Kye Catlin finished third in the 145-pound bracket, Nic Urbach was fourth in the 126-pound class and five Panthers took sixth place in their division, giving the Panthers eight top-six finishers, which is a school-best at the tournament.
Head coach Nate Urbach called Rapid City the toughest tournament of the entire season, and said the Panthers answered the call.
Powell finished second out of nine Wyoming schools at the 33-team tournament. The other Wyoming schools were, in order of finish, 4. Gillette, 12. Worland, 13. Sheridan, 19. Douglas, 20. Douglas, 20 (tie). Natrona County, 23. Torrington, 27. Buffalo.
“This was a good one for us,” Urbach said. “Any time you’re going to be in the same conversation with Gillette you know things are going well for you.”
Thompson went 5-0 on his way to the title, the first ever claimed by a Panther in Rapid City. The senior beat Sheridan’s Tory Music by a 9-4 decision in the final bout. Music cruised to the finals on the back of two pins, a technical fall victory and a major decision win in the semis. Thompson won his first two bouts by way of fall, advanced to the semifinals after a 11-1 major decision and made the championship match thanks to a 5-1 decision.
“He was pretty dominant throughout the tournament,” Urbach said of Thompson. “He cut down on his mistakes that cost him in Powell.”
Catlin settled for third place only after being ousted from the championship bracket in the semifinal bout by eventual champion Adam Blees of Bismarck High School. It took an overtime period for Blees to best Catlin 3-1.
“It was a really, really tight match, it could have gone either way,” Urbach said. “Kye beat two tough Wyoming kids that will be in his weight so that was good.”
Catlin beat Torrington’s Justin Polkowske 5-2 and then Worland’s Kaden McElhinny 7-4 for third. The sophomore won his first and third bouts by way of fall and his second by a 13-1 major decision before facing Blees in the semis.
Nic Urbach lost a tight third-place match 6-5 to Rapid City’s Jodan Moser and finished fourth at 126 pounds. Nic pinned his second-round opponent after a first-round bye but lost another 1-point decision in the championship bracket’s quarterfinals. The sophomore crushed his first two consolation-bracket opponents 15-0 and then 11-0 on his way to the third-place bout.
Chance Karst, Colbee Craig, Matt Widdicombe, Jacob Davis and Riley Stringer each placed sixth in their weight classes.
“Any time you can be in the top eight at Rapid, you’re doing really well,” Urbach said.
Karst (120 pounds) went 1-1 in the championship bracket and made a run in the consolation bracket before his four-bout win streak was snapped in the semifinals. He was held out of the fifth-place match.
Craig (132 pounds) dropped his fifth-place match by a 12-0 major decision to Tanner Brengle of Sturgis Brown High School in Sturgis, S.D. It was the first of two losses Craig suffered at the hands of Brengle. Craig had a bye in the first round and won by a 7-6 decision in the second. The senior was then sent by Brengle to the consolation bracket, where Craig advanced via forfeit and then a 9-7 decision before being pinned by Rapid City Central’s Hayden Hansen.
Widdicombe (152 pounds) was one win away from the championship bout but was pinned at 3:28 by Bismarck’s Ricky Galindo. Widdicombe, a senior, made it to the semifinals via pins in the first two rounds and a 11-4 decision in the quarterfinals.
Widdicombe then lost an 8-2 decision in the consolation bracket’s semis, and dropped the fifth-place match 7-1.
Davis fell short in his bid for fifth place in the 160-pound bracket when he lost 16-0 to Tyson Mitzel of Aberdeen Central High School (Aberdeen, S.D.,). Davis, a junior, lost to Mitzel 15-0 earlier in the championship bracket. An 8-1 loss to Gillette’s Jordan Fischer kept Davis out of the third-place match.
Stringer claimed sixth-place after being held out of the fifth-place match and the consolation bracket’s semifinal bout. The junior heavyweight nearly made the final bout but lost 4-2 in overtime in the semifinal match.
Stringer won 12-1 in the quarterfinals and pinned his second-round opponent in just 32 seconds. Stringer had a first-round bye.
Stringer and Karst are both dealing with injuries and were rested in the hopes they can contribute this weekend.
“Knock on wood they should be back full strength this weekend,” Urbach said.
Bismarck High School won the tournament, Rapid City Central took second and Roosevelt High School (Sioux Falls, S.D.,) was third.
The Panthers had an historic dual at Laurel High School in Laurel, Mont., on Dec. 10.
Powell swept the 15-bout dual (13 forfeits/pins, one major decision, one decision) and won by a team-record score of 85-0.
Powell will host Lovell in a dual at 6:30 p.m. Thursday and then travel to Worland for the Battle of the Big Horns dual tournament this Friday and Saturday.