In a meet that featured all three of the top-ranked 3A teams, the Panthers fell by a 227-222 final count atop the standings. No. 1 Star Valley was third with 213.5 points.
“Hats off to Douglas, they really wrestled a tough championship round,” said Panther head coach Nate Urbach. “We were pretty beat up and sick this week, but we still had the kids to win the tournament. It was a good lesson for us in a tight team race. Everyone’s points count and every match is important.”
The Panthers were able to crown a pair of champions on Saturday. Sophomore Jacob Davis scored the 145-pound title while freshman Nic Urbach grabbed the gold at 113 pounds.
Davis opened the tournament with a bye, then pinned Douglas’ Landon Utter midway through their second-round meeting. From there, Davis had his work cut out for him.
The sophomore advanced out of the quarterfinals with a 7-4 victory over Kelly Walsh’s Bryson Peel. His semifinal contest against Star Valley’s Cole Bagley was even closer, ending 2-1 in Davis’ favor. That placed the youngster opposite Douglas’ Blake Sanderson in the championship match, which Davis controlled for a 6-2 victory.
Urbach had another strong outing for the Panthers. One week after winning the Best of the Best title at the Battle of the Big Horns, Urbach came out in commanding fashion once more.
After receiving a first-round bye through the seeding process, Urbach pinned Star Valley’s Trevor LaRose in 4:54 and followed with a win by fall over the Braves’ Gabe Waldron in 4:34 in the semifinals. In the finals, he met Lyman’s Brodie Doulass, ending that match in just 2:46.
“Nic and Jacob looked really good,” said Coach Urbach. “Both brought home the gold.”
Four other Panthers came up just shy in their effort to win weight class titles. Zach Thompson (195) lost a narrow one-point decision in a meeting between the top two wrestlers in the 3A individual rankings at the weight. Thompson was unable to get to his feet in the final 36 seconds to secure a tying escape in that match.
Dylan Rood (126), Kye Catlin (138) and Spencer Shultz (220) were all pinned in their championship matches.
Riley Stringer (285) and Colton Parham (120) each placed third. Parham’s consolation championship match was to have been against teammate Colbee Craig after both Panthers reached the semifinals before coming up short in their bids to reach the finals and climbing the back of the bracket. Parham received third on the official tournament bracket via an injury default.
The injury default played a big role in the Panthers’ narrow tournament loss. Powell traveled to the tournament without wrestlers at either 160 or 182 pounds due to illness. A handful of additional wrestlers were forced from the competition early due to injuries, likely costing the team the points needed to bridge the gap atop the team standings.
“We placed 15 kids in the top six, which is quite an accomplishment for the boys,” said Urbach. “We need to work on a couple little things over the break and move some kids around to fill the lineup. It should be an exciting second half of the season.”
The Panthers will begin that second half with Jan. 3 duals in Billings against city schools Skyview and Senior. From there, the team will drive west for a Jan. 4-5 appearance in the Bozeman Invitational. The Panthers’ first home action of 2013 will not take place until Jan. 17 when the team hosts Greybull for a dual, one of just two remaining home dates on the schedule.
106 — Noah Wozney (13-11) placed sixth overall.
113 — Nic Urbach (23-4) finished as the meet champion.
120 — Colton Parham (6-6) placed third overall; Colbee Craig (14-13) placed fourth overall.
126 — Dylan Rood (11-10) finished as the meet runner-up.
132 — Andrew Feller (16-10) placed sixth overall.
138 — Kye Catlin (22-3) finished as the meet runner-up; Matt Widdicombe (12-10) placed fourth overall.
145 — Jacob Davis (19-5) finished as the meet champion.
152 — Anthony Lujan (10-12) placed sixth overall.
170 — Tyler Patterson (16-8) placed fourth overall.
195 — Zach Thompson (20-2) finished as the meet runner-up.
220 — Spencer Shultz (15-10) finished as the meet runner-up; Erik Denney (12-6) placed fifth overall.
285 — Riley Stringer (19-7) placed third overall; Rowdy Gard (5-7) did not place.
Final team scores — Douglas 227, Powell 222, Star Valley 213.5, Riverton 195.5, Lander 189.5, Torrington 156, Kelly Walsh 108, Lyman 87.5, Rawlins 70, Mountain View 60, Shoshoni 57, Jackson 49.5, Wind River 20.5.