Coberts, Ruses highlight another Panther blitz
Sisters lead state surge
ERIE – The sister relay is still unbeaten.
Erie-Prophetstown's Cobert and Rus sisters combined to win the 800-meter relay and lead the way to the Panthers' 11 state-qualifying berths and dominant march to the team title Thursday night in the rain at Erie Middle School.
Courtney and Rachel Cobert teamed with Paige and Peyton Rus to win the 800 relay in a time of 1 minute, 45.74 seconds, more than 2 seconds better than runner-up Riverdale. They haven't lost the race all season.
"It's very relieving. We were nervous that we might drop the baton with this wet weather," said Paige Rus, who also won the high (5-2) and triple (34-11 1/2) jumps. "We handled it with care and got it across the line."
"Our best competition was back in indoor state," said Courtney Cobert, who also won the 100 (13.14). "We haven't had huge competition, so we're looking forward to that. Last year we were definitely slower and we placed ninth [at state], so we're hoping to pull something out."
Peyton Rus also won the long jump (17-3 1/2) and 200 (26.33). She and the Coberts teamed with Heather Strike to win the 400 relay (50.12). The Coberts, Paige Rus and Corrie Reiley combined to win the 1,600 relay (4:06.04).
Strike was second to Courtney Cobert in the 100, Rachel Cobert was second to Paige Rus in the triple jump, and the Panthers took second and advanced to state as well in the 3,200 relay.
"In the 100, I was not expecting that at all," Strike said. "I haven't been running good in that, so that was shocking to me. Courtney got first, and I was just following her. I wanted to get right behind her."
Erie-Prophetstown piled up 130 points, easily outdistancing runner-up Annawan-Wethersfield (90). Bureau Valley was fourth (52 points), Fulton eighth (24), Morrison 10th (14) and Amboy tied for 11th (10) in the 14-team field.
Lindsey Hoffert earned two of Bureau Valley's four state qualificiations. She was second to Peyton Rus in both the long jump (17-0 1/2) and 200 (27.55).
Hoffert made a big splash as a freshman last season, but has endured a bit of a tough sophomore campaign.
"It wasn't a great season," she said. "It was pretty rough. I had an ankle injury coming into it. Progressively, I got better. I'm starting to peak now."
Bureau Valley's Sydney Lebahn was the runner-up in the discus (108-9), and Regan Weidner was the runner-up in the 3,200 (12:00.04).
Morrison sophomore Lakin Goodman took second in the 400 (1:03.87) and earned her first trip to state.
"I wasn't expecting that, because I had a bad position in lane 8," Goodman said. "I couldn't see behind me, so I was hoping I was in good position. I doubted myself more than I should have. I thought I heard somebody behind me. That made me nervous, but I was really glad at the end to look over and see that it was just me and one other girl."
Amboy's Autumn Smith was the runner-up in the shot put (36-0 1/4), and Fulton's Amber Leitzen finished third but bettered the state-qualifying standard of 5:35.14 in the 1,600 with her effort of 5:33.57.
1. Erie-Prophetstown 130
2. Annawan-Wethersfield 90
3. Henry-Senachwine 82
4. Bureau Valley 52
5. Riverdale 49