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January 20, 2009 4:14 am

Trappers overpower UGF

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Northwest College's Corey Woodruff (left) battles University of Great Falls' wrestler Justin Gardner during last Thursday's dual meet in Powell. Later in the bout, Woodruff won by registering a pin from a defensive position against Gardner, who is a former NWC wrestler. Tribune photo by David Dickey

NWC posts 31-6 victory over Argos

As Jim Zeigler watched his Trappers warm up for last Thursday's dual meet with the University of Great Falls, the veteran head coach noted something different about his squad.

Instead of a timid group composed of wrestlers with little junior college experience, Zeigler noticed a team putting forth a solid pre-match effort. Their drills were done with more precision. Their sprints were run with a little more gusto. There also was a look of confidence on the faces of his wrestlers.

Said Zeigler, “When I was watching them before the match, I thought to myself, ‘Wow, it's the second semester and we've got college wrestlers now. They don't look like high school wrestlers anymore.'”

The uneasiness of competing at the junior college level is something that can overwhelm even the most promising recruit who is starting out in a new environment. For proof, Zeigler said, one needs only to watch his squad prior to the season-opening NWC Open, which annually serves as a passage from the high school to junior college ranks for a number of Trappers. With that said, Zeigler added progress is expected, and this is the time of year it typically is more noticeable.

“When the second semester starts, you expect to see the habits of collegiate athletes,” Zeigler said. “You start shaping those habits when practices start before the season. Then, all of a sudden, one day you see it. You can tell they are more focused, and you can see they are ready and wanting to win.”

Such was the case Thursday night when NWC disposed of four-year, NAIA school UGF by a score of 31-6. According to Zeigler, the third-ranked Argos brought a lineup mixed with veteran wrestlers and a number of younger ones looking to gain more collegiate experience.

“Because their program has so much depth, they felt comfortable sending a lot of their younger guys,” Zeigler said. “Great Falls has a strong team, and they are more powerful than we are. At the same time, their coach knows he doesn't have to beat us in order to win a national title. He's smart about things like that, and he saw this as a chance to get some of his younger guys some experience. I thought our wrestlers did really well, and it was the type of match we needed at this point in the season.”

Because of a number of forfeits, there were three exhibition matches to open the dual meet. The first was a heavyweight bout between UGF junior Garrett Johnson and NWC freshman Sears Tiernan. Johnson won the matchup with a pin during the first minute.

NWC then picked up 12 points after forfeit victories at 125 and 133, but the two squads still conducted exhibitions at those weight classes. At 125, Trapper freshman Eddie Whiting lost by major decision (15-0) to sophomore Richard Leal.

In the 133-pound bout, Trapper sophomore Luis Carranza posted a 7-2 decision over UGF freshman Scott Schlosser.

Trapper freshman McCade Ford then faced junior Jason Costello at 141 and suffered an 8-4 setback.

Sophomore Anthony Varnell, the Trappers' 149-pound entry, continued to make strides in his return from a knee injury sustained last year by recording a 10-3 decision over junior Blake Risk in the following bout. At 157, freshman Briston Brenton outscored redshirt freshman Noah Hatton 12-8 to put NWC ahead 18-3.

Trapper Corey Woodruff kept the momentum rolling in NWC's favor when he pinned junior and former Trapper Justin Gardner at the 2:42 mark. Woodruff registered the pin from a defensive position and while he held a 4-2 lead in the bout.

At 174, freshman Tyrell Wright defeated UGF's Cole Bausch 5-2.

“That was a big win for Tyrell,” Zeigler said. “We've been working with him, and I think his confidence is up. We were all excited for him, and that win might be the thing he needs to help him get on a roll right now.”

Both teams forfeited at 184, and the dual meet closed with the 197-pound and heavyweight bouts.

In the matchup at 197, 2008 Powell High School graduate Mak Jones faced sophomore Scott Lucas, who brought a No. 7 ranking into Thursday night's event. The two wrestlers staged a battle that brought many of the NWC faithful to their feet as they cheered for the hometown standout. Jones eventually lost 12-10 in a match that went into overtime.

“Mak's still learning,” Zeigler said. “He did quite a few good things, but he also made some freshman mistakes that hurt him. But he'll be fine, and he'll work to correct the things he did wrong. He's got a great work ethic, and he's tough. He's got a chance to be a very good college wrestler, and I know he'll do what he needs to do in order for that to happen.”

Trapper heavyweight and freshman Landon Harris closed the dual meet by registering a 14-2 victory over senior Robert Hazenberg. On his way to the major decision, Harris showed he also has more to his approach than power.

“Landon is so strong, but against Great Falls he showed there is more to him than just power,” Zeigler said. “He used some leg attacks, and showed good technique and quickness. I thought it was an impressive match for him.”

• Up next: The Trappers, who canceled last weekend's trip to Oregon City, Ore., for the Clackamas Open, have one dual meet scheduled this week. On Thursday, NWC will travel to Rock Springs to meet rival Western Wyoming Community College. That matchup has a 7 p.m. start time. The dual meet between the Trappers and Mustangs originally was scheduled for Jan. 8, but was postponed.

On Friday, Jan. 30, the Trappers will conduct day one of their annual Apodaca Dual Showdown in Powell. That tournament will carry over into the following Saturday. The start time for Friday's action is 3 p.m. The following day, Zeigler said wrestling will begin at noon.

This year's Apodaca Dual Showdown will feature NWC, Clackamas Community College, North Iowa Area Community College, Labette Community College, Southwest Oregon Community College, North Idaho College and Western Wyoming.

During the round-robin event, each team is scheduled to have four duals.

Also during the showdown, Zeigler said the Trappers will recognize this year's winner of the Brooks Apodaca Memorial Award for Leadership and Excellence. The award and event were created to honor the memory of Christopher Brooks Apodaca, a former NWC wrestler who died in a one-vehicle accident in 1998.

January 20, 2009 4:11 am

Panther boys edge Lovell, Riverton

PHS's winning streak reaches three games

The Powell High School Panthers, riding the momentum of a Jan. 10 victory over Lyman, picked up road wins against Riverton and Lovell late last week to even their overall record at 5-5.

PHS edged Riverton 54-51 Friday and followed with a 46-43 decision over Lovell the following day. Those wins left the Panthers holding a three-game winning streak.

“There were a ton of positives for us over the weekend,” said PHS head coach Troy Hildebrand. “That was a good test for us at Riverton against a quality 4A team. We knew they would use man-to-man pressure against us, and our guys responded well. Riverton came out with full-court pressure at the start, but we handled it and got them out of their press for about two and a half quarters.

“Our guys were pretty tired after that game, but they still came out the next night and played hard against a good Lovell team. You could tell we were a little tired, but our guys fought through that and got another big win.”

Against Riverton, Hildebrand said the Panthers were aggressive when it came to attacking the basket. Of PHS's 22 field goals in the game, 17 came from inside the paint. On the other end of the court, Hildebrand said his squad primarily used a zone defense, which proved to be effective against the Wolverines' offensive attack.

At halftime, PHS held a 28-21 advantage and pushed the lead to nine points in the third period. However, the Wolverines closed the gap and took a 40-38 lead by the start of the fourth and final quarter.

“Once they tied it, it was a back-and-forth game,” Hildebrand said. “From about the middle of the third to the late stages of the fourth, it was either a two-point game or tied. The bright spot for us in the game was that we were able to answer the challenge when we had to, and it wasn't just one or two players stepping up. Everybody made contributions, and that's what helped us get the win in a close game.”

Late in the contest, Hildebrand said PHS point guard Jordan Brown hit a key 3-point basket that put the Panthers ahead by five points with just more than three minutes to play. With nine seconds left and PHS up by two points, Matt McArthur hit a pair of clutch free throws to seal the victory.

PHS, despite facing a great deal of defensive pressure, finished with only 13 turnovers. The Panthers also got a boost from four players who recorded double-digit point totals. Galen Mills and Ryan Brandt paced the offense with 14 points each, and Brown and McArthur added 12 each. The scoring was rounded out by Gavin Mills, who had two points. Brandt also led the rebounding effort with eight boards. Brown chipped in with five assists and three steals.

On Saturday night, the Panthers traveled to Lovell for a Class 3A, West Conference matchup and came away with a 46-43 win. The victory snapped a five-game losing streak against the Bulldogs.

Hildebrand said fatigue played a role in the game, particularly in the early stages. The Panthers, who returned to Powell at 1 a.m. Saturday following their road game with Riverton, got behind 20-9 by the start of the second period. Lovell's lead grew to as many as 14 points, but the Panthers never gave up and began cutting into the deficit.

A 7-0 run by PHS in the second quarter kept the game close after it appeared it might get out of hand. By halftime, the Panthers trailed by only six.

“To our guys' credit, even when they were down 14, they never let up,” Hildebrand said. “That 7-0 run was big, and that's what helped get us back in the game.”

The Panthers, working against a zone defense by Lovell, took the lead during the third period. And once they got it, they never trailed again. Lovell threatened to tie the game after cutting its deficit to 38-36 with less than three minutes to play, but McArthur hit a 3-pointer from the corner to push PHS's lead to five points.

“That was a big shot, and after that we were able to hit free throws down the stretch,” Hildebrand added. “During the last minute, we missed on a one-and-one situation, but Ryan Brandt got the offensive rebound for us. He took a negative and turned it into a positive, and that was a big boost for us at a critical time in the game.”

The Panthers had three players notch double-digit point totals in the game. Brandt led the way with 17 points, and Brown and McArthur added 11 and 10 points, respectively. Galen Mills chipped in with six points, and Gavin Mills added two to round out the offensive effort. Brandt and McArthur paced the rebounding effort with 12 and six boards.

• Up next: The Panthers (5-5 overall, 2-3 West Conference) have one game this week, but it is a big one. On Friday, PHS will travel to face West Conference rival Cody in a 7:30 p.m. contest.

“Coach (Jay) McCarten has those guys playing well,” Hildebrand said. “It will be another tough challenge for us because I know we'll get their best effort Friday night.”

A half-dozen Powell Tribune staffers traveled to Cheyenne this past week for the Wyoming Press Association's winter convention.

The convention brings people from newspapers around the state together for interaction, education and competition.

Throughout the three-day convention, conversation consistently turned to how the combination of the Internet and the nation's economy is changing the newspaper business, forcing staff reductions, closures and restructures across the country.

The good news for those of us in small-town Wyoming is that community newspapers continue to fill an important role in our lives. Google can help us learn almost anything about the world around us, but to keep up on happenings and events in our own backyards, we still rely on local newspapers.

In turn, those papers must focus on the needs of their readers: What do they care about? What do readers want to know? What's most important?

It's not that this challenge hasn't presented itself before. Powell's centennial year, 2009, also marks 100 years for the Powell Tribune. In earlier decades, local newspapers were threatened by the advent of radio, then television and other new technologies. Somehow, community newspapers have survived — mostly by continuing to focus on the lives and needs of their readership.

Rest assured that, as we enter the Tribune's second century, our focus will remain on our readers.

January 20, 2009 3:32 am

PHS girls win two more

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Powell High School's Darcee Lynn (right) drives for a basket during the second half of the Lady Panthers' victory over Riverton Friday night in Powell. Tribune photo by David Dickey

Run record to 9-1

The wins just keep coming for the second-ranked, Class 3A Lady Panthers basketball squad.

The Powell High School team picked up its eighth and ninth wins of the season on Friday and Saturday, beating Riverton, 45-33, and Lovell, 55-46.

January 20, 2009 4:07 am

Bob McNeill

(Feb. 5, 1935 - Jan. 15, 2009)

Bob McNeill, 73, died Thursday, Jan. 15 at Powell Valley Hospital.

He was born on Feb. 5, 1935, in Flint, Mich., to Lynn and Ruby McNeill. On Feb. 16, 1957, he married Dorothy Ort in Casper. The couple had three children.

Bob was a teacher for Lamont Public Schools of Lamont, Wash., and Park County School District No. 1 in Powell. He also worked as a teacher/administrator for the Lower Kuskowin School District of Bethel, Alaska.

Survivors include his wife, Dorothy; son Ron (Alesa) McNeill of Honolulu, Hawaii; daughter Ede (Jim) Dozier of Cody; son-in law, Greg Bentley of Garland; brother Pat McNeill of Kennewick, Wash.; five grandchildren, Jared and Trent Dozier, Corrie and Lee Bentley and Amy McNeill; and five great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents; daughter, Von Bentley; granddaughter, Kaycie Bentley; and his brother, Lynn McNeill.

Cremation has taken place. Memorial services were held Monday, Jan. 19, at Thompson Funeral Home.

Memorials may be made to the Absarokee Lodge No. 30 in Powell.

January 18, 2009 1:15 pm

Charlotte Ficken

(April 10, 1914 – Jan. 12, 2009)

Charlotte (Schweizer) Ficken died Monday, Jan. 12, at Aspen Meadows in Billings, Mont. She was 94.

She was born in Lincoln, Neb., on April 10, 1914 to Emma (Fritz) and Christian Schweizer. She grew up in New Raymer, Colo., where her father owned a meat market. She graduated from high school in New Raymer and went to business school for a year in Lincoln, Neb.

She married her high school sweetheart Howard Ficken, and they were married for 63 years. To this marriage four children were born: Diane, Karen, Linda and Steve.

Charlotte was a wonderful mother and caregiver. She was active in many organizations for her children: Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, PTA and Job's Daughters, and she was also a longtime member of Eastern Star.

Charlotte and Howard lived in Powell for more than 50 years. After Howard's death in 1998 she moved to Billings to be closer to her daughter Diane, although she left her heart in Powell. She greatly missed her friends, neighbors, bridge club and especially the Union Presbyterian Church in Powell. She was employed for a time in retail sales which she enjoyed, especially at Nellemay's in Powell.

She was preceded in death by her husband Howard, her parents, a daughter Karen, and son-in-law, Gary Noddings.

She is survived by her children, Diane Noddings, Linda Manson, and Steve (Gwen) Ficken; grandchildren Chad (Madeline) Noddings, Cara (Thaddeus) Noddings Russo, Cavin (Joan) Noddings, Jane Gilmore, Dr. Tony (Katie) Manson, Stacy Arnold, Tara Ficken and Brian Ficken; great-grandchildren Chari and Cayden Noddings, Cole and Madison Russo. Max, Claire and Natalie Noddings, Hayley, Shelby and Jordan Gilmore, Katie and Tristan Arnold, and her brother and sister-in-law, Lloyd and Mary Schweizer and their son, Steve.

Funeral services were held Monday, Jan. 19 at Union Presbyterian Church in Powell with interment at Crown Hill Cemetery.

Remembrances may be shared with the family by visiting www.michelottisawyers.com
Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary was charge of arrangements.

January 17, 2009 12:39 pm

Powellink fiber network nearly done

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Dennis Vrooman, with Powellink, works on an electrical meter connected to the home of Wayne Meidinger of Powell Wednesday morning. Meidinger's home is one of the first to receive fiber-optic service through Powellink. Vrooman, of Salt Lake City, has worked on the citywide fiber project in Powell for the past six months. Tribune photo by Carla Wensky

11 of 13 fiber optic zones completed

After years of planning and months of waiting, some Powell residents are beginning to receive fiber-optic service for telephone, Internet and television at their homes.

As of Wednesday, splicing and testing were completed on 11 of the 13 Powellink zones. The 11 completed zones were released to Tri-County Telephone (TCT), the company providing service to local customers.

Look again

Bills before the 2009 Wyoming Legislature run the gamut this year, touching on just about every aspect of life in Wyoming.

If passed, measures before the Legislature this year would affect state residents in many ways, ranging from property tax relief (House Bills 37, 68, 87 and 138) to prohibiting smoking in enclosed public places (House Bill 31).

High school students in Powell and other towns in the Big Horn Basin will have an opportunity to earn college credits under an agreement with Northwest College.

The Park County School District No. 1 board unanimously approved an agreement establishing a three-year pilot program providing for concurrent-enrollment classes at Powell High School.

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Powell High School head coach Cindi Smith has been named Class 3A Volleyball Coach of the Year by the Wyoming Coaches Association. Tribune photo by Don Amend

Smith credits players for honor

Powell High School volleyball coach Cindi Smith has been named Class 3A Volleyball Coach of the Year by the Wyoming Coaches Association, but she says the honor belongs to her team as well.

“I feel honored,” Smith said of the award, “but it's what we've all done together that earned it.”