Benton, Center Point-Urbana and Union were among 20 teams at the Jesup Invitational on Tuesday as each program begins to wind their season down to their respective conference and district meets in October.
“Jesup is one of our favorite places to run and we seem to run some of our best times there,” Benton coach Marty Thomae said. “There’s a lot of good competition in this race. We are looking to build up the next few weeks and get everyone healthy.”
The Benton girls would finish second overall as a team in the crowded field, with freshman Jaida Lyons finishing 10th overall with a time of 20:49. CPU junior Kora Katcher, however, would be the highest placing athlete from the area as she finished eighth with a time of 20:21 as the Stormin’ Pointers finished ninth overall. Union junior Ellie Rathe came in 13th with a time of 21:03 and Benton senior Hailee Ricklefts would finish 14th as the final area girls medalist with a time of 21:04.
“Ellie Rathe came out and posted a big time against some top-ranked kids,” Union coach Travis Fleshner said. “That’s great to see from her.”
Benton also had senior Jaden Thys finish 23rd with a time of 21:25, sophomore Gwen King finished 47th with a time of 22:05 and junior Abby Rinderknecht finished 49th with a time of 22:11. CPU saw junior Kay Fett finish 16th with a time of 21:11, followed by sophomore Laine Hadsall in 45th with a time of 22:02. Union freshman Lauren Youngblut finished 43rd with a time of 22:00.
“We had a couple of girls a little under the weather that didn’t run as well as they had been running recently,” Thomae said. “We could have been closer to first place, but with a quality field like we raced against, we are pretty excited.”
The boys side saw CPU’s Eli Larson and Luke Post compete for the top spot in the race, won by Larson with a time of 16:07 and Post in runner up with a time of 16:09. Senior Mason Bach finished third overall with a time of 16:35.
“Eli and Luke really push each other in practice, but I also think they do a good job of staying smart,” CPU coach Amy Poduska said. “They keep each other in check.”
Benton sophomore Trey Schulte would be the only other area athlete to medal as he finished 13th with a time of 17:37. CPU senior Cole Whitehead was next to cross the finish line in 28th with a time of 18:03, followed by teammate junior Robbie Dillion in 40th with a time of 18:28 to round out the team’s top finish in the meet. For Benton, junior Brady Osborn finished 52nd with a time of 18:57, followed by junior Owen Sadler in 65th with a time of 19:15 and junior Ryan Lange in 81st with a time of 19:34 as the Bocats finished 12th overall. Union sophomore Conner Prestemon finished 57th overall with a time of 19:07, followed by sophomore Asher Beerman in 103rd with a time of 20:24 and freshman Wyatt Hoy in 114th with a time of 20:40 as the Knights finished 17th.
“The boys put up a couple of PRs for themselves and hopefully we can peak at the right time,” Fleshner said. “Overall, I’m very happy with the overall efforts today.”
Benton and Union will compete at a meet in Dike on Tuesday while CPU will travel to Wartburg on Saturday and West Delaware on Tuesday.