DU QUOIN — Pinckneyville placed five girls in the top 10 to edge Du Quoin by 10 points while the Panthers' boys team placed three in the top five to beat Steeleville by 33 points at the John Campbell Cross County Invite on Thursday afternoon at the Du Quoin State Fair Gate 4 course.
“We’re going to celebrate today for sure,” said Pinckneyville coach Ryan Bruns. “One of our goals was to get five in the top 10 for the girls. The elephant in the room was to beat Du Quoin. They are the kings. Until you beat the kings you just play second fiddle all the time. There is no doubt we were hungry for that. That motivates us on a warm day. I don’t think we got Du Quoin’s best today.”
Du Quoin senior Olivia Phillips won her race by 1:20.5 over one of the Murphysboro Gilmore girls, Miah (20:43.3), and with a time of 19:22.8, Pinckneyville sophomore Isaac Teel won his by 35.7 seconds.
“It wasn’t my best race – I wasn’t too proud of myself – my time is not good and I wanted to be a whole minute faster,” Phillips said. “The heat was very rough today, but we managed to get two in the top 10 and one in 11th place."
Phillips' teammate Lauren Heape wasn’t far behind with a time of 20:48.7 to edge Pinckneyville’s top runner by 20.6 seconds to finish third.
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“Pinckneyville is pretty loaded,” said Du Quoin coach Eric Kirkpatrick. “It’s nice to see where we are at. They are definitely a formidable team and now we know what we need to do. It was a good wakeup call from us, so we’ll get back to work starting tomorrow.”
It was then the Pinckneyville team took over with freshman Vanessa Teel fourth (21:09.3), senior Taylor Kurtz fifth (21:14.5) and senior Ashlee Hirsch sixth (21:16.2).
After the other half of the Gilmore girls Kayden took seventh (21:17.6) and Nashville’s Olivia Verges eighth (21:18.4) the Lady Panthers rounded out the top 10 with freshman Zoey Conway ninth (22:07.5) and sophomore Sofia Castellano 10th (22:08.5).
Teel won his race with a personal record time of 15:40.5 over Du Quoin senior Landen Swiney (16:16.6).
“My time broke my PR by two seconds,” Teel said. “I tried to go out fast and when I got to the one mile mark I was going to try to base off where everyone was at – when to kick and when to save up energy. So I tried to go hard the first two miles and then once I got there I figured I was far enough ahead where I could save to the end and then kick. Landon was with me for the first mile and then I got in the woods and tried kicking around all the corners to build more space up.”
Senior Dylan Bledsoe took third for the Panthers (16:59.4) and junior Dawson Chaney fifth (17:15.2) followed by senior Holden Clark 12th (18:22.3) senior and freshman Landon Carter 14th (18:32.3).
“Teel went out and pushed it pretty fast early and that kind of set the tone for him,” Bruns said. “Dawson was pushing Dylan in the middle of the race, but he bounced back to get third. We talked about getting our gaps between each other a little bit and that helps our split. The first three guys did that and then we had a little bit of fall off with our four and five, but Landon had a good race for us.”
Rounding out the top 10 boys finishers were Grant Schleifer from Okawvile in fourth (17:12.0), Nathan Smith from Du Quoin sixth (17:15.8), Christian Rees from Steeleville seventh (17:44.3), Ray Habeck from Nashville eighth (17:50.5), Brayden Hunter from Nashville ninth (18:02.8) and Clayton Donagher from Steeleville 10th (18:05.8).
The finish of the day was in the boys race where Pinckneyville’s Chaney edged Du Quoin’s Smith at the finish line by .6 seconds to claim fifth place.