Panthers finish eighth at state

Posted 2/28/23

Months of preparation and hard work wrapped up with the annual two day state wrestling tournament in Casper — where the Powell Panthers finished eighth in 3A with 96.5 points.

Leading the …

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Panthers finish eighth at state


Months of preparation and hard work wrapped up with the annual two day state wrestling tournament in Casper — where the Powell Panthers finished eighth in 3A with 96.5 points.

Leading the way for the Panthers was Stetson Davis (41-2), who completed his quest to finish undefeated in Wyoming after defeating Cody’s Jace Grant in the championship bout by a 4-1 decision.

The next highest placer for Powell was Gabriel Whiting, who finished third at 106 pounds.

Whiting (33-12) advanced to the semifinals after an 11-5 decision over Evanston’s Keith Shelton (5-5) in the opening round and a pin in 1:08 over Ryker Frogner (23-13), also of Evanston, in the quarterfinals.

Whiting then battled with the eventual runner-up Haven Vrana (39-7) from Newcastle/Upton. Whiting trailed late and was unable to get a call at the end of the match and lost 8-7.

“Gabe lost a tough one in the semifinals,” coach Nick Fulton. “There was a call that could have gone either way at the end of the match to put it into overtime but we ended up losing by one.”

He responded in the consolation semifinal, defeating teammate Wyatt Nicholson (21-15) by pin in 36 seconds.

Whiting then defeated William Wood (32-19) from Cody by pin in four minutes in the third place matchup to take home third in his freshman year.

“That semifinal loss was tough for Gabe, he’s such a competitor and he took that really hard,” Fulton said. “I talked to him Friday night and said, ‘This is a measuring stick of your character and what you can do.’ It’s hard to come back and win that next match … He had a really tough third place match against William Wood, he’s talented, he beat Gabe in January and Gabe beat him in regionals by a point and Gabe came out and controlled the final match.”

Nicholson also advanced to the quarterfinal after a first round pin over Cooper Meyer (36-15) from Wheatland in 1:32.

He then lost by pin in 1:55 to the eventual state champion Lucas Todd (35-10) from Green River in the quarterfinal.

Nicholson battled back, winning two straight matches in the consolation bracket before his loss to Whiting.

He finished the weekend on a high, defeating Ryker Frogner (23-13) from Evanston by pin in 3:31.

“He lost to the eventual champion and wrestled his way through,” Fulton said.

Jimmy Dees (39-12) was the other Panther who advanced to the semifinal over the weekend, and appeared to be cruising after pins in his opening two matches that only took 36 seconds combined.

In the semifinal, Dees came up against eventual runner-up Lance Rabel (27-5) from Buffalo in a physical contest early.

Then his state run took a turn for the worse, as Dees had his shoulder dislocated on a takedown just seconds into the match.

Medical personnel worked with Dees through his medical timeout, and eventually he was able to get back and compete after having it worked on for over 1:30.

“The trainers had to work on it to get it back in and he hops right back up and says ‘I’m going,’” Fulton said. “That takes a monumental amount of courage and fortitude. There’s not many kids that would do that, of course it got dislocated and we had to injury default him back to sixth … I don’t think anybody at the Events Center thought Jimmy was the sixth best kid at that weight.”

Dees returned to the mat but was unable to gather his footing in the match, dropping the match by pin in 58 seconds.

Medical forfeits followed in the consolation semifinals and placement match, resulting in Dees finishing sixth.

The Panthers final placer was Lannon Brazelton (18-24) who finished sixth at 160 pounds.

Brazelton won his opening round by pin (1:35) over Michael Tomich (21-18) of Buffalo.

He then lost a tight 11-7 decision to Ezra Archuleta (37-14) of Rawlins in the quarterfinals to drop down to the consolation bracket.

Brazelton responded with two straight pins before falling by pin (1:49) to James Herwaldt (20-13) from Green River in the consolation semifinal.

“He’s worked hard, I was awfully happy for him to finish off his senior campaign with a state medal,” Fulton said. “He will be missed, he’s a good kid and did everything I ever asked. That speaks a lot to him.”

In the fifth/sixth place match he lost by pin (3:54) to Tyler Walters (22-17) from Green River.

Powell had four additional quarterfinalists, with Merced Jordan-Silva (11-14) going 2-2, finishing one match short of placing at 170 pounds on the weekend while losing to eventual state champion Morgan Hatch (47-2) from Lyman; Jacob Eaton (12-9) advanced to the quarterfinals but came up short in a nearly three minute bout against Cale Haws (40-7) from Burns/Pine Bluffs before finishing 2-2 and one round short of placing; Doug Bettger (24-16) and Zain Younas (14-13) both advanced to the quarterfinals at 285 before losing to state finalists Kenai Bergquist (22-3) of Douglas and Cody Cunningham (29-4) of Lander, respectively. Bettger went 2-2 and lost in the final round before placing and Younas finished 1-2.

“Doug lost to the kids who got second and third and kind of fell in the wrong spot in the bracket,” Fulton said.

Other Panthers competing at state included Vinny Timmons (18-15) at 126 pounds going 1-2; Patrick Haney (21-23) went 0-2 at 132; Mitchel Wainscott (16-17) went 1-2 at 138 pounds; Jeremy Harms (17-21) went 1-2 at 145 pounds; Dusty Carter (14-19) went 2-2 at 170 pounds; Dillon Melton (23-17) went 1-2 at 182 and Jonathan Harms (17-15) went 1-2 at 195.

“We got caught on a couple of young mistakes and that’s how the ball rolls this time of year,” Fulton said. “I am proud of their improvement, they came up short in a couple of matches and that is OK.”

Green River ran away with the team title, finishing with 223.5 points — 56.5 points ahead of second place Cody.



Moving forward the Panthers will return a large majority of their team next year, despite losing two of the five placers this year.

“You never know how kids are going to grow,” Fulton said. “I am a big proponent of weightlifting and getting stronger.”

He said that he knows the team will be ready to get back on the mat as soon as possible.Participating in open mats, USA Wrestling and heading to camps over the coming months will help the Panthers continue to climb up the standings in the years to come.