RUNNING HOME WITH THE TITLE

XC girls team places first in State Championship
The 3A Girls Country Team make history, with winning a state championship title for the first time in 13 years. Even though it is a title held by the girls, the entire team feels the excitement and pride of winning such a coveted prize.
The 3A Girls Country Team make history, with winning a state championship title for the first time in 13 years. Even though it is a title held by the girls, the entire team feels the excitement and pride of winning such a coveted prize.
Tracey McArthur

Runners push themselves hard all season long, running golf courses throughout the state of Wyoming. Cross Country is what’s called a mentally challenging sport. What seemed like a very successful season ended up bringing the Powell Panther Girls Cross Country Team a state title this past week. 

While this may sound exciting, the additional excitement in our community arises from the fact that Powell’s team hasn’t won this division for exactly 13 years. 

Because the girls knew the race would be close with their rivals, the Cody Broncs, the girls were forced to push themselves extra hard, making this race “all hands on deck.”

“The goal was to win the state championship,” cross country coach, and history teacher Mrs. Tracy McArthur said. “I knew Cody was the team to beat… I just knew that it was going to be a Park County affair.” 

When the team prepared for state, they knew one thing for sure: they would be running on a new and unfamiliar course. 

“State went well for me,” junior Kenna Jacobsen said. “The course was a lot more challenging than I thought it was going to be and I definitely felt the elevation change.”

Jacobson was one of the two top ten finishers from the Powell Panthers team; she placed 8th individually. Along with her in the top ten was Karee Cooley, who placed fifth in the 3A division. 

State was amazing. There were no PR’s by anyone due to a kinda hilly course, but we just focused on our places in order to win.

— freshman Karee Cooley

“State was amazing,” freshman Karee Cooley said. “There were no PR’s by anyone due to a kinda hilly course, but we just focused on our places in order to win.”

While cross country may seem simple to the average Joe, there is actually a technique, and it takes a whole team effort. 

“So the goal is to get five runners in before the other teams get five runners in,” McArthur said. “Maya and Melissa beat the Cody fifth runner so we had our five runners in before Cody.”

The team may be successful on the course, but the connection the team holds is a bond that truly is built in their off time.

“I can’t explain the love I have for each and every person on our team,” Cooley said. “We are not a team… we are family.”

The girls team was very successful at state, and the boy’s team still held their ground against other tough runners and hard competition. 

“Our boy’s team gets everyone but Jon [Hawley]  back next year,” McArthur said. “So I feel like they have gained experience and are gonna continue to grow better.”

After a long season, and a tough new course at state, the runners look back and focus on how they can grow. 

“State could have gone better,” junior Liam Taylor said. “Especially for me personally, but now all I can do is prepare for next year.” 

What most people assume is that these runners will take a break, and don’t pick up running until next season, but they are very wrong. These “go-getters” are excited to continue running in their free time to prepare for next year. 

“I guess the only way to prepare for next year is to keep on keeping on,” Cooley said. “Just continue getting out there and running.”

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