PAXTON — At Paxton, the new-look PBL Invite was run Saturday in five separate races of two teams each because of COVID-19 related restrictions.

Teams were paired to create as high a level of competition as possible. It worked for Paxton-Buckley-Loda’s Ryder James, who came up just shy of former Oakwood star Jon Davis‘ course record with a winning time of 15 minutes, 18.99 seconds in the boys competition.

RTHS group shot

Rantoul Township High School runners compete in Saturday’s PBL Invite in Paxton — Caleb Neitzel, from left, Eli Wilhelm, Aiden Pacunas, Jamiah Foster. Tayon Swift and Josh Newman. 

Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond got the team win, however, behind Layton Hall‘s runner-up finish in 15:38.10.

The Knights had two of the top five finishers, with Logan Beckmier in fifth in 16:35.42. That created enough cushion to top second-place St. Joseph-Ogden by four points.

Carson Maroon paced the Spartans with a 16:46.03 to place sixth.

Unity, Monticello, Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin, PBL, Iroquois West, Rantoul, Villa Grove/Heritage, Oakwood and Armstrong-Potomac placed third through 12th, respectively. Rounding out the top five individual finishers were BHRA’s Eli Mojonnier in third in 16:15.21 and Monticello’s Josh Baysore in fourth in 16:25.70.

In girls cross-country

Neitzel and Pacunas

RTHS runners Caleb Neitzel and Aiden Puncas cover the course.

Also at Paxton, Monticello’s Mabry Bruhn set a course record and led the Sages to a team title at Saturday’s PBL Invite. Like the boys’ race, the girls’ event was run in five separate races. Bruhn covered the three-mile course in 17 minutes, 19.03 seconds, beating the old record set by St. Joseph-Ogden’s Chelsea Blasse early last decade by approximately 33 seconds.

Monticello finished with four runners in the top 10, including Rachel Koon in second in 18:10.28, for its team victory.

Unity placed second as a team, 21 points behind Monticello. The Rockets were led by Erica Woodard‘s third-place overall finish in 18:26.85. St. Thomas More, St. Joseph-Ogden, host Paxton-Buckley-Loda, Oakwood, Clifton Central, Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin, Iroquois West and Villa Grove/Heritage rounded out the team standings in third through 10th.

The top five individuals were rounded out by Monticello’s Estella Miller in fourth (18:36.81) and BHRA’s Gabriella Moreman in fifth (18:55.87).

srichey@news-gazette.com