Detweiller Park, here they come.
After two stellar postseason races, the St. Joseph-Ogden High School boys’ cross-country team and girls’ cross-country team will both compete this Saturday at the Class 1A state meet in Peoria.
The 1A girls’ race in Peoria is slated to begin at 9 a.m., with the 1A boys’ race to follow at 10 a.m.
And SJO will be well-represented in both.
For the SJO boys’ team, the Spartans placed third this past Saturday at the 1A Effingham St. Anthony Sectional, which was preceded by a third-place finish at the 1A Tuscola Regional on Oct. 26.
SJO compiled 158 points at the sectional meet, behind champion Monticello (42) and runner-up Uni High (96), but ahead of Unity (162) and Robinson (173). The top five schools all advanced to state.
Junior Brandon Mattsey paced SJO with a 13th-place finish in 16 minutes, 56 seconds. Senior Eric Poe made sure the Spartans had two runners in the top 25, with Poe placing 22nd in 17:16.
Sophomore Charlie Mabry was the next SJO runner to cross the finish line, doing so in 17:40 for a 36th-place finish. Sophomore Elijah Mock (17:50, 42nd) and junior Logan Wolfersberger (17:52, 45th) rounded out the top five runners for SJO.
Prior to SJO running in Effingham, the Spartans finished fifth at the Tuscola Regional, one of seven teams to move on to the sectional.
SJO accumulated 97 points, behind Monticello (28), Uni High (83), PBL (95) and Unity (95), with Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin (158) and St. Thomas More (231) rounding out the team sectional qualifiers.
Mattsey and Poe gave SJO two runners in the top 15, with Mattsey touring the Wimple Park course in 16:44 to place 10th and Poe doing so in 17:03 to place 14th.
Mabry (17:15, 20th), Mock (17:26, 24th) and sophomore Luke Stegall (17:39, 29th) made sure to help SJO advanced after its first postseason race.
Just like the SJO boys, the SJO girls’ team finished third at the Effingham St. Anthony Sectional this past Saturday.
The Spartans compiled 110 points, behind champion Monticello (53) and Unity (66), but ahead of other state-qualifying teams in STM (116) and Uni High (132).
Senior Jillian Plotner clocked the fastest time for the Spartans in 19:33 to place 11th, while the next four Spartans all formed a solid pack to help the Spartans move on. Sophomore Ashlynn Lannert (19:57, 23rd), senior Hannah Rajlich (19:58, 24th), sophomore Ava Knap (19:59, 25th) and sophomore Malorie Sarnecki (20:04, 27th) rounded out the top five runners for SJO.
At the Tuscola Regional on Oct. 26, the Spartans placed third to qualify as one of seven teams moving on to the sectional meet. SJO accumulated 85 points, with Monticello (37) and Unity (47) taking the top two spots. STM (87), Uni High (104), PBL (187) and Tuscola (219) all moved their entire teams on to Effingham.
Plotner garnered a top-10 finish to lead SJO in Tuscola by finishing ninth in 19:10. The next four SJO runners all had a balanced run, giving the Spartans five runners in the top 21. Lannert (19:43, 16th), Knap (19:48, 19th), Sarnecki (19:54, 20th) and senior Ally Monk (19:55, 21st) all finished within seconds of one another to give the Spartans a solid start to the postseason.
And the postseason will conclude where SJO wants it to. At Detweiller Park in Peoria, where the top 25 runners earn All-State honors and the top three teams earn state trophies.
Photo by Dan Chamness