Stoddard wins Milward Simpson Award

Courtesy photo/Cathy Stoddard Jordan Stoddard (left) and Cam Burkett (right) of Kelly Walsh get their picture taken together as the 2022 winners of the Milward Simpson Award in Cody on Saturday.

CODY – On Saturday, Southeast High School graduate Jordan Stoddard became only the fifth student-athlete from Goshen County and the first from Southeast to win the prestigious Milward Simpson Award.

It’s an award presented annually to the most outstanding male and female high school senior in Wyoming, and it’s considered the most prestigious award a prep athlete can earn in their career.

Stoddard found out from Tim Williams a day after graduation on May 23 at an athletic banquet at Southeast she was a finalist.

She wasn’t able to say anything about it because it hadn’t been officially announced.

Stoddard was pretty excited about it despite not knowing much about the award.

“After reading more about what it was, it started to dawn on me that this is pretty cool,” she said. “I got to the banquet and seeing that many crazy, good athletes and reading their bios and getting to listen to everyone talk about them, it really put it into perspective of, shoot, this is serious.”

Not only is success as an athlete taken into account, so is the individual’s character.

When Stoddard heard her name called, her mind went blank.

“Did they seriously just call my name,” she asked herself. “They mispronounced my middle name, but when they said my last name, I was like ‘oh, shoot, that’s me.’”

Stoddard beat out Brice Hansen of Lyman, Alesha Lane of Natrona County, Demi Stauffenberg of Lander Valley and Alexis Stucky of Laramie for the award.

“I didn’t know what to say or think,” Stoddard said. “I was 100% sure that Alexis Stucky was getting it. She is a crazy, good athlete, and there is no freaking way I am beating Alexis.”

Over Stoddard’s four-year career at Southeast, she was a two-time all-state volleyball player and helped lead the Lady Cyclones to a third-place finish at state in 2021. She also won 12 state championships in indoor and outdoor track and field in high jump, long jump, 100 and 200-meter dashes and as a member of the 4x100-meter relay team. She also holds six school records, plus one at Cheyenne Central High School in indoor high jump.

“Every athlete that was selected as the top five women and men were all very deserving,” Stoddard. “It may have come as a big surprise to me, but every single one there was more than deserving of that award.”

Now her attention turns to the college ranks where she will compete on South Dakota State University track and field team and get a major in animal science.

“I am heading up to my school orientation this weekend to figure out a lot more and how that will work,” Stoddard said.

She will have a chance to visit with the coach and get a training schedule.

“I’m super excited and not at all worried or afraid that’s for sure. I’m ready,” Stoddard said.

Simpson, who the award is named after, served as the team captain for the University of Wyoming football, basketball, and baseball teams and earned varsity letters in each sport from 1917-1921. As a halfback in football, he became the first Wyoming native to earn All-America honors. He turned down a professional baseball contract to attend Harvard Law School. Simpson was inducted into the UW Hall of Fame in 1996.

He also served as President of the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees. Simpson was instrumental in the hiring of UW President Duke Humphrey and Athletic Director Glenn “Red” Jacoby, both of whom are in the University Athletics Hall of Fame. Simpson served as the Governor of Wyoming from 1954-58, and later as a United States Senator, 1962-67.

Past local Milward Simpson Award winners:

2017 – Logan Harris (Torrington)

2014 – Avery Madden (Torrington)

2012 – Mikayla Brower (Torrington)

1978 – Margaret Gonzalez (Torrington)

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