Panthers gutted by track cancellation

Last weekend would have been state track and field, an event

The cancellation of the 2020 track and field season was rough on everyone, but it takes on a whole new meaning when you’re known as a track school. Mt. Pleasant, a school that has dominated Southeast Conference track and field for the better part of the last 20 years, was a favorite in Southeast Iowa again and primed to send a large number of athletes to the 2020 state meet.

The 2020 season was one of great promise for the Mt. Pleasant girls. The Panther girls returned almost all of their 21 points from the 2019 state meet and had a ton of promise heading into the new year.

The leading returner for the Panther girls was Lexie Magnani, the defending state champion in the Class 3A girls’ shot put. Magnani dominated the competition, throwing 42-05.24 on her third attempt.

Magnani was coming into the new year as the favorite in the class, and had a shot to end her career as a two-time state champion.

The Panther girls also returned Maggie Critoforo, who medaled in three events last yea. She was a two-time state place winner in the 400-meter hurdles and the second highest returner in the class. She was also a state placewinner in the sprint and distance medley, and could have competed in a variety of other events.

Abby Ryon was a returning state placewinner in the 3000-meter run, and was coming off a seventh place finish at the state cross-country meet. Coach Scot Lamm also said she could have been a state placewinner in the 1500-meter run and the 4X800 relay.

The 4X800 team would have also included Cristoforo, Kendall Dascher and Maggie Jennings. Dascher and Jennings had potential in the middle distance events, and Jennings was a potential 800-meter placewinner.

Alyssa Striegel was a returning state qualifier in the discus throw. She could have been a placewinner in the discus, giving the Panther girls a strong one-two punch in throwing events.

Serenity Keomanivong was aiming to lead the shuttle hurdle team back to state. She was a returning state qualifier from 2019 and had potential to be a 100-meter hurdle placewinner.

Others who showed potential to make noise at state included Claire Holtkamp and Aurora Vansickel in the distance events, and Sydney Doak, who would have been a top newcomer in the sprint events after choosing track over soccer this spring.

On the boys’ side, Rylan Seberg entered his senior year with a lot of promise in the long jump. He was fourth last season and would have likely contended for the state title. He also had potential to make noise in the 100-meter and 400-meter dashes. He was a state placewinner in the distance medley last year and was also the third leg of the team’s 4X100.

Speaking of sprinters, Khang Truong was getting ready to have a strong senior year as well. He also had a chance to be a state placewinner again after being a part of both the distance medley and 4X100 squad for the Panther boys.

Brody Bender would have been a part of the 2020 distsnace medley team. He placed in the 4X800 in the previous two years.

Konnor Peterson would have been a top hurdler for the Mount Pleasant boys this year. He was one of the state placewinners in the shuddle hurdle last year.

“All of these Panthers would have combined well in relays for Mt. Pleasant, as they are all strong individuals,” boys head coach Mitch Anderson said. “But the relays would have been stout when combining them together.”