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December 24, 2013 8:55 am

Panthers conquer Battle in the Big Horns

Written by Dante Geoffrey

PHS sophomore Nic Urbach plots his next move during a dual with Lovell Thursday night in Powell. The Panthers won 74-6. PHS sophomore Nic Urbach plots his next move during a dual with Lovell Thursday night in Powell. The Panthers won 74-6. Tribune photo by Dante Geoffrey

PHS takes down two billings teams for title

The Powell High School wrestling team laid out the competition on its way to a first-place finish at the 2013 Battle in the Big Horns tournament in Worland over the weekend.

The Panthers swept through its six-team pool Friday and then defeated Billings Senior High School 49-21 in Saturday’s championship dual.

“I couldn’t ask for a better way to go into Christmas,” said head coach Nate Urbach.

Powell wrestled to a 10-4 record against Billings Senior.

Junior Colton Parham (138 pounds), sophomore Kye Catlin (145) and junior Jacob Davis (170) each won by way of pin in the championship.

Senior Matt Widdicombe (152) won by a 9-1 major decision, sophomore Chance Karst (120) won a 5-0 decision, sophomore Nic Urbach (126) won a 7-3 decision and junior heavyweight Riley Stringer won a 5-2 decision.

Senior Colbee Craig (132), senior Grant Nickles (160) and senior Danial Wheeler (195) each won via forfeit.

Junior Noah Wozney (106) and freshman James Moore (113) were both pinned and senior Zach Thompson (195) dropped a 10-3 decision.

While Billings Senior was Powell’s foe at the very end, coach Urbach said it was Billings Skyview in the semifinals that put up the biggest fight.

“That’s maybe the best dual I’ve ever been a part of,” Urbach said. “They’re really good this year. They’re stacked.”

Powell was 7-7 against Skyview but edged out a 35-29 win thanks to Thompson’s major decision victory in the dual’s final bout.

The Panthers led 31-29 going into the 195-bout, and a Skyview victory would have sent Powell to the third-place dual. But Thompson won 12-2 over Skyview’s Matt Welch to clinch the victory.

“It (the dual) was back and forth,” Urbach said. “I mean, it was crazy.”

The coach said fans in attendance approached him following the semifinals to tell him how entertaining the dual was.

Karst pinned Tim Garcia in 1:27, Nic Urbach pinned Jake Burkhalter at 2:58, Catlin won with a pin against Joe Malchuski at 3:43 and Nickles pinned Jake Malchuski at 1:43.

Urbach said Catlin’s and Nickles’s bouts were both tightly contested nail-biters that ended with the Panther wrestler fighting from his back to earn the pin.

Davis won by a 10-2 major decision over Jace Cooley.

Stringer got Powell off to a strong start with a 7-2 decision over Reece Quade.

Moore, Craig, Parham and Wheeler were all pinned by their Skyview opponents.

Wozney dropped a 7-3 decision and Widdicombe lost 6-2.

Both squads forfeited the 220-pound bout.

The Panthers qualified for the gold bracket with a 5-0 record in Pool D.

Pool play provided little challenge for the powerhouse Panthers, whose closest dual was a 48-26 victory against Sheridan in round 4. Sheridan finished second in the pool and fifth overall.

Powell opened the tournament with a 71-6 win against Rock Springs, followed by a 78-6 drubbing of Pinedale in round 2. Thermopolis was no match in the third round’s 65-12 dual and Powell closed pool play with a 64-12 win against Wheatland.

Being the dominating force at a 24-team, two-state tournament bodes well for Powell’s state title hopes.

“I think we stack up pretty well [against Wyoming competition],” said Urbach, who knows the team still has a long way to go. “We’ve got a lot of wrestling between now and then (state).”

Host Worland took fourth in the gold bracket, followed by Sheridan in fifth, Jackson in sixth and Star Valley in seventh.

“We didn’t get to see Worland, but they’re tough,” Urbach said. “We’ve got to be ready for them.”

Worland lost to Billings Senior 43-36 in the semifinals.

Cody High School took third place in the bronze bracket.

Five Panthers battled in the tournament’s “best of the best” duals, and two came out on top.

Widdicombe beat Max Miller of Skyview (who bested Widdicombe in the semis) 4-2 in the 152-pound bout and Stringer shut out Woodrow Davidson of Rawlins 7-0 in the heavyweight match.

Coach Urbach said Karst was one of the Panther standouts at the tournament.

“He was undefeated until the best of the best, and he lost to a defending state champion (Jackson Taylor) of Glenrock,” Urbach said. “I know he’ll be hungry to see that kid again.”

Nic Urbach lost to defending state champion Ryan Bradshaw of Thermopolis.

Powell defeated Lovell 74-6 in a home dual on Thursday evening.

The Panthers won’t wrestle again until the Miles City Invitational Jan. 10-11.

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