Paige Arseneau is off and running.
The Pekin girls track and field standout won the 1600 (5:27.87) and was fourth in the 800 (2:36.06) last weekend in the season-opening Bloomington Indoor Meet at Illinois Wesleyan University’s Shirk Center.
“Paige exceeded my expectations,” said Pekin coach Christina MacEwan. “I knew she’d do well in the meet, but she was great. She was way ahead in the 1600, then she pushed herself to compete against the clock to the finish.”
Faith Houston (5:40.03) and Hannah Rajlich (5:40.11) from St. Joseph-Ogden finished second and third behind Arseneau in the 1600, nearly 13 seconds behind her.
Rock Island’s Jade Ford won the 800 (2:29.33). Normal Community’s Anita Cavalcante (2:31.73) and St. Joseph-Ogden’s Rylee Sjuts (2:33.07) also finished in front of Arseneau.
Hope Watts of the Dragons also had a good meet. She was third in the 200 (:28.26) behind Bloomington’s Bailey McGill (:27.01) and Danville Schlarman’s Capria Brown (:27.73).
Pekin had practiced for three weeks before the meet. MacEwan said it was time for some competition.
“I like indoor meets before the outdoor season because of the competition. We’re not just practicing,” she said. “Plus, we get to see some of the teams that will be in our sectional meet. We don’t see a lot of those during the outdoor part of the season.”
There are three more indoor meets on Pekin’s schedule.
The Dragons will be at Eastern Illinois University on Saturday for the Charleston Indoor Meet, then return to the Shirk Center on Wednesday and March 19 for the Normal West and Clinton indoor meets.
The Lady Dragon Relays will be March 31 at Memorial Stadium. That will be Pekin’s first outdoor meet of the spring.
Steve Stein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.