Powell, WY


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Panther boys swim to second in two meets

The Powell High School boys’ swim team took second at a Lander quad and invitational Friday and Saturday.

“Second is great,” said Powell High School coach Stephanie Warren. “We knew Friday that Worland could be tough, so we were happy with second on both days.”

Only one swimmer remains to qualify for state Feb. 27-28, and he is hoping he’ll qualify in the next two weeks, Warren said.  

“We swam well on Friday at the Lander quad meet,” said Powell High School assistant swim coach Jerry Rodriguez. “Four teams were present, and the meet was scored as four dual meets.”

The Panthers won three out of four of the duals. Powell beat Worland 101-82; downed Riverton 106-62; and defeated Cody 119-55. Powell’s lone loss came against Lander, 112-74.

“Nineteen out of 27 individual swims resulted in personal best times,” Rodriguez said. “Several athletes added more events to their lists of qualified events.”

“Our 14th qualifier came in the form of freshman Joe Kuntz in the 500 free,” Rodriguez said. “He shaved an impressive 10.99 seconds off his best time to make the state time.”

Kuntz’ time was 6:18.29.

Freshman Garret Henderson added the 100 free with a time of 59.68. Senior Dan Liggett added the 100 fly with a 1:08.31 time. That was his first competition in that event. Sophomore Tyson Wages added the 200 free with a time of 2:12.01. Senior Quin Wetzel added the 100 back with a time of 1:11.25.

Junior Alex Bjornestad was awarded a Wyoming High School Activities Association Sportsmanship Award for Friday’s meet, Rodriguez said.

Senior Edward Oursler earned the WHSAA Sportsmanship Award for Saturday’s meet, Warren said.

“This is a sportsmanship award as determined by the meet officials,” Rodriguez said. Some of the criteria are supporting teammates, (cheering) positive interactions with opposing team members and officials, and general good behavior at the meet.

Lander won Saturday’s meet with 442 points, followed by Powell with 333, Douglas, 199 and Cody, 163. Lander’s depth (26 athletes) still is the major factor at these meets, Rodriguez said.

PHS’ team has 15 athletes.

Individual event winners for Powell were junior Billy Baker in the 50 free with a personal best time of 24.10. Junior Ben Wetzel won the 500 free with a time of 5:26.42. Sophomore Josh Riedhammer added the 100 and 200 freestyle to his list of new state Qs with times of 59.16 and 2:13.97, respectively.

All three divers had personal best scores for the 11-dive format in 1-meter diving. “This is significant because the conference and state championships are both 11-dive meets, and a diver has to be able to score well in the long format to be able to place well,” Rodriguez said.

Senior Jake MaGill took third in diving with 276.75 points. Henderson was fourth with 256.40 points, and Wetzel was seventh with 241.15 points. 

“It is the first time in a while I have had a freshman qualify in their first 11-dive format,” Warren said.

“Our best event came when four of our (100) backstroke swimmers, Nic Tracy, Billy Baker, Alex Bjornestad and Tyson Wages placed second, third, fifth and sixth,” Rodriguez said.

Tracy’s time was 1:01.00. Baker’s time was 1:03.69. Bjornestad’s time was 1:06.09 and Wages’ time was 1:08.69.

The team travels to Buffalo for a 4 p.m.dual on Friday. Then the Panthers journey to the Gillette Invitational, which begins at 8 a.m. on Saturday.

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