“All in all, I’d say the dual was disappointing,” Coach Nate Urbach said of the meet.
The meet was not without bright spots for the Panthers, as Jessee Craig and Jim Seckman both pinned their opponents. Craig pinned Locomotive Tate Schmidt in the first period of his match at 125, and Seckman’s pin over 152 pounder Auston Hergenrider came less than a minute into the second period.
In addition, Charles Wittick and Luke Wozney came through with decisions. Wittick, wrestling at 112, locked up with Laurel’s Kolter Kukes. Wittick took a 2-0 lead in the first period with a takedown, but Kukes evened the match with a second period reversal. Wittick spent most of the third period on the bottom, but with less than 20 seconds left, reversed his opponent to score the winner in a 4-2 decision.
Wozney fell behind early as Ryan Salcinski of Laurel took him down and put him in a near-fall position for five points. Wozney fought off the pin, and managed a reverse before the end of the period to trail 5-2. In the second period, Wozney took a 6-5 lead with a reverse and a nearfall of his own. The wrestlers traded points in the third period and Wozney held on for an 8-7 decision.
“Charles and Luke both wrestled good matches,’ Urbach said.
The Panthers’ other decision came from Randy Andrews, who took a 2-0 lead and stretched it into a 9-3 decision.
Urbach also credited Colt Nix with wrestling well against Laurel’s Tommy Cooper. Nix fell behind 4-1 in the first period, but fought back to trail by a single point near the end of the match. But with both wrestlers on their feet, Cooper managed to keep away from Nix, preventing him from taking a shot that would have won the match.
In other matches, Waylon Bays, wrestling up a couple of weights to replace Olie Olson, was unable to overcome his opponent’s weight advantage and lost an 11-3 decision, and Beau Williams lost on a takedown in overtime. Robert Friday was pinned by Laurel’s Kolter Kukes, a tough wrestler, according to Urbach.
Freshman Brendon Phister faced an experience wrestler in Laurel senior Austin Cannon and gave up a 14-3 decision. Kurt Bullinger and Trevor Griffeth both lost by pin.
Urbach said his team’s performance was flat following the weekend’s success, and he took responsibility for that.
“I didn’t feel like we wrestled to our ability,” Urbach said. “That’s my fault. It’s up to me to get the kids ready, and I’ll be doing that in practice.”
The Panthers travel to Worland Friday and Saturday for the Battle of The Big Horns in Worland. The meet will consist of dual meets in pools on Friday with teams seeded into brackets on Saturday. Following the championship matches, the top two wrestlers in each weight class will face off in a “Best of the Best” round.
Competition begins at 1 p.m. on Friday and continues at 8 a.m. on Saturday in the Worland High School gym.