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Two PHS golfers make All-State

Powell golfers Pax Mitchell and Mikala Fulton pose with their sixth- and fifth-place medals and certificates, respectively, at Saturday’s Class 3A State Golf Tournament in Buffalo. Powell golfers Pax Mitchell and Mikala Fulton pose with their sixth- and fifth-place medals and certificates, respectively, at Saturday’s Class 3A State Golf Tournament in Buffalo. Photo courtesy Kevin Mitchell

Two others narrowly miss

Two Powell High School golfers cracked the top 10 at a snow-shortened Class 3A State Tournament in Buffalo.

The boys and girls teams each improved their scores from the conference tournament, while individually, junior Mikala Fulton placed fifth on the girls’ side and fellow junior Pax Mitchell took sixth for the boys.

Fulton shot a 93, punctuating a strong second nine with a birdie.

“Mikala has grown a great deal in her three varsity seasons and I expect big things from her next fall. She has all of the tools to be right around the top spots next year,” said PHS head coach Troy Hildebrand, noting Fulton closed her year with “three great rounds.”

Mitchell, meanwhile, fired a 78 and earned his third straight All-State finish.

“He was our leader all year and came through with a strong finish for sure. I am extremely excited to have him back for one more season and we will be looking to him for even more leadership next year,” Hildebrand said.

For the first time in memory, the state tournament had to be truncated to an 18-hole Saturday event because the Buffalo Golf Course received more than an inch of snow on Friday.

The Class 2A and 4A tournaments were moved to Monday and Tuesday (today) because of the weather, but Buffalo course managers said a scheduling conflict prevented them from moving 3A’s championship into this week.

“Saturday was beautiful weather and the course was in great shape,” said Hildebrand. “Given the situation, I think Buffalo and all of the teams made the best of a tough situation.”

The Powell boys — with a total score of 368 — finished eighth among the 11 schools that fielded team scores.

Senior Jared Wantulok followed Mitchell with an 83 — just one shot out of the top 10.

“He was a little nervous at the beginning and got off to a rough start but really battled hard to post the score he did,” Hildebrand said. Missing out on All-State honors by a stroke was disappointing, “but he should be proud of what he has done in his career,” Hildebrand said.

Senior Dillon Nix bounced back from a rough conference tournament to “play more like we expect him to” with a 101, the coach said.

“He has been a lot of fun to coach and be around for the last three years and I will certainly miss him next year,” Hildebrand said.

Junior Zane Henderson represented himself “very well” in his first state tournament and shot a 106, Hildebrand said.

“I am very pleased with the progress he has made this fall and he will be a key component for us next fall,” the coach said.

Sophomore Kaden Moore, playing in just his second varsity tournament, shot a 121 — more than a dozen shots better than his best round at conference.

“He has a ton of potential and with a solid summer he will be right in the mix next fall as a player we are really counting on,” Hildebrand said.

Carson Walker of Star Valley fired a one-under round of 70 to become the 2013 3A champion. His team finished third, with a 351 total. Lander won the title with a 324 total from their four lowest scores. Jackson finished second at 326.

For Powell’s girls, junior Carli Brown followed Fulton with a 106. Hildebrand said Brown hung in there for the best round she could and she ended up only two shots out of the top 10. Hildebrand described the close call as “extremely disappointing,” but “Carli had a great attitude about it and I know she will work very hard this spring and summer to have a great senior year.”

Sophomore Stevi Smith shot a 151 in her second tournament experience.

“She has a great attitude and with some work the spring and summer she will make leaps and bounds before next fall,” Hildebrand predicted, saying Smith needs to keep gaining experience.

Overall, the girls posted a team score of 350 to finish sixth of six.

Hildebrand’s excited to see where the Lady Panthers wind up next year.

“This group has a chance to get right in the mix next fall if we’ll put in a solid summer of work,” he said.

Buffalo’s gals won the state title with their three top scores totaling 307, followed by Douglas and Star Valley at 321. Cody’s Sydney Gunn claimed another first-place medal with a low round of 80.

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