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Powell, WY

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Three golfers earn All-Conference honors

Panthers near bottom in team play in tourney

Playing on their home course, a trio of Powell High School golfers took home individual medals at Friday and Saturday’s Class 3A West Conference Tournament.

No one took greater advantage of playing at the Powell Golf Course than PHS junior Mikala Fulton, who shot two of the best rounds of her life — 93-91 — to finish runner-up in the competition.

“She really seems to be peaking at the right time and I expect a strong showing in Buffalo (where the state tournament will be held this week) from her,” said PHS head coach Troy Hildebrand.

Fellow junior Carli Brown also earned all-conference honors by shooting 108-99 and finishing 10th.

“Carli has had two strong second-round showings the last two tournaments,” said Hildebrand, expecting Brown to be in the mix at the state tourney as she looks for two solid days of play.

Cody’s Sydney Gunn ran away with the tournament — shooting an 85 and a stellar 74 to finish 25 shots ahead of Fulton.

Over on the boys side, PHS junior Pax Mitchell took fourth place with a pair of solid 77s.

“He is playing well in all areas of his game and I expect him to work hard this week and have a great weekend in Buffalo,” Hildebrand said.

Jordan Costello of Pinedale played to six-under par over the two days (68-70) to win top individual honors by 11 strokes.

As a team, the Powell boys posted their highest total score of the season — 772 — to finish sixth of the seven teams at conference. Jackson, whose top four scores each day totaled 649, edged out Lander by a stroke to win.

“I know the 3A West is very strong this year and we needed to play our very best across the board to battle for a top five finish,” said Hildebrand. “We had some changes to our varsity roster and then we just didn’t post our best scores of the season.”

The PHS girls — qualifying for a team score for the first time this season — finished fifth among five teams with a total of 689. Star Valley’s top three scores each day total of 566.

Sophomore Stevi Smith played her first-ever tournament for the Lady Panthers and shot 149-149.

“She did a great job,” said Hildebrand. “Our front nine can be challenging for girls but she hung in there and battled to the end.”

Over on the boys side, Jared Wantulok followed Mitchell with rounds of 88 and 89.

“Jared didn’t play as well this weekend as he had been playing but he still did a great job of battling through both rounds to keep them in the 80s,” Hildebrand said. “I think he’ll be bounce back this week with his usual strong play.”

Zane Henderson shot a 104 and a 97.

“Zane hung in there again this week and put together two solid rounds,” Hildebrand said. “He has grown a lot from last season and the more experience he gets the stronger his play has become.”

Dillon Nix had two rounds of 111 and the coach hopes to see Nix’s best at state.

“He has put in the work this season and now I’m hoping for him to have a strong finish to his career,” Hildebrand said.

Making his varsity debut, Kaden Moore “had a lot of nerves to overcome” and shot 134-142, the coach said.

“Both days he got off to a very rough start but he hung in there and posted the best score he could,” Hildebrand said.

Tyler Banning also played in his first-ever 36-hole tournament and shot 127-137.

“He did a nice job of battling through two rounds. He has come a long way over the course of his career,” Hildebrand said of the senior.

Robert Rodriguez, who had played varsity, is no longer with the team, Hildebrand said.

The coach thanked the entire Powell Golf Course staff for all their help with the tournament and for having the course in “incredible shape.” Hildebrand also thanked Mike Heny’s computer graphics classes for making score sheets and the Powell Athletic Roundtable for providing lunch.

The coach said visiting teams came away impressed.

“The people of Powell should be very proud of the commitment that our community makes when we host an event like this,” Hildebrand said. “I am always pleased to showcase our course and town because of the efforts that everyone makes to put our best foot forward.”

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