Panther runners qualify

The RHS Panther cross country team has a lot to be proud of this season, qualifying to compete in the state championships. (Front, left to right) Dale Nielsen, Marshal Way and Tanner Neilsen. (Back, left to right) William Scoggins, Ethan Allred and Mitchell Webber.
The RHS Panther cross country team has a lot to be proud of this season, qualifying to compete in the state championships. (Front, left to right) Dale Nielsen, Marshal Way and Tanner Neilsen. (Back, left to right) William Scoggins, Ethan Allred and Mitchell Webber.

RANGELY I Panthers headed to Delta Nov. 19 for the state qualifying regional championships. The girls’ team had two entries for the meet while the boys had six. To move on to state, the runners had to either qualify by placing in the top 15 or qualify as a team. Three boys’ teams qualify for the state meet out of Region 4 while only two girls’ teams move on to state. Region 4 teams are Rangely, Meeker, Telluride, Crested Butte, Lake City, Ouray, Mancos and DeBeque.
Alexis Silva and Tessa Slagle started things out for the Panthers as the runners headed out on a long looping course around the trails at Confluence Park. Unfortunately, Silva was the first runner back, hit with an allergic reaction and brought back for medical attention. She recovered but didn’t get to finish her final race of her senior year. Slagle ran a great race and finished the course in a time of 24 minutes 39 seconds. A dual sport athlete, Tessa was the 16th person to cross the finish line and just missed qualifying for state.
The boys’ team qualified for the state championship competition by finishing in third place behind Telluride (ranked No. 1 in the state) and Crested Butte (ranked No. 2 in the state). William Scoggins broke the 17 minute mark for the first time as he finished in third place in a time of 16:41 to lead the Panthers. Dale and Tanner Nielsen both broke the 18 minute mark in this race on their way to personal bests. Dale finished with a time of 17:36 which brought him across the finish line in ninth place while Tanner finished right on his heels in a time of 17:51 and finished in 12th place. Freshmen Ethan Allred, Mitchell Webber and Marshal Way had great races as well and finished strong by placing 28th, 29th, and 34th, respectively. Allred (20:15) and Webber (20:40) will be part of the team running at the state meet and Way will be the alternate in case of a mishap, as only five runners get to run at the meet.