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May 06, 2010 3:44 am

Worth the wait

Written by Tribune Staff

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Powell High School hurdlers Josh Cragoe (left) and Kyle Sullivan were two of many Panther track athletes to finish in the top four at the Wyoming Track Classic on Monday. Tribune photo by John Wetzel

Eleven Panthers finish in top four at classic

After waiting through the weekend for their chance to compete at the Wyoming Track Classic, the Powell Panthers made the most of the opportunity when it presented itself. Facing off against the best the state of Wyoming has to offer, the Panthers placed in the top four in 11 of their 13 events in Casper.

“The kids did fantastic,” said Panther head coach Scott Smith. “We had a strong tail wind for the jumps and sprints, but it really hurt any distance over 200 meters. Considering that, the times the kids posted were incredible. More important is how these kids went out and competed against the best in the state in all classes. I was very impressed with them all.”

Powell was shut out in the champion's department, but junior Kyle Sullivan notched a pair of runner-up finishes. Sullivan blazed to a personal-best time of 14.65 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles, placing second behind Natrona's Taylor Villegas, who recorded the first sub-14 second time in Classic history to shatter a 44-year-old record in the event with a time of 13.87.

In addition to being a personal record, Sullivan's time in the event is the second-fastest time ever recorded by a Panther in the event. Only Justin Cross, the Wyoming 3A record holder and currently a junior on the University of Oregon track team, holds a faster time, having clocked a 14.41 at the 2007 state meet.

Sullivan was also second in the high jump, clearing the bar at 6'1”. Sullivan's height was identical to that of event winner, Ramon Robinson of Cheyenne East. The two were the only competitors in the field to clear the bar above six feet.

Sullivan also scored a third-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles, finishing in a time of 39.67 seconds.

The Panthers' other three-event qualifier, Drew MaGill, also returned home with a trio of top-four finishes in Casper. MaGill placed third in both the long jump (20'11.5”) and the triple jump (42'5.5”). In the 200 meters, an event he was added to last Wednesday, MaGill came through with a fourth-place finish in a time of 22.69 seconds, almost four-tenths of a second faster than his qualifying time.

MaGill wasn't the only late addition to the Panthers' roster to make an impact in Casper. Desiree Murray, who endured as the first-alternate in three events last week before finally learning she'd have a chance to line up for the 400-meter race, made the most of her opportunity to place fourth overall. Murray's time of 1:01.98 took nearly a second off her previous best time of the season.

Other fourth-place finishers for the Panthers included Josh Cragoe in the 110-meter hurdles (15.29), Colby Gilmore in the 400 (52.93), Kassey MacDonald in the 800 (2:31.55) and Kendra Ostrom in the high jump (4'11”).

MacDonald's time in the 800 was nearly three seconds off her previous best time for the 2010 track season.

Freshman Brooke Nisley placed sixth in the girls' 1600 meters in her first appearance on the Kelly Walsh track. Nisley narrowly missed cracking the six-minute barrier, closing in a time of 6:00.63.

Jacob Beuster rounded out the Panthers' list of entries at the 2010 Wyoming Track Classic. Beuster finished 10th in the boys' shot put field, registering a throw of 44'8.5” on his day's best attempt.

Powell returns to the track oval this Saturday at the Cody Trackstravaganza, the team's final build-up to 3A regional and state competition.