The sport of softball is officially one step closer to reality in Wyoming High Schools.

Tuesday, the Wyoming High School Activities Association (WHSAA) Board of Directors approved unanimously on first reading sanctioning softball for a start in the spring of 2021.

There are currently 11 schools that are ready to add the sport next school year, which is more than the required minimum of eight to have a sport sanctioned by the WHSAA.

The Board decided upon a 22-game season that’s start and end will coincide with the two other spring sports of soccer and outdoor track and field.

WHSAA Commissioner Ron Laird joined WyoPreps’ David Settle for a discussion on the board meeting in the video above. The conversation centered on softball. Commissioner Laird talked about the conversations that have led up to this votes, why the decision on a 22-game season, why the season will be in the spring and won’t extend too much into the summer, and more. Laird also discussed movement among teams as Wyoming gets ready for the start of 9-man football next year, changes to Class 4A golf, and a possible change to the number of soccer matches in a season.

Gillette was the only city to bid on the state tournament and was awarded the bid for the first two years. The state tournament will take place at the Energy Capital Sports Complex with two games going at the same time. There are two other fields to warm-up on and batting cages at this facility.

Softball comes back for final approval in November.

Football: The numbers for the new Class of 9-man football teams have been approved. Pine Bluffs will be part of the class, as well as Southeast. The Cyclones would qualify for 6-man but opted to play in the 9-man division. Moorcroft chose to move down to 9-man but will be ineligible for the playoffs, despite an appeal from the school administration and head coach, which the board denied. Two programs, Big Horn and Cokeville have decided to opt up to Class 2A

The breakdown will be 10 teams in Class 4A, 12 in Class 3A, 16 in Class 2A, 14 in 9-man, and 13 in 6-man.

Golf: Passing on second reading was a proposal from Class 4A coaches to change the state championships with a new qualification system. Only the top 20 individuals and top four teams and their players will compete at the state championships. This is being done to help reduce the number of players and time spent on the course. Class 4A Athletic Directors will have to work out the details on how the final qualifying will be done.

Wrestling: The Regional Wrestling tournament seeding criteria have changed. Passing on first reading was to take out the third criterion of using “returning state placers as the same weight.” This will go forward to November.

Swimming and Diving: A proposal passed on first reading, to allow all qualifiers in an event from one team to swim or dive at the state championships. Only the top four would still be allowed to score for a team. For example, if a team has six swimmers in a single event, all six could swim, but only the top could potentially score points. This proposal comes back for a second reading in November.

Soccer: A proposal has been brought forward to expand the number of matches within the season from 14 to 16. It passed on first reading after lots of discussions. This also moves forward to the November board meeting.

Indoor Track: Rawlins High School will start its own indoor track team during the upcoming 2020 season. They had been part of a co-op with Laramie High School's indoor track team. This was approved by the board.

The next WHSAA Board of Directors meeting is set for November 5 and 6 in Casper.