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September 30, 2013 — Now that’s the type of performance University of Wyoming Coach George Howard has waited for all season.
His UW men’s team parlayed heavy scoring in the team roping competition into the Cowboys’ first team title of the fall rodeo season. The Pokes scored 580 points to take last weekend’s Sheridan College rodeo title, edging regional leader Gillette College by just five points.
The host Generals were a distant third in the team standings with 375 points.
The Cowboys’ win was important because it vaulted Howard’s team back into the Central Rocky Mountain Region (CRMR) team chase. Gillette College is the overall leader with 1,710 points, while Casper College sits second with 1,480. With just two rodeos remaining on the fall schedule, the UW men have fought their way back into contention for one of the two important slots with 1,240 points.
Just the top two CRMR teams in the standings earn automatic bids to compete in next summer’s College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) at the Casper Events Center.
On the six-man UW club dominated by ropers, the Cowboys scored a whopping 475 team points in just two events.
Senior Clayton Van Aken, who has appeared in three straight CNFR events, combined with partner Kyon Kreutzer of Northeastern Junior College to place second in the team roping average. They split fourth place in the opening round but came back strong in the short go with the second fastest time to earn runner-up honors.
Senior Kate Merritt from Eaton, Colo., teamed up with younger brother, Reed, to earn third-place points. They had the opening round’s fastest time.
Eric Gewecke, a Gillette senior, added fifth-place points with UW partner Dalton Ward, from LaGrange.
Van Aken, who led a trio of UW teammates in the all-around standings at the Sheridan College rodeo, used his second-place showing in the tie down average to maintain his overall CRMR lead in the event. The Descanso, Calif., senior was fourth in the opening round and split second in the short go.
Kade Merritt was sixth in the average in the same event to add additional team points.
A lone UW roughstock competitor managed to place in the average. Wellfleet, Neb., senior Wyatt Clark was in a three-way split for the top opening round ride and was fourth place in the short go. He split third and fourth in the average.
Even though his points didn’t count in the team’s overall performance, Eden senior Thomas Smith placed in two separate events. He was fifth in the steer wrestling average and fourth in the tie down competition. He was third in the all-around, while Kade Merritt was the runner-up to Van Aken.
As hot as the UW men were last weekend, the Cowgirls were the complete opposite.
For the third straight week, the UW women failed to score in triple digits. The team managed just 50 points when Amelia Anderson, a freshman from Forsyth, Mont., split fourth place in goat tying.
Regional leader Gillette College placed first in the weekend competition with 360 points, while Chadron State College was second with 240. The Lady Longhorns lead the CRMR standings with 850 points, while Chadron is second with 690.
The Cowgirls slipped to eighth in the standings with 140 points.
The next regional rodeo is this weekend, hosted by Lamar Community College.
For a complete list of team and individual results from the Sheridan College rodeo, click here.