Pekin cross country runners made some noise Saturday in the Richard Spring Invitational at Detweiller Park in Peoria.

Paige Arseneau and Brody Brockwell had the best finishes among area runners in the girls and boys races. Each 64-team field had a mostly Class 3A lineup.
Arseneau was 25th in 18:35. Blackwell was in 34th in 15:30.

The Pekin girls team finished 38th, 10 places behind host Peoria Notre Dame.
Alex Bassen (19:22.5, 121st), Brianne Nye (21:11.3, 402nd), Madison Vicary (21:28.5, 707th), Lily Wagemann (21:41.9, 1022nd), Jessica VanDyke (21:47.6, 1344th) and Jayvian Riley (21:56, 1674th) also ran for Pekin.

Arseneau did much better than in last year's Spring Invitational, when she was 113th in 19:44.

"That place and time was nothing to be ashamed about because the course was muddy, but it's easy to see this year that Paige's continual dedication to running is payoff off," said Pekin coach Erika Gilmore. "To finish 25th at a meet of this caliber is exceptional."

Bassen also far exceeded her invitational time from last year.

"Alex knew what to expect at a big meet this time and was more aggressive," Gilmore said.

At a meet of this size, Gilmore said, "the hardest part is getting into position early. If you don't, you're stuck in bottlenecks around flags and trees and the corners.

"I don't think our girls were expecting the race to stay so tight for so long. It wasn't until well into the second mile that it even slightly thinned out. Even then, it was a struggle to make advancements in some areas of the course."
Gilmore said she was pleased to see Vicary, Wagemann, Vandyke and Riley finish within 30 seconds of each other because her team has been working on pack running in practice.

"Their tight pack was a big reason why we improved from 44th place in 2015 and 48th place in 2016 in the (Spring Invitational) to what we did this year," Gilmore said.

Gilmore said she has some difficult lineup decisions to make for future invitationals. Pekin's Alex Lane (21:30) and Morgan Vermillion (21:45) ran wellSaturday in the frosh/soph race.

"The talent on our team is deeper than it has been in my six years of coaching cross country," Gilmore said. "I'm excited to see what the rest of the season has in store for us."

The Pekin boys team was 33rd Saturday. Notre Dame was 38th.
Kolton Dunkelbarger (16:12, 149th), Bennett Custer (17:09, 382nd), Seth Kasinger (17:18, 633rd), Andrew Wolfe (17:48, 938th), Jayden Tabb (18:59, 1312th) and Noah Sivori (19:28, 1708th) also competed for Pekin.

"Detweiller offers different challenges," said Pekin coach Cole Stoner. "Last year it was rain and mud. This year it was heat and dust.

"Our guys responded well (Saturday), but I think we all know we have work to do on this course if we want to compete in our conference and beyond."

Wheaton Warrensville South captured the team championship in the Spring Invitational girls race, bettering second-ranked Glen Ellyn Glenbard West with a better sixth-person score.

The two teams were tied with 128 points after the five scoring runners, but Warrensville South’s sixth-place finisher came in 46th compared to Glenbard West’s 86th. Glenbard West’s duo of Katelynne Hart (16:35) and Linsey Payne (17:12) went 1-2 individually.

Defending 3A state champion Naperville Neuqua Valley — led by third-place individual finisher Zachary Kinne — won the boys race with 112 points.

Warrensville South was second at 119. Dylan Jacobs of Orland Park Sandburg, third at state a year ago, claimed individual honors with a 14:23 clocking.

Dunlap, Metamora win: The Dunlap girls and Metamora boys captured team titles Saturday at the Dunlap Invitational cross country meet.

The hosts dominated the girls side, as the Class 2A top-ranked Eagles put their five scoring runners all in the top six — led by individual champion Franny Verville (17 minutes, 37 seconds).

Verville was followed by teammates Campbell Peterson (17:49, second), Abby Johnson (18:12, third), Kate Piper (18:34, fifth) and Macy Preiss (18:39, sixth).

Morton’s Aspen Gordon kept Dunlap from a perfect score, with a fourth-place finish in 18:23 to help the Potters to a fourth-place team finish. Tremont’s Lizzy Freidinger placed seventh (18:43).

Metamora came in second in the girls race, paced by Tessa Schwarzentraub’s 10th-place finish (18:51).

In the boys race, Metamora edged Rock Island Alleman 59-68 for the title. Dunlap came in third with 97 points.

Alleman’s Spencer Smith earned the boys individual title with a 15:28 clocking — 12 seconds ahead of Metamora’s Adam Gilbreath-Glaub. The Redbirds also received a top-10 finish from Jacob Gray (10th, 16:41). Leland Sumer finished fifth for Tremont (16:13).

Peoria Journal Star contributed to this report. Steve Stein can be reached at stevestein21@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.