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Tribune Staff


Jessee Craig (left) and Dylan Rood go head to head during practice Tuesday as they prepare to begin competition this weekend. As they have for many years, the Panthers will open their season by hosting the Powell Invitational. Twenty-two teams will compete in varsity and junior varsity divisions at the Panther gym. Tribune photo by Don Amend

Seven state medalists returning

The Powell Panthers take to the wrestling mat this weekend in a quest to win back the top spot in Wyoming 3A wrestling.

Thirty-five wrestlers are working out in the practice room and will wrestle this week as the Panthers host their own invitational, the traditional opening competition of the season, and PHS head coach Nate Urbach is upbeat about his team's prospects.

NWC hoops at home this Friday, Saturday

The last time Northwest College women's basketball coach Janis Beal saw her team step onto the court against an all-star team, the Trappers roared to a 19-0 lead and won a lopsided victory. While she'd welcome a similar start this Friday, Beal also knows her team likely has its work cut out for it.

The Powell High School Lady Panthers basketball team opens its season Friday at Cody's East-West Invitational.

After three weeks of “really good” practices, “We're very excited to get on the floor and see how it goes,” said PHS head coach Luke Danforth.

PHS is slated to take on Newcastle at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, and then face Rawlins at 10 a.m. and Wheatland on Saturday.

The Lady Panthers are coming off a successful 2009-2010 campaign where they finished 22-5 in the regular season (12-2 in conference play). PHS was the runner-up in Class 3A after falling in an double-overtime heartbreaker to Jackson in the championship bout.

In the 2010-2011 season, Danforth said the team is expecting big things and strong leadership from its three seniors — Leslie Thronburg, Olivia Rogers and Randi Asay.

Thronburg was a starter throughout last season, averaging 7.5 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Rogers also played a big role in the Panthers' success off the bench, averaging 4.6 points and 3.8 rebounds.

Asay sat out last season with an injury, but is a two-time letter winner who suited up for the state tournament team as a freshman and sophomore, Danforth said.

The juniors on the Lady Panthers' roster are Kendra Ostrom, who played in 22 varsity games last season, and Savannah Holt, who Danforth said has shown a lot of growth.

Backing up those upperclassmen on the varsity and junior varsity squads will be what Danforth calls “a great core” of seven sophomores. The sophomores are coming off a successful freshman campaign in 2009-2010, but will need to adjust to varsity game speed, Danforth said.

“We're confident that they're up to the task,” he said.

Danforth said he plans to use different starting lineups depending on who the Lady Panthers face. He said the team is still refining its players' roles.

The Lady Panthers lost four seniors to graduation, including their two top scorers and rebounders — All State players Hannah Pollart (15.8 points per game, 10.1 rebounds) and Savannah Donarski (10.6 points, 8.5 rebounds).

“Everybody's going to have to step up in scoring this year,” Danforth said.

The coach said the team's offense and defense schemes will remain largely unchanged, but the team plans to be more aggressive in shooting from the perimeter, rather than being quite so reliant on post scoring.

“If anything, we'll probably bring a bit more balance to the floor than we have in recent years,” said Danforth.

While the team is not gigantic, the coach said the PHS ladies are not small either, with a half-dozen or so players 5'9” or taller.

Danforth said the team has things to work on, specifically pointing to its defensive presence, but he noted it's early in the season.

“I think every team's probably saying that right now,” he said.

He predicts Class 3A West will be very competitive in the coming season.

Teams the Lady Panthers split matches with last season — Mountain View (21-9 overall, 10-4 in conference play), Cody (19-10, 9-5) and Lander (13-12, 8-6) — return most of their lineups, Danforth said.

The Jackson Lady Broncs lost a significant number of their players to graduation, Danforth said, but he noted the JHS squad is the four-time defending state champion in Class 3A. Jackson was ranked No. 1 in the opening coaches and media poll.

Danforth expects to see improved squads from Lyman (6-18, 1-13) and Pinedale (4-19, 1-13).

For the Lady Panthers' part, “the goal this season is to pick up where we left off last year,” the coach said.

It's the holiday season. Perhaps you tried your luck with Cyber Monday deals earlier this week. Maybe you acted like Punxsutawney Phil and poked your head out on Black Friday just long enough to see a crowd before retreating back inside your den for six more weeks of watching football.

But more than likely, if you're reading this column, you've been too busy with college football, the NFL and the start of the NHL, NBA and college basketball seasons to really have noticed. You're just now recognizing the calendar has flipped to December. You find yourself frantically staring at a countdown to Christmas and desperately in need of gift ideas to jump-start your holiday shopping.

Or maybe you're staring at this page because the sports fans in your life have been too busy watching their fifth basketball game of the week on ESPN to read the newspaper. That means they've probably been too busy to fill out holiday shopping lists telling you what they want.

Fret not, faithful reader. The Sports Guy is here and he's got your back covered.

Yours truly scoured the Internet in search of gift ideas for sports fans of all sizes and ages. Here's a smattering of the more peculiar recommendations:

•‘The Enlightened Bracketologist: The Final Four of Everything' — Even couch potatoes need reading material during commercial breaks and between kitchen runs for more chips and salsa. This book purportedly takes the Mother Lode of all sporting events —the NCAA basketball tournament — and applies the same concept to various cultural questions. See how a bracket of the top 64 movies of all time fared in head-to-head competition and argue about the Final Four. Pick the right topic and you might even find conversation steered away from sports for a few minutes.

Incidentally, people who liked this book also apparently like the title “101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die.” Apparently there were too many to fit on a 64-slot bracket?

• We all know golfers who are a tad, shall we say, overzealous when it comes to the game. Share your addiction fears by writing them a “parscription.” For a modest fee, your golfaholic will receive an orange-brown oversized medicine bottle filled with six golf balls and a personalized prescription label for whatever ails them — chronic bogeys, perhaps? — signed by Dr. Myrtle Beach.

• Customized M&Ms —Those delicious candy coated chocolates that you've gone crazy over since childhood? They apparently now come customized with the logo of your favorite sports team on them. I'm not quite clear if the idea here is to order your favorite team or if you're supposed to order ones bearing the logo of your hated rival so that you can, as cheerleaders have urged for decades, “eat ‘em up, eat ‘em up, rah, rah, rah!”

• The Lebron James Transformer — Kids love action figures. Kids love robots. Kids love things you can change. Presumably, this toy does all three. Then again, it might just have a button that changes the jersey from Cleveland to Miami.

• The Soccer Guys set —Advertised with a price of $25, this one appears to be a bargain. For your money you get “two soccer teams, referee, field, soccer ball and goals.” Where was this a year ago when Northwest College was trying to add a sports program on the cheap?

Then again, you could always just fall back on the tried and true sports apparel, a larger television set for us to watch the game on, or a nice comfy recliner to view the action from.

The No. 1 passer in the NFL is named Drew Brees. The two lowest-rated passers are Alex Smith and Derek Anderson.

You might think the disparity lies in natural ability or work ethic, but I insist it's all in the name. Drew “Cool” Brees was destined for greatness; the commonality of Smith and Anderson, mediocrity. Like any theory though, it can't be proven.

I recently opined about car names — my assertion being that a car named with passion and pride, like Dodge “Stealth” or Mustang “Cobra” will always be more in demand than something named Plymouth “Reliant.” Girls like bad boys and powerful — not reliable — cars.

The same holds true for athletes, and much of my wagering success over the past 30 years has been contingent on cool, descriptive player names. I won a lot of moola on the Mississippi Rebels in 2000 when they had a one-two running punch of Joe Gunn and “Deuce” McCallister.

A few years ago, I was successful betting against the South Carolina “Gamecocks” led by quarterback “Chris Smelly.” That's no field general! Deuce became a top NFL running back for the Saints, while Smelly of course, never went pro. Who would want to draft Smelly? If his first game was predictably bad, every sports headline in the country would read, “Smelly stinks it up in NFL debut.”

Earlier this season, I noticed an article “Jets sign Clowney, cut Woodhead.” I thought, “You get rid of a Woodhead, yet sign a Clowney? Why bother?” What a debacle it would have been if they'd all ended up on the same team — a Smelly quarterback handing off to Woodhead and passing to Clowney. The only way I'd ever bet them is if the opposition had a QB named Ben Barfbag passing to Moses Snailsby.

Not surprisingly, Clowney now has a total of one catch for the Jets. I must admit though, Woodhead — a former Chadron State player — has shocked me by averaging 5.4 yards a carry for the Patriots. I contend that's an aberration though. Normally, any last name with the suffix “-head” won't be landing on top. It's always gonna sound like a juvenile putdown, thus I'd never bet on a team led by a QB named Ron Rubbberhead or Pete Poopyhead.

Nicknames are a different animal altogether. When Craig “Ironhead” Heyward ran for the Pitt Panthers, I was all over it. A good “head” nickname while growing up nearly always denotes coolness. In school, we feared an upper-class bully named “Pearhead” Sample, and no one's girlfriend was safe from smooth-talking “Jughead” Marone.

My old Cody Legion teammate was nicknamed “Bullethead” after he intentionally broke the windshield of a parked car with his head at an out-of-town game. I withhold his last name in case there's still a price on his head.

The aforementioned Alex Smith wouldn't have necessarily been cursed had his parents given him a more awe-inspiring first name.

Currently, the Memphis Tigers have a freshman QB named “Cannon” Smith.” Give it a few years, and he'll be guiding an NFL team to the big game. Northwestern's running back “Adonis” Smith is gaining nearly 5 yards a run.

West Virginia put a smackdown on rival Pitt last week, led by QB Geno Smith, but then again, he's passing to a receiver named “Jock” Sanders with running back Noel “Devine” tearing up the turf. No Clowneys or Dunderheads on that team.

I loved the Oakland Raiders of old when they had running backs with names like Napoleon Kaufman and Zach Crockett and wide receivers Willie Gault and James Jett. Jett was fast, my friends.

And now it's time to start winning some Raider money again, all because of a little-known running back with the perfect name, “Rock Cartwright.” With a combined Flintstones/Bonanza handle, it's a can't-miss career on the horizon.

“Willie” will always be more successful than “Bill.” Bill Mays would never have made that famous over-the-head catch for the Giants, and Bill Stargell would have been a career .250 hitter with few home runs. Bill Joe Namath wouldn't have dared guarantee a Jets Super Bowl victory. Pro sports smiles on its Willies.

Looking for a dark horse to bet on next college football season? Might I suggest the obscure Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders? They have a QB named Dwight Dasher who will finally have his record-breaking season. Bet on it!

My name is Blough. As one might have predicted, I am a roofer.

Dalan Wambeke, age 18 months, and mom Angie Wambeke of Deaver joined many area kids to welcome Santa Claus to Powell Friday morning. Santa was escorted to Plaza Diane in the old fire engine by the Powell Volunteer Fire Department and then joined kids at The Commons to hear their wish lists.

After being turned down by the State Loan and Investment Board, city of Powell officials are continuing to seek funding for a garbage transfer station.

A transfer station would collect trash when the Powell landfill closes to household waste in the fall of 2012 and then be hauled to Cody, where Park County's regional landfill is located.

Brucellosis has been found in cattle from a second Park County herd.

Jim Logan, Wyoming state veterinarian, announced last week that the bacterial disease was detected after 12 heifers were tested before being sold.

A fire severely damaged an unoccupied North Day Street home Sunday night.

“I think the house was a total loss,” said Powell Fire Chief Joey Darrah.

Darrah said the fire apparently started behind a wall unit heater, then spread up the wall and into the home's attic.


Referee Dustin Thompson speaks with Quake assistant captain Evan Dixon (left) while team captain Mathew Peddie listens in. Thompson was exceptionally busy on Friday night, whistling 267 minutes in infractions and ejecting eight players as Yellowstone battled league-leader Helena. Tribune photo by Randal Horobik

Third period outbursts bury local side

The Yellowstone Quake slid into fifth place in the NORPAC America West Division standings after being swept by Helena 7-2 and 8-3 over the weekend at Riley Arena. The losses to the defending NORPAC champs leave the Quake four points out of playoff position.

“Helena is a tough team, and they're capable of scoring goals in a hurry,” said Yellowstone Quake head coach Craig Furstenau.

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