SJO headed to finals

CHARLESTON — St. Joseph-Ogden junior Zea Maroon tried to instill confidence in teammate Parker Francisco all season long about her ability to outperform her expectations in the 300-meter hurdles.

“I think she was always cautious, like, ‘Oh, I’ve never been a 300 hurdler,’” said Maroon, a fellow 300 hurdler who struggled after missing a month of training with a hip adductor injury. “This year I was like, ‘Parker, I haven’t been doing so hot, I’m recovering. I need you to step up for both of us.’”

Francisco didn’t believe Maroon until about 50 meters into Thursday’s Class 1A preliminaries during the state meet at O’Brien Stadium on the campus of Eastern Illinois University, when she unexpectedly held even with Luther North’s Natasha Bernett, the top seed.

“Multiple times over the week, I thought, ‘There’s no way, there’s no way,’” Francisco said. “With the girl who was supposed to be the top seed right by me, I was feeling good about it.”

Francisco finished just behind Bernett, with Bernett clocking in at 46.35 seconds and Francisco finishing in 46.45, and heads into Saturday’s finals with the third fastest time overall in the event. On Saturday, it might take surprising performances like that for the Spartans to bring home a team state title.

A year ago, SJ-O came into the state meet without expectations of winning a trophy, but behind strong performances in the relays and a surprising second-place finish in the pole vault from Hanna Atwood, they took second.  

With virtually the entire lineup returning, a trophy was expected this spring and a state title seemed within their grasp. That appears to be coming to fruition. Heading into Saturday, SJ-O is in a dead heat with Warrensburg-Latham and Luther North based on preliminary seeds. 

The Spartans ran the top preliminary times in the 400 relay (49.77) and 1,600 relay (4:06.59), but the 800 relay was the most surprising to junior Abbey Mizer, who was part of all three races. The Spartans came in with the fifth fastest sectional time but bested it by four seconds with a time of 1:45.49, good for the third best time on Thursday. The 3,200 relay also qualified for Saturday’s finals.

“We thought, ‘Oh maybe we can skate by and place,’” Mizer said, “but we weren’t expecting to be in the top two, top three going into finals. We didn’t think we’d be able to drop that much.’”

Francisco enters Saturday with the top preliminary time in the 100 hurdles, replicating her ranking up to this point with a time of 15.07 on Thursday. Atwood moved on in the pole vault, as did Maroon in the 300 hurdles and Maclayne Taylor in the 200. 

The Spartans, though, believed a long time ago that they had the ability to win the state meet.

“Our expectations were so much higher (coming into this season),” Mizer said. “Our coaches said, ‘We know you can do it, so do it ... It’s going to be extremely close, and we’re going to have to perform our best in every single area.”



The Leader embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. we reserve the right to remove any comment at its discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
mayweather wrote on June 28, 2017 at 1:06 am

This is really informative post i really enjoy it very much .if yiu have time you can visit my boxing blog Mcgregor vs Mayweather

mtsfiles wrote on August 29, 2017 at 7:08 am

it’s absolutely gorgeous  mts videos player Software 4k mts converter  Software  for mts files   free download to  convert HD camcorder files  mts to mp4

Ellen Brewer wrote on June 29, 2017 at 1:06 am

This brilliant and wonderful post can take the attention of many students who are affiliated with different universities. While reading this blog I got the idea of writing jobs when we read here that much productive for me. This idea will also give benefits to the students of different fields and different subjects.

aivivu wrote on December 18, 2017 at 7:12 pm
Profile Picture

Thanks so much!


bạn cần biết nếu mua vé máy bay lần đầu

Angelmary wrote on August 10, 2017 at 7:08 am

It is their hard work behind such consequent victory of SJO team and I would like to appreciate the team members for this great achievement. Also big thanks to the blog leader land news for sharing this happy news and I hope you will keep updating things.  wholesale tablets

Violeta wrote on September 04, 2017 at 6:09 am

At Instagram many users want to have free instagram followers instantly.

Friv games wrote on November 21, 2017 at 3:11 am

It is a wonderful time to enjoy more with Friv on Friv 3 Have a great time! 

Event Calendar

Today's Events  |  FAQ
Log in to add an event