PANORA — Home course familiarity worked in favor of both Panorama cross country teams Thursday, with the Panther girls winning, and the Panther boys placing ninth, at their own invitational.
Panorama’s girls scored 43 points to easily best runner-up AC/GC, who had 91 points while Tri-Center was a close third at 96. A total of 14 teams and 140 total runners were in action (some schools had less than the five harriers necessary to create a team score).
“The girls ran very well and exceeded my expectations,” Panorama head coach Greg Thompson said. “None of the girls seemed too excited about this race (I think they would have been happy to have in cancelled due to the heat) but that clearly had no negative effect on their performance.”
Ella Waddle was second overall in 20 minutes and 13 seconds, with Devyn Kemble fourth in 21:22 as both topped teammate Brianna Hoffman’s course/event school record of 22:12 from last season.
Gwen Steffen was 10th in 23:31, Olivia Steffen 12th in 23:38 and Hoffman 15th in 23:44 to create the Panther score. Brooklyn Behrends (25th, 24:46) and Chloe Webster (36th, 25:41) also had varsity placings.
Taylor Rishel (25:50), Jaelyn Waddle (26:03), Bryn Steffen (26:05), Abby Cobb (26:23), Molly Simmons (27:16), Shey Storesund (27:48), Emily Smith (28:43) and Maddie Knapp (29:21) competed for the junior varsity.
Both Lydia Knapp and Lydia Lindstrom — both of whom have steadily placed in the top seven this season — started but did not finish the race. Lindstrom, Thompson said, is struggling with lower-leg issues while Knapp will require an MRI to determine the extent of her injury.
Nodaway Valley (43), Madrid (90) and Woodward Academy (117) claimed the top three boys team spots, with Panorama ninth at 210 in a 19-team field that had 233 individual entries.
“The boys ran well,” Thompson stated. “I was hoping to finish 10th, so to finish just six points out of eighth shows how well they ran. They are getting better with each race. Running particularly well were Josh Carstens, Danny Nordquist, Levi Richey and Emry Colby.”
Carstens (10th, 18:30) and Nordquist (18th, 18:46) led the squad, with Richey (56th, 20:16), Kaleb Randel (61st, 20:30) and Sam Webster (20:39) also scoring for the varsity. Both Randel and Webster, Thompson noted, were less than three seconds away from setting new personal best times for the meet.
Colby (76th, 20:59) and Colton Stogdill (83rd, 21:34) rounded out the varsity seven.
Erik Olsen (22:06), Noah Kirtley (22:40), Paul Hansen (25:05), Lucas Wasson (25:09), Logan Christe (26:53), Drew Hafner (27:15) and Brady Howard (36:21) made the circuit for the Panther boys JV.
Medals were awarded to the top 20 high school and top 10 junior high finishers. Panorama finished with three season-best, two lifetime best and 19 course-best times at the meet.
Earlham (15), Woodward-Granger (60), Nodaway Valley (68) and AC/GC (95) were the only junior high girls teams to produce official scores.
Payton Beckman (7th, 15:43), Carly Van Gundy (30th, 18:22), Ella Knapp (34th, 19:06) and Autumn Consier (51st, 23:16) competed for the Panther girls.
Greene County (74), Van Meter (110) and Ankeny Christian Academy (118) were the top three boys junior high teams, with Panorama placing eight in the 11-team field with 163 points.
Kevin Cogil (11th, 14:23), Alec Mills (26th, 16:16), Jordan Wehmeyer (32nd, 16:47), Avery Norman (35th, 16:54) and Ethan Olsen (40th, 17:16) were all in action for the Panther grade 7-8 boys.
The Panther teams will return to competition Thursday with a trek to the Wheeler Invitational in Audubon.