Greybull/Riverside, the defending 2A champions, stayed with the Panthers early. The dual opened with a forfeit by the Buffaloes, to give the Panthers a 6-0 lead, but Greybull/Riverside came back to take a 12-6 lead when Ben Anson, a state place last year, pinned Brendan Phister and Nate Gossens, a state finalist last year, pinned Anthony Lujan. Colt Nix eked out a 5-4 decision over another state placer, Luke Zeller, to make the score 12-9, but Tyler Patterson suffered a pin at the hands of still another state placer, Nathan Hetzel to give Greybull/Riverside an 18-9 lead.
Olie Olson and Randy Andrews both recorded pins, though, to put the Panthers up 21-18, but Danny Harris, who was wrestling up a weight at 189, was pinned and the Buffaloes took the lead back, 24-21.
After that, the Panthers took over. The next three bouts went to Kurt Bullinger, Trevor Griffith and Charles Wittick by pin to give Powell a comfortable lead. Dylon Rood lost a 7-2 decision to Greybull’s Matt Grovenstein, a state placer, but Jessee Craig got the points back with a hard-fought 5-3 win over another top state wrestler, Levi Kelly, and Robert Friday put a final punctuation mark on the match with a pin and a final team score of 48-27.
The East was no match for the Panthers at the Bison Wrestling Duals. The Panthers went 6-0 in Buffalo, outscoring their opponents by a combined score of 367-96.
Many of the opponents’ points came on forfeits by Powell, who were wrestling without the services of Waylon Bays at 145 and Jim Seckman at 152, who are recovering from injuries. In addition, 112-pounder Dylan Rood was injured during the competition.
Powell opened competition with a 67-12 conquest of Glenrock, then dominated the Gillette JV squad 62-10 and Rawlins fell to Powell 70-6. They then faced defending state champion Douglas and earned a 53-25 win to close Friday’s competition.
Saturday, Powell opened against host team Buffalo and took the Bison down 54-15, then ended the weekend with a 54-28 defeat of Torrington.
Five wrestlers, Charles Wittick, Jessee Craig, Anthony Lujan, Colt Nix and Olie Olson were all undefeated in six bouts during the weekend, and Coach Nathan Urbach said the whole team wrestled well.
‘Lujan looked good,” Urbach said, “Wittick wrestled well and pinned everybody he wrestled.”
Among Nix’s six victims was the No. 1 ranked wrestler in his weight class in the state, Urbach said and both Olson and Craig defeated tough wrestlers as well. Luke Wozney also earned praise for going 5-1.
“Luke lost a close match to the third-ranked kid in the state,” Urbach said.
Despite the big win, Urbach was cautious about its meaning.
“We beat Douglas bad this time last year in this tournament, and then they won state,” Urbach said, “so we know not to get too excited.”
The weekend also demonstrated the strength Powell will face in the regional competition from Worland. The Warriors weekend at Buffalo was a photocopy of Powell’s with similar scores against the same six opponents. In addition, another West regional rival, the Lander Tigers went 5-0 in the tournament.
Thursday, the Panthers will invade the Tigers’ lair in their only varsity action for the week. Wrestling will begin at 5 p.m. in the Lander gym. Saturday, the JV wrestlers will have their day when they wrestle in the Greybull Invitational. Competition begins at 10 a.m. in the Buffalo gym.