Morey, Lady Leafs ready to hit the ground running
It may be a new title, but the Lady Leafs’ track team already understands what to expect from first-year coach Kyle Morey.
An assistant with the team the past five season, Morey has had a smooth transition taking the reins taking over from Kelley Timmerman.
“I’ve really enjoyed getting to know these girls and getting to know them over the last few years,” Morey said. “I’m excited to be able to take that next step forward with the program.”
Morey wants to establish a positive team atmosphere with each group pushing each other to succeed.
“We have some good senior leadership that’s helping bring along some of those people who are right on the cusp and develop the younger people as well,” Morey said. “It’s important in a track and field setting because a lot of times they are relying on each other to teach each other up,” Morey said.
With a strong team bond, athletes can learn from each other.
“It’s important to teach those foundational skills early and help them see the importance of the team side of this as well,” Morey said.
As a coach, Morey has said the coaching staff around him is a good example of that unity.
Morey has had help during the transition from Patricia Graves, Marcie Reakes, Isaac Silver and Larry Ward along with several members of the coaching staff from the boys’ track team chipping in to help.
To start the season, Morey had the team try a variety of high jump, long jump and sprint events to see what they show ability in.
“It gives us some insight into where they have strengths,” Morey said. “It could be (upperclassmen) who are excelling in things they have never done before, or new girls who have never done track. It can guide them to an event.”
Coming off a historic season, Geneseo’s Erika Furbeck returns following a runner-up finish at state in a loaded long jump field.
Despite a hamstring injury in the middle of last season, Furbeck was able to focus on a state run.
After becoming a part of the rare club to pass 19’ with a jump of 19’5.75”, Morey said that Furbeck’s focus has only sharpened since then.
“She’s coming into this season strong and very mentally focused this year,” Morey said. “There could be a lot of distractions with all the attention she’s been getting with the success she’s had over the past couple years, but I think the work she’s put in has shown.”
GHS’ Reece Bodeen and Madison Munoz will be a formidable duo for Geneseo in the hurdles.
Bodeen earned her first individual state trip last season in the 100 hurdles with a third-place sectional finish.
Geneseo’s throwers will be led by Katherine Beeson who just missed qualifying for state last season.
Beeson placed third in the discus at the NIB 12 Conference meet, and she finished seventh at sectionals.
Geneseo will be deep with throwers in the shot put and discus with seniors Lindsey Francque, Morgan May and Kelsey Olson returning.
After dealing with injury issues last season, Josie Brown will be a key to the Lady Leafs’ distance success.
Brown will have a pair of freshmen ready to make an impact with Anna Girten and Claire Hall coming off successful cross country campaigns.
Geneseo’s Rebekah Beard was a champion in the long jump and the triple jump at the NIB 12 frosh/soph meet.
The Leafs’ Alex Horne was the frosh/soph champion in the high jump clearing 4’10”.
With a strong group of all-around athletes like Julia Poel, RaeLynn Versluys and Horne, Morey thinks the team will take shape once they get a few outdoor meets under their belts.
“We have a lot of great athletes here,” Morey said. “We are going to have to see where the pieces fall through the year with injuries and other things, but we have a lot of girls ready to contribute.”
2017 Geneseo girls' track and field roster
Coach: Kyle Morey. Manager: Emma Lovett. Assistants: Patricia Graves, Marcie Reakes, Isaac Silver, and Larry Ward.
2017 Geneseo track and field schedule
March 18 NIB XII Conference Indoor Westwood Sports Complex, Sterling 9 a.m.
March 25 Illinois Prep Top Times Westwood Sports Complex, Sterling 9 a.m.
March 30 Geneseo at Ottawa Quad Ottawa High School 4:30 p.m.
April 4 Geneseo Quad Geneseo High School 4 p.m.
April 7 Geneseo at Galesburg Invite Galesburg High School 4 p.m.
April 15 Geneseo at RockyABC Invite Rock Island Stadium 10:30 a.m.
April 17 Geneseo at UTHS JV Invite Soule Bowl 5 p.m.
April 21 Geneseo Invitational Geneseo High School 4:30 p.m.
April 24 Geneseo at Galesburg/Moline Browning Field, Moline 4:30 p.m.
April 28 Geneseo at Sterling Relays Sterling High School 4 p.m.
May 5 NIB 12 Conference Rochelle 4 p.m.
May 11 Sectionals TBA TBA
May 18 State Charleston TBA
May 19 State Charleston TBA
May 20 State Charleston TBA