“It was a great season for our boys and we look forward to next year hopefully with a larger team to challenge Lander, Buffalo and Worland,” assistant coach Jerry Rodriguez said.
Lander was crowned the 3A state champion for the 17th consecutive year. Buffalo was the runner up and Worland placed third.
Senior Jarred LaPierre was Powell’s highest individual finisher. He placed second in the 500 free two weeks winning the event in the 3A West conference meet. Sophomore Ben Wetzel came in fourth in the 500 free. LaPierre’s and Wetzel’s performances were good enough to move them into second and fourth place in the Powell High School swimming hall of fame.
Wetzel finished sixth in the 200 free. Wetzel’s time of 5:13.44 in the 500 bested his previous fast time by 10.76 seconds and his time of 154.35 in the 200 free prelims was 3.41 seconds faster than what he swam at conference.
Junior Edward Oursler placed 11th in the 200 free and impressive fifth in the 100 free. His time of 53.14 in the 100 bested his previous fastest time by .04 seconds.
Freshman Seth Fuller finished 17th in the 100 free with his personal best time of 59.28.
Junior Nic Tracy claimed third place in the 100 back with a time of 59.77, his first time less than a minute. Tracy did not make the final heat of the 200 IM and had to settle for seventh though his time of 2:13.71 would have placed him fifth overall.
Sophomore Billy Baker finished fourth in the back, exactly one second behind Tracy. Bjornestad finished eighth with a personal best of 1:03.40. Freshman Tyson Wages had a personal best time of 1:16.69 to finish 16th.
Bjornestad finished 11th in the IM, senior Matt Riedhammer finished 16th and Fuller finished 18th.
Junior Jackob Bowers powered himself to two sixth-place finishes. Bowers, a fullback and linebacker on the Panthers football team, set new personal best times in both the 50 free (24.06) and the 100 fly (59.24).
Junior Quin Wetzel finished 14th in the 100 fly and Riedhammer was 18th.
Powell had two divers compete at state. Juniors Jake Magill and Quin Wetzel finished ninth and 12th, respectively. Magill’s finish was his best ever at an 11-dive state event and Quin scored a personal high for an 11- dive competition.
The Panthers began Friday’s preliminaries on a sour note, when a premature start disqualified the 200 medley relay team from advancing to finals. Powell’s 200 and 400 free relay teams fared better. The 400 free team placed fourth in the finals and the 200 free team finished eighth.
Four of Powell’s swimmers are already back in the pool. Bowers, LaPierre, Oursler and Tracy are all training for the USA Swimming Wyoming Winter Short Course Championships in Laramie. The Powell Piranhas will bring 14 swimmers to Laramie to compete in the March 1-3 event.