By Breanne Thiel
This season was only the second year for Powell Middle School to have their own cross country program and the boys team won the 2018 Yellowstone Conference Middle School Championship. The Panther Cub team had three runners place in the top 10 – Daniel Merritt took first, Chance Franks placed third and Gunner Erickson placed seventh.
Head coach Tracy McArthur said that “support has been wonderful” for the middle school cross country program as previously the program was run in conjunction with the Powell High School program.
“This group really supported one another and I loved seeing all the friendships formed during the season. I enjoyed every practice,” McArthur said. “This group worked hard and didn’t complain.”
A total of 32 athletes – 10 girls and 22 boys – went out for cross country.
“The boys team really depended on one anther. They ran for each other and wanted to win the team title at every meet,” said McAthur.
The Panther Cub team won the team title in four of the five meets of the season with one of the first place finishes a tie with Cody.
“When we tied with Cody at the Rocky Meet, they decided to work hard the last two weeks so they could win the conference title,” said McArthur.
The hard work paid off for the Panther Cub team as they won the Yellowstone Middle School Conference Championships by 25 points with eight teams competing.
Powell was first with 42 points, Cody placed second with 67, Lander was third with 79, Worland finished fourth with 88, Riverton took fifth with 126, Lovell was sixth with 157, Rocky Mountain placed seventh with 191 and Thermoplis finished in eighth place with 200.
A total of 137 long distance runners ran in the boys race.
Daniel Merritt, an eighth grader, won the race with a time of 11:43.08 which comes to an average of a 5:52 mile.
At the middle school level, cross country races are 2 miles instead of a 5K or 3.1 miles.
Chance Franks, an seventh grader, finished third with a time of 12:00.65 – an average of a six minute mile.
Seventh grader Gunnar Erickson placed seventh with a time of 12:10.13 – an average of a 6:05 minute mile.
Eighth grader Simon Shoopman took 11th place with a time of 12:35.15 – an average of a 6:18 minute mile.
McArthur said that both Merritt and Shoopman “were great leaders as eighth graders and I am excited to get a great core back next year.”
The coach said that Franks was also a great leader explaining that at sticker meets – which is when racers put their name on a sticker and take the sticker off at the finish line which the officials then place the stickers on a board in the order in which the runners cross the finish line – Franks would “tell the other boys, ‘Put it above the “W” in Powell because that is what we are going to get today: a ‘W’!”
“I love that attitude,” said McArthur.
Last season the Lady Panther cub team only had four runners and so a team score was not able to be submitted at the conference meet because five runners are needed for a team score.
“Having 10 this year was awesome,” McArthur said for the girls team.
The Lady Panther Cub team finished seventh with 179 points.
Coach McArthur also wanted add a huge thank you to Pinnacle Bank for sponsoring the race – as their sponsorship is what brings Competitive Timing to the race. Competitive Timing is an electronic system where in each of the bibs the racers wear with their number is an electronic chip that accurately records time and placement of the runners.
“It makes the conference meet very accurate with the timing chips,” said McArthur, “the athletes love it.”
Panther Cub Results
1. Daniel Merritt 11:43.08, 3. Chance Franks 12:00.65, 7. Gunnar Erickson 12:10.13, 11. Simon Shoopman 12:35.15, 20. Marshal Lewis 12:54.86, 22. Parker Williams 12:57.89, 30. Kyle North 13:19.02, 34. Stuart Shoopman 13:23.82, 37. Isaiah Woyak 13:29.50, 59. Evan Staidle 14:21.68, 64. Terry Durham 14:32.27, 88. Cade Queen 15:10.41, 98. Gabe Rose 15:30.42, 109. Jacob Cameron 16:02.43, 116. Kenneth Bettger 16:42.91, 119. Asher Aguirre 16:47.28, 123. Yared Robirds 17:08.45, 128. Dyllun Spomer 17:53.29, 135. Cole Young 20:54.35
Boys Team Results
1. Powell 42, 2. Cody, 67, 3. Lander 79, 4. Worland 88, 5. Riverton 126, 6. Lovell 157, 7. Rocky Mountain 191, 8. Thermopolis 200
Lady Panther Cub Results
34. Meaghan McKeen 14:32.95, 73. Kiyoko Hayano 16:25.73, 77. Stacy Ruelas-Hertz 16:46.37, 80. Kinsly Braten 16:48.45, 89. Emma Brence 17:27.20, 97. Charlee Brence 18:20.94, 104. Annabelle Fleming 19:08.32, 105. Josie Griffin 19:29.14
Girls Team Results
1. Cody 36, 2. Lander 42, 3. Worland 100, 4. Lovell 107, 5. Riverton 113, 6. Thermopolis 152, 7. Powell 179