CODY — Dedication, perseverance, hard work and a can-do-attitude has propelled MVHS’ Briggin Bluemel to be the winner of the 2020 Milward Simpson Award.
Bluemel was one of five male athletes named as finalists, but his impressive resume proved he was a power, and he edged out the other four finalists. Bluemel is the first MVHS athlete to win this award. The other four finalists for the male award were Garrett Coon from Sheridan, Big Horn’s Quinn McCafferty, Luke Mortimer of Worland and Dax Yeradi from Wright.
In addition, on the female athlete side, the selection is the same – five finalists and then one winner. This year the female athlete to win this award was Naya Shime of Riverton and Kelly Walsh high schools. Shime is the sixth winner from Riverton High School and second from Kelly Walsh. She spent the first three-and-a-half years of her prep career with the Wolverines. Her family moved to Casper during her senior year, where she finished out with the Trojans. Shime will attend the University of Wyoming on a volleyball scholarship this fall. She was also selected to play in the Wyoming Coaches Association All-Star volleyball match in July, which was recently canceled because of the pandemic.
The four other finalists for the female award were Alyssa Bedard of Rock Springs, Ky Buell from Cheyenne East, Corin Carruth of Kelly Walsh, and Olivia McPherson from Laramie.
Hats off to Shime and Bluemel. Both athletes lost their finish of their high school athletic careers due to the cornonavirus pandemic, but both are prime examples of dealing with problems and moving on.
Bluemel’s stomping ground is Bridger Valley. And, stomp he did. He plowed through his high school career with his ability in sports and academics to take the golden ring and win the award.
The Milward Simpson Award is considered the most prestigious award a prep athlete can earn in their high school career. It started in 1976 and has been given out every year since. This year marks the 45th year of the award.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s award ceremony and luncheon was canceled.
Thursday morning Bluemel said, “I just want to say that it is amazing and a great honor that I won this award. With the caliber of athletes that were put up for it, I knew that it was going to be difficult. It feels amazing that all of my hard work has finally paid off and I can get some recognition for it. It makes everything bad that is happening in the world not seem as terrible and lets me know that there is still a lot of hope and good out there. Just the fact that people are willing to take the time to do things like this make me very appreciative and I could not have asked for a better way to end my high school career.
“Having this whole process be done online has been somewhat of a disappointment to me because of the fact that I really would have enjoyed meeting with all of these great people and being able to talk to them about everything,” Bluemel said. “Nonetheless I am still thankful for everything they have done and they were willing to do everything virtually.”
When asked about his advice for those who follow, Bluemel said, “My advice for younger athletes and students would be to never stop working and always think about your future. There have been countless mornings where I have not wanted to wake up at 5:30 a.m. on a Thursday for plyos or stay up after football to study for a test the next day. It is all just how you look at things and how you want your life to be in the future. You can either work hard now with academics and athletics to get your school paid for or work full time as a student.
“Life is all about picking your battles and the way that you choose them can make life easier now or it can make it easier later,” Bluemel added.
Bluemel was also a top contender in his class academically and was the salutatorian of MVHS’ 2020 graduation class.
Bluemel is the first-ever winner from Mountain View High School, boys or girls.
Some of Bluemel's accomplishments as sent out by the Milward Simpson Committee follow. Bluesmel “was named All-State six times in his prep career in football, basketball and track. A 3-time All-State selection on the gridiron, Bluemel helped the Buffalos to Class 2A State Championships in 2017 and 2019, and runner-up in 2018. He was the Class 2A West Offensive Player of the Year in 2019, was named Super 25 second team, and was chosen to play in the Wyoming Shrine Bowl, which was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bluemel is one of 15 players in all classifications that was a 3-time All-State pick in football.
His senior season of track and field was lost because of the coronavirus pandemic. Bluemel will be attending the University of Wyoming this fall on a track and field scholarship. He plans to major in Business Administration.”