The Panthers, state champions in 2008 and 2009 and state runner-up last season, are slated third in Class 3A heading into the year. Defending state champion Douglas sits atop the early-year poll with Worland holding down the number two slot. Lander, …
Andrews draws national recognitionDenied a threepeat state championship by an unlikely late rally last season, the Powell Panthers are expected to once again be a force in Wyoming 3A wrestling this season. At least, that's the prognosis offered early on by WyoWrestling.com, which released its pre-season rankings this week.
The Panthers, state champions in 2008 and 2009 and state runner-up last season, are slated third in Class 3A heading into the year. Defending state champion Douglas sits atop the early-year poll with Worland holding down the number two slot. Lander, Thermopolis and Buffalo round out the top six behind the Panthers.
Individually, the Panthers have 12 wrestlers ranked among the top seven in the various weight classes. Included in that number are a trio of Powell grapplers who will be sporting the bulls-eye of being ranked No. 1 to begin the year.
Junior Randy Andrews, state champion at 140 pounds last season, jumps up a few weights this season, but is still considered the state favorite to walk away with a 3A title at 171 pounds this winter. Andrews was also named an honorable mention selection in the pre-season by Wrestling USA magazine as one of the nation's top high school junior grapplers.
Andrews also scored a fifth-place state finish as a freshman.
Also ranked No. 1 pre-season are Olie Olson (160) and Colt Nix (145). Olson, a junior, was the third-place finisher in a loaded 125-pound weight class last season after winning a state title at 112 pounds as a freshman. Like Andrews, he'll be leapfrogging a few weight divisions for the 2010-2011 season.
Nix, a senior, captured the state 130-pound title last year after a runner-up finish his sophomore year at 125 pounds. Nix is projected to rule the 145-pound division this season.
Three additional returning placewinners from the 2010 state championships are ranked in the pre-season.
Jimmy Seckman was the state runner-up at 152 last season after a fourth-place finish at 145 the year before. He begins 2010 as the No. 2 wrestler at 152 pounds. Zach Thiel, the fourth-place finisher at 125 last season, holds down the No. 2 ranking at 140 to begin this year. Robert Friday, the third-place finished at 112 pounds, receives the No. 4 nod at 119 pounds to begin the year.
Other Panthers ranked to begin the season are Charles Wittick (No. 3 at 103), Dylan Rood (No. 5 at 112), Luke Wozney (No. 6 at 125), Beau Williams (No. 4 at 189), Danny Harris (No. 5 at 189) and Trevor Griffith (No. 4 at 285).