, was the keynote speaker at the event and was joined in congratulating all of the nominees by UW Offensive Line Coach Pete Kaligis, who also spoke to the banquet crowd.

The 12 high school finalists and two senior scholar-athletes from the University of Wyoming were awarded $1,200 scholarships. Fauber and Haefele each received additional $1,000 scholarships.  Additionally, two other prep athletes were recognized at the event for overcoming season-ending injuries earlier in their careers and were presented with the Chapter’s Keith and Joyce Bloom Courage Award and scholarships. They are Jacob Hepp of Buffalo and Derek Bacon of Pine Bluffs.

Two nominees who were not finalists but who attended the banquet were also awarded $500 scholarships, thanks to the generosity of the Chapter’s scholarship donors. Receiving the additional scholarships were Clay Cundall of Greybull and Blayne Gilbert of Pine Bluffs.

The annual banquet also recognized eight state residents for their respective contributions to fandom, contributions to amateur football, and achievement in coaching and officiating.

The Wyoming Chapter of the NFF-CHF is the second largest, in terms of membership, out of 120 chapters nationwide, second only to the Nebraska Chapter.


The Wyoming Chapter Selection Committee, based on the high number of outstanding nominations, chose as finalists, two backs from Class 1-A and two linemen from Class 4-A.

Finalists and Special Award Recipients honored are:

Scholar-Athletes of the Year

From Class 2-A

Holden Fauber and Ryan Haefele, Wright High School

Class 1-A Six Man

Sean Rietveld, Little Snake River Valley

Shawn Straub, Kaycee

Class 1-A

Beau Petersen, Cokeville

Jessee Wilson, Rocky Mountain

Class 3-A

Hayden Barker, Douglas

Trent Boner, Douglas

Mitch Espeland, Douglas;

Class 4-A

Dawson Osborn, Sheridan

Lucas Rowley, Natrona County

Jim Shellenberger, Natrona County

University of Wyoming

Dax Crum

Chris Prosinski

Keith & Joyce Bloom Scholar-Athlete Courage Award

Derek Bacon, Pine Bluffs

Jacob Hepp, Buffalo

Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football

Frank Gambino - Casper

Greatest UW Football Fan

Doug Campbell, Saratoga

Paul Rechard, Laramie

Greatest High School Football Fan

Clyde and Joan Cundall, Douglas

Rita Moore, Evanston

Ox Zellner Football Official Career Achievement

John Bard, Laramie

Football Coach Career Achievement

Jim Wiseman, Torrington (posthumous)