Barickman twins are 3-Sport athletes

by Claudia Loucks correspondent
GHS seniors Abbi and Maddi Barickman are key players with the Lady Leafs Basketball Team.

The Barickman twins, Abbi and Maddi, savored every minute of their senior season of basketball at Geneseo High School.

And if current guidelines from the pandemic remain in place, they will also get to experience their other two sports – volleyball and track.

The twins, daughters of Kellie and John Barickman, have been three-sport athletes all four years of high school and are enjoying the start of the girls’ basketball season.

“I am very blessed and excited to be having a senior season,” Abbi Barickman said. “Being able to play with my high school teammates is something a lot of us didn’t think would happen this year, so we are all taking advantage of the time we have together.”

Maddi Barickman said, “We are extremely thankful to be having a senior season, especially since it didn’t look like we would have one at the start of the school year. It has been so nice to be around the girls on the team these past couple weeks and enjoy our last season as Lady Leafs.

Geneseo won the Western Big 6 Conference title last season and finished with a Regional Championship loss to Peoria Richwoods, although Geneseo does have most of their roster from last season’s ninth-ranked team that finished with a 24-7 season.

Coach Scott Hardison credits the twins for their leadership, both on the basketball court as well as in the classroom…”The two girls are going to leave a void in Geneseo girls’ athletics when they graduate,” he said. “They have played varsity basketball, volleyball and track for at least the last three years, and that is almost unheard of in three sports in high school.”

“They are not just great kids on the basketball floor, they are great in the classroom and are great role models for the younger kids,” he said.

Both girls have signed at North Central College in Naperville to play volleyball, and Coach Hardison said, “They could have played any sport at the collegiate level. They’re great athletes and leaders.”

The twins also both plan to major in something in the STEM field.

Their basketball careers began when they were in kindergarten, Maddi Barickman said, and added, “We first started learning the skills of basketball in kindergarten at the Community Center Clinics.”

“We did the clinics at the Community Center and started playing travel basketball in third grade,” Abbi Barickman said.

When asked to share a highlight or memory from last year’s basketball season, Abbi said, “Last year’s season was definitely one to remember. Winning conference last year was a highlight, and it has been exciting to continue playing with a majority of the same girls this season.”

They are also celebrating having won the Western Big 6 conference title for the second year.

Maddi answered, “A highlight from last year was winning conference as new members of the Western Big 6 Conference.”

It is a busy schedule for the twins as, in addition to GHS basketball, they presently are involved with the Iowa Select Volleyball Club, and along with school work, can make for a pretty tight schedule.

“Practicing and playing two sports at once can be a challenge at times, but I also really enjoy doing it,” Abbi Barickman said. “I get the opportunity to play two different sports that I love and practice with different people every day.”

Maddi Barickman said, “Practicing basketball and volleyball can definitely be a challenge at times, but we are so lucky to have amazing parents who are extremely supportive and willing to drive us to practices later at night. We are playing with Iowa Select Volleyball and this is our second year in the club.”

Even though their senior year at GHS has not like what they had ever imagined, they both are enjoying their last year of high school.

Abbi said, “Our senior year has been an experience that no one really expected. While we haven’t been able to do some of the activities we would in a normal year, I’ve still been able to enjoy my last year of high school.”

Maddi said their senior year is unlike “anything any of us could have imagined, but we have learned to make the best of it. I think all of us have learned to be super adaptable due to the multiple changes in schedule during remote learning. This year has taught me how to deal with unexpected adversity and to keep a positive mindset moving forward.”

Next fall, Kellie and John Barickman will most likely find themselves traveling to volleyball games at North Central, as well as attending the games of their two other daughters, Eliana Barickman, a seventh grader at Geneseo Middle School; and Katherine Barickman, a fifth grader, and both play basketball and volleyball.