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NWC places 11th in team standings

Six Northwest College wrestlers went head to head with the best in the nation at last week's NJCAA National Championships in Rochester, Minn., and four Trappers walked away with All-America honors.

Because of the Trappers' solid showing in the 50th edition of the national event, the squad finished 11th in the overall standings at the conclusion of Saturday's final bouts. The team title was claimed by Iowa Central Community College. For the Tritons, the national title was their fourth in a row.

“Three of our four All-Americans are freshmen,” said NWC head coach and athletic director Jim Zeigler. “We got great efforts from all of our guys, and I'm so proud of them.”

Landon Harris, a freshman heavyweight from Rexburg, Idaho, led the way for the Trappers with his second-place finish. Harris opened the tournament with four straight victories, but he was pinned by Clackamas Community College standout Tyrell Fortune at the two-minute mark of the championship bout.

Zeigler said Harris had an outstanding tournament effort, and he also credited the freshman for keeping his loss in the finals in perspective.

“Landon was fabulous throughout the tournament,” Zeigler said. “He was doing really well in the title bout, but he got in a position where he got thrown to his back and it was over. What really impressed me was how he handled the loss. It's tough to get that far and lose in the finals, but Landon took it in stride. He got up and a smile came across his face. The two shook hands, and Landon patted him on the back. After that, he went over to the side, took a knee and put his head down for a second. He said, ‘I had it. I had it. Oh, well, I'll get it next time, Coach.'

“Landon does such a great job of keeping things in perspective. He's a fierce competitor, but when he loses, he doesn't carry it around. That's just so impressive to see, especially from a young man who is only 20 or 21 years old.”

Zeigler added that Harris and Fortune talked after the match, and the veteran coach said it was apparent both wrestlers had a great deal of respect for each other.

“It was a fantastic match, and it was great to see those two interact after it was over,” Zeigler said. “Everyone was so impressed with how good of a match it was. It was non-stop action from start to finish. And it was good for the sport to see the respect those two showed for each other after it was over.”

NWC's second-best placer was Anthony Varnell. The sophomore from Spokane, Wash., finished sixth at 149 after posting a 3-2 record.

“Anthony was disappointed, but I'm real proud of him,” Zeigler said. “What a lot of people don't realize is that Anthony had a full reconstruction of his knee last June. For him to come back from that to become an All-American is a great accomplishment. He had a great career here, and I can't say enough about what he meant to our team.”

Saul Guerrero, from Ft. Lupton, Colo., capped his first season as a Trapper by finishing seventh in the 133-pound weight class at last week's tournament. Guerrero concluded the event with a 4-2 record.

“Saul wrestled really well,” Zeigler said. “He had a great freshman season, and to finish seventh and leave the tournament as an All-American is quite an accomplishment.”

NWC's fourth All-American at the tournament was freshman McCade Ford of Payson, Utah. He went 3-2 and finished eighth overall in the 141-pound weight class.

“He's another freshman who had a great year,” Zeigler said.

Trappers who came up short of placing were freshmen Briston Brenton of Casper and Mak Jones of Powell.

Brenton made it to the round of 12, Zeigler said, and came close to being in a position to place in the 157-pound weight class. Jones went 0-2 at 197, but Zeigler said he's expecting a great deal from the former Panther next season.

“Mak wrestled some tough, close matches,” Zeigler said. “He's on his way to good things. His style and aggression on the mat are what I like to see. He's still green, but he's got a promising future in front of him. He's a fantastic young man, and I wish I could mold a dozen guys just like him.”

The prestigious honors weren't reserved for the wrestlers last week at the tournament. Zeigler also picked up a major award Saturday when he was officially recognized for being voted into the NJCAA Hall of Fame.

This year is Zeigler's 16th at the helm of the Trappers. Prior to this year's tournament, he led NWC to 14 straight top-10 finishes at the NJCAA National Tournament, a mark that is unmatched by any other two-year college. His 2004 squad claimed the national title. His Trapper squads also have won nine national team trophies (top six) and the 2002 All-Academic Championship.

During his tenure at Northwest, Zeigler has produced 71 individual All-Americans and nine national champions.

He was voted the NJCAA West Central Zone Coach of the year three times and named the NJCAA National Coach of the Year in 2004. He earned the prestigious NJCAA Wrestling Man of the Year award in 2007.

“It's a moment I'll always cherish,” Zeigler said. “It was nice to be recognized, and I was honored to have so many people come up and congratulate me. It's very humbling to be nominated by your peers for an honor like this.”

According to Harry McGinnis, chair of the NJCAA Wrestling Hall of Fame, Zeigler was a first-ballot inductee.

NJCAA National Championships Final Team Standings

1. Iowa Central, 161.5 points, Div. I
2. Nassau, 91.5, Div. III
3. North Idaho, 89.5, Div. I
4. Clackamas, 87, Div. I
5. Colby, 74.5, Div. I
6. Labette, 74, Div. I
7. Iowa Lakes, 67, Div. I
8. NIACC, 63, Div. I
9. Ellsworth, 59.5, Div. I
10. Lincoln, 55.5, Div. I
11. Northwest Wyoming, 54, Div. I
12. Rochester, 52, Div. III
13. Niagara, 51, Div. I
14. Neosho, 35.5, Div. I
15. Middlesex, 34, Div. III

March 03, 2009 4:14 am

One for Izzy

Squad dedicates victory to teammate coping with tragedy

The Northwest College Lady Trappers claimed a 64-57 victory over Eastern Wyoming College Friday night at Hank Cabre Gymnasium in Powell, and they dedicated their effort to teammate Izzy Gustafson.

Gustafson, a freshman from Sandy, Utah, learned Thursday that seven members of her family had been in a one-vehicle accident on Wyo. 28, 50 miles southwest of Lander.

Jaret Gustafson, Izzy's grandfather, and LuAnne Gustafson, Izzy's mother, both died at the scene of the crash.

Diane Gustafson, Izzy's grandmother, also was in the vehicle and died early Friday morning of a heart attack at Lander Valley Regional Medial Center.

Eric Gustafson, Izzy's father, and three of Izzy's siblings, ranging in age from 10 to 16, were treated at the hospital and released.

According to NWC head coach Chad Oletzke, the family was traveling to Powell to watch Izzy in the Lady Trappers' final two home games of the regular season.

“I can't even imagine what she's going through, and we've just tried to do whatever we can for her,” Oletzke said.

Oletzke said the team elected to play its game with Eastern Wyoming at the urging of Izzy.

“We were asking her what we could do to help Thursday, and she was telling us,” Oletzke said. “In the middle of telling us what she needed, she said, ‘Oh, yeah, win (Friday).'”

The Lady Trappers did just that. While Izzy was with her family and mourning the loss of her mother, grandmother and grandfather, the Lady Trappers fulfilled their teammate's wish. In the process, the Lady Trappers carried out a number of tributes to Izzy and her family.

Prior to the contest, a moment of silence was held for Izzy's family. Izzy's No. 30 jersey was draped over one of the chairs along the Lady Trappers' portion of the sideline. Izzy also was tabbed an honorary starter, and the team donned black wristbands that bore her number. The use of the black wristbands carried over into the Trapper men's contest with the Lancers Friday evening.

As for the game, the Lady Trappers held a 30-29 lead at the half and outscored the Lancers 34-28 in the final 20 minutes to claim the victory.

Overall, nine Lady Trappers scored during the game, including Erin Cooke, who tallied a team-high 15 points.

Larissa Crump and Sharla Stevenson added 12 and 11 points to round out NWC's double-digit point totals. Other scoring points for the Lady Trappers were Sheena Ryan (8 points), Kati Oliverson (8), Lacey Gilmer (3), Chanda Hollows (3), Gita Grava (2) and Rachel Tilley (2).

Oliverson led the rebounding effort with nine, and Grava and Cooke each added six boards.

Eastern Wyoming was led by Koel Hall, who finished with 21 points. Jessica Brown added 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Danielle Brown contributed with 12 points and six rebounds.

Oletzke, following the game, said he was proud of his team for its effort, especially considering the fact the Lady Trappers were playing with Izzy and her family in mind.

“Izzy is definitely a team player,” Oletzke said. “Since day one, she always wanted to know where she can help us the most. She's always put the team first, and that's one of the things I've always appreciated about her. She's been a team player the whole time. The team really wanted to win for her, and I can't be more proud of them for the way they played.”

One night after the emotional victory over Eastern Wyoming, NWC fell to Casper College by a score of 50-48 on a night in which the Lady Trappers' sophomore players were recognized.

The game marked the final home contest for five Lady Trapper sophomores –– Kassi Tucker, Ryan, Gilmer, Grava and Cooke.

NWC trailed 28-24 at halftime. In the second half, the Lady Trappers outscored Casper 24-22, but it wasn't enough to help them squeak out a win.

Crump led NWC with 18 points, and Ryan added 11. The remainder of the scoring was rounded out by Gita Grava (6), Oliverson (5), Tucker (4) and Cooke (4). Grava led the effort on the boards with seven rebounds.

Casper had 11 players score during the contest. Yianna Nadeau paced the balanced offensive attack for the Thunderbirds with eight points. Josie Stewart was the top rebounder with 10 boards.

• Up next: The Lady Trappers (11-19) will see their next action Saturday at 5 p.m. in the Region IX Tournament in Scottsbluff, Neb. On that day, they will face Western Wyoming Community College. The winner of that game will advance to the 5 p.m. game Sunday against Western Nebraska Community College, which was given a first-round bye.

The tournament is formatted as a single-elimination event.

March 03, 2009 4:04 am

Alice Zlomke

(Oct. 5, 1923 - Feb. 24, 2009)

Former Frannie resident Alice Zlomke died on Feb. 24, 2009.

Alice was born to Frank and Emma (Hejsek) Bartos on Oct. 5, 1923 on the family farm in Merrit County, Neb. She had four siblings, and they spent their time milking cows and feeding pigs and chickens. She was a tomboy who followed her dad everywhere.

She married LaVern Zlomke on Feb. 1, 1944. They were married for 61 years.

Alice and LaVern raised four boys: Dennis, Darrell, Mike and Leland, and one girl, Patricia (Patsy). The family lived in Manderson, Bonneville, Wendover, Nev., Frannie and Osage, before settling back in Frannie.

She loved quilting and gardening. She was known for raising luscious, red strawberries and towering corn. The bounties of her garden provided many hours of canning and freezing, and she shared the produce with her family and friends.

Alice worked in several different restaurants where she earned the nick name “Cowboy.” She spent a lot of time traveling to sporting and band events and plays while her children were growing up. Once the children were grown, and scattered across the country with the 21 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren, LaVern and Alice traveled the country to spend time with them. They also spent time bowling and attending craft fairs where they sold their woodworking projects.

Alice was a tremendous cook, and her kolaches were her signature recipe.

As they aged, Alice and LaVern spent less time traveling and more time with friends in and around Frannie. Upon LaVern's death, Alice moved to Rapid City, S.D. to live with her daughter and be near her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Alice is survived by her children Dennis (Joy) of Powell, Patricia of Rapid City, S.D., Darrell (Cec) of Cheyenne, Michael (Mary) of Owasso, Okla., and Leland (Sherrie) of Hagerstown, Md.; two sisters, Hattie Osentowski of Ord, Neb. and Bethene Pollock of California.

Alice was preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Emma; her husband, LaVern; her sister, Libbie; her brother, Ed and a granddaughter, Jennie.

March 03, 2009 3:59 am

Velma Eileen (Anderson) Darling

(Sept. 4, 1917 – Feb. 28, 2009)

Velma Anderson Darling, 92, died Saturday, Feb. 28 at the Powell Valley Care Center.

Velma was one of twin daughters born to Herman and Bessie Anderson on Sept. 4, 1917 in Powell. Their grandparents, O.K. and Mattie Anderson, homesteaded on the Powell flat in 1909.

Velma graduated from Powell High School in 1935. After her divorce from Arthur Litton she lived in Cheyenne and worked in the Department of Education for two years.

She married Calvin Darling on Sept. 7, l945. When he returned from serving in the Army, they moved to the O'Donnell community where they farmed until 1955. They later purchased a farm on Heart Mountain where they resided until 1992, when they moved to Powell.

In 1980, they retired and spent their winters in Arizona. They traveled to Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska and most of the continental United States. They were active in many community organizations and served as 4-H leaders for 20 years.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Calvin Darling, and her son, Larry Litton.

She is survived by two daughters, Eileen Nicoll and her husband, Bruce, of Kennewick, Wash. and Vickie Yale and her husband, Craig, of Sandy, Utah, along with eight grandchildren. She is also survived by six great-grandchildren and five great-great grandchildren, her twin sister, Thelma Simpson of Cascade, Idaho and numerous nieces and nephews.

Donations can be made to the Christian Science Society in Cody.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, March 6 at Thompson Funeral Home in Powell. Viewing will be held one hour prior to services.

March 03, 2009 3:57 am

Lillie Ruth Dixon

(Nov. 18, 1909 - Feb. 26, 2009)

Lillie Ruth Dixon, 99, died Thursday, Feb. 26 at the Powell Valley Care Center. Memorial services will follow at a later date. Cremation has taken place.

A full obituary will follow.

Thompson Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Rough times make mistreatment a growing issue

Most of the horses involved in a county animal-cruelty case are recovering in new homes.

“Certainly, looking at those horses now, you wouldn't know they were starving to death 10 days ago,” said Cody veterinarian Lynne Chadwick. Chadwick helped assess and treat the animals as part of a Park County Sheriff's Department investigation.

February 26, 2009 3:02 am

Powell ready for WyoLink

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Zack Thorington checks equipment at the Powell Police Department recently. The entire dispatch system was updated and is ready for WyoLink, a statewide, wireless communications system. Thorington oversees information technology for the city of Powell and spent the last few years getting the system updated for WyoLink. Tribune photo by Carla Wensky

System will allow statewide radio communication

Powell Police officers soon will be able to communicate with law enforcement officials around the state from their squad cars or portable radios. Powell is one of the first communities in Wyoming to be ready for WyoLink, a public-safety wireless communications system that will allow statewide radio communication, among other things.

Amount of discretionary funds estimated at $15 million

The stimulus bill recently passed by Congress contains money that may benefit Wyoming, but state officials warn that the money does not mean a windfall for state and local governments.

February 26, 2009 3:01 am

One step remains

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Colt Nix (top) was one of nine Panthers who claimed a first-place finish at last week's Class 3A West Regional Tournament in Cody. Nix, a sophomore, now is taking aim at a state title in the 125-pound weight class. Tribune photo by Don Amend

Panther wrestlers take aim at repeat title

The 2008-09 wrestling season will culminate this week at the Casper Events Center Friday and Saturday, and when it does, the Powell High School Panthers are hoping to add yet another state championship trophy to the display case at PHS.

February 26, 2009 3:00 am

Lady Trappers stun Sheridan

Ryan paces NWC with 23 points

An inspired Northwest College Lady Trapper basketball team defied history and registered a thrilling, 72-67 upset over Sheridan College Tuesday night at Hank Cabre Gymnasium in Powell.

Recent outcomes in the series between the two rivals pointed to a probable victory by the Lady Generals. However, NWC had other plans and registered its first decision over Sheridan since the 2004-05 season. Sheridan entered the contest with a 20-8 overall mark and a 7-0 record in North Sub-Region competition, which had already earned the Lady Generals a No. 1 seed in the upcoming Region IX Tournament in Scottsbluff, Neb.

NWC (10-18 overall, 4-4 North Sub-Region) raced to a 31-22 halftime advantage but lost the lead during the second half, thanks to a late surge by the Lady Generals. But unlike what has been the case in many of the Lady Trappers' games this season, head coach Chad Oletzke's team overcame their opponent's second-half run with a series of timely baskets and defensive stops.

“I'm just so proud of the girls,” Oletzke said. “They deserve all the credit for this one, and I'm happy they were able to get a win, especially considering the way they played. One of the things we've talked about is staying focused for 40 minutes. That means not letting a team get us all out of whack when they make a run at us when we've got a lead.

“We had a good lead at the half, and Sheridan came back and went ahead. But instead of the girls letting it get to them, they did what they had to do to get the win. They didn't do anything spectacular. They just went out and did what they are supposed to do — nothing more and nothing less. They stayed within themselves, and did a great job. It was a big win for us.”

After being in control for the majority of the contest, the Lady Trappers fell behind 55-54 at the 8:35 mark in the second half. That deficit quickly moved to three points with 8:06 remaining, but the Lady Trappers continued to keep Sheridan from pulling away.

Trailing 61-60 with just less than five minutes to play, Trapper sophomore Sheena Ryan hit a 2-point shot to put NWC back in the lead. Shortly after, Kati Oliverson connected on a 2-pointer from near the top of the key to extend the advantage to three points.

Sheridan answered and tied the game with a 3-pointer with 3:30 left in the game, but the deadlock was short lived as NWC's Larissa Crump hit a pair of free throws about 15 seconds later.

Not to be outdone, Sheridan's Tahnee Robinson, the nation's leading scorer, drilled a 3-pointer to help push the Lady Generals back in front, 67-66. That would be the final basket for Sheridan, however, as NWC closed the game with a 6-0 run. Erin Cooke scored the first of those six points with 1:48 on the clock. With just more than a minute remaining, Ryan hit a key 2-point basket to put NWC ahead by three points. Sheridan failed to keep pace and squandered its ensuing possession and NWC regained control of the ball. That forced the Lady Generals to opt for a quick foul to stop the clock, and resulted in Lady Trapper Gita Grava getting a trip to the free-throw line. Grava hit both foul shots with 13.3 seconds remaining and put NWC ahead by five points at 72-67. Her free throws proved to be the final points of the game.

“We got great leadership tonight from our sophomores,” Oletzke said. “I thought Erin (Cooke) played very well. We also got solid efforts from Sheena (Ryan), Gita (Grava) and Lacey (Gilmer). As leaders for us, they did exactly what they needed to do.”

Ryan, who plays point guard for the Lady Trappers, was the game's leading scorer with 23 points. She also handed out four assists. Grava added 16 points, eight rebounds and two steals. Others scoring for NWC were Cooke (9 points), Oliverson (9), Crump (6), Gilmer (4), Chanda Hallows (3) and Rachel Tilley (2). Cooke also grabbed seven rebounds and helped the Lady Trappers edge Sheridan 26-19 in that department.

As a team, NWC hit 28 of 51 shots (55 percent) from the field and posted an eight-of-11 mark from the free-throw line.

Sheridan's offense was paced by Kori Bingham's 20-point effort. Robinson, a former Lander High School standout, finished with 19 points, and Kendahl Avery tallied 12 points. The remainder of Sheridan's scoring output was handled by Pavlina Chudarkova, SirShawna Dowdy (5) and Mandy Mullock (2). Mullock also led her team with seven rebounds, and Robinson finished with a squad-leading five assists.

• Up next: The Lady Trappers have two more games remaining this week, and both will be played in Powell. On Friday at 5:30 p.m., NWC will host Eastern Wyoming College. On Saturday, Casper College will be in town for a 3 p.m. matchup with the Lady Trappers.

“This was a big win, and now we'll see how we use it,” Oletzke said. “We've got to play Friday and Saturday, so that will be a challenge. Hopefully, we can put together two games like the one we had tonight. If we can do that, we could really get some momentum in our favor heading into the region tournament.”