CHARLESTON, Ill. — It was a day of many accomplishments for the Quad-City area contingent at the IHSA state track meet Saturday, but despite very strong showings by Geneseo in Class 2A (fourth place) and Mercer County in Class 1A (eighth), no team came home with a trophy.
The Leafs, who took second in the meet a year ago, scored 31 points, six out of a tie for first place with Freeport and Normal University High, and two points out of third place and a trophy.
Geneseo coach Don Fredericks, knowing Geneseo was a school of just over 800 students up against schools with as many as 1,500 in Class 2A, was not at all disappointed.
“We are the fourth best team in the state,” he said. “We are pretty proud of that.
“And the way the team finished the meet, especially for our seniors, by winning the school’s first relay state championship ever, it broke our school record doing it,” he said of the championship 1600 relay team. "Pretty special stuff.”
The 1600 team of Reed Vanderheyden, Nathan Soria, Lucas Hofer and Nick Swartzendruber came in with a time of 3:21.27.
"It's amazing. My teammates did a great job of getting me into a good position,” Swartzendruber said. “All I had to do was keep it and that's what I did. Unbelievable that we won."
Geneseo also got a second place from its 3,200 relay team of Cayson Frerichs, Andrew Benhart, Soria and Swartzendruber. Swartzendruber also took seventh in the 400.
The Leafs also got a fifth from Vanderheyden in the 300 hurdles and a seventh in the 100 high hurdles, and an eighth from Sam Thomas in the shot put.
“I am just proud of our team,” Fredericks said. “I am not disappointed in any shape or form.”
Other Class 2A placers were Erie’s 1,600 relay (fourth), its 3,200 relay (fifth) and the Cardinals’ Kyle Kruhtoff in the pole vault (seventh) plus Alleman’s Seth Sottos (seventh) in the 200.
The highest anyone finished in Class 3A was United Township’s Jean-Luc Sogloghun, who took fourth in the triple jump, an improvement of two places over his finish a year ago.
“I am pretty pleased with my jump,” said Soglohun, who scratched on his last two jumps after going 47-03.25 on his first jump Saturday, an improvement of more than a foot on his best jump Friday. “I was pointing for a top three, but fourth is still a great way to finish the season.”
Rock Island’s Courtney Lindsey, a junior, took sixth in the 200.
"You know, it was not what I expected, but it's a confidence booster for next year knowing what I can do,” he said. “I plan on coming in next year stronger.”
In Class 1A, Mercer County took eighth overall, but with 28 points but was just three points out of third place and a team trophy.
As it was, all of the Eagles’ relays placed higher than they were seeded led by the second-place finish of the 3,200 (Ethan Morrow,
Zach Leonhart, Nick Hawk and Cody Jackson) with a time of 8:11.31.
"It's been a crazy four years working toward this,” said Hawk. “We got down here last year and didn't make finals. This year we just used that as fuel to make it. Getting second, that's crazy. We've never ran anywhere close to that time.”
The Eagles’ 400 relay team came in with the 10th best time out of the sectionals, but took third at state while the 800 relay also brought home third place medals.
Mercer County’s Mike Neeld took sixth in the 300 hurdles and Ethan Morrow ninth in the 1,600.
Kewanee Wethersfield-Annawan Co-op got a third place finish from Ben Buresh in the long jump with a personal best of 22-2, and a fourth in the 400.
"I am pretty stoked. It's always good to PR at state,” said Buresh, who went from ninth on Friday to third place.
"I hit (22-2) on my first jump. You never know (where that could place you). There's a lot of good jumpers around here, but I had a feeling that was going to go pretty far."
Other Class A placers from the area included Fulton's Kyle McLuckie, who took eighth in the shot put, and Rockridge’s 1,600 relay team, which took ninth.