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The St. Joseph-Ogden boys’ track and field team began the 2017 outdoor season with a pair of meets, and while the depth of the squad at the varsity level has dropped off a bit from the past couple of seasons, the cast of characters returning from last season is attempting to make up for the lack of experience.
Leading the charge for SJO on the male side is senior Justin Phillips and junior Wyatt Wolfersberger, both of whom had great indoor seasons and have taken that momentum outside and continued to excel.
Wolfersberger finished first in the 3200 meters at Urbana High School, as the Spartans competed with Urbana, Monticello, Danville and Rantoul. Wolfersberger’s time was 10:03.53. nearly 48 seconds faster than the second-place finisher.
Other notable finishes in the meet at Urbana were Riley Baker, who finished first in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 41.93, and sophomore Dwight Colvin, who placed fifth overall in the 100 meters, hitting the tape at 11,96.
The boys’ 4 x 400-meter relay team finished third overall, coming in with a time of 3:47.49. Members of that team are Jacob Shaw, John Acklin, Aiden Meyer and Andrew McDermott.
In the high jump, Keenan Swanson finished second overall, clearing the bar at 5’4”.
In the triple jump, Nathan Emmert finished seventh, jumping 33’4.5”, while in the shot put, Caleb Johnson delivered a throw of 40’3”.
On Saturday, the Spartans traveled to Rantoul to compete with several other schools, including several at the 2A level.
SJO finished a respectable seventh out of 18 teams, led once again by their distance duo of Justin Phillips and Wyatt Wolfersberger.
Phillips finished first in the 1600 meters, coming in with a time of 4:33.95. Wolfersberger finished fourth overall in the 1600 meters, ending his run with a time of 4:43.49.
Riley Baker had another strong showing in the 400 meters, finishing third overall with a time of 51.42.
There was also a fresh-soph division of the meet, and several SJO athletes warranted mention with their strong finishes.
In the 4 x 400-meter relay, the fresh-soph team of Kaleb Harshbarger, Lane Gaskin, Joel Branson and Aiden Meyer finished third overall with a time of 3:46.18, while in the discus, Max Chatterton finished first with a throw of 108’4”.
The boys will have a couple meets this coming week, with the Spartans competing with Rantoul, Clinton and Champaign Central on Tuesday at Champaign, followed by their first invitational of the season on Friday, when they will participate in the Monticello Invite.
The 2017 girls outdoor track season is officially underway, and the St. Joseph-Ogden Spartans are continuing the success they had during the indoor season with some good times to start the outdoor portion.
The Lady Spartans participated in two meets this past week, both of those being at Urbana High School. The first meet was the Champaign County meet, held on April 1, and SJO performed well against some larger schools in the county.
Frankie Izard finished first in the 100 meter-dash with a time of 13.26, while teammate Alessia Reeves came in second with a time of 14.05. Izard finished third in the 200, coming in at 27.31. Maclayne Taylor came in fourth with a time of 27.56.
In the 400 meters, Zea Maroon and Abbey Mizer finished second and third, respectively. In the 800, Rylee Sjuts turned in a second place finish in 2:35.14.
In the 3200 meters, Sam Mabry, Keely Smith and Hannah Rajlich finished fourth, fifth and sixth overall, while Ally Monk came in eighth place overall. The strong tradition of SJO distance runners are well evident, with this quartet of runners.
“The distance crew had a great indoor training season, so it has been exciting to watch times drop already in the first two outdoor meets”, Spartans girls’ head coach Kelly Steffen said about her distance runners and the success that they are having early in the season.
The SJO relay teams had a marginally successful meet, with the 4 x 200 finishing second overall, while the 4 X 400 (Sam Mabry, Abbey Mizer, Zea Maroon and Rylee Sjuts) finished first overall in a time of 4:19.61, nearly 16 seconds better than second place Champaign Central.
“We have 8-10 girls contributing to our sprint relays, which allows us a lot of flexibility in our meet lineups. Getting to run different girls in open and relay events keeps the team fresh and motivated to drop time”, Steffen added regarding the depth of the relay teams.
In the field events, Parker Francisco and Hanna Atwood turned in first place performances in their respective events. Francisco won the triple jump with a leap of 33’1.5”, while Atwood continued her dominance in the pole vault, soaring to 10’6”. Newcomer Haley Griebat finished tied for second in the high jump, clearing 5 feet. According to Steffen, Griebat is making strides.
“Haley has cleared 5 feet in the first two meets, and she is a great addition to our field events”, Steffen noted about Griebat and her contribution to the team.
In the other meet of the week, the girls were back at Urbana High School to compete with Urbana, Monticello, Rantoul and Danville, some larger schools with very talented athletes.
Notable finishes for the Spartans were Frankie Izard in the 100 meters (2nd, 13:02), Maclayne Taylor in the 200 (2nd, 27:43), Sam Mabry (2nd, 1:03.73), Faith Houston (3rd, 1:04.37 and Keely Smith (4th, 1:07.44) in the 400, and Hannah Rajlich (2nd, 5:45.26) and Ally Monk (3rd, 5:52.97) in the 1600 meters.
In the 100-meter hurdles, Parker Francisco finished first with a time of 15.49, while in the relays, all three of the events entered by the Spartans finished second. Once again, the relay teams had some variance to them, which allowed SJO to get some of the younger athletes involved. In the field events, Haley Griebat once again cleared 5 feet, while Hailey Birt finished at 4’6”.
In the shot put, Sarah Chahine finished fifth overall with a throw of 31’1”, while in the discus, Bree Trimble placed third overall with a heave of 87’6”.
The first invitational for the girls will be on Thursday afternoon, when they will compete in the Unity Invite at Tolono.