Wyoming Student-Athlete Hometown Reports

Nov. 12, 2004

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

Following are periodic highlights of selected University of Wyoming student-athletes, detailing recent performances and their contributions to their respective UW teams.

Check out these reports on Cowgirl Swimmer Heidi Thorson, Cowboy Swimmer Gene Birks and Cowboy Football player J.J. Raterink.

Heidi Thorson, Butterfly/Sprint Free, 5-10, Sophomore, 1L, Rozet, Wyo. (Campbell County)


Sophomore Heidi Thorson

Heidi Thorson, a sophomore from Rozet, Wyo. who attended Campbell County High School in Gillette, is off to a great start for the University of Wyoming Cowgirl swim team. Thorson led the way for the Cowgirls last weekend as they improved their dual record to 2-0 with a huge win over Denver University. She won the 50 freestyle (24.78) and the 100 butterfly (57.89). She was also involved in the 200 freestyle relay team that also won (1:38.59). Coach Tom Johnson said her wins were key to the victory, along with other races that helped the Cowgirls win the dual. Thorson has also won the 100 butterfly at the CSU Early Bird Invite and in a dual against New Mexico. Thorson and the Cowgirls hope to keep the waves rolling when they return to the pool and kick off Mountain West Conference action against San Diego State on November 20 in Laramie.

Gene Birks, Freestyle/Fly/Back, 6-6, Junior, 2L, Byron Bay, NSW, Aus. (Kingscliff)


Junior Gene Birks

Gene Birks, a junior from Byron Bay, NSW, Australia, is helping to lead the University of Wyoming Cowboy swim team to a great start and a possible Top-25 team ranking. Birks is off to his own fast start early on in the season and has helped the Cowboys stay undefeated. Against Denver University, Birks won the 50 freestyle (21.17) and 100 butterfly (49.96). His time in the 100 butterfly broke a Corbett Pool record that was set last year. He broke the record by .41 seconds. In addition to his to individual wins, he also swam the 200 medley relay and that team set a new record at the dual with a time of 1:32.07 (broke the old record by .05 which was set last year by BYU). Birks has not lost a 100 butterfly race or a 200 medley relay team race all season. He won both at the Colorado State University Early Bird Invite. Birks and the rest of the Cowboys return to action next week against the Colorado School of Mines.

J.J. Raterink, QB, 6-1, 205, Sr., 3L, Longmont, Colo. (Skyline)


Senior J.J.Raterink

J.J. Raterink, a senior from Skyline High School in Longmont, Colo., led the UW Cowboy football team to their first road win in the Mountain West Conference this year against UNLV, 53-45 in triple-overtime. Raterink came off the bench to take over for injured starter Corey Bramlet. The senior quarterback came in after the first series when it was determined the Bramlet was too injured to continue. Raterink, who had only attempted 27 career passes before this game and had played sparingly during the season (usually as a holder for field goals and PATs), completed 22 of 36 passes for 227 yards, four touchdowns with one interception. Two of his touchdowns came in overtime where he also threw for a two-point conversion. The touchdowns were the first of his career. In addition to his stellar play, the MWC recognized him with the Co-Offensive Player of the Week along with Alex Smith of Utah. With the win, Wyoming earned their sixth victory of the year, which makes them one of only two bowl eligible teams in the MWC at this point of the season. The Cowboys hope to keep the momentum rolling when undefeated MWC leader Utah (who is ranked 7th in the current BCS poll) comes into Laramie this Saturday with game time set for 5:00 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium.