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2020 CROSS COUNTRY TEAM

A special thank you to Melissa Rusk (MelissaRusk Photography and Digital Art) for putting this together.  Each picture was taken separately and then merged.

Also, a HUGE thank you to  Leslie Raya for taking amazing pictures of the team at each of the meets.
They are posted on the team’s Facebook Page.  We use one for each of the meet’s stories.

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COACH EHLERT “RINGS THE BELL”

Pictured is Geneseo Head Boys XC Coach Todd Ehlert

COACH TODD EHLERT SELECTED AS “BELL RINGER”

Geneseo Head Boys Cross Country Coach Todd Ehlert was selected as this week’s “Bell Ringer” Award Winner.  The award was created by Head Maple Leaf Cross Country Coach Todd Ehlert with a little help from “da committee”.   The “Bell Ringer Award” honors a team member selected by a committee consisting of the coaching staff and the team captains.  Each member of the committee nominates two athletes.  The committee then discusses each nominee until a winner has been selected.  A team member can be nominated every week but is eligible to win only once.  Considerations for nomination include both practice and competition performances.  Possessing high levels of both Passion and Purpose are omnipotent.  With the Shazam State Championship being our last race of the season, the selection committee agreed that Coach Ehlert was deserving of this honor.

The time frame for this week’s “Bell Ringer” was from Monday, November 2nd through Sunday, November 8th.  During that time, the Leafs participated in the Shazam Racing Cross Country 2A Championships hosted at Chillichthe’s Three Sisters Park.  Since the IHSA chose to NOT contest the State Meet this year due to COVID-19 concerns, Shazam Racing stepped up and hosted this meet in its place.  Races were held for both genders in all three classes.  Each class raced on a separate day.  In addition, they also hosted a middle school race that was also held on a separate day.  It was a monumental task and they pulled it off without “a hitch”.  They used the same format at the IHSA Sectional meet running 4 “Flights”.  Coach Ehlert has done another tremendous job of leading the team and we felt he deserved this recognition.  All of the boys who ran in the “State” meet had already earned the award so it was an easy call to make.

Coach Ehlert has been teaching Physical Education and Health in the Geneseo School district for fourteen years. He is also the Geneseo High School head boys’ Cross Country coach.  From 2008 – 2017, Coach Ehlert was a Geneseo Middle School Cross Country Coach.  From 2010 – 2017  Coach Ehlert was the Director of athletics for Cross Country and Track and Field also.

In 2020, Coach Ehlert was fortunate and awarded the Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Association (ITCCCA) Distinguished Middle School Coach Award for his work with middle school Track and Field and Cross Country.

Coach Ehlert has earned a Level Two USATF Youth Specialization Coaching Certification, through USA Track and Field during the summer of 2018. Coach Ehlert has served on the ITCCCA Board as the middle school representative since 2016.  In the spring of 2016, Coach Ehlert earned a certification in Movement Analysis Performance System (MAPS) from the Gray Institute. During the summer of 2014, Coach Ehlert earned his Certification in Applied Functional Science (CAFS) also through the Gray Institute.

Before coming to the Geneseo School District for teaching, Coach Ehlert worked for Hammond Henry Hospital as the Certified Athletic Trainer for the Geneseo School District for three years. He also worked as a strength and conditioning coach with a program called The Summit. During this time, he earned his Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) national certification through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).

Coach Ehlert taught Physical Education and Health in Papillion, Nebraska at Papillion-LaVista High School and Papillion Junior High School for eight years before coming to Geneseo. He was also the school district’s certified Athletic Trainer during this time and helped the athletic teams at Papillion earn 18 state championships and 16 runner-up trophies.  He also held other various duties including coaching Track and Field, and being in charge of concessions..

Coach Ehlert received a Master of Science in Education with an emphasis in Physical Education, Health, and Athletic Administration from Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri. During his time at Northwest, he was an Assistant Track coach, in charge of the fitness center, and taught various Physical Education activity courses. Also during his time at Northwest, he earned his Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) national certification from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA).

Coach Ehlert received a Bachelor of Arts from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He earned a major in Physical Education and a collateral concentration in Athletic Training and a minor in Biology. During his time at Coe, he participated on the Track and Field team for four years where he was a four time conference champion, participated on the Football team for two years, was a student Athletic Trainer for four years, and was the Assistant Track coach his fifth year.

Coach Ehlert is from Keokuk, Iowa and went to Keokuk Senior High School. While in high school, he participated in Football, Basketball, and Track. He was an all-stater in Track and Field and was named the school’s Most Valuable Athlete his senior year. During the summer in high school and college, he was a lifeguard and was a water safety instructor, teaching swimming lessons to the community..

Coach Ehlert is married and has two children. He spends his free time with his family, traveling, and participating in Triathlons where he has earned USA Triathlon All-American honors four times.  Coach qualified for the World Triathlon Championship in 2010.  Coach Ehlert’s lifetime personal best on “da oval” are the following:  400 Meter Dash:  48.50;  800 Meter Run:  1:52.9;  1600 Meter Run:  4:19;  5K:  17:15.  The dude can FLY!!! Coach Todd Ehlert (49 years young and only one year away from the “Grand Master” Age Group Division) is going to do some major “Damage” athletically.

Coach is the proud son of Pat and Harold Ehlert.  He is also the proud “Big Bro” to Jeff Ehlert 52 who lives in Lexington, Kentucky and works as a Mechanical Engineer.  Coach Ehlert is the first recipient of the Bell Ringer Award to be Married.  He has been married to Rachel Ehlert (21 with 25 years of experience) for the past 17 years.  Mrs. Ehlert was a star runner for the Sterling Golden Warriors (We won’t hold that against her), and works as a Physical Therapist at Rock Valley.  Coach Ehlert is also the first recipient to have children.  He is the proud father to Megan (10) and Will (8.)  They are both HEAVILY involved in a plethora of activities and can usually be found at most GHS athletic competitions rooting on the team.

Here are Coach Ehlert’s answers to his “Bell Ringer Q’s:  FAVORITE FOOD:  “All food. Fettuccini Alfredo with Shrimp – Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar (Disney World – EPCOT”  He is also, sadly allergic to chicken.;  FAVORITE MOVIE:  “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”;  FAVORITE MUSIC:  “U2 and Jimmy Buffett”;  ATHLETIC HERO:  “Ken Popejoy” (Popejoy earned an undergraduate degree from Michigan State University in 1973, going on to obtain his J.D. from the Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1977.  At Michigan State, Popejoy was a premier mile-runner. He was the indoor NCAA champion in 1972, also taking the Big Ten Championships in 1972 and 1973. He qualified at the Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon in 1976—a year during which he was ranked ninth overall in the world for his sub-four minute mile time. His accomplishments and contributions to the sport earned him a place in the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame.;  WHY DID YOU JOIN THE XC TEAM:  “Former Geneseo Middle School Principal Mr. DeBaene asked me to be the coach for GMS and I said yes.”;  ADVICE FOR NEW RUNNERS:  “Anyone can run.  Someone at a young age made people not want to run.  Have you ever met a 2 year old that did not like to run?”

Other team members who were nominated and discussed for this week’s “Bell Ringer Award” were:  Sophomore Gavin Allison, Sophomore Tyler Gehl, Junior Justin Johnson, Junior Isaac Kuster, Senior Lucas Nicke, Senior William Plumley, and Freshman Cooper Schaad.

I’VE GOT A FEVER FOR MORE COW BELL”

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POST RACE PARTY

Pictured are most of the guys who made the trip to Three Sister’s Park in Chillichthe

LEAFS 20TH IN 2A SHAZAM RACING
CROSS COUNTRY 2020 CHAMPIONSHIPS

On Saturday, November 7th, the Leafs participated in the Shazam Racing Cross Country 2A Championships.  The meet was held at Three Sisters Park on the south end of Chillichthe.  With the IHSA not contesting the State Finals due to COVID-19 concerns, Shazam Racing (Timing Compan) based out of Peoria, stepped up and hosted races for all three high school classes in addition to a race for the middle school teams.  They used the same format that the IHSA approved for the Sectional Meets, contesting 4 races for each class and then merging the results.

The field for the 2A boys race included teams (and club names) from the following schools:  Benet Academy (It Be), Burlington Central (Handsome Little Racing Men), Crystal Lake Central (Orange Smoke), Fenwick (WICK XC), Geneseo (Maple City Pacers), Glenwood (GTXC), Hampshire (Wildcats Running Club), Limestone (Bville Boxers), Mahomet-Seymour (Mahomet-Seymour Distance Project), Marion (Marion Wolfpack), Marmion Academy (Mac’s Pack), Mascoutah (Mascoutah Track Club), Metamora (RWA Runnin’ Club), Morton (Motron XC Club), Peoria Notre Dame (B’s Team Shamrock), Richland County (Olney White Squirrel Striders), Riverside Brookfield (Riverside Brookfield), Rochester (Bill’s Boys), St. Ignatius (Wolfpackers), Wheaton St. Francis (Spartan Toughts),  and Sycamore (Team 300 XC.)  The field of 21 teams each received an invitation to compete.  Not all of the teams that were invited accepted the invitation and the selection committee “dug” deeper into the pool of teams.  Most of the top teams were in attendance.  It was an honor to participate in the meet and Shazam Racing did a tremendous job of doing everything they could to keep all of the competitors and spectators safe in regard to COVID-19.

The weatherman gave the teams incredibly mild weather for November.  The daytime high was in the mid 70’s with 10-12 south winds.  The course was well laid out and a true test of cross country skill.  The racing distance was 5k which runs around 30 seconds longer than a typical three-mile (Cross Country) race.  The terrain included a wooded section and some rolling hills.  The ground was very sandy so the traction wasn’t the greatest.  The end result was the course was not fast but times really didn’t matter.  It was an honor to be included in the field and the experience that the team gained was omnipotent.  None of the team members had any high school State Meet experience so they were racing “on the green side”.  However, four of the men (Justin, Tyler, Isaac, Cooper) competed in the IESA State Meet in middle school and that experience certainly helped  Due to IHSA rules and regulations, each team had to run under a “Club Name” and were told NOT to wear their high school uniforms.  As it turned out, most of the teams did race in older versions of their school uniforms.  The Leafs followed the rules and most of the guys raced in Dri-Fit T-Shirts.  Everything seemed a “Bit Off”.  It was the perfect way to end, God Willing, the only cross country season in history to battle COVID-19.  We are all praying hard for this nightmare of COVID-19 to end SOON.

On the to races.  Using the same format as the IHSA Sectional Meets, The Shazam Racing Cross Country Championships used the “Four Flight” racing schedule.  Flight One took off at 11:30 AM and included each team’s 6th and 7th runners.  Lining up for the Leafs were Junior Isaac Kuster and Freshman Cooper Schaad.  Coach Ehlert had challenged the team to try and have every man finish in the top 30 of their “Flight”.  That strategy had paid huge dividends the weekend before when the team was challenged to finish in the top 20 of their respective flights.  The team placed 5th in the SECTIONAL MEET using that strategy and every team member had “Cracked” the Top 20 in their “Flight”.  Coach Ehlert also told each man to “Move at the Mile”.  The team followed the plan to a tee.  However, this was the “State Finals” and included most of the top teams in the state.  Issac and Cooper did battle hard and both “Cracked” the Top 30 with their finishes.  Isaac placed 27th (18:32) and Cooper placed 30th (18:46.)  Once again, this was a 5K on a slow course.  Well done, Men.  Isaac and Cooper had, once again, gotten the team off to a great start.

Flight Two took off at 12:00 PM and included each team’s 4th and 5th runners.  Racing for the Leafs were Sophomore Tyler Gehl and Senior Lucas Nicke.  Each man ran hard and “Cracked” the Top 35.  Tyler was timed in 18:09 as he crossed the finish line in 33rd place.  Meanwhile, Lucas crossed the finish line in 35th place and was timed in 18:33.  I was on my bike (still injured) and was able to cover a few “far out spots”.  It was exciting to watch the Leafs work together and move up as the race progressed.  The competition was of the highest quality.  Job well done, Men!  The temperature was definitely warming up and each man was more than a “Bit Damp” when they walked away from the finish line.

The Third Flight was “ON” when the Starter’s Pistol fired at 12:30 PM.  Racing for the Leafs were Junior Tri-Captain Justin Johnson and Sophomore Gavin Allison.  The two “Found” each other early in the race and worked together for most of the race, pulling each other along.  That is how these two have raced all season long and it was awesome to see them “Nail It” again.  Gavin crossed the finish line in 17:49 to place 35th in his flight.  Justin made a move with 800 meters to go and moved all the way up to 26th place.  His time was 17:31.  Justin had the highest Individual place finish for the Leafs on the day.

All of the number one runners for each team in addition to the 30 individual qualifiers “Toed the Line” for the 1:00 PM start.  Racing for the Leafs was Senior Tri-Captain William Plumley.  William has been the Leafs number one runner every time he has lined up this season.  He was held out of a of dual meet earlier in the season as he nursed a nagging quad injury.  William ran the fastest time for the Leafs on the day as he clocked 17:21 to grab 29th place in the “Loaded” Flight.  It was fitting that William finally got his chance to run in the “State Meet” after barely missing qualifying by one place in both his Junior and Sophomore seasons.  William has been the Leafs’ number one man for THREE seasons.  That is NOT an easy accomplishment.  Congratulations on a great season, William.  The best way to Lead is via example and that is what you did each and every day.

When “The Dust had Settled”, the Leafs had placed 20th in the 21 team field.  Remember, this was the “State Finals” and 20th in the STATE for 2A is a pretty sweet accomplishment.  Individually, the team members finished in the following places once the results for all four races were “merged”:  William Plumley (55th Place);  Justin Johnson (73rd Place);  Gavin Allison (105th Place);  Tyler Gehl (132nd Place);  Isaac Kuster 150th Place);  Lucas Nicke (151st Place);  and Cooper Schaad (156th Place.)  We are VERY proud of the efforts that the team put forth.  It was also great to see several additional team members “All Over” the course.  The “Team Flag” was carried with PRIDE.  Also, another strong parental presence was “In da House”.  We also need to thank Mr. Jeff Brown for taking some awesome pictures of the boys and posting them on the team’s Facebook Page.

So, the season has come to a end.  Upon contemplation of the past several months, I am amazed that we were able to complete the entire season.  COVID-19 numbers continue to rise and it is literally a miracle that we were never “Shut Down”.  We take the risks seriously and only wanted to continue the training and racing if it was safe for the team.  We followed the IHSA’s State Mandates to a tee.  So how were we able to survive?  Luck was certainly on our side.  It also didn’t hurt to have Deacon Plumley (William’s Dad) praying hard for the team and many others.  Also, a special thank you goes out to Head Coach Todd Ehlert and his great leadership.  2020 was a historic season and will be remembered for the rest of each team member’s life.  The team “Ran the Table” in the dual meet season going 7-0.  The team then ushered in  “Championship Meet Season” by winning the program’s first ever Western Illinois Big 6 Conference Championship.  The team then followed that up with a STRONG 2nd place showing at the IHSA Morris Regional Meet.  Then, at the IHSA Peoria Notre Dame Sectional, the team placed 5th to QUALIFY FOR THE STATE FINALS.  The last time a team from Geneseo accomplished that was 1999,  That was TWENTY-ONE YEARS AGO.  Then, with no IHSA State Meet being offered due to COVID-19 concerns, the team concluded its season at the Shazam Racing Cross Country Championships and earning a Top 20 Team Finish.  We thank each of you for helping to make the last few months “COME ALIVE” with excitement.  To our returners I say the door to the state finals has finally been “KICKED DOWN”.  Make the commitment to keep it that way and QUALIFY NEXT FALL.  To our graduating seniors I say, “NAIL TRACK SEASON”.  Then, keep running and racing after you graduate.  This sport is a lifetime sport with opportunities that never end.  There are also strong physical and mental benefits that result from your training that will help you to live a long and happy life. God Willing.  There are, of course, factors beyond our control.  God Bless each and every one of you.  It has been a true honor and pleasure to be a part of this team.  I am speaking for Fredericks-1 also.

“DREAM BIG”

RESULTS

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COOPER “RINGS THE BELL”

Pictured is Freshman Cooper Schaad who was selected as this race’s “Bell Ringer”
This picture was taken at “Historic” Detweiller Park

COOPER SCHAAD SELECTED AS “BELL RINGER”

Freshman Cooper Schaad was selected as this week’s “Bell Ringer” Award Winner.  The award was created by Head Maple Leaf Cross Country Coach Todd Ehlert with a little help from “da committee”.   The “Bell Ringer Award” honors a team member selected by a committee consisting of the coaching staff and the team captains.  Each member of the committee nominates two athletes.  The committee then discusses each nominee until a winner has been selected.  A team member can be nominated every week but is eligible to win only once.  Considerations for nomination include both practice and competition performances.  Possessing high levels of both Passion and Purpose are omnipotent.  The award winner is selected every Monday now that the competition portion of the season has begun.

The time frame for this week’s “Bell Ringer” was from Monday, October 26th through Sunday, November 1st.  During that time, the Leafs participated in the Peoria Notre Dame IHSA Sectional Meet held on Saturday, October 31st.  The meet was hosted by Peoria Notre Dame High School and held at “Historic” Detweiller Park.  Normally, a Sectional Meet isn’t allowed to be hosted at Detweiller Park since that is where the State Finals are held.  Enter the year of “COVID-19”.  Everything has been a little “different” and that includes this year’s Sectional Meet.  This year, the Sectional Meet was the final meet of the season (IHSA.)  We commend Notre Dame’s Head Coach Dan Gray for choosing Detweiller Park as the host site.  It is the goal of every team to end the season racing at Detweiller Park.

The meet administration followed the IHSA directives which included not having over 50 athletes in any one race.  The end result was the running of 4 separate races that were then “Merged” together into one final race.  Running in the first race were Cooper and Issac Kuster who “Toed da Line” with each of the 15 qualifying teams number 6 and 7 runners.  The weather conditions were opttimal in almost every way.  A daytime high in the upper 50’s on October 31st is RARE.  The course was hard and FAST.  The only negative was a STRONG south wind that prevented the athletes from season best times.  They did put forth season best “Efforts”.  The “Race Plan” was to run a strong but controlled first mile.  Then “It was on”.  Cooper did a great job of rolling through the first mile in 5:31.  He established himself in the top 20 and moved all the way up to 12th place.  With Isaac nailing down 10th place, the team was off to a tremendous start.  Cooper and Isaac really helped to “Set the Tone” for the rest of the day.  When all the races were concluded and the points were added the Leafs found themselves in 5th place.  The team had qualified for the State Finals for the first time since 1999.  Cooper role in helping to make that dream come to fruition was omnipotent.  Cooper “Stopped the Clock” at 17:30 and ended up placing 67th in the overall combined results.  Way to go Cooper.  Great Stuff.

Cooper has been running strong all season long and has been in the “Top 7” for most of the season.  He really came on during “Championship Meet Season”, securing his “Varisty” Top  7 spot during the IHSA portion of the season where the team was limited to racing only seven men.  The level that Cooper has been racing at all season long makes it easy to forget that he is ONLY A FRESHMAN.  Cooper has added his name to most of the historical lists that have been created over the years.  The “Gold Standard” is the Dewtweiller Top 25 lists.  Most of the “Leaf Legends” have raced on the course and “Cracking” any of those lists is not an easy assignment.  Cooper’s 17:20 at the Peoria Notre Dame Blue & Green Invitational ranks him 19th in SCHOOL HISTORY for Freshman.  Cooper’s goal for the entire season was to break 20 minutes.  Dang, this kid can FLY!  Those in “Leaf Land” are pretty darn excited upon contemplation of what this youngster is just might accomplish during his Geneseo High School career and beyond.  Cooper as one of the “Smoothest” strides on the team.  He appears to “Float”.  That is a rare “Gift” that occurs via his natuaral biomechanical function.  He shares that trait with many elite runners.  All the best in the coming seasons Cooper.  In the words of Coach Ehlert “DREAM BIG”.  Hopefully, you’ll be wearing some STATE HARDWARE around your neck before you move on to the collegiate ranks.

Cooper’s athletic history is very interesting.  He played a bit of Geneseo Youth Soccer and joined the middle school wrestling team as a 6th grader.  In 7th grade he decided to follow is older brother Malakai’s lead and give cross country a shot.  The endurace would certainly be good for wrestling.  He came into the season not qutie sure of what to expect.  He not trained much over the summer.  He “paid his dues” early in the season but eventually worked up to 2nd man.  The team just missed qualifying for State.  He followed that up with wrestling again and advanced all the way to the Sectional Meet as one of the team’s “Starters”.  He then joined Coach Ehlert’s track and field team where he “ran everything from the sprints to the mile”.  He also discovered a love of the pole vault.  He set the middle school 7th grade school record and ended up earning “All-State” Honors via his 3rd place finish.  By the time his 8th grade year rolled around he was the cross country team’s number one man all season long and qualifed for the State Championship.  He then jumped back onto the wrestling mat  where he enjoyed another strong season.  He rolled through the season as a consistant “Starter” and advanced all the way to the Sectional Meet.  He had a goal of qualifying for STATE and that dream suffered a serious blow when he lost an early match and was “thrown” into the wrestlebacks.  Despite the obsticle, he advanced to the STATE MEET.  He then entered the track and field season with thoughts of possibly winning the STATE TITLE in the Pole Vault.  He certainly was looking to qualify for STATE making it “THREE FOR THREE” sports.  That goal was dashed when COVID-19 shut down the season before the first meet was contested.  Bummer.  Keep your eyes on this kid.  He is SPECIAL!!!

Cooper is the proud son of Gwen and Jason Schaad.  He is also the proud “Baby Bro” to Malakai (Current 11th Grader) and “Big Bro” to Finn (current 6th grader.)

Here are Cooper’s answers to his “Bell Ringer Q’s:  FAVORITE FOOD:  “Chicken Heart”;  FAVORITE MOVIE:  “I can only imagine”;  FAVORITE MUSIC:  “Rock with my favorite group is Rend Collective” (Northern Irish Christian Folk Rock Worship Band;  ATHLETIC HERO:  “Geneseo Middle School’s Mr. Petrov and Geneseo Alum and University of Iowa’s Will Daniels”.;  WHY DID YOU JOIN THE XC TEAM:  “I liked running the mile in elementary school and cross country in middle school was only two miles so I thought I would like that too. I was also known as the Energizer Bunny on my soccer team because I never ran out of energy.”;  ADVICE FOR NEW RUNNERS:  “The more miles the better but also have a rest day.”

Other team members who were nominated and discussed for this week’s “Bell Ringer Award” were:  Sophomore Gavin Allison, Sophomore Tyler Gehl, Junior Justin Johnson, Junior Isaac Kuster, Senior Lucas Nicke, Senior William Plumley.

I’VE GOT A FEVER FOR MORE COW BELL”

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LEAFS “DANCING AT DETWEILLER”

Pictured are most of the guys minutes after finding out that the team had qualified for the State Meet

LEAFS QUALIFY FOR STATE AT THE
PEORIA NOTRE DAME IHSA SECTIONAL MEET

On Saturday, October 31st, the Leafs traveled to Peoria’s Historic Detweiller Park to participate in the Peoria Notre Dame IHSA Sectional Meet.  The field included teams from:  Bartonville (Limestone), Chicago (Brother Rice), Evergreen Park, Geneseo, LaSalle-Peru, Lemont, Metamora, Midlothian (Bremen), Morris, Morton, Normal (University),  Oak Forest, Oak Lawn (Richards), and Peoria (Notre Dame.)  Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the meet was contested using the IHSA mandated schedule that required four separate races which allowed for less than 50 runners in each “race”

During the “off-season”, the IHSA revised the qualifying criteria for both the 2A and 3A classifications.  In the past, there have been five sectional meets in each classification and the top 5 team qualified for the State Finals.  They reduced the sectionals from five to four and now qualify the top SEVEN teams in each classification.  The end result is a win for the sport since this change will allow for 28 teams to qualify for the IHSA State Meet instead of the 25 teams that have qualified in the past.  The Leafs entered the meet “On a Roll” and hoping to end the 21 year drought that has existed since the team last qualified in 1999.  That’s right, the Leafs haven’t qualified for the IHSA State Meet as a TEAM this CENTURY.  There have been a plethora of near misses.  However, as Coach Ehlert often says “It is what it is”.  Coach Ehlert devised a race strategy that included a “controlled” opening mile and then attacking.  To accomplish the goal of qualifying, the Leafs would each need to run strong races collectively.  There was a LOT of excitement AND confidence as the Leafs’ races neared.

Back to the meet.  “Session One” took off at 12:00 PM and contained each of the 15 qualifying teams 6th and 7th runners with a few of the individuals who qualified without their teams.  The Leafs had Junior Isaac Kuster and Freshman Cooper Schaad in the race.  They both ran intelligent races and really “Set the Tone” for the team as they executed the race plan to perfection.  Issac and Cooper sprinted home crossing the finish line in 10th and 12th places respectfully.  They were timed in 17:15 and 17:30.  Game on!

“Session 2” took off at 12:45 PM and contained each of the 15 qualifying teams 4th and 5th runners with a few of the individuals who qualified without their teams.  Racing for the Leafs were Sophomore Tyler Gehl and Senior Lucas Nicke.  Shortly after the mile mark, Tyler “took off” and Lucas followed him.  They ran past where I was standing running in FIRST AND SECOND places.  It was a pretty cool moment and one that I will never forget.  I am pretty sure I saw a SMILE on Tyler’s face.  There was a large pack on their tails.  Tyler and Lucas sprinted home in 7th and 12th places.  Their times were 16:44 and 17:10.  Solid stuff.  They really back up what Isaac and Cooper had started.  Momentum is a powerful asset and the Leafs had a LOT of it.Up next was

“Session 3” which took off at 1:30 PM and contained each of the 15 qualifying teams 2nd and 3rd runners with a few of the individuals who qualified without their teams.  Racing for the Leafs were Junior Tri-Captain Justin Johnson and Sophomore Gavin Allison.  They continued to “Follow the Race Plan” and executed it to perfection.  Both Leafs ran together through the first mile and then “Went to Work”.  The weather conditions were excellent in every way EXCEPT the wind.  There was a strong south wind blowing with gusts up to 25 to 30 mph.  Justin and Gavin sprinted home 11th and 15 places.  Their times were 16:26 and 16:43.  There were team members jumping up and down everywhere I looked.  It was really happening.  Every single team member had run a great race up to this point.

Oh boy, one more race to go.  “Session 4” took off at 1:15 PM and contained each of the 15 qualifying teams’ 1st runners with the top 9 individuals who qualified without their teams.  Racing for the Leafs was Senior Tri-Captain William Plumley.  William has enjoyed a tremendous senior season and to say that we were confident would be true.  Still, how much stress can a person’s heart take?  William didn’t disappoint as he ran a near perfect race.  He “moved at the mile” and just kept hammering the last two miles.  He just kept passing runners and holding off those who tried to go with him.  He “stopped the clock” at 16:17 placing 6th in the “fast heat”.  The wind gusts really picked up during his “session” and effected the final places.

When “The dust had settled” and all the results were “merged”, the individual results were posted on Shazam Racing’s Page (they were the timing company.)  We soon learned where each man had finished overall.  William Plumley (14th);  Justin Johnson (22nd);  Gavin Allison (35th);  Tyler Gehl (38th);  Lucas Nicke (55th);  Isaac Kuster 62nd);  and Cooper Schaad (67th.)  We then had to wait for the final team results to be posted.  We were pretty sure that the team had made it but you never know.  I’m not sure how long it was but time has never moved slower for me.  Finally, it was posted and the team had placed FIFTH with 145 points.  They were only 7 points out of 4th place and sixteen points clear of the 6th and 7th place teams who tied with 161 pooints.  They had DONE IT.  THEY HAD QUALIFIED FOR THE STATE MEET.  Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the IHSA State Meet will not be held this year.  Shazam is hosting a club “State Meet” and we are hopeful that our teams will receive an invitation to compete in the 2A race next Saturday in Chillicothe.

Let’s put this accomplishment in perspective.  The last time the Leafs participated in the State Meet as a TEAM (there have been several individual qualifiers) Bill Clinton was the President and Coach Ehlert was 28 years old with a thick head of hair.  None of the team members were even born yet.  The list goes on….and on….and on.  Let me also be clear to not slander any of the Maple Leaf teams that were not able to participate in the IHSA State Meet.  It certainly wasn’t due to a lack of effort or commitment.  During that 21 years, there were a plethora of “near misses”.  Each of those teams invested a tremendous amount of “Blood, Sweat, and Tears” into trying to accomplish that feat.  The years have gone by but many of those former Geneseo Maple Leafs are still in contact with me and closely follow the team.  It warms my heart knowing how proud they are of what the 2020 team has accomplished.   You are all part of a very proud tradition in Geneseo Athletics and have added a significant “chapter” to that history.  Job well done, Men.

I know this is getting long but I can’t help it.  I have to throw in a special “shout out” to the “PSYCH SQUAD”.  They were literally EVERYWHERE.  Some of the guys had even climbed up some very BIG trees to encourage the team members who were racing.  I can’t wait to see what Andrew Burke was able to capture on camera.  Another HUGE “Job Well Done” goes out to all of the families of the team members.  Amazing support.  Lastly, congratulations to Head Coach Todd Ehlert.  He is a highly motivated man who who possesses an “Infectious” Enthusiasm”.  The dude is a winner.  Whatever challenge that has been placed in his path has been conquered with a lot of hard work.  It is an honor to be a member of his coaching staff and a part of this historic team.  God Bless You All.  “DREAM BIG”

“DREAM BIG”

RESULTS

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LUCAS “RINGS THE BELL”

Pictured is Senior Lucas Nicke who was selected as this race’s “Bell Ringer”
He is sporting his “New Do’

LUCAS NICKE SELECTED AS “BELL RINGER”

Senior Lucas Nicke was selected as this week’s “Bell Ringer” Award Winner.  The award was created by Head Maple Leaf Cross Country Coach Todd Ehlert with a little help from “da committee”.   The “Bell Ringer Award” honors a team member selected by a committee consisting of the coaching staff and the team captains.  Each member of the committee nominates two athletes.  The committee then discusses each nominee until a winner has been selected.  A team member can be nominated every week but is eligible to win only once.  Considerations for nomination include both practice and competition performances.  Possessing high levels of both Passion and Purpose are omnipotent.  The award winner is selected every Monday now that the competition portion of the season has begun.

The time frame for this week’s “Bell Ringer” was from Monday, October 19th through Sunday, October 25th.  During that time, the Leafs participated in the Morris IHSA Regional Meet held on Saturday, October 24rd.  The meet was hosted by Morris High School and held on their school grounds and a neighboring wooded area.  The Leaf were shifted to the Morris Regional due to COVID-19 concerns.  It is unclear at this time where we will be headed next year.  Geneseo entered the meet as slight underdogs to the Lemont Tigers based off of the Athletic.net “Hypothetical Meet” which is based on each athlete’s season best time.  The meet was also instructed by the IHSA to run three races for each gender.  Race one contained each team’s number 1, 2, and 3 runners.  Race two contained each team’s number 4 and 5 runners.  Race three contained each team’s number 6 and 7 runners.

Lucas toed “da line” at “High Noon”.  What happened during his race was both rare and extremely inspirational.  Lucas rolled through the mile in 5:26 in the lead and he just kept pulling away from the rest of the field in his “session”.  By the time he crossed the line, his lead was HUGE and his time was FAST.  Lucas ran 16:54 on the deceptively slow course.  That was the 2nd fastest time for the Leafs on the day.  Lucas’ amazing race ended up placing him in 9th place OVERALL in the Regional Final.  That is simply “Jaw-Dropping”.  He has been running as the team’s 6th runner and to run that fast on his own is EXTREMELY IMPRESSIVE.  For his “Heroics”, Lucas was a unanimous selection for the Bell Ringer award.  What makes it even better, is the fact that our two seniors in the team’s top 7, led the way for the team.  There is NO better way to lead.  It was also pretty cool to watch Lucas after the race.  The “Big Guy” actually was wearing a HUGE smile on his face.  That smile was PRIDE.  It also contained a lot of “Passion and Purpose”.  Way to Go, Lucas.

Lucas came into the season having lost the spring Track and Field season to COVID-19 and having not trained for a long time.  It showed early but you could see his desire to “Crack the Top 7”.  He eventually did that and has been “Climbing the Ladder” ever since.

I had the privilege of having Lucas in class second semester of his freshman year.  Third quarter was classroom Driver Education with fourth quarter being Physical Education.  During one of our endurance workout days, we were on the middle school walk/jog path.  I asked each student to get two laps in.  I asked them to jog at least half of each lap.  I invited anyone who “accepted the challenge” to come and run some of it with me.  Lucas took me up on that and just “hung with me”.  I ended up getting in 4 loops.  That’s FOUR miles.  Lucas was just standing there smiling at me.  We were already well into Track season but I asked him to consider joining the team.  He did and earned his VARSITY LETTER.  He then joined both the Cross Country team and the Track and Field team every year since and has earned nothing but VARSITY LETTERS along the way.  Simply an amazing story.  Lucas is a very special young man and it has been a true pleasure to have him on the team.  He hasn’t been a star on the “Off Season” but how he rounds into shape during the season is hard to decipher.  His “Pain Threshold” is “off the charts”.  He has also demonstrated some pretty impressive leg speed at the end of most of his Cross Country races.  He has also turned a few heads on “da oval” when he “threw down” some pretty impressive 400s.  He also has 2:08 800 Meter Run “Wheels”.  Great Stuff, Lucas.  All the best this season and beyond.  Keep “Dreaming Big”.  Please consider running in college.

Lucas’ athletic history is short and sweet.  He played a couple years of Geneseo Youth Soccer.  He was a member of the 7th grade Track and Field team for “only a couple of days” before his many other interests pulled him away.  One of those interests has been the “Robotics Club” that he has continued throughout his high school days.  It is hard to predict what COVID-19 will allow this school year, so we’ll have to wait and see if he is able to pursue this interest.  Lucas plans to become an Engineer down the road.  He is a quiet young man who has a “FIERCE” competitive instinct.  We have one more week in our Cross Country season.  If you get the chance, drive down to Peoria’s Historic Detweiller Park and watch this young man race.  IT IS INSPIRING.    .

Lucas is the proud son of Kimber Nicke and Nathan Nicke.  He is also the proud “Big Bro” to Micah (current 5th grader.)

Here are Lucas’ answers to his “Bell Ringer Q’s:  FAVORITE FOOD:  “Tacos“;  FAVORITE MOVIE:  “Jurassic Park 3”;  FAVORITE MUSIC:  “Rock”;  ATHLETIC HERO:  “I don’t have one”.;  WHY DID YOU JOIN THE XC TEAM:  “The distance track team convinced me”;  ADVICE FOR NEW RUNNERS:  “Don’t think about what you can’t do but think about what you CAN do.”

Other team members who were nominated and discussed for this week’s “Bell Ringer Award” were:  Sophomore Gavin Allison, Sophomore Tyler Gehl, Junior Justin Johnson, Junior Isaac Kuster, Senior William Plumley, and Freshman Cooper Schaad.

I’VE GOT A FEVER FOR MORE COW BELL”

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PLUMLEY CAPTURES REGIONAL TITLE

Pictured is Geneseo Tri-Captain William Plumley who was the individual winner

SENIORS LEAD LEAFS TO 2ND AT MORRIS IHSA REGIONAL

On Saturday, October 24th, the Leafs traveled to Morris High School to participate in the first round of the Illinois High School Association’s State Series.  “On the line” was a trip next weekend to the IHSA’s Sectional round.  The top 5 finishing teams automatically qualify along with the first five runners NOT on qualifying teams.  The field included teams from:  Chicago Heights (Marian), Geneseo, Kankakee, LaSalle-Peru, Lemont, Manteno, Morris, New Lenox (Providence Catholic), Ottawa, Streator, and Tinley Park.  Due to COVID-19, the Leafs were assigned to a regional that they have never participated in previously.  We hope we are there to stay.  It was nice to compete against some teams that we normally don’t see.

The weatherman provided a below average race time temperature of 46˚ with a moderate wind of 5-10 mph.  It was a bit on the chilly side for the spectators which usually means excellent racing temperatures.  The course was flat but bumpy with a lot of tight turns.  The IHSA Regional Meet regulations specified that there be three races for each gender.  Using Athletic.net as a guide, the meet “seeded out” as a virtual dual meet between the Leafs and the Lemont Indians.  Lemont was predicted to win the meet with the Leafs a very close second.  Meet administration, following the IHSA COVID-19 Regional Meet guidelines, scheduled three races to avoid having 50 or more runners competing in any one race.  Following the completion of the third race, all of the race “data” would then be “merged” into one race.

Up first, were the top three runners for each team.  Senior Tri-Captain William Plumley, Junior Tri-Captain Justin Johnson, and Sophomore Gavin Allison “Toed da Line” for the Leafs with the race starting at 11:00 AM.  They went out hard with Lemont tucked in behind them.  As the race progressed, William traded the lead with Lemont’s Nicholas Kania.  Nicholas actually opened up a three second lead before the two-mile mark.  Head Maple Leaf Coach Todd Ehlert instructed William to “Go for it” with 1200 meters remaining and it was inspiring to watch him build a small lead.  Nicholas kicked hard and was closing in but ran out of room as William held on to win the Leafs first individual regional championship since Dan Chenoweth back in the fall of 2006.  William’s winning time was 16:15.  By the way, Dan’s win was 14 years ago.  William has demonstrated a wonderful mixture of “Passion and Purpose” on a daily basis all season long.  Great job, William.  Behind him, Justin and Gavin were finding out that Lemont was “for real”.  Each man gave it what they could and ended up in 7th and 8th places in their “session”.  Their times were 16:58 and 17:00 respectfully.

Next up was the second “session” containing each team’s 4th and 5th runners.  For the Leafs, Sophomore Tyler Gehl and Junior Isaac Kuster sprinted away from the starting line following the “crack” of the starter’s pistol.  Each man went out aggressively.  Lemont matched their moves and more of the “Dual Meet” was on.  Tyler ended up in second place as he “stopped the clock” at 17:15.  Isaac wasn’t far behind as he placed 5th in his “session” and was timed in 17:36.  Each man sucked their “Milkshakes” dry.  Solid efforts, Men.

At this point, Lemont had an insurmountable lead heading into the 6th and 7th runner positions.  Maple Leaf Senior Lucas Nicke,  decided to make things interesting as he really “Got after it” and ended up running the second fastest time for the Leafs of the day with his 16:54.  He ended up cracking the overall Top 10 from the 6th and 7th runner race.  That is literally “Jaw-Dropping”.  Thus, the Maple Leaf Seniors led the way.  Way to lead by example, Men.  Great stuff.  Lucas was observed with a BIG smile of his face following his tremendous effort.  “Intrinsic” rewards are usually the most omnipotent.  Lucas took a BIG “Bite” out of Lemont’s lead.  Freshman Cooper Schaad also ran a strong race and placed 3rd in his “session” as he was clocked in 17:52.

So, when everything was added together, the Leafs had placed a close second to Lemont.  Lemont scored 35 points while the Leafs had scored a mere 45.  Well done, Leafs.  Overall the Leafs placed in the following positions.  William Plumley (1st Place);  Lucas Nicke (9th Place);  Justin Johnson (10th Place);  Gavin Allison (11th Place);  Tyler Gehl (14th Place);  Isaac Kuster (19th Place);  and Cooper Schaad (22nd Place.)  The team had accomplished most of the goals that they were challenged with by Coach Ehlert for the meet.  The number one goal was to qualify for the Sectional Meet next Saturday.  Done.  Try and get the individual win.  Done.  Try and have every team member finish in the Top 25 to make the Geneseo XC Regional Honor Roll.  Done.  All seven men.  That is a rare feat.  The only goal that was not achieved was a team win.  Lemont was for real and it will be a lot of fun to go at it again next Saturday.  Geneseo hasn’t qualified for the State Finals since 1999.  There have been a plethora of near misses during those 21 years.  It’s time to KICK DOWN THE DOOR.  With the new IHSA Sectional Meet qualifying being expanded to 7 teams, the goal is possible.  As Coach mentioned last week, “The Hay is in the Barn”.  You have enjoyed a tremendous season and with no State Meet being offered this year due to COVID-19, it is pretty cool that Peoria Notre Dame will be hosting our sectional meet at historic Detweiller Park.  The traditional home of the IHSA STATE FINALS.  All the best, Men.

“DREAM BIG”

RESULTS

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ISAAC  “RINGS THE BELL”

Pictured is Junior Isaac Kuster who was selected as this race’s “Bell Ringer”

ISAAC KUSTER SELECTED AS “BELL RINGER”

Junior Isaac Kuster was selected as this week’s “Bell Ringer” Award Winner.  The award was created by Head Maple Leaf Cross Country Coach Todd Ehlert with a little help from “da committee”.   The “Bell Ringer Award” honors a team member selected by a committee consisting of the coaching staff and the team captains.  Each member of the committee nominates two athletes.  The committee then discusses each nominee until a winner has been selected.  A team member can be nominated every week but is eligible to win only once.  Considerations for nomination include both practice and competition performances.  Possessing high levels of both Passion and Purpose are omnipotent.  The award winner is selected every Monday now that the competition portion of the season has begun.

The time frame for this week’s “Bell Ringer” was from Monday, October 12th through Sunday, October 18th.  During that time, the Leafs participated in the Western Illinois Big 6 Conference Meet held on Thursday, October  15th.  The meet was hosted by Rock Island and held at Saukie Golf Course in Rock Island’.  The Leaf’s entered the meet as slight underdogs to the Moline Maroons.  The Sterling Golden Warriors also figured to be “In the Hunt”.  What transpired was almost impossible.  All 8 runners for the Leafs executed their race plans to perfection and the team ran “To Gold”.  Helping to lead that charge was Junior Issac Kuster who ran his season best time of 17:10 to nail down the team’s 5th scoring position.  He placed 20th overall and earned 2nd Team All-Conference Honors for his finish.  Running a season best time on a day where the wind was “Roaring” out of the west at 17 mph and gusting to 32 mph is enough to make my head spin.  Isaac ran an inspiring race and helped lead the Leafs to their Historic Team Victory.  It was only Geneseo’s 3rd WB-6 title since joining the league last year.  This was Geneseo’s first WB7 Conference win in a fall sport.

Isaac has been on a roll all season long.  Most of the guys avoid running with him because “da Grinder” LOVES to get rolling and HAMMER.  He has found a partner in Sophomore Gavin Allison and it has been a lot of fun watching both of them create a strong bond of friendship.  Gavin has “Earned his Stripes” from Isaac.  Watching Isaac serve as a mentor to Gavin has also been impressive to watch.  Keep your eyes on BOTH of these youngsters the rest of this season AND beyond.  Coach Ehlert has “Reined” them back in for the “Peaking Phase” of the season.  Isaac holds himself to an extremely high standard.  It is rare to see him pleased following his races.  We are trying to help him get past this.  His effort levels are ALWAYS complete and the lesson of understanding that we can’t control the performances of other runners.  We can only control our races.  Thus, “We can only control the controllables”.  Isaac has been in the Leafs “Elite” Top 7 each and every time he has “Toed da Line”.  In facts, he has run in Geneseo’s Top 5 in all but one race.  Way to go Isaac.  You are a very special young man who possesses the omnipotent possession of both “Passion and Purpose”.  Keep up the hard work and see “High you can climb the ladder”.

Isaac is a man of many interests and talents.  In addition to his participation in Cross Country and Track and Field, he is heavily involved in Geneseo’s Chapter of the Future Farmers of America.  These activities vary from bow shooting, trap shooting, soil judging, etc….the list is extremely long and impressive.  He also wanted to share that he acquired his hunter safety license in first grade and shot his first deer in 5th grade.  He also got a nice, 10-pointer buck his freshman year.  Isaac is also committed to helping his family with their livestock and other farming duties.  Isaac is one of the hardest workers I have ever seen.  How do I know this?  In addition to watching him in practices and meets I have also had the privilege of observing him working outside of school.  Isaac always puts forth his best efforts regardless of who is watching.  That is a lesson that we hope every team member learns and the fact that Isaac is here to role model it is extra special.  All the best down the road of life, Isaac.  It is my sincere hope that you will always stay in touch.  Thanks for being such a loyal and hard working young man.  Keep “Dreaming Big” and chasing your potential.

Isaac began his athletic career via his participation in both cross country and track and field in middle school.  He cracked the Top 15 on the team as a 7th grader and then “Roared” into the number 4 man spot in 8th grade.  In track and field he concentrated on the distance events and “Dropped” a 5:10 mile his 8th grade year.  He then entered the high school programs where he has earned nothing but VARSITY LETTERS each and every season.  He was 9th man on the XC team as a freshman and then moved up to 6th man last year.  In track and field almost broke 11:00 minutes in the “Duece” as a freshman with 11:04.  That is “FLYING”.  He put in a solid winter of base mileage and was ready for a “Break Out” track season.  Sadly, COVID-19 ended the season after only two indoor meets.  Isaac did “Throw Down” his first sub 5 minute mile (4:45.)

Isaac is the proud son of Dee Ann and Chris Kuster. His mom, Dee Ann, is a former Maple Leaf Harrier who also excelled in Cross Country, earning Varsity Honors and being in the Top 7.  He is also the proud “Big Bro” to Hope (current 8th grader) and Faith (current 3rd grader.)

Here are Isaac’s answers to his “Bell Ringer Q’s:  FAVORITE FOOD:  “Fresh Deer Tenders.“;  FAVORITE MOVIE:  “Star Wars (as a series) ”;  FAVORITE MUSIC:  “Country”;  ATHLETIC HERO:  “Neo Colter.  He inspired me to keep trying even if I was having a difficult time”.;  WHY DID YOU JOIN THE XC TEAM:  “I always enjoyed running so I joined all the running sports that I possibly could”;  ADVICE FOR NEW RUNNERS:  “Practice like how you want to compete.”

Other team members who were nominated and discussed for this week’s “Bell Ringer Award” were:  Sophomore Gavin Allison, Sophomore Tyler Gehl, Junior Justin Johnson, Sophomore Josiah King, Senior Lucas Nicke, Senior William Plumley, and Freshman Cooper Schaad.

I’VE GOT A FEVER FOR MORE COW BELL”

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“da CHAMPS”

Pictured are most of the team immediately following the announcement that they had won the
Western Big 6 Boys Cross Country Conference Championship.  Head Coach Todd Ehlert is up front.

LEAFS WIN
WESTERN BIG SIX CONFERENCE

On Thursday, the Leafs traveled to Rock Island’s Saukie Golf Course to participate in the Western Big 6 Cross Country Championship.  The field included teams from:  Galesburg, Geneseo, Moline, Quincy, Rock Island, Rock Island Alleman, Sterling, and United Township.  The weather returned to autumn-like temperatures following highs in the low 80’s earlier in the week.  The race time temperature was 52˚ with a strong 17 mph wind blowing from the west.  There were also wind gusts recorded at 32 mph.  Thus, the temperature was ideal for racing but it was a bit on the windy side.

Due to COVID-19 regulations. the meet which usually allows for all the team members to compete was limited to each team’s top 8 runners.  They were then broken into two groups to not violate the maximum athlete number of 50 runners per race.  The first boys race consisted of each team’s 5-6-7-8 runners.  The final boys race consisted of each team’s 1-2-3-4 runners.  When each race was concluded, the results were put together into one race.  Each team’s 8th runner did not count in the team scoring.  It wasn’t an ideal situation but we were lucky to have a conference meet.  That is  not the case for every conference in the State of Illinois.  There are a LARGE number of conferences that chose NOT to run a conference meet.  The WB-6 athletic directors met early in the school year and decided that the meet would be run if it was deemed to be safe.  Rock Island High School did an outstanding job of hosting the meet.

On “paper”, the meet appeared to be a three-team battle.  Both Moline and Sterling were expected to battle the Leafs for the title.  Unfortunately, for the Sterling Golden Warriors, they were forced to hold out their top man, Dale Johnson, with an injury.  Dale is one of the top 2A freshmen in the State of Illinois.  Utilizing data collected throughout the season, Athletic.net projected the Moline Maroons to win a close meet (50 to 52).  They base their calculations off of each athlete’s season best time.  Since both the Leafs and Maroons had the opportunity to race at historic Detweiller Park (one of the fastest courses in the midwest) the projections had a lot of substance.

Every team always hopes that every athlete will have a “Great Day”.  That seldom happens.  It is a very hard goal to accomplish.  That is exactly what happened as all eight Maple Leafs ran tremendous races.  After the team raced on the “Lightning Fast” Detweiller Park course running a season best of a on a legitimate three mile course is a tough assignment.  Two of men accomplished that feat while the rest of the guys were close.  Leading the charge were:  Senior Tri-Captain William Plumley (16:14), Junior Tri-Captain Justin Johnson (16:20), and Sophomore Gavin Allison (16:30) who placed 4th, 6th, and 8th overall.  The Top 10 Finishers were awarded “First Team” All-Conference Honors.  Not far behind were Sophomore Tyler Gehl (16:49) and Junior Isaac Kuster (17:10) who placed 13th and 20th to close the Maple Leaf Scoring.  Each man also earned “2nd Team” All-Conference Honors via their Top 20 Finishes.  Finishing the racing for the Leafs were:  Senior Lucas Nicke (21st Place in 17:13);  Freshman Cooper Schaad (31st Place in 17:27);  and Sophomore Josiah “Jo Jo” King (39th Place in 17:56.)

I will be honest and admit that it has taken me a few days to settle down and try and compose this article.  The team dedicated the race to Head Coach Todd Ehlert’s former high school coach who passed away last weekend.  Coach Kersten and Coach Ehlert had a very special relationship and Coach Ehlert asked the team to run the race in his honor.  He didn’t ask them to win it for him.  The fact that they did makes it all the sweeter.  I feel certain than Coach Kersten knows about it and is proud of Coach Ehlert and the team.  This is only Geneseo’s 2nd year as a member of the Western Big 6 Conference.  The boys achieved the 3rd conference championship for their school and the first ever for a fall sport.  Obviously, the first ever for a Geneseo Cross Country Team.  It is the first conference title for the Leafs since 2006.  It has been 14 years.  The team members were just “squirts” back then.

ALL-CONFERENCE HONORS

Pictured are Geneseo’s All-Conference Award Winners.
From left to right:  Gavin Allison, Justin Johnson, Isaac Kuster, William Plumley, and Tyler Gehl

A special thanks goes out to the “Psych Squad” who were EVERYWHERE.  The vuvuzelas were also AWESOME.  I am still limping around and was thankful to the Rocky Crew for providing me with a golf cart.  Tessie and I were all over the course and everywhere we went there were teammates there.  Everything about the meet was inspiring.  Deep levels of both “Passion and Purpose” were on display everywhere I looked.  I truly wish every youngster that ever enters some form of competition could experience what our team experienced.  It was simply beautiful.  It was darn close to perfect.  Well done, Men.  Enjoy the win for a few days and then refocus on the upcoming Morris Regional Meet.  Hopefully, the result of that meet will be another chance to “Dance at Detweiller”.  All the best, Men.

Lastly, a special congratulations to Head Coach Todd Ehlert.  This has been a very emotional week for Coach and to see it end with the Leafs winning the WB-6 is pretty sweet.  Coach Ehlert has done nothing but “WIN” everywhere he has ever coached.  I suggested to him recently that he and his wife should head to “Vegas” and put a few dollars down of the color of his choosing.  The dude is “HOT”.  Seriously, Coach works his butt off and asks the team to do the same.  He also tries to celebrate each and every team accomplishment and have FUN   The man is one of the most positive indivisuls I have ever had the pleasure to work with.  It is an honor to still be a part of the program and I say thank you, Coach.  That is from Fredericks 1 and 2.  God Bless.

“DREAM BIG”

RESULTS

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DEDICATION TIME

Head Geneseo Boys Cross Country Coach Todd Ehlert arrived at practice on Tuesday with his head held low.  His beloved high school track coach, Kenneth James “Jim” Kersten., 82, of Keokuk, died Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, after a LONG battle with cancer.  Coach Ehlert was a star athlete back in his high school days at Keokuk High School where he played Football, Basketball, and participated in Track and Field.  Coach Ehlert has stayed in close touch with Coach Kersten over the years.  The spoke often on the phone.  Coach Kerten has always been one of Coach Ehlert’s “Go to Guys” when he needed help.  Coach Ehlert also shared that Coach Kerten played a critical role in helping him be the best he could be and finding “his way” following high school.  He was always there to provided needed guidance which Coach Ehlert applied often.  They shared a very special relationship.

So why is this being posted on our website?  Coach Ehlert asked the team to dedicate the Western Big 6 Conference Meet to Coach Kersten.  Each team member was given a copy of the the obituary that is posted below.  Coach was not able to be at practice on Wednesday due to a medical appointment so I used his absence to share this with the team.  I wanted them to  know more about the man that they were being asked to dedicate the meet to.  Our team captains took turn reading paragraphs from the obit until it was completed.  I also asked each man to say a prayer for Coach Kersten and his family, sometime later that day.  I am typing this the day after the meet.  Every man ran an inspired race and I feel certain that Coach Kersten was with us.  We asked the team to dedicate their EFFORT to Coach Kersten.  The outcome of the team competition was “Icing on the Cake”.  God Bless you. Coach Kersten and your wonderful family.  Ditto to all of those former students and athletes who love you and are grieving.  Heaven has gained a special man.  Coach Kersten had a profound impact on Coach Ehlert and many of his lessons are still being taught vicariously, through his loyal and loving pupil.  Job well done, Coach.

 

KENNETH JAMES KERSTEN
1938-2020

Kenneth James “Jim” Kersten, 82, of Keokuk, died Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, at UnityPoint Health in Keokuk.

He was born on July 8, 1938, in Persia, Iowa, the son of Kenneth S. and Ada Marie McCurly Kersten.

He graduated from Logan High School in Logan, Iowa, with the class of 1957. He then studied at Wayne State College in Wayne, Neb., and received his bachelor’s degree in 1961. He furthered his education at Murray State University of Kentucky where he received his master’s degree. Jim continued to study throughout his career, accumulating an additional 30 hours.

On July 29, 1960, Jim was united in marriage wth Phyllis Hornbeck in Logan, Iowa. They recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

Jim began his teaching career in Anita, Iowa, and then moved to Atlantic, Iowa, where he taught for three years. The rest of his career was spent with the Keokuk Community School District where he taught high school science and coached track, football and wrestling. After 39 years of teaching and inspiring young lives, Jim retired in 2000.

He was a faithful and active member of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Keokuk. He was also a member of the ISEA, the NEA and the KEA.

Jim enjoyed watching track and field and working on cars. He restored and rebuilt several cars and sold them. Jim was a caring and loving family man who was devoted to his wife and children and the life they shared. His grandchildren and great-grandchildren were his pride and joy and he loved spending time with them.

Jim is survived by his wife, Phyllis of Keokuk; three sons, Scott Kersten and his wife Lori of Wichita, Kan., and Todd Kersten and his wife Amy, and Kelly Kersten and his wife Angela, all of Davenport; eight grandchildren, Courtney Todd and her husband Josh, Jesse Kersten and his wife Lauren, Josh Kersten, Jake Kersten, Sarah Kersten, Ally Kersten, Michael Kersten and Sean Kersten; and two great-grandchildren, Parker and Briggs Kersten.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

Private family services will be held. The family asks that friends participate in the service by watching the live-stream on the First Christian Church facebook page or the Vigen Memorial Home Facebook page at 1 p.m, Saturday.

Visitation will be Saturday from 2-3 p.m. at First Christian Church in Keokuk, with the family meeting with friends at that time. Masks will be required and social distancing will be in effect.

Memorials may be made to First Christian Church or to the Keokuk High School Track and Field Program.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.vigenmemorialhome.com.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.

Published in Daily Gate from Oct. 12 to Oct. 13, 2020.

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“JO JO” “RINGS THE BELL”

Pictured is Sophomore Josiah “Jo Jo” King who was selected as this race’s “Bell Ringer”

JOSIAH KING SELECTED AS “BELL RINGER”

Sophomore Josiah King was selected as the “Bell Ringer” Award winner following the Metamora “Running Red” Invitational.  The award has been awarded weekly earlier in the season but with the reduction in meets due to COVID-19, we decided to award it after each meet for the portion of the season when we have 2 meets per week.  The award was created by Head Maple Leaf Cross Country Coach Todd Ehlert with a little help from “da committee”.   The “Bell Ringer Award” honors a team member selected by a committee consisting of the coaching staff and the team captains.  Each member of the committee nominates two athletes.  The committee then discusses each nominee until a winner has been selected.  A team member can be nominated each time but is eligible to win only once.  Considerations for nomination include both practice and competition performances.  Possessing high levels of both Passion and Purpose are omnipotent.  The award winner is selected after every meet.

Once again, the time frame for this meet’s “Bell Ringer” included the Metamora Invitational held on Saturday, October 10th.  I like to type these “Bell Ringer” articles sequentially.  Due to a delay with the previous “Bell Ringer” article, this one is a bit tardy also.  As a result, I will include the WB-6 race also.  The conflict involved one of our team members who is also on the Football team and attended the two-week Geneseo “Green Machine” Football Camp.  We hadn’t been able to cross trails until yesterday which is why this article is running a bit late.  Anyway, back to “Jo Jo” races.  He saved his best race for his last competitive opportunity which occurred at the Western Illinois Big 6 Conference Meet.  He broke the “Magical” eighteen minute barrier for the first time with his 17:56 clocking.  At the Metamora Invitational, he ran 18:49 on a HOT and dusty day.  Most of the team struggled on that day.

Josiah has been “On Fire” all season long.  Of the 11 races that he has participated in, he has run in the Maple Leafs “Top 8” nine times.  He has also run in the “Top 7” five times.  Not bad for someone who never planned on becoming a member of the cross country team.  “Jo Jo” plays on the “Green Machine” Football team.  When their season was moved in March, he was given a “Window” of time to make Cross Country happen.  How he could enjoy the season he did without a full summer to prepare speaks volumes about both is athleticism and his mental tenacity.

“Jo Jo” has been an athlete for most of his life.  He participated and excelled in the Geneseo Youth Football program were he played Running Back and Outside Linebacker.  He also hit the “Hardwood” during the winters via his participation in the Geneseo Youth Basketball where he played mostly guard.  He also played several seasons of Geneseo Youth Baseball where he pitched and played shortstop.  The dude has the “IT” factor.  Some people have a bit of it.  He has a LOT of “IT”.  In middle school he ran cross country in 7th grade and helped lead the team to the State Finals.  He concentrated on Football in 8th grade.  During the winter he played Point Guard on the B-Ball team both years.  In Track and Field he ran mostly the 400 and 800,  He was a key leg of the Maple Leafs 3rd place team at STATE in the 1600 Meter Relay.  He was back in the same events the next year once again qualifying for State in the 4 X4.  Well done, Josiah.

Josiah was back on the “Gridiron” last fall where he played “4-Back” on offense and Cornerback on “D”.  He then played “Point Guard” on the Basketball team.  He enjoyed STRONG seasons in both sports.  He then joined our Track and Field team and was off to a great start running the 400 and 800 meters in our two meet season (SHUT DOWN BY COVID-19.)  “Jo Jo” is one of the most positive individuals I have ever met.  He possesses a charismatic personality that is “Infectious”.  He is 100% team and it has been a true pleasure to get to know you and “your crew”.  The “Three Amigos” were inseparable all season long.  Who am I refering to?  Why Josiah, Tyler Gehl,  and Caleb Durian, of course.  All the best in the coming seasons and years, “Jo Jo”.  Keep “Dreaming Big” and doing all the work that excellence demands.  There are no shortcuts to success and you have already learned the lesson that the most satisfying goals that you achieve are the one’s you work the hardest for.

Josiah is the proud son of Shawn and Tom King.  He is also the proud “Baby Bro” to Caleb (29), Josh (25), and Rebecca (19 and a current college freshman.)

Here are Josiah’s answers to his “Bell Ringer Q’s:  FAVORITE FOOD:  “Chicken Biscuits with LOTS of Blackberries on the side.“;  FAVORITE MOVIE:  “Spider Man 3”;  FAVORITE MUSIC:  “All kinds EXCEPT Country”;  ATHLETIC HERO:  “Spider Man”;  WHY DID YOU JOIN THE XC TEAM:  “I didn’t have anything else to do”;  ADVICE FOR NEW RUNNERS:  “It’s not that fun unless you win.  So make sure you try to win.”

Other team members who were nominated and discussed for this week’s “Bell Ringer Award” were:  Sophomre Tyler Gehl, Junior Justin Johnson, Senior Lucas Nicke, and Senior William Plumley.

I’VE GOT A FEVER FOR MORE COW BELL”

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LEADING BY EXAMPLE

Pictured are Senior William Plumley and Junior Justin Johnson.
They led the team via their Top 25 Medal Award Winning Finishes on Saturday

LEAFS 11TH AT METAMORA “RUNNIN’ RED” INVITATIONAL

On Saturday, October 10th, the Leafs traveled to Metamora’s Black Partridge Park to participate in the 44th Metamora “Runnin’ Red” Cross Country Invitational.  Metamora’s Hall of Fame Coach Gene “Jonesy” Jones and his race committee did a great job of “Thinking Outside of the Box” for this year’s meet.  Only teams from within their Illinois COVID-19 Region were allowed to complete.  They also needed to follow the COVID-19 “Rules & Regulations” including limiting each race to 50 runners or less.  What they came up with was simply brilliant.  Instead of making each team spend all day at the meet the 20 teams were divided into 4 “Sessions”.  Session 1 was held Friday after school.   Sessions 2-4 were held on Saturday and staggered from 9:00 a.m. to when we raced in Session 4 at 2:35 p.m.  Within each “Session” were the Varsity Girls (limited to 7 runners) and the Varsity Boys (ditto.)  The boys raced 40 minutes after the girls to limit potential exposure.  The end result was a lot of hours for the hosting meet workers.  We greatly appreciate their efforts.

A race time temperature of 81˚ made for some “toasty” conditions.  The average daytime high for this time of the year is in the 60’s.  The fact that we raced at 2:35 p.m. resulted in our “Session” racing in the warmest conditions of the day.  The wind was minimal and the course was hard and fast.  Also racing in “Session 4” with us were East Peoria, Morton, Peoria Notre Dame, and Normal U-High.  Four of the five teams are “State-Ranked”, including Geneseo.  After all four sessions were completed, the race results were “Merged” into one race.  It wasn’t perfect due to different weather conditions but at least the meet was held and the team was able to gain some additional “Big Meet” experience.

Senior Tri-Captain William Plumley and Junior Tri-Captain Justin Johnson led the team via their “Top 25 Individual Finish Medal Awards”.  William sprinted home in 13th place (16:07) while Justin was just a big behind him in 25th place (16:31.)  Next up were:  Sophomore Tyler Gehl (74th Place in 17:31);  Junior Isaac Kuster (76th Place in 17:33);  Sophomore Gavin Allision (80th Place in 17:43);  Senior Lucas Nicke (83rd Place in 17:48);  and Sophomore Josiah King (104th Place in 18:49.)  When the “Dust had Settled” the Leafs had placed 11th in the 20 team field.  Solid efforts, Men.  We know you were hoping for more.

Let’s explore that in more detail.  The field included a plethora of State-Ranked teams and the experience of “Toeing da Line” in meets like this is omnipotent.  The Leafs were included in that “Ranking” following their “Ascension” at the PND “Blue and Green” Invitational last weekend.  The only negative is the reality that the team’s mandated schedule included 7 dual meets against everyone in the Western Big Six.  One dual meet for seven straight weeks.  The PND and Metamora Invites were added on top of those meets.  The end result was the team ended up racing 4 times in 12 days.  That is a lot to ask of the athletes and most of the boys were racing on “Tired Legs and Minds”.  No worries, Men.  The experience that you gained from racing in the invites will pay HUGE dividends as we roll into “Championship Meet Season”.

Thursday, October 15th, is the date of the Western Big Six Cross Country Conference Meet.  It will be hosted by the Rock Island Rocks at Saukie Gold Course in Rock Island.  The team is in a great position to battle for the team crown.  Expect a fierce battle from the Moline Maroons.  It should be a hotly contested race.  If Sterling can get their top man Dale Johnson healthy it might end up being a three-team race.  All the best in the final weeks of the season.  COVID-19 has certainly changed our traditional schedule.  Luckily, we still had a season.  In addition we have a conference meet and the first two rounds of the IHSA State Series.  Rest up and get ready to “Rebound” in a BIG WAY!!!  We are VERY proud of each of you.  Embrace the coming race opportunities and don’t forget to “Enjoy the Journey”.  “Control the Controllables” and “DREAM BIG”.

“DREAM BIG”

RESULTS

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JAKE “RINGS THE BELL”

Pictured is Freshman Jake Rapps who was selected as this race’s “Bell Ringer”

JAKE RAPPS SELECTED AS “BELL RINGER”

Freshman Jake Rapps was selected as the “Bell Ringer” Award winner following the United Township Dual Meet.  The award has been awarded weekly earlier in the season but with the reduction in meets due to COVID-19, we decided to award it after each meet for the portion of the season when we have 2 meets per week.  The award was created by Head Maple Leaf Cross Country Coach Todd Ehlert with a little help from “da committee”.   The “Bell Ringer Award” honors a team member selected by a committee consisting of the coaching staff and the team captains.  Each member of the committee nominates two athletes.  The committee then discusses each nominee until a winner has been selected.  A team member can be nominated each time but is eligible to win only once.  Considerations for nomination include both practice and competition performances.  Possessing high levels of both Passion and Purpose are omnipotent.  The award winner is selected after every meet.

Once again, the time frame for this meet’s “Bell Ringer”  included the United Township dual meet on Tuesday, October 6th.  In addition to Cross Country, Jake had also been attending a two week Geneseo “Green Machine” Football Camp.  We haven’t been able to cross trails until today which is why this article is running a bit late.  Anyway, back to Jake’s race.  He saved his best race for his last competitive opportunity.  He ran 20:17 over the challenging Richmond Hill Course as he averaged 6:46 per mile pace.  He dropped his previous best time of 21:52 by 1:35 (if my math is right.)  Jake ended the race as Geneseo’s number 12 man (his highest finish on team) and placed 18th overall.  Simply put, he ran a tremendous race and had the biggest time drop of any team member in that race.  Well done, Jake.

Jake began his athletic career playing T-Ball in the Geneseo Youth Baseball League.  He also participated in the Geneseo Youth Football Program where he played Fullback on offense and Lineback on “D”.  He also found time to throw in several seasons of Soccer (striker) and Basketball (he was EVERYWHERE.)  In middle school, he added Cross Country to his “Resume” where he “Cracked” the Top 7 both years.  He then played “Hoops” both years (I really mean he was EVERYWHERE.)  He also was a key member of the Track and Field teams both years where he was the number one hurdler and also ran on the 4X200 Meter Relay, etc.  He was on his way to winning the Sectional Meet his 7th grade season before….he crashed.  It happens to the best hurdlers in the world and it happened to Jake.  Unfortunately, his 8th grade season resulted in NO competition due to COVID-19 shutdowns.

Jake had planned to be playing Football this fall but COVID-19 postponed that opportunity until next March.  Jake decided to run Cross Country in addition to attending the football camp and Wednesday workouts.  We were very glad to gain his services.  He is an extremely hard working young man who happens to be pretty darn good at everything he tries.  Jake is well on his way to adding another impressive chapter into the “Book of Rapps” athletic achievements.  Jake is the 5th of the “Super Six” Rapps children.  His four older siblings each enjoyed tremendous success in their chosen sports.  Jake is well on his way to adding to the “Family Legacy”.  One more Rapps to go.  We wish Jake nothing but the best in the coming seasons and years.  Keep “Dreaming Big” and dong the work to “Back it Up”.  Also, don’t forget to “Enjoy the Ride”.  I’m also wondering where you are gong to go on your “Senior Vacation”.  Your family’s tradition on that topic is AWESOME.  You have been “Blessed” with very special parents.

Jake is the proud son of Alisande and Paul Rapps.  He is also the proud “Baby Bro” to “Leaf Legends” Becca (23 and a recently graduated Nurse);  Drew (21 and is a junior in college and playing college football);  Colby: (19 and is currently a freshman in college planning to run Track);  Ali:  (17 is a current GHS junior.)  He is also a “Big Bro” to Lizzie (13 and currently in 7th grade).

Here are Jake’s answers to his “Bell Ringer Q’s:  FAVORITE FOOD:  “Lasagna.“;  FAVORITE MOVIE:  “Silence of the Lambs”;  FAVORITE MUSIC:  “I don’t listen to much music but when I do it’s usually Pop or Rap”;  ATHLETIC HERO:  “Julio Jones” in case you don’t know who he is:  Quintorris Lopez “Julio” Jones is an American football wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League. He played college football at Alabama, and in 2009, helped lead the Crimson Tide to an undefeated 14–0 season, including a victory in the 2010 BCS National Championship Game.  Jake is a BIG Atlanta Falcons Fan!;  WHY DID YOU JOIN THE XC TEAM:  “I enjoyed it in middle school”;  ADVICE FOR NEW RUNNERS:  “It is very hard at the start but if you put in the time and effort it will become easier and you will have a whole lot of fun.”

Other team members who were nominated and discussed for this week’s “Bell Ringer Award” were:  Senior Rafe DeCap, Sophomore Tyler Gehl, Junior Isaac Kuster, Freshman Sam Mosbarger, Junior Carson Raya, Junior Malakai Schaad.

I’VE GOT A FEVER FOR MORE COW BELL”

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“DEATH VALLEY….DOWNHILL STYLE”

Pictured are Malakai Schaad ahead of Carson Raya, Bode Neff and Cooper Schaad.
The boys just finished enjoying the downhill section of Richmond Hill Park’s “Death Valley”.

LEAFS TOP PANTHERS TO FINISH
DUAL MEET SEASON AN UNDEFEATED 7-0

On Tuesday, October 4th, the Leafs played host to the United Township Panthers in the season’s final dual meet.  The meet was held at Geneseo’s Richmond Hill Park.  It has been years since the team participated in even a single dual meet.  Competition philosophies have changed and we have been unable to find any schools to race us “Heads Up”.  The closest thing we’ve been able to attain is the traditional “Sterling Grass Relays” (which was not held this year due to COVID-19.)  Conversations with area coaches have led us to regain hope that we will be able to have one to two dual meets each season in the coming years.  Dual meets serve as an important opportunity to develop critical “Racing Skills”.  We will be keeping our fingers crossed.

Anyway, back to the meet.  The weatherman provided a wonderful early October day for the meet.  The daytime high was 75˚ with a west wind of 12 mph that wasn’t much of a factor thanks to a lot of trees on the west end of the park.  The Leafs entered the meet with a perfect 6-0 dual meet record and hoped to extend it to 7-0.  Mission accomplished as the Leafs turned back United Township by a score of 22-39.  United Township is the defending Western Big Six Conference Champions so last night’s victory was significant.  With only limited entry meets remaining the meet was the final competitive opportunity for most of the team.  The “Top 7 will race in the Metamora Inv., Regional, and Sectional Meets.  The Western Big Six Conference meet will allow for the Top 8 runners this year.

Leading the team were:  Senior Tri-Captain William Plumley (2nd Place in 17:19);  Junior Tri-Captain Justin Johnson (3rd Place in 17:45);  Sophomore Gavin Allison (4th Place in 17:53);  Junior Isaac Kuster (5th Place in 18:21);  and Sophomore Tyler Gehl (6th Place in 18:22.)  In case you’re not counting, that was al five of the Leaf’s “Scoring 5” finishing in the top 6 places.  Great Stuff, Men.  Not far behind were:  Senior Lucas Nicke (8th Place in 19:01);  Junior Malakai Schaad (11th Place in 19:35);  Freshman Cooper Schaad (12th Place in 19:13);  Junior Tri-Captain Bode Neff (13th Place in 19:14);  Junior Carson Raya (14th Place in 19:46);  Freshman Sam Mosbarger (15th Place in 19:48);  Freshman Jake Rapps (18th Place in 20:17);  and Sophomore Josiah “Jo Jo” King (20th Place in 20:21.)  That is 13 Maple Leafs in the Top 20.  Way To Roll, Men!

Rounding out the team and their competitive seasons were:  Junior Andrew Burke (22nd Place in 20:32);  Junior Max Sottos (23rd Place in 20:56);  Senior Ricardo Chavez-Sanchez (24th Place in 21:18);  Junior Simon Anderson (25th Place in 22:03);  Sophomore Nathan Venneberg (26th Place in 22:16);  Senior Rafe DeCap (28th Place in 23:55);  Freshman Buddy Henderson (30th Place in 25:23);  and Freshman Ryley Rowold (32nd Place in 26:23.)  Way to push it, Men!

DRUM CORPS “IN da HOUSE”

Pictured are four members of Geneseo’s Elite Drum Corps.  They came out to support the team.
Their efforts were AWESOME and greatly appreciated.

A special thank you goes out to Randy Pobanz for helping to paint the course, course set-up and take-down, and his tremendous support of the team.  Randy is a “Maple Leaf Legend” having qualified for multiple STATE FINALS “Back in the Day”) in both Cross Country and Track & Field.  He ran the equivalent of a 9:30 in the 3200 Meter Run.  That time is still sitting 4TH FASTEST in SCHOOL HISTORY.  He accomplished that feat in 1971.  Also, a special thank you to all of team’s amazing parents for their tremendous support and encouragement.  I have often stated to the young people I have been privileged to work with that “You can’t pick your parents”.  Most of those “youngsters” hit a “Grand Slam” in the parent “Department”.  Thank you to Booster Club Boys Cross Country Representative Michelle Johnson.   She is an amazing person and we greatly appreciate all of her hard work.  Ditto to Leslie Raya for her incredible pictures.  She has the “IT” factor in regard to photography.  Her picture are “Stunning”.  It is dangerous to start thanking people because of who might get missed.  Thank you to all.  It is a true honor to work with each and every team member.  Lastly, a special “Shout Out” for Ev Allison and anyone else who helped get 4 members of Geneseo’s Elite Drum Corps to provide some encouragement to “da Boys”.  IT WAS AWESOME!!!

Many of the team’s members were racing on “Tired Legs” after racing in the Peoria Notre Dame Blue and Green Invitational on Saturday followed by a “Threshold” Workout on Sunday.  Coach Ehlert knew that the team members who raced on Saturday would be affected the most but also has the “Big Picture” in mind.  Racing twice a week is a challenge in regard to training and the optimal option was to “Train Through” Tuesday’s Meet for the Leaf’s Elite.  The goal was to win the the meet ANYWAY.  Mission accomplished.  All the best at Metamora on Saturday and then get ready for “Championship Meet Season”.  COVID-19 had made this season and every other aspect of life more challenging.  Way to pull together and made the best out of each and every opportunity that the season has presented.  Utilizing the optimistic philosophy of “The Glass is Half Full” instead of EMPTY had been an omnipotent decision.  Keep making smart decisions each and every day.

“DREAM BIG”

RICHMOND HILL TOP 25 LISTS

RESULTS

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JUSTIN “RINGS THE BELL”

Pictured is Junior Justin Johnson who was selected as this race’s “Bell Ringer”

JUSTIN JOHNSON SELECTED AS “BELL RINGER”

Junior Tri-Captain Justin Johnson was selected as the “Bell Ringer” Award winner following the Peoria Notre Dame Blue and Green Invitational.  The award has been awarded weekly earlier in the season but with the reduction in meets due to COVID-19, we decided to award it after each meet for the portion of the season when we have 2 meets per week.  The award was created by Head Maple Leaf Cross Country Coach Todd Ehlert with a little help from “da committee”.   The “Bell Ringer Award” honors a team member selected by a committee consisting of the coaching staff and the team captains.  Each member of the committee nominates two athletes.  The committee then discusses each nominee until a winner has been selected.  A team member can be nominated each time but is eligible to win only once.  Considerations for nomination include both practice and competition performances.  Possessing high levels of both Passion and Purpose are omnipotent.  The award winner is selected after every meet.

Once again, the time frame for this meet’s “Bell Ringer” was the time leading up to and including the Peoria Notre Dame Blue and Green Invitational on October 3rd.  The meet was held Peoria’s Historic Detweiller Park.  The meet was also the first time this season that the team has faced more than 2 other teams.  In fact, of the 7 meets the Leafs have raced in this season, all but one were head-t- head dual meets.  Back to the meet.  Justin took advantage of excellent racing conditions and one of the fastest courses in the midwest.  Justin went out aggressively and cruised past the mile in 5:16 as he had packed it up with teammates William Plumley and Gavin Allison.  They were all running in the top 20 and looking strong.  They separated in the next mile as Justin moved up a couple of spots and rolled by the two mile in 10:46 (5:30 second mile.)  He then dropped the pace during his final mile and continued to pick runners off.  He was sitting in 11th place with 50 meters to go when he “Threw it down”.  The top 10 individual finishers earned medals and Justin wanted one of those pretty bad.  He ended up kicking a runner from Normal Community High School in the last step and beat him by 1/10 of a second to grab the final medal.  He demonstrated an extremely high level of “Passion and Purpose”.  His final mile was a quick 5:25.

Justin has been running amongst the Maple Leaf’s Top 7 ever since he entered high school.  He was also elected as one of this year’s captains following the completion of last year’s XC season.  In my opinion, there is no higher honor that an athlete can earn than being selected as a team leader by their peers.  Justin has done a good job of leading his teammates along with his fellow elected Tri-Captains Willian Plumley and Bode Neff.  Justin has run as the Leafs number 2 or 3 man in every race this season.  He put in another solid off-season of base work and had taken his racing ability to another level.  He is also one of the nicest young men you will ever meet.  It is rare to see him without a smile on his face.  By the way, that smile is “Infectious”.  All the best in the coming races, Justin.  This team is in the “Cusp” of making some “MAJOR NOISE” at the STATE LEVEL.  One race at a time.  Metamora this weekend (I am writing this on Friday, October 9th) and then get ready to try and help lead the team to it’s first ever Western Big Six Conference CHAMPIONSHIP on Thursday, October 15th.  After that it will be on to the Morris Regional where the team will be gunning for it’s 2nd Regional Championship in 3 years.  God Willing, you will then “Toe da Line” at Detweiller Park for the Notre Dame Sectional Meet to close out the season.  A top 7 team finish there will qualify the Leafs for the STATE FINALS for the first time since 1999.  That is 21 years ago.  Keep “Dreaming Big” and doing the work to back it up.

Justin’s athletic career began in 5th grade when he joined the Geneseo Youth Football Program.  He played all the way through his 7th grade year as a tight end on offense and as a safety on “D”.  He added cross country in 7th grade (where he cracked the Geneseo’s top 10.)  In addition, he also played Football that fall as well.  He played the same positions.  Then when the spring rolled around, he became a middle distance runner for the GMS Track and Field team.  He whittled it down the just XC and Track and Field during his 8th grade year.  Justin helped the Cross Country team place 11th running as the team’s 2nd man.  He also qualified for the State Finals in Track and Field where he ran the 1600 Meter Run barely missing cracking the five minute barrier.  Justin has also earned his varsity letters in cross country and track and field each season as he has run amongst the Leafs elite.  His personal best times in track and field are 4:46 for the 1600 and 10:36 for the 3200 Meter Runs.  Both of these times came from his freshman year during championship meet season.  He was limited to only two competitive opportunities during the 2020 Track and Field season due to COVID-19 and the “Shut Down”.  I am literally “Drooling” in anticipation in regard to what his future holds.  The boy has the “It Factor”.

Justin is the proud son of Michelle and Jamie Johnson.  He is also the proud “Big Bro” to Bryce (currently in 10th grade.)

Here are Justin’’s answers to his “Bell Ringer Q’s:  FAVORITE FOOD:  “I really like lots of different foods but during season I “eat pasta to run fasta”.;  FAVORITE MOVIE:  “Fast and Furious”;  FAVORITE MUSIC:  “Country music and Rock and Roll”;  ATHLETIC HERO:  “I haven’t really followed a lot of professional runners, so my heroes are all of my friends and family that support me and inspire me to run my best..;  WHY DID YOU JOIN THE XC TEAM:  “It was something new that I wanted to try out and I’m so glad I did..”;  ADVICE FOR NEW RUNNERS:  “I would say not to worry about what everyone else’s times look like but to focus on yourself and run your best race.”

Other team members who were nominated and discussed for this week’s “Bell Ringer Award” were:  Sophomore Gavin Allision, Sophomore Tyler Gehl, Senior Lucas Nicke, Senior William Plumley, Junior Carson Raya, Freshman Cooper Schaad, and Junior Malakai Schaad.

I’VE GOT A FEVER FOR MORE COW BELL”

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PACKING IT UP

Pictured are the Gavin Allison, William Plumley, and Justin Johnson in a tight pack early in the race.
Also visible is Tyler Gehl a bit farther back.

LEAFS RUN FAST AT THE
PEORIA NOTRE DAME BLUE & GREEN INVITATIONAL

On Saturday, Saturday, October 3rd, the Leafs traveled Peoria’s Detweiller Park to participate in the Peoria Notre Dame Blue/Green Invitational.  Due to COVID-19 Restrictions, the field was limited to only seven teams.  We were very lucky to be included among those invited teams and the opportunity to race on the Historic Detweiller Park Course.  The field included teams from:  Galesburg, Geneseo, Moline, Morton, Peoria Notre Dame, Normal Community, and Normal West High Schools.  October has arrived and fall is certainly in the air.  Race time temperatures were around 50 degrees with a light mist falling.  The wind gauge read 2-3 mph.  It doesn’t get much better than this.  The Leafs took advantage of the great racing conditions and fast course to destroy their season bests times.  Every single Maple Leaf “Roared To” a season best time.  WELL DONE, MEN!!!

The Varsity Boys race began at 10:00 a.m. sharp.  The field included two Illinois Mile Split.com Top 25 rated teams.  With COVID-19 making large field invitationals impossible, the rankings are certainly a difficult assignment to compile.  None the less, the 6th rated Morton Potters and the 14th rated Peoria Notre Dame Irish were in the field.  Morton dominated the race putting 4 runners in the top 10 and 5 in the top 15.  After that, thing got interesting.  The Leafs ran inspired races and finished a mere 15 points out of 2nd when the “Dust had Settled”.  The Leafs ended up in 4th place just behind Normal Community West (76 points…3A school), and PND (77 points.)  The Leafs totaled 91 points with a much improved Moline Maroon squad in 5th scoring 98 points.  Leading the charge for the Leafs were two of the team’s Tri-Captains.  Both Senior William Plumley and Junior Justin Johnson cracked the “Top 10” earning highly coveted medals.  They placed 8th and 10th overall and recorded times of 16:01 and 16:11.  Not far behind were sophomores Gavin Allison (16th Place in 16:28) and Tyler Gehl (22nd Place in 16:41.)  Senior Lucas Nicke (35th Place in 17:08), Junior Isaac Kuster (38th Place in 17:18), and Freshman Cooper Schaad (39th Place in 17:20) rounded out the squad.  Solid Stuff, Men.

“OPEN CREW AND A FEW”

Pictured are the seven Leafs that raced in the Open race and a few additional teammates.
Malakai Schaad and Carson Raya are ready to take on “All Comers” in a “Chicken Fight”

The last race of the day was originally going to be a Freshman/Sophomore Race.  Evidently, not enough teams could field a complete F.S. team so the race was changed to an Open Race.  The Leafs placed 5th in the strong field.  The team was led by: Sophomore Josiah King (21st place in 18:04);  Junior Malakai Schaad (23rd Place in 18:06);  Junior Tri-Captain Bode Neff (25th Place in 18:10);  and Junior Carson Raya (28th Place in 18:21.)  The first four Leafs all “Cracked the Top 30”.  Not far behind and closing FAST were Freshman Sam Mosbarger (31st Place in 18:35);  Junior Max Sottos (36th Place in 19:14);  and Junior Andrew Burke (38th Place in 19:23.)  The team consisted of five juniors, one sophomore, and one freshman.  All but two of the fourteen Leafs that raced today will be back next year.  “Things” are GREAT now but the future looks pretty exciting also.

A special thank you goes out to Notre Dame’s Head Coach Dan Gray for hosting the meet and including us.  Also appreciated was the Irish “Drum Corps” who were situated on the “Home Stretch”.  The athletes passed them three times and their efforts were greatly appreciated.  I appeared that each team member responded to the “Pulsating, Thunderous Beat” that they “Threw Down”.

Also, congratulations to Gavin Allison, Tyler Gehl, William Plumley, and Cooper Schaad for “Cracking” the Detweiller “Top 25 Lists”.  Most of the courses that we race on have over the years.  Historic Detweiller Park is one of the rare exceptions to that fact.  Getting your name on one of the Top 25 lists on this course is significant.  The Illinois High School Association moved the State Finals in cross country to Detweiller in 1970 so that is 50 years of racing both in Invitationals and the IHSA series.  GREAT JOB, MEN!

So what’s next?  Simply the BEST part of the season.  First a chance to go UNDEFEATED in duals.  The team will host United Township on Tuesday, October 6th.  Then, the Top 7 will be off to Metamora to race in the Running Red Invitational.  After that it will be time to “Race” into a “Championship Meet Season” that will include the WB-6, Regional, and Sectional Meets.  The team is running at a high level but there are a few more “Steps on the Ladder” available if EVERYONE “Gets on Board”.  Championship Teams find a way to get it done.  The opportunities are in front of you.  Please “Pay the Price” that excellence DEMANDS on a daily basis.  Most importantly, “DREAM BIG”.  All the best, Men.  Most of you will run your last race on Tuesday due to meet entry limitations.

 “DREAM BIG”

DETWEILLER PARK TOP 25’s

RESULTS

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BUDDY “RINGS THE BELL”

Pictured is Freshman Buddy Henderson who was selected as this race’s “Bell Ringer”

BUDDY HENDERSON SELECTED AS “BELL RINGER”

Freshman Buddy Henderson was selected as the “Bell Ringer” Award winner following the Galesburg Dual.  The award has been awarded weekly to this point but with the reduction in meets due to COVID-19, we decided to award it after each meet for the two weeks when we have two meets.  The award was created by Head Maple Leaf Cross Country Coach Todd Ehlert with a little help from “da committee”.   The “Bell Ringer Award” honors a team member selected by a committee consisting of the coaching staff and the team captains.  Each member of the committee nominates two athletes.  The committee then discusses each nominee until a winner has been selected.  A team member can be nominated each time but is eligible to win only once.  Considerations for nomination include both practice and competition performances.  Possessing high levels of both Passion and Purpose are omnipotent.  The award winner is selected after every meet.

Once again, the time frame for this meet’s “Bell Ringer” was the time leading up to and including the dual meet with Galesburg held on Tuesday, September September 29th.  The meet was held at Geneseo Challenging Richmond Hill Park.  Buddy took advantage of near perfect racing conditions as the meet time temperature was 59˚.  The winds were minimal.  The course was a bit soft but not too bad.  Buddy simply “Threw Down” an inspiring effort as he “ROARED” to his season best time of 24:02.  He averaged a “Pinch” about eight minute pace over the rugged course.  He also took a HUGE 42 seconds off his season best time to LEAD THE TEAM.  Great Job, Buddy.

Buddy’s three-mile adventures began when the Leaf’s hosted Quincy back on Friday, September 4th when he was timed in 28:22.  He followed that up the following Tuesday at home in the pouring rain where he “Stopped da Clock” at 27:16.  Next up was a race in Rock Island’s Longview Park on Thursday, September 17th.  The park has a LOT of pavement so we asked our team to race in their training flats.  Buddy still destroyed his season best time and recorded a time of 24:44 despite Longview’s “Switchbacks”.  Buddy’s next race was at Sterling’s Hoover Park.  He was timed at 26:30 and wasn’t happy about his race.  You can’t teach “Pride” and Buddy has a LOT of it.  What happened next was his big race at home against the “Silver Streaks” of Galesburg.  Buddy raced to a time of 24:02.  Buddy was a “Mainstay” at our optional summer training runs.  His improvement is truly “Jaw-Dropping”.  Way to roll, Buddy!  Keep up the good work.  Your smile is “Infectious” in a GOOD WAY.  Everyone on the team has an effect on the team each and every day.  The best way to lead is via example and that is exactly what you do each and every day.  Thanks for being such a great guy.  All the best on Tuesday and “Down the Road”.

Buddy began his athletic career playing age-group Soccer and Basketball.  He “specialized” in defense in Soccer and was an all around force in “Hoops”.  He followed that up with his participation in both Cross Country and Track and Field during his 7th grade year.  In Track and Field he was a “Jumper” participating in both the High Jump and Triple Jump.  He also ran some sprints.  He followed up the next year by joining the same teams again during his 8th grade year.  We are VERY glad that Buddy decided to join this year’s high school Cross Country team.  He has a lot of potential and it is going to be a lot of fun watching him develop over the coming years.  All the best!!!

Buddy is the proud son of Melissa and Bryce Henderson.  He is also the proud “Baby Bro” to one of our team’s superstar managers Rose (currently in 11th grade) and “Big Bro” to Andy (currently in 2nd grade.)

Here are Buddy’s answers to his “Bell Ringer Q’s:  FAVORITE FOOD:  “Tacos with Rice.“;  FAVORITE MOVIE:  “Oceans 11”;  FAVORITE MUSIC:  “Classic Rock- Preferably from the 80’s”;  ATHLETIC HERO:  “Dan Patch” (see Tyler Gehl’s article for more information if you don’t know who Dan was.  Briefly, he was an amazing racing horse from a LONG time ago…Geneseo ties…;  WHY DID YOU JOIN THE XC TEAM:  “I joined cross country through the enjoyment I got from doing it in middle school and to be able to spend more time with friends.”;  ADVICE FOR NEW RUNNERS:  “My only advice would be to just try it. I almost didn’t join because I thought running three miles was impossible. About a week into the season I realized that I couldn’t have been more wrong. Anything is possible if you go for it, and have fun!!”

Other team members who were nominated and discussed for this week’s “Bell Ringer Award” were:  Junior Justin Johnson, Sophomore Josiah “Jo Jo” King, Senior Lucas Nicke, Junior Carson Raya, Junior Malakai Schaad.

I’VE GOT A FEVER FOR MORE COW BELL”

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SENIOR NIGHT

Pictured are Seniors:   Tanner Burgett, Rafe Morrison, Ricardo Chavez-Sanchez,
William Plumley, and Lucas Nicke

LEAFS RUN STRONG IN GALESBURG DUAL

On Tuesday, September 29, the Leafs played host to the Galesburg Silverstreaks.  The meet was held at Geneseo’s Richmond Hill Park.  The Maple Leaf Seniors were honored with personalized posters as well as team posters.  A special thank you Melissa Rusk and Leslie Raya for all the great work on those projects.  They looked AWESOME!

Fall has finally arrived and it has been refreshing to watch the heat and high humidity of summer be replaced by comfortable temperatures and a low dew point.  The race time temperature of 59˚ with a light, 8-10 mph wind resulted in ideal racing conditions.  The only negative was the fact that the course was a “Bit Soft” due to rain the day before.  Coach Todd Ehlert’s Maple Leaf Harrier Squad is still unbeaten and hoped to extend that “Streak” Tuesday afternoon.  The Leafs would be racing without their number one man, Senior Tri-Captain William Plumley, who was held out of the meet with a minor quad injury.  Freshman Cooper Schaad who has been running in the team’s Top 7 for most of the season was also held out due to a conflict.

The boys race started at 5:10 p.m. and Junior Isaac Kuster took the lead early as the team got out nicely.  The Leafs found their “Racing Groups” and “Got After It”.  The battle up front eventually came down to Galesburg Senior Ben Vasquez and Maple Leaf Sophomore Gavin Allison and Junior Justin Johnson.  Gavin pulled away to win his first race EVER as he ended up winning the race in 17:38 to win by 5 seconds over a fast-closing Justin Johnson who held off Ben and “Stopped the Clock” at 17:43.  What a start to the meet.  Ben has actually beaten William previously and was certainly the pre-race favorite.  The Leafs grabbed the next three places:  Junior Isaac Kuster (18:05), Sophomore Tyler Gehl (18:26), and Senior Lucas Nicke (18:47) “ROARED HOME” in 4th-5th-and 6th places respectfully.  Next up were Sophomore Josiah King (19:08) and Senior Tri-Captain Bode Neff (19:27) who closed out the Leafs “Top 7” with 8th and 10th places respectfully.

This Saturday’s Notre Dame Blue-Green Invitational will offer a “Varsity Race” (Top 7 Runners) and a “J.V. Race” (.the next 7 Runners) so the remaining team members were racing for the honor of “Toeing the Line” on Saturday.  The meet will be held at Peoria’s Detweiller Park which is home to the annual STATE FINALS making the opportunity all the more special.  Leading that charge were:  Junior Malakai Schaad (11th Place in 19:30);  Junior Carson Raya (12th Place in 19:32);  Freshman Sam Mosbarger (13th Place in 19:55);  Junior Max Sottos (17th Place in 20:13);  and Junior Andrew Burke (20th Place in 20:32.)  With two of the team’s Top 7 runners held out, the top five men in this race made a “Strong Statement” in regard to Saturday’s entries.

Not far behind were:  Senior Ricardo Chavez-Sanchez (21st Place in 21:00);  Freshman Jake Rapps (23rd Place in 21:52);  Junior Simon Anderson (24th Place in 21:59);  Sophomore Nathan Venneberg (25th Place in 22:02);  Junior Harrison Neumann (28th Place in 22:57);  Senior Tanner Burgett (29th Place in 23:32);  Freshman Buddy Henderson (32nd Place in 24:02);  and Freshman Ryley Rowold (33rd Place in 24:21.  Great efforts, Men!

Wall to Roll, Men!  Eleven team members ran their season best time on the Richmond Hill Park course.  Also, Seven team members ran their fastest time of the season.  Great Stuff, Men.  Last night was a great “Tune Up” before we enter the Invitational portion of the season.  That will be immediately followed by “Championship Meet” Season.  Keep making smart choices, Men.  This team is ready to FLY.  Make every racing opportunity count.  Bring on Detweiller Park.  All the best in the coming weeks.

“DREAM BIG”

RESULTS

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RYLEY “RINGS THE BELL”

Pictured is Freshman Ryley Rowold who was selected as this week’s “Bell Ringer”

RYLEY ROWOLD SELECTED AS “BELL RINGER”

Freshman Ryley Rowold was selected as this week’s “Bell Ringer” Award Winner.  The award was created by Head Maple Leaf Cross Country Coach Todd Ehlert with a little help from “da committee”.   The “Bell Ringer Award” honors a team member selected by a committee consisting of the coaching staff and the team captains.  Each member of the committee nominates two athletes.  The committee then discusses each nominee until a winner has been selected.  A team member can be nominated every week but is eligible to win only once.  Considerations for nomination include both practice and competition performances.  Possessing high levels of both Passion and Purpose are omnipotent.  The award winner is selected every Monday now that the competition portion of the season has begun.

The time frame for this week’s “Bell Ringer” was from Monday, September 21st through Sunday, September 27th.  During that time, the Leafs participated in a dual meet on Tuesday, September 22nd.  In that meet, the Leafs raced the Sterling Golden Warriors.  The meet was held at Sterling’s Hoover Park.  The meet was a battle between two of the Western Big Six’s Top Cross Country Teams.  The Maple Leafs really took advantage of excellent weather conditions and ran exceptionally as a high percentage of the team ran their season best time.  Ryley was part of that group and, in fact, had the biggest drop in his season best on the entire team.  Ryley dropped his season best by a “Jaw-Dropping” 1:45.  Ryley went out aggressively and “Roared” through his first mile in 7:23.  He paid a bit for that aggressive start but still managed a strong finishing kick and “Stopped the Clock” at 24:29.  His three mile average was 8:09.  GREAT JOB, RYLEY!

Ryley has been “On Fire” ever since the season began.  He simply shows up every day (usually on his bike) and s;esud does everything that Coach Ehlert asks him to do.  He is pretty quiet but is still a strong leader for the team via his work ethic.   Ryley has dropped his season best time each and every meet to date.  I am typing this up after our dual meet with Galesburg.  Ryley opened his three mile racing with a 28:00 against Quincy.  He followed that up with a 27:44 against Moline in the rain.  The first two meets were held at Geneseo’s Richmond Hill Park.  Next up was a 26:14 at Rock Island’s Longview Park.  Ryley followed that up with his 24:29 at Sterling’s Hoover Park.  That is the meet Ryley is being recognized for.  He then ran a 24:21 against Galesburg over the challenging Richmond Hill course.  Tremendous job, Ryley!

Ryley began his athletic career in the Geneseo youth football program.  His favorite positions were tight end and wide receiver.  He also participated in the Mississippi Valley Track Club where he ran everything from the 400 and hurdles and even long jumped.  Ryley then participated in middle school cross country and track and field during both 7th and 8th grade years.  Unfortunately, COVID-19 shut things down last spring before the team even had a chance to have their first meet.  Ryley put some training in during the summer to prepare for his freshman cross country season.

Ryley is the proud son of Nicole and Eric Rowlold.  He is also the proud “Big Bro” to Ida (currently in 5th grade) and Lillian (currently in 1st grade.)

Here are Ryley’s answers to his “Bell Ringer Q’s:  FAVORITE FOOD:  “Vegetable Lo Mein.“;  FAVORITE MOVIE:  “Shreck”;  FAVORITE MUSIC:  “Classic Rock- Preferably The Grateful Dead”;  ATHLETIC HERO:  “Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs;  WHY DID YOU JOIN THE XC TEAM:  “When I was 10 I saw them run past my house and I wanted to do that with them.”;  ADVICE FOR NEW RUNNERS:  “Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Push your limits, even when you feel like you should stop you should keep going no matter what till you reach that finish line. it will feel bad but it’ll feel good at the end, I promise that.”

Other team members who were nominated and discussed for this week’s “Bell Ringer Award” were:  Junior Justin Johnson, Junior Isaac Kuster, Junior Carson Raya, and Freshman Cooper Schaad.

I’VE GOT A FEVER FOR MORE COW BELL”

.

RYLEY ROWOLD RUNS WILD

Pictured is Freshman Ryley Rowold who took 1:45 off his season best time

LEAFS TOP STERLING IN DUAL

On Tuesday, September 22nd the Leafs traveled to Sterling’s Hoover Park to race the a very good Golden Warrior squad in a dual meet.  “On paper” the teams matched up very evenly so there was a lot of excitement before, during, and after the “Showdown”.  Both teams entered the race undefeated.  That is a very impressive statement to make as the calendar is closing in on October.  The weatherman also helped out with a daytime high of 79˚ with a low dew point.  Add in the fact that the course was hard and fast and the end result was optimal conditions.

I am still recovering from my torn meniscus surgery so I am limited in regard to where I can get to.  I did get a “Thumbs Up” from my P.T. to get on my bike so I brought it to the meet  I was NOT, however, able to join the the pre-race huddle and pep-talk from Coach Ehlert.  It must have been in the “Vince Lombardi” style.  Why did I type that?  Our top group of boys “EXPLODED” off the line and “ROARED” through the opening 200 faster than I can ever remember seeing a Maple Leaf team “Get Out”.  It was inspiring to see the boys “Respond” to the moment.  They have a “Plethora” of respect for Coach Ehlert and it showed in the early stages of the race.  Another thing that was evident is a strong “Hunger” to continue chasing the pursuit of excellence.  This is a special team and it is going to be a LOT of fun watching them close out the 2020 season.

Back to the race.  Sterling’s Dale Johnson is one of the top Freshman in the State of Illinois at the 2A level.  He made up a lot of ground after the opening 800 meters and ended up winning the race in 16:17.  Sterling’s Hoover Park course is challenging and runs about 40 seconds slower than Detweiller Park.  Senior Tri-Captain William Plumley sprinted home in second place as he “Stopped da Clock” at 16:30.  Junior Tri-Captain Justin Johnson did a great job of holding off a fast closing Javon Bruce of Sterling by three seconds as Justin’s time was 17:00 for 3rd place.  Not far behind and closing FAST were:  Sophomore Gavin Allision (5th Place in 17:27);  Junior Isaac Kuster (6th Place in 17:32);  Sophomore Tyler Gehl (7th Place in 17:42) and Freshman Cooper Schaad (9th Place in 17:48) all cracked the Top 10.  The Leafs ended up putting 6 men in the Top 10 to dominate the meet.

Also running strong were:  Senior Lucas Nicke (11th Place in 18:11);  Sophomore Josiah King (13th Place in 18:24);  Junior Tri-Captain Bode Neff (15th Place in 18:45);  Junior Malakai Schaad (17th Place in 18:53) and Junior Carson Raya (19:13.)  In case you weren’t counting, that is Eleven Maple Leafs in the Top 20 against a strong Sterling Golden Warrior squad.  Rounding out the strong efforts were:  Freshman Sam Mosbarger (24th Place in 19:48);  Senior Ricardo Chavez-Sanchez (28th Place in 20:31);  Junior Andrew Burke (30th Place in 21:52);  Freshman Jake Rapps (31st Place in 21:57);  Junior Simon Anderson (32nd Place in 21:59);  Sophomore Nathan Venneberg (33rd Place in 22:07);  Senior Tanner Burgett (36th Place in 23:51);  Junior Harrison Neumann (37th Place in 23:52);  Senior Rafe DeCap (38th Place in 23:56);  Freshman Ryley Rowold (40th Place in 24:29) and Freshman Buddy Henderson (42nd Place in 26:30.)

When the “Dust had Settled”, SIXTEEN of the 22 Leafs racing had recorded a SEASON BEST TIME for the three mile racing distance.  Great Job, Men.  Keep doing all the “Little Things”.  All the best in the coming weeks.  As of this writing, the I.H.S.A. has added another level of “Championship Season” racing by reinstating the Sectional Meet.  We don’t have any details yet but are extremely excited for the opportunity, if it can be done safely.  This is a year unlike no other that we have ever known.  COVID-19 is still “Out There” and we need to keep our guard up.  We thank each of your for bringing an optimistic perspective to practice on a daily basis.

“DREAM BIG”

RESULTS

 

WILLIAM “RINGS THE BELL”

Pictured is Senior Tri-Captain William Plumley who was selected as this week’s “Bell Ringer”

WILLIAM PLUMLEY SELECTED AS “BELL RINGER”

Senior Tri-Captain William Plumley was selected as this week’s “Bell Ringer” Award Winner.  The award was created by Head Maple Leaf Cross Country Coach Todd Ehlert with a little help from “da committee”.   The “Bell Ringer Award” honors a team member selected by a committee consisting of the coaching staff and the team captains.  Each member of the committee nominates two athletes.  The committee then discusses each nominee until a winner has been selected.  A team member can be nominated every week but is eligible to win only once.  Considerations for nomination include both practice and competition performances.  Possessing high levels of both Passion and Purpose are omnipotent.  The award winner is selected every Monday now that the competition portion of the season has begun.

The time frame for this week’s “Bell Ringer” was from Monday, September 14th through Sunday, September 20th.  During that time, the Leafs participated in a dual meet on Thursday, September 17th.  In that meet, the Leafs raced the Rock Island Rocks.  The meet was held at Rock Island’s Longview Park.  The teams were blessed with unseasonably cool weather resulting in near perfect racing conditions with a daytime high of only 66˚.  William took advantage of the conditions to win the race in a season best time of 17:01.  Making the day even more special for William was the fact that this was his first “Gold Medal” in Varsity Competition.  He ended up winning the race by 39 seconds.  Add in the fact that the course had a series of “switchbacks” that the athletes had to climb on each of the three loops of the course.  The athletes also raced in training flats due to large sections of the course that were cover with pavement.  Running his fastest time of the season on a hilly course in training flats for the full three mile distance was a tremendous accomplishment

William has been nicknamed “Jesus” by his teammates (look at his picture and you’ll get the idea).  The fact that William is a devout Christian makes that nickname even more significant.  William has been a key member of the team’s elite Top 7 ever since he laced up his racing spikes in cross country for the first time in his life (Freshman Year.)  William was elected as one the 2020 Team’s Tri-Captains at the conclusion of the 2019 season.  William has done a great job of helping to lead the team.  The best way to lead in by example and William has earned the Maple Leaf’s Number One Man spot each and every time he has “toed the line” this season.  It has been a lot of fun watching William mature over the last four years.  He is literally “On Fire” and there is no telling just how fast he is going to run this fall and beyond.  The Maple Leafs are one of the best kept secrets in the State of Illinois due to the fact that all of the team’s race results (posted on Athletic.Net) have been run on challenging courses so the times are deceiving.  We like it that way but the “coming out” party will be occurring in the coming weeks.  All the best, William.  You are a special young man and are in the enviable position of having been blessed with a plethora of talent and the Passion and Purpose to “Take It” to an elite level.  It wouldn’t shock any of us to see you chase All-American Honors in College.  Try and do “Some Major Damage” and collect some I.H.S.A. hardware before then during this fall and next spring.  All the best down the road.  God Bless.

William didn’t enter the athletic arena until track season in 8th grade.  William was challenged by Megan Soria an Rafe “Rafa” Morrison DeCap to come to some of the winter training runs that Coach Ehlert organized.  That decision was truly “Life-Changing” for him.  Since that decision he has earned a VARSITY Letter in Cross Country and Track and Field EVERY SEASON.  Among his post high school plans include running at the collegiate level.  He is also planning on becoming a secondary educator and coaching Cross Country and Track and Field.  William is also a highly skilled musician (Tuba) where he has achieved All-State Honors and “First Chair” for last two years.  William has learned the correlation between hard work and RESULTS during his journey.  As a result, he has earned many awards.  The most impactful result are the “Intrinsic” self-satisfaction that comes as a result of working diligently over an extended period of time and the resulting self-satisfaction that is achieved.  Another word for that is PRIDE and William has earned a lot of that.

William is the proud son of Valerie and Marshall Plumley.  He is also the proud “Baby Bro” of his sister Lauren (currently a Sophomore in College) and the Proud “Big Bro” to Megan (currently a Sophomore at GHS.)

Here are William’s answers to his “Bell Ringer Q’s:  FAVORITE FOOD:  “Varies.“;  FAVORITE MOVIE:  “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan”;  FAVORITE MUSIC:  “Classic Rock- Preferably Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin”;  ATHLETIC HERO:  “Don Fredericks (I mean come on, who else?).;  WHY DID YOU JOIN THE XC TEAM:  “I was encouraged by some friends to come to winter runs for 8th grade track. I didn’t even know cross country existed until I was the top 1-mile runner for track, and was asked to try it out.”;  ADVICE FOR NEW RUNNERS:  “You cannot expect to improve as much as you want by prioritizing any one aspect of running over the other. Nothing will be gained by focusing more on speed compared to mileage, or visa versa. Every aspect of your training must be given equal consideration, especially the stuff you do at home. Nutrition and good sleep are a necessity for good running, which means actually eating three meals a day and getting at least 9 hours of sleep is just as important as running your workouts with good energy. Balance is key; if you plan to get awesome PR’s by only focusing on one part of distance running, or just from natural talent, you will be disappointed.”

Other team members who were nominated and discussed for this week’s “Bell Ringer Award” were:  Sophomore Tyler Gehl, Sophomore Josiah King, Freshman Buddy Henderson, Senior Bode Neff and Junior Carson Raya.

I’VE GOT A FEVER FOR MORE COW BELL”

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3RD TIME UP THE “SWITCHBACKS”

Senior Lucas Nicke, Freshman Cooper Schaad, and Junior Bode Neff head up the challenging
“Swithcbacks” during Thursday’s dual meet held at Rock Island’s Longview Park

LEAFS ROLL IN ROCK ISLAND DUAL

On Thursday, September 17th, the Leafs traveled to Rock Island’s Longview Park to participate in a dual meet with the host Rock Island Rocks.  Rocky has been hosting their dual meets at Longview park which is a short distance from their high school.  The park encompasses a section of the Mississippi River Basin.  So, yeah, there were some hills.  They are called “The Switchbacks” and certainly earned their “Nickname”.  The park has undergone a lot of development including a walk/jog path.  The course was a one -mile loop that the athletes navigated three times.  There is also an interior road.  The end result was quite a bit of the course was on pavement preventing the team from “spiking up”.  It was a case of much more risk than reward.  The weatherman was very kind to the athletes giving them a race time temperature of 64˚ and a light breeze of 8 miles per hour.  The ground had rebounded from all of the rain last week and was actually very firm.

The boys race started at 5:10 p.m. and the Leafs got out nicely.  Senior Tri-Captain William Plumley continued his outstanding senior campaign and won going away.  His margin of victory was 39 seconds as he “Stopped the Clock” at 17:01.  To make the event ever more special was the fact that this was William’s first VARSITY WIN!  Great job, William!  Not too far behind him were Junior Tri-Captain Justin Johnson and Sophomore Gavin Allison.  They had a race on their hands with Rock Island’s top man, Donovann Garro.  Both men ran smart races, working together, and ended up grabbing 2nd and 3rd places in 17:40 and 17:47 respectfully.  Next up was Maple Leaf Junior Isaac Kuster who grabbed 5th place and was running by himself for most of the race finishing in 18:07.  Not far behind were “Da Twinkies” as Sophomores Tyler Gehl (18:27)  and Josian (Jo Jo) King (18:40.)  They “Packed” together for a while before separating and finished in 6th and 7th places.  Closing fast were:  Freshman Cooper Schaad (8th place in 18:51), Junior Tri-Captain Bode Neff (9th place in 18:51), and Senior Lucas Nicke (11th place in 19:08.)  In case you aren’t counting, that was 8 Maple Leafs in the Top 9.

Next up were Maple Leaf Juniors Carson Raya (19:30) and Malakai Schaad (19:48.)  They packed it up together for a while and ended up racing home in 15th and 17th places.  Not too far behind were:  Freshman Sam Mosbarger (22nd place in 20:43);  Senior Ricardo Chavez-Sanchez (24th place in 21:29);  Freshman Jake Rapps (26th place in 22:11);  Junior Simon Anderson (27th place in 22:12);  Sophomore Nathan Venneberg (28th place in 22:34);  Senior Rafe DeCap (29th place in 23:20);  Junior Harrison Neumann (31st place in 24:18);  Freshman Buddy Henderson (24:44);  and Freshman Ryley Rowold (34th place in 26:14.)  When “The Dust” had settled, the Undefeated Geneseo Maple Leafs had defeated the Rock Island Rocks 17-46.  Even more impressive was the fact that 15 team members ran their fastest 3 mile race of the season.  How is that possible?  The course was had the “Switchbacks” and the guys were not able to wear their racing spikes.  Mix up weeks of great training and near perfect racing conditions and the results speak for themselves.  GREAT JOB, MEN!

This team hasn’t truly been tested yet in competition.  We know that Moline held two of their top guys out last week so they will be a force to be reckoned with at the Western Big Six Conference Meet on October 15th.  Another team that needs to be respected are the Sterling Golden Warriors who we will be racing next Tuesday on their home course.  Both teams appear to match up nicely so this will be a great opportunity to face some adversity and get a chance to respond to it.  This is NOT for the WB-6 Championship but it does put your unbeaten dual meet streak on the line.  Personally, I can hardly wait.  You are a STRONG team that is still developing.  Follow Coach Ehlert’s “Battle Cry” of “DREAM BIG”.  Get ready to “Comfortable” being “Uncomfortable”.  All the best men on Tuesday and beyond.  Keep making smart choices and get on “THE BIG GREEN BUS”.

“DREAM BIG”

RESULTS

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SAM “RINGS THE BELL”

Pictured is Freshman Sam Mosbarger who was selected as this week’s “Bell Ringer”

SAM MOSBARGER SELECTED AS “BELL RINGER”

Freshman Sam Mosbarger was selected as this week’s “Bell Ringer” Award Winner.  The award was created by Head Maple Leaf Cross Country Coach Todd Ehlert with a little help from “da committee”.   The “Bell Ringer Award” honors a team member selected by a committee consisting of the coaching staff and the team captains.  Each member of the committee nominates two athletes.  The committee then discusses each nominee until a winner has been selected.  A team member can be nominated every week but is eligible to win only once.  Considerations for nomination include both practice and competition performances.  Possessing high levels of both Passion and Purpose are omnipotent.  The award winner is selected every Monday now that the competition portion of the season has begun.

The time frame for this week’s “Bell Ringer” was from Monday, September 7th through Sunday, September 13th.  During that time, the Leafs participated in a dual meet on Thursday, September 10th.  In that meet, the Leafs raced the Moline Maroons.  The meet was originally scheduled for Tuesday, September 8th but was pushed back two days due to heavy rain and thunderstorms.  The meet was held at Geneseo’s Richmond Hill Park.  Sam attacked a challenging day (steady rain and a soaked course) and “ROARED” to a time of 21:08.  Sam “Cracked” the Maple Leaf’s Top 14 for the first time as he ended up as the team’s 13th man.  He also dropped his Richmond Hill personal best for the rugged 3 mile distance from 22:15 (Quincy Dual) by over a minute.  It was 1:07 to be exact and that is a dramatic drop in time for anyone who is pushing hard in every race.  Add in over 11 inches of rain in the proceeding days which produced a “Mud Fest”.  Add in a steady rain on “race day” and you get an idea of just how good Sam’s race was.  The weather conditions the last time Sam raced on the course were near perfect so to drop over a minute off that time is even more impressive.

Sam put in a solid summer of base training and has been reaping the benefits of that commitment on each and every run this season.  It has been a lot of fun watching Sam’s confidence level continue to grow as he continues to “break through” to new levels of fitness.  It is FUN to get faster.  There is also a high level of intrinsic satisfaction that can only be achieved at the highest level by putting forth the required level of dedication that excellence demands.  All the best in the coming weeks, Sam.  You are a very special young man who “lets his feet do his talking”.  The best way to lead is via example and you are doing a great job of being a strong “role model” as a FRESHMAN.  Follow Coach Ehlert’s motto:  “DREAM BIG” and then back it up with the work and lifestyle to make those dreams come to fruition.

Sam has been an athlete for most of his life. Through the years, he has played Basketball, Soccer and Tennis. He participated in Cross Country in Middle School. In 7th grade, Sam ran in the Top 7 all season and finished 3rd on the team at sectionals, behind Tyler Gehl and Cooper Schaad. In 8th grade, Sam finished the cross country season as the 4th man on the team. In Track and Field, Sam ran the 800 and 1600 (PR of 5:52). He also participated in the Long Jump (PR of 13’3.5”), and the Triple Jump. Simply put, Sam is a man of many talents.  We are glad he choose to join the XC team.

Sam is the proud son of Jodi and Mark Mosbarger.  He is also the proud “Baby Bro” of his sister Olivia (currently a Senior in H.S.)

Here are Sam’s answers to his “Bell Ringer Q’s:  FAVORITE FOOD:  “Pulled pork prepared by my dad.“;  FAVORITE MOVIE:  “Right now it is Lord of the Rings: Return of King.”;  FAVORITE MUSIC:  “Classic Rock”;  ATHLETIC HERO:  “Roger Federer because of his tennis ability. He is considered one of the best tennis players of all time.;  WHY DID YOU JOIN THE XC TEAM:  “I decided to join the cross country team because I played soccer and I wanted something to do in my first year of playing sports for the middle school. I’m so glad that I made this decision because I ended up enjoying it even more than soccer. It made me really enjoy the camaraderie involved with the sport, and how you can set goals for yourself, while also setting goals as a team.”;  ADVICE FOR NEW RUNNERS:  “Even though sometimes running can be really difficult, if you stick with i,t you’ll realize how much fun you can really have while running.  Also the meets make up for all of the challenges along the way because of how much fun you have, and the adrenaline that comes while racing”.

Other team members who were nominated and discussed for this week’s “Bell Ringer Award” were:  Sophomore Gavin Allison, Senior Tanner Burgett, Freshman Buddy Henderson;  Junior Justin Johnson;  Sophomore Josiah King;  Senior William Plumley;  Senior Lucas Nicke, and Senior William Plumley.

I’VE GOT A FEVER FOR MORE COW BELL”

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“KICKING IT IN”

Pictured is Maple Leaf Senior Lucas Nicke.
Lucas had a strong race that saw him place 8th overall and climb into the Maple Leaf Top 6

LEAFS TOP MAROONS IN “MUD FEST”

On Thursday, September 10th, the Leafs played host to the Moline Maroons in a dual meet.  The meet was hosted at Geneseo’s Richmond Hill Park.  The meet’s original date of Tuesday, September 8th, was pushed back two days due to adverse weather conditions.  Northwestern Illinois has been in a drought for most of the summer and received less than half an inch of rain for the entire month of August.  Mother Nature had a way of rectifying that problem with a lot to spare.  Geneseo received over 11 inches of rain during the last few days with multiple thunderstorms rolling through.  With a weather forecast that predicted more of the same Friday and Saturday, the decision was to go ahead on Thursday even though it was raining.  The fact that there were no thunderstorms made that decision possible.

The boys “toed the line” at 5:15 p.m.  Race time conditions were 56˚ with an 8-10 mile per hour east wind and rain.  Oh yeah, the ground was soaked and it was a “bit” muddy.  Opinions will vary but I would venture a guest that most of the team members reported, following their races, that the conditions were AWESOME to race in.  “Mudfests” are usually a LOT OF FUN!  Each team held a few team members out which allowed for one race (50 runner IHSA Rule.)

The Leafs “got out” nicely and Senior William Plumley led a large lead pack up the “Barn Hill” with several teammates packed up in good position.  Gradually, the field spread out, as athletes from both schools battled over the three mile distance.  As he approached the “Barn Hill” for the second time, Moline’s Jon Hutton “attacked” and separated himself from the lead pack and ran away to win the race.  Behind him were “da Leafs” who were also running HARD and INTELLIGENTLY.  The Leafs grabbed the next four places as they ROARED home in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th places.  Filling those spots were Senior Tri-Captain William Plumley (17:24);  Sophomore Gavin Allison (17:33);  Junior Tri-Captain Justin Johnson (17:59);  and Sophomore Tyler Gehl (18:24.)  Rounding out the Maple Leaf’s Top 7 were:  Junior Isaac Kuster (7th place in 18:29);  Senior Lucas Nicke (8th place in 18:40);  and Sophomore Josiah King (14th place in 18:59.)  So if you are counting, the Leafs took four of the first five places;  six of the top eight places, and seven of the top 15 places.

Not far behind were:  Freshman Cooper Schaad (17th place in 19:22);  Junior Tri-Captain Bode Neff (18th place in 19L27);  Junior Malakai Schaad (19th place in 20:04);  Junior Carson Raya (20th place in 20:14);  Senior Ricardo Chavez-Sanchez (23rd place in 20:59);  Freshman Sam Mosbarger (24th place in 21:08);  Junior Andrew Burke (27th place in 21:44);  Freshman Jake Rapps (30th place in 22:34);  Junior Simon Anderson (31st place in 22:49);  Sophomore Nathan Venneberg (36th place in 23:56);  Senior Tanner Burgett (38th place in 24:07);  Senior Rafe DeCap (39th place in 24:07);  Junior Harrison Neumann (40th place in 26:01);  Freshman Buddy Henderson (41st place in 27:16);  and Freshman Ryley Rowold (42nd place in 27:44.)

Despite the challenging conditions, TWELVE team members ran a season best on the Richmond Hill Course even though last Friday the team enjoyed perfect weather conditions in the dual against Quincy.  The following men dropped those times:  Nathan Venneberg (1:38);  Tanner Burgett (1:30);  Sam Mosbarger (1:07);  Buddy Henderson (1:06);  Ricardo Chavez-Sanchez (0:47);  Lucas Nicke (0:43);  Rafe DeCap (0:26);  Gavin Allison (0:25);  Andrew Burke (0:21);  Ryley Rowold (0:16);  Bode Neff (0:06.)  and Justin  Johnson (0.01).   Impressive stuff, Men.

Lastly, Moline held out their current number one and number four men.  If those two guys are in the race and healthy, the meet is a LOT closer.  The bottom line is Moline is a dangerous team and we need to keep improving.  We will see them again when the Western Big Six Conference Championship Meet rolls around on Thursday, October 15th.  I can guarantee you that their team goal on that day will NOT be to try and attain second place.  Let them motivate you and help each of you to make intelligent choices each and every day.  As Coach Ehlert has told you many times…..WE NEED EVERYONE OF YOU.  Keep pushing the guys around you.  Help everyone to keep up the good work.

“DREAM BIG”

RESULTS

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TYLER “RINGS THE BELL”

Pictured is Sophomore Tyler Gehl who was selected as this week’s “Bell Ringer”

SOPHOMORE TYLER GEHL SELECTED AS “BELL RINGER”

Sophomore Tyler Gehl was selected as this week’s “Bell Ringer” Award Winner.  The award was created by Head Maple Leaf Cross Country Coach Todd Ehlert with a little help from “da committee”.   The “Bell Ringer Award” honors a team member selected by a committee consisting of the coaching staff and the team captains.  Each member of the committee nominates two athletes.  The committee then discusses each nominee until a winner has been selected.  A team member can be nominated every week but is eligible to win only once.  Considerations for nomination include both practice and competition performances.  Possessing high levels of both Passion and Purpose are omnipotent.  The award winner is selected every Monday now that the competition portion of the season has begun.

The time frame for this week’s “Bell Ringer” was from Monday, August 31st through Sunday, September 6th.  During that time, the Leafs participated in a dual meet on Friday, September 4th.  In that meet, the Leafs raced the Quincy Blue Devils.  This was the first time Quincy has ever raced in Geneseo.  The meet was held at Geneseo’s Richmond Hill Park.  Tyler took off with the rest of the competitors in the boys race.  Tyler cruised through the first mile (and two BIG hills) in 6:01 and established his position nicely as the Leafs grabbed places 2-3-4-5-6 behind Quincy’s number one man (Fixer Rosen) who was the 2nd 3A sophomore in last fall’s State Finals where he earned “Al;-State” Honors.  Tyler held his position and closed in 6:03 for his final mile to average 6:05 over the rugged Richmond Hill Course.  This was the the team’s third time to “Toe da Line”.  Tyler has been the team’s number five man each time.  Not too bad for a young man that isn’t supposed to be here.

Not supposed to be here?  Tyler plays football for the “Green Machine”.  When the state “Pulled the Plug” on contact sports this fall due to COVID-19, Tyler was given a “window” to join the team.  Football season will be played early in 2021.  Tyler started attending our summer training practices as soon as that information was released (along with with his “Twinkie”, Josiah (Jo Jo) King.  Their impact on our team has been profound.  Their work ethic is exceptional as are their smiles.  I had met Jo Jo during track season but had never had the pleasure of getting to know Tyler.  I am thankful for the opportunity.

So how can Tyler be running in the team’s “Top 5” with minimal off season training?  That isn’t easily answered.  Tyler hasn’t run competitively since his 8th grade year.  HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE???  You can start with a LOT of God-Given Talent.  Add in a tremendously high pain threshold and a work ethic to back it up and you arrive at Tyler.  Lastly, add in the “IT FACTOR”.  I don’t know how else to explain it.  Some people have “It”T  Most don’t.  He has A LOT of “IT”.  He is the complete package.  All the best in the coming weeks, Tyler.  It is going to be A LOT of fun to see how far you (and your “Twinkie”) can raise “da bar”.  Don’t forget to “enjoy the ride”.  Thanks for being such a great kid.  In the words of Coach Ehlert….KEEP DREAMING BIG!!!

Tyler’s has been an athlete for most of his life.  While in middle school, he participated in football, cross country (27th in the STATE FINALS barely missing ALL-STATE his 8th grade year) during the fall.  In the winter, he wrestled.  Come spring, he ran the sprints in track and field and qualified for STATE in the 1600 Meter Relay.  His summer baseball team also placed 2nd in the AA bracket where he pitched, and also played 3rd base and the outfield.  He followed that up with a strong freshman football season that saw him play wideout for the “Green Machine”.  He could also be found in the Geneseo “Backfield” on defense.  He was also “gearing up” for the spring baseball season before COVID-19 shut everything down.

Tyler is the proud son of Maria and Barney Gehl.  He is also the proud “Baby Bro” of his sister Kylee (currently a freshman in college.)  He is also the proud “BIg Bro” to both Dylan (currently in 8th grade) and Jacey (currently in 5th grade.)

Here are Tyler’s answers to his “Bell Ringer Q’s:  FAVORITE FOOD: Beef, but more specifically, Filet Mignon cooked medium.;  FAVORITE MOVIE:  “Rocky IV. Don’t watch the fifth one. It’s disappointing.”;  FAVORITE MUSIC: “Nearly anything not rap. Heavy mix of classic rock.”;  ATHLETIC HERO:  “Dan Patch” (April 29, 1896 – July 11, 1916) was a noted American Standardbred pacer. At a time when harness racing was one of the largest sports in the nation, Dan Patch was a major celebrity. He was undefeated in open competition and was so dominant on the racetrack that other owners eventually refused to enter their horses against him. Instead, he ended his racing career performing time trials and traveled extensively on exhibition, earning millions of dollars in purses, attendance gate receipts and product endorsements. Dan Patch broke world speed records at least 14 times in the early 1900s. In 1905, he set a world’s record for the fastest mile by a harness horse (1:55​14 – 1 minute, ​55 14 seconds) that stood unmatched for over 30 years. Unofficially, Dan Patch broke this record in 1906 with a clocking of 1:55. He died on July 11, 1916. His owner Marion Willis Savage died just one day later”.;  WHY DID YOU JOIN THE XC TEAM:  “I really enjoyed XC in middle school, but football took priority freshman year. When the opportunity to do both existed I hopped right on the team. I missed running more than I thought I would.”;  ADVICE FOR NEW RUNNERS:  “The practices suck, but so does losing, You have to do well in practices to do well in meets. Also, there’s nothing like the feeling of passing mobs of people during a race and finishing hard.”.

Other team members who were nominated and discussed for this week’s “Bell Ringer Award” were:  Junior Simon Anderson, Freshman Buddy Henderson;  Junior Justin Johnson;  Sophomore Josiah King;  Senior William Plumley;  Junior Carson Raya; and Freshman Ryley Rowold.

I’VE GOT A FEVER FOR MORE COW BELL”

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LEAFS RUN STRONG AGAINST QUINCY

Pictured is the “Lead Pack” early in the race

LEAFS GRAB PLACES 2-3-4-5-6-8-9 TO DOMINATE

On Friday, September 4th, the Leafs played host to the Quincy Blue Devils.  The meet was held at Geneseo’s Richmond Hill Park.  There was a girls race at 4:30 p.m. followed by the boys race at 5:15 p.m.  Having received less than half an inch of rain during the month of July, the course was HARD and FAST.  The weatherman also helped out by delivering a daytime high of 80˚ with a moderate dew point.  Add in a light breeze of 8-10 m.p.h. from the west and you have perfect conditions to run a cross country race for early September in the the State of Illinois.  We are pretty sure that this was Quincy’s first visit to Genese. o EVER.

The boys field included Quincy Sophomore Fiker Rosen.  Fiker placed 20th in last fall’s 3A STATE FINALS as he “stopped the clock” at 14:44 and earned All-State Honors.  He was hoping to break the Richmond Hill course record that was set in 2018 by Kaneland’s Daniel Occhipinti who ran 15:49 to win the final NIB-12 Conference Meet.  Fiker went out hard and ended up running 16:32.  It is still pretty early in the season to be chasing course records.

What happened behind Fiker is very exciting.  We thought his winning time would be over a minute ahead of the next runner.  Senior Tri-Captain William Plumley didn’t let that happen as he raced to a time of 17:13 (the second fastest time for a Maple Leaf EVER on the “New Course”.  William ran most of the race on his own and it is exciting to know that he  (and his team) will get three more opportunities to race on the course.  Rounding out the Maple Leaf’s Top Five were:  Junior Tri-Captain Justin Johnson (3rd place in 17:46);  Junior Isaac Kuster (4th place in 17:55);  Sophomore Gavin Allison (5th place in 17:58);  and Sophomore Tyler Gehl (6th place in 18:15.)  Also cracking the “Top 10” were Freshman Cooper Schaad (8th place in 18:58) and Sophomore Josiah King (9th place in 19:00.)  In case you aren’t counting, that’s SEVEN Maple Laefs in the TOP NINE.

Not far behind were:  Senior Lucas Nicke (13th place in 19:23);  Junior Malakai Schaad (14th place in 19:26);  Senior Tri-Captain Bode Neff (15th place in 19:33);  and Junior Carson Raya (16th place in 19:56.)  So, that’s ELEVEN Maple Leafs in the first Sixteen Runners.  Rounding out the team were the following solid efforts:  Junior Max Sottos (22nd place in 21:14);  Senior Ricardo Chavez-Sanchez (23rd place in 21:46);  Junior Andrew Burke (26th place in 22:05);  Junior Simon Anderson (27th place in 22:14);  Freshman Sam Mosbarger (28th place in 22:15);  Freshman Jake Rapps (29th place in 22:30);  Senior Rafe DeCap (32nd place in 24:33);  Sophomore Nathan Venneberg (33rd place in 25:34);  Senior Tanner Burgett (25:37);  Junior Harrison Neumann (35th place in 25:37);  Freshman Ryley Rowold  (36th place in 28:00); and Freshman Buddy Henderson (37th place in 28:22.)

Hosting meets has pluses and minuses.  Not traveling, racing on your home course, getting more fan support are great pluses.  From the coaching end meet management makes it a bit tougher to make sure that all the “little things” get done in regard to warm-up, race preparation, cool-down, etc.  The end result is we need team members to “Step Up” and get those critical “things” done.  The leadership of our team did an exceptional job of accomplishing exactly that.  Great Job, Men.  The team had a plethora of outstanding efforts.  Keep doing all the right things men.  This season has presented you with a rare opportunity to make some history.  “WB-6 Fever”…..CATCH IT!!!

“DREAM BIG”

RESULTS

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GAVIN “RINGS THE BELL”

Pictured is Sophomore Gavin Allison who was selected as this week’s “Bell Ringer”

SOPHOMORE GAVIN ALLISON SELECTED AS “BELL RINGER”

Sophomore Gavin Allison was selected as this week’s “Bell Ringer” Award Winner.  The award was created by Head Maple Leaf Cross Country Coach Todd Ehlert with a little help from “da committee”.   The “Bell Ringer Award” honors a team member selected by a committee consisting of the coaching staff and the team captains.  Each member of the committee nominates two athletes.  The committee then discusses each nominee until a winner has been selected.  A team member can be nominated every week but is eligible to win only once.  Considerations for nomination include both practice and competition performances.  Possessing high levels of both Passion and Purpose are omnipotent.  The award winner is selected every Monday now that the competition portion of the season has begun.

The time frame for this week’s “Bell Ringer” was from Monday, August 24th through Sunday, August 30th.  During that time, the Leafs participated in Triangular on Tuesday, August 25th.  In that meet the Leafs raced teams from Alleman and Riverdale.  The meet was held at the Alleman Sports Complex in Moline.  The meet was divided into a “J.V.” race and a “Top 7” race.  The reason for holding two boys races was to stay in compliance with the I.H.S.A. mandate of having no more than 50 runners in a race.  Gavin participated in the Varsity race and placed 4th overall in the race.  He was Geneseo’s 2nd fastest runner on the day and finished with a time of 11:13.  Alleman Head Coach Scott Stoll chose to race over two miles instead of three due to the extreme heat.  It was a great decision.  Gavin ran with our top group (William and Isaac) as they finished in 2nd 4th, and 6th places and were separated by only seven seconds.  This race follows the Leaf’s annual “Rust Buster” which was held on Thursday, August 20th.  In that race Gavin finished 3rd overall finishing only 11 seconds out of first.

Gavin’s ascension the an elite level has been a lot of fun to watch.  It began last fall when he decided to try and hang with the team’s top runners last fall on cool downs and warm ups was the beginning.  That was a conscious choice that HE made.  Gavin was really on a roll the 2nd half of the season as he earned his VARSITY LETTER in Cross Country.  He followed that up a strong winter of dedication that saw him run on most days.  His indoor track season was off to a great start as he destroyed his 1600 personal best with a 5:16 before COVID-19 shut us down.  He then kept up the good work and just continued to train.  All spring and all summer.  Gavin entered the 2020 cross country season with a newfound level of confidence that was backed up with months of off-season work.  GREAT JOB Gavin.  It is going to be a LOT of fun to see how far you can “raise da bar”.  You are a total team man and it is an honor to have someone of your high morals on the team.  The best way to lead by example and that is what you supply on a daily basis.  All the best in the coming weeks and months.  “DREAM BIG”.

Gavin’s athletic career began in 7th grade when he joined the cross country team.  He also joined the track team later that school year and raced everything from the 100 meter dash to the 800 meter run.  He followed the same plan in eighth grade and actually earned his first medal in an invitational.  He was not a part of the post-season team.  In eighth grade track he ran the same events.  Luckily, Gavin decided to continue his athletic career when he entered high school.  Before school began that year he earned his first “hardware” in a road race by winning his age group (15-16) in the Maple City 4.

Gavin  s the proud son of Julie and Andrew Allison.  He is also the proud “Baby Bro” of his sister Evelyn (by 1 minute…they are “Twinkies”.)  He is also the proud “BIg Bro” to Stella who is currently in 5th grade.

Here are Gavin’s answers to his “Bell Ringer Q’s:  FAVORITE FOOD:  General Tso’s Chicken and Fried Rice;  FAVORITE MOVIE:  “1 Mile to You”;  FAVORITE MUSIC:  Classic Rock;  ATHLETIC HERO:  Hicham El Guerrouj (world record holder in the mile) and Eliud Kipchoge (world record holder in the marathon.);  WHY DID YOU JOIN THE XC TEAM:  “I have always love to run, and when I heard that there was a sport that involved running in 7th grade, I jumped for the opportunity. So glad I did.”;  ADVICE FOR NEW RUNNERS:  “Make sure that you have the right shoes for this sport, you will want a shoe that is not only comfortable but also able to support you throughout your whole run. Find someone to hang onto during your runs that you can keep up with. Don’t be afraid to push yourself, maybe every week, go a mile longer, push the pace a little, ect. Listen to the coaches, they are here to help you become a better athlete, they know what they are talking about. Make sure that you also take the opportunity to make lots of friends, it definitely makes the runs easier and a lot more fun. Like the coaches say, get comfortable being uncomfortable, that is when you start improving and becoming faster.”.

Other team members who were nominated and discussed for this week’s “Bell Ringer Award” were:  Sophomore Tyler Gehl;  Junior Isaac Kuster;  Senior William Plumley;  Cooper Schaad;  and Junior Malakai Schaad

I’VE GOT A FEVER FOR MORE COW BELL”

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1-2-3-4-5…..PERFECT SCORE

Pictured are Josiah King, Malakai Schaad, Carson Raya, Max Sottos, and Lucas Nicke early in theJV Race.  They ended up grabbing the top 5 places to throw down a perfect team score of 15.

LEAFS WIN SEASON OPENER

On Tuesday, August 25th, the Leafs traveled to Moline to take on the Alleman Pioneers and the Riverdale Rams.  The meet was held in Moline at the Alleman Sports Complex.  The course was a one mile loop that the athletes ran twice.  Due to the warm weather, the racing distance was only two miles instead of the traditional three.  The race time temperature was 95˚ with a heat index of over˚.  Luckily, there was a light breeze and  amount of shade which helped a lot.  The course was extremely spectator friendly.  The race times were slower than expected due to the high temperature and all the turns.  Alleman did a great job of hosting the meet.

First up were the J.V. Boys who took off at 5:00 p.m. sharp.  This race consisted of athletes not in their team’s Varsity Top 7.  We based this completely on the “Rust Buster” race results.  Our team has a lot of depth and that was on display in this race.  Our top five established their race positions early and ran as a pack for most of the race.  Three different Leafs held the lead at some point (Jo Jo early, Carson later, and then Malakai for the win.)  Leading the team were:  Junior Malakai Schaad (1st Place in 12:48);  Junior Carson Raya (2nd Place in 13:01);  Sophomore Josiah King (aka:  Jo Jo) (3rd Place in 13:18);  Junior Max Sotos  (4th Place in 13:29);  and Senior Lucas Nicke (5th place in 13:33.)  It is rare to see a team score a perfect 15 so GREAT JOB ,MEN!!!

Not too far behind were:  Freshman Jacob Rapps (9th Place in 14:37);  Senior Ricardo Chavez-Sanchez (10th Place in 14:39);  Freshman Sam Mosbarger (11th Place in 14:39);  Senior Andrew Burke (12th Place in 15:02);  Junior Simon Anderson (13th in 15:04);  Junior Harrison Neumann (14th Place in 15:06);  Senior Rafe DeCap (15th Place in 15:18);  Senior Tanner Burgett (17th Place in 16:50);  Sophomore Nathan Venneberg (18th Place in 17:31);  Freshman Buddy Henderson (20th Place in 17:55);  and Freshman Ryley Rowold (21st Place in 19:20.)  The team score was Geneseo 15 and Alleman 44 (Riverdale didn’t enter a team in this race.)  Congratulations to everyone.  We are very proud of the efforts each of you put forth.  Keep up the good work.  A special thank you to our new Team Managers.  Ev Allison and Rose Henderson did a wonderful job of taking splits.

GENESEO’S VARSITY LEAD PACK

Pictured are Isaac Kuster and William Plumley closely followed by Gavin Allison

The afternoon’s final event was the Varsity Boy’s Race which contained each team’s Top 7 runners.  That wasn’t an easy decision to make.  There was truly no fair way to do it so we chose to use the results from the “Rust Buster” to determine our seven.  The field included strong individuals from Alleman, Geneseo, and Riverdale.  Riverdale’s Cross Country Program is only in it’s second year and they are an emerging powerhouse at the 1A level.  Alleman has had a strong tradition in distance running for decades and this year’s team should add to that legacy.

Riverdale’s Tommy Murray roared away after approximately 400 meters into the race dropping a 200 meter surge.  The Leafs packed it up nicely and moved up as the race progressed.  Tommy ended up winning by six seconds over a fast-closing Maple Leaf Senoir Tri-Captain William Plumley who stopped the clock at 11:07.  He was sixteen seconds down at the mile so he was really rolling the second mile.  Not far behind were Sophomore Gavin Allision (4th in 11:13) and Junior Isaac Kuster (6th Place in 11:14.)  Only three seconds separated 6th place from 3rd place while 4th, 5th, and 6th places finished with half a second of each other.  Next up for the Leafs were Junior Tri-Captain Justin Johnson (8th Place in 11:29);  Sophomore Tyler Gehl (9th Place in 11:50);  Freshman Cooper Schaad (10th Place in 11:54);  and Senior Tri-Captain Bode Neff (14th Place in 12:17.)  The team scores were:  1.)  Geneseo  29;  2.)  Riverdale  46;  3.)  Alleman  54.  Solid Efforts, Men!!!  There are certainly things that will be addressed as the season continues but considering the weather conditions and how early it is in the season, Job Well Done.  Head Coach Todd Ehlert was observed wearing a nice smile as he headed for the bus.

“DREAM BIG”

RESULTS

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ANDREW “RINGS THE BELL”

Pictured is Junior Andrew Burke who was selected as this week’s “Bell Ringer”

JUNIOR ANDREW BURKE SELECTED AS “BELL RINGER”

Junior Andrew Burke was selected as this week’s “Bell Ringer” Award Winner.  The award was created by Head Maple Leaf Cross Country Coach Todd Ehlert with a little help from “da committee”.   The “Bell Ringer Award” honors a team member selected by a committee consisting of the coaching staff and the team captains.  Each member of the committee nominates two athletes.  The committee then discusses each nominee until a winner has been selected.  A team member can be nominated every week but is eligible to win only once.  Considerations for nomination include both practice and competition performances.  Possessing high levels of both Passion and Purpose are omnipotent.  The award winner is selected every Monday now that the competition portion of the season has begun.

The time frame for this week’s “Bell Ringer” was from the beginning of the season through Sunday, August 23rd.  During that time, the Leafs participated in their annual “Rust Buster” on Thursday, August 20th.  In that race, Andrew ran 13:39 over the challenging Richmond Hill 3k course.  Andrew placed 19th in the 38 runner field and was the Maple Leaf’s 14th man.  He also attended most of the this summers training runs and has been working extremely hard.  His improvement from the the last two years is profound but not unexpected.  The reason?  Andrew battled a nasty case of Osgood–Schlatter disease (OSD) which is inflammation of the patellar ligament at the tibial tuberosity (apophysitis). It is characterized by a painful bump just below the knee that is worse with activity and better with rest. Episodes of pain typically last a few weeks to months.  In his case, he eventually ended up needing surgery in which part of his bone that was overgrown on the knee was shaved down.  They also took a piece of bone out that was inflamed and then drilled holes into his knee cap to stimulate the grown of new cartilage.  The whole process was time-consuming and certainly painful.  The end results is a new “nickname” from his teammates that makes him smile “Crip” and the fact that he is running PAIN FREE.  Talk about demonstrating a high pain threshold and an incredible level of patience.  We are all VERY proud of you, Andrew and glad you “stuck it out”.

Andrew was able to run a little the last two years but served mostly as the “Camera Man” during workouts and races.  He captured some highly unusual video during those seasons.  The guys never knew where he would be hiding.  He also captured some interesting dialogue on tape.  We’ll have to give that award to former Maple Leaf Harrier (runner) Kyle Lievens.  Most of the team will remember “da TANK”?  Coach Ehlert needed someone to fill the roll of capturing memories of the season for the remarkable video he puts together at the end of the season.  Andrew gave him a LOT of material to work with.  Great Job, Andrew!  We are VERY proud of you and excited to watch you continue to improve.  Keep “Dreaming Big” and don’t forget to enjoy the ride.

Andrew participated in both cross country and track durng his 7th grade year.  He followed that up by doing the same during his 8th grade year and even threw in running the Quad Cities Half Marathon during the cross country season.  A half marathon is 13.1 miles for those of you who don’t know that.  That is a LONG way to drive a car, let alone RUN.  Amazing Stuff.

Andrew  s the proud son of Danielle and Brian Burke.  He is also the proud “Baby Bro” of his sister Emma.

Here are Andrew’s answers to his “Bell Ringer Q’s:  FAVORITE FOOD:  Pepperoni Pizza;  FAVORITE MOVIE:  “Saving Private Ryan”;  FAVORITE MUSIC:  Country;  ATHLETIC HERO:  David Goggins  (I had no idea who he is so I did a Google search and found:  David Goggins is an American ultramarathon runner, ultra-distance cyclist, triathlete, motivational speaker, and author. He is a retired United States Navy SEAL and former United States Air Force Tactical Air Control Party member who served in the Iraq War. His self-help memoir, Can’t Hurt Me, was released in 2018.;  WHY DID YOU JOIN THE XC TEAM:  “My dad got me into running and encouraged me to run XC in 7th grade and I have continued to run since”;  ADVICE FOR NEW RUNNERS:  “The sport is so painful at times but as time goes on it gets easier and you will make great and funny memories at practices and meets”.

Other team members who were nominated and discussed for this week’s “Bell Ringer Award” were:  Sophomore Gavin Allison, Sophomore Tyler Gehl, Junior Harrison Neumann, Junior Carson Raya, and Junior Malakai Schaad.

I’VE GOT A FEVER FOR MORE COW BELL”

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LEAD PACK EARLY

Pictured is the “Lead Pack” ready to attach the “Barn Hill” 200 meters into the race.
From left to right:  Max, Carson, Cooper, Isaac, Bode, Gavin, Lucas, Jo Jo, Tyler, Justin, and William

2020 “RUST BUSTER” TIME TRIAL

On Thursday, August 20th, the Leafs participated in the team’s annual “Rust Buster”.  Some form of this season opener has existed since 1986.  The race origionally was called “The Alumni Open” and included parents, sibbings, college athletes, etc.  A handicapping system was used to try and give everyone a chance.  Now, however, IHSA rules state that only high school athletes are allowed to compte.  Each athlete contributed three canned goods (donated to the Geneseo Food Pantry) and a T-Shirt that was used for the awards presentation.  Running Wild also attended and donated additional prizes.

The course was changed three years ago.  It was a hard decision to make.  The park has changed significantly over the years and the we decided that the “Old” course simply had more risk than reward.  Head Coach Todd Ehlert designed the “New” course.  The runners don’t have to cross any pavement or worry about vehicular traffic.  It also provides spectators with the opportunity to follow most of the race with minumal movement.  The bottom line is Coach Ehlert made the right call.  We hated to lose all of the history in the “Rust Buster Course History” but the decision was necessary.

On to the race.  The runners were treated to amazing kind August weather conditions.  The race time temperature was 85˚ with an extremely low dew point resulting in minumal humidity.  As a result of the COVID-19 concerns spectators were asked to stay away from the finish area and maintain physical distancing.  Geneseo Girls Coach Kelley Timmerman elected to forgo the handicapping system this year and have both the girls and boys start together to heighten the Lady Leafs competitive opportunities.

Once again, this is only the 3rd year for the “New Course” so the “History” (see the link below) is still very limited and fluid.  None the less, the boys ran with tremendous confidence and poise resulting in 16 of the 22 boys running a personal best for the course.  In the process they literally REWROTE “The History” which includes Top 25 rankings for the following divisions:  All-Time Individuals;  All-Time Performances;  Seniors;  Juniors;  Sophomores;  and Freshmen.  Please refer to these lists by clicking on the “Rust Buster History” below.

Leading the way were Senior William Plumley (10:51…NEW COURSE RECORD);  Junior Justin Johnson (10:56…2nd fastest individual, EVER);  Sophomore Gavin Allison (11:02….3rd fastest time ever and a new Sophomore Record);  Junior Isaac Kuster (11:17…5th fastest individual, EVER);  and Sophomore Tyler Gehl (11:30…7th fastest Individual, EVER.)  Scoring for cross country adds the top 5 runners for each team together.  The low score wins.  One of the keys for the team to find success in competition of to minimize the “Spread” from runners 1-5.  That is hard to do when the team has a strong lead runner.  Despite that fact the “Spread” for Thursday night was an impressive 39 seconds.

Not far behind were Freshman Cooper Schaad (11:35…Number Two Freshmen, EVER);  Junior Bode Neff (11:35…Number 9 Individual, EVER);  Sophomore Josiah King (12:02…Number 7 Sophomore Individual, EVER);  Junior Carson Raya (12:21…number 7 Junior Individual, EVER); and Junior Malakai Schaad (12:25.)  In case you haven’t been counting that is 9 underclassmen in the Leafs Top TEN!!!  Up next were Senior Lucas Nicke (12:41);  Junior Max Sottos (12:44);  Freshman Sam Mosbarger (13:16…Number 7 Freshmen Individual, EVER);  Junior Andrew Burke (13:39);  Ricardo Chavez-Sanchez (13:46);  Junior Simon Anderson (14:18);  Senior Rafe DeCap (14:46);  Junior Harrison Newmann (14:46);  Senior Tanner Burgett (15:32);  Sophomore Nathan Venneberg (16:27); Freshman Ryley Rowald (16:34);  and Freshman Buddy Henderson (16:51.)

Way to Roll, Men.  This is shaping up to be a very special season.  To maximize those opportunities we will need each of you to make intelligent decisions.  COVID-19 can shut us down so do everything you can to prevent that.  Physical Distancing, Masks, Lots of Hand Washing, Avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose with your hands….etc.  Proper hydration, nutrition, sleep, mental preparation, etc….  It all makes a HUGE DIFFERENCE.  In the words of Coach Ehlert “DREAM BIG” and then live the lifestyle to make that dream come to fruition.  ALL THE BEST MEN!

RESULTS

RUST BUSTER HISTORY

“DREAM BIG”

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TEAM CAPTAINS (COVID-19 STYLE)

Pictured are the 2020 elected captains.  Pictured from left to right are Justin Johnson,
Bode Neff, and William Plumley

2020 SEASON UNDERWAY

The 2020 season is underway.  We have been hopeful for a season all summer long (if it could be done safely.)  The answer recently was announced.  The 2020 XC season can proceed with numerious safety measures in place.  The meet schedule has been reduced to mostly dual meets.  We will be allowed to attend a couple of bigger meets with limits on the size of the fields.  The team’s motto for 2020 will need to be “Control the Controllables”.  There is a tremendous amount of truth in the “We are only as strong as our weakest link”.  We need to have NO weak links.  Every man needs to do his job on and off the “athletic field”.  That “job” includes:  proper sleep, healthy nutrition, meeting and surpassing academic expectations, etc…including keeping everyone on the team, in the school, in their family, etc…..SAFE.  We also hope that each member of the team will gain a positive experience via their being a member of the 2020 team.  Men, you really are “A Band of Brothers”.  All the best!!!

“DREAM BIG”

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DON’T BE A PRETENDER

HOME OF THE I.H.S.A. STATE FINALS

“DREAM BIG”

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