MARION — From a consistency standpoint, it’s tough to find a better one-two-punch than Carbondale’s Madeline Prideaux and Alex Partlow.
The dynamic duo put on another show Thursday at Harry L. Crisp Sports Complex with first-place finishes to lead the Terriers against Marion, Salem, Vienna and Carmi-White County.
Prideaux got the evening started placing first at 20:33. The senior cleared the finish line with about two minutes to spare before any other runner. Her sights are set on another sectional title, which is an opportunity she’s thrilled to have in her senior season.
“I’m so happy that we have a sectional meet because it’s another week in the season to look forward to,” she said.
One aspect of Marion’s course Prideaux said she could have done without were the hills. The senior didn’t have time to notice the gusty winds considering her focus was on getting up the hills. Back in August, it was dealing with the tall grass, but the good news for Prideaux was this was her final meet in Marion alongside the Wildcats celebrating senior night.
“The hills just suck,” Prideaux said with an exhausted smile. “I feel like the wind probably did affect me a little bit, but I couldn’t focus on anything except trying to get up the hills.”
Was she still happy with her individual performance?
“I feel like I couldn’t have done any better,” she added.
On the boys side, Partlow ran in a bunched pack alongside teammate Tucker Poshard and Marion’s Dylon Nalley before creating the separation he needed down the final stretch. Partlow sat out as a sophomore while nursing an injury but has punched his name at the top of every race so far this season.
Partlow’s time of 15:37 was 20 seconds faster than his previous best at Marion’s course. Marion coach Eli Baker chanted on his freshman runner, Nalley, as the two of them sprinted around the track, but Partlow turned on the jets and finished his race out strong.
“I feel like at Marion especially, I’m not really going for time, because my main goal this season is to set the school record for the three-mile,” said Partlow. “I’m not going to get that time here because it’s a hard course...I just wanted to win.”
Carbondale’s school record currently sits at 15:07 with one last meet before the South Seven Conference in Centralia. Partlow’s most recent performance at Foundation Park came two weeks ago when he clocked a 15:26.
Having a teammate like Poshard to compete with at the top of each race might be the extra boost Partlow needs. Poshard, a senior, placed third for Carbondale with a time of 15:54.
“They’ve been training together and I think it’s benefiting both of their times,” said Terriers coach Greg Storm. “Alex missing last year has him running extra motivated, and that’s a personal best for Tucker, too, even though he was third. Hopefully we can get this extended to an official state meet and then we can really show what we’ve got.”
Storm commented on Prideaux’s success moving forward, saying he’s trying to prepare her for regionals when she’s going to have more people running around her than how it has been.
“I think she’ll be ready,” said Storm. “I would love to see her with somebody side-by-side with her for a race. She trains really hard and she does what she does because she puts the work in.”
Carbondale’s girl finishers behind Prideaux were Kara Holub (22:15) in second, Sadie Torre (23:06) in fourth, Olivia Mathis (24:09) in ninth, Alyvia Bergmann (25:38) inn 11th and Olivia Buffington (26:08) in 16th.
Carbondale boys took second-place with Partlow, Poshard and Ethan Stevens (17:09) finishing in the Top 7. Fellow Terriers: Jackson Beaupre (18:05), Jackson Watts (19:02), Chace Massie (20:34), Conner Twenhafell (21:22), Phoenix Richard (22:00) and Sam Mathis (22:10) also finished.
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