Panthers finish third, Lady Panthers run to fourth
Over 400 long distance runners from 12 different schools descended on Powell Friday to compete at both the high school and middle school levels at the Pinnacle Bank Powell Invitational cross country meets, concluding their regular seasons.
The Powell High School runners completed the regular portion of their season with the Panthers placing third and the Lady Panthers finishing in fourth place.
For the runners of Powell Middle School, the invite was their conference race; results for the Cubs will follow in a future issue.
“The whole thing couldn’t have gone better, I don’t think,” said head coach Cliff Boos.
Ten schools were represented in the high school boys race, with the Panthers placing third with 65 points. Worland finished second with 43 and Cody took first with 33 points.
“They really are competing well,” Boos said of his boys, pointing out that the team’s first five placers finished relatively close together.
A total of 96 long distance runners competed, with Powell’s top five runners all finishing between second and 27th place.
Junior Alan Merritt came in second place overall (first on the team) with a time of 16:57.71 — a 33-second improvement on his time from last year. He averaged a 5:28 minute mile for the race.
The second and third place finishers on the team were freshmen Tyler Pfeifer and Joey Hernandez. Pfeifer took 10th place overall with a time of 17:39.23, averaging 5:42 per mile. Hernandez placed 14th overall in 18:06.94.
Junior Jayden Yates finished fourth on the team and 16th overall in 18:06.94. Yates’ time was 46 seconds faster than last year, averaging a 5:50 minute mile.
Boos said both Alan Merritt and Yates have consistently been taking at least 30 seconds off their times on courses run last season.
The fifth place finisher on the team was senior Jesse Erickson with a time of 18:47.98 for a 27th overall finish. Erickson’s time averaged to a 6:04 minute mile.
Cross country races are 3.1 miles (a 5K) and the top five finishers add points to the team score.
Finishing sixth on the team and 36th overall was senior Eyob Robirds in 19:32.36 (6:18 minute mile average). Sophomore Colin Queen was seventh on the team with a finish in 20:00.19 for 50th place; finishing practically right beside him was freshman Matthew Hobbs in 51st in 20:00.76. Both Queen’s and Hobbs’ times averaged to a 6:27 minute mile.
Sophomore Dylan Cordes finished in 54th overall place with a time of 20:11.32 (6:31 minute mile average), while junior Dylan McEvoy placed 55th taking 40 seconds off his time with a finish in 20:12.87.
Freshman Lane Franks completed the 5K in 20:36.26 (6:39 minute mile average) for a 57th overall finish. Senior Brian Brazelton finished in 65th place with a time of 21:01.93 (6:47 minute mile average).
Freshman Riley McKeen ran the race in 21:12.44 (6:50 minute mile average) for a 68th overall finish. Finishing 74th and 75th place overall were freshmen Ethan Thiel and Jaxton Braten, respectively. Thiel finished with a time of 21:48.76 and Braten in 21:49.47 with both averaging a 7:02 minute mile.
Freshman Isaac Summers completed the race in 21:57.87 for 79th place, which averaged to a 7:05 minute mile, and freshman Tarren Blackmore placed 91st with a time of 23:38.99 for a 7:37 minute mile average.
Out of the 11 teams competing, the Lady Panthers finished in fourth place with 106 points.
“I thought for these girls, with all they’ve been through physically and far as being sick and everything else, they performed well,” Boos said.
He added, “That was very encouraging for them as we head into conference and state now the next couple weeks; just really impressed with how the day went for the girls.”
Cody placed first with 27, Worland in second with 60 and Riverton in third with 79.
Sophomore Kayla Kolpitcke led the Lady Panthers and finished second overall with a time of 20:01.68 which was 27 seconds faster than last year. Her time averaged to a 6:27 minute mile.
Second on the team was senior Gracen Curtis with a time of 23:63.33. She took 27th overall place, averaging a 7:37 per mile.
Third for the Lady Panthers was freshman Abby Landwehr with a 24:45.24 finish, good for 41st place overall.
Finishing fourth on the team and 42nd overall was sophomore Natalie Dillivan, posting a time of 24:51.88 (8:01 minute mile average). Fifth on the team was freshman Madelyn Horton with a time of 25:45.48 (8:18 minute mile average) for 49th overall.
Next was Jenna Merritt, who finished in 57th place overall and posted a time of 26:46.60 (8:36 minute mile average).
Competitive Timing, a Montana-based company, timed the four races. Boos said Powell has competed in four races this season where the system has been used.
“I’m not a computer type of guy, but boy, I could see the writing on the wall with this one,” Boos said.
Computer chips are secured in the bibs (the “paper” numbers that each racer wears) which electronically records the time of each competitor. The results are available online almost instantaneously; as soon as the race is completed, competitors can enter their bib number to get a print-out of their time.
“We really like that system,” Boos said. “When you write stuff, it doesn’t always look the same to somebody else.”
Before, results were written by hand with a funnel shoot system, where volunteers handed out popsicle sticks with the runners’ placements as they crossed the finish line. Other volunteers stood at the end of the funnel shoot taking the popsicle sticks while someone else took the racers’ information.
Both Boos and assistant coach Ashley Hildebrand extended a thank you to Pinnacle Bank for donating the funding to have Competitive Timing come to the event.
With the Pinnacle Bank Powell Invitational now completed, there are only two more weeks of the cross country season.
“Where’d those eight weeks go?” Boos asked.
On Friday, the long distance runners will compete in Mountain View for the 3A West Conference Invitational. The Lady Panthers will run at 1 p.m. and the Panthers at 1:30 p.m.
The 3A State Tournament is set for next week in Sheridan.