Winning sectional championships and sending a plethora of athletes to the state meet is the standard for the St. Joseph-Ogden High School girls’ track and field team.
This year is no exception.
The Spartans will have six athletes in individual events and three relays competing at the Class 1A state meet that begins Thursday at O’Brien Stadium on the Eastern Illinois University campus in Charleston.
The prelims in each event are set for Thursday, with the finals on Saturday.
All of those accomplishments came about after SJO won the 1A Salt Fork Sectional in Catlin this past Friday night. The Spartans compiled 118 points, seven more than runner-up Salt Fork, to win their 10th consecutive sectional championship. Uni High (104), Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin (36), Judah Christian (32) and Westville (32) rounded out the top five team finishers.
Here’s a recap of the postseason success the Spartans have achieved so far, along with a look back at a superb Spartan Classic showing for SJO and a runner-up finish in the Illini Prairie Conference Meet earlier this month:
May 13: Relays shine at sectional
SJO received steady production in nearly every event, but only one recorded a first-place finish at the Salt Fork Sectional.
The quartet of senior Kailyn Ingram, sophomore Helene Jones, freshman Savanna Franzen and senior Ava Knap had the best time in the 3,200-meter relay, clocking in at 10 minutes, 30.81 seconds.
The 3,200 relay is set to run at 11 a.m. on Thursday during the 1A state prelims in Charleston.
SJO placed second in six events at the sectional meet, all qualifying for the state meet.
Senior Hope Rajlich finished second in the 200-meter dash in 27.07 seconds, while Franzen took second in the 1,600 in 5:22.59. The 200 prelims on Thursday are slated for 1:48 p.m. and the 1,600 prelims for 1:30 p.m.
Senior Abby Behrens was second in the high jump, clearing 4 feet, 11 3/4 inches and sophomore Payton Carter was second in the pole vault, clearing 10-5 1/2.
The 800 relay of Carter, senior Grace Schmitz, junior Emily Elsbernd and Rajlich placed second in 1:50.96 and the 1,600 relay of senior Ashlyn Lannert, Ingram, Jones and Rajlich was second in 4:22.23.
The 800 relay is set to run at approximately 12:24 p.m. on Thursday at state, with the 1,600 relay at 2:04 p.m. The high jump competition begins at 10 a.m. and the pole vault begins at 11 a.m.
A third-place finish from Knap in the 1,600 (5:31.97) and fourth-place finish from Schmitz in the pole vault (9-11 3/4) were also good enough to have the two seniors make it to state in those two events.
Senior Addie Allen in the 3,200 (13:13.59), junior Kaytlyn Baker in the 100 hurdles (17.61), Lannert in the 300 hurdles (49.40) and senior Ashley Eldridge in the shot put (33-10 1/4) all placed third.
Sophomore Lauren Lannert in the 400 (1:05.80), sophomore Chloe Burkhalter in the 800 (2:32.25), senior Taryn Sexton in the 3,200 (13:21.29) and Elsbernd in the long jump (16-1 3/4) placed fourth, while freshman Alexis Wirth in the 100 (13.96), Elsbernd in the triple jump (31-9 1/2) and the 400 relay of Rajlich, Elsbernd, Ashlyn Lannert and Carter (54.87) all took fifth.
May 6: Great night for Spartans at own Spartan Classic
SJO ran away from the nine-team field at its own facility, scoring 182 points to easily win the meet.
Uni High recorded 106 points, followed by 70 points from third-place Monticello.
The Spartans recorded seven first-place finishes, six second-place finishes and seven third-place finishes to produce the team win.
Ashlyn Lannert won the 300 hurdles in 50.25, Behrens won the high jump in 4-10 1/2, Schmitz and Carter tied for first in the pole vault by clearing 9-6 1/4 and Elsbernd won the long jump with a leap of 15-2 3/4.
The 400 relay team of Rajlich, Elsbernd, Ashlyn Lannert and Carter crossed the finish line first in 53.53. So did the 800 relay quartet of Lauren Lannert, Carter, Schmitz and Elsbernd in 1:56.80 and the 1,600 relay foursome of Ashlyn Lannert, Ingram, Lauren Lannert and Jones in 4:36.12.
Second-place finishes for SJO happened with Wirth in the 100 (14.37), Rajlich in the 200 (28.30), Franzen in the 1,600 (5:25.34), Baker in the 100 hurdles (18.06), Eldridge in the shot put (30-7) and senior Alyssa Hamilton in the discus (91-3).
Third-place showing for the Spartans came about from Behrens in the 100 (14.55), Rajlich in the 400 (1:03.33), Ingram in the 800 (2:31.35), Knap in the 1,600 (5:53.71), Sexton in the 3,200 (13:35.47), Baker in the 300 hurdles (53.52) and senior Mackenzie Trame in the shot put (30-1 1/2).
May 3: Schmitz wins conference title
SJO finished second at the 11-team Illini Prairie Conference Meet in Chillicothe, compiling 122.5 points.
Only champion Unity with 129.5 had more. Bloomington Central Catholic and Monticello tied for third with 77.5 points and Pontiac was fifth with 72 points.
Schmitz had the lone conference title for the Spartans, winning the pole vault by clearing 10-6.
Rajlich finished second in the 200 (27.91), while Lauren Lannert, Carter, Schmitz and Elsbernd took second in the 800 relay (1:55.49), Behrens was second in the high jump (4-11 3/4) and Elsbernd placed second in the triple jump (30-11 3/4).
SJO placed third in three events, with Franzen doing so in the 1,600 (5:27.75) and the 3,200 (11:29.80) and the quartet of Ingram, Jones, Lauren Lannert and Ashlyn Lannert crossing the finish line in 4:21.03.