A multi-time conference champion swimmer and a state champion cross-country runner earned the WyoPreps Athlete of the Week accolades presented by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Wyoming.

After the performances from the week of Oct. 16 through Oct. 21, 2023, the girls’ winner was senior Payton Yost from Douglas. The boys’ honor went to Star Valley junior cross-country standout Habtamu Wetzel.

Yost won a pair of individual events and was on two victorious relays at the 3A East or Absaraka Conference Championships last weekend in Cody. She was named the 3A East Conference Athlete of the Year. Yost won the 100-butterfly race at 1:03.63, which was nearly three seconds faster than the runner-up. It was her third consecutive conference title in the event. Yost followed that with a victory in the 100-breaststroke race at 1:11.23. It was her fourth conference title in that event. Yost also swam a leg on Douglas’ winning 200 medley relay at 1:58.09. The Bearcats won that race by .02 seconds. The senior also swam on the 200-freestyle relay that won at a time of 1:45.08. Douglas broke a 31-year-old school record in the event. The Bearcats won that race by over four seconds.

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Yost spoke about her individual wins, her love for those two events, being part of the relays, and more.

Wetzel won his second straight 4A boys’ cross-country state championship last Saturday in Cheyenne. On a brand-new course for the championships, Wetzel set an overall course record at 15:48.30. He was ten seconds faster than his teammate, Jase Burton. The junior helped Star Valley repeat as the Class 4A team champions in their second year in the division. Wetzel has three of the eight-fastest times run in the state this year.

The junior told WyoPreps about the thrill of winning again, how he pulled the throttle back in the final section of the race, how his strategy didn’t exactly play out the way he had planned, the team’s success, and more.

Congratulations to Payton and Habtamu.

The WyoPreps Athlete of the Week nominations are accepted weekly from 5 p.m. on Fridays through 9 a.m. on Mondays. Anyone can nominate a student-athlete or team. Winners are announced each Wednesday. Performances do not carry over from week to week.

Boys State Cross Country-2023

Boys State Cross Country-2023

Gallery Credit: Libby Ngo, Frank Gambino

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