By Breanne Thiel
The Powell High School golf teams began the 2018 season co-hosting the Park County Shootout with Cody High School. The Park County Shootout started in Cody at the Olive Glenn Golf Course on Thursday (August 9th) and ended in Powell at the Powell Golf Club on Friday (August 10th).
Powell High School head coach Troy Hildebrand said that both he and Cody High School head coach Jake Kraft “were extremely pleased with the tournament we were able to co-host to start the high school season.”
“We had great weather, two courses that were in fantastic shape and 13 teams for the two days,” said Hildebrand who continued, “we ended up with 111 players and there was some very good golf played on both the boys and girls sides.”
Defending 3A champ Jaren Calkins of Lander won the boys side with a 4 under total of 140 with a 71 in Cody and a 69 in Powell. Megan Griffin of Kelly Walsh shot 81 in both Cody and Powell to win the girls individual title. Kelly Walsh swept the team titles.
The Panthers placed sixth overall and the Lady Panthers finished seventh.
The 13 teams that competed were: Powell, Cody, Buffalo, Campbell County, Kelly Walsh, Lander, Lovell, Natrona County, Riverton, Sheridan, Thermopolis, Thunder Basin and Worland.
Overall the Panthers placed sixth shooting a 351 in Cody and a 346 in Powell, and those scores placed them third among the 3A teams.
“I was very pleased with how our boys came out and played for this opening weekend,” said Hildebrand. “We had some personal best individual performances and also put together the best two day total that we have had in the last four seasons.”
Crandell Sanders, a junior, shot an 84 in Cody and an 80 in Powell.
“[Sanders] had a great weekend with a personal best two day total and also his best high school round to date with the 80,” said Hildebrand who went onto say that “[Sanders] did an excellent job of finishing his rounds off this weekend. Both days he was able to close out his last few holes to post those scores. That is an area that he was really looking to improve on from last year so this is a great first step.”
Rob Sessions, a senior, shot an 89 in Cody and an 86 in Powell.
“[Sessions] did a nice job by posting two rounds in the 80’s for us,” the coach said. “He played well but in his own words, he left quite a few shots out there this week. He has the potential to shoot under 85 every round and that will definitely be his goal moving forward.”
Bennett Walker, a senior, shot an 86 in Cody and a 91 in Powell.
Hildebrand said that “[Walker] is entering his third season as a varsity player and this was his best two-day event so far. The best part of the tournament for [Walker] was how well he fought through any tough stretches that he had each day. That is an area that he needed to improve for this year and obviously, this is exactly the start we needed from him.”
George Higgins, a sophomore, shot a 92 in Cody and an 89 in Powell.
“I have heaped the praise on George for his incredible improvement from a beginning golfer a year ago to this point and his first tournament as a varsity player did not disappoint,” said Hildebrand. “[Walker] was very steady and really played to his strengths both days. He does an excellent job of keeping the ball in play and minimizing his mistakes.”
Kason Cannon, a junior, shot a 98 in Cody and a 109 in Powell.
“[Cannon] played well in Cody last spring and came right back out Thursday and shot a career-best 98. Friday in Powell with a 109 was still a nice day for [Cannon] and gave him a great place to start off this season from,” said Hildebrand who also said that “[Cannon] has come a long ways and he could be an important factor for us this season.”
Yogi Sullivan, a sophomore, shot a 111 in Cody and a 121 in Powell.
Hildebrand said that Sullivan “had a tough pair of days but he kept a positive attitude and he’ll do a good job this week of finding some areas to work on and improve before we head to Worland.”
The Lady Panthers placed seventh overall shooting a 399 in Cody and a 383 in Powell
“This will be a nice starting point for these girls as a team,” said Hildebrand. “Cat [Wilson] and Bailey [Kennedy] really have very little tournament experience so each week will be a great learning opportunity for them.”
There is a total of three girls on the Lady Panther golf team, the third is Mycah Wainscott and Hildebrand said that “the bonus is that all three of these girls are juniors so we have this fall, the spring and then their senior season next fall.”
Mycah Wainscott shot a 102 in Cody and a 103 in Powell.
“[Wainscott] played two decent rounds but by her standards she did not play as well as she would have liked,” said the coach, “she is a very strong player and with a few days of practice on those areas that hurt her this week I know she will bounce back next week.”
Cat Wilson shot a 130 in Cody and a 127 in Powell.
“[Wilson] did a nice job in both of her rounds of identifying the things that she is doing well and recognizing where she needs some practice,” said Hildebrand who continued to say that Wilson “is a player that I can easily see shooting around 110 by the end of this season.”
Bailey Kennedy shot a 167 in Cody and a 153 in Powell.
“[Kennedy] hung in there both days and battled through all 18 holes. She just needs some confidence in herself and her game moving forward,” the coach said. “She felt a lot better about things on the second day and I expect her to improve each round this year. The more rounds she gets under her belt the better things will be for her.”
The golf teams will head to the Worland Invitational this coming Friday and Saturday (the 17th and 18th of August) for the second event of the season. The invite will take place at the Green Hills Golf Course.
Following that, there has been a change to the schedule where the teams will head to compete in Lander on Monday, August 20th and Tuesday August 21st.