Ladies basketball team get conference win

Anna Wentzloff scores 4 for Spartans
After snagging an defensive rebound, Spartan Anna Wentzloff looks for an open teammate to pass the ball during the her team's first home game in 2020. The senior finished with four points in St. Joseph-Ogden's 55-19 drubbing over visting Illinois Valley Central today. St. Joseph-Ogden, who finished 5th at this year's State Farm Holiday Classic basketball tournament, moves forward with their 14-4 record to face St. Thomas More in Illini Prairie Conference action at home on Monday. Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks

Basketball team starts new year with a victory

The St. Joseph-Ogden basketball team picked the program's first win of the new year after beating Cissna Park, 68-51. Improving to 9-4 on the season, four Spartan players delivered double-digit scoring in what was also the team's first home basketball game of 2020.

Chance Izard finished the non-conference game with a game-high 18 points. The senior made seven of his 15 field goal attempts and was 1-for-2 from the free throw line.

Despite a cold streak from beyond the arc, frosh Ty Pence made five of his six shots inside the half circle adding another 13 points the St. Joseph-Ogden cause.

The Paytons, Grimsley and Cain, each piled on another 12 points a piece. The pair also led the Spartans in rebounding with five each.

The Timberwolves also had four players finish with double figures. Penn Stoller led Cissna Park squad with 15 points and 5 boards.

SJO plays at home again this Tuesday at 7pm when they will face the Wiliamsville Bullets who are 5-6 overall and 0-2 in their conference.

ViewPoint | What was she thinking?

Dear Editor,

What was Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton thinking when she purchased recreational marijuana in Chicago on the first day of its legal sales in Illinois? Does she not understand that as a public official she is setting a reckless and foolish example, especially for children and teens?

Illinois policy makers are sending a dangerous message to our young people. First, we called it "medicinal". Now, we call it "recreational". Gone are the days of "this is your brain on drugs". Instead, elected officials like Stratton are celebrating drug use by welcoming the marijuana industry to communities throughout the state.

Their feckless example will mislead citizens into a diminished understanding of the dangers of drug use until it affects them personally. As the perception of risk plummets, drug use (and addictions) will climb.

Not only have lawmakers failed to do their due diligence before passing this marijuana law, but they have also failed to heed the compelling research that indicates how regular use of marijuana affects young people, including an increased risk of psychiatric illnesses and loss of IQ points.

Parents, grandparents, teachers, and religious leaders would do well to counter Stratton’s irresponsible example by returning to the sensible message, "just say no to drugs".

David E. Smith, Executive Director
Illinois Family Institute

There is nothing like the Siberian Express

There is nothing like it.

That's how Deb Studniarz describes the annual Siberian Express Trail Run held at Kickapoo State Park for almost four decades. The 7.45 mile trail race, the first on this side of Illinois every calendar year, will run this Saturday at its usual location.

The 36th installment is scheduled to start at 11 am.

Last year, just over 300 runners turned out to race thanks unseasonably warm weather.

"You never know what Illinois weather will be like," said Studniarz, who is also this year's race director. "Last year we had record turnout because the weather was exceptional. The year before was record cold."

Corey Plotner, who finished 19th at last year's race, has run the Siberian Express in nearly every form of manic January weather that Mother Nature has offered.

"The challenging part is the weather. I have run it in shorts, and I have run it in 6 plus inches of snow," Plotner said. "You never know what you are going to get until you get out on the course."

Plotner, one of 11 Sentinel area runners, clocked in last January at 55:07.5.

"It’s a challenge to run trail and a greater challenge in the winter," Studniarz said referencing the years the race was ran despite knee high snow or sub-zero temperatures. "You never know what Illinois weather will be like."

Since 2012 Plotner has only missed running the annual race twice. In his opinion, having a solid game plan is key to running a good race.

"The real fun is when the course is sloppy though. It really makes for some interesting turns and strategy really comes into play then," he said. "This makes the experience so much fun because you go and run the course in the chilly temps and snow and slush, then you get to go back in the fall and run it faster on the dry course.

Another area resident and veteran runner, Mike Tankersley is intimately familiar with both the demands of the course and unpredictable race-day weather.

This course is tough when it is warm and dry," he said. Last year, the St. Joseph resident finished 29th overall with a time of 57:21.4 seconds. "When it is cold and snowing it is very challenging But, a huge accomplishment just to finish!"

Tankersley's fondest Siberian Express memory is finishing the race two years ago in 1 degree temperatures without any signs of frostbite.

Other area runners competing in last year's race included three women; Kati Seeley, Melissa Swanson and Johanna Mayer. Seeley finished the course in one hour, eight minutes and 27 seconds for 13th place in her division and 94th overall. Swanson clocked in 183th and Mayer persevered to cross the finish line after 2:03:17.4 elapsed from the time she started.

Plotner and Tankersley were not the only men from St. Joseph who competed in 2019. Cory Swanson, Bryan Johnson, John North, Scott Hendren, Levi Marriott and Jonathan Mayer all finished the 2019 running of the Siberian Express.

Haven't signed up for this year's race yet?

Race day registration opens at 9:30am. Runners signing up at the last minute should head to the Kickapoo Park Maintenance Garage.

The top 175 finishers will receive what the official race website calls a "Super Cool" medal. Participation awards will be distributed to runners finishing under the two hour mark.

For what it is worth, Saturday's forecast calls for cloudy conditions and the high hovering around 32Âș.

Top 10 Sentinel stories from 2019

With 2019 coming to a close in just a few hours, our first calendar year of operation in nearly complete. In the past 364 days and 20 hours - give or take a few minutes - The Sentinel published, including this one, 217 stories.

From the Spartan volleyball team's trip to this year's IHSA state finals to the academic achievements of students and graduates from St. Joseph-Ogden High School, one thing stands out: The people of Royal, St. Joseph and Ogden care just as much about academics as they do about the success of the high school sports teams.

A special thanks to everyone who shared the stories you've read on The Sentinel with family and friends via email or social media. Indeed, thank you for helping The Sentinel grow this year and we look forward to serving you in the years to come.

So without any further adieu, here is a look back at The Sentinel's most-read stories in 2019.


Sixteen area St. Joseph-Ogden graduates now attending the University of Illinois earned recognition for their outstanding academic performance during the spring 2019 semester. Three of the academic achievers hail from Ogden and the remaining 13 listed are from St. Joseph.


The senior class led in number of honors with 73 students achieving a 3.75 or higher average grade during the period. The sophomore and junior classes boast 42 high honor receipients, followed by the senior class with 41 honor roll students and the class of 2024 with 39.


"That St. Joseph-Ogden team was legit," he said in the post-match presser. "They are a real deal defending team.

The Spartans defensive effort yielded 55 digs during the marathon match. Rylee Stahl led the Spartans with 17 of those digs. Emily Bigger, with seven digs, distributed 32 assists.

"They were a force to be reckoned with," he said. "They made us fight for every point."

Ten high school coaches and their athletic programs will offer sports summer camps for area kids this summer. The camps are designed ...


Fourteen athletes from the St. Joseph-Ogden girls track team advanced to this weekend's Illinois High School Association state track and field finals in Charleston.


"It's so weird, so sad honestly," said Berry, who was multitasking between processing the first of many milestones of her senior year and celebrating her team's victory. "It felt good to get the win."

University of Illinois freshmen Abigail Schlueter and Rylee Sjuts were one of 159 underclassmen designated Chancellor’s Scholars in the Campus Honors Program this fall. Selected on the basis of their academic excellence and leadership potential, the newly minted ...

Members of the St. Joseph-Ogden volleyball team happily celebrate with their third-place trophy at Redbird arena during the awards ceremony for the Class 2A at the IHSA Girls Volleyball State . . .


Twelve St. Joseph-Ogden High School students were name among 6,394 Illinois residents who earned degrees from the University of Illinois this past spring. Three of the 12 former Spartans who received bachelor degrees obtained their diplomas with exceptional academic laurels.

Our top story ...

Seventeen St. Joseph-Ogden seniors were named to this year's State Scholar Program by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC). Illinois students attain state scholar recognition by maintaining an outstanding ...

Seven Spartans make all-conference football list

Seven St. Joseph-Ogden football players garnered special recognition from the Illini Prairie conference football coaches this fall. The group, five Spartan seniors and two juniors, received well-deserved all-conference notoriety for their performance during the 2019 season.

 SJO senior lineman Blake Dable
Blake Dable (right) blocks a Williamsville lineman during SJO's first-round Class 3A playoff game back on November 2. Dable, a senior, was named all-Illini Prairie offensive lineman for his efforts this fall. (PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)
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Seniors Brayden Weaver (Linebacker), Payton Cain (Defensive Back) and Blake Dable (Offensive Line) each received first-team accolades.

Attempting to become a three-sport athlete in his final year as a Spartan, Drew Coursey, who never played a down of varsity football until last August, received second-team recognition at the linebacker position.

Three players received Honorable Mentions. Crayton Burnett, who also started at quarterback, received noticed for his kick ability at punter with an HM. Senior Jaden Miller was given a nod as a defensive lineman while Brady Buss, who will be back next fall, earned a salute at the wide receiver position.

The Spartans finished the 2019 season with a record of five wins and five loses. Earning a second consecutive Class 3A playoff bid, SJO dropped their first-round postseason game to the Williamsville Bullets, who rolled through the bracket to take home this year's championship trophy.

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