Photos courtesy coach Liz Green
The EP boy’s varsity cross country team has been led by sophomores and freshmen all season usually finishing in the top third of their meets. For the second time this year the young Panthers were rewarded for their efforts by their coaches as they participated in a non-varsity level category at a large invitational.
On Monday the Panthers journeyed to Amboy to take part in the annual Columbus Day Invitational, which is regarded as one of the top Class A meets in the state. A dozen freshmen and sophomores lined up for the Open Race, which generally features younger runners. At the end of the 2.5 mile run the Panthers had placed four runners in the top ten and easily won the team competition, among fourteen teams, scoring an impressive 33 points.
Freshman Victor Bonnell led the Panther pack taking 2nd overall in 14:47. He was followed by sophomore Lucas Dreisbach in 4th with a time of 15:06. The other top five Panthers included sophomore Jacob Gibson 6th (15:11), freshman Aiden Jepson 10th (15:18), and freshmen Wyatt Goosens 20th (15:43).
Zeke Weidel 27th, Tyson Skinner 40th, Alex Bomleny 41st, Wyatt Beck 54th, Ben Reneau 68th, Ethan Daubman 82nd, and Jacob Brooks 85th also ran for the Panthers.
The Lady Panthers competed in the varsity race placing 15th in a field of 22 with senior Dylan Chandler taking 45th in 21:00 to finish first for EP. Sophomore Jillian Norman placed 78th in 22:34 followed by Jade Nickerson 95th (23:15), Chloe Slock 117th (24:21), and Brooke Lalley 135th (25:10). Shea Winters and Alexis Anderson also ran for the Panthers.
The team will travel to the home of the IHSA state cross country meet, Detwiler Park in Peoria on Saturday, for the Patriot Invitational.