PHS girls qualify for state cross country meet

by Mark Cheffey

The PHS girls cross county team is headed to state.

The Lady Panthers qualified by placing second as a team Saturday in the Class 2, District 3 meet held Saturday at the Pike County Fairgrounds near Bowling Green.

The team, consisting of Alyssa Noland, Laurin Sheputis, Bella Perkins, Lauren Reid, Lydia Szarka, Emily Malone and Emily Jeffries, and one Palmyra boy, Casey Hathaway, who qualified, will compete at the Class 2 state meet this Friday at the Gans Creek Cross Country Course in Columbia. 

The girls competition starts at approximately 1:30 p.m. with the boys event at 4 p.m.

“We are thrilled of what we accomplished,” said Coach Nicholas Keotters. “The goal all year was to get our team to state.  

“We didn’t run our best races but we did enough to get ourselves through.”

Palmyra missed first place by one point with 59, just behind Clark County with 58 and ahead of Monroe City with 60. 

Leading the way for Palmyra were Nolan, a sophomore, who finished seventh with a time of 22:39.82, Sheputis, a freshman, who finished right behind in eighth place with a time of 22:40.29, and Perkins, a senior, who finished at 12th in a time of 23:30.85.

Reid, a senior, came in 17th, at 23:55.66, and was followed by Szarka, a senior, 21st, 24:24.22; Malone, a senior, 28th, 25:38.85; and Jeffries, 25:58.62. 

“I give a lot of credit to our girls for the way they competed,” Koetters said. “Reid fell behind early but made a big push with a mile left to move up about eight spots.  

“Perkins ran a new personal record and finished as an all district performer for the first time in her career.

“Nolan passed two runners from other teams in the final 100 meters to help us big time. 

“Hathaway ran a very good race to be able to move on to state.  

“I have been very proud of how hard Casey has worked all year and how he has improved all season long.”

Living Word Christian won the meet with Monroe City also qualifying for state in second place.

Living Word’s Ronan Hardwicke and Callum Hardwicke finished one-two in boys competition.

Palmyra finished sixth out of seven teams.

Clark County’s Grace Buschling won the girls meet in a time of 19:54.659.