COLUMBUS JUNCTION — Racing at a meet named for the voice of running across the state of Iowa, the Pekin girls cross-country team ran to a championship on Tuesday at the Mike Jay Invitational.
Lauren Steigleder led the third-ranked (1A) Panthers to the team title, finishing 5.4 seconds ahead of Van Buren County senior Faith Neeley posting a winning time of 21:14.8. Pekin and Van Buren County combined to sweep the top seven spots in the race with Panther senior Lauren Derscheid placing third in 21:41.1 while Payten Poling placed fourth for the Warriors in 22:16.1.
Sarah Eubanks (fifth in 22:40.1), Zoey Johnson (sixth in 22:55.2) and Audrey Fariss (seventh in 23:13.2) were the next three runners to cross the finish line, clinching the team title for the Pekin girls. Cardinal finished second with 48 points, 33 points behind the Panthers, with Aracelili Tapetillo leading the Comets finishing eighth in 23:46.14.
The Pekin girls added a team championship at the Big Hollow Recreation Area, winning the Mediapolis Invitational team title edging the Bullettes by 10 points (26-36) on Thursday. Emily Laumeyer led the Panther girls, finishing sixth in 24:30.53, while Aliya Peel placed eighth for Pekin in 25:01.52.
Zack Wise won the boys race at the Mike Jay Invite, edging Freddy Vergara of Columbus by 13.6 seconds as the Pekin senior crossed the finish line in 17:20.7. Pekin finished third as a team in the invitational, scoring 66 points.
Gavin Grove shook off a sore knee to lead the Cardinal boys, placing third individually in 18:06.3. Chase Clark led Van Buren County in the boys race, finishing 16th in 20:14.2.
The Pekin boys wrapped up the regular season placing sixth with 106 points at the Mediapolis Invitational on Thursday. Ben Guise crossed the finish line in sixth place at Big Hollow, posting a time of 20:07.66.
Pekin will host the Class 1A state qualifying meet at Wildwood Park in Ottumwa on Thursday, Oct. 21. Van Buren County will be one of several teams competing in Ottumwa with Neeley looking to qualify for state for the fourth straight year.
Cardinal, meanwhile, will run in the Class 2A state qualifying meet on Thursday, Oct. 21. The Comets will compete in Williamsburg, competing with future South Central Conference rivals Albia, Centerville, Chariton, Davis County and Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont.
MIKE JAY INVITATIONAL
1. Columbus 29, 2. Winfield-Mount Union 57, 3. Pekin 66, 4. Louisa-Muscatine 79, 5. Holy Trinity 94.
Pekin — 1. Zack Wise 17:20.7, 10. Ben Guise 19:21.1, 15. Jaedon Wolver 20:10.7, 27. Robert Brown 21:37.4, 30. Gavyn Brown 22:10.2.
Cardinal — 3. Gavin Grove 18:06.3, 17. Karson Kirkpatrick 20:17.8, 40. Kyran Spees 24:52.4.
Van Buren County — 16. Chase Clark 20:14.2, 26. Isaiah Meek 21:24.9, 29. Grant Lilley 22:03.2, 37. Zane Smith 23:35.5.
1. Pekin 15, 2. Cardinal 48, 3. Columbus 57.
Pekin — 1. Lauren Steigleder 21:14.8, 3. Lauren Derscheid 21:41.1 5. Sarah Eubanks 22:40.1, 6. Zoey Johnson 22:55.2, 7. Audrey Fariss 23:13.2.
Cardinal — 8. Aracelili Tapetillo 23:46.4, 13. Shakayla Uheling-Techel 25:19.7, 15. Lauren Sloan 25:28.7, 17. Caitlyn Reber 26:00.2, 24. Ashlyn Patrick 26:49.1.
Van Buren County — 2. Faith Neeley 21:20.2, 4. Payten Poling 22:16.1.