“Cody really has a lot of good boys and girls out for the sport this year,” said Boos. “That’s really good for them and good for the sport to see them out. I thought we had a pretty good start to the year. We had some really good improvements in our times from last season.”
The Panthers were also battling some adversity. Alyssa Rodriguez, who missed most of last season with injury, had to walk off the course after running approximately two of the 3.1 miles. Rodriguez has battled a foot injury she suffered last fall.
On the boys’ side, the Panthers competed without their two seniors. Neither Wyatt Horner nor Bodie Friday, two runners with state experience, had met the Wyoming High School Activities Association’s minimum practice requirement to be able to participate in the first competitive meet of the season.
On the girls’ side, it was a two-team competition with Cody besting Powell by a 21-35 final score.
Tally Wells placed fourth overall in a time of 22:17 to represent the Panthers’ first runner across the finish line. Teammates Desiree Murray (22:20) and Sierra Morrow (22:21) were close behind in fifth and sixth place. Powell’s remaining scorers were Bailey Sanders, 10th in a time of 25:33, and Carly Klein, 12th in a time of 26:56.
Cody’s Ann Brinegar cruised to the individual title in the girls’ race, finishing with a time of 20:17, more than a minute and a half faster than teammate Kim Holliday, the runner-up in 21:52. Sixteen runners lined up for the start of the girls’ race.
For the boys, the final team scores showed Cody winning with 24 points. Rocky Mountain narrowly edged Powell 47-49 for runner-up team honors.
Andrew Feller placed third for Powell in a time of 18:40 to finish as the fastest Panther on the day. Close behind was teammate Zander Andreasen, who placed fourth, one second behind Feller.
Behind the two Panther frontrunners though was a gap of more than two minutes. Chase Wellner was Powell’s next runner to finish, clocking a time of 21:24 and placing 13th. Another one-minute gap followed before Grant Nickles (22:29), Quin Wetzel (22:30) and Matt Abraham (22:35) finished 14th, 15th and 16th overall.
Cody’s Chase Constantine was the day’s fastest runner, recording a 5K time of 17:55. Teammate Devyn Brotherton was 10 seconds behind in second.
“I thought it was a good race between Andrew and Zander,” said Boos. “It was good to see both of them running in the 18s this early in the season. Obviously, the team score would have been helped by having both of our seniors out there, but neither had enough practices yet.”
Boos did point to some of the improvements the team made compared to last year’s race on the course. Murray shaved 41 seconds off her time. Morrow was 52 seconds faster. Feller’s third-place time was more than a minute quicker than his race last fall while Wetzel was the day’s big improvement winner, chopping 1:40 from his 2010 time on the course.
The Powell High School teams return to action Friday in Billings.