WyoPreps is finishing the calendar year with a look at the best of the best in high school sports in Wyoming.

The past year of high school sports was filled with terrific performances by individuals and teams throughout our great state. That makes a decision like this extremely difficult. A lot of factors were considered when looking at three awards, Female and Male Athlete of Year and Team of the Year. 

The two Athletes of the Year excelled as individuals, helped their team win a championship, and made an impact on the national stage. The team winner overcame major obstacles and a shortened season to win another title.

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Female Athlete of the Year – Alexis Stucky, Laramie High School 

Stucky led Laramie to their second consecutive Class 4A volleyball state championship in November. She earned her fourth all-state award and was named the 4A Player of the Year for the second straight season. Last May, Stucky was named the Gatorade Wyoming Volleyball Player of the Year for junior season. Stucky also achieved honors on a national level. She was a First Team AVCA High School All-American and the only player from Wyoming to receive any recognition from the AVCA. Stucky also played in the Under Armour Next All-America Volleyball game and was awarded MVP honors. Over the summer, Stucky tried out for and made the USA Volleyball U18 National Team. That squad competed at the FIVB U18 World Championships in Mexico, where Team USA brought home a bronze medal. Stucky has signed to play volleyball at the University of Florida. She will enroll early for the spring semester of 2022. 

Male Athlete of the Year – Jonny Kulow, Lander Valley High School 

Just a junior at LVHS, Kulow set five state records and led the Tigers to the Class 3A state championship in the 2021 swimming season. He earned his third all-state award and helped Lander continue its streak of 25 consecutive 3A team titles in boys’ swimming & diving. Kulow won two individual events at the 3A state swim meet, was on two relays that won state titles, and was selected the Class 3A Swimmer of the Meet and Swimmer of the Year. His state records include three all-class records in the 200 individual medley, 100 freestyle, and 100 butterfly races. Kulow also set a state mark in the 50 freestyle and swam a leg on the 200-freestyle relay that holds a state record. He earned All-America honors in the IM, fly, 50, and 100 freestyle events. Kulow’s time of 48.16 seconds in the fly was the 16th-fastest in the nation. He also qualified for the US Olympic Trials in the 50-meter freestyle last June. Kulow swam in Wave I of the Olympic Trials, where he finished with the 20th-fastest time of 23.06 seconds. Kulow was only .08 seconds away from moving onto Wave II. Kulow's been the No. 1 ranked swimmer in Wyoming for the last two years. He signed in November to swim at Arizona State University starting next fall.

Team of the Year – Wyoming Indian Lady Chiefs 

Wyoming Indian won their third consecutive Class 2A Girls Basketball State Championship in March 2021. They did so in a limited amount of time. At one point, there was some doubt as to whether they would even get to play. Due to tribal orders, Wyoming Indian wasn’t in school when practice and the season started. The Lady Chiefs couldn’t even practice with the orders in place. That meant everyone else had a two-month start on Wyoming Indian. That didn’t deter them. The Lady Chiefs played only 12 games, had only 23 practices, and went 11-1 En route to the championship. It was the third straight year that Wyoming Indian won their conference, region, and state crowns. They had three all-state players in Angela Astorga, Jaden Ferris, and Sandie Friday, who all earned their second straight all-state award. The only loss was to a Class 3A team. They did it all while having to wear masks during games. 

These were our choices, but we salute all of the high school student-athletes and teams around the Cowboy State for making 2021 another great year! We look forward to seeing what’s accomplished in 2022.

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