“Much like his state championship round last fall, Bowen showed some real mental toughness in closing out the tournament head-to-head against some quality players,” said PHS head coach Troy Hildebrand.
As a team, the Panthers finished seventh, though just nine strokes separated them from fourth place.
The Lady Panthers, meanwhile, had a strong showing in Riverton, coming back on day two to take second.
“Having all four girls playing this well and being able to legitimately break 100 in any round really puts us in a good position for this season,” said Coach Hildebrand. “There are a number of quality girls teams this year in 3A and these young ladies are certainly in that conversation thanks to their hard work this summer.”
PHS’ top three scores on each day made for a total score of 617, squeezing past Natrona County (618) to claim silver honors.
The Lady Panthers were 14 strokes back of Natrona County’s Lady Mustangs after Thursday’s opening round. However, the Mustangs slid on Friday and the Lady Panthers stayed steady to slip into second place.
Cody High School’s Fillies ran away from the field, posting a two-day total of 577 to win. CHS’ Sydney Gunn shot 83-90 to take top individual honors.
Senior Alyssa Hildebrand led the way for the Powell girls, shooting a 104 on Tuesday and then besting it with a 97 on Friday. That was good for eighth place individually among the 26 girls competing.
Given the depth of the field and the number of 4A schools, Coach Hildebrand said a top 10 finish in Riverton is always a tremendous accomplishment.
“This should give her (Alyssa Hildebrand) a nice springboard to her year,” the coach said.
Sophomore Mikala Fulton followed with a 104-107 showing.
“Mikala put in a ton of time this summer on her game and it showed this week for her,” said Coach Hildebrand. “Looking back at where she started last fall it is incredible to see where she is now.”
The coach said Fulton’s continued improvement will be a real key for the squad.
Senior Tess Mitchell jumped out with a great first day and a round of 97, but ran into Friday trouble that spelled a 117.
“The great thing with Tess is that she keeps such a positive demeanor all the time that she is really able to focus on the positives and always bounces back from tough rounds,” Coach Hildebrand said.
Carli Brown, a sophomore, rounded out the Lady Panthers’ play with rounds of 115 and 108.
“Carli has shown incredible growth from last fall and it is amazing to see the progress she has made,” the coach said. “For her to be creeping down towards 100 on that course shows just how far she has come in a short time.”
On the boys side, there were 82 golfers among 18 teams competing in Riverton. So for Prestwich to emerge on top “was quite an accomplishment to start his senior season,” said Coach Hildebrand.
“Bowen has grown each year and worked very hard in the off-season to make himself the player that he is now so it is great to see him have this type of success,” he said.
Sophomore Pax Mitchell had some late struggles in round one to post a 91, but rebounded on Friday to “play the type of golf he is capable of” and shoot 82, the coach said.
“This gives him a point to take off from this year and I certainly expect great things out of Pax,” Coach Hildebrand said.
A steady 89-89 performance came from junior Jared Wantulok. Coach Hildebrand praised how well Wantulok battled through the two rounds and predicted improvement.
Junior Cameron Nielson shot 98-92.
“While he didn’t play as well as he thought he could, I was very pleased with his attitude and approach to this tournament,” said Coach Hildebrand, citing Nielson’s work ethic and desire to improve.
Dillon Nix, also a junior, had a rough first day in posting a 109, but shaved 10 shots on day two that “showed a lot more of what he’ll be playing like this season,” said Coach Hildebrand.
The Jackson High School boys lapped the field. Their top four scores on each day made for a total of 628. Riverton, 29 strokes back, was in second. Powell posted a 688 total.
The PHS golfers will have this week off, giving them a bit more time to practice.
The teams return to tournament play on Aug. 30 and 31 in Powell and Cody, respectively, for the appropriately named Powell-Cody Invitational.