Despite the tougher competition, PHS junior Pax Mitchell shot a three-over 75 in windy Thursday conditions and then an 81 on Friday to land in a tie for sixth place.
“This was a great showing for Pax in a tournament with a field of this caliber,” said head coach Troy Hildebrand. “He has been tremendously consistent this year and has played well on a wide variety of courses.”
Top honors went to Cheyenne East’s Quintin Pope, who shot identical rounds of 70 on the Kendrick Golf Course to finish four under par and nine shots clear of second. As a team, Cheyenne East’s best four scores totaled 322 on Thursday and 294 on Friday for a winning 616 total. Laramie and Riverton finished second and third, respectively.
Powell’s scores of 359-362 totaled 721, just three shots behind Natrona County and four behind seventh-place Lovell in the 12-team field. With only two golfers, Powell’s Lady Panthers didn’t qualify for a team score.
Most Class 3A schools were playing in Star Valley.
“It was really nice for the kids to get to see a different course and a lot of teams that we don’t traditionally see in the Casper schools, Laramie and all three Cheyenne schools,” said Hildebrand.
Behind Mitchell, Jared Wantulok fired rounds of 82 and 84 for the Panthers.
“Jared had another strong showing this week,” Hildebrand said. “I would expect him to be very competitive at conference and state over the next two weeks.”
Next for the Panthers was Zane Henderson, who shot 99-100.
“Zane is really starting to come into his own as he gets more tournament experience,” Hildebrand said. “I have been very pleased with his growth this season and I look for a positive finish from him.”
Dillon Nix shot 103-101. Hildebrand said he appreciates the way Nix has battled each week.
“Dillon is getting closer and closer to the type of play he expects of himself,” the coach said. “I really think being at home for conference this week could give him just the boost he needs for the end of his season.”
The Panthers went without a fifth golfer because Robert Rodriguez was at a wedding, Hildebrand said.
For the Lady Panthers, Mikala Fulton kept her play in double digits both days, shooting 97-99 and finishing nine shots out of the top 10.
“Mikala played well again this week with two consistent rounds,” Hildebrand said. “She seems to be headed towards a peak at just the right time.”
Carli Brown, meanwhile, opened with a 106 on Thursday before dropping to 94 on day two.
“Carli really played well Friday after having a couple rounds that hadn’t been up to her standard,” said Hildebrand. “That is a great sign at this time of year and should boost her confidence.”
Powell should also get a boost of confidence by playing host to this week’s Class 3A West Conference Tournament. Play begins at noon on Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday at the Powell Golf Course.