Pekin girls run away with title on home track
PACKWOOD — Battling bad weather and a dozen area schools, the Pekin girls’ track and field team still managed to grab 12 victories and break the 200-point barrier for the first time all season Thursday at the their own Pantherette Relays in Packwood.
The Pekin girls nearly doubled their closest competitor to take the home crown. The host team tallied 211 points to blow out the field and runner-up Mediapolis, which totaled 121.5 points.
“It was a bitter night to compete, but I was proud of my girls’ perseverance and determination throughout the meet,” said Pekin head coach Sarah Wright. “They again competed with a lot of pride, and even though it was cold they didn’t complain.”
The Panthers grabbed a pair of victories in the field to jump-start the huge evening, as Beth Atwood won gold in the high jump (4’ 8”) and Shelbie Williams found first place in the shot put (33’ 9”). Pekin’s 4x800 of Whitney Horras, Taylor Lock, Sloan Reighard and Tayler Winn finished first (10:48), and Maleaha Earnest won the 3000-meter run in 12:02.
Gwynne Wright was the night’s biggest winner and added victories in the 200 (28.39), 400 (1:03.53) and 1500 (5:12.44). Whitney Horras won the 800 in 2:38, and Samantha Wright finished first in the 400-hurdles in 1:14.01.
The distance medley team consisting of Mallory Reed, Jessica Horras, Reighard and Samantha Wright was first (4:52.02); and Victoria Eckley, Reed, Jessica Horras and Maranda Baker teamed up to win the 4x100 (54.80). Whitney Horras, Samantha Wright, Reighard and Cassidy Tolle capped the evening with a win in the 4x400 (4:32.06).
Adding second-place finishes for Pekin were Baker in the shot put (33’ 7”), Lock in the 1500 (5:36) and Eckley in the 100-dash (13.58). Tolle, Baker, Nikole Arendt and Eckley earned second place in the 4x200 (1:58.38), and Arendt, Jessica Horras, Mickey Reynolds and Earnest came in second in the sprint medley (2:11.19).
Pekin’s head coach added she was glad the seniors got to experience a team victory in their final home meet.
“The team rose to the challenge. ... We were able to capture the team title for our seniors: Maranda Baker, Victoria Eckley, Monica Cooley, Maleaha Earnest, Jerrica Allman and manager Whitney Clubb,” said Wright.
In other area action, Cardinal placed fifth in the team standings with 37 points. Senior Lindsay Albert assisted the Comets with a second-place finish in the 200-meter dash (28.91), and teammate Delaney Ridgway topped 4-feet, 6-inches in the high jump for third place.
Van Buren left the meet early and finished in a seventh-place tie with New London scoring 20 points, and Maharishi School finished 11th with four points.
Pekin will be at the Montezuma Relays, and Cardinal and Van Buren will be in Mount Pleasant on Tuesday.