RANGELY I The Rangely Panthers boys’ cross country team earned a third place finish at the 2A state championships this past weekend.
“It was a lot of fun,” stated coach Beth Scoggins, “There were a lot of fans, runners and coaches alike asking ‘who is Rangely High School?’ followed by ‘where in the world is Rangely?’” Those same people may still not know where Rangely is but they definitely know Rangely’s green and white uniforms as the Panthers made a statement at the championship meet.
The season saw 330 plus 2A runners and 43 teams compete for the opportunity to participate in the championship meet that only invited 14 teams and 84 runners. To sort out the top runners, the championship course had two significant hill climbs and an uphill finish. On a course that saw the number one 5A runner collapse some 200 yards from the finish, the runners crossed the finish line on rubbery legs.
Junior William Scoggins was the first green uniform to cross the finish line, earning all state honors with a fifth place medal in a time of 17 minutes, 28.93 seconds on the 5K course. Closing fast at the finish, Scoggins missed third place by less than two seconds and fourth place by less than a second in a hard fought contest. In his third consecutive state meet and following a disappointing 17th place finish last year, Scoggins came prepared for they hilly course by training with his teammates on the infamous “College Hill” in Rangely.
At the base of the long climb toward the finish, with less than a mile to go, Scoggins was running in 9th place. However, as other runners faded away on the uphill grind, he powered up the hill and completed a great day by sprinting to his fifth place finish.
Just missing the award stand, sophomore Dale Nielsen sprinted across the finish line in 11th place in a time of 18:04.33. Finishing just a few steps back in 12th place, sophomore Tanner Nielsen had the best race of his short cross county career with a time of 18:10.33. Freshmen Ethan Allred, after a late night trip into Denver, maneuvered through the course in a time of 20:19.83 earning 56th place. Freshman Mitchell Webber clipped along the course and crossed the finish line in a time of 21:57.58 which gave him 73rd place.
The team’s hard work was notable, as they missed first place by only seven points and second place by just four points. Further, they finished ahead of Telluride who just a week ago won the regional championship.
“Our kids really stepped up to the plate and I am very proud of their hard work and dedication. It really paid off,” coach Scoggins said.
Rangely was the only top team without a senior on its squad and the team is looking forward to great things in the future.
5th William Scoggins 17:28.93
11th Dale Nielsen 18:04.33
12th Tanner Nielsen 18:10.33
56th Ethan Allred 20:19.83
73rd Mitchell Webber 21:57.58