The ten finalists for the 2024 Milward Simpson Award were announced on Monday morning. They are from eight high schools around the state and represent three of the four classifications in Wyoming High School sports. This honor is given to the state's most outstanding female and male student-athletes. It is considered the most prestigious high school award a prep athlete can earn in Wyoming.


This year’s honor, the 49th, will be presented at a luncheon on June 15, 2024, in Cody, at the Cody Auditorium Club Room. Each finalist is honored with a plaque. The two winners also receive an additional plaque to be displayed at their high school.

The student-athletes nominated for the 2024 award participated in basketball, football, golf, indoor track, soccer, swimming, track and field, volleyball, and wrestling.

Congratulations to this year’s Simpson Award Finalists.


Molly Hays, Cody High School

Hays was an all-state performer in volleyball and basketball and played soccer at Cody HS. She helped the Fillies win the 4A state championship in girls’ basketball in 2023 after runner-up finishes in 2021 and 2022. She was selected as the Gatorade Wyoming Girls Basketball Player of the Year twice. Hays also helped Cody finish as runner-up in 4A volleyball in 2022 and third place in 2023.

Lily Nichols, Wheatland High School

Nichols was an all-state performer in golf, cross country, basketball, and outdoor track, and played five sports for the Bulldogs. She helped Wheatland win the Class 3A girls’ golf state championship the last three years and placed in the top three the last three years. Nichols won five individual and one relay state title at the outdoor track state championships. She has 15 school records in five different sports.

Addie Pendergast, Sheridan High School

Pendergast was an all-state runner in cross-country, indoor track, and outdoor track at Tongue River and Sheridan High Schools. She won state championships in four sports, which included girls’ basketball during her prep career. Pendergast took first place ten times in her track career. She won eight individual titles and one relay crown at the outdoor championships and one indoor track individual title. Pendergast was the Gatorade Wyoming Girls Track and Field Player of the Year in 2023.

Bradie Schlabs, Cheyenne East High School

Schlabs was an all-state selection in volleyball and basketball and participated in outdoor track at Cheyenne East HS. Schlabs helped the Thunderbirds to the Class 4A girls’ basketball state title in 2021 and 2022, and third-place finishes in 2023 and 2024. She also led East to four appearances at the 4A volleyball state tournament and was a four-year qualifier for the state track championships.

Addy Thorington, Powell High School

Thorington was an all-state pick in volleyball, basketball, and outdoor track at Powell HS. She helped the Panthers to a runner-up finish in 2023 and an appearance in 2022 at the 3A state volleyball tournament. Thorington was the 2023 3A West Player of the Year in volleyball, as well. On the basketball court, she helped Powell reach the 3A state tournament in 2023 and 2024. The Panthers won the 3A girls’ consolation trophy in 2023. Thorington was also a three-year qualifier at the state track meet.

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Drew Jackson, Cheyenne East High School

Jackson was an all-state player in football and basketball at East HS. He helped the Thunderbirds finish second in Class 4A on the gridiron in 2022 and 2023. Jackson was a four-year varsity letter-winner and was part of four Thunderbird teams that reached the Class 4A state basketball tournament. He led Cheyenne East to the 4A boys’ basketball state title in 2023 and a runner-up finish in 2022.

Reed McFadden, Lander Valley High School

McFadden was an all-state performer in swimming, indoor track, and outdoor track at Lander Valley HS. He helped the Tigers swimming and diving team win four state championships in his four years, as Lander ran its streak to 28 straight team titles. McFadden won three events and placed third in a fourth at the indoor track state championships in early March. He won three events at the 2024 outdoor state track meet last month. McFadden won seven individual and one relay title in track.

Parker Paxton, Riverton High School

Paxton earned all-state honors in golf and basketball during his prep career at Riverton HS. He was a four-time state champion in 3A boys’ golf. Paxton is one of only three golfers who accomplished that feat in their high school career in state history. Paxton was a four-year letterman for the Wolverines’ basketball team. He helped Riverton reach the 4A boys’ basketball state tournament all four years, and the Wolverines won three consolation trophies in his career. Paxton was named the Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year in 2023.

Gavin Stafford, Big Horn High School

Stafford earned all-state honors in football and outdoor track, and all-conference honors in basketball at Big Horn HS. He helped the Rams win the Class 2A football state championship in 2022 and to a runner-up finish in 2023. Stafford won four individual and two relay state championships in outdoor track. He helped Big Horn win the 2A track team title in 2023 and 2024.

Dane Steel, Sheridan High School

Steel earned all-state awards in football, wrestling, and soccer at Sheridan HS. He helped the Broncs win the Class 4A football state championship the last 3 years. He was named the 4A Defensive Player of the Year twice and the 4A Offensive Player of the Year once. Steel was selected as the 2023 Gatorade Wyoming Football Player of the Year. Steel was a three-time state wrestling champ in his prep career. He finished his senior season at 49-0. He’s also a three-time All-American. Steel helped Sheridan win the Class 4A wrestling team state title in 2023. Steel also played soccer and led the Broncs to a runner-up finish in 2022 and third-place results in 2023 and 2024.

48th Milward Simpson Awards Ceremony 2023

Pictures from the 48th Milward Simpson Award luncheon on June 17, 2023.

Gallery Credit: David Settle,

47th Annual Milward Simpson Awards Banquet

Milward Simpson Awards, Wyoming

Gallery Credit: David Settle,