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Panthers take seventh at Bozeman

The Powell Panthers took on Montana last weekend in Bozeman, and six wrestlers came home with medals.

The Panthers joined two Montana schools in the Tom LeProwse Invitational and finished seventh, just six points behind sixth place Billings Skyview.

Five wrestlers reached the semifinals and two, Jim Seckman at 154 and Randy Andrews at 171, wrestled in the finals as the team recorded two second place finishes, one third, two fourths and one sixth.

Seckman scored a pin in 43 seconds in the quarterfinal round and followed with a second-period pin in the semifinals. In the finals, he battled Billings Senior’s Ben Sulser, who took a 4-3 decision.

Andrews earned his way into the semifinals with a major decision and moved into the finals with a 3-1 win over a Billings West wrestler, but dropped a 6-3 decision to Chris Yocum of Butte in the championship.

Colt Nix finished third at 140 despite suffering a loss by pin in the quarterfinals when he slipped into a cradle by Ethan Sterling of Belgrade. Nix battled his way back through the wrestlebacks and earned another shot at Sterling in the third-place match and took an 8-4 decision in the re-match.

Olie Olson (160) and Jessee Craig (125) both lost to the eventual tournament champions in the semifinal round, Olson to Laurel’s Dylan Kramer and Craig to Culley Buckley of Bozeman. Both wrestled into the third-place match but lost three-point decisions. Waylon Bays also reached the 145 semifinals before losing a 5-2 decision, and finished in sixth place.

“We wrestled well and lost some close matches,” said Coach Nate Urbach. “I was happy with the way we competed.”

The non-placing wrestlers also did well, Urbach said. Charles Wittick (103) lost to the eventual champion 4-2 and was eliminated in another close match. Kurt (215) Bullinger went 2-2 for the weekend, but wrestled well and is improving, Urbach said.

Colbee Craig (112), Robert Friday (119) and Beau Williams (189) all finished 1-2 for the tournament, and Luke Wozney (130) and Brandon Phister (135) went 0-2, but Urbach said all of them had wrestled tough matches.

“Luke lost a couple of tough ones,” Urbach said. “Brandon and Colbee are only freshmen, and it’s a tough tournament for freshmen.”

Belgrade won the tournament, followed by Billings Senior, Bozeman, Great Falls and Forsyth.

The tournament was a good experience for the Panthers because it gave them an opportunity to face different wrestlers.

“I was happy that we didn’t have to wrestle the same guys from Wyoming,” Urbach said.

The Panthers will have that opportunity again this weekend when they return to Montana for the Miles City Invitational, where 32 teams, including squads from other states will be competing.

“This week will be even tougher,” Urbach said.

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