By Breanne Thiel
The Powell High School golf teams wrapped up the 2018 season with the End of the Year Banquet on October 2nd where the awards for Most Valuable, Most Improved and Most Inspirational were announced.
The Most Valuable award goes to the golfer with the lowest stroke average for the season whereas both the Most Improved and Most Inspirational awards are voted on by the team members.
Juniors Crandell Sanders and Mycah Wainscott were the recipients of the Most Valuable award.
Sanders concluded the season with an 86.1 average in his tournament rounds which included shooting a 79 in Star Valley the first day of the Conference Tournament which also helped him earn All-Conference honors in his 10th place finish.
Wainscott ended the season shooting an average of 99.3 in tournament rounds, had four top ten finishes which included earning All-Conference and All-State honors with her 10th place finish at the 3A West Conference Tournament in Star Valley and in her ninth place finish at the 3A State Championships in Riverton.
The junior’s other two top 10 finishes include placing fourth in Lander and ninth in Buffalo. Wainscott also earned All-Conference honors last season as a sophomore.
Sophomore George Higgins and junior Cat Wilson were awarded the Most Improved award.
Head coach Troy Hildebrand said that Higgins “went from never having played any type of golf last fall to being a key member of our varsity boys for the entire season and shooting a low round of 85 in Buffalo.”
Of Wilson, Hildebrand said “she just joined us last spring and has made great strides this year as a junior. She shot a career best 101 on a very tough Buffalo course.”
The Most Inspirational award was presented to senior Bennett Walker and junior Bailey Kennedy.
“Both of these players were key components of our team this year,” said Hildebrand of Walker and Kennedy.
Sanders, Wainscott, Higgins, Wilson, Walker and Kennedy will receive their corresponding award plaques at the end of the year sports award banquet held in May.
Today’s Senior Spotlight is Bennett Walker – a member of the Panther golf team! The PHS golf teams competed in the 3A State Championships in Riverton on Friday, September 14th and Saturday, September 15th
By Breanne ThielThe 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.Lady Panthers “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.PanthersThe 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.”
By Breanne ThielThe Powell High School golf team competed in Afton for their 3A West Conference Tournament. The Panthers placed third, their best team showing of the season. Both Crandell Sanders and Mycah Wainscott earned All-Conference honors in their 10th place finishes. The conference tournament was held Friday, September 7th and Saturday, September 8th. “We had a very nice showing at our Conference tournament in Afton,” said head coach Troy Hildebrand. “The Valley View Course is a really fun course for kids and offers a chance to shoot some good scores as it is a little shorter than most of the courses we see and is also a par 70 instead of 72.”PanthersThe Panthers took third place shooting 337 on Friday and 350 on Saturday. “We posted eight rounds between 79 and 89 over the two days which is exactly what we needed to do to earn a trophy this year,” Hildebrand said of the team.Lander ran away with the title shooting 298 on Friday and 309 on Saturday and Star Valley was a solid second place finish shooting 307 on Friday and 323 on Saturday. “We were neck in neck with Cody over the two days as they put together their best showing of the year as well,” Hildebrand added of the team scores. Cody placed fourth shooting 344 on Friday and 356 on Saturday. Sanders, a junior shot 79 on Friday and 88 on Saturday to tie for 10th place – which earned him All Conference honors.“[Sanders] earned his first All-Conference honor behind a career best 79 [score on] Friday. Saturday he had some ups and downs in his round but he did enough down the stretch to hold off the 11th place finisher by a single shot,” said Hildebrand. “He finished both rounds by making a significant putt which proved to be the difference for him. This should provide some nice momentum for [Sanders] as we head to Riverton.”Riverton is where the 3A State Tournament will be held. Senior Rob Sessions shot 84 on Friday and 85 on Saturday. “[Sessions] posted two more rounds in the mid 80’s and just missed a top ten finish of his own by two shots,” said Hildebrand. Sessions placed 14th out of the 35 golfers. “He is doing a lot of things well and playing the most consistent golf of his four-year varsity career,” Hildebrand continued of Sessions. “Each day [Sessions] had two or three holes where he found some trouble and that was really all that kept him from being right around 80. He is in a great spot heading to state.”Senior Bennett Walker shot 86 on Friday and 88 on Saturday. “[Walker] had his career best two day total this week and did a great job of keeping his round together each day,” Hildebrand sadi. “[Walker] is a very good player and when he gets his short game going he can shoot some very good scores. His straight hitting should be an asset in Riverton.”Sophomore George Higgins shot 88 on Friday and 89 on Saturday.“In his first conference tournament ever [Higgins] stepped us for us and played two very solid rounds. He has continued his rapid improvement and does such a great job of playing to his strengths. Riverton will be a new course for [Higgins] but he will use the practice round to get a plan for the weekend,” said Hildebrand.Junior Kason Cannon shot 104 on Friday and 102 on Saturday.“[Cannon] had his best career two day total as well this week. He has come a long, long way in the last year and a half and he will round out our varsity team for the state tournament. This will be a good experience for him as he moves into a different role for us next year as a senior,” the coach said.Sophomore Yogi Sullivan shot 111 on Friday and 115 on Saturday. “[Sullivan] just hasn’t been able to put it all together in a tournament this fall yet but he has worked hard and definitely shown signs of what he is capable of with his game. He was able to get a lot of tournament experience this fall and I know he will show up ready to go next spring,” said Hildebrand.Freshman Brandon Wentz shot 126 on Friday and 121 on Saturday.“[Wentz] played in just his second tournament ever and once again he improved each day. In just four rounds he has taken 23 strokes off his first round. I really think [Wentz] is going to be a very valuable player for us and will be very important to our team next fall,” Hildebrand said.For individual titles, Jaren Calkins of Lander won the tournament shooting a 1 under par 139 with 68-71. Lander placed four in the top ten and Star Valley placed all five of their varsity players. Hildebrand said that “the state tournament looks to have Lander (defending champions) and Worland coming in as the favorites. Worland has solid depth and is led by Karsten Simmons who also shot under par at the 3A east tournament. Star Valley, Riverton, Douglas and us look to be in the next group behind those two according to the regional results. We are looking for a top five finish for sure and if some things broke our way we could possibly crack the top three.”Lady PanthersLander – the defending state champions shot a blistering 280 on Friday and a 259 on Saturday to win the 3A West Conference Tournament. Star Valley placed second shooting 273 on Friday and 280 on Saturday and Jackson was third shooting 291 on Friday and 287 on Saturday.The Lady Panthers had their best weekend of the year by quite a margin shooting 324 on Friday 330 on Saturday. The coach stressed that the team “opened the year shooting nearly 400 here at home. This was a great chance for these three juniors to get some experience at a conference tournament that they can fall back on again next week and next year.”Mycah Wainscott shot 96 on Friday and 98 on Saturday for 10th place – which earned her All-Conference honors. “[Wainscott] earned her second consecutive all-conference award in Afton,” said Hildebrand. “She actually battled some swing troubles but hung in there both days to post sub 100 rounds and hang on for a top ten. She’ll work hard this week and take her very best to Riverton. With a strong week, she could be battling for an all-state position.”Cat Wilson shot 111 on Friday and 105 on Saturday.“[Wilson] continues to show growth each week and this was no exception. This is her best two day total and in a testament to her grit she had a really bad hole early in her round Friday and she bounced back by posting a birdie and a couple pars to hold her round together,” said Hildebrand adding that “this will be her first state tournament and I look for her to continue learning the game and battling through every round.”Bailey Kennedy shot 117 on Friday and 127 on Saturday.“[Kennedy] had a break out week overall and played her career-best round Friday by over 15 strokes. She is figuring things out more and more each week and this experience along with a strong spring will be huge for her next fall. I’m excited to see how she comes out and plays at state this week with the way she has been improving,” Hildebrand said.Of the state tournament, Hildebrand said that “Torrington lead by defending individual champion Kaley Essert and Lander head to Riverton as the favorites and it should be a very good state tournament.”For the PHS golfers, Hildebrand said. “we have a chance for a handful of players to be in the mix for all-state honors if they are able to put together a solid week. We have improved a great deal on both sides this season and I’d like to see us come out this week and just play up to our potential and let things shake out from there.”The PHS golf teams will have a practice round on Thursday, September 13th followed by the tournament Friday, September 14th and Saturday, September 15th.
By Breanne ThielThe 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.PanthersThe 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.”Lady PanthersThe 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.”