The Vedette's top sports stories of 2016
Each year features its share of triumphs and defeats on the local sports scene, and 2016 was no different.
The victories came on both individual and team levels, most notably by the Panorama boys golf team capturing a second straight state championship. No year is without its share of losses, though. In 2016, one team experienced heartache at the state track meet, while two basketball teams fell just short of a trip to Wells Fargo Arena. There were many stories worthy to make the list of Top local sports stories, and here are a few that stood above the rest:
Panthers repeat as state golf champions
Repeating shots is a golf trait that usually leads to low scores. Repeating rosters, at least at the high school level, can work, too.
Panorama, led by players who were with them a year ago, successfully defended their Class 2-A boys state golf championship at Lakeside Golf Course in Fort Dodge.
Panorama, who returned five of six golfers from the 2015 state squad, overcame a slim two-stroke deficit from the opening round by firing a 303 on the second day. The Panthers finished with a 604 total, with four of the team’s golfers going below 80 on the second day.
Junior George Appleseth was the team’s top individual with a 145 (71-74). The first day, Appleseth birdied 16, 17 and 18 in an outstanding opening round in Fort Dodge.
Junior Will Babcock, who won the school’s first-ever individual state golf title a year earlier, finished tied 11th with a 153, and senior teammate Reid Cobb tied for 13th place with a 154.
Other scores for Panorama, Max Monthei (19th) with a 156; Aaron Klinge (35th) with a 164; Adam Hackfort (52nd) with a 176.
The state title was the second for veteran coach Hal Rossow, who coached the Panora-Linden boys golf team to a second place finish in 1983. The state title is only the third for the Panorama school. The first was a boys track championship in 1997.
Panorama set two new school records: George Appleseth shot 145 on par 144 course. Old record of 155 by Justin Smool in 2006. Team shot 604 for 36 holes on Par 144. Old mark 647 in 2014.
The Panthers ended up No. 1 in the final rankings of the Iowa High School Golf Coaches Association.
They had the lowest adjusted score of 161.40 strokes in compiling a 58-4 record.
Individual wise, Will Babcock was ranked third at 39.74 strokes, Reid Cobb sixth at 39.93, George Appleseth ninth, 40.38, Max Monthei 45th, 42.55, Aaron Klinge 53rd, 43.10, and Adam Hackfort 64th, 43.68.
Richey leads Panthers at state
Panorama senior Gabe Richey capped off his prep track and field career with a pair of medals at the state co-ed championships in Des Moines. The senior ran to a sixth place finish in the boys 400 meters with a time of 50.59. He ran to an eighth place finish in the 400 hurdles, clocking a 54.86 in the 10-hurdle sprint. Both were season and personal best performances for Richey, a four-year letterwinner in track and a three-time state qualifier. His time of 54.86 in the hurdles broke the previous school record of 55.13 set by Justin Marks in 2009.
Richey was the top performer for the Panthers, who competed in a total of 11 events at Drake Stadium.
Panorama girls regroup after fall in shuttle hurdle relay
The Panorama girls had some unfortunate luck at the state track meet, but recovered from a fall in the shuttle hurdle relay, and ran season best times in three other races.
The Panther’s shuttle hurdle relay team of Miranda Mleynek, Faith Powell, Michelle Mleynek and Morgan Johnk, were a top contender for the title heading in. They got out early, but a fall by Johnk late in the race kept the Panthers out of the finals.
Johnk, a freshman, went on to finish seventh overall in the 100 hurdles with a time of 16.09. The sprint medley relay team of Lydia Knapp, Johnk, Miranda Mleynek and Devyn Kemble also finished in the top 10, running ninth in 1:53.54.
Four Panthers qualify for state wrestling
Panorama qualified four individuals for the Class 1-A state wrestling tournament in 2016.
Junior Tyler Van Houten won the 145 pound sectional title, while junior George Appleseth (120), and sophomores Gunnar Grunsted (152) and Daniel Jensen (285) captured runner-up honors at the sectional tournament at Interstate 35 high school in Truo to earn state berths. It was the second straight trip for Appleseth.
It was the first time since 2013 that Panorama had qualified four wrestlers in the same season for the state tournament.
Van Houten was the lone Panther to post a win on the state mat when he pinned Caleb Funderson of Sioux Central in his first round 145 pound match.
Panthers send boys and girls teams to state cross country meet
Panorama high school’s boys and girls cross country teams kept their seasons going as each unit qualified for the state championship meet.
Running at the Par 3 West Golf Course at Lake Panorama in Panora, the Panorama girls finished as the team champions while the boys finished runner-up. The top three teams, and any individual finishing in the top 15 regardless of team placing, earns a spot among the state field.
It marked the ninth time in the last 11 years and the fifth straight state cross country appearance for the Panorama girls. The Panther girls have qualified 12 times in school history. Their best finish is third place.
It was only the second Panorama boys cross country team to qualify for state under coach Greg Thompson and third all-time. The Panthers last qualified in 2010 (the girls went that year too) and their best finish is 13th.
Josh Carstens and Devyn Kemble both set new school records for the Panthers on arguably the toughest state qualifying course in the state in Panora.
Kemble’s eighth place finish time of 21:08 sets the school record as it’s the first state qualifying race on the Panorama course at the 5K distance.
Carstens, who paced the Panther boys with an eighth place finish in a time of 17:59, bettered the previous mark set by Hunter Simmons in 2013.
At the state meet, the Panorama girls team placed 10th out of 15 teams. The Panthers scored 242 points and were lead by junior Devyn Kemble in 35th place. Brianna Hoffman finished 48th for Panorama. The Panthers, who also captured a fifth straight conference championship in 2016, return their entire roster next season.
Panorama basketball teams play for a trip to state
Both the Panorama girls and boys basketball teams played for a trip to the state tournament and both fell just one game short of the feat.
The Panther girls fell short in a 63-53 loss to No. 8 ranked Center Decatur in a Class 2-A regional final. The Panthers, who started just one senior, closed a solid year with a 17-6 record. They finished third in the West Central Conference.
The Panorama boys also gave it everything they had, but it just wasn’t enough to win the class 2-A substate final. After eight lead changes in the fourth quarter, No. 7 ranked Des Moines Christian finally pulled away for a 66-58 win.
Panorama senior Reid Cobb kept the undersized Panthers in the game early, scoring 11 of his game-high 21 points in the first quarter.
Panorama was seeking it’s first trip to the state tournament.
The Panthers finished a shining season at 18-6. They goodbye to five seniors - Gabe Richey, Reid Cobb, Cameron Allen, Aaron Klinge, Tanner Wasson.
Panthers bid for state softball falls short
Panorama had it’s opportunities, loading the bases in the second and fifth innings and putting two runners on in both the sixth and seventh, but couldn’t break North Union pitcher Anna Ingalls in a regional final contest.
North Union used a pair of four-run innings and Ingalls scattered just five hits over seven innings of work as the second-ranked Warriors topped Panorama 9-0 in a Class 2A regional final played in Swea City.
Panorama, who won seven of their last nine games, closes an outstanding season on the diamond at 16-8. They went 10-6 and finished third in the West Central Athletics Conference.
Five of the Panther’s losses were by two runs or less.
The Panthers said goodbye to three seniors, including pitcher Meredith Olson, her twin sister, Mykenzie Olson, and Skye Demonbreun.
Panorama gridders have solid season, but miss playoffs
The Panorama football team put together a solid season, going 5-2 during the Class 1-A District 6 season, but were kept out of the state playoffs this year, as only the top two teams advanced.
Panorama finished 7-2 overall, their only losses to playoff qualifiers Madrid and Van Meter.
A pair of gridders were named to all-state teams, including senior Jeramy Randol, a first team pick as an offensive lineman and junior Daniel Jensen, a second team pick on the defensive line.
Both Randol and Jensen were also all-district picks for the Panthers, joining teammates Garrett Simmons and Gunnar Grunsted on the first team.