Maple Leafs' track team face new hurdles

Chris Steele
Reed Vanderheyden has been an All-State member in the 300 hurdles the past two seasons. Geneseo returns eight athletes who have All-State honors or state experience.

Things are changing for the Geneseo track team this season.

The Maple Leafs’ biggest strength during their run to a second-place finish at the IHSA Class 2A State Finals was the field events.

Coming into this season Geneseo doesn’t have the same athletes to fill those roles.

Arthur Atwell became fourth boys’ state track champion in Geneseo history.

Will Daniels combined two top three finishes into a school record 15 points at the state meet.

“Those are some very large shoes to fill,” Geneseo Coach Don Fredericks said. “We just participated in the NIB 12 indoor invitational and scored only two points in the field events, but we are still a work in progress.”

Fredericks thinks multiple athletes will be able to grow into contributors in the field events.

However, Geneseo has a wealth of athletes returning to the track with eight athletes who have All-State honors or state experience.

After the prelims, Geneseo’s Reed Vanderheyden had the top time in the 300 hurdles (38.42) at state last season.

In the finals, Vanderheyden ran a school record time of 37.86 to finish runner-up and earn All-State honors.

Entering his junior year, Vanderheyden has been an All-State member in the 300 hurdles the past two seasons.

Geneseo had the only tandem to earn All-State honors in hurdles in Class 2A.

Andrew Pischke raced to ninth in the 300 hurdles (39.74), and he added a fifth-place finish in the 110 hurdles to earn All-State.

While both athletes are back this season, Andrew Pischke suffered a hip injury before the start of football season that might change things.

GHS’ Andrew Pischke has already begun contributing to the team, but his ability to run hurdles remains in question.

Stepping into a bigger role in the hurdles has been sophomore Colton Pischke.

At the NIB 12 indoor invite, Colton Pischke came in third with a time of 8.65.

Another change to this season will be Geneseo making a move to one of the toughest sectionals in the state.

Geneseo will be lumped in with Kanland whose team is ranked top five in the state, and Freeport a top ten team in the latest Class 2A poll on

With Freeport added, Vanderheyden will get to go head-to-head with Deion McShane the defending 300 hurdles champion.

Geneseo has never had so much All-State experience returning.

GHS’ Nick Swartzendruber, Andrew Benhart, Nathan Soria, Cayson Frerichs all return from a runner-up finish in the 4x800-meter relay at state last season.

GHS’ Swartzendruber, Lucas Hofer, Soria and Vanderheyden return off a fourth-place finish in the 4x400 relay.

Hofer is still working his way back from a knee injury suffered before the start of football season.

Sam Thomas has state experience coming off a 12th-place finish in the shot put last year.

With only the top two finishers in each event automatically qualifying for the state meet, Fredericks said the Maple Leafs want to go into sectionals with the mentality that they will have to meet or better the IHSA State qualifying standard to reach state.

The Maple Leafs’ goal is to peak going into the John McCormick Invitational hosted in Geneseo on Friday, May 5 and continue to build into the postseason which begins with the NIB 12 Conference meet on Friday, May 12.

After winning the first outright title in school history last year, the NIB-12 conference race is loaded once again this season with DeKalb and Kaneland both considered contenders for state trophies.

Fredericks is quick to point out how many things went right last season.

Geneseo won all but two competitions last year, the United Township Invite and the state finals.

2017 Geneseo boys' track and field roster


Andrew Benhart

Ben Cosgrave

Keith Elden

Cayson Frerichs

Matthew Ganson

Ryan Kass

Lucas Hofer

Zach Humphrey

Nelson Laingen

Keegan Minnaert

Tate Neff

Andrew Pischke

Brandon Ramos

Chandler Schwartz

Cole Schwerdt

Noah Sebastian

Kyle Sellers

Nathan Soria

Dalton Stage

Dalton  Stamp

Sam Thomas

Jacob Verplaetse

Logan Weber

Charlie Wiese


Kody Brower

Kade Coons

Cameron Darin

Blake Duncan

Ryver Griffin

Chris  Hodshire

Cole Howard

Nathan Lambert

Matt McDonald

Jack Morrell

Drew Rapps

Joe Stohl

Nick Swartzendruber

Reed Vanderheyden

Raymond Venneberg

Adam Wells

Logan Ziegenhorn


Max Bealer

Billy Blaser

Nathan Carroll

Charlie Cathcart

Carson Cocquit

Billy Cosgrave

Noah Coughlen

Kaleb Decker

Kaleb Efflandt

Justin Lyman

Alex McAvoy

Juan Mejias-Dansbach

Colton Pischke

Kaden Rink

Peter Rizzo

Andrew Schmidt

Augie Schmitt

Luke Sebastian

Brad Smith

Nathan Tisor

Andrew Verplaetse

Zach Wilson


Eli Allen

Ky Ariano

Cade Backes

Zach Bauer

Neo Colter

Rylan Coons

Dawson DeCap

Jerry Green

Logan Hansen

Kyle Hofer

Matt Kozemski

Spencer Lindstrom

Carson Mariman

Mick Mooney

Jaycob Norton

Alex Phillipson

Colby Rapps

Ethan Saucedo

Jordan Seeley

Rob Stohl

Evan Veloz

William Venneberg

Eric Verplaetse

Ethan Welfer

Tyler Whipple

Seth Winchell

Nathan Yoder

Tucker Ziegenhorn

Coach: Don Fredericks. Assistants: Matt Deets, Tess Fredericks, Philip Moe, Shane Reschke, and Wes Vaden. Managers: Ayjai Adamson, Lilly Davis, Jessica Holm, Peyton Krauss, Lydia Mejias-Dansbach, Kaitlynn Rossitto and Amelia Seys.

2017 Geneseo track schedule

March 25    Geneseo at Illinois Top Times    Illinois Wesleyan    8 a.m.

Mach 29    Geneseo at Sterling Dual    Sterling HS    4:30 p.m.

April 8    Geneseo at UTHS Kiwanis ABC Invite    Soule Bowl    9:30 a.m.

April 11    Geneseo at Rock Island JV Invite    Rock Island HS    4:30 p.m.    

April 13    Geneseo at Galesburg ABC Invite    Galesburg HS    4 p.m.

April 18    Geneseo at Moline JV Invite    Browning Field, Moline    4:30 p.m.

April 21    Geneseo at Rock Island ABC Invite    Rock Island HS    4 p.m.

April 25    Geneseo F/S Invite    Geneseo HS    4:30 p.m.

April 28    Geneseo at Pekin Invitational    Pekin HS    4 p.m.

May 2    Geneseo at UTHS JV Invite    Soule Bowl, East Moline    4:30 p.m.

May 5    John McCormick ABC Invite    Geneseo HS    4 p.m.

May 8    Geneseo at F/S Moline Invite    Browning Field, Moline     4:30 p.m.

May 12    Geneseo at NIB 12 Conference Meet    Sycamore HS    3 p.m.

May 19    Geneseo at Sectionals    TBA    TBA

May 25    Geneseo at State at Charleston    TBA    TBA

May 26    Geneseo at State at Charleston    TBA    TBA

May 27    Geneseo at State at Charleston    TBA    TBA