SJO cross country looks for repeat

High School Sports

ST. JOSEPH (WCIA) — Getting to state is a goal for many cross country teams and individuals but not for St. Joseph-Ogden. Both the Spartan girls and boys cross country teams now have an expectation to not only compete in the state finals but to also win trophies.

The girls will look to defend their Class 1A state championship this weekend when they run at Detweiller Park in Peoria. The program is in great position to win its fourth straight state trophy after winning titles in 2014 and 2016; they finished third in 2015.

“It’s a little nerve-raking at times simply because there’s expectations to uphold especially coming off of a state championship last year there’s going to be some pressure there and staying focused on the goal ahead and not what we’ve achieved in the past,” St. Joseph-Ogden senior Faith Houston said.

The SJO boys’ cross country team has been on a solid run as well, finished third in 2015 and eighth a year ago.

“Running’s not rocket science,” St. Joseph-Ogden head coach Jason Retz said. “You run a lot and you get faster and we’re good at it. Our girls and guys are both committed to basically running year round and when you make that commitment, you find success.”

The Class 1A girls’ race starts Saturday morning at 9 a.m. followed by the Class 1A boys’ race at 10 a.m.

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