ERIE, Ill. — Erie/Prophetstown girls track and field coach Don Robinson made a mistake earlier in the season, running sisters Courtney and Rachel Cobert in the same races. The Coberts competed against each other in both the 200- and 400-meter races.
“Courtney would not let her younger sister beat her,” Robinson said. “She probably tossed her cookies just to keep her younger sister from beating her after those races. I haven’t really done that since.”
It’s better when the sisters run for the same cause — winning relays. That doesn’t cancel out their competitive spirits, though, Robinson said.
Along with fellow sibling duo Paige and Peyton Rus, the Coberts and the Panthers have their eyes on the medal stand entering this week’s Illinois Class 1A state meet. Three E/P relay teams (the 400, 800 and 1,600) enter the competition rated No. 1 in sectional times, each featuring at least one Cobert and one Rus. A fourth relay team — the 3,200 — also qualified.
Paige Rus qualified individually in the high jump and triple jump; sister Peyton qualified with the fourth-best long jump in Class 1A, as well as in the 200. Rachel Cobert also qualified in the triple jump, while her sister, Courtney, made the cut for the 100 meters. The latter will join sophomore Heather Strike in that event.
The Panthers have won every 1A meet they’ve competed in, which includes the state indoor competition earlier this year. With the Coberts and Ruses playing major roles, there appears to be sister telepathy at work in Erie.
“They’re close and they trust each other,” Robinson explained. “They all know something special can happen.”
Courtney Cobert said running with Rachel allowed her to be more critical than she usually would be of other teammates.
“I run the first leg and my sister runs the last leg,” Courtney said of E/P’s 800 team. “I always see her and she always sees me, so we can give each other tips.”