Panthers conference champs!■ Ninth title in a row for girls, third in a row for boys
BURLINGTON – Pekin’s opponents in the Southeast Iowa Superconference have grown discouraged after seeing Panther boys and girls run circles around them year in and year out.
The teams further cemented their legacy as two of the greatest cross-country dynasties in the state with yet another title Thursday night at the SEISC conference meet in Burlington. For the girls, it marked their ninth in a row and their 29th overall. For the boys, it was their third in as many years and their 18th overall.
The boys won the meet in overwhelming fashion as they came close to earning a perfect score of 15. Their score of 19 points was head and shoulders above the next best team of Wapello with 111 points. The other teams were: Holy Trinity Catholic 126, Mediapolis 137, Danville-New London 144, Van Buren 154, Winfield-Mt. Union, Columbus 204, Cardinal 226, Highland 247, Louisa-Muscatine 252 and Iowa Mennonite School 256.
The Panther girls won by almost 50 points, earning 28 to Danville’s 76. The other teams were: Lone Tree 107, Mediapolis 111, Van Buren 119, Wapello 131, Notre Dame 147, Iowa Mennonite School 196 and WACO 243.
The top four places all went to Panthers, who posted three times under 18 minutes and a fourth time just over it. Ryan Millikin and Malcolm Myers were neck-and-neck the whole way until the last instant when Millikin pulled away for the win with a time of 17:05. Myers finished in 17:08. Teammate Colten Glosser was the next to cross in 17:51, followed promptly by Sam Roth with an 18:02. Isaiah Wittrock came in ninth place with an 18:31.
Though their scores didn’t count, the Panthers received great times from Cameron Little, who ran a 19:01 for 16th place, and Nate Kielkopf, who finished in 19:28 for 21st place.
“After last night, the boys are right where we want to be,” said Pekin head coach Davis Eidahl. “I have two front runners and my third through seventh runners are really closing the gaps. We are right on pace.”
Freshman Jonah Heckenberg was Van Buren’s top runner as he crossed the finish line in 19:20 for 19th place. Heckenberg is just one of the large crop of young talent on the Warriors’ roster, which boasts five underclassmen and no seniors. Clay Neeley finished 22nd place in 19:29. Noah Bunnell was 28th with 19:40. The other runners were: Adam Smith, 37th, 19:57; John Orndoff, 48th, 20:57; Ezra Sedore, 60th, 22:06; and Mason McDonough, 63rd, 22:36.
Cardinal is in a similar position to Van Buren in that its 2017 and 2018 teams will have a lot of experience on them. One runner the Comets will not have after this season, sadly, is senior Trevor Albert, who sniped sixth place with a time of 18:11. The other Comets were: Jentry Arbogast, 30th, 19:41; Noel Martinez, 59th, 22:05; Jimmy Greer, 62nd, 22:31; Anthony Prickett, 69th, 23:27; Gabe Clarkson, 74th, 23:41; and Griffen Sackman, 75th, 23:50.
The Panthers captured six of the top 10 spots, but the gold went to Danville’s Alyssa Pfadenhauer, who broke the tape in 20:38. Shea Dahlstrom came in 20:56 for second. Remi Duwa came in at 21:34 for fourth, and Emilee Linder was just behind her for fifth with a time of 21:40. Zoey Wright stopped the clock at 21:50 for eighth, and Mackenzie Martin finished in 22:33 for ninth. Hunter Lock was 10th and finished with a time of 22:45.
Eidahl said today there was an error in the results and that Kelly Myers, who was left off the results page delivered to the coaches and media, should have been credited with 10th place and a time of 22:21.
The Panther coach said he was pleased to see the girls continue to close the gaps between themselves and their next closest competitors. He said the key now is trying to move up the entire pack of seven runners.
“The girls have some work to do but we have two weeks to get it done,” he said. “We have a tough district. That alone will keep our teams focused.”
Kylee Bass was the Warriors’ fastest runner as she brought home a 23:24, good for 14th place. The other Van Buren runners were: Morgan Croft, 15th, 23:28; Anna Neeley, 27th, 25:05; Ceyda Nazli, 30th, 25:30; Lexi Jirak, 33rd, 25:51; Mattie Lass, 35th, 26:00; and Sarah Davis, 40th, 27:33.
The Panthers will advance to the district cross-country meet Oct. 20 hosted by Cedar Rapids Kennedy High School.