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Panther wrestlers finish third

Olie Olson glances at the clock as he blocks a move by Kyle Larson of Thermopolis during his championship match Saturday. Olson held on for a 9-5 win and his second state championship. Olie Olson glances at the clock as he blocks a move by Kyle Larson of Thermopolis during his championship match Saturday. Olson held on for a 9-5 win and his second state championship. Tribune photo by Don Amend

Three come home with state titles

Twelve Panthers came home with medals, three of them gold, and Powell finished a strong third in the Wyoming state wrestling tournament.

Jessee Craig, Jimmy Seckman and Olie Olson all finished the season as state champions, and Charles Wittick came within a point of joining them but had to settle for second. Robert Friday, Colt Nix, and Randy Andrews all finished third,  and Waylon Bays finished fourth. Kurt Bullinger, Trevor Griffeth and Clay Saldana finished fifth and Tyler Patterson sixth.

Douglas took the team lead early, with Powell and Worland trailing, but Worland took the lead after the semifinals and kept it for the championship. Powell entered Saturday’s consolation rounds trailing Douglas, but climbed into a tie during the final three consolation rounds.  Douglas, though, had six wrestlers in the finals, and four of them won to put the Bearcats back in second place.

The Panthers collected 223 points, just seven fewer than second-place Douglas. Worland took home the championship trophy with 255 points. Lander finished fourth in the competition, beating out Torrington by winning a head-to-head matchup in the final match of the tournament.

“We had a good second day,” said Coach Nate Urbach. “We needed a better first day.”

Craig cruised into the finals pinning three opponents, then dominated Josh Materi of Thermopolis 12-1 to win the title at 119.

Seckman pinned his first two opponents in less than one minute and ended his semi-final match in the second period with another pin to earn his shot at the 152-pound title. In the only head-to-head finals match between the Panthers and Douglas, Seckman defeated Bearcat Lane Read of Douglas 9-2 for his gold medal.

Olson also dominated his opponents, pinning two opponents and dominating another for a technical fall before earning a 9-5 decision over Kyle Larson of Thermopolis at 160.

In Powell’s other finals match, Wittick faced Worland’s Justin Lewton at 103. Lewton scored first, but Wittick escaped to trail by one. With Lewton in the superior position during the second period, Wittick had to fight off a determined effort to turn him. He was warned for stalling, a call Urbach asked the official to explain. A short time later, was called for stalling a second time, giving Lewton penalty point and a 3-1 lead. Wittick scored another escape and began a strong attack in the third period. Twice he took Lewton down, but both times the action was ruled out of bounds and Lewton held on for a 3-2 win.

Two of Powell’s  third-place finishes resulted from big upsets on Friday. Defending champion Randy Andrews was attempting to pin his first-round opponent in the third period when he was trapped and pinned. Colt Nix fell in the semifinals to Reed Bergener of Douglas, the same wrestler Nix had defeated in last year’s finals. Both wrestlers came back in the consolation rounds for their third-place medals. Andrews won four matches, three by pin, to get to the third place match, where he took a one-point win in overtime over Worland’s Dane Dooley, who had been defeated in the semifinals at 171. Nix came back from his semifinal loss to pin his next opponent in 33 seconds and finished with a 5-0 win over Jacob Haley of Torrington.

Robert Friday reached the 125 semis with a pin and a decision but fell in the semifinals to Ryan Lewandowski of Torrington. He pinned his next opponent and finished with a 6-3 decision over Colter Brown of Thermopolis.

Bays also came back from a semifinal loss to win his way into the third-place match, and was on the verge of winning when he stumbled, enabling his Lander opponent to score a takedown.

Bullinger and Griffeth, along with Patterson, a non-scoring wrestler at 152, came back from second-round losses to reach the match for fifth place. Bullinger battled into overtime against Worland’s James Porter to score a 4-3 decision. Patterson nearly pinned Merritt Crabtree of Newcastle early, but Crabtree won a reverse and won by pin at the first-period buzzer.

Saldana, a non-scoring wrestler at 160, lost in the first round, but battled his way back to the fifth-place match and came from behind to take a 6-5 decision over Zak Owens of Douglas.

Dylan Rood, Drew Feller, Luke Wozney and Danny Harris all came back from early losses and came within one win of reaching the top six. Zach Thompson reached the second round before losing and was eliminated in consolation by Andrews. Anthony Lujan and Jared Wantulok both finished 1-2 after losing in the first round, and Colbee Craig, Brendon Phister, Dewey Schwahn and Mike Mundy all went 0-2. Craig was eliminated by Rood at 112, and Schwahn lost his first round match to the eventual champion at  140.


  • posted by DAmend

    March 03, 2011 10:23 am

    There were 17 teams competing in 3A. According to the states classification system, there are usually only 16 3A teams, but Cheyenne South, which is only two years old, has competed in 3A because there are no juniors or seniors in the school yet.
    There haven't always been 16 teams there, though. Pinedale only recently began a wrestling program last year and Lyman re-entered the wrestling ranks this year after ending their program a few years ago.
    The full standings and all individual results can be seen at via the button State Events.

    Don Amend

  • posted by Morgan Tyree

    March 01, 2011 1:49 pm

    Third place out of how many teams?

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