In a midweek warmup for this weekend’s Ron Thon Invitational in Riverton, the Powell High School wrestling team squared off in a dual against Lovell Tuesday at Panther Gym, cruising to a 56-22 win.
“We did pretty well, all things considered. We wrestled OK,” said Panthers head coach Nate Urbach. “My little guys made some mistakes; we have to get those fixed before too much longer. But all in all, it was pretty good.”
Urbach praised Lovell as a good team and complimented the work of their coach, Nick DeWitt.
“Especially down low, they have some really talented kids,” Urbach said of the Bulldogs.
At 106 pounds, Lovell’s Cardon Mickelson was unable to make weight, giving the Panthers’ Colt Nicholson the win by default. The two wrestlers did wrestle an exhibition match, however, with Mickelson winning by pin.
Emma Karhu, currently ranked sixth in 3A at 113 pounds, won in impressive fashion over Lovell’s Kyler Marchant, recording a 17-2 technical fall. The win gave Powell an 11-0 lead.
“I thought Emma Karhu looked pretty darn good,” Urbach said. “She wrestled a pretty tough kid and did well.”
At 120, Lovell’s Alex Nicholson gave the Bulldogs their first win of the meet, pinning Panther Trevor Feller to make the score 11-6.
At 126, Lovell’s Quinton Hecker shut out seventh-ranked Michael Maddox 8-0 for the Bulldogs’ second win of the meet, closing the gap to 11-10. Asher Nicholson then pinned Powell’s Riley Bennett at 132 pounds to give Lovell a 16-11 team lead.
However, at 138 pounds, Powell retook the lead, 17-16, as Corey Linebaugh pinned Aden Nicholson.
“Corey Linebaugh had a pretty good match,” Urbach said. “He came back and looked good.”
Powell’s Reese Karst, currently ranked No. 1 in 3A at 138 pounds, drew a forfeit at 145 pounds, while at 152 pounds, Cole Davis pinned Lovell’s Myzek McArthur to push the lead to 29-16.
At 160 pounds, Powell’s Brody Karhu — currently ranked No. 1 in the state at 152 pounds — pinned Jack Steed, while Panther Cameron Schmidt defeated Kelly Powell 7-2 at 170 pounds.
“Cameron Schmidt wrestled really well,” Urbach said. “He looked real steady, like a senior should.”
Ranked No. 2 in 3A at 182 pounds, Powell’s Bo Dearcorn won by forfeit to make the score 44-16. Lovell picked up its final win on the night from Kerry Powell, who won by injury default over Panther Matthew Seckman, ranked No. 3 at 195. Urbach said Seckman’s status for Ron Thon this weekend is currently unknown.
Panther Carsen Olsen pinned Dallas Oliver in the 220-pound match, while heavyweight and fourth-ranked Duy Hoang pinned Bulldog Moises Leal at 285 pounds to complete the 56-22 win.
“It was a good win, but we have a lot to work on — you’re never satisfied as a coach,” Urbach said of the dual. “We’ll have to work on some little things before the weekend.”
The Panthers enter this weekend’s Ron Thon Memorial Tournament as the No. 2 team in 3A, a distinction they earned while battling injuries to key wrestlers, as well as a flu bug that hit the team hard before Christmas break. But with the team on the mend, Urbach said the team will be good to go in time for Wyoming wrestling’s biggest stage. The best teams and wrestlers in the state will be in attendance in Riverton — including Star Valley, the top-ranked team in 3A this season.
“Basically every team in Wyoming is there, and it’s something we look forward to every year,” he said. “The bigger the stage, the more fun it is. You always want to seek the highest level of competition, and that’s what they’ll find this weekend.”