Strong numbers for Panther track & field
There’s strength in numbers for the Panorama track and field teams in 2017.
The Panther boys return 10 letter winners from a squad of 13 and have 30 boys on the roster this season, including 12 freshmen, six sophomores, nine juniors and three seniors.
“Our numbers are significantly up this year, which will provide us greater flexibility and team depth,” said head coach Greg Thompson, who has directed the Panorama girls team since 1998 and the boys since 2011.
Thompson, who works mostly with hurdlers, but designs workouts for all runners, will be assisted this season by Chris Webner (throws and jumps), Caden Duncan (sprints), Lindsey Kruse (middle distance) and volunteer assisant Sandy Leiferman (middle distance).
Senior Matt Webner returns for the Panthers this season with experience from the state meet in the discus. Webner is however, dealing with a knee and shoulder injury, Thompson said
Thompson said it’s early to tell who will be scoring points for the Panthers this season.
“I see some good potential for some relays with a few good individual events,” he said. “We will have a good mix of jumpers, sprinters and two or three good distance runners.”
The throwing events will develop throughout the season, the coach said.
Stepping on the track for the Panthers with experience from the state cross country course last fall are Josh Carstens, Danny Nordquist, Kaleb Randel, and Sam Webster. The Panorama girls team returns 16 letter winners this spring and will have 24 members competing, without a senior. They have six freshmen, 12 sophomores and six juniors.
Junior Devyn Kemble, and sophomores Bailey Beckman, Brooke Halterman, Morgan Johnk and Lydia Knapp are the returning state qualifiers for the Panthers. Junior Brianna Hoffman, who brings state cross country experience with her, just missed qualifying for the state’s blue oval in both the 3000 and 1500 last season. Hoffman is expected to focus more on 400, 800 and 1500 meters this season.
“I expect a good balance from the girls squad,” Thompson said. “I think the girls will have a good balance with some good field events, good sprint relays, good middle distance races, and scoring in the hurdle events as well.”
The Panther boss said it will be important for both squads to develop good, strong leadership.
“If that develops, I see a good, strong team that could contend for some meet championships,” he said.
Conference favorites, Thompson says, will be Madrid in both boys and girls. He also expects AC/GC, Earlham and Van Meter to be contenders.
“Woodward Academy usually has a solid program also,” Thompson said.
The Panthers open the season on Monday, March 27 at Earlham, 4:30 p.m. They will compete in Panora during the Kip Janvrin Invitational on Tuesday, April 4 and at the Panorama Relays on Thursday, May 4. The state qualifying meet at a site to be determined is Thursday, May 11. The state championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines are May 18-20.