In the running for state

Posted 5/21/09

“I don't know how many we had,” Smith said following the regional meet. “There were a lot of them, that's all I know. The kids did a good job of competing hard.”

As a result of their performances, the Panther boys take 33 …

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In the running for state


{gallery}05_21_09/gavinmills{/gallery} Powell senior Gavin Mills surges out of the starting blocks during the regional 200-meter finals. Mills is one of seven Panther seniors looking to wrap up their high school careers with a trophy at this week's Class 3A state track and field championships in Casper. Tribune photo by Randal Horobik Powell looks to ride regional momentum to gloryComing off a regional meet that saw the boys team capture its third regional title in four years and the girls team score regional runner-up hardware, momentum should not be a concern for the Powell Panthers when they line up in Casper for state competition today (Thursday) through Saturday.

“I don't know how many we had,” Smith said following the regional meet. “There were a lot of them, that's all I know. The kids did a good job of competing hard.”

As a result of their performances, the Panther boys take 33 entries — the team picked up an additional qualifier after sophomore Danny McKearney was notified late Monday that he had been added to the 3200 field. Powell's girls will field a roster of 21 entries in Casper.

“This is what you want. It's what you work for all year,” said sophomore Ty England, who will be one of three Panthers looking to medal in the 300-meter hurdles. “This is the only meet that really matters. The level of competition is so much stronger. It's the best of the best.”

When it comes to the hurdle races, England doesn't have to look far to find the best of the best. With teammates Rustin Myrick and Josh Cragoe, the Panthers will line up three of the five fastest regional times in the event. The threesome of Myrick, Cragoe and Kyle Sullivan rank among the fastest 110-meter hurdlers in Wyoming 3A as well.

The team's season-long dominance in those two races is one reason the Panther boys figure to duel Cody and Douglas for position atop the team standings in Casper. Powell also fields strong contenders in the triple jump, where sophomore Drew MaGill recorded the best regional distance, and the 400, where Patrick Sullivan has ranked among the 3A leaders all season. The Panthers should also score big with their relay entries.

While those entries number among Powell's best chances for big points, that won't be enough to earn a team trophy. Just like last week's regional meet, it will take a team effort and a number of additional top-eight finishes to push the Panthers over the top.

“The adrenaline made everyone go better (at Cody),” high jumper Cole Good said, reflecting on the team's regional performance. “I'm pretty excited for state. I think we have a chance to win it. We just need to be consistent and PR like at regionals.”

Switching focus to the girls' side of the state meet, Powell features another hurdle threat in Desiree Murray, who turned in the third-fastest time in the 300-meter hurdles. Stephanie Paul carries a regional 200-meter title to Casper and high jumpers Hannah Pollart and Kendra Ostrom were among 3A's highest fliers at regional competition last weekend.

Like the boys, the Panther girls also feature a pair of relay entries that should contend for top-tier finishes.

“We just want to improve,” said Alyssa Rodriguez, who will find herself carrying a full plate of four events in Casper, including legs on both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays.

Rodriguez, in many ways, reflects the youthful face of this year's set of state-bound Panther girls. Of the 11 Powell girls participating at state, five are freshmen.

In fact, the Panther girls won't have a senior in uniform. Only two of the athletes entered in the state tournament field are even juniors, making Casper an excellent stepping stone for the future as well.

“It's good to have good younger people,” said Rodriguez. “In the future we'll have a better team.”

“It's a lot nicer to have a group of us going who are attending state for the first time,” said Ostrum, another of the team's freshmen. “We can stick together and help each other out.”

Regardless of predictions about how the weekend might turn out for Powell, Smith is keeping his mantra much the same as it has been all season. The 3A West boys' coach of the year continued to inspire his kids to do their best in practice on Tuesday afternoon.

“Last year, we took seven girls,” Smith said. “Every one of them got a personal record at state, but we still finished 15th overall. How can you be upset with that? If the kids compete hard and do their best, that's all you can ask for. The numbers will take care of themselves.”

The Wyoming state track and field championships begin today (Thursday) at Kelly Walsh High School in Casper. The meet runs through Saturday afternoon.

Everything you need to know to follow the Panthers in Casper


11 a.m. —3200 finals (Danny McKearney, Desiree Murray, Claire Wetzel), boys pole vault finals (Matthew Condie, Tanner Eden), girls high jump finals (Kendra Ostrom, Hannah Pollart).

1 p.m. — Girls discus finals (Emily Kath, Marquette McArthur).

2:30 p.m. — 200 prelims (Stephanie Paul, Alyssa Rodriguez, Colby Gilmore, Drew MaGill, Gavin Mills).

3 p.m. — Boys long jump finals (Wesley Johnson, Drew MaGill).

4 p.m. — 110m hurdles prelims (Josh Cragoe, Rustin Myrick, Kyle Sullivan).

5:30 p.m. — 4x800 relay finals (Dallas Robirds, Patrick Sullivan, Zach Thiel, Patrick Voss).


9 a.m. —Girls shot put finals (Hannah Groves, Emily Kath, Marquette McArthur).

9:30 a.m. —800 finals (Kassey MacDonald, Desiree Murray, Dallas Robirds, Patrick Sullivan, Zach Thiel).

11 a.m. — Boys high jump finals (Casey Good, Rustin Myrick, Kyle Sullivan), Girls long jump finals (Kassey MacDonald).

11:30 a.m. — 300m hurdle prelims (Desiree Murray, Josh Cragoe, Ty England, Rustin Myrick).

1 p.m. — Boys shot put finals (Casey Borcher, Ryan Brandt, Matt McArthur).

3 p.m. — Boys triple jump finals (Drew MaGill).

3:30 p.m. — 4x100 relay finals (Kami Cooley, Kendra Ostrom, Stephanie Paul, Alyssa rodriguez, Josh Cragoe, Tanner Eden, Drew MaGill, Gavin Mills).

4:15 p.m. — 400 prelims (Kassey MacDonald, Stephanie Paul, Alyssa Rodriguez, Gavin Mills, Kyle Sullivan, Patrick Sullivan).


9 a.m. — Boys discus finals (Casey Borcher, Ryan Brandt, Andrew Young).

9:30 a.m. — 110m hurdle finals.

10:30 a.m. — 300m hurdle finals.

1 p.m. — 400 finals

2 p.m. — 1600 finals (Claire Wetzel)

3 p.m. — 200 finals

3:50 p.m. — 4x400 relay finals (Kassey MacDonald, Desiree Murray, Stephanie Paul, Alyssa Rodriguez, Gavin Mills, Rustin Myrick, Kyle Sullivan, Patrick Sullivan).

Note: In preliminary heats, the winner of each heat automatically advances to the finals. The next-fasted times regardless of heat are then used to fill out the eight-person field for the final race.