MVHS senior named SW Student Athlete of Year

Mountain View’s Briggin Bluemel (352) clips Torrington’s Bryan Lemmon (800) by two-tenths of a second to win the 110-meter hurdles at the 2019 State Track and Field Championships in Casper last May. Bluemel was recently named the 2019-20 Southwest District Student Athlete of the Year by the SDAA. (HERALD FILE PHOTO)

A Bridger Valley senior added to his impressive list of accomplishments last week, recognized for his exploits in academics, as well as athletics this year at Mountain View High School.

Briggin Bluemel — a 3-sport standout for the Buffalos — was named Southwest District Senior Student Athlete of the Year for Class 3A/4A by the Southwest District Athletic Administrators. Bluemel is now a nominee for the Milward Simpson Award, presented annually to the outstanding male and female high school senior in the state of Wyoming; he is joined by Rock Springs’ Alyssa Bedard (Class 3A/4A), Cokeville’s Emma Tiechert and Encampment’s Reid Schroeder (Class 2A/1A) on that list of nominees.

“It’s a really big honor to me,” Blumel said. “It’s pretty important. I know how much support the community has given me, so it’s special. I’ve been working pretty hard, and I’m really excited and proud that I got it.”

It’s been a stellar senior year for Blumel, despite the loss of his outdoor track season to the COVID-19 pandemic; he’ll finish with a 3.99 GPA and as salutatorian of the senior class.

“It means a lot to me as a student — especially how hard it’s been going through school and how competitive our class has been academically,” Bluemel said of his honor. “We have a lot of smart students who strive to do really well, especially the athletes. It means a lot that I got this honor, because of how hard everyone works.”

On the football field, Bluemel was a three-time All-State selection over the course of his career, and helped lead the Buffalos to their second Class 2A state title in three years last November. He was named to the Casper Star-Tribune’s Super 25 second team, and was the 4A West’s Offensive Player of the Year as a junior. Bluemel was also one of five Buffalos chosen to play in the 2020 Shrine Bowl in June, though the game was cancelled earlier this spring.

“We started the year with football, and that went really well,” Bluemel said. “We had a really good season, and the seniors on that team worked really hard. That was really exciting. We knew we had a chance to get to state and hopefully win it, and we did.”

On the hardwood, Bluemel was a two-time All-Conference selection, and his Buffalos entered the 3A West Regional Tournament as the No.1 seed out of the Southwest Quadrant last month. The Buffalos struggled at Regionals, however, and failed to qualify for the state tournament.

“Basketball went really well, even though we didn’t make it to state,” he said.

The Mountain View boys’ track team won a Class 3A state title in 2019, thanks in no small part to Bluemel. The then-junior won state championships in the 110 meter and 300 meter hurdles, winning a third state championship as a member of the 4x100 relay team; his 4x400 relay team finished second. The Buffalos were poised to make a run at another state title this spring before the season was cancelled earlier this month.

“It’s really sad we didn’t have track, I was really looking forward to that,” Bluemel said. “I had convinced a bunch of the guys to go out for track, so it was disappointing.”

A multi-sport athlete, Bluemel was recruited by a number of colleges for football and track. He initially signed a letter of intent to play football at Dickinson State University in North Dakota, along with teammates Braeden Walk and Breckin Barnes; he has since de-committed from DSU and will instead run track for the University of Wyoming next season.

MVHS head football coach Brent Walk said Bluemel set himself apart as a student-athlete this year, and is well-deserving of the SW Senior Student Athlete of the Year award.

“This kid [Bluemel] absolutely deserves it — he’s up there with any kid we’ve ever nominated here at MVHS,” Walk said. “He’s a phenomenal athlete, but even more impressive are his academic accomplishments. I’m extremely, extremely proud of him. He’s had a phenomenal career here at Mountain View.”

Walk said Bluemel’s family moved to Mountain View from Lyman midway through his eighth-grade year, and has been a fixture at the Walk household ever since, along with the rest of the Buffalo seniors.

“He [Bluemel] always fit in with these kids, he played baseball with them in Little League [while still in Lyman],” Walk explained. “My son [Braeden] and him, just all of those guys, they’re such a cool group, how close they are and how much time they spend together. Briggin is at my house a lot.”

It’s been a memorable year for the Mountain View football program since beating the Buffalo Bison 24-14 to win the 2A State Championship back in November, led by Bluemel and teammates Braeden Walk, Kimball Madsen, Hunter Gross and Breckin Barnes.

“Specifically in my football program, he [Bluemel] has been one of those kids who — since he stepped into the program as a freshman — has led by example, both on and off the field. It’s very, very exciting for him to be recognized the way that he has.”

Walk went on to say that every team he’s had the opportunity to coach has been special, though this team, led by “an incredibly talented group of seniors,” will always hold a special place in his heart.

“One of the things I’ve been able to do throughout my coaching career is make connections with kids,” Walk said. “Every group of kids I have is special, and every single year is unique. But this class — man, I’m telling you, these kids are just incredible young men. They do the right thing off the field, they’re great leaders, they’re great in the classroom. They do work in the community — I’ll make one phone call and say ‘Hey guys, we have this thing coming up on Saturday, we really need to help this family.’ And boom — they’re there for them, and it gets done. This program just keeps getting better every year, and all the credit goes to the kids. This is indeed a very special group.”

Bluemel agreed, adding that the closeness of the entire MVHS senior class is what he’ll remember the most.

“Honestly, I’ll remember this class, more than anything,” he said. “We are a very tight-knit class — athletes, academics, kids that are in the band — throughout my senior year, it’s just been really great because of how close we all are with each other. We’re always there for each other. MVHS is a really fun environment — it’s definitely going to be missed.”

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