(Lander, WY) – It’s not often you have a father and daughter sharing space in the same trophy case, it’s even rarer to have them playing the same position in the same sport, a scant 32 years apart.
Lander senior Whitney Hansen was a Class 3-A all-state center-midfielder in 2021, the same position her father Ron played when he was named Class 4-A all-state back in 1989.
The soccer landscape was vastly different during Ron’s senior year in 1989. He was part of the very first WHSAA sanctioned soccer program at Lander Valley as a freshman in 1985.
There was just a single Class 4-A league in those years with Gillette, Sheridan, Natrona County, Kelly Walsh, Cheyenne Central, Cheyenne East, Buffalo, Riverton and the Lander Tigers.
“We were in contention my freshman, sophomore and junior year,” Ron said. “We always seemed to lose close to East or Central. We graduated our defense in 1988. We usually had really good exchange players, but we didn’t have any my senior year.”
He moved on to the University of Wyoming after graduation.
Whitney has been part of a resurgent Lander program that has sent girls teams to the state volleyball, basketball and soccer tournaments all three years she’s been in high school, with a chance to battle for the title in basketball and soccer this year.
“It was neat today when Whitney signed for Laramie County,” Ron said. “I asked Serol (Stauffenberg) if he could put our statuettes together for a picture.”
Lander is a favorite in next week’s Class 3-A West Regional in Powell, and also a contender for the state title the following week in Casper.
“They have everybody back from a year ago,” Ron said. “She’s had a special high school career.”
Special describes the Class 3-A state soccer tournament last year when the Lady Tigers upset powerhouse Cody 2-1 in the finals to win the state championship.
“It’s been fun to watch and be a part of,” Ron said.
The colors are the same, but the shorts sported by Ron in 1989 are a little shorter than the styles the boys wear today. Fashions change, but heritage and connections endure.