Brown, Belvel and Girten are runners the Lady Leafs believe will step up this season.
It’s a good problem to have, but Geneseo girls’ cross country coach Kelley Timmerman has a lot of talented runners to try to get in the lineup this year.
“Trying to figure out how our lineup is going to go is one of our challenges as coaches,” Timmerman said. “What we think is going to be happening and what happens once the meet starts is totally different.”
Leading the pack will be junior Josie Brown.
Hampered by injuries Brown missed championship season in cross country last season, but she had a stellar spring reaching the state meet running the 800-meter dash in track.
Prior to the injury last year, Brown showed she was elite finishing in 25th-place at the Peoria Invite to earn medalist honors.
Timmerman believes Brown has made the right adjustments in her diet and workout routine to reach her goals this season.
“She’s looking really strong this year,” Timmerman said. “She’s doing strength training a couple days a week. She’s trying to keep everything at bay, but if things flare up, we back down for a few days and then pick it back up.”
Geneseo’s Anna Girten and Lauren Belvel made huge contributions during championship season last year.
Belvel led the Lady Leafs with a 19th-place finish at the Northern Illinois Big 12 meet, a spot from All-Conference honors.
At sectionals, Geneseo’s Girten finished in 38th place just outside of an individual state qualifying spot.
The next step will be finding out who can pack up and round out the top five scorers.
Timmerman said that returners Julia Poel and Diana Scherer have had strong offseasons, and Veronica Eilers will bring leadership as a senior member and veteran member of the varsity team.
A freshmen duo looking to replicate that success, Geneseo’s Megan Soria and Tricia Elden have put in a strong summer of work.
Soria reached the state meet in middle school and finished in 155th place last season.
Timmerman said another freshmen duo with potential is Joci Hasson and Ashton Woulf who have made big strides during training over the summer.
Something Timmerman thinks will be invaluable is the confidence boost the Lady Leafs will get from being able to compete against tough NIB 12 rivals.
Last season, Yorkville was runner-up at the Class 3A state meet and Kaneland was ninth in Class 2A.
“When they see that uniform next to them it builds confidence that (they) can keep up with somebody from that realm,” Timmerman said. “We tend to put them up on a pedestal and not believe that we can be there, but they truly can. Running is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical. If you believe you can achieve.”
The Lady Leafs will start the season at the Sterling Grass Relays at Hoover Park in Sterling on Tuesday, Aug. 22 at 4:30 p.m.
2017 Lady Leafs' roster
Veronica Eilers and
Adia Raya and
Zoe Petersen and
Avery Magerkurth Megan Soria
Ellie Whiteman and
Coach: Kelley Timmerman. Manager: Elaina Hines.
2017 Lady Leafs' schedule
Aug. 22 Sterling Grass Relays Hoover Park 4:30 p.m.
Aug. 28 Annawan Invite Kewanee Dunes 5 p.m.
Sept. 2 Galesburg Invite Lake Storey Park 9 a.m.
Sept. 9 Peoria Woodruff Invite Detweiller Park 10:20 a.m.
Sept. 16 Geneseo Invite Richmond Hill 9 a.m.
Sept. 21 Rock Island Invite Saukie G.C. 5 p.m.
Sept. 30 Freeport Pretzel Invite Highland Comm. College 9:30 a.m.
Sept. 30 Peoria Invite Detweiller Park 9:30 a.m.
Oct. 7 Metamora Invite Black Partridge Park 9:30 a.m.
Oct. 14 NIB 12 Meet host Kaneland 10 a.m.
Oct. 17 Sterling Invite JV/frosh Hoover Park 4:30 p.m.
Oct. 21 Regional TBA TBA
Oct. 28 Sectional TBA TBA
Nov. 4 State TBA TBA