By Breanne Thiel
The Powell High School golf team competed in the last tournament of the regular season in Buffalo on Thursday, August 30th and Friday, August 31st and had a top ten finish in juniors Crandell Sanders and Mycah Wainscott.
“In our final tune up before Conference and State we enjoyed two nice days in Buffalo on one of the state’s top courses,” said head coach Troy Hildebrand. “Overall we played about like we have the past three weeks but had a couple of real positive performances from the team. We had a meeting after Thursday’s round and collectively looked at Friday as a day where we would battle through adversity a little better and work hard to put the team success first.”
The meeting after Thursday’s competition had some success as the Lady Panther golf team posted their best team score of the season in their sixth place finish.
The Panthers finished seventh.
Karsten Simmons of Worland won his third event of the season shooting 74 on Thursday and 71 on Friday. Maria Farnum of Thunder Basin shot 89 on Thursday and 90 on Friday to win the girls side.
For the team titles, Worland shot 325 on Thursday and 322 on Friday to win the boys side and Thunder Basin shot 277 on Thursday and 281 on Friday to take the girls title.
The Panthers shot 378 on Thursday and 374 on Friday to place them seventh.
“This was the third consecutive week that we have been missing one of our four top players and while that has given us a chance to have some other players step into varsity roles in Kason Cannon and Yogi Sullivan it will be very nice to have our expected varsity group in Afton for Conference,” Hildebrand said.
Sanders shot 87 on Thursday and 86 on Friday to tie for eighth place.
“[Sanders] earned a top ten finish this week with two steady rounds in the mid 80’s,” said Hildebrand. “He did a number of things better this week and looks to be rounding into his best form of the season at just the right time.”
Senior Rob Sessions shot 94 on Thursday and 89 on Friday.
“[Sessions] had his toughest two rounds of the year in Buffalo but actually had a very good day Friday until his final two holes where he lost five shots to par. He bounced back from a tough Thursday and if he can take that same performance to Afton he will be right in the mix for All-Conference honors,” said the coach.
Senior Bennett Walker shot 94 on Thursday and 93 on Friday.
“[Walker] just wasn’t able to get anything going this week until his final two holes on Friday where he finished birdie-par,” said Hildebrand. “His game has been pretty solid all season and I expect him to play well in Afton and really give us a boost.”
Junior Kason Cannon shot 103 on Thursday and 106 on Friday.
“[Cannon] played very well considering his experience and the fact that he had not seen the Buffalo course previously. He’ll be our final varsity member these next two weeks and with a little improvement off the tee he could provide some nice insurance from that position,” Hildebrand said.
Sophomore Yogi Sullivan shot 136 on Thursday and 122 on Friday.
“[Sullivan] struggled in both rounds this week and he just hasn’t been able to take some of the positives that he is showing in practice and on the range into his tournament rounds. A little more experience and time on the course is essential for him taking that next step,” said Hildebrand.
Freshman Brandon Wentz shot 154 on Thursday and 139 on Friday.
“[Wentz] played in his first ever tournament and probably played his first ever 18 hole rounds this week,” said Hildebrand. “He is a freshman that I see a lot of potential in and it was great to see him improve by 15 shots on the second day. He will be very important for us in the next few years.”
The girls’ team comprised of juniors Mycah Wainscott, Cat Wilson and Bailey Kennedy shot 368 on Thursday and 345 on Friday for their sixth place finish.
“These three have improved by around 50 shots per day in their team score from the first tournament of the year,” Hildebrand said. “[Wainscott] has been pretty consistent while [Wilson] and [Kennedy] have made great strides in just four weeks. I am very pleased that they are all juniors and will have another year together.”
Wainscott shot 97 on Thursday and 108 on Friday for ninth place.
“[Wainscott] had another strong first-day performance with her 97,” said the coach. “She had some ups and downs Friday on the way to her 108. The next big step for [Wainscott] is recognizing her strengths and putting two great days together. There is no better time for that than conference and state and I expect big things from her these next two weeks.”
Wilson shot 122 on Thursday and 101 on Friday.
“[Wilson] played a pretty ordinary round for her on Thursday but Friday she truly turned in our performance of the season so far with her 101. She posted four pars and her first career birdie in that round. If not for one very tough hole where she posted a 10 she would have broken 100 which is amazing considering this is her first fall season with us,” said Hildebrand.
Kennedy shot 149 on Thursday and 136 on Friday.
“[Kennedy] also posted a career-best with her 136 Friday,” said Hildebrand. “She has battled some injuries this fall but she keeps a great attitude and fights through each round. She is learning how to get around the course much better and seems to be limiting her big numbers on holes. Star Valley should be a very good course for [Kennedy].”
Next up for the PHS golf teams is to head to Afton for the Conference Tournament on Friday, September 6th and Saturday, September 7th.
“That is a very fun course that really gives kids a chance to score well and have two great days,” said Hildebrand adding that he expects “Lander lead by Jaren Calkins (defending state champion) to be the boys favorite with Star Valley and hopefully us battling for trophies as well. The girls’ race is a little more wide open with Riverton, Lander and Star Valley each in the hunt for the win. Rachel Stoinski of Lander would be the individual favorite.”
As for the PHS teams, Hildebrand said that he thinks “we have a great chance to have a handful of players battle for all-conference honors if they come out and put two solid rounds together.”