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(PANA) — Members of the Pana High School boys track team are, in front from left, Carter Beyers, Wyatt Kile, Dillan Hocq, Roaran Lees, Jwedyn Wills, Griffin Vits and Carter Edwards. Middle row, Griffin Kimbrel, Isaiah Harbert, Wayde Pauley, Sam Lehr, Dillon Allege and Noah Lorenz. In back, Coach Will Shalter, Kayden Joplin, Ethan Hicks, Sam Holthaus, Connor McGlauchlen, Alex Rodgers, Brandon Lehman, Austin Henschen and Coach Myers. Not pictured as assistant coaches Kevin Duez, Jack Epley and Denise Jones.
(Tom Latonis/Breeze-Courier Photo)
(PANA) — An experience group of athletes will lead the Pana Panthers boys track team into the 2022 season. Three seniors will be looked to for leadership as the team hopes to return to the state finals again this year.
Dual athlete senior Austin Henschen is back for his senior season after opting out last year. In addition, Henschen is playing for the Panthers on the baseball field. Head Coach Will Shalter says Henschen will be doing sprints and long jump. Another senior, Sam Holthaus, who is a four-year participant, is back to defend his 110-meter hurdle title in the South Central Conference. Alex Rodgers comes back to the program and will run the 800 and mile races.
Carter Beyers leads the junior corps and will specialize in the sprint races. Connor McGlauchlen is the Pana discus thrower. Dillon Elledge, a veteran of cross country, will run the 400 and 800 meters events.
The sophomore continent is being led by Griffin Kimbrel, a pole vaulter who is taking the Class 1A ranks by storm. Shalter says he currently has the third best vault – 13-4 – in the state and is close to breaking the sophomore pole vault record. Taking part in shot put and discus is sophomore Brandon Lehman. He has not had a track season since seventh grad and Shalter is excited to see what he can accomplish. Versatile athlete Ethan Hicks will run the 200, 400 and 800 meters. Sam Lehr is going to run the distance races for the Panthers.
“I think we are going to score some serious points in the field events this season,” Shalter said.
As far as the South Central Conference title goes, Shalter says Litchfield is going to be tough.
“They have a great 400 runner, they’re well coached, they had a great cross country season as far as distance goes,” the coach said. “They’ve got long jumpers and pole vaulters. They looked really good last year.
Carlinville eked out the win last year but I think the Purple Panthers are the team to beat.”