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Panthers take sixth in Riverton

Andrews takes gold in 152-pound bracket

Five medalists paced the Powell Panthers to a sixth place finish in the giant Ron Thon Invitational at Riverton last weekend.

Randy Andrews led the Panther efforts, wrestling through the 152-pound bracket to take Powell’s only championship. Andrews pinned three opponents on his way to the finals and took a 6-2 decision over Reed Burgener of Douglas, a defending state champion in the finals.

Charles Wittick also reached the finals at 106, scoring two pins and two major decisions before falling 10-1 to Brady Cress of Cheyenne East and settling for second place.

Waylon Bays and Olie Olson reached the semifinals Friday night, but Bays ran into Kemmerer’s Blake Mastrud and was thrown into the consolation bracket where he lost to Natrona County’s Zane Gray and Dalton Burgener of Douglas to finish sixth at 145. Olson’s fortunes at 170 were similar, as he reached the semifinals only to lose to Lucan Giesey of Sheridan. Another loss to Jordan Johnson of Cokeville dropped Olson into the fifth-place match where he lost in overtime to TJ Galey of Riverton for a sixth place finish.

Wrestling at 160, Tyler Patterson came back from a quarterfinal loss to Brecken Biggs of Natrona County to win his next two matches before falling to Nathan Hetzel of Greybull/Riverside. He came back to defeat Jacob Beck of Lovell and earn fifth place.

No other Panthers won more than a single match during the tournament. Colbee Craig, Drew Feller, Clay Saldana, and Mike Mundy all finished 1-2, while Zach Thiel and Zach Thompson finished 0-2.

Coach Nathan Urbach said competition in the tournament, which included all of Wyoming’s 4A teams and all but two 3A teams as well as several strong 2A teams, was tough, and several of the wrestlers had tough draws. Craig, for example, was eliminated by Justin Lewton of Worland, a defending state champion, and Feller faced some tough wrestlers as well.

Urbach added that illness was a factor in Thiel’s case.

The tough competition made Andrews’ championship a notable achievement, Urbach said.

“One hundred fifty two was the toughest weight in the tournament,” Urbach said. “He (Andrews) pinned the top 4A guy and beat Burgener in the finals.” 

Urbach’s main concern is consistancy.

“As a team, we were up and down,” Urbach said. “We need to be more consistent if we want to chase a team like Douglas for the title.”   

Douglas finished third in the tournament behind 4A powers Gillette and Cheyenne East. Sheridan finished fourth and Natrona County fifth ahead of Powell. The Panthers edged defending 3A champion Worland by one point for sixth.

The Panthers wind up their regular season this week with a pair of duals. Tuesday (tonight), the Cody Broncs invade Panther gym to vie for supremacy in Park County. It will be senior night for the Panthers and wrestling will begin at 6 p.m.

Thursday night, the Panthers will travel to Worland for a face-off in orange and black with the defending state champions. Competition will begin at 6 p.m. in the Warrior gym.

Next week, the Panthers will enter the West Regional tournament in Lander to wrestle for seedings in the state meet in Casper later this month.

1 comment

  • posted by D Patterson

    February 07, 2012 1:11 pm

    Randy Andrews deserves a lot of credit and recognition for his accomplishment. This tourney is the toughest tourney in Wyoming to include state. Randy is only the 3rd person from Powell to ever win the whole thing and with 41 teams you would think he would get a bit more coverage for his accomplishment as he too is a SR. and peaking right on the money.

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