February 8, 2023 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Knap, Franzen spark SJO girls’ track and field to strong April

May is the month profound memories are made on the high school girls’ track and field scene.
St. Joseph-Ogden has made plenty during its storied history. And this latest version of the Spartans is hoping to add to the program’s legacy this month.
Here is a recap of what was a busy April for SJO, with a look ahead at what meets the Spartans have coming up in May.

April 29
The Spartans tied for eighth at the Monticello Invitational, compiling 33 points. Mt. Zion won the 18-team meet with 86 points, followed by Seneca (69), Tuscola (68), Salt Fork (46) and Uni High (39) rounding out the top five schools.
Unity (36), Shelbyville (34) and PBL (33) were also close to SJO in the team standings.
SJO did not win any events, but did have a trio of runner-up finishes.
Savanna Franzen placed second in the 800-meter run with a time of 2 minutes, 25.44 seconds, while Abby Behrens was second in the high jump by clearing 4 feet, 11 3/4 inches and the 1,600 relay quartet of Kailyn Ingram, Helene Jones, Franzen and Hope Rajlich took second in 4:14.22.
Ava Knap placed fifth in the 1,600 (5:27.34), Ashlyn Lannert was fifth in the 300 hurdles (50.69), the 400 relay of Alexis Wirth, Emily Elsbernd, Lannert and Rajlich was fifth in 53.51 and the 800 relay of Wirth, Elsbernd, Grace Schmitz and Rajlich was fifth in 1:55.90.

April 22
The Spartans ran away to win the 15-team Falcon Invitational in Gibson City.
SJO recorded 167 points, 101 more than runner-up Uni High and its 66 points.
PBL (53), Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin (45) and Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley (43) rounded out the top five schools.
Rajlich won the 200 in 26.72, while Knap (2:38.91) and Chloe Burkhalter (2:39.81) took the top two spots in the 800.
Franzen placed first in the 1,600 (5:31.46) and Kaytlyn Baker won the 300 hurdles (52.03).
Payton Carter added a first-place finish in the pole vault by clearing 10-11 3/4 and Schmitz was second in the same event at 10-6.
The Spartans’ 1,600 relay of ones, Knap, Ingram and Lannert won in 4:31.31, while Jones, Ingram, Addie Allen and Malorie Sarnecki helped SJO win the 3,200 relay in 11:06.22.
SJO placed second in four events: the 400, 100 hurdles, 400 relay and 800 relay.
Rajlich was second in the 400 (1:02.12) and Baker was second in the 100 hurdles (18.18).
Carter, Elsbernd, Lannert and Rajlich paired up on the 400 relay with a second-place time of 52.57, with Carter, Elsbernd, Schmitz and Lannert teaming up on the 800 relay with a second-place time of 1:56.40.
Rajlich in the 100 (13.10), Ashley Eldridge in the shot put (31-4), Behrens in the high jump (4-11 3/4) and Elsbernd in the triple jump (30-9 3/4) all placed third.

April 19
The Spartans squared off with Unity and Salt Fork in a competitive triangular meet in Catlin. Unity won with 62 points, followed by SJO in second with 60 points and Salt Fork in third with 51 points.
Knap and Lannert earned first-place finishes, with Knap winning the 3,200 in 12:13.22 and Lannert winning the 300 hurdles in 52.78.
The 1,600 relay of Franzen, Knap, Jones and Rajlich also took first in 4:29.60.
Madison Clampitt was second in the 200 (31.91), Burkhalter was second in the 1,600 (5:45.100), Eldridge was second in the shot put (30-5), Behrens was second in the high jump (4-9 3/4) and the 400 relay of Carter, Elsbernd, Schmitz and Rajlich was second in 52.79.
Wirth in the 200 (32.25), Alyssa Hamilton in the shot put (28-5 1/2), Macy Reed-Thompson in the high jump (4-9 1/2), Ingram in the 800 (2:39.99) and Elsbernd in the triple jump (30-0) all placed third.

April 14
The Spartans tied for fourth at the 15-team Unity Invitational in Tolono, registering 54 points.
Tuscola won the meet with 95 points, followed by Salt Fork (68) and Monticello (57) as the second- and third-place teams, respectively.
SJO won two events, both relays. Carter, Elsbernd, Schmitz and Rajlich crossed the finish line first in the 800 relay in 1:54.54, while Knap, Ingram, Franzen and Burkhalter did the same in the 3,200 relay in 10:29.57.
Franzen and Knap also shined in the 1,600, with Knap placing second (5:26.48) and Knap placing third (5:32.10).
The 400 relay of Rajlich, Elsbernd, Lannert and Carter also brought home a third-place finish in 53.00.

April 7
SJO finished with 98 points to win a triangular meet at Charleston that also featured Rantoul. Charleston was second with 78 points and Rantoul was third with 56 points.
Rajlich (1:04.95) and Jones (1:06.84) took the top two spots in the 400, while France (2:45.17, Knap (2:46.83) and Malorie Sarnecki (2:52.78) swept the top three spots in the 800.
Baker (17.70) and Lauren Lannert (20.26) took first and third, respectively, in the 100 hurdles, while Baker (52.60), Ashlyn Lannert (54.55) and Jayci Hayes (1:03.13) nabbed the top three spots in the 300 hurdles.
Eldridge paced SJO in the field events by winning the shot put with a throw of 32-2 and finishing third in the discus at 80-4. Hamilton added a second-place showing in the discus (85-1) and a third-place finish in the shot put (28-8).
Behrens (4-8, second place) and Reed-Thompson (4-8, third place) added points for SJO in the high jump. So did Yamilka Casanova (28-0 1/4, second place in the triple jump; 13-4 3/4, third place in the long jump) and Joselyn Frerichs (27-8 1/2, third place in the triple jump).
The 800 relay of Clampitt, Behrens, Reed-Thompson and Wirth was second in 2:00.83, while Ingram, Knap, Burkhalter and Franzen were third in 2:04.84.

April 5
SJO opened the outdoor season by winning a five-team meet at Danville.
The Spartans garnered 166 points, well ahead of runner-up Monticello and its 112 points.
Danville (80), Rantoul (72) and Urbana (66) rounded out the rest of the field.
Rajlich dominated for SJO in the sprints, winning the 100 in 13.61 and the 200 in 27.55.
Ashlyn Lannert (51.94) and Baker (52.05) claimed the top two spots in the 300 hurdles, while Eldridge won the shot put (30-8) and Carter did the same in the pole vault (10-6).
The quartet of Behrens, Schmitz, Reed-Thompson and Wirth added a first-place finish in the 800 relay (2:01.86), while Schmitz also placed second in the pole vault (9-0).
Other second-place finishers for SJO included Franzen in the 1,600 (5:16.17), Baker in the 100 hurdles (17.77), Behrens in the high jump (4-7), Casanova in the long jump (13-2), Elsbernd in the triple jump (29-0) and the 800 relay of Knap, Franzen, Burkhalter and Ingram (4:49.50).
Lyla Frerichs in the high jump (4-7), Casanova in the triple jump (27-3) and Burkhalter in the 800 (2:35.58) added to the strong showing by SJO with third-place finishes in their respective events.

What’s next for the Spartans
SJO will hit the road on Tuesday for the Illini Prairie Conference Meet that will start at 2 p.m. in Chillicothe.
Three days later, SJO will host its annual Spartan Classic in St. Joseph at 4:30 p.m. before the postseason ramps up the following week.
On May 13, the Spartans will attempt to qualify as many athletes and relays to the Class 1A state meet — set for May 19-21 in Charleston — when the 18-team Salt Fork Sectional starts at 4:30 p.m.

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