Geneseo High School Hall of Fame induction on Sept. 3

Claudia Loucks
Geneseo School Logo

This year’s Geneseo High School Athletic Hall of Fame event will induct both the 2020 and the 2021 honorees as a result of the event not being held in 2020 due to guidelines in place as a result of Covid-19.

The inductees, or a representative, will be introduced after the sophomore football game on Friday, Sept. 3, at the Bob Reade Football Field in Geneseo.

On Saturday, Sept. 4, the inductees, family, friends and community members are invited to the official Induction Ceremony to be held in the Geneseo High School Information Commons. A social hour will be held from 3:30 to 4:30 on Sept. 4, with the Induction Ceremony to begin at 4:30 p.m. The ceremony will include a video and review of accomplishments. Masks are required due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The Athletic Hall of Fame began in 2012 at GHS.

The 2020 Hall of Fame Honorees:

-Vic Boblett, Bill Wethington, 2013 Wrestling Team, Jim Varga, Joey Pettit, Jan Jacobs-Unruh, Janelle VanAcker, Kaci (Storm) Vermillion and Lance Hofer.

The 2021 Hall of Fame Honorees:

-AJ Marmion – State Champion Discus; 2013-2014 Wrestling Team, and the 2013 Football Team.

BIO INFORMATION ABOUT THE 2020 HONOREES:

-Vic Boblett – A 1971 GHS graduate, Vic Boblett enjoyed exceptional athletic success, both as a player and a coach. While at GHS, Boblett participated in basketball, track and football, where he played on two undefeated teams in 1969 and 1970. A two-time All-NCIC running back, Boblett earned All-State honors as a senior. Graduating from the University of Illinois, he immediately began a coaching career that spanned 36 years. Boblett is a former head coach at GHS and in addition to his work on the gridiron; he has been a prime mover in the FCA and has been inducted into the IFCA Coaches Hall of Fame.

- Bill Wethington – A 1955 graduate, Bill Wethington was truly a multi-sport athlete, competing in basketball, track, cross-country, football, and wrestling. After a two-year run in cross-country, he switched to football for his junior and senior seasons during which he gained All-NCIC recognition in 1954. Wrestling was initiated at GHS in 1951, and in only a short time, GHS was competing at the highest levels in the NCIC and the IHSA State series competitions. Wethington switched to wrestling and he became the fist GHS two-time NCIC Champion, topping the podium in 1954 and 1955. He capped his senior season by qualifying for the State Meet, and placed fourth in the 1955 one-class Illinois State Championships.

-Lance Hofer – A 1979 GHS graduate, Lance Hofer has been recognized as an outstanding athlete at both the high school and collegiate levels. A three-sport standout at GHS, Hofer earned multiple All-Conference recognitions in both football and basketball. He was a starter on the first GHS Basketball Regional Championships team in school history, and led them to Regional Championships in the next two years. In football, he was the quarterback on two NCIC championship teams, as well as the State Championships in 1977 and 1978. After a brief stint at the University of Illinois, Hofer transferred to Augustana College in Rock Island. At Augustana, he played both basketball and football. In basketball, he was on the NCAA Elite Eight Team, and in football, he earned All-Conference and Conference Offensive MVP honors, was a NCAA Division III All-American in 1982, and led the Vikings to the NCAA Division III National Runner-Up spot. In 2018, Hofer was inducted into the Augustana College Athletic Hall of Fame.

-Joanna (Joey) Pettit – A 2002 GHS graduate, Joey Pettit played basketball and volleyball and was an integral part of the heritage of Lady Leaf softball. Many of her accomplishments on the diamond stand on the top rung yet today. During her career at Geneseo, she broke and set 17 records and was named to the Quad-City All-Metro and All-NCIC softball teams all four years of high school, 199 through 2002, and was the Quad-City Player of the Year in both 2001 and 2002. In addition to those local honors, Pettit was named to various All-State Teams in 2000, 2001 and 2002, served as captain, and was selected as Quad City Pacesetter. While at GHS, the Lady Leafs won the IHSA Regional and Sectional Championships three times, and was the first GHS Softball Team to reach the State Tournament. In 2002, Pettit continued her softball career at Bradley University in Peoria, where she earned All-Conference honors in the Missouri Valley Conference as a catcher. In addition, she was selected as team captain and was MVP in 2006.

-Jan Jacobs-Unruh – A 1980 GHS graduate, Jacobs-Unruh was another of the outstanding multi-sport athletes at Geneseo. Receiving All-NCIC honors in volleyball in 1978 and 1979, she also was a key member of the very successful Lady Leafs basketball teams. It was on the track however, that she set the standards at the highest levels. She was a four-time qualifier for the IHSA State Track Meet, earning All-State honors three years running in the hurdles and sprint relays. She held the long jump record at GHS for 36 years and after 41 years remains a member of the 4 x 100 record holding relay team. At Black Hawk College, she earned All-Conference in volleyball in 1981, and All-American in the Heptathlon. After her days at BHC, she transferred to the University of Dubuque, where she again earned volleyball All-Conference honors in 1982 and 1983 and was the Iowa Conference MVP in 1983. On the track, she was an All-American in the Heptathlon, the long jump and the hurdles. She was inducted into the University of Dubuque Hall of Fame in 1997 and again as a member of the UD 1983 volleyball team in 2004.

-Kaci (Storm) Vermillion – The litany of high school and collegiate honors for Kaci Storm, a 2012 GHS graduate, is at the very top at each school. While at GHS, she was a varsity performer for three years in basketball and volleyball. Her honors include Regional Championships in basketball and team captain in 2012. In volleyball, she was captain and MVP twice each, All-Conference, as well as All-Metro and All-Western Illinois in 2010 and 2011, and received All-State recognition in 2011. It was on the track that she reached the highest levels. A four-year varsity performer, she was captain and MVP three years running. She won 11 NCIC individual titles, seven sectional titles, and six State Meet medals, highlighted by a third and fifth place in the High and Low hurdles, and still holds GHS records in the high hurdles, the 4 x 200 and 4 x 400 relays. Leading the Lady Leafs to multiple conference and sectional titles, she was named to several All-Metro and All-Western Illinois teams. After GHS, she moved to Iowa State where she was a four-time letter winner, winning four All-Big 12 medals and still holds the fifth best ISU score in the Heptathlon. In 2016=-2017, she was selected to the Farm Strong All-Star Team.

-Janelle VanAcker – VanAcker is one of the very few athletes in the long history of GHS that have won 12 varsity letters. A 1995 GHS graduate, VanAcker lettered in volleyball, basketball and softball, where she was a starter in all three sports for four years. Her honors and awards include All-Conference in basketball and softball multiple times. She was chosen as MVP and captain in volleyball, basketball and softball, and was included on the NCIC All-Academic teams several times. She was the Quad City Metro Player of the Year in basketball and was selected to represent GHS in the Quad-City Female Athlete of the Year Finals in 1995. She was named to the Girls’ Basketball All-State 3rd Team in 1994 and was selected to the Illinois Super 60 Seniors in softball. After her career at GHS, VanAcker attended Coastal Carolina University and played basketball, was named to the Big South Conference All-Academic Team, was selected MVP as well as captain, and held the school free throw record.

BIO INFORMATION ABOUT THE 2021 HONOREES:

-2013 Football Team – The 2013 Green Machine combined a potent 38 points per game offense with a “tough as nails” defense which allowed only 8.4 ppg and qualified for its tenth trip to the State Championship Game. The Larry Johnsen Jr. coached Maple Leafs rolled through the regular season with just one setback to State Power Sycamore. In the very first playoff contest, they utilized that defense to make crucial stops against Genoa-Kingston and advanced to then shut-out high scoring Plano in game two. They then traveled to Chicago to meet Chicago Phillips in a drenching downpour, and quickly scored three times in the first quarter leading to a 41-0 lead at the half. The Green Machine lived up to its name in the semi-finals totally dominating Rockford Lutheran, holding them to minus yardage for the game. High-powered Rochester awaited the Maple Leafs in the Championship game. The Rockets had averaged nearly 43 ppg throughout the season, but that stingy Green Machine defense lived up to its standard, allowing just 16 points. However, the Rockets played defense as well, giving up just 8 points. It was a game of powerhouse squads, each testing the other with classic high school football.

-2014 Wrestling Team – The 2014 Jon Murray-coached GHS Wrestling Team enjoyed a history-making season, utilizing a blend of seasoned veterans and newcomers to post a 21-2 dual meet record. In addition, they garnered awards at multiple powerhouse invitational meets – Rockford East, 2nd place; Hinsdale, 5th place; Geneseo Invite, 5th place; and 2nd place in the NIB Conference. The post season began with an over-powering performance in the Regional with the Leafs gathering 9 champions, a pair of 2nd places, with a 3rd and 4th as well. At the Sectional, two champions were joined by six additional State qualifiers. At the Individual State Meet, Hunter Grau, Josiah Cropp, Ryan Pitra, Lane Akre and Nick Verbeck received medals. By winning the Regional, the team qualified for the Team Sectional where they defeated Lincoln Way West and advanced to the State level. IN a grueling two-day event, they defeated Chicago Simeon and Oak Forest, advancing to the Team State Championship Match, eventually losing to perennial power, Lombard Montini. The State Team Runner-Up trophy was awarded to the GHS Wrestling Team for the second consecutive season.

-AJ Marmion – AJ Marmion was a three-sport standout at GHS for four years, beginning in the fall of 2010. He competed in football as well as wrestling, utilizing a healthy combination of speed and strength to gain notice, winning a medal at the 2014 NIB Wrestling Tourney as a member of the 2014 Team State Runner-Up squad, as well as playing nose guard on the 2013 State Runner-up Football Team. However, it was in the spring, in the shot put ring and the discus circle that he set standards that still exist today. By the time he graduated in 2014, he owned all of the discus records for all four years, freshman through senior years. In the listing of the top 25 discus throws ever by a GHS athlete, he has 13, and of those 13, he owns the top 7, including the current top mark of 173’10”. In addition to multiple conference and sectional championships, AJ was a two-time All-State Award winner in the discus, topping his GHS career with the State Championship in 2014.