For members of the Powell High School cross country team, they’ve saved their toughest challenge for last. On Saturday, the Panther boys and girls will race at the Class 3A State Cross Country …
For members of the Powell High School cross country team, they’ve saved their toughest challenge for last. On Saturday, the Panther boys and girls will race at the Class 3A State Cross Country Meet in Star Valley to cap their 2020 season.
“The course in Afton is the most challenging course we will run all year, so I am not looking for personal bests,” said PHS head coach Ashley Hildebrand. “But I do expect them to run competitive times.”
Many of the Panther athletes competed at the 5,000-meter course a year ago, winding around the Star Valley View Golf Course.
“... it will be nice to compare their races from last year to this year … of course, that is also weather dependent,”
Hildebrand said. “You never know what kind of weather might get thrown at you this time of year!”
Forecasts in Afton call for temperatures in the 30s and snow.
The Powell boys are coming off a seventh-place showing at the 3A West Conference Championship.
Hildebrand said the western side of the class is “very competitive on the boys’ side,” though Worland is a strong contender from the east. The coach expects no one will be able to catch the Lander Tigers, whose top three runners have the second-, third- and fourth-fastest times in 3A.
Still, for the Panthers, “I look for our boys’ team to move up and beat a few of the teams that beat them at conference,” Hildebrand said.
On the girls’ side, junior Kabrie Cannon is coming off an All Conference finish in Riverton last week, in which she battled through a stomach issue to take 10th.
The Powell squad will be hoping for better health this week and will welcome back Gabby Thomas, who missed the conference meet while resting an injury. Thomas, the No. 2 runner on the girls’ squad, “is feeling better and will be running at state,” Hildebrand said.
Regardless of how things go in Afton, “I will be proud of them no matter what,” the coach said of all her athletes. “They are great kids and hard workers and I know they will give us their best on that course!”
Following the singing of the National Anthem, the girls’ runners are set to start racing at 11 a.m., with the boys hitting the course at 11:45 a.m.