For the second year in a row the EP middle school cross country team brought home hardware from the Illinois Elementary School Associations’ Sectional meet.
The Saturday meet at Hawthorn Ridge Golf Club in Aledo saw the Lady Panthers bring home first place with the boys taking second. Last year the squads reversed that order and qualified for the IESA state finals. Due to COVID-19 the state meet is not being held this year.
The girls scored thirty-nine points to take the title with Knoxville seven points back. Sarah Link was the top finisher for EP taking third overall running a PR of 13:43 for the the two mile course. Link, a sixth grader, has been the top runner for EP all season. She was followed by seventh graders Aubrey Huisman (4th) 14:30 and Brynn Brown (7th) 15:13. Other Panther runners included Lauren Punk 12th-15:52, Sage Froelinger 13th-16:08, Ellah Brooks 12th-16:38, and Alana Little 20th-17:17.
Aiden Jepson finished his middle school cross county career taking the sectional individual title in 12:40 and leading the Panthers to a second place team finish with thirty-six points, four behind Mercer County. Sixth grader Tristan Hovey placed third overall in 13:23, just ahead of teammate and fellow sixth grader Nathan Punke finishing fourth in 13:40. Other Panther runners included: Alastaire Sweester 13th-14:56, Gus Schultz 15th-15:00, Jackson Tegeler 19th-15:33, and Dante Pels 23rd-17:01.
Coach Sheryl VonHolten commented, “The athletes’ success came from the sum of small efforts being repeated day in and day out.”