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Sports

Lady Panthers open tourney with Jackson

The Powell Lady Panthers will take on Jackson to open their quest to return to the state volleyball tournament.

The Lady Panthers, who finished the Northwest Conference season tied with Cody for second, have been seeded third in the regional tounament.

PHS girls among 3A frontrunners

A cross country season cluttered with meet championship and runner-up finishes culminates this Saturday as the Powell Panthers line up for the 2010 state cross country meet in Douglas. The Panther girls will race at approximately 11:10 a.m. Powell's boys are scheduled to depart the starting chute at 1 p.m.

As a school, Powell will be looking to return with possession of a state team trophy from its eighth consecutive state cross country appearance.

“We appreciate being able to come each year and be competitive,” said Panther coach Cliff Boos. “It's pretty amazing how kids have been able to funnel in year after year and we've been able to maintain some consistency.”

In recent years, it has been the Panther girls' squad that has carried the banner for the community. The Powell girls own two of the last four state titles and have also garnered a state runner-up and a third-place trophy as they prepare to capture a top-three finish for the fifth straight year.

“It will probably come down to us and Jackson, just like at regionals,” said Panther senior Kassey MacDonald.

MacDonald has found herself an increasingly popular person among her teammates this week. As the lone senior on the Panther girls' squad, she's the only member of her team to have actually set foot on the Douglas course that will host Saturday's state meet.

“I ran there as a freshman, so people have been asking me what the course is like,” MacDonald said.

One of those listening most intently to MacDonald's insights this week is junior teammate Desiree Murray. In addition to being a key cog in Powell's title aspirations this weekend, Murray will be looking to earn all-state honors for a third straight season.

“I definitely have expectations,” Murray said. “I want to keep it going and do it (earning all-state recognition) for all four years.”

In order to do that, the team will have to ward off the challenge presented by a Cody team that's been nipping at its heels for much of the regular season. They'll also need to close an eight-point gap with Jackson.

“At regionals, we didn't keep with Jackson as well as we should have,” MacDonald said. “They tend to go out fast whereas we're a little slower. We need to remind ourselves early not to chase.”

“We've been extremely fortunate that everyone stayed healthy with such a small group,” Boos said of the the girls' team, which had just seven runners on its roster for much of the season until the late addition of Alyssa Hildebrand, who placed 37th at the regional meet.

In reality, though, that group has been even smaller. Injuries prevented junior Alyssa Rodriguez from competing in a meet this year. Freshman Carly Klein was similarly shelved for a significant chunk of the year. As a result, Hildebrand will line up at state to provide the squad with an important insurance runner in the event of a mishap on the course.

“The girls have a good chance if they can run like they're capable,” said Boos. “It's been neat to see how the kids have pulled closer and closer time-wise to each other throughout the year.”

On the boys' side, the word of the week appears to be redemption. After growing accustomed to a spot in the top two for much of the year, the Panthers staggered back from the 3A West meet in Lyman last Friday with an uncharacteristic fifth-place finish.

“I think we went out too fast at Lyman trying to keep up with the pack,” said junior Bodie Friday, who narrowly missed earning all-conference honors last week. “I don't think we were ready to run a flat course like what we had down there.”

That shouldn't be an issue this week as the Panthers return to the terrain-changing environment they're accustomed to seeing the bulk of the season.

“There's a lengthy uphill section on the Douglas course,” Boos said. “The kids have to run up it twice as the course loops back to that section.”

“I'm excited for Saturday,” said the Panthers' John Kissner, one of eight seniors on Powell's 2010 roster. “We were disappointed at our performance last week and we're putting a lot of effort into practice this week to make sure it doesn't happen again. If we can keep our heads in it and not get caught up in the moment, I think we've got a good chance to do well.”

In addition to making amends for a fifth-place regional finish, the Panther boys will also be looking to improve upon last year's seventh-place team finish at the 3A championships. To do both, they'll have to rely on a lineup that doesn't feature any favorites for individual state honors.

“Our strength is really that we're a great team,” said Friday. “We just go out there and we stick together. We get in a group and just run, and that really helps.”

The Panthers' work ethic has also helped the group throughout the season according to Boos.

“All the kids have really worked hard in practice,” said the Panthers' head coach. “That's really what has stood out about this group. They've stayed focused and they compete well, but they've also had fun practicing and just being together as a team. Hopefully we'll get to Douglas and they'll do the best they can, because they certainly deserve it.”

Lady Panther spikers sweep Worland

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Becky Dent tips a ball over a Worland block attempt for a point as Olivia Rogers (11) covers a possible return. Dent contributed five kills to the Lady Panthers' 3-0 sweep of the Lady Warriors.Tribune photo by Don Amend

The Powell Lady Panthers will take some positive energy into this weekend's regional volleyball tournament thanks to a convincing win over Worland last week.

The Lady Panthers got off to a fast start with a dominating win in the first set, then fought off comeback attempt by the Lady Warriors in game two.

Ladies second at cross country 3A West

Three Panther runners named all-conference at regionals

Three Panther runners achieved all-conference status while the team as a whole placed second to Jackson at the 3A West conference cross country meet in Lyman last Friday. Powell travels to Douglas this Saturday to line up in pursuit of a possible 3A state title.

“We're in good shape for the state meet,” said Panther cross country coach Cliff Boos. “They have a good chance to do well for themselves in Douglas.”

Panthers fall to rival Cody

Home field on the line Friday

The second-ranked Cody Broncs captured both the 3A West conference title and bragging rights in the annual Park County rivalry at the expense of No. 5 Powell on Friday night. A slow start to the second half sent the Panthers to a 27-14 loss.

Cody picked off Powell quarterback Keithen Schwahn three times in the second half of Friday's game, returning one of the interceptions for a touchdown. The Broncs used the giveaways to keep the Panthers pinned deep in their own territory. Powell's average starting field position in the second half was its own 23.

The Broncs combined the field position advantage with a stingy defense to transform a 10-7 halftime lead into a comfortable 27-7 affair in the second half. During that stretch, the Panthers picked up just two first downs offensively, one of which came via a roughing the kicker penalty.

After returning their first interception for a touchdown less than two minutes into the second half, Cody was back on the scoreboard four minutes later, capping a six-play drive with a 22-yard touchdown pass. The Broncs would go on to add a 26-yard field goal with just over nine minutes remaining in the game to stretch their lead to 20 points.

The Panthers weren't able to really get moving in the second half until late in the fourth quarter. A 61-yard Schwahn-to-Tyler England completion resulted in the Panthers' lone second-half score. The play, which came with 2:21 remaining in the contest, also was responsible for more than half of Powell's post-intermission offense.

Cody pounced on the Panthers' onside kick attempt and was able to run out the clock.

The one-sided nature of the second half removed a little bit of the luster from a stellar first-half defensive effort by the Panthers. Powell set the tone early by forcing a fumble on the opening kickoff and rarely let up through the first two quarters.

After watching Cody connect on its first pass attempt of the game —a quick 5-yard route —the Panthers' linebackers and secondary forced the Broncs to misfire on their next 10 passing attempts. Cody would not complete another throw until the waning seconds of the first half as the Panthers sagged back in prevent defense.

Cody struggled to gain just 101 yards of offense in the first half against the Panthers' defense. More than half of that total came on a four-play, 51-yard touchdown drive late in the first half. The Broncs' only other first-half score came on a safety after a stellar 41-yard punt pinned the Panthers inside their own 1.

Powell's only score of the first half came on a four-play, 53-yard drive late in the first quarter. After hooking up with Billy Cummings for a 17-yard strike and England on a 32-yard completion to get the ball inside the Cody 10, Schwahn turned disaster into diamonds by recovering a wayward shotgun snap some 15 yards in the backfield and weaving through traffic for what, on the books, went down as an 8-yard touchdown run.

For the game, Powell finished with 219 yards of offense. Schwahn went 10-for-21 through the air for 160 of those yards. He also carried the football 15 times for 40 yards. England, who took a second-half reverse for an 11-yard gain, was the only other Panther to gain more than 10 yards along the ground as Powell had just 59 rushing yards to show for its 33 carry attempts.

The loss drops the Panthers to 4-3 overall this season. Powell is 2-2 in the conference, a record that opens a world of possibilities for this Friday's regular-season finale against Lander.

The Panthers are assured of a place in the playoffs following the results of Friday's other 3A games. Powell can still finish anywhere from the No. 2 to the No. 4 seed out of the 3A West.

“The playoffs start this week,” Panther head coach Jim Stringer told his team just moments after Powell completed its circuit of the post-game handshake line on Friday night. “If we win against Lander, we'll be playing at home in the first-round of the playoffs.”

A loss to the Tigers sends the Panthers on the road to either Buffalo or defending 3A state champion Douglas as either the No. 3 or No. 4 seed. The Panthers' seeding is contingent on the outcomes of the Worland and Star Valley games also being played on Friday night.

Douglas and Buffalo have wrapped up the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds out of the 3A East. Riverton and Wheatland play this Friday, with the winner of that game finishing as the 3A East's No. 3 seed while the loser of that contest nestles in as final East playoff representative.

Panthers sweep final meet

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Junior Desiree Murray (left) and sophomore Tally Wells lead a string of runners up a hill at the Powell Golf Club during the Panthers' final regular-season meet. Both the boys' and girls' teams won team titles at the meet. Tribune photo by Don Amend

PHS preps for conference with home victories

Powell High School's cross country teams revved up for Friday's conference meet in Lyman with a sweep of their home invitational last week. The Panthers proved the fastest teams on the five-kilometer circuit of the Powell Golf Club, placing the top five runners among the first 10 to cross the finish line in both the boys' and girls' races.

Trappers drop Central

NWC ends home stand with win

The Northwest College Trapper volleyball team wrapped up its longest home stand of the season with a 25-22, 25-21, 25-21 Region IX North victory over Central Wyoming on Tuesday night. The win improves the Trappers to 13-16 overall and 6-3 in Region IX North play.

Quake score solid win vs. Bozeman

Team falls in OT at Billings

The result may have been the same, but head coach Craig Furstenau was citing progress following a split of weekend action by the Yellowstone Quake hockey team last weekend. The Junior A team fell 5-4 in overtime at Billings before returning to Cody for a 5-1 win over Bozeman.

“We're not that far away,” Furstenau said following his team moving to 3-4 on the year. “We've seen everyone in the division now, and we're right there.”

That was evident in the team's first meeting with the Billings Bulls this season. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to overcome what Furstenau felt was some questionable officiating.

“Friday was a difficult situation,” the Quake head coach said. “We were on the short end of the officiating. We definitely did some things wrong, but we were up against two opponents.”

Nowhere was that situation more evident than in the waning minutes of regulation. After the two teams had alternated goals through the first 57 minutes, resulting in a 3-3 tie, Yellowstone's Tyler Torkelson knocked home a power play goal with just 2:07 remaining, giving the Quake their first lead of the night.

Within the next 30 seconds, the team was whistled for a pair of infractions.

“Neither penalty was legit,” Furstenau said of the calls. “But there we are, skating five on three. And when Billings pulls their goalie, it becomes a six-on-three situation.”

The inevitability of that math finally caught up with the Wyoming team as Billings slapped home the equalizing goal with 24 seconds remaining. It was the Bulls' only shot on goal of the third period. The Bulls went on to score the game-winner five minutes into extra time.

For the game, the Quake were cited for 17 infractions, resulting in 76 minutes of penalty time. The Bulls, by comparison, were whistled 10 times, serving 20 minutes of penalty time.

Torkelson, Michael Mackinnon and Andreas Olofsson scored the Quake's three other goals in the game. The score by Mackinnon gave him seven goals on the year.

Friday's game effects lingered into Saturdays game against Bozeman as NORPAC league officials suspended a pair of Quake players for the game against the Ice Dogs.

“We had a new defenseman come in from Detroit that morning —Chad Braun —and due to the suspensions, we actually had to use him that evening out on the ice,” said Furstenau. “It was an emergency sort of situation, but he went out there and did a really good job for us.”

Mathew Peddie and Olofsson each scored first-period goals to give the Quake a comfortable lead after the first 20 minutes. Bozeman cut into the margin a little more than three minutes into the second, but Tyler Roberts and Drew Parus each lit the lamp for the Cody-based team to make it 4-1.

Cody Farber's power-play goal for Yellowstone was the only score over the final 20 minutes. Quake goalkeeper Ryan Thomas turned away 26 of the 27 shots fired at him in goal.

“Top to bottom, it was a good game,” said Furstenau.

In addition to the arrival Braun, the Quake's defense received an additional boost of good news over the weekend as it was learned that defenseman Andrew Lord was returning to the squad. Lord, a NORPAC all-rookie selection last season, had been drafted by the fledgling Chicago Hitmen NAHL franchise in the spring, but was recently cut from the team's roster. The Quake wasted little time in grabbing a valued member of the previous year's team.

“The biggest thing for us is, with the addition of Chad and Andrew, it allows us to move some good skaters forward on the ice now,” said Furstenau. “We've got a lot of skill up front and those two guys will really help shore us up defensively. Our defense will improve and our forwards will improve.”

To make room on the roster for Braun and Lord, the Quake tendered a pair of players. Forward Matt Tackett, who had one goal this season for the Quake, was picked up by a Minnesota-based junior team. Forward Bobby LeBlanc was claimed by the Butte franchise.

The Yellowstone Quake return to action this weekend with a pair of road games. The team returns to Billings on Friday night before heading to Butte for a Saturday contest. The team's next home game takes place Oct. 30 when Billings comes to Cody's Riley Arena.

Missed football opportunities

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Powell's Cooper Wise (3) and another member of the Panthers' defensive unit team up to pull down a Worland ball carrier during Friday night's conference clash against the Warriors. Tribune photo by Ben Wetzel

Panthers let one slip against Worland

Previously winless Worland stunned the fourth-ranked Powell Panthers 21-18 on a wet Friday night. Looking to wrap up a spot in the 3A playoffs, PHS was instead left searching for answers to the question of how the contest slipped through their grasp.

Truth be told, there were no shortage of reasons.

Swimmers prepare for conference meet

It was the last home meet for the Powell Lady Panther swimmers, and they honored their seniors by taking a win 100-80 over Worland at the Powell Aquatic Center last week.

The meet produced one new state qualifier for the Lady Panthers when Brittany Christensen knocked more than 1.5 seconds from her time in the butterfly to earn her trip to Gillette. Alyssa Smith added a qualifying time to her resume in the breaststroke.

Page 213 of 228

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