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Powell Panther swimmers runners-up in Lander Invitational

Senior Jarred LaPierre won the 500 free, qualified in the 200 IM, and the Powell Panthers took second at the Lander Invitational last Saturday.

Three other Panthers added new events and another set a personal best time.

LaPierre won the 500 free by a comfortable 12.01 second margin. In his first attempt at the 200 IM this year, LaPierre finished in 2:21.99, good for second place and a 4A qualifying time.

LaPierre has now qualified himself to compete in seven events at the state finals.

Senior Matt Riedhammer doubled his list of qualified events, picking up the 100 free as well as the 200 IM.

Riedhammer shaved 1.77 seconds off his previous best 100 free time to finish fifth in the event and .48 seconds under the 3A qualifying time. He finished sixth in the 200 IM with a time of 2:32.62, a 3.56 improvement.

Sophomore Alex Bjornestad picked up his sixth and seventh events in Lander, qualifying in the 50 free and 100 fly.

Bjornestad placed ninth in the 50 free, his time of 26.12 a 1.42 second improvement on his previous best.

He would later place sixth in the 100 fly, qualifying with a time of 1:10.66. It was Bjornestad’s first time competing in the 100 fly this season.

Junior Nic Tracy cut more than three seconds in the 100 breast, resulting in his eighth qualification of the year. Tracy also placed third in the 200 IM, just .15 seconds behind LaPierre. He swam the first leg of Powell’s runner-up 200 medley relay team and the second leg of Powell’s runner-up 200 free relay team.

Like Tracy, junior Edward Oursler has qualified in every swimming event. On Saturday he improved his 100 free time by .44 seconds during his second-place effort. Oursler also placed third in the 100 breast and was the second leg of both the 200 medley relay and the Panthers’ 400 free relay team that finished second only to Lander.

Junior Quin Wetzel is the only other Panther to have qualified in eight events.

Freshman Tyler Wages narrowly missed qualifying in the first event of his young high school career. Wages swam the 100 back in 1:13.07. just .07 seconds short of the class 3A qualifying time.

Sophomore Ben Wetzel was just .36 seconds shy of winning Saturday’s second event, taking second place in the 200 free with a time of 2:01.86.

Junior Jakob Bowers was just less than two seconds behind the winner of the 100 fly. Bowers took second with a 4A qualifying time of 1:03.33. He also placed fourth in the 50 free, with a time of 25.09, .29 seconds shy of a 4A qualifying time. Bowers has qualified in five events this season, including the 50 free and 100 fly.

Host Lander won nine of the 12 events to win the meet with 485 points. Powell followed with 277, Cheyenne South had 185, Douglas scored 145 and Newcastle managed 78.

The team travels to Buffalo on Friday and then to Gillette on Saturday before hosting conference finals Feb. 8 and 9 at the Powell Aquatic Center.

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