After a nine year wait to get back to the top of the track and field world, the Powell Panthers boys’ track and field team ran away with its first title since 2014 — defeating two-time …
After a nine year wait to get back to the top of the track and field world, the Powell Panthers boys’ track and field team ran away with its first title since 2014 — defeating two-time defending champion Lander by 8.5 points in Casper last weekend.
Powell used a mix of top talent and strong depth to finish at the top, winning two events over the course of the three day event.
Daniel Merritt wrapped up his high school career with an 800 meter victory (1:59.01). He also placed second in the 3200 meters (10:11.38), fourth in the 1600 meters (4:39) and was part of the fourth place 1600 sprint medley relay team with Simon Shoopman, Nathan Dupont and Jace Hyde (3:41.41).
“Daniel has to have been one of the top five hardest workers I have ever been around,” coach Scott Smith said. “It was just so great to see him finishing with four high places at state to close out that career, but his dominating win in the 800 was one of my favorite races to have ever watched.”
The other individual victory came from Isaiah Woyak, who claimed the triple jump with a leap of 44 feet, 2 inches, just ahead of teammate Cody Seifert who took second (43-4 1/2).
That dominant performance from the pair came at a key time on Saturday, allowing the Panthers to breathe easy in the final events of the day after essentially securing the title after the 18 points the pair earned.
“The triple jump came at a time when not only were the points huge, but they actually iced the championship,” Smith said. “Those boys really put on a show for the crowd with those big jumps kind of putting an exclamation point on sealing the win.”
Powell got huge boosts in different events, placing three kids in at least two different events to help rack up points for the team.
Those events came in the 110 meter hurdles where Hyrum Jeide took fourth (15.5), Stuart Shoopman fifth (16.22) and Simon Shoopman sixth (16.26) alongside the pole vault where Jeremy Harms placed third (12-0), Wyatt Heffington fourth (12-0) and Adam Williams tied for sixth (11-6).
Jeide also placed third in the 300 meter hurdles (40.2) and Simon Shoopman sixth (41.35).
“It is really nice to have those events like the hurdles, pole vault and the jumps with multiple finalists and medalists,” Smith said. “Our hurdlers really were a lot of fun for me personally to work with every day because they worked hard to improve at all of the little things and overcoming injuries. The vaulters did a nice job and focused on what they really needed to do while other competitors were struggling. Kind of a theme in the boys’ competition was that what should have been a very tight three team battle didn’t happen because our kids kept moving forward while other teams were making mistakes or having bad injury luck.”
After the hurdles and triple jump the Panthers held a commanding lead, before Lander wracked up 37 points in the final four events compared to five for the Panthers who only had one competitor and no 4x400 relay to race.
This title is nothing new in the history of the Powell Panther program, as it adds to the 12 prior championships in school history to bring the total to 13.
That keeps the Panthers at the fifth most in all of Wyoming track’s history regardless of class, and moves them one step closer to the top of 3A which is currently occupied by Torrington, which has won 21 team titles.
This was a historic one for Powell in terms of a school achievement, as this was the first time both the boys’ and girls’ teams had won a title in the same year.
“(The) first two-fer in Powell High School history was truly an honor to be part of,” Smith said. “I have been really blessed to have great assistant coaches that do a fantastic job of developing kids to not only be better athletes but to be great citizens as well. A great group of kids really came together through the entire program to make this happen this year.”
Powell joins Star Valley (2017), Cody (2008), Torrington (1998-99) and Worland (1993-95) as the only 3A programs to have won both the boys’ and girls’ titles in the same year.
Despite losing key points from this year’s team, the Panthers will have a bright future and an opportunity to repeat as champions next year.
“The future is bright for the boys’ team with a lot of young talent coming up and joining a great nucleus of returners,” Smith said. “The big key will be for these young kids to work as hard as our seniors did to continually improve over their entire career.”
Powell will lose 40 points from this year’s team, but a strong eighth grade group is expected to join this group with the hopes of winning the first back-to-back titles since 2006-07.
p denotes preliminary time
Team scores: 1. Powell 107.5, 2. Lander 99, 3. Mountain View 91, 4. Torrington 81, 5. Worland 55.5, 6. Lovell 54, 7. Douglas 53, 8. Lyman 47, 9. Buffalo 40, 10 Wheatland 28, 11. Rawlins 23, 12. Newcastle 9, 13. Thermopolis 8, T14. Pinedale and Glenrock 1
100 meters: 4. Cody Seifert 11.49
400 meters: 10. Evan Whitlock 53.7p
800 meters: 1. Daniel Merritt 1:59.01
1600 meters: 4. Daniel Merritt 4:39, 11. Korbyn Warren 4:46.66
3200 meters: 2. Daniel Merritt 10:11.38, 10. Korbyn Warren 10:43.4
110 meter hurdles: 4. Hyrum Jeide 15.5, 5. Stuart Shoopman 16.22, 6. Simon Shoopman 16.26, 11. Nathan Preator 17.45
300 meter hurdles: 3. Hyrum Jeide 40.2, 6. Simon Shoopman 41.35, 10. Stuart Shoopman 43.07
4x100 relay: 3. Hyrum Jeide, Nathan Dupont, Simon Shoopman and Cody Seifert 44.45
4x800 relay: 8. Liam Taylor, Josh Pfeiffer, Jace Hyde and Korbyn Warren 8:52.71
1600 sprint medley: 4. Simon Shoopman, Nathan Dupont, Jace Hyde and Daniel Merritt 3:41.41
High jump: 2. Isaiah Woyak 6-4, T7. Jace Hyde 5-8
Pole vault: 3. Jeremy Harms 12-0, 4. Wyatt Heffington 12-0, T6. Adam Williams 11-6
Long jump: 3. Cody Seifert 20-3 1/2, 11. Nathan Dupont 19-8
Triple jump: 1. Isaiah Woyak 44-2, 2. Cody Seifert 43-4 1/2, 9. Nathan Preator 40-3 1/2
Shot put: 13. Jonathan Harms 38-10 3/4