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Tight state golf tourney expected

For the first time in years, Powell’s boys and girls golfers are expected to be in the running for top individual and team honors at this weekend’s Class 3A State Tournament.

The event tees off at 9 a.m. Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday at Worland’s Green Hills Golf Course. With good weather in the forecast and a well-kept course, Powell High School head coach Troy Hildebrand expects to see very good scores.

“I think that both the boys and girls individual and team races will be very tightly contested this year and it looks to be an exciting weekend,” Hildebrand said. “We have enjoyed a great year on both sides and I really want our players to enjoy this weekend and put their best foot forward. They have represented Powell in a tremendous way this year.”

The girls are coming off a Class 3A West Conference tournament where they rode a stellar second day of play to seize the championship.

The coach expects a tight race at state.

Cody’s Fillies — defending state champs — came into the year as the favorites on the girls side, Hildebrand said, while his own squad has been “very solid” throughout the year. Lander, Buffalo and Worland are others the coach thinks will be in the mix.

“We just need to focus on what we can control and put our best effort together for two days,” he said.

Individually, Hildebrand sees defending champ Sydney Gunn of Cody, west conference champion Jordan Hitshew of Lander, Sarah Schroefel of Worland, Jessie Briscoe of Rawlins, and Hannah Pfister of Buffalo as players who could challenge for the individual title.

“I’d also throw Alyssa (Hildebrand) and Tess (Mitchell)’s names into that hat this year with the quality of golf they have played all season and the confidence that they bring from their sub-90 rounds in Evanston (at conference),” the coach said.

Carli Brown and Mikala Fulton round out the varsity squad.

The boys — defending 3A champions — finished runners up at conference.

Hildebrand named Jackson the favorite at state. They’ve won every tournament they’ve played this year — including the western conference tourney.

“The pack right behind them has contained us, Lander and Buffalo, according to what we have seen so far,” the coach said.

PHS senior Bowen Prestwich — the defending Class 3A state champion — has had an exceptional season, with his “worst” round being a 78 and his lowest individual finish being fourth.

Prestwich, 2010 champion Scooter Gill of Jackson, Class 3A West Conference champion Patrick Maslak of Cody, Jordan Costello of Pinedale and Lee Hartley of Buffalo are among those on Coach Hildebrand’s shortlist of expected individual title contenders.

The coach also notes Pax Mitchell’s stellar play at state last year, and says Mitchell could certainly make a run this year, too.

The PHS team will also rely on the play of Jared Wantulok, Cameron Nielson and Zach Kienlen at state.

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