Three Panthers qualify for state

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RANGELY — Three Panther track and field athlete qualified for the state at the regional meet this past weekend in Grand Junction.
In order to qualify, athletes had to finish in the top three or match the qualifying time or distance. The regional meet this year was a combined 1A-5A meet that featured nearly every Western Slope team. There were four track meets going on at once throughout the two days. This is the type of combined meet that the Panthers will experience this week in Denver as the state is a combined 1A-5A meet all hosted at Jeffco Stadium.
The three Panthers to qualify were Audrey Hogan, Victoria Phelan, and Kanden Brady. Audrey qualified for her third state track meet by finishing second in the 800-meter run (2:25.35) and third in the 1,600 meters (5:29.95). She is currently ranked second in the 800 going into the state meet. Audrey has finished fourth at state the last two years in the 800 meters and finished in second in the 1,600 meters as a freshman. This week offers an incredible opportunity for Audrey to pursue her championship dreams.
Victoria Phelan, sophomore jumper, was the regional champion in the long jump (15-10) and finished in second in the triple jump (33-5). She was one inch off her best in the long and set a personal record in the triple. This will be Victoria’s first state competition in her short career and we’re very excited to see if she can find herself in the finals and possibly make the podium. Senior jumper Kanden Brady also was the regional champion in the long jump (20-7.5) and second in the triple (41-8.5). Both of these jumps were Kanden’s best. This will be his second state meet performance. In 2008, he finished seventh in the long jump by jumping his best at the state meet. This year he’s jumping a foot farther and should be in the mix during the finals.
These three athletes have all proven themselves to be competitors. They will need to take their efforts to the next level to have their dreams realized at the state championships.
The rest of the Panther team also had an excellent regional meet. The top performer was Michael Morton who ran his best in the 400-meter dash (52.80), jumped his best in the triple jump (40-10) and anchored our best effort in the 1,600-meter relay (3:40.99). With these efforts last year, Michael would have been a three event state competitor; however, the competition in his events this year was much better. Michael finished in fourth in the 400 meters, sixth in the triple, and the relay team finished in fifth. The relay team ran a great race from the slow heat and shaved 14 seconds off their best time of the season, but it wasn’t quite enough.
The 400-meter relay team of Cole Barlow, Patrick Phelan, Kanden Brady, and Peter Walz also ran their best time of the season (46.51) and finished fifth. Levin Boulger finished in sixth with his best career 110-meter hurdles race (17.40). Hyrum Byers ran his best in both the 800 meters (2:07.83, fifth) and the 1,600 meters (4:57.01, eighth). Nathan Pearce finished in 6th in the shot put with his best throw of 43-10. Cole Barlow also ran his best in the 400-meter dash and finished in eighth. Cole is new to the event but still ran a sophomore class record time of 54.26. Along with these place winners, the team set personal records in seven other events for a total of 17 records. There were two other Panthers who placed at the meet. Marie Morton was seventh in the shot put with a good throw of 30-5.75, and Logan Osborne ran a 43.68 in the 300-meter hurdles for a fifth-place finish.
The state meet team will depart this morning and begin the long jump competition late in the afternoon. Our events are spread out so our athletes will be rested and ready to pursue individual glory.

By Mark Jansen