If there was a time sisters Paige and Peyton Rus were living for, this entire school year would be it.|
Teaming up first with Erie's Class 1A regional-championship volleyball team, then on its regional-finalist girls' basketball squad and now with the Erie-Prophetstown track and field co-op, the duo have made the most of the time spent together.
That time is now running out as Paige Rus begins counting the days to her high-school graduation. But before running their last race together, this week's Area Pacesetters for The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus want to provide a fitting finale to what has been a special year.
The last two weeks, Paige and Peyton have made impressive marks with record-setting performances at the Fulton Relays, the Irv Sanderson Invitational and the Sterling Relays.
Last week, Peyton Rus set a school long-jump record with her 17-6.5 effort at Sanderson; Paige then set the school's triple jump mark by leaping 36-5 at Sterling (in addition to winning the high jump). Better still for the duo, they teamed with another set of sisters -- junior Courtney Cobert and her younger sibling, freshman Rachel Cobert (a classmate of Peyton's) -- to set a school mark in the 4x200 relay.
"It feels good when the hard work starts paying off, making a lot of sacrifices and doing all of this for an ultimate goal that's not guaranteed,'' said Paige Rus. "But we want to give all the glory to God. He's blessed us with this ability that's made us so successful.''
Said Peyton: "Two days after I broke the long jump record, she broke the triple jump record. It's been such a great week, and we're both taking in the excitement. It's kind of been an emotional high for the two of us.''
If one Rus is not competing at the same time as the other, they make sure to encourage each other and give out pointers.
"At meets where the triple jump and high jump aren't going on at the same time, Peyton will go first or I will, so we can cheer each other on,'' said Paige. "We also help each other to improve our jumps, watching the board to see where we're at.''
"Paige has helped me a lot,'' added Peyton. "I've always looked up to her, and wanted to be like her and play sports with her. I feel like I'm becoming like her, and I want Paige to have the best senior year she can. I want to push hard to achieve our goals, so she'll go out with great memories of spending her senior year with me.''
The younger Rus is also the last in line of what has been a strong family tradition. Besides Paige (fourth in the triple jump at state last spring), their father Jim was a standout for the Erie boys' program, winning an armful of state medals.
"My dad did so well, and so has my sister, so I want to do real well too,'' said Peyton. "Keep the tradition going, since I'm the last one. Plus, they've always been so humble with (their success), and they've been such great examples for me. I couldn't ask for anything better.''
And while Paige feels sadness that such a good thing will be ending in a matter of weeks, she'll continue to bask in it as long as she can.
"This is something we've always looked forward to, especially with the Cobert sisters; we always wanted to have a sister relay,'' said Paige, who will continue her track career at Monmouth College. "It's sad that we only have this one year, but we're making the most of it, and I know I'll be back next year to support Peyton, and I hope she'll do the same at my college meets next year.''
CO-AREA PACESETTERS PAIGE RUS AND PEYTON RUS
Paige & Peyton Rus
Favorite restaurant: Paige & Peyton: Osaka Buffet
Favorite movie: Paige: The two ``Taken'' films; Peyton: "Safe Haven"
Favorite TV: Paige: Anything on TLC and Breaking Bad; Peyton: "The Vampire Diaries"
Favorite music: Paige & Peyton: Radio station K-Love.
Favorie track event: Paige: Triple jump; Peyton: Long jump
Parents: Jim and Erika Rus, Albany.
IN THE RUNNING:
Nate Humphrey and Noah Shannon, Ridgewood: The duo capped solid weeks with outstanding performances in the first-place Spartans' Lincoln Trail Conference sweep of Galva-Williamsfield. Each had one pitching win, with Humphrey tallying four hits and four RBIs and Shannon four hits and six RBIs.
Chelsea Eads, Morrison: Collected six hits and nine RBIs in three wins last week for the Three Rivers Conference-leading Fillies.
Martel Hunter, Monmouth-Roseville: Earned wins in the long jump, 100 (tying a meet record) and 400 to help the Titans to the Sherrard Tiger Relays team title.
Rebekah Wollenburg, Sherrard: Captured the 100 meter dash gold and ran legs on the Tigers' winning 4x100 and 800 sprint medley relay teams to help them repeat as Tiger Relays champs.
Trey Hannam, Annawan-Wethersfield: Continued a torrid run with 11 hits in six games last week to help the Titans move into a second-place tie in the LTC.
Payton Holmes, Mercer County: Took the 110 and 300 hurdles titles and ran on the victorious 4x100 relay at the Golden Eagle Invitational, then earned golds in the 110 hurdles and the 4x100 at the Tiger Relays.
Colona, IL Details
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