Sports

Panther Pride Unicyclists successful at competitions

The Panther Pride Unicycling Team has once again made the Valley proud, as the team did very well both at the recent North American Unicycle Championships in Memphis, Tenn., and the World Unicycle Championships in Switzerland.

"The riders did an excellent job representing themselves, their families, the team, Snoqualmie Valley and the USA," said coach Alan Tepper in a news release provided to the Valley Record. "They rode with great pride, determination, focus and a positive attitude."


A dominating performance in the mid-South at nationals

The Valley's finest sent a sizable 24-person delegation to compete in the event from June 28 to July 6, and they came home with 256 medals and ribbons. Leading the list were North American champions Chantelle Troutman-Watson in the Freestyle Advanced Female division, and the pairs team of Jan Bunger and Brittany Ruppert, who won in the Advanced Pairs division.

There were quite a few other winners in the various events. In the standard artistic events, Sara Shilot won the age 10-11 female division with a score of 234.675, leading a local sweep of the top three spots in that category. Chantelle Troutman-Watson won in the age 12 female category with a score of 250.900.

Jessica Shilot won the age 13-15 female class with a 249.125 score and Bunger won the adult female group, tallying a 251.800 score.

In the artistic individual freestyle events, Bailey Sky Wyrsch won the Male Tikes age division, and Chantelle Troutman-Watson led a top-four Panther Pride sweep of the Advanced "A" Female class. Local unicyclists won both intermediate youth female classes: Sara Shilot in the "A" group; Erika Thorlton in the "B" group.

Bailey and GracieLu Wyrsch paired together to take home the top spot in the Tikes Pairs Freestyle. In the Intermediate Youth "A" division, Jalenica Troutman-Watson and Sara Shilot led a dominant local performance; their win led a three out of top-four finish for Panther Pride.

The domination continued in the racing events. Leading the way was Pele Schramm; his win in the 1,500 meters was among many great accomplishments he had in the boys' 13-14 age class. Becky Banning also posted a number of great results; among those were wins in the 100 meter and Walk the Wheel 30 meter events, both in the age 13-14 female division.

Smith also had a strong performance in the races; among her best performances were wins in the 10K Expert and age 0-13 female classes, and a win in the Muni Uphill for girls ages 11-14.


The success continues in the shadow of the Alps

The world event, known as UNICON XIII (13), was held in Langethal, Switzerland, from July 19 to Aug. 3. The Panther Pride team sent a smaller contingent than was sent to nationals - only 18 this time - to compete in its first-ever overseas competition. Like Memphis, all of the local competitors finished high in various events, and the team brought home 32 medals and ribbons. There were a number of highlights.

Banning scored a 256.35 in the Artistic Standard event to finish second in the 14-year-old age group. Adrienne and Shannon Barnhart paired up to grab third place in Artistic Pairs in the 0-12 age group.

Brianna Kelly paired with Schramm to post second in the 13-14 age Artistic Pairs.

Schramm, in addition to his strong pairs showing, also finished second in the Unlimited Trials Beginner race with a distance of 14 meters. In addition, he finished third in two other events.

Sara Shilot finished second in three events: the 10K, Artistic Standard and Artistic Freestyle, all in the 0-10 age group. Chantelle Troutman-Watson paired up with Banning and both finished third in the Artistic Pairs Junior Expert class, with Jalenica Troutman-Watson finishing third in two events.

Even the adults in the contingent did well. One stood out from the rest. Bunger won four events, finished second in three others and posted third in three more. Bunger finished second overall for the 40-plus age group in the racing events. Arnold Leitz and Ron Ruppert also did well in their events in the adult classifications.

Tepper has been coaching Panther Pride since he founded it a little over 20 years ago.

For more information on both events, and where local participants placed, visit the national championships Web site at www.unicycling.org/usa/naucc/, and the UNICON world Web site at www.unicon13.ch.

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