July 1, 2022 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Lady Spartans Finish Second At Patriot Invitational; Third At IPC Finals

By Dan Chamness

If the last two meets are any indication, the team title for the Illinois High School Association Class 1A State Title will be a battle. 


And there is a good chance the winner will be from the Illini Prairie Conference. But, one thing for sure is that the IPC teams will be in the hunt. Case and point: in the 27-team Patriot Cross Country Invitational hosted by Peoria Heights, the top three positions were taken by IPC teams. 


St. Joseph was second with 82 points. The only team that beat them was the Unity Rockets, who scored 72 points. Monticello was third with 89 points. Robinson took fourth with 174 points. 


The Lady Spartans, competing at Detweiller Park, where the state finals will be held in three weeks, put two females in the top five and three in the top 15. 


Savanna Franzen took second, dashing to the three-mile finish line in 18 minutes, 18.0 seconds. She was less than 10 seconds from the winning pace of Elena Rybak, a Glen Carbon-based Father McGivney freshman, who ran a time of 18:09.4. Ava Knapp was fourth in 18:28.3. Kailyn Ingram, in the Class of 2022 with Knapp, finished 14th in 19:08.5. 


Chloe Burkhalter and Addie Allen finished 33rd and 36th respectively. Burkhalter finished in 20:14.0, while Allen ran a 2:23.7. Taryn Sexton finished 50th with a 20:43.5, Kaytlyn Baker served as the seventh runner and took 112th in 22:33.1. 


Just a mere 11 days earlier, the Lady Spartans took third in the Illini Prairie Conference Finals. They would score 64 points. Only 16 points separated first from third place. Monticello took first with 48 points, while Unity took second with 51 points. All three teams are ranked in the top six among Illinois High School Association Class 1A teams. 
The Lady Spartans had a 1-2 punch from their freshman Franzen, who would win the individual conference title in 18:16.4 


“The level of competition has helped me greatly,” said Franzen. “During the race, I wanted to stay controlled through the first half and then speed up in the second half. I ended up doing that, passing the leader and winning the race. I was not concentrating on time, only the place. I wanted to finish in the top three.”


Knapp was less than four seconds behind Franzen, finishing second in 18:20.3. Monticello grabbed the third and fourth spots. 


“I was not feeling great and had been battling a cold,” said Knapp. “I was not sure how I could accomplish that, but once I decided to commit, I knew I would stay with Savanna. We train together every day and during our races, our strength comes from our ability to work together. Stepping up to the line, I knew that we would be side-by-side for the race and that helped me when I start to struggle.”


Ingram finished just north of 20 minutes for the three miles, finishing in 20:04.6. She was 13th overall. Burkhalter and Sexton wrapped up the scoring for SJO. Burkhalter took 25th in 21:00.0, while Sexton was 26th in 21:08.9. Allen also finished in the top 30, taking 28th. She toured the course in 21:18.6. Baker took 48th in 23:21.5. 


“This team works extremely well together,” said Retz. “They stuck to the plan and the rest took care of itself. Every decision that is made is made for the team. We are extremely pleased with our results.”

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