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October 14, 2008 3:01 am

PHS's cross country meet canceled due to winter weather

Written by Tribune Staff

No place to run

After unseasonably warm temperatures in recent weeks, Old Man Winter made his presence known by bringing cold temperatures, strong winds, and enough moisture to put the wraps on Powell High School's annual cross country invitational.

The event, originally scheduled for Powell Golf Club late Friday afternoon, underwent a venue change Thursday as school officials moved the competition from the local golf course to Homesteader Park. However, Friday morning the event was canceled after PHS activities director Jeff Jones determined the venue at Homesteader Park was unfit for a safe event because of soggy ground conditions. The meet will not be rescheduled.

Cliff Boos, head coach of PHS's boys and girls teams, said it was disappointing for his runners because they had been looking forward to running in front of a Powell-dominated crowd.

“This will be the first one we've missed in several years,” Boos said. “As the week went along, we were planning for the worst. It just wasn't meant to be.”

Boos also said the event will not be rescheduled because of where the original event date sits on the season calendar. The Panthers and Lady Panthers instead will focus on their next meet, which will be the biggest one of the season for both teams — the Class 3A West Conference Meet. That event is scheduled to be conducted in Worland, Friday. The varsity girls will run at noon, and the varsity boys will follow at 12:30 p.m.

Though disappointed because an opportunity to run was lost, Boos said the cancellation wasn't all bad because it will allow several runners, particularly on the Panther boys squad, extra time to overcome various ailments that have been plaguing them in recent weeks.

“We should go into the conference meet with a pretty healthy group,” Boos said.

The coach said both teams should have the opportunity to have solid finishes at the conference meet. In the competition for the girls, teams will be looking to knock off Jackson, last year's state championship squad.

The Lady Panthers have been led by a host of runners this season, including senior Lauren Dunleavy and freshmen Desiree Murray and Alyssa Rodriguez. Those three have been among the Lady Panthers' top runners throughout the season. Also, returning all-state performer Jordan Bigelow has enjoyed a solid year. Behind them, there's plenty of depth and experience, which Boos hopes will translate in a strong finish at the conference meet and the following week at the season-ending state meet in Sheridan.

Leading the way for the Panther boys will be senior Patrick Sullivan, who has steadily finished as one of PHS's top runners all season long. Boos said Sullivan has cut a tremendous amount of time from his 2007 marks, and he's confident the senior can continue to make strides during the next two events. Boos said the rest of the Panthers' lineup, which has been bolstered by the performances of sophomores Patrick Voss and Danny McKearney, has made steady progress this season. Boos added that staying healthy will be a major key this week and next will be among the keys for the Panther boys.

“We're hoping to have a full crew,” Boos said about the Panther boys. “We'll just try to have everybody healthy and see how it works out.”