Panther men finish second at regional track meet

RANGELY — The Panthers competed in Grand Junction over the weekend at the regional track meet and brought home a second-place plaque.
The boys scored 77 points and edged Dolores with 71. Paonia won the meet with 93 points.
Going into the last event of the day, the Panthers led Dolores by two points. This meant that if Dolores finished one place ahead of Rangely in the 1,600-meter relay, Rangely would be tied for second. Dolores was ranked No. 1 in the event by two seconds over Rangely at No. 2.
The team of Mark Hinaman, Blake Mecham, Michael Morton and Lewis Murray knew what they had to do and were determined to repeat as region champions in the event and beat Dolores outright, as well as defeat their 4×4 rivals the Paonia Eagles.
The effort was successful as the team ran their best time of the last two years (3:37.43) and won by holding off the Paonia anchor at the line. It was a very exciting race that will be replayed for the third time next week at the state meet.
This team offered the only first-place finish of the meet for the Panthers but were one of nine state qualifying efforts. Lewis Murray qualified in the 100-meter dash (second, 12.02) and the 200-meter dash (third, 24.10); Mark Hinaman was second in the 400-meter dash (52.97); Kanden Brady qualified in the long jump (third, 18-10 1/4) and the triple jump (third, 39-5 1/4); and Michael Morton finished in second in the triple jump with a jump of 40-5 1/4.
Morton was the athlete of the week for the Panther men by setting personal records in all four of his events: 1,600 relay, triple jump, high jump (5-6), and the 400 dash (54 1/4).
Another excellent performer at the meet was Hyrum Byers. He set three personal records in the distance races: 800 run (eighth, 2:13.79), 1,600 run (eight, 5:03.03) and the 3,200 run (11:40.50).
The girls’ team finished in 10th with 37 points. West Grand won the meet with 89 points.
Qualifying for the state meet was Audrey Hogan. Audrey was second in both the 800 run (2:25.50) and the 1,600-meter run (5:27.82). This 1,600-meter time is a new school record beating her time from the state meet last season. Audrey handled Jessica Linder from Vail Christian who ran away with the event last week; but Audrey could not hold off the final charge from Brandi Krieg of Grand Valley.
Last years’ state champ, Emma Coburn, did not run due to injury. They will all meet up again this weekend at the state.
Some other great performances in the girls came from Heather Wanstedt (1,600-meter run, third, 5:57.16) and Jennifer Barlow (3,200-meter run, 16:22.44) in the distance races and Marie Morton (TJ, 27-4 3/4) and Emily Peterson (LJ, 12 3/4) in the jumps.