“We’ll be running the back nine at the course,” said Panther head coach Cliff Boos. “They’ll run two laps, so folks will have a good chance to see the runners during the race. It should be a pretty fast course. It’s fairly flat with good …
Powell harriers get chance to shine at home
Cross country reaches the postseason starting this Friday as the Powell Panthers host the 3A West conference championship meet at the Powell Golf Club. Girls championship action starts at 1 p.m. with the boys’ race beginning approximately a half-hour later.
“We’ll be running the back nine at the course,” said Panther head coach Cliff Boos. “They’ll run two laps, so folks will have a good chance to see the runners during the race. It should be a pretty fast course. It’s fairly flat with good grass for the kids.”
Preliminary weather forecasts also appear to be cooperating. Conditions for the race appear to be favorable for runners to post fast times, which could really make for an eye-popping race, particularly on the girls’ side.
“I tell you, when you look at the east and then the west, they’re all over here,” Boos said, referencing the state’s tops teams. “Lander, Jackson, Star Valley and Cody, my gosh, those are some pretty strong schools.”
Throw in the defending 3A state champion Powell Panthers and many eyes from around the state will be focused on the Powell Golf Club this Friday afternoon for hints of what might happen a week later at the 3A state championship meet in Douglas.
“I think we’re in pretty good shape,” said Boos, acknowledging that the competition for a 3A West title will be intense on Friday. “Alyssa (Rodriguez) has been out due to her foot and that won’t change, but the rest of the team has been having good workouts. Last Thursday and Monday we had some excellent practices. The kids are running good.”
One of Boos’ biggest reasons for optimism stems from the late-season arrival of Tess Mitchell and Alyssa Hildebrand, both of whom spent the early fall competing for the Panther golf program. Both girls, Boos notes, have successfully made the transition and gotten into competitive shape.
“Both of them are getting closer to our lead group,” said Boos. “That’s especially nice to see.”
Considering the Panthers’ lead group consists of two-time all-state runner Desiree Murray and all-state runners Tally Wells and Sierra Morrow, being close on their heels can only be a good thing.
On the boys’ side, all eyes will be on defending state champion Jackson while the Panthers, who placed third in 3A last season after placing fifth at the 3A West conference meet, will field a lineup of younger runners, many of whom will be appearing in their first conference meet.
“We’ve had lots of good young kids on the boys’ side this season,” said Boos. “It has been nice to see their continued improvement throughout the year. You can see a steady progression as the year has gone along and it will be fun to see how they do this weekend.”
Many Panther fans will be paying attention to the race to see how junior Andrew Feller fares. Feller, who has run at the front of the pack for Powell most of the season, shattered the school record by some 22 seconds at Worland two weeks ago.
“Drew is just having a tremendous season, which is nice to see as a junior,” said Boos. “He can really do well for himself.”
In addition to the Panthers, teams in attendance on Friday will include Cody, Star Valley, Lander, Jackson and Lyman. Mountain View, which is just starting a cross country program, will also run in the race, but is not eligible for team or individual awards and will not have its runners count in the standings.