Geneseo coach Don Fredericks nickednamed it the Vanderhurdles after the Leafs' Reed Vanderheyden qualified for the finals at the Illinois Top Times for the fourth consecutive season.
Geneseo coach Don Fredericks nickednamed it the Vanderhurdles after the Leafs’ Reed Vanderheyden qualified for the finals at the Illinois Top Times for the fourth consecutive season.
A senior, Reed followed in the footsteps of his older sister Hanna who also qualified for the finals at the Illinois Top Times in hurdles all four years.
“It’s really hard to qualify for the finals in the 60-meter high hurdles,” Fredericks said. “One little mistake and you are not going to make it.”
Fredericks believed the hurdles field this season was one of the strongest ever assembled.
However, Vanderheyden got the job done and finished eighth in the finals with a time of 8.81, at Illinois Wesleyan University’s Shirk Center, on March 24.
Geneseo’s Colton Pischke raced to a 15th place finish in 8.68 in the 60 hurdles prelim.
With less than a lap to go in the 800 run, Geneseo’s Nick Swartzendruber turned on the jets and opened up a 20-meter lead on the field.
“He surprised the field,” Fredericks said. “He left them in his wake, and it looked like it was over. He almost pulled it off.”
With about 50-meters to go, Swartzendruber was kicked down by Nick Oakley from Charleston who came in with the top seed time.
“I talked with Oakley after, and he though Swartzendruber had stolen the race,” Fredericks said. “He didn’t think he was going to catch him, but Nick kind of ran out of gas. He said himself, ‘I just went a bit too early. We are really proud of his effort having the guts to go for it.’”
The Maple Leafs’ 4x400 relay team of Vanderheyden, Kaden Rink, Colton Pischke and Swartzendruber finished runner-up with a time of 3:31.46.
While happy with a strong finish at the Top Times meet, Fredericks continues to have the Maple Leafs focused on peaking during the postseason.
“It’s going to be fun to see how fast our guys can go,” Fredericks said. “We need the whole team to see how far we can take it this year.”