With five runners placing in the top 20 amongst the 59 entries, the Chadron High girls won the Panhandle Classic hosted by Scottsbluff last Thursday as the 2021 cross country season got underway.
The Lady Cardinals finished with 24 points while Sidney was the runner-up with 30, followed by Scottsbluff 51, Gering 93, Hemingford 102, Mitchell 112, Bridgeport 115, Morrill 121, Alliance 139 and Bayard 151.
Chadron was led by junior Makinley Fuller, who was third in 21 minutes, 22.42 seconds. Sophomore Grace Pyle was next for Coach Willie Uhing’s team in fifth place at 21:44.66, followed by Emma Witte, seventh in 22:14.66, Micaiah Fuller, 17th, 23:12.24 and Leila Tewahade, 20th, 23.18.74.
Aliyah Mills proved that the Cardinals have some depth, placing 26th in 23:39.70.
The classic was won by Mullen freshman Peyton Paxton in 20:38.84, followed by Sidney sophomore Talissa Tanquary in 20:48.99. Another Sidney entry, Lydia Peters, finished fourth between Makinley Fuller and Grace Pyle in 21:34.43.
Crawford senior Paityn Holman ran well, placing 14th in 22:52.67. Hemingford sophomore Carlye Kresl was 15th, just two seconds behind Holman.
Sidney won the boys’ title with 18 points, well ahead of runner-up Gering with 35. Scottsbluff was third with 54, just two points ahead of Chadron’s fourth place total. Bayard, 116; Alliance, 125; Leyton, 129; Hemingford, 135; and Kimball, 144, followed.
Sidney’s Cameron Baurer was the boys’ winner in 17:07.62, eight second ahead of Scottsbluff’s Hans Bastron. Trevor Kuncl of Mullen was third in 17:36.48, barely ahead of the Red Raiders Dan Bashtovio and Mitch Deer.
Chadron’s leaders were senior Ryan Carter, who was seventh in 18:21.13, and junior Gavin Sloan, eighth in 18:39.32. Also for the Cards, Caden Galbraith was 26th in 20:08.06 and Garrett Reece, 29th in 21:08.05. Freshman Chayse Swinney and junior Zander Rust were 32nd and 33rd, respectively.
Coach Willie Uhing stated he was "very impressed with both the fellas and ladies top performers in Scottsbluff. Carter (Ryan) and Gavin (Sloan) posted initial season times which exceeded expectations, competing with individuals who last year thoroughly bested them.
"The ladies Makinley (Fuller), Grace (Pyle) and Emma (Witte) continued their dominant performances from 2020. From a coaching perspective, they ran these races - for the most part- maintaining integrity in form, which is difficult to do in early training."
The next cross country action will be at Gering on Saturday, followed by the Cardinals’ home meet on Saturday, Sept. 11.