An early season goal for both the boys and girls MPHS XC teams was to win the league championship. Friday's race at Platte Canyon was the chance both squads had been waiting for. Both Panther teams fielded full (and mostly healthy) groups of runners. Running conditions were near perfect. The course featured rolling hills, both singletrack and doubletrack, open fields, and wooded areas.
The girls raced first and were quick out of the gate, putting themselves into near-perfect position in the first 400 meters. Sierra Smith led out with a top runner from Clear Creek, while Alyssa Petersen worked hard with a chase pack made up of Platte Canyon and Lake County runners. Hayley Friesen and Raelee Granger worked hard in the main chase pack, scoring valuable points for the Panthers. Johanna Schneider worked through much of the race field to score for the Panthers as well. In the end, the Lady Panthers put five runners in the top ten, placing 2, 5, 8, 9, and 10 for a total score of 34 point.
The boys went into the race as an underdog, having lost to the Denver School of Science and Technology (DSST) several times this season. A combination of good race strategies, attention to detail, and quality pack runners helped the Panthers overcome DSST and win the league title. Similar to the girls, the boys got off to a great start, getting into prime position in the quarter mile. Ty Scholl went off on a two man breakaway with the top DSST runner. He eventually drop him to win the race. Eric Berry battled hard in a three man group, taking fifth place. Brevik Petersen found himself in a battle with one other runner for most of the race, running about 30 seconds ahead of the main chase pack. Through three runners, the Panthers were down by 1 point in team scoring. The pack points were going to prove once again to be most important for a team victory. The Panthers packed in runners Aaron Sanders, Henry Hoyhtya, Ben Johnson, Mark Knight all before any other team was able to get their 5th runner to the line, ensuring the victory. The Panthers also scored five in the top ten, placing 1, 5, 7, 9, and 10 for a total of 32 points.
Both squads are off for a week. The regional race in Delta will be the next racing action for the Panthers.