Pekin cross country coaches Cole Stoner and Erika Gilmore each looked into a crystal ball after the season-opening Normal West Invitational on Saturday and liked what they saw.

Led by Brody Blackwell, the Pekin boys team finished sixth among 12 teams. Led by Paige Arseneau, the Pekin girls team finished seventh among 12 teams.

Blackwell placed fifth individually. Arseneau was fourth.

“Brody (Blackwell) ran a solid race and I was very pleased with the spread of our second through eighth runners,” Stoner said. “If we can keep that spread and lower times, we’ll be very competitive as the season progresses.

“It was nice to get a race in on our regional course (Maxwell Park).”

Gilmore said it was good to have the first three-mile race of the season in the books.

“It gave us an idea of what we need to work on in the coming weeks,” she said. “Overall, I was pleased with our team’s performance, especially the freshmen who are experiencing the competition of three miles for the first time.

“We have a long way to go to get our legs under us, running as a compact team. But we will get there.”

Minooka won the invitational boys team championship with 46 points. Washington was second (105), Pekin was sixth (146) and Morton was 11th (244).

New Lenox Lincoln-Way Central’s Jared Kreis won the race in 15:10.7.

Morton’s Aspen Gordon finished second and Meagan Moreno was eighth in the girls race and the Potters placed fifth in the team standings. 

Minooka won the team title with 58 points. Defending Class 2A state champion Dunlap was second (85), Washington (93) was third, Lincoln-Way West (99) was fourth and Morton (127) was fifth.

Vivian Van Eck of Minooka won the race in 18:07.5. Jadyn Jacobs of Washington was sixth and Pekin’s Alex Bassen was ninth.

Here’s how local boys teams fared in the invitational:

WASHINGTON: 13. Avery Davidson, 16:34.4; 15. Chris Hurd, 16:39.9; 22. Ben Learned, 17:01.3; 27. Garret Roberts, 17:10.8; 28. Zachary Tranchitella, 17:11.1; 45. Caden Davidson, 17:39.6; 60. Jackson Ward, 18:16.5.

PEKIN: 5. Brady Blackwell, 15:58.3; 24. Seth Kasinger, 17:04.3; 3. 35. 17. Bennett Custer, 17:25.1; 40. Jayden Tabb, 17:29.1; 5. Jonny Blanchard, 17:30.9; 48. Andrew Wolfe, 17:49.3; 49. Jackson Custer, 17:50.3.

MORTON: 14. Sam Lange, 16:37.4; 44. Tyler Timmons, 17:35.5; 59. Jake Turner, 18:13.6; 63. Tristan Sturhahn, 18:24.0; 64. Tyson Martin, 18:27.1; 66. Brody Zobrist, 18:38.3; 68. Cade Zobrist, 18:42.8.

Here’s how local girls teams fared in the invitational:

WASHINGTON: 6. Jadyn Jacobs, 19:20.1; 13. Joy English, 19:40.8; 20. Brooke Evans, 20:04.8; 23. Hannah Bennett, 20:22.4; 31. Emily Baker, 20:51.6; 35. Callie Danks, 21:10.1; 39. Katie Geisz, 21:17.1.

MORTON: 2. Aspen Gordon, 18:39.7; 8. Meagan Moreno, 19:30.4; 12. Emma Skinner, 19:39.8; 52. Abigail Dryden, 22:32.3; 53. Katie Honegger, 22:36.4; 55. Tenley Dowell, 22:46.8; 56. Sarah Honegger, 22:47.8.

PEKIN: 4. Paige Arseneau, 18:59.0; 9. Alex Bassen, 19:30.9; 38. Emma Cox, 21:15.8; 59. Madison Vicary, 23:32.1; 60. Chloe Powell, 23:34.5; 63. Elizabeth Deverman, 24:03.2; 7. Kylee Hadsall, 24:18.2.

Steve Stein can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.