Panthers finish second in Powell Invitational

Posted 12/9/08

“Overall, I was pretty happy with the way the guys wrestled,” said Nate Urbach, head coach of the Panthers. “Our kids went out and set the pace, and that's what I wanted to see. At this point in the year, wins and losses are not …

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Panthers finish second in Powell Invitational


{gallery}12_09_08/trevordonarski{/gallery} Kelly Walsh's Keith Thomas (foreground) struggles to break free from Powell High School's Trevor Donarski during early action in the 152-pound weight class of the Powell Roundtable Invitational. Donarski won the bout via pin and went on to claim a first-place finish in the tournament. He also was named the event's outstanding wrestler. Tribune photo by David Dickey PHS wrestlers claim four individual titles Top-ranked, Class 3A Powell High School opened the 2008-09 wrestling season last week with the two-day Powell Roundtable Invitational, and they did so in solid fashion. Overall, the Panthers finished second to 4A power Natrona County in the two-day event, which took place last Friday and Saturday. The Mustangs finished atop the team standings with 323.5 points, while the runner-up Panthers tallied 234.5. The remainder of the top 10 of the 20-team tournament was rounded out by Wheatland (194.5 points), Colstrip, Mont. (160.5), Lander (159.5), Gillette (144.5), Kelly Walsh (139.5), Worland (118.5), Thermopolis (98.5) and Rocky Mountain (98.5).

“Overall, I was pretty happy with the way the guys wrestled,” said Nate Urbach, head coach of the Panthers. “Our kids went out and set the pace, and that's what I wanted to see. At this point in the year, wins and losses are not the biggest concern. We want our guys to win every time they step on the mat, but right now we're more concerned about seeing improvement. We also want to see our guys going after people and being aggressive.”

Overall, eight Panthers placed in the tournament's varsity division. Of those eight, four were individual champions. PHS's first-place finishers were senior Ren Utter (103-pound weight class), freshman Olie Olson (112), junior Auston Carter (140) and senior Trevor Donarski (152).

Utter, a defending state champion and the top-ranked wrestler at 103, according to the first WyoPreps Coaches and Media Poll of the season, notched a 3-0 mark en route to his championship.

Utter pinned Cameron Egan of Livingston (Mont.) at the 50-second mark in the first round. In round two, Utter found himself facing teammate and sophomore Luke Wozney. Utter registered a quick pin to advance to the championship bout, where he faced Lander's Alex Klopp. Utter defeated Class 3A's second-ranked wrestler 8-3.

At 112, Olson put together a 3-0 record. He opened the event by pinning Wheatland's Joel Dappen at 2:34 and followed with an 11-2 major decision against Shoshoni's Trevor Lange. Olson capped his first-place effort with a hard-fought victory against Worland's Jared Leithead. The two wrestlers battled to a 10-10 tie after three periods, and Olson registered a takedown in overtime to edge Leithead 12-10.

“Olie is the first freshman I know of to win the Powell Invitational,” Urbach said. “That was a great accomplishment.”

Carter, a two-time state champion, lived up to his No. 1 ranking by notching a first-place finish after going 3-0 last week. He started the tournament by pinning Lander's Mike Jacks at 1:44. Carter then followed with a 15-8 decision against Natrona County's Garth Ginder. In the title bout, Carter posted an 11-8 decision over third-ranked, Class 3A Seth Dappen of Wheatland.

Powell's fourth title winner was Donarski, the top-ranked wrestler at 152 and a defending state champion.

Donarski's title effort started with a 12-0 major decision over teammate and third-ranked Dalton Harris. In round two, Donarski earned a 10-3 decision over Thermopolis' Josh Pounds. In the final round, Donarski capped a perfect 3-0 record with a 9-4 decision over Natrona County's Ab Brown. For his efforts, Donarski earned the distinction of being the tournament's outstanding wrestler.

Other placers for PHS included Jessee Craig (2nd at 119), Cody Kalberer (3rd at 160), Luke Wozney (4th at 103) and Monte Nickles (5th at 171).

Craig, a sophomore, notched a 2-1 record. He pinned Dubois wrestler Eddie Collins at 2:22 during the first round and posted a 7-4 decision over Natrona County's Brain Klussy in round two. However, Craig's title bid ended in the championship bout against top-ranked Cade Schindler of Wheatland. Schindler registered the pin just seconds after he and Craig both fell to the mat. In the process, Craig sustained a broken collarbone. He was forced to settle for the runner-up position and is expected to be out of the lineup for at least six weeks.

“Jessee wrestled very well, and it was quite an accomplishment for him to get to the finals,” Urbach said. “The injury was unfortunate, but he's a tough kid and he'll come back fine.”

The loss of Craig will leave PHS without a 119-pound entry, which will take a toll on the Panthers in upcoming dual meets and tournaments.

PHS's lone third-place finish was registered by Kalberer, a state champion during the 2007-08 season and Class 3A's second-ranked wrestler at 160.

Kalberer, a senior, notched a 12-4 major decision in his first-round bout against Natrona County's Jeremiah Larson. In round two, Kalberer suffered a pin at 2:29 during his matchup with Landers' Bret Klop, the top-ranked wrestler in Class 3A's 160-pound weight class. Bret Klop went on to win the title at 160, and Kalberer defeated Marty Faye of Colstrip (Mont.) 6-2 in the bout for third.

At 103, Wozney posted a 1-2 record, which put him in fourth place. He started strong by pinning Worland's Jay Stine at the 4:39 mark in the first round. In round two, he suffered a loss to Utter, which placed him in the bout for third place during the final round. In that matchup, Wozney lost to Kelly Walsh's Josh Hillhouse via major decision.

In the 171-pound weight class, Nickles earned a fifth-place finish after going 2-1. He was pinned by third-ranked Dustin Finnerty of Wheatland in the first round. Nickles rebounded and defeated Natrona County's Chase Cimburek via pin at the 2:46 mark and pinned Gillette's Taylor Pownall at 1:35 in the bout for fifth place.

“It was a strong field of teams,” Urbach said. “From Class 3A, we had the No. 1, 3 and 4 teams. Natrona County is always tough, and Colstrip brought some good kids to the tournament as well. Our guys did a good job against some strong competition, and I thought it was a good start for us.

“We had some young guys have strong efforts, and our older, more experienced guys did pretty well. At our upper weights, we need to improve, but this was a good experience for them.”

In the junior varsity portion of the tournament, the Panthers finished in a tie with Lander for the fifth spot in the team standings with 152 points each. Teams finishing ahead of PHS were Natrona County (321 points), Gillett (310), Wheatland (204) and Thermopolis (176.5). As for placers, the Panthers finished with four. Zach Thiel went 2-1 and finished second at 125. Beau Williams, wrestling at 152, also notched a runner-up finish after going 2-1.

The Panthers' third runner-up placer was Danny Harris at 160, also with a 2-1 record. Like Thiel and Williams, Harris finished with a 2-1 mark.

Waylon Bays turned in a third-place effort for PHS. Like the Panthers other placers, he finished with a 2-1 mark.

• Up next: The Panthers' varsity squad will be in action again Friday when they open competition at the two-day Rapid City (S.D.) Invitational. That event is slated to conclude Saturday.

PHS's junior varsity squad also will be competing in a two-day tournament — the Forsyth (Mont.) Invitational. That tournament is scheduled to begin Friday and end Saturday.