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PHS swim team wins in Buffalo, falls in Gillette

Powell High School boys’ swim team easily overcame Buffalo Friday, but swam upstream to land 10th out of 18 teams at Saturday’s invitational in Gillette.

Powell easily dominated Buffalo 124-46 Friday, placing first in most events with a score of 124 to 46.

In the Gillette Invitational, Casper’s Kelly Walsh High School was first with 455.5 points; Laramie High School was second with 412.5 points and Gillette’s Campbell County High School was third with 374 points. Powell earned 153 points.

“The meet was dominated by the large 4A schools but we were third among the 3A teams,” said PHS assistant swim coach Jerry Rodriguez.

Rodriguez said the Panthers’ success in Buffalo was partly due to their bigger roster.

“The scores were a little lopsided as our much larger team was able to place numerous top scorers in each event,” Rodriguez said.

The team of junior Billy Baker, senior Edward Oursler, senior Nic Tracy and sophomore Seth Fuller won the 200 medley relay at Buffalo with a time of 1:58.04.

The team of junior Alex Bjornestad, sophomore Josh Riedhammer, sophomore Tyson Wages and junior Ben Wetzel swam first in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:46.99 at Buffalo. Riedhammer swam third with a time of 2:34.68 for a personal best to qualify him for that race at state.

Freshman Joe Kuntz won the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:24.16 at Buffalo.

Bjornestad won the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:20.61 at Buffalo. Bjornestad swam a first in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:18.14 at Buffalo.

Oursler came in second in the Buffalo 200 individual medley with a time of 2:20.93, cutting 1.41 seconds to make it his personal best in that event. 

Tracy won the 50 freestyle with a time of 25.48 at Buffalo for a personal best as did Fuller landing second with a time of 26 seconds even.

“Tyson Wages trimmed nearly three seconds in the 100 fly for a personal best,” Rodriguez said.

Wages swam in fourth at that Buffalo event with a time of 1:09.50. Baker was one second ahead of Wages in the 100 butterfly for third with a time of 1:08.50 for a personal best and the big Q in that event at state.

That was Baker’s first attempt in the 100 butterfly, Rodriguez said.

“Billy followed the fly with a PB (personal best) and new Q in the 500 free,” Rodriguez said.

Baker was second in that Buffalo race with a time of 6:15.16.

Senior Dan Liggett cut 2.24 seconds in the 100 backstroke for second place with a time of 1:10.98.

“Three of our athletes (Jakob Bowers, Liggett and Ben Wetzel) completed the “iron man challenge,” swimming the final four events, back to back,” Rodriguez said.

Senior Quin Wetzel (169.25 points), freshman Garret Henderson (160.45) and senior Jake MaGill (158.40) were first through third, respectively, in 1-meter diving at Buffalo.

Oursler nailed first in the 100 freestyle with a time of 56.21 at Buffalo.

The guys held their own at Gillette, finishing just behind Lander and Worland among 3A teams.

“We have known all season that Worland is strong this year too so each time we swim against them it comes down to which team had the better day,” said PHS head coach Stephanie Warren.

Tracy, Oursler, Bowers and Baker finished ninth in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:51.33.

Ben Wetzel was 11th in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:58.39. Fuller was 12th in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:20.68. Billy Baker was 13th in the 50 freestyle with a time of 24.72.

Quin Wetzel was the highest Powell finish in diving at 22nd with 239.20 points.

Bowers was 15th in the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:01.48. Oursler was 19th in the 100 freestyle with a time of 56.02. Ben Wetzel, top individual Panther finisher at Gillette, was fifth in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:22.36. The 200 freestyle relay team of Tracy, Bjornestad, Fuller and Ben Wetzel was 12th with a time of 1:42.95.

In the 100 backstroke Tracy was 15th with a time of 1:04.07, Bjornestad was 16th with a time of 1:04.49 and Baker was 17th with a time of 1:04.55. Oursler was 18th in the 100 breast with a time of 1:10.88. The 400 freestyle relay team of Oursler, Ben Wetzel, Baker and Bowers was eighth with a time of 3:46.95.

“The team will leave for the long ride to Lyman on Thursday for the 3A West Conference Championship meet, with prelims starting on Friday at 1 p.m.,” Rodriguez said.

The conference teams will be Cody, Lander, Kemmerer, Big Piney/Pinedale and Lyman. The Panthers have not competed against most of those schools this season, Warren said.

State is Feb. 27-28, which gives the guys a week without meets to get ready.

“We are continuing to prepare for state,” Warren said. “Are we ready yet? I would say we are heading in the right direction. We have a couple of weeks to really prepare and after this weekend that will be our complete focus.”

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