Powerful Panther cross country teams off on swift note

The Panorama cross country teams opened the 2016 season in much the same way the 2015 campaign ended -- with plenty of swift times.

GUTHRIE CENTER — The Panorama cross country teams turned in several strong individual and a pair of solid team finishes Thursday when they visited the AC/GC Charger Invitational. The Panther girls won their meet with 56 points, besting the host Chargers by five points while the Charger outpaced the Panthers, 28-74, for top honors in the boys meet.

“For the first meet, I thought we ran well,” Panorama head coach Greg Thompson said. “Both the boys and girls started and finished the race well; they do have some work to do in the middle of the race. The 1,000-meter splits in the middle of the race were much slower than they should be. We will work on the mental part of running to improve that area.”

“The course has a big, long, steep hill (known as Charger Peak) and I was pleased with how out athletes ran that hill,” he continued. “They used good running form, were aggressive and passed several runners on that stretch of the course.”

The Panther girls return most of the squad that placed ninth in the Class 1A State Meet, with several of those girls showing the promise of another successful season is no pipe dream.

Kate Crawford of AC/GC won the girls race in 21 minutes, 17 seconds, but Panorama juniors Briana Hoffman and Devyn Kemble were close behind, placing second and fifth, respectively in 21;48 and 22:29. Junior Maddie Knapp was 14th in 24:54, senior Mallorie Pittman 17th in 25:18 and sophomore Lydia Knapp 18th in 25:18.

Others running for the Panthers included Taylor Rishal (25:27) and Brooklyn Behrends (25:32).

“The girls will continue to improve,” Thompson said. “I was very pleased with the team-running of the girls; they were very bunched coming across the finish line. Now they just need to move that grouping up a few more places in a race.”

Griswold was third in the girls team standings with 76 points, with East Union (88), Southwest Valley (139), Mt. Ayr (177) and the newly-restarted Woodward-Granger (183) team completing the field.

Des Moines Christian followed Panorama in the boys standings with 89 points, with Martensdale-St. Mary’s fourth at 142. Griswold (145), Mt. Ayr (153), Southwest Valley (176), Audubon (212), W-G (225) and AHSTW (230) capping the scoring.

DMC’s Tyler Ketchum won the boys race in 17:51, with Panorama’s Danny Nordquist (18:55) and Josh Carstens (19:00) placing seventh, and ninth, respectively. Sam Webster was 16th in 19:44, Mitch Wagler 17th in 19:51 and Kaleb Randel 25th in 20:52.

Austin Behrends (21:28) and Drew Hafner (22:12) also made the circuit for the Panther boys.

“George Appleseth did not run for the boys and I expect him to be one of our top three runners,” Thompson stated. “We feel that we can close the gap on the AC/GC boys with some more training and addition of George.”

Panorama returns to action Thursday when they visit the West Central Valley Invitational. ThePerryNews.com will have complete coverage of all Panther football, cross country and volleyball varsity events.

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