Savanna Franzen established herself on the high school cross-country scene as a freshman last fall.
Now a sophomore, Franzen is continuing to make her presence felt with the St. Joseph-Ogden High School girls’ cross-country team.
Franzen has recorded four top-10 finishes in each of the Spartans’ first four meets, all at various courses and against various competition during the first two weeks of the season.
She’ll get another chance to impress at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday in a dual meet against Monticello at Lodge Park in Monticello.
Here’s a roundup of what has transpired so far for the Spartans:
Spartans face tough competition at Detweiller
SJO is no stranger, historically, to the course at Detweiller Park in Peoria. The long-time home to the IHSA state meet has seen the Spartans celebrate winning small-school state titles at the venue in 1990, 2014 and 2016.
SJO’s most recent trip to Detweiller Park saw the Spartans – who will compete in Class 1A in the postseason this fall — go up against some of the biggest schools in Illinois.
SJO placed 24th out of 32 teams this past Saturday during the 3A portion of the First to the Finish Invitational at Detweiller Park in Peoria. The Spartans recorded a team score of 682. Naperville North won the team title with 63 points.
Franzen led the Spartans with a strong showing by placing eighth in 18 minutes, 9.2 seconds.
Scout Storms of Barrington won the race in 17:25.1.
Junior Chloe Burkhalter was the next SJO runner to cross the finish line, doing so in 20L12.8 to
place 108th. Freshman Sophia Kasper (23:09.8, 219th), freshman Hannah Mock (23:36.9,
232nd) and senior Kaytlyn Baker (23:44.3, 235th) rounded out the times for SJO.
Franzen has top time at Kickapoo
No team scores were kept in a dual meet with Oakwood/Salt Fork at Kickapoo State Park in Danville on Sept. 6 as Franzen posted a time of 21:21 to place second behind race winner Macie Russell of Oakwood/Salt Fork (21:13).
Burkhalter (24:27, third), Kasper (29:01, fifth), freshman Sydney Steinbach (29:01, sixth) and Mock (29:29, seventh) also ran for the Spartans on the day.
Spartans fifth at Cow Chip Classic
Franzen registered a top-five finish for SJO at the Cow Chip Classic in Chrisman on Sept. 3, helping the Spartans to a fifth-place team finish.
Franzen placed fourth with a time of 18:41.5, with race winner Molly Farrell of Marshall
(18:08.7), runner-up Mabry Bruhn of Monticello (18:20.00) and third-place finisher Kate Ahmari of Uni High (18:31.4) only finishing ahead of Franzen.
SJO compiled 127 points. Unity won the team title with 48 points, followed by Marshall (67), Robinson (100), Uni High (101) and SJO to round out the top five teams. St. Thomas More also accumulated 127 points, while Paxton-Buckley-Loda (156), Argenta-Oreana (217) and Paris (218) rounded out the field.
Burkhalter added a 14th-place finish for SJO in 20:48.5, while Kasper (23:28.1, 44th), Baker (23:28.4, 45th) and Mock (23:53.1, 51st) also factored into the team score for SJO.
Franzen shines in season debut
SJO traveled to Naperville on Aug. 27 for the EIU Showdown. The Spartans only had two
runners compete, so they didn’t have enough to account for a team score, but the two runners stood out. Franzen took second in 18:29.00, with first-place finisher Carissa Hamilton of Neuqua Valley only finishing ahead of Franzen with a time of 18:09.27.
Burkhalter also ran for the Spartans, placing 21st with a time of 20:21.59.
After Tuesday’s meet, at Monticello SJO is set to return again to Detweiller Park in Peoria for
the Peoria Notre Dame Invitational that begins at 9 a.m. this Saturday.