- Our Sites
- The News-Gazette
- NewsTalk 1400 WDWS-AM
- Lite Rock 97.5 WHMS
- 107.9 WKIO
- Community News
PAXTON — The PBL Junior High cross country team hosted a pair of home meets with local schools on Tuesday, Aug. 28, and last Thursday.
The boys’ team won both meets, while the girls’ team took second against Clifton, Champaign Jefferson and Rossville-Alvin on Tuesday and third against Urbana Uni-High, Bourbonnais Maternity and Heyworth in Thursday’s action.
Eighth-grader Cole Eshleman made his season debut for the Panthers, winning Tuesday’s meet in a time of 12:00 for two miles.
“Cole has done an outstanding job in morning workouts,” assistant coach Rob Pacey said. “He’s balancing baseball and cross country and ran a very nice time for this early in the season.”
Matt Harper (12:51), Kody Harrison (13:04) and Josh Glover (13:21) finished in third, fifth and sixth place for the Panthers, respectively.
Seventh-grader Gavin Ogburn was the fifth and final scorer, running a new personal best of 14:19. He was followed closely by Justin Ptacek (14:26) and Alec St. Julien (14:26).
“We need to see those guys make some scoring contributions as the season continues,” head coach Mike Brehm said.
In the Tuesday girls’ race, Jasmine Evans (fifth), Shannon Carlson (sixth), Evie Ellis (seventh) and Makenzie Schroeder (ninth) all finished in the Top 10 overall to lead PBL. Champaign Jefferson nipped the Panthers for first place in the team standings, winning 36-39.
“We’re making progress, but we’ve still got a long way to go,” Brehm said. “The girls did a much better job of competing tonight.”
Also earning praise from the coaching staff were the next four finishers for the Panthers — cross country newcomers Emily Graves, Madi Goldman, Clarissa Wieneke and Alayna Miller. All ran personal-best times.
Thursday’s competition saw the PBL girls finish in third in a tactical team race.
Uni-High won the meet with 21 points, followed by Bourbonnais Maternity (44), PBL (68) and Heyworth (89).
“I think all three teams ran a little cautiously in groups due to the weather (temps in the 90s),” Brehm said “Our girls stayed a little too far back in the beginning and it cost us in the final score.”
Jasmine Evans led the Panthers in ninth place.
“Jasmine ran well, but she has to be in top-ten position from the start,” Pacey said. “She had way too much ground to make up today.”
Evie Ellis, Shannon Carlson, Makenzie Schroeder and Emily Graves also scored for PBL.
The PBL boys’ team had better results with the pack strategy, scoring 32 points to beat runner-up Uni High (51), Bourbonnais Maternity (62) and Heyworth (79).
Matt Harper, Josh Glover and Kody Harrison finished third, fourth and fifth overall, respectively.
A strong group of younger runners — Gavin Ogburn, Alec St. Julien, Dylan Glad, Garrett Bachtold and Tanner Coe — took fourth through seventh place for PBL.
“None of those five have a full season of cross country experience,” Pacey said. “There’s a lot of untapped potential waiting to be realized.”
The Panthers hosted a meet yesterday against St. George, St. Thomas and Gardner South.
They will travel to face Tri-Valley on a road course at Moraine View State Park on Thursday at 4 p.m.