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October 21, 2008 3:02 am

Lady Panthers win 3A West crown

Written by Tribune Staff

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The Powell High School Lady Panthers claimed the Class 3A, West Conference crown Friday in Worland. Members of the team are (front row, left to right) Alyssa Rodriguez, Desiree Murray, (middle row, left to right) Chelsea Akin, Jordan Bigelow, Kristi Mingus, Lauren Dunleavy, Claire Wetzel, (back row, left to right) head coach Cliff Boos, Skye Albert, Kassey MacDonald, Tranyelle Coplen, Megan Darrow, McKenzie Danforth, Emily Schwahn and assistant coach Ashley Hildebrand. Courtesy photo/John Wetzel

Five PHS girls finish in top 10 at regional Competition

School officials at Powell High School will have to make room for more hardware in the school's trophy case thanks to the Lady Panthers' first-place finish at the Class 3A, West Regional meet at Green Hills Golf Course in Worland last Friday.

The Lady Panthers, who finished with 26 points during the cross country event, dethroned defending conference and state champion Jackson en route to their title performance. Jackson finished as the runner-up Friday with 41 points, and Cody was third with 72. Worland, Lyman and Lovell rounded out spots four through six.

“I'm so proud of our girls,” said PHS head coach Cliff Boos. “As soon as the gun went off, they flat out got after it. They had great weather conditions to work with, and they really posted some great times.”

Overall, the Lady Panthers finished with four runners in the top 10 and eight in the top 20. The top runner for Powell was freshman Desiree Murray, who was the runner-up behind first-place finisher Ellie Rice of Jackson. Rice won the individual title with a time of 19:54, while Murray finished with a 20:59.

PHS's only other freshman, Alyssa Rodriguez, also enjoyed a strong performance and finished fourth overall in 21:34. Close behind and in fifth place was Lady Panther senior Lauren Dunleavy, who recorded a time of 21:41.

Sixth place went to Chelsea Akin. She finished with time of 21:44. According to Boos, Akin joined the team after finishing her season with the PHS girls tennis squad.

PHS's top-10 efforts were rounded out by junior Skye Albert. She finished ninth with a time of 22:04, which was three minutes faster than her time in the Worland Invitational Oct. 2.

The Lady Panthers also claimed the 11th, 14th and 16th spots in the standings. Senior Jordan Bigelow was 11th with a time of 22:17, and Emily Schwahn was 14th in 22:44. Senior McKenzie Danforth's 22:55 helped her to a 16th-place finish.

Boos said Akin, who earned all-conference and qualified for the state meet in Sheridan Saturday, will remain behind this weekend and take the ACT test instead. That means Murray, Rodriguez, Dunleavy, Albert, Bigelow, Schwahn and Danforth will make up PHS's lineup for the 3A girls state meet, which has a scheduled 10:30 a.m. start time Saturday at the Sheridan V.A. Hospital Grounds. Murray, Rodriguez, Dunleavy and Albert will enter that event as all-conference performers due to their top-10 efforts.

The alternate runner for PHS will be Kassey MacDonald, who finished 21st in Worland last week with a time of 23:30.66.

With their performance Friday, the Lady Panthers will enter the state meet as one of the favorites to claim the state title. However, Boos warned anything can happen when it comes to the state meet.

“We're going to keep our fingers crossed and hope nobody gets sick or has to deal with some type of injury,” Boos said. “You just never know how these things will work out. You just have to go out and do the best you can and see how the times stack up against the competition.”

Boos also collected a trophy following Friday's meet. He was honored as the Class 3A West's coach of the year. Boos now has three conference coach of the year awards to his credit.

“It's an honor,” Boos said of the award he received Friday. “It's a reflection of the great kids we've had in our program.”