It was an even battle early whe Powell and Lander took to the mat last week, but four straight pins put the Panthers in control and they closed with a 48-24 over the Tigers.
The two teams traded points through the first six matches. Charles Wittick opened with a pin over Lander’s Andrew Von Rein at 106. Von Rein led 4-3 after two rounds, but starting in the superior position in round three, Wittick locked his opponent in a cradle to finish the match early and give the Panthers an early lead.
At 113, Colbee Craig fell behind Ty Alexander 8-0, and looked to be heading for a major decision loss in the third period. Craig kept battling though and late in the match scored a reverse and two back points to rob Lander of an extra team point. A reversal by Alexander at the buzzer made the final score 10-4.
Freshman Colton Parham scored in every period at 120 to beat Ben McKinney 5-2 and give the Panthers a 9-3 lead, but Drew Feller was pinned with only 15 seconds left in his match and the Tigers tied the team score at nine.
Zack Thiel took the team lead back with a first-period pin at 132, only to see the Tiger’s Dalton Murray duplicate his effort with a first period of his own, and the match was tied at 15 after six bouts.
The Panthers then opened a string of pins when Waylon Bays stepped on the mat and delivered a 36 second pin at 145. Randy Andrew followed by building an 8-3 lead before pinning Lander’s Jacob Miller at the 4:59 mark at 152. Tyler Patterson and Mike Mundy followed with quick pins at 160 and 170 to give the Panthers a 39-15 lead, and a Lander forfeit at 182 extended the lead to 45-15 and clinched a team win for the Panthers.
The teams then traded decisions. Zach Thompson stretched the Powell lead with an overtime win over Dalton Crane. Thompson trailed 5-4 after two rounds but an escape and takedown put him up 7-5. Crane tied the match in the last minute to take it into overtime, but Thompson ended the match with a takedown in sudden death. Lander’s Brodie Schneider outpointed Kurt Bullinger 7-3, and Powell forfeited at 285 to round out the scoring for the match.
The next challenge for the Panthers will be in Riverton at the Ron Thon Invitational Friday and Saturday, Feb. 3 and 4. The tournament, which features nearly every high school wrestling team in Wyoming, is the last tournament competition before the regional meets. The following week, the Panthers wrestle two duals, hosting Cody on Tuesday, Feb. 7 and traveling to Worland on Feb. 9 to take on the defending 3A state champions.
Wrestling begins at 10 a.m. Friday in Riverton and continues through Saturday. The Cody dual opens at 6 p.m. following a Powell Middle School dual with Cody, and match time in Worland is at 6 p.m.
The West Regional Tournament takes place Feb. 18 and 19 in Lander.