December 6, 2022 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

SJO cross-country teams eager to start season off and running

The end goal for every high school cross-country runner in Illinois is to end the season racing at Detweiller Park in Peoria.

It makes sense, after all, since that is the site of the state meet. For St. Joseph-Ogden High School, a trip to Peoria the second Saturday in November is more the norm than the exception.

The Spartans start their quest to travel to Peoria again on Saturday during the Doc Acklin Memorial Invitational in Paris. Action begins at 8:30 a.m., one of 10 regular-season meets both SJO boys’ and girls’ teams will run this season.

“We’re excited,” said Jason Retz, SJO’s boys’ coach since 2013 and girls’ coach since 2014. “This team has put in a lot of great work over the summer. Our men are developing better than anticipated and our women are taking on new roles and thriving.”

The SJO girls’ program, which won Class 1A state titles in 2014 and 2016 along with a second-place state finish in 2017 and a third-place finish in 2015, will return six athletes who ran at the state meet to help the Spartans finish fifth in the state team standings. Seniors Ally Monk, Jillian Plotner and Hannah Rajlich, along with sophomores Kailyn Ingram, Ashlyn Lannert and Hope Rajlich all return after racing at state. They will take on new roles after Cassidy Bagby, who earned All-State honors last season by placing 21st, graduated and continues her running career in college at Indiana State.

Other runners expected to contribute for SJO include junior Hanna Eastin and sophomores Addie Allen, Sidney Davis, Ava Knap, Kendra Riddle and Taryn Sexton.

“These women continue to work together to better our program,” Retz said, “and try to do things in a way to make those before them proud and lay a better foundation to those still to come.”

For the SJO boys’ program, the Spartans don’t have a returning state qualifier after Isiah McCune, the team’s lone state qualifier in 2018, graduated. But senior Eric Poe, junior Brandon Mattsey and sophomores Charlie Mabry, Elijah Mock and Luke Stegall are all back after racing at the 1A regional level last season that helped the Spartans advance to the sectional meet as a team, where SJO ultimately finished sixth, just one spot away from advancing the whole team to the state meet.

Seniors Taddy Pettit and Josh Sexton, juniors Lukas Hutcherson and Logan Wolfersberger and sophomore Braden Clampitt are other returnees the Spartans can rely on this season.

“These men have been working great together all summer,” Retz said. “They continue to improve our program day in and day out with their commitment to each other.”

After Saturday’s Doc Acklin Memorial Invitational, the Spartans will run six times in September — the Cowchip Classic in Chrisman on Sept. 7, against Oakwood/Salt Fork on Sept. 10, the First to the Finish Invitational at Detwiller Park in Peoria on Sept. 14, against Monticello on Sept. 17, the Peoria Notre Dame Invitational on Sept. 21 and the Spartan Classic in St. Joseph on Sept. 28. Before regional action is set for Oct. 26, SJO will compete at the Illini Prairie Conference Meet on Oct. 8 in Fairbury, at the Prairie Central Invitational on Oct. 12 and at the Patriot Invitational in Peoria Heights on Oct. 19 to conclude the regular season.

“We have two new meets we have not competed at before in the First to the Finish meet in Peoria and the invite at Prairie Central,” Retz said. “As we continue to grow as a program we try to run against the best competition in the state.”

All of which, the Spartans hope, yield them plenty of positive results come November when the postseason action heats up. But that’s not the only goal, according to Retz.

“If we continue to make better student athletes through our program that will mean success,” he said. “We have been lucky to win several trophies over the last several years, but those only represent the quality men and women we have had in our program.”

Banner
Related Posts

Bree Trimble Working Out With Siblings and Father

July 7, 2020

July 7, 2020

Like all athletes, Bree Trimble plans on coming back to the Parkland College Cobra women’s basketball team as a bigger,...

She’s Back! Dukeman set to get another shot at softball this summer

June 30, 2020

June 30, 2020

Hannah Dukeman is getting a chance to play softball despite COVID-19 stealing her senior season at St. Joseph-Ogden High School....

Thomey, Harris help SJO soccer end Cornjerker Classic with win

September 15, 2021

September 15, 2021

The St. Joseph-Ogden High School soccer team ended the Cornjerker Classic in style. Carrying a four-match losing streak into its...

‘There is no one more deserving of this honor’

June 26, 2020

June 26, 2020

Glenn Fisher loves St. Joseph-Ogden High School. For decades, Fisher’s main concern was that the facilities and sports fields at...

Bagby picks Indiana State

March 21, 2019

March 21, 2019

Next year, Cassidy Bagby will be a Sycamore. Earlier this month, St. Joseph-Ogden senior Cassidy Bagby signed her letter of...

Weaver, SJO football is a way of life

August 30, 2019

August 30, 2019

With the 2019 St. Joseph-Ogden football season ready to kickoff on Friday evening, we are beginning a new feature called...

SJO football schedule for 2019 set

July 1, 2019

July 1, 2019

Making the playoffs is always a goal for the St. Joseph-Ogden High School football team. Having qualified in 27 of...

Dowling wins Gatorade Player of the Year, SJO softball bows out in sectional semifinals

June 6, 2019

June 6, 2019

Late May provided bittersweet moments for the St. Joseph-Ogden High School softball team. Sweet in the sense junior shortstop Bailey...

Kaiser’s positivity a plus on court

October 4, 2019

October 4, 2019

Lacey Kaiser is a positive presence on the volleyball court. So much so, that her coach Abby McDonald nominated her...

Donation could change the face of sports and activities at SJO

February 16, 2021

February 16, 2021

An anonymous donor has made St. Joseph-Ogden High School an offer they couldn’t refuse. And because of it, SJO athletic...

McCune accomplishes personal goal

May 14, 2021

May 14, 2021

At the beginning of his sophomore track season at University of Illinois-Springfield, St. Joseph-Ogden graduate Isiah McCune had a goal...

SJO baseball off to superb start

April 7, 2022

April 7, 2022

High-scoring wins. Dominant pitching performances. Balanced hitting up and down the lineup. These are just some of the staples the...

Hard work key to Gaskin’s success

April 30, 2019

April 30, 2019

St. Joseph-Ogden senior track athlete Lane Gaskin is a hard worker. Boys track coach Jason Retz said Gaskin is willing...

Armstrong, Spartans start off Arteaga Era with unbeaten opening week

November 23, 2021

November 23, 2021

What a way to start the season. And the Drew Arteaga Era. The St. Joseph-Ogden High School girls’ basketball team...

Hug, Immke propel SJO volleyball on win streak

September 19, 2022

September 19, 2022

The slow start is long gone for the St. Joseph-Ogden High School volleyball team.Now, the Spartans are racking up win....

Comments
Leave a Reply