The Cobert and Rus sisters had been counting the days until they would be able to run high-school relays together.
Courtney and Rachel Cobert, and Paige and Peyton Rus teamed to win the 800-meter and were a big part of the Erie-Prophetstown Panthers' championship performance at the Illlinois Prep Top Times Indoor Classic last Friday at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington.
The Coberts and Ruses teamed for a winning time of 1 minute, 48.02 seconds in the 800 relay, more than 2 seconds better than runner-up Seton Academy.
The Coberts and Paige Rus also combined with Corrie Reiley to win the 1,600 relay, with a time of 4:10.06.
The victories propelled the Panthers to the indoor state championship by a scant half-point over Decatur St. Teresa, 37.5-37.
"It was cool to run as sisters," said Rachel Cobert, a freshman at Erie. "During volleyball and baskeball, we kept thinking of track and having a sister relay. Actually winning the [state indoor] 4x2 was incredible. Hopefully we can do just as well at outdoor state."
Erie-Prophetstown coach Don Robinson was quick to credit assistant coach Liz Green for the team's indoor success. Green has been running the team while Robinson, who is also the longtime Prophetstown varsity girls basketball coach, finishes his duties as a seventh-grade girls basketball coach.
Robinson said that while the indoor state title was a nice accomplishment, "It's not a real true indication. Some of the top teams were not there."
The Coberts and Ruses were four of the small but mighty six-pack that competed for the Panthers.
"I saw some teams warming up with about 20 girls and thought there was no way we could compete," said Paige Rus, an Erie senior. "We didn't expect that at all. It was a pleasant surprise."
Courtney Cobert can't wait for the outdoor season.
"We have a lot of other talented girls who are going to do well also," she said. "Now we have our name out there and other teams will train harder to beat us. So, we have to train harder and get better."
Paige Rus medaled in a team-high four events. Besides being a member of the winning relays, she took third in the triple jump (34-7 1/2) and tied for eighth in the high jump (5-0) to earn an all-important half-point.
The Coberts both medaled in three events and Peyton Rus took fourth in the long jump (16-11 1/4) despite nursing a leg injury. Reiley placed eighth in the 800 (2:27.53).
Top Times' Top Teams
Class 1A Girls
1. Erie-Prophetstown 37.5; 2. Decatur St. Teresa 37; 3. Tremont 32; 4. (tie) Moweaqua Central A&M and Red Bud 26
Clas 1A Boys
1. Carlinville 30; 2. St. Thomas More 28; 3. Newman 26; 4. Erie-Prophetstown and Hales Franciscan 24
Long jump – 4. Lexy Duncan (Dixon) 17-5
1,600 – 3. Simon Thorpe (Dixon) 4:25.85
Shot put – Shannon Cullen (Oregon) 37-6
High jump – 8. (tie) Paige Rus (EP) 5-0
Long jump – 4. Peyton Rus (EP) 16-11 1/4
Triple jump – 3. Paige Rus (EP) 34-7 1/2; 4. Erin Wessels (Fulton) 34-5; 7. Rachel Cobert (EP) 34-0 1/2
60 – 6. Courtney Cobert (EP) 8.16
800 – 8. Corrie Reiley (EP) 2:27.53
3,200 – 3. Regan Weidner (Bureau Valley) 11:49.57
800 relay – 1. Erie-Prophetstown 1:48.02; 8. Oregon 1:53.17
1,600 relay – 1. Erie-Prophetstown 4:10.06
Long jump – Devin Johnson (EP) 21-9 3/4
Triple jump – Nolan McGinn (Newman) 41-1
60 – 1. Nick Rude (Newman) 7.07; 5. Johnson (EP) 7.16
200 – 6. N. Rude (Newman) 23.42; 7. Johnson (EP) 23.45
400 – 8. Tommy McCormick (Oregon) 53.75
800 relay – 1. Newman 1:33.85; 2. Erie-Prophetstown 1:34.65; 7. Oregon 1:36.66
1,600 relay – 3. Oregon 3:35.60; 5. Bureau Valley 3:37.58