NIB 12 to be a big test for GHS

Amy Carton
Thomas Sigwalt returns for his senior year

Big graduation losses piled on with injuries and athletes who have left the district has left the Geneseo boys’ track and field team with some big shoes to fill.

These losses have the Leafs relying on their two returning state qualifiers and new, young talent to take on a powerhouse new conference.

“We are taking a huge hit, but we will have to have other individuals step up and only time will tell who it will be,” said head coach Don Fredericks. “I am happy with their real good work ethic.”

A big change this season for the Leafs will be the new Northern?Illinois Big 12 Conference.

“Our conference is a lot tougher than it has been,” said Fredericks. “It is a state powerhouse conference against some of the top programs in the state.

“I am looking for us to be as competitive as we can and do as well as we can. I want them to do well every meet and to prepare to peak at championship meet season time.”

The Leafs will be led by eight seniors in Alain Bouquet, Billy Hamer, Josh Lawson, John Mullin, Tobi Pautz, Thomas Sigwalt, Isaac Silver and Branden Smith.

“The seniors are the second line of command after the coaches and I look for them to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk,” said Fredericks.

The juniors looking to make an impact are Joe Ballegeer, Mickey?Christensen, Josh Cocquit, Jakob Gradert, Landon Hoon, Joe Huffman, Thomas McKee, Jesse Mohr, Kyle Reiling, Tyler Rusk and Jack Scherer.

This year’s sophomore team members include Caleb Biellier, Sawyer Claus, Austin?Frank, Dugan Kuffel, Luke Larson, Mitchell Lawson, Jacob Miller, Tyler Milroy, Alex Platz, Devin Pontious, Jacob Rahn, Jordan?Reschke, Jordan Starkey, Jacob Stimes, Dylan Waggoner, Jay Wilson, Cam?Yeater and Seth Young.

The team newcomers are freshmen James Ballegeer, Chaise Blakley, Brian Bordwell, Chase Cahalan, Jacob Eaker, Tony Gatter, Sean Geffert, Ethan Hultman, Josh King, Mitchell Lamb, A. J. Marmion, Jared Matthews, Jordan Mielke, Justin?Seeley, Ryan?Webster, Seth?Wilson and Griffin Welfer.

“The juniors and the rest of the team are kids who have been out before and have an idea where they can be successful event-wise and I am looking for some new discoveries,” said Fredericks. “I am looking for them to not be afraid to try new things and to work hard.

“It will take time to see where people fit in.”

Joining Fredericks on the coaching staff are Mike Harrington (vault/hurdles), Tom Ferguson (throws), Caleb Graff (sprints, long and triple jump), and Nick McCauley (high jump/sprints).

Despite their young age, the Leafs have some experience in all events across the board.

“There is not as much experience as I would like and there are big shoes to fill,” said Fredericks. “But how successful a team will be is having people step into those roles.

“I am excited about the season and real happy with the kids we have out.”

Gaining experience early on is the biggest challenge for the Leafs this season.

“My philosophy has always been to keep improving,” said Fredericks. “If we improve all season long we should be pretty good. The test will be how far can we take it.

“We are in the  most competitive track conference in 2A and the most competitive sectional in the state. However, we will work hard and be as competitive as we possibly can be.”

Last season, the Leafs won back-to-back conference titles in the NCIC’s final year. Geneseo also advanced to state in the 4x400-meter relay and the 400-m dash.

Geneseo at Knox Invite

The Leafs opened the season at the Knox Indoor Invite Feb. 25.

In the field events, Huffman placed fifth in the shot put with a mark of 43-6 1/2, followed by Webster in the high jump as he cleared 5-4 and Cocquit placed fourth in the long jump at 18-5.

On the track, the 4x800-meter relay of Sigwalt,  Smith, Lamb and Mitchell Lawson placed fourth with a time of 9 minutes and 24.25 seconds.

In the 55-m hurdles, Kuffel took fifth in 8.74 and placed fifth in the 400-m dash in 55.37.

Reiling took home third in the 1600-m run with a time of 4:49.07.

Additional Field Results

Shot put- Marmion, 20th, 32-5 1/2 and Dixon, 27th, 28 3/4. High jump- Platz, sixth, 5-2. Long jump- Cahalan, 10th, 17-10 and Waggoner, 14th, 16-8 1/2.  Pole vault- Mohr, sixth, 8-6; Milroy, eighth, 8-0; Wilson, ninth, 7-6; Larson, 10th, 7-0;  Gradert, 10th, 7-0; and Cocquit, 10th, 7-0.  Triple jump- Claus, sixth, 35-11.

Additional Track Results

55-m hurdles- Seeley, 10th, 9.25 and Platz, 13th, 10.09. 55-m dash- Milroy, 11th, 6.90; Claus, 18th, 7.00; Silver, 22nd, 7.05; McKee, 24th, 7.10; Scherer, 27th, 7.24; Rusk, 32nd, 7.35; Waggoner, 34th, 7.36; Bordwell, 40th, 7.58; Hultman, 43rd, 7.78; and  Young, 8.09.  800-m run- Mullin, ninth, 2:26.13; Josh Lawson, 11th, 2:29.38; Christensen, 13th, 2:33.05; and Geffert, 15th, 2:35.02.  4x200-m relay- Seeley, Matthews, Welfer and Cahalan, sixth, 1:49.39. 400-m dash- Sigwalt, eighth, 57.03; Claus, 11th, 59.22; Waggoner, 15th, 1:01.19; Silver, 17th, 1:02.96; and Hultman, 21st, 1:06.87.  1600-m run- Mitchell Lawson, 15th, 5:19.25; Lamb, 17th, 5:30.36; Gatter, 18th, 5:30.67; Josh Lawson, 20th, 5:39.36; Mullin, 21st, 5:54.69; Christensen, 22nd, 5:57.28; Mohr, 23rd, 6:01.72; and Geffert, 24th, 6:02.07.  200-m dash- Milroy, sixth, 25.97; McKee, 13th, 26.86; Larson, 14th, 27.17; Cocquit, 16th, 27.39; Scherer, 18th, 27.58; Wilson, 26th, 29.13; Gradert, 28th, 30.13; and Bordwell, 31st, 31.38.  4x400-m relay- Seeley, Matthews, Welfer and Cahalan, eighth, 4:28.25.

The Leafs will be on the road this weekend at the Sterling Gold Medal Invite at 9 a.m. March 5.

Billy Hamer ready to compete in his senior season.