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Central's Trevor Schmidt, Bridger Wheeler will run in college

May 2—CHEYENNE — Running cross-country and track at the college level was a long-term goal Trevor Schmidt set early in his Cheyenne Central career.

However, a self-described lack of commitment kept it from being realistic for Schmidt, who preferred spending his summer days playing golf instead of logging as much training mileage as he should have been.

That changed heading into Schmidt's junior year and ramped up further in the summer before his senior season. Schmidt has enjoyed the best seasons of his career, and his goal of running in college started to become attainable.

Posting a 9-minute, 19.72-second time in the two-mile at New Balance Indoor Nationals in March helped make running at Weber State University a reality. Schmidt signed with the Ogden, Utah-based NCAA Division I school Wednesday afternoon.

"I always thought I was capable of running at the level I have this year, but I wasn't at that level," Schmidt said. "I didn't want to settle for anything less because I knew what I was capable of, so I started working harder.

"I started having more consistency, and everything clicked. I'm glad I didn't settle, because this opportunity wouldn't have come up. I'm glad it did."

Schmidt had already corresponded with Wildcats coach Corbin Talley before he went to Boston for New Balance Nationals, but his performance there earned his offer.

Schmidt won the Class 4A indoor state championship in the 3,200-meter run this winter, crossing the finish line in 9:47.06. He also was fourth in the 1,600 (4:33.48). Schmidt placed 11th at the 4A state cross-country meet in the fall.

Schmidt's previous best finish at state cross-country was 20th during his sophomore campaign.

"The improvement he made over the past 18 months has been tremendous," Central boys coach Bruce Mowry said.

Schmidt intends to study biology during his undergraduate years, with the goal of going to optometry or orthodontic school.

----Bridger Wheeler went into this school year hoping to run at the Class 4A state meet for the first time. Running in college was the furthest thing from his mind, but that's what he'll do after committing to Montana Western on Wednesday.

Montana Western is an National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics member school in Dillon, Montana.

"My mom ran in college, and she told me it was one of the best decisions she made," said Wheeler, who will study ecology with the goal of working in the wildlife industry. "She met a lot of great people and had a lot of fun, so that influenced me to try to run at the college level.

"That's the type of thing I want in college. That's what my team has been here. It's probably the best team I ever could have asked for."

Wheeler hadn't been able to crack Central's state lineup until this season. He knows he benefited from being part of such a stacked roster.

"I'm grateful for the opportunities we had where they were pushing me, and the times I was pushing them," Wheeler said. "The back-and-forth, friendly competitions we had were amazing.

"I've been friends with (Schmidt) and Bridger (Brokaw) since kindergarten, and we had a bond. Even the guys I hadn't known as long became like a family."

Wheeler finished 60th at state to help the Indians finish second in the team standings. His personal best time in a 5-kilometer race was an 18:22.2 during his junior season.

"I'm so happy he found a school and that he's not ending here," Wilde said. "I'm ecstatic for him."

Jeremiah Johnke is the WyoSports editor. He can be reached at jjohnke@wyosports.net or 307-633-3137. Follow him on X at @jjohnke.