At 103, Charles Wittick opened the competition by pinning Cody’s Max Dickerman in the second period. Dylan Rood and Matt Widdicome both won by forfeit to put the Panthers up 18-0 early before Cody’s Gabe Whisonant put the Broncs on the board with an 11-6 decision over Robert Friday at 125.
Friday fell behind 0-5 in the first period and trailed 9-2 after two. In the final round, he threatened to make a comeback with a takedown and a two-point nearfall, but Whisonant scored a late reversal to keep his lead.
At 130, Luke Wozney trailed 4-3 after the first period, but scored two points in each of the remaining rounds to take a 7-4 win for the Panthers over Russ Wilde.
Anthony Lujan also fell behind in the first period on a takedown and traded points with Cody’s Kyle Dewey in the second. Dewey extended his lead to 7-4 with an escape in the third, but Lujan took him to the mat and pinned him with 47 seconds left in the bout to add six more points to the Panthers’ lead.
Brendan Phister’s agressive attack gave him a 9-2 first-period lead in his match at 140, but Cody’s Justin Harwood fought back and the pair battled on even terms through the next two periods. A late escape by Phister sealed his 13-7 win and built the Panthers’ team lead to 30-7.
Neither Panther senior Colt Nix or Bronc Bobby West was able to find an opening in the first round of their duel at 145, and the standoff continued through the second period as Nix managed to keep control, but was unable to turn West for points. With the match still scoreless, Nix chose the down position in the third period and scored on a reverse to break the tie and held on for the win with a 2-0 decision.
Jim Seckman followed with the Panthers’ third pin of the evening, ending his match with Nate Welch in 3:27, and Randy Andrews took a forfeit to add 12 more points to the Panther’s team score.
At 185, the Broncs got their second pin of the dual when Tyler Stebbins pinned Danny Harris in the second period. Trailing 4-1 after one period, Harris initiated an attack that threatened to put Stebbins on his back, but Stebbins was able to roll through and end the match at 2:51.
At 215, Cody forfeited to Trevor Griffeth, and Kurt Bullinger ended the dual in dramatic fashion by pinning Cody’s Travis Calkin. Facing a significant weight disadvantage, Bullinger nevertheless managed to avoid a takedown in the first period and chose the down position for the second period. From there, he was able to execute a roll that put Calkin in a nearfall position and he applied enough pressure to score the pin.
The win sets the stage for the Panthers’ final dual of the season when Worland visits the PHS gym Friday night for a battle between the two top 3A teams in Wyoming. The Warriors finished just two points ahead of the Panthers in last week’s Ron Thon tournament but the two teams have not met head-to-head this season. The Warriors will bring three top-ranked wrestlers to the contest, Jordan Hernandez at 130, Jared Leithead at 125 and 103-pounder Justin Lewton, who will square off with Wittick, the number 2 ranked wrestler in 3A.
Powell will counter with its own top-ranked quartet, Jessee Craig at 119, Nix at 140, Seckman at 152 and Olson at 160. In addition, Worland brings Jay Stine, ranked number two at 112 and Powell will send the number two ranked Andrews to the mat.
Friday’s match will be preceded by Powell Middle School wrestling against Worland at 4 p.m. JV matches are scheduled at 6:30 followed by recognition of the Panther seniors prior to varsity wrestling.