December 6, 2021 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Hamilton, Taylor spark SJO girls’ track and field at Sages Invitational

The regular season is winding down for the St. Joseph-Ogden High School girls’ track and field team.


And the Spartans seem to be finding their stride at the right time.
Buoyed by strong performances from Maclayne Taylor and Atleigh Hamilton, along with its steady stable of relay teams, the Spartans placed third at the 17-team Sages Invitational in Monticello this past Friday night.
Host Monticello won the meet with 102 points, followed by Clinton (87), SJO (67), Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond (54) and Unity (50) in the top five schools.


Taylor and Hamilton each played a part in three of the four first-place finishes accumulated by SJO.

Taylor sprinted past the field to win the 100-meter dash in 12.67 seconds, while Hamilton took top honors in the long jump with a leap of 17 feet. Both Hamilton and Taylor, along with Rylee Sjuts and Ashlyn Lannert, were part of the 1,600 relay team that clocked in at 4:12.58 to place first in that event.


The 3,200 relay team of Sjuts, Jillian Plotner, Hannah Rajlich and Lannert also took first with a time of 10:16.80.


SJO added two runner-up finishes, with the 400 relay team of Danie Kelso, Taylor, Hailey Birt and Hamilton finishing with a time of 51.53 and the 800 relay of Kelso, Hamilton, Sjuts and Taylor clocking in at 1:48.54.


Ally Monk in the 3,200 (fourth place, 12:50.76), Hope Rajlich in the 400 (fifth place, 1:05.94), Kailyn Ingram in the 1,600 (fifth place, 5:50.05) and Payton Vallee in the discus (fifth place, 104-0) also chipped in with solid performances for SJO.


The Spartans will now turn their attention to the Illini Prairie Conference Meet, slated for a 2 p.m. start on Tuesday at Bloomington Central Catholic, before SJO closes out the regular season by hosting the Spartan Classic at 4:30 p.m. on Friday.

Relays thrive for SJO boys’ track and field at Spartan Classic

With the start of the postseason less than three weeks away, the St. Joseph-Ogden High School boys’ track and field team got a good glimpse of what to expect at this past Friday night’s Spartan Classic.


Hosted by SJO, the Spartans placed 10th at the 25-team meet. Monticello won the event with 85 points, followed by Rantoul (63), Salt Fork (58.14), Ridgeview/Lexington (56.29), Mt. Zion (48), Tri-County (39), Unity (38), Paxton-Buckley-Loda (35), Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin (33) and SJO (32.14) rounded out the top 10 schools.


SJO did not have an individual or relay win an event, but its four relay teams all posted top-five finishes.


The 800-meter relay team led the way, with Dwight Colvin, Aiden Meyer, Kaleb Harshbarger and Lane Gaskin placing second with a time of 1 minute, 33.16 seconds.


Colvin, Meyer, Brayden Grimsey and Gaskin teamed up in the 400 relay that finished third in 44.63, while the 1,600 relay quartet of Gaskin, Brady Buss, Meyer and Harshbarger also placed third in 3:34.29.


Meyer had the best individual showing for the Spartans, registering a time of 11.25 in the 100-meter dash, good enough for third.


The 3,200 relay of Keanen Swanson, Joel Branson, Lukas Hutcherson and Luke Stegall also chipped in with a fifth-place finish in 9:33.69.

The Spartans have two meets slated for this week, starting at 2 p.m. on Tuesday for the Illini Prairie Conference Meet at Bloomington Central Catholic before they travel to Clinton for the Clinton Carnival that starts at 4:30 p.m. on Friday.

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