June 24, 2024 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Hamilton, relay team win state titles as Spartans place third

Bringing state trophies home isn’t an easy task.


But the St. Joseph-Ogden High School girls’ track and field team sure makes it look routine.


The Spartans tied for third at the Class 1A state meet this past Saturday at O’Brien Stadium on the campus of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, marking the fourth straight year SJO has finished in the top three at the state meet.


This year’s performance comes on the heels of a state championship in 2018, a third-place finish in 2017 and a second-place finish in 2016. All told, this is SJO’s seventh state trophy in the sport.


And it was helped out by a pair of state champions. Sophomore Atleigh Hamilton won her second straight long jump title, soaring to a distance of 18 feet, 7.75 inches to take first place in the field event.


Hamilton also contributed to the other state champion that SJO produced, running a leg on the victorious 800-meter relay team.


Junior Danie Kelso, Hamilton, junior Hailey Birt and senior Maclayne Taylor helped SJO edge DuQuoin for first place in that race with a time of 1 minute, 44.81 seconds, with DuQoin finishing second in 1:44.82.


SJO also had healthy representation and good results in several other events during the finals. The 1,600 relay team of Hamilton, senior Rylee Sjuts, freshman Ashlyn Lannert and Taylor took second in 4:05.64.


Kelso, Taylor, Birt and Hamilton also added a fifth-place finish in the 400 relay (50.18), while the quartet of freshman Kailyn Ingram, junior Hannah Rajlich, Lannert and Sjuts placed seventh in the 3,200 relay (10:12.47).


Taylor added an eighth-place finish in the 100 (12.60) and senior Cassidy Bagby placed 33rd in the 3,200 (13:14.28).


Rajlich, junior Jenna Albrecht and freshman Grace Schmitz also competed at state for SJO last Thursday in the prelims, but didn’t qualify for the finals.

Rajlich turned in a time of 5:52.29 in the 1,600, Albrecht had a leap of 34-10.25 in the triple jump and Schmitz competed in the pole vault.

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