An update on the Panther’s most recent competitions

Gabby Paterson

More stories from Gabby Paterson

January 24, 2023
Emma Johnson

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Photo Courtesy of Emma Johnson

Panther wrestling head coach Nick Fulton assists junior Jeremy Harms with a bloody nose after a match on the mat.

The Panthers found success throughout the week of Jan. 16-21 on the court, on the mat and in the pool. As they clock in another week of the season, the Panthers are polishing up their skills for the rapidly approaching postseason. 

Facing off against Thermopolis in week seven of the season, the No. 3 seeded Panther basketball team solidified their rise in 3A Conference standings by defeating the Bobcats 85 to 59 on Jan. 20. 

“I think what sets us apart from Thermop is simply overall skill,” junior Brock Johnson said. “We are a better team, and we knew that, so we had obvious advantages. We looked to exploit those as much as we could.” 

I think what sets us apart from Thermop is simply overall skill. We are a better team, and we knew that, so we had obvious advantages. We looked to exploit those as much as we could.”

— Brock Johnson

Despite the victory, the Panthers fell short over the weekend, losing to the Worland Warriors 72-66. Now going 6-4, some of the boys are already looking forward to the bigger competition down the line and working on the mentality needed to be at the top of their game. 

“I think our transition defense has gotten better,” junior Marshall Lewis said. “[Our] defensive rebounding could use some work but at some point, it comes down to just how bad we as players want it,” junior Marshall Lewis said. “I would love for the team to be winning the regional tournament in Mountain View. We certainly have the talent to do so.”

Unlike previous years, the Lady Panther basketball team is finding their groove on the court. The girls shut down the Thermopolis Bobcats on Jan. 20 scoring 58 points to the Bobcats 32 points. 

“Everyone is finally clicking with each other,” senior Maddie Cambell said. “We knew [Thermopolis] would be more prepared than the first time we played them, but we had confidence going into that game. We play our best when we have confidence.”

Following suit the next day, the girls put up 54 points against Worland’s 33 points. Prevailing over the Warriors continued to build the Lady Panther’s confidence. Coming out of half time, the Panthers had already taken the lead.

“We carried over the win of Thermopolis game into the Worland game,” Campbell said. “We knew Worland would be more physical because they were bigger, but we’re also faster than them.”

On the mat, the wrestling team made their mark landing seventh place over the course of the two day tournament in the Lander Invitational. Noteworthy accomplishments include junior Jimmy Dees taking 1st in the 195 weight class, freshman Gabriel Whiting placing 2nd for 106 lbs and sophomore Doug Bettger also taking 2nd in 285. 

“Lander provides a measuring stick on how we stack up with the bulk of the 3A competition,” wrestling head coach Mr. Nick Fulton said. “We had some tremendous performances by individuals and scored team points at nearly every weight. We use this as a learning experience, and will continue to grow individually and as a team.”

As the state competition gets closer, the seniors on the team are taking the time to reflect on how to improve collectively in the coming weeks.

“This season, we’ve focused on changing up our speeds and setting up our shots,” senior Jack Van Norman said. “We did a better job at this tournament than before [earlier in the season] … there are many things we can always improve on but our work ethic is amazing and is what brings the team closer together.”

In the pool, the Panthers split their record taking first in the Cody Triangular on Jan. 19 and then falling to the back of the pack on Jan. 21 at the Bruce Gresly Invitational in Lander where they took ninth. 

“The meet [in Cody] went smoothly,” senior Kobus Diver said. “We picked up three new state qualifiers. But the meet in Lander had better competition because there were just so many teams there.”

Swimmers who secured their state cuts were senior Nathan Dupont in the 50 yard freestyle and the 100 yard butterfly, sophomore Conner Mayes also in the 100 yard butterfly and junior Adam Williams in the 50 yard freestyle, 100yard freestyle and the 100 yard backstroke. 

“Our hopes for the team approaching conference and state are to be as healthy as we can and continue to see the kids perform their best,” head coach Stephanie Warren said. “We hope to see some great swims at both meets.”