July 14, 2024 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

SJO girls’ track and field wins eighth straight sectional title, qualifies 13 athletes for state

Winning sectional titles and sending multiple athletes to the state meet.
That’s the standard the St. Joseph-Ogden High School girls’ track and field team has established throughout its decorated history.


The tradition continued this past Friday night, with the Spartans winning their eighth consecutive Class 1A sectional title and qualifying 13 athletes for the state meet, held Thursday through Saturday at O’Brien Stadium on the campus of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. SJO is the defending state champion and will begin defense of its title on Thursday when the Class 1A prelims get underway before the finals start on Saturday.


SJO compiled 129.5 points to win the sectional meet, easily surpassing runner-up Uni High (75.5). Salt Fork (67), Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin (65) and St. Thomas More (58) rounded out the top five teams.


SJO had three relay teams place first at the sectional meet to lead the way. The 400-meter relay quartet of Danie Kelso, Maclayne Taylor, Hailey Birt and Atleigh Hamilton clocked in with a winning time of 50.52 seconds, while the same foursome led the 800 relay to a win with a time of 1:46.91.
Ashlyn Lannert, Rylee Sjuts, Jillian Plotner and Kelso also teamed up to win the 1,600 relay with a time of 4:15.17.


The Spartans also qualified for state in the 3,200 relay as Kailyn Ingram, Addie Allen, Sjuts and Hannah Rajlich placed second in 11:43.00.


SJO will have representation in Charleston in seven individual events. Taylor placed second in the 100 (12.94) and the 200 (26.49), while Rajlich finished second in the 1,600 (5:42.37) and Cassidy Bagby placed second in the 3,200 (12:17.34).


Defending long jump state champion Atleigh Hamilton qualified by placing second in the event with a leap of 17 feet, 4 inches.

She’ll be joined by teammates Grace Schmitz in the pole vault and Jenna Albrecht in the triple jump during field events in Charleston. Schmitz placed second in the pole vault by clearing 9-0, while Albrecht hit state-qualifying standards in the triple jump with a distance of 34-1, good enough for third place at the sectional meet.

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