Fall sports wrap-up
As snow starts piling up in the high country high school athletes are making the transition from fall sports, such as football and volleyball, to winter.
Overall the past two-and-a-half-months were fairly successful for the athletes at Middle Park High School (MPHS). The Panther Cross-Country Team fielded a squad at the State Championship Meet in Colorado Springs in late Oct. while the lady Panthers volleyball team finished the season as the fifth best 3A volleyball team in the state of Colorado.
The big story from the 2016 fall sports season is that of the lady Panthers volleyball team. The Panther girls dominated their opponents throughout the regular season with the varsity and junior varsity (JV) squads losing only a single match between them during regular season play. The JV girls went undefeated for the entire season while the varsity girls lost their only regular season match to D’Evelyn.
In post-season play the Panther volleyball squad swept the Regional Tournament held at MPHS in early Nov. defeating both Frontier Academy and Colorado Academy.
At the 3A State Volleyball Tournament the young ladies dropped their first match of the State Tournament in a heartbreaking loss to Valley. After taking the first set in their match against Valley the Panthers went on to lose the next two sets before winning the fourth set. The fifth and final set proved to be their undoing for the season though as their hopes of winning a state championship ended with an early loss. The lady Panthers went on to defeat Platte Valley decisively in three sets, securing their fifth place overall finish.
The MPHS Cross-County Team also had a very successful season. The Panther boys went to the Colorado High School 3A Cross County State Championships. The Panther boys qualified for the State Meet after finishing fourth overall at the Regional Cross Country Championships in Delta in mid-Oct. Prior to Regionals the Panther boys were ranked seventh in the State.
The lady Panther cross-country runners also had an outstanding season. The lady Panthers went into the Regionals ranked sixth in the state and finished in fifth place at that tournament, only one place away from securing a berth at the State Championships, which takes only the top four finishing teams from Regionals.
The Panther football team had a solid season, finishing up 2016 with a record just under .500 at 4-5. The Panther football team has struggled over the past few years and 2016 seemed to be a breakout year for the young men of Middle Park with the Panthers scoring several solid wins against local rivals.
The football boy’s overall winning percentage for the season was .444. Most of the teams wins and losses in 2016 came from lopsided affairs such as the school’s rivalry game against Estes Park which ended with a 51-6 score in favor of the Panthers. The rivalry game win secured the Trail Ridge Trophy for the Panthers for another season.
New Head Coach Brandon Wilkes led the Panthers this year. Wilkes took over coaching responsibilities and the role of Athletic Director for the East Grand School District for 2016.
The Panther boys soccer team had a rougher year in 2016 ending the season with a 5-10 record. The soccer boys showed strong performances on the pitch, often dominating control of the ball against opponents that defeated them. Unfortunately the boys seemed to struggle with shots on goal and in other areas.
The early fall season started off with fairly tight losses as the Panthers fell by one or two goals. For the rest of the season the performance of the Panthers was a bit erratic. The boys dominated some opponents, besting local rivals Estes Park by a final score of 8-0 and defeating the Bennett Tigers by four goals. But in other matches the boys couldn’t seem to find their bearings, losing to Bruce Randolph by 10 and The Academy by 5. The Panther boys ended their season on a high note though as they defeated Jefferson in a hard fought match in overtime, winning 8-7.
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