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With their best efforts of the fall season last weekend, both University of Wyoming rodeo teams bounced back into Central Rocky Mountain Region (CRMR) contention.
The UW men had their best performance so far, missing the overall team title by just 10 points at the Sheridan College rodeo. Defending CRMR champion Gillette College edged the Pokes 540 points to 530. The weekend effort also boosted UW's overall performance in the regional standings, putting the Cowboys in fourth place. Gillette College leads with 1,225 points, Casper College has 1,155, Central Wyoming 1,100 and UW 930.
Only the top two teams from the region qualify for next summer's College National Finals Rodeo in Casper.
The Cowboys scored nearly all their points in one event -- team roping, where a pair of UW teams came through in the clutch, especially Kade Merritt, a marketing sophomore from Eaton, Colo., and Clayton Van Aken, a pre-veterinary freshman out of Descanso, Calif. The team placed second in both the opening and short rounds to finish as the average's runner-up pair.
Fremont County cousins Dahl Nicholls, a range management junior from Kinnear, and Chance Nicholls, a range management senior from Riverton, won the opening round of the team roping competition, but failed to rope the steer in the short go. They accounted for 140 team points.
Van Aken added tie down roping points after recording the second fastest time in the opening round, but failed to secure a time in the finals. He was the all-around runner-up to Sheridan's Zach Scofield. UW's Cameron Weddle, a mechanical engineering junior from Milaca, Minn., had the final team points, placing sixth in the steer wrestling average.
UW also had other participants place at Sheridan College, but their points did not count in the overall team standings. Riley Millward, an agricultural business junior from Jackson, was sixth in the tie down average and Thomas Smith, engineering sophomore from Eden, was the runner-up in the bulldogging competition.
After scoring no points as a team the week before, the UW women rebounded with a third-place finish last weekend. Regional leader Central Wyoming College won the Sheridan title with 265 points, Eastern Wyoming College scored 205 and UW had 175.
For the season, CWC leads the region with 842.5 points followed by Chadron State College 725, Gillette College 535, Eastern Wyoming College 520 and UW with 355.
Lander's Heather Bregar, a kinesiology junior, placed fifth in the goat tying average last weekend, while teammate Kaycee Nelson, a kinesiology/health sophomore from Buffalo, S.D., did not place in the same event, but managed to score 25 points for the team. She did, however, win the all-around title by also picking up breakaway roping points, placing sixth in the average.
Nelson and UW teammate Dana Weiser, a computer science senior from Wheatland, added 20 more points to the team's production with the sixth best time in the opening round of team roping competition. Josie Davison, undeclared senior, Miles City, Mont., added the final team points with her sixth place finish in the barrel racing competition.
Two Cowgirls placed in barrel racing, but they were not part of the four-member UW women's team whose points counted in the standings. Ilene Choal, anthropology senior, Laramie, was fourth in the average followed by UW teammates Lizzi Snyder, mechanical engineering junior, Rye, Colo.
The next CRMR rodeo is this weekend at Lamar (Colorado) Community College. For complete list of team points and results from the Sheridan College rodeo, visit the Web site at http://uwadmnweb.uwyo.edu/Rodeo/ and click on "Central Rocky Mountain Region Standings."