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March 29, 2011 7:26 am

Panther boys win track opener

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Kendra Ostrom slides over the bar during girls’ high jump competition in Cody on Saturday. Kendra Ostrom slides over the bar during girls’ high jump competition in Cody on Saturday. Tribune photo by Ben Wetzel

Girls third as season gets started

The Powell Panthers fired out of the blocks on the 2011 track and field season on Saturday. Competing in Cody for the first meet of the season, the Panthers surpassed the state track qualifying standards in 11 events.

Powell’s boys captured a dominating 46-point victory in the boys’ varsity standings. The Panther girls placed third in the eight-school meet.

“It was a great meet,” said Panther head coach Scott Smith. “We had some outstanding performances from our experienced kids as well as our rookies. There is a lot of promise with this team.”

Nearly half of Powell’s state qualifiers came in the two hurdles races. On the girls’ side, Desiree Murray shattered the state qualifying standard by more than 2 seconds as she cruised to the title in the 300-meter hurdles. Murray’s winning time in the event was 47.39 seconds, 0.7 seconds faster than her best time a year ago, when she placed third at the state meet.

Murray won the event by nearly 3 seconds over her closest pursuers.

Murray also slipped in under the qualifying standard in the 100-meter hurdles. Her winning time in that event was 16.91 seconds as she won the race by more than 0.7 seconds.

Murray was the only member of the Panthers’ girls’ team to qualify for the state championships at Saturday’s Cody meet.

On the boys’ side, Kyle Sullivan and Josh Cragoe turned in what will likely be a common sight this spring as the pair finished 1-2 in the 110-meter hurdles. Sullivan won the event in a time of 15.61 seconds. Cragoe followed in 16.12, almost half a second in front of the third-place finisher. Sullivan also coasted to victory in the 300-meter hurdles, clocking a time of 41.64 seconds, winning the event by more than 1 second.

In all, Sullivan punched his ticket to state in four events on Saturday. The senior ensured he would have the opportunity to defend his 2009 and 2010 3A high jump titles by clearing the bar at 6 feet on Saturday. The clearance also cinched his third individual event title in Cody.

Sullivan added a fourth event to his May itinerary, teaming up with Cragoe, Zach Thiel and Marco Borja in the 4x400 relay. The group cruised to a 4-second victory on Saturday, finishing in a time of 3:35.08, more than 6 seconds faster than needed to earn a spot on the track in Casper.

Drew MaGill got his senior year of track off to a strong start. With a lean at the finish line, MaGill captured not only the title at 100 meters on Saturday, but also a place at the state meet. He would narrowly miss adding a spot in the 200 meters later in the day as this time he crossed in second place, losing the finish line lean against Cody’s Colton Wood.

MaGill flew beyond the standard needed to qualify for state in the triple jump with his winning jump of 41-11 3/4. The jump was less than 6 inches off MaGill’s career-best for outdoor track and field. He came within half a foot of qualifying in the long jump as well.

In the discus ring, Powell earned a pair of state qualifiers as senior Jake Beuster and sophomore Vince Sleep both found their way back to Casper. Sleep placed third with a toss of 139-7 while Beuster was fifth overall with a best toss of 137-1.

If Saturday’s results are any indication, the throwing rings could be an exciting destination for fans to stand this spring. Five of the 20 discus entrants surpassed the state qualifying standard in that event. All eight of the shot put finalists threw beyond the 40-foot mark on the boys’ side.

“I was most impressed with the way the kids got out and competed hard and intensely,” said Smith. “Even more important, we got a chance to really see what we need to work on to improve. This is a great group of kids to work with and so far they have been a lot of fun to be around.”

The Panthers return to action on Thursday at the Worland Invitational.

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