Panthers second at state

Posted 10/27/09

“It feels good,” Murray said of her finish. “The wind out there was really bad. Running into it was hard, it just felt like you were in slow motion.”

The championship race was held under mostly sunny skies, although …

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Panthers second at state


{gallery}10_27_09/xcountry{/gallery} From left, Emily Schwahn, Desiree Murray, Brooke Nisley and Kristi Mingus warm up prior to the start of Saturday's 3A girls' state championship cross country race. Murray earned all-state honors as the foursome, along with teammates Kassey MacDonald, Alyssa Rodriguez and Lauren Fagnant, finished as the 2009 Wyoming 3A runner-up. It was the fourth consecutive top-three finish by the Panther girls' program. Tribune photo by Randal Horobik Powell girls get fourth trophy in four yearsPowell placed all five scoring runners among the top 20 at the Wyoming state cross country championships in Sheridan on Saturday to score its fourth trophy in as many years with a runner-up finish in the girls' 3A championship race. Similar to the regional race eight days before, the Panthers came in second to Jackson. Sophomore Desiree Murray earned all-state honors for the second time in her career as she completed the five-kilometer course in a time of 21:15 for fourth place in the 69-runner field.

“It feels good,” Murray said of her finish. “The wind out there was really bad. Running into it was hard, it just felt like you were in slow motion.”

The championship race was held under mostly sunny skies, although intermittant showers moved through during the earliest races. Wind gusts well into the 20-25 mile per hour range persisted throughout.

As expected, the 3A girls' race came down to a two-school competition between 3A West foes Powell and Jackson. Jackson placed three runners among the top nine finishers to register the points it needed to deny Powell its third state championship in four years.

Sophomore Alyssa Rodriguez, all-state one year ago as a freshman, narrowly missed repeating that honor.

Rodriguez placed 12th in a time of 22:21, 14 seconds off the all-state pace in 2009. Teammates Kassey MacDonald (22:31) and Brooke Nisley (22:38) were next across for Powell in 17th and 18th place, respectively.

Senior Emily Schwahn rounded out the scoring portion of the Panthers' lineup, completing the 5K event in a time of 22:47 for 20th place overall. Lauren Fagnant (28th, 23:09) and Kristi Mingus (38th, 23:53) rounded out the results for Panther runners.

As a team, Powell finished 10 points behind 3A champion Jackson with a team score of 61 points. Buffalo was a distant third place with 84 points on the girls' side.

“The results (at Sheridan) were pretty consistent with what happened at the conference meet,” Panther coach Cliff Boos said. “I'm not disappointed at all at our placement. The girls did what they had to in order to give us our best chance out there.”

For the senior members of the Panther girls' roster, Saturday marked the team's fourth trophy. The senior class has seen a pair of state championship finishes and a third-place finish to go along with this year's runner-up hardware.

“It has been pretty amazing,” said senior Emily Schwahn, who has been a part of all four teams.

On the boys' side, the Panthers finished seventh overall as a team. Junior Danny McKearney provided Powell with its highest finish of the day, crossing 21st among the field of 85 runners in a time of 18:46. The time was a 45-second improvement over McKearney's state meet time in Sheridan last season.

Improvement was the name of the game for other Panther runners as well. Tyler McCauley (23rd, 18:49) sheared two minutes off his ‘08 state meet time. Devin Lynn (62nd, 20:10) was more than half a minute faster this year, despite running with illness.

“We really had some strong improvement over last year from those three,” said Boos. “That's one of the things the kids like seeing. It gives them a chance to see how they've improved from last year to this season.”

Also running in Sheridan for the Panthers were Bodie Friday (29th, 19:02), Matthew Condie (31st, 19:04), Andrew Feller (50th, 19:55) and Wyatt Horner (69th, 21:01).

“The wind caused Bodie to have some trouble with allergies, so he didn't run as strong a race as he'd hoped,” Boos said of the Panthers' all-conference sophomore. “What impressed me most about the boys' race is how our kids ran together as a group. We had four runners cross within a nine-person span, so they did a nice job of staying together and trying to get as far forward as they could.”

The Panthers tallied 154 points as a squad on Saturday. After scoring a runner-up finish at the 3A West meet by edging out competition, the Panthers this time found themselves the ones trailing.

Lander, Worland and Douglas all finished less than 20 points ahead of the Panthers. Newcastle captured the 3A boys' championship with a narrow 73-75 victory over Jackson Hole. Buffalo placed third with 112.

The four fastest state meet times on the Panther girls' roster will return in 2010. Powell's boys' team loses just two of its seven state runners, and will also return junior Cody Fagley, the squad's top runner during the regular season who missed both the conference and state meets with illness.

“We'll have a good nucleus back next season,” said Boos. “We'll have to see how that blends in with the freshmen who enter the program and with the extras that we always seem to pick up. This is the seventh straight year that we've brought home some sort of a trophy from state, so that says pretty good things about the ability of our program to be there from one year to the next.”

3A Girls' team scores: Jackson Hole 51, Powell 61, Buffalo 84, Lander 114, Douglas 117, Cody 124, Glenrock 149, Torrington 195, Lyman 233.

3A Boys' team scores: Newcastle 73, Jackson Hole 75, Buffalo 112, Lander 136, Worland 146, Douglas 147, Powell 154, Torrington 179, Glenrock 187, Cody 227, Rawlins 273, Lyman 277, Thermopolis 351.