It was a new feat for Powell head coach Nate Urbach.
“Nine in the finals was certainly the most I’ve ever had,” Urbach said.
That the overwhelming success came against a crowded 3A field was a bonus for the state-favorite Panthers.
“We’re able to get a bunch of the 3A teams to go there,” Urbach said. “For us, that’s a chance to see what everyone else in the state is doing.”
But Urbach is careful to temper any celebration of the first-place finish.
“The tournament was great, but it is what it is,” he said. “That wasn’t the state tournament.”
The coach is keen on keeping his wrestlers motivated with an eye on improving.
“We need to be constantly vigilant,” Urbach said. “We need to continue to improve.”
The Panthers got better as the tournament went on, wrestling their best as they got deeper into their brackets.
“We came out on fire on Saturday,” Urbach said.
Junior Noah Wozney went 3-0 and beat Palmer Schafer, who bested Wozney twice at the Powell Invite, by a 16-13 decision to claim the 106-pound championship. Wozney was down two points with about 30 seconds to go before making his comeback.
“It just showed how far he’s come,” Urbach said. “He’s really steadily improved throughout the year.”
Sophomore Chance Karst took down Traison Swenson of Pinedale at 3:39 in the 120-pound final. Urbach said Karst “looked dominant” as he won each of his matches by fall (including a technical fall in the quarterfinal).
Nic Urbach was one of two Panthers to go 4-0 on the way to an individual championship. The sophomore pinned Glenrock’s Jackson Taylor in 1:35 to take the 126-pound title.
Kye Catlin “wrestled real steady throughout the tournament,” Urbach said, and that earned the sophomore first place at 145 pounds. Catlin won a 13-3 major decision over Worland’s Kaden McElhinny in the championship bout.
Matt Widdicombe was the second Panther to finish 4-0, culminating with a 11-4 decision over Talyn Kapptie of Worland.
Urbach said Widdicombe, a senior, “was in control for most of the match” against Kapptie.
Colton Parham was one of four runners-up for Powell. Parham “wrestled his butt off” and was 3-0 until losing by fall to Douglas’ Zach Hoopman in the first-place match.
Coach Urbach said the loss will serve as motivation for the 132-pound junior.
“He’s hungry to get back after him,” Urbach said.
Junior Jacob Davis came within two points of taking first at 160 pounds, but lost a 7-6 decision to Cody’s John Beaudrie and settled for second.
Urbach said Davis looked better against Beaudrie this time around than in previous matches.
“We’re hopefully closing the gap there,” the coach said.
Zach Thompson rebounded after a disappointing showing in Miles City. The 195-pound senior went 3-1 and took second place in his bracket. Thompson’s only loss was a 4-2 decision in the finals against Sterling Baker of Dubois.
Senior Riley Stringer took second in a shallow 220-pound field. Stringer won in the semis and lost by a 4-2 decision to Worland’s Casey Hernandez in the finals.
Urbach said Stringer was battling illness most of the week and that final bout is “one that we hope we can win in the future.”
Heavyweight Rowdy Gard continued his second-half surge with a third-place finish. The junior wrestled through a busy slate and came out with a 4-1 record, losing in the semifinals before moving on to beat Lander’s Kegan Wells by fall at 2:01 of the third-place match.
“He had a tight match in the semis,” Urbach said. “I feel like he’s right in the running, and that’s what we want, him scoring big points for us.”
Powell scored big points the night before the Lander Invite in a dual at Greybull, where the Panthers won 63-9.
The Buffaloes may hail from a smaller school, but Urbach said the Panthers weren’t going to look past their 2A foe.
“They’re a good proud tradition, so we knew we had to go and wrestle hard with them,” the coach said.
Powell vs. Greybull results:
106 - Noah Wozney def. Tre Nelson 9-0
113 - Marshall Wittick lost to Jorge Carmona 0-1
120 - Chance Karst won by forfeit
126 - Nic Urbach def. Marshall Gibbs by pin 3:34
132 - Colbee Craig def. Dylan Roberts by pin 3:07
138 - Bailey Atkinson def. Ashton Wollom by pin 3:11
145 - Kye Catlin def. Cole Hill 7-0
152 - Matt Widdicombe def. Jesus Burgos 6-0
160 - Jacob Davis dec. Tyler Wollom by pin 1:18
170 - Grant Nickles def. Anthony Elbert by pin 2:50
182 - Danial Wheeler won by forfeit
195 - Zach Thompson def. Zane Edeler by pin 1:55
HWT - Rowdy Gard def. Tanner Bernstein by pin 1:12