Strong performances helped the Panthers to a runners-up finish at the Clarence Cannon Conference meet.
Nick Mudd has not been happy with the way he has ran this season. But the Palmyra senior picked a good time to put together his best race of the season Tuesday at the Clarence Cannon Conference cross country meet.
Mudd was the second Panther harrier to cross the finish line, as his seventh-place finish helped Palmyra to a runners-up finish in the team standings. He covered the 3.1 mile course in 19 minutes, 12 seconds, which was just four seconds behind teammate Spencer Locke.
“Nick is a great kid and I love him but he hasn’t been running at that high level all year,” Panthers coach Nick Koetters said. “He told me after the race he was mad at himself for the way he had been running all season and he wanted to run well for his team tonight and he did just that.”
Mudd had been running as the Panthers No. 4 runner most of the season.
Clark County came away with the boys team title with 34 points, led by conference champion Nathan Frazee.
Palmyra nipped Centralia by a single point for second place. Koetters mentioned he had to have another coach double check the points to make sure the total was correct.
“It surprised me,” the Panthers coach said. “I thought we had lost (second place) by two points. So I had coach Harper from Clark County recount the points.”
Aside from Mudd stepping up, Koetters mentioned the Panthers had a second hero on the night.
Aaron Stamper, the Panthers usual No. 3 runner, experienced some abdomen pain and was falling toward the back of the pack throughout the race. But Zach Rosenkrans picked up the slack.
“I was yelling at Zach and told him it was on his shoulders now,” Koetters explained. “And the smallest kid on our team stepped up big time. He ran a personal best and was able to hold off Centralia’s fifth-place runner to help us get second.”
Rosenkrans finished 16th overall with a time of 21:10.
Locke and Mudd earned first-team all-conference honors, while Brett Griesbaum (9th) and Brock Boulware (12th) earned second team honors.
On the girls side, the Lady Panthers finished third with 63 points. Centralia won the girls title with 30 team points, while Clark County finished eight points ahead of Palmyra for second.
Clark County’s Sierra Stewart won the girls race in a time of 21:10.
Palmyra was paced by freshman Lydia Szarka’s ninth-place finish in 25:17. Lauren Reid finished one spot and 12 seconds behind Szarka.
Both runners earned second-team all-conference honors.
Koetters mentioned he was pleased with the way the girls performed.
“We have a couple girls who have struggled with injuries all season but they all competed like crazy tonight," he said. "I told them before the race they had a chance to compete with Clark County for second place. I was really happy with the way we competed.”
With the course at Twin Lakes in Clark County being as demanding as it is, Koetters was pleased with the way both of his teams ran Monday night.
“Altogether we had five kids set personal records on what I would call a really tough course,” the Panthers coach said. “I am just so proud of all the kids tonight.”