Spartans runners head to state

Both the boys and girls cross country teams at St. Joseph-Ogden will be in the running for this year's Class 1A IHSA State Finals on Saturday.

The men's squad finished third in the team standings after last Saturday's sectional meet in Effingham. SJO's top five runners accumulated 158 points behind Urbana U-High (96 points) and sectional champions Monticello with 42 points.

Junior Brandon Mattsey finished the course at 16.56 and Eric Poe clocked in at 17.16. Both runners turned in times nearly minute slower than their times near the end of September due to the muddy, marsh like conditions along the course.

"Our coach had us run without socks," said Poe, a second-year veteran. He was the 22nd runner to cross the finish line. "It made it much easier to run with just spikes."

Saturday will be a first Poe, who will be running in his first state cross country meet. He excited about the opportunity to run against some of the top runners in the state.

"Every team there, every runner is high quality," he said. "The quality of the runners that will be there, that's what I'm excited about."

The senior is glad he left football, he played his frosh and sophomore season, as his fall sport and jumped into the sport of cross country.

"I don't regret the decision," he said with pride. "I'm very thankful for the coach I have and my teammates who have been helping me along. It is not an easy sport."

Also running for the Spartans at the sectional meet was Charlie Mabry, who turned a time of 17.40. Three other runners - Elijah Mock (17.50), Logan Wolfersberger (17.52) and Luke Stegall (17.53) - finished under the 18 minute mark. Lukas Hutcherson was the last St. Joseph-Ogden off the course at 18.49.

The Spartans will run their final race of the season at Detweiller Park in Peoria on Saturday. The girls race starts at 9 a.m.. An hour later boys race starts at 10 a.m..

If you plan to head to Peoria for the state meet, here are the bib number of SJO runners to look out for: 702 — Ethan Blackburn (Fr.), 703 — Braden Clampitt (So.), 704 — Zach Dahman (Fr.), 705 — Lukas Hutcherson (Jr.), 706 — Charlie Mabry (So.), 707 — Brandon Mattsey (Jr.), 708 — Elijah Mock (So.), 709 — Taddy Pettit (Sr.), 710 — Eric Poe (Sr.), 711 — Josh Sexton (Sr.), 712 — Luke Stegall (So.) and 713 — Logan Wolfersberger (Jr.).

The SJO girls will be wearing the following numbers for their race: 253 — Addie Allen (So.), 254 — Kaytlyn Baker (Fr.), 255 — Sidney Davis (So.), 256 — Hanna Eastin (Jr.), 257 — Kailyn Ingram (So.), 258 — Ava Knap (So.), 259 — Ashlyn Lannert (So.), 260 — Ally Monk (Sr.), 261 — Jillian Plotner (Sr.), 262 — Hannah Rajlich (Sr.), 263 — Hope Rajlich (So.), 264 — Kendra Riddle (So.), 265 — Malorie Sarnecki (So.) and 266 — Taryn Sexton (So.).

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