Area runners made the most of their opportunities at the Fairbury Invite on Thursday in moist and cool conditions.
Tri County and Thayer Central joined the Jeffs at their home cross country invite on Thursday, and all teams found a great deal of success as each school placed runners inside the top 10 in both the boys and girls division.
Fairbury’s Josephine Blatny led all area girls at the event with a third-place finish in a time of 21:23.38. Tri County’s Creighton Niemeyer paced area boys with a runner-up finish (17:49.74).
Blatny’s time was a 1 minute and 15 second improvement from just a week prior at the Superior Invite.
“I really surprised myself to be honest. I was running against some really good competition, so I was very happy I was able to take third place,” Blatny said. “I think being at our home course is nice cause I know all the hills, I know how to run it. And then the weather being cool, we have a lot of hot meets, so it was good to have a change in the weather.”
Niemeyer was one of three Tri County boys to place inside the top 17, joining Evan Larson, who placed 16th and Logan Larson, who placed 17th. The trio guided the Trojans to a third-place finish as a team out of the 11 boys teams at the meet.
The Thayer Central boys one upped the Tri County boys with a second-place finish. The Titans showed their depth as a team, placing all runners inside the top 15.  Damian Stewart led the team, placing eighth (18:28.39) and Trey Fischer crossed the finish line just under three seconds behind Stewart to place ninth. Keegan Casey came in 11th place while Dylan Fischer rounded out Titans scorers with a 15th place finish.
The Titan boys finished 14 points behind Lincoln Christian for the team title in their respective division. Colby Karr of Blue Hill won the individual title in the boys division with a time of 17:27.52.
Isaac Robertson led the Fairbury boys team to a fifth-place finish as a team by crossing the finish line in 14th place individually (19:23.07). The next Jeff behind him was Jared Engelman, who placed 23rd (19:51.99). Devin Holliday and Braden Graham placed 28th and 29th respectively with times of 20:25.90 and 20:27.33.
Robertson was happy to break the 20th place mark at the meet due to placing in that exact spot the previous three years.
“I think my time was better than last meet. It’s definitely one of the best times I’ve ran on this course. The past three years I’ve actually gotten 20th place at this meet so I’m happy I was able to get over that hump and get better than 20th,” Robertson said. “I think a lot of good teams were here and definitely a lot of good runners. It seems like every year they guys just keep getting faster and faster, so we just have to get faster with them.”
As for his teammate’s effort, Robertson was pleased to see them finish close to one another. A sign they were pushing each other.