Lady Leafs win sectional team title on the track

The Lady Leafs cleaned up at the Plano 2A Sectional winning the team title for the first time in five years and sending athletes to state in 11 total events on May 11.

After a jump of 19’5”, Geneseo’s Erika Furbeck wanted to make sure she secured the No. 1 seed in the long jump going into the state finals.

She did more than get the No. 1 seed — a lot more.

A senior, Furbeck finished with a distance of 20’7” which is the best mark in the state of Illinois and the fifth best in the United States according to

Furbeck leaped to a distance of 20’1.5” during the indoor season which was the third best distance in the United States.

However, once the outdoor season began she took a few runs at breaking the 20’ mark but was unable to reach the elite milestone coming in around 19’6”.

“I decided to kind of take a step back and rest,” Furbeck said. “Throughout the rest of the season, I tried to ramp myself up for the postseason.”

The defending state champion in the long jump, Furbeck knows that just because she’s had a historic season, it doesn’t guarantee anything.

The long jump field is stacked with special talent that makes in one of the toughest in the US.

Chicago Brooks’ Imani Carothers won the long jump title in 2016 and has an indoor jump of 19’11.75”, and Springfield Southeast’s Serena Bolden threw down a jump of 20’1.25” at the CS8 Conference Meet.

“I have to remember going into state it’s really anyone’s game,” Furbeck said. “There are three really good jumpers in the state, and I know that we are each going to push each other.”

Furbeck added individual sectional titles in the 100-meter dash (12.78), 200 (26.05) and 400 (59.25).

In her first season running in the 400, Furbeck is seeded eighth coming into state.

With Furbeck, Geneseo will have five athletes competing in the field events at state.

It was a special night for Tori Verbeck after battling shin splints leading up to the sectional meet.

A junior, Verbeck won the shot put with a PR throw of 35’5”, and she was able to compete in the 300 hurdles finishing third in 50.29.

“She’s got a huge competitive spirit,” Morey said. “She has a hard time pulling back, but you love to see that out of an athlete. Her determination is infectious and it inspires her teammates to do just as well.”

Rebekah Beard earned her first state trip finishing runner-up in the triple jump with a distance of 35’3.50”.

“She’s done a great job in the triple jump but also in all the relays,” Morey said. “The thing about her is determination. She set a goal to represent our team at the state tournament, and she has set her mind to it.”

A freshman, Abby Reakes won the high jump title clearing 5’2”, and she’s seeded fifth in the event going into state.

The Leafs’ Maddi Barickman earned a state ticket in her freshman season with a throw of 106’1” in the discus.

A 2016 state qualifier, Reece Bodeen punched a return ticket to state finishing runner-up in the 300 hurdles in 48.88, and she finished fourth in the 100 hurdles in 17.12.

Josie Brown earned a return trip to state in the 800 with a runner-up finish in 2:24.18.

Geneseo’s 4x200 relay team of Julia Poel, Alex Horne, Beard and Alison Bowers finished runner-up for a state berth in 1:50.11.

In the 100, Bowers finished fourth in 13.46.

Brenna McGuire finished with a PR throw of 33’1” in the shot put, and Lauren Belvel landed third in the 3200 in 12:30.28.

Brown added a third-place finish in the 1600 in 5:38.58, and Anna Girten came in 13th in 6:22.25.

The Leafs’ Alexys Johnson and Evie Wilson tied for fourth in the pole vault with each clearing 8’7”.

Allie Mackey claimed fifth in the discus with a throw of 93’10”, and Anna Pierce finished seventh in the 800 in 2:47.63.

Horne finished seventh in the 200 in 28.82, and she finished seventh in the high jump clearing 4’9”.

McGuire landed eighth in the long jump with a distance of 15’9.75”, and Maddi Barickman finished 12th in the 400 in 1:09.38.

In the 4x100 relay, Geneseo’s Poel, Beard, Bodeen and Bowers raced to third in 51.93.

Geneseo’s 4x400 relay team of Poel, Bowers, Esther Brown and Beard nabbed third in 4:15.52.

In the 4x800 relay, Geneseo’s Girten, Abbi Barickman, Claire Hall and Pierce finished fourth in 11:08.55.