Records fall as No. 4 Panorama captures second straight meet title

MENLO - 
The dominance is really settling in nicely. 
Even a swirling wind failed to slow the early season success of the Panorama girls’ cross country program. 
Led by Ella Waddle’s record-breaking individual crown, the Panthers cruised to their second straight meet title, winning the West Central Valley Invite Aug. 30 in Menlo by 77 points. 
The fourth-ranked 2A squad swept the top three individual spots and used five top 15 performances to dominate the eight-team field. 
The ninth-rated Waddle (2A) secured her third career meet title, breaking the previous Panorama record held by herself and Elly Arganbright, running to a time of 19:49.21, nearly two minutes ahead of the rest of the field. Following her runner-up finish to second-rated Kate Crawford of AC/GC in Ames, the sophomore has not finished worse than top two this fall. 
Panorama’s Payton Beckman (21:46.38) and Gwen Steffen (21:51.78) battled neck-and-neck to finish second and third, respectively while Olivia Steffen placed eighth (22:35.91) rounding out four top 10 finishes. 
The Panthers scored 24 points as a team, outlasting Greene County (101) and Nodaway Valley (101), who placed runner-up and third, respectively. Though the competition was light, last week’s meet was a good chance for his runners to test themselves, Panorama head coach Greg Thompson said.  
“I knew going into the meet that the girls probably wouldn’t be challenged in the team standings, so we focused on racing each other,” the coach said. “Our strategy for this race was to concentrate mentally and to continue to push the pace through the long, straight stretches of the course.” 
Brooklyn Behrends finished 13th (23:15.57) while Leah Fett came in 17th (23:53) to give the Panthers six runners in the top 20. 
West Central Valley’s Aliyah Dickson came in 15th (23:24) earning a medal while Emily Escoto placed 24th to pace the Wildcats at their home course. Shaynna Wahman (59th) and Olivia Becker (62nd) rounded out the four-member girls’ team. 
Exira-EHK (104) and Audubon (111) rounded out the top five in the team standings while Southwest Valley (119), Martensdale St. Mary (156) and CAM (161) filled out the eight-member field. 
Panorama has won each of its first two meets and looks poised to make their presence known in Class 2A after finishing second at state a year ago in 1A. The Panthers are next in action at the Greene County Invite this afternoon at 4:30 p.m. at Spring Lake State Park, where they’ll face a deep pool of competition. It’ll be a good test to see where his girls are at early in the season, Thompson said. 
“What excites me about these girls is that they are always looking for ways to improve; they aren’t satisfied,” the coach said. 
 

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