By Breanne Thiel
The Powell High School golf teams completed their 2018 season in Riverton at the 3A State Championships on Friday, September 14th and Saturday, September 15th.
“We wrapped up our season in Riverton with two great days on a very challenging course,” said head coach Troy Hildebrand. “The greens in Riverton were very tough and caused many problems for the entire field.”
The Panthers finished seventh as a team and the Lady Panthers placed ninth as a team with junior Mycah Wainscott earning All-State honors with her ninth-place finish.
“[Wainscott] really showed great poise and tenacity as she hung on through her final nine holes to earn her first All-State award with a tie for ninth. She made two or three putts over that stretch that really tested her nerve and showed a ton of guts on her part,” said Hildebrand.
“I was very pleased with the growth and improvement of these three girls over the season,” Hildebrand said. “They are all three juniors and I am very excited about getting them back again next Fall. All three of them left the state tournament with good memories and confidence to come back next year ready to battle for a top-five finish.”
Wainscot shot 97 on Friday and 101 on Saturday.
“Mycah played excellent on the back nine both days posting 45 each round,” said Hildebrand who added that “the front nine in Riverton is tougher and that [was] her final nine of the tournament.”
Hildebrand also said that Wainscott “knew that she was right in the hunt for all-state honors and she stepped up to that challenge and achieved that goal. I was very proud of how she handled that pressure. That will be great for her to fall back on in the future. She has worked hard on her game and is always open to suggestions and help and all of that has made her a very good player. It will be fun to see the level that she gets to next fall.”
Cat Wilson shot 124 on Friday and 119 on Saturday. \
“This was [Wilson’s] first state tournament and she stepped up and played well,” said Hildebrand. “[Wilson] does a ton of things very well, it is just about consistency for her to get to the next level. She is truly committed to improving and I expect a big jump in her game next fall. She has a great attitude and has been a real pleasure to work with.”
Bailey Kennedy shot 164 on Friday and 154 on Saturday.
“[Kennedy] continued to battle through a wrist injury for us and showed some real grit cutting 10 shots off of her day one score. She has improved a great deal over the past year and if she can come back healthy and get in some more time on the course next summer she will make a great leap by next fall.”
Torrington won the state championship on the girls’ side shooting 268 on Friday and 265 on Saturday. Caleigh Essert of Torrington won the individual title who shot a 73 on both days.
The Panther golf team finished seventh out of the 14 teams competing.
“In all honesty, this was a bit of a disappointing finish for this group,” Hildebrand said. “I was very optimistic about this team and truly thought we would be a top-five team. We played near our potential in Star Valley with our third-place showing and heading to Riverton it seemed like we could shoot around 355 on that course which would have put us right in the battle for fourth or fifth place.”
The Panthers shot 374 on Friday and a 365 on Saturday.
“We struggled with the greens both days and it just didn’t seem like we were as sharp as we were the week before. Sometimes in golf things just don’t come together and that kind of summed up our weekend,” said Hildebrand.
Crandell Sanders shot 89 on Friday and 91 on Saturday.
“[Sanders] had some real bright spots in the tournament but both rounds wound up having a few too many tough holes along the way that put him about 5-8 shots over what he has been shooting this season,” said Hildebrand. “He has worked hard on his game for three years and with just his senior season remaining I expect him to continue that effort and come back next fall as a real leader for us.”
Rob Sessions shot 90 on Friday and 95 on Saturday.
“This was [Sessions’] fourth consecutive state tournament and he has improved each year,” the coach said. “His growth over the four years has been incredible and he will certainly be missed. Rob was 25th after the first day and got off to a strong start but ran into a bad stretch in the middle of Saturday’s round that kind of took all of his momentum away. It would have been a great culmination of his career if [Sessions] could have put together a top ten run but he has a lot to be proud of in his four years.”
George Higgins shot 97 on Friday 89 on Saturday.
“This was [Higgins’] first state event and he showed what he was capable of with Saturday’s 89,” said Hildebrand. “Once again, [Higgins] played to his strengths and kept the ball in play both days. He had a few more tough holes Friday than he usually does but he hung in there and with the progress he has made in the last 12 months I can’t wait to see where he is next fall. [Higgins] will definitely be taking on a bigger leadership role for us moving forward.
Bennett Walker shot 98 on Friday and 90 on Saturday.
“This was [Walker’s] final state tournament as a Panther as well and I was very proud of how he came back Saturday from a tough Friday to post a solid final round,” Hildebrand said. “[Walker] joined us as a sophomore and has had many highlights over the past three years. He has become a very solid player and we’ll miss him moving forward.”
Kason Cannon shot 125 on Friday and 117 on Saturday.
“[Cannon] just came on board with us a year and a half ago and he has made great strides,” said Hildebrand. “This was his first state tournament and he handled the pressure pretty well over the two days. For [Cannon] the most important piece is more experience. If he can get on the course next summer I expect to see a tremendous jump in his performance. He has already come a long ways and I was pleased that he was able to get this experience.”
For team finishes, Lander shooting a 316 on Friday and 313 on Saturday held off Worland who shot 323 on Friday and 316 on Saturday to win a second consecutive title paced by three all-state players.
Defending champion Jaren Calkins shot 72 on Friday and 73 on Saturday but was edged by Worland freshman Karsten Simmons who shot 74 on Friday and 69 on Saturday (-1) to win the individual title this year.
“That was an exciting battle between two great players,” Hildebrand said of Calkins and Simmons. “With [Calkins] a sophomore and [Simmons] a freshman it will be fun to watch these two continue to battle over the next couple years and see if anyone else can join that elite level.”
With the season now complete, Hildebrand said he “would like to thank our golf course and new pro Mike Propp for the tremendous support that they give to our program. Mike took the time last week to come down and work with a couple of our players, including [Wainscott] as we prepared for state and I know that it paid dividends in Riverton.”
For the future, Hildebrand said, “We have a couple of valuable seniors to replace in [Sessions] and [Walker] but we had solid numbers this fall and I know there are some younger players that are excited to get their opportunity for us.”