October 28, 2021 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Rajlich, Mattsey thrive for SJO cross-country in Peoria

Thank you to Carrie Mattsey photography for the photo!

The St. Joseph-Ogden High School team got its first look at the Detweiller Park course in Peoria this past Saturday.

Detweiller, the site of the state meet in early November, hosted the First to the Finish Invitational with teams from across the state in a meet where it was broken up among three classes in Class 1A, 2A and 3A — just like the state meet will be.

Both SJO teams competed in the 2A race, with the girls’ program placing ninth out of 47 teams, while the Spartans’ boys’ team was 24th out of 59 teams.

Senior Hannah Rajlich compiled the best finish for SJO in the girls’ race, clocking in at 19 minutes, 48.5 seconds to take 45th place out of more than 300 runners. Sophomore Ava Knapp was the next Spartan to finish, coming in 59th at 20:00.9, while sophomore Ashlyn Lannert (20:18.6, 80th), senior Ally Monk (83rd, 20:20.9) and sophomore Kailyn Ingram (20:32.2, 97th) all ensured the Spartans would have five runners in the top 100.


Junior Brandon Mattsey paced the SJO boys’ team, clocking in at 16:30.2 to place 56th in a field of more than 400 runners. Senior Eric Poe was the next fastest Spartan, placing 117th in 17:05.5. Sophomores Elijah Mock (17:22, 140th), Luke Stegall (17:34.3, 176th) and Charlie Mabry (17:54.1, 213rd) rounded out the top five runners for the Spartans.

Before the Spartans raced in Peoria, SJO competed against Oakwood/Salt Fork and Armstrong-Potomac in a triangular meet on Sept. 10 at Kickapoo State Park near Danville. No team scores were kept, boys’ and girls’ runners ran together and runners only ran 2 miles because of heat, but the Spartans boasted the top two times. Freshman Ethan Blackburn turned in the top time in 12:53.66, while senior Tad Pettit came in second in 12:56.66.

Mattsey (13:59, 67, sixth), Poe (14:11.23, seventh) and Stegall (14:17.83, ninth) rounded out the top five times for the SJO boys.

On the girls’ side, Rajlich (16:51.03), senior Jillian Plotner (16:51.65), Lannert (16:52.52), Knapp (16:56.65) and Monk (17:06.41) had the top five times for SJO.

Both SJO teams are slated to be back in action at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday when the Spartans host Monticello in a dual meet at Kickapoo State Park before heading to Peoria again this upcoming Saturday for the Peoria Notre Dame Invitational that is set to start at 9 a.m.

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