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Cross country second at Rocky Mountain meet

Powell cross country runners (in red, from left) Matt Abraham, Zander Andreasen and Ben Wetzel break with other competitors at the start of the boys’ race at the Rocky Mountain Invitational in Lovell Monday afternoon. Powell cross country runners (in red, from left) Matt Abraham, Zander Andreasen and Ben Wetzel break with other competitors at the start of the boys’ race at the Rocky Mountain Invitational in Lovell Monday afternoon. Tribune photos by John Wetzel

Panther boys’ and girls’ teams take runner-up spots Monday in Lovell

The Powell High School cross country teams both finished second at the Rocky Mountain Invitational Monday afternoon.

Coach Cliff Boos said what was even more impressive is how the runners who competed in the same meet last year on the Foster Gulch Golf Course in Lovell posted faster times.

“Everyone that ran last year had a dramatic improvement,” Boos said. “It was really nice to see that.”

Junior Ben Wetzel had the biggest reduction, Boos said, finishing eighth in 18:10. That’s 2:34 faster than he ran the course in 2012 during his first season of cross country competition.

“It’s a new sport for him and he’s really, really running well,” Boos said.

Powell’s top finisher was Zander Andreasen, who finished fourth in 17:30, 48 seconds faster than he completed the course last year. Matt Abraham was ninth in 18:31, 22 seconds faster than he was in 2012.

“It was so good to see that,” Boos said. “Matt’s done a lot of extra workouts, getting ready for wrestling. He’s really in great shape.”

Grant Nickles was 11th at 18:41, a 1:40 improvement. Quin Wetzel, who finished 19th at 20:07, improved by 1:10.

Other Powell runners included Tyson Wages, who was 15th at 18:58, Robert Burke, who was 26th at 21:26, and Michael Steiner, who came in 28th at 21:47.

Cody won the 5,000-meter meet, scoring 22 points, followed by Powell with 32, Lovell with 49 and Rocky Mountain with 67. Thermopolis did not have enough runners for a team score.

It was a 2A meet, so only the top four finishers for each school scored points, unlike 3A meets, where five runners score. Brody Smith of Cody won the meet with a time of 16:20.

Cody also claimed the girls meet, scoring 18 points. Powell followed with 42, Thermopolis had 54, Lovell 61 and Rocky Mountain 87. Anne Brinegar of Cody was first in 19:07.

Powell was paced by Bailey Sanders, who came in sixth in 21:12.

“She had some really good improvements,” Boos said. “Bailey improved by 56 seconds from last year. She always seems to get better every time she runs.”

Teo Faulkner was eighth in 22:05, Kiley Cannon claimed 11th in 22:44, Sierra Morrow finished 17th at 24:45 and Carly Klein was 19th in 25:36, a 1:24 improvement from 2012.

In the two-mile middle school race, Powell’s Eyob Robirds claimed first in 12:06, Aaron Smith was eighth in 13:56, Alan Merritt was 13th in 14:11, Alex Smith was 17th in 14:48, Ben Jackson was 19th in 14:58, Wyatt Decker was 20th in 15:06, James Sheets was 24th in 16:00, Bronson Smith was 25th 16:00, James Curtis finished 26th 16:12 and Dylan McEvoy was right behind him in 16:14 to earn 27th. Aldan Hunt finished 30th in 16:33, while DiMaggio Kapptie was 32nd in 18:45 and Austin Chandler claimed 40th in 23:41.

For the middle school girls, Powell’s JuliaKay O’Neill    was second in 13:30, Kendyl Bohlman was 10th in 15:24, Dagne Stratton was 11th in 15:27 and Sydney Horton finished 37th in 21:42.

The Panther thinclads are scheduled to compete in the Worland Invitational today (Thursday), weather permitting. Boos said he feels the runners are exactly where they should be at this stage of the season after a welcomed break between events.

“I think it was nice to have the two weeks of training,” he said. “This was two weeks we could do our hill every week and intervals and speed work. We could actually do that for two weeks, and it helped.”

But now the heart of the season is upon the team, Boos said, with two meets this week and next followed by the Powell Invitational on Oct. 10. The conference meet is scheduled for eight days after that, followed by the state meet in Sheridan on Oct. 26.

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