Six individuals to watch
Dalton Martin, jr., UT: Martin qualified for state finals in Class 3A in the 3,200 meters a year ago and also won Big Six (10:05.6) and finished third in 1,600 (4:39.72). He also had a strong cross country season last fall, reaching state.
Courtney Lindsey, jr., Rock Island: Lindsey ran the third leg on 800 relay that took fourth in Class 3A state last year. Lindsey recently won the 55 meter indoors, setting a meet record at Quad-City Indoor. He is expected to be a major factor in the sprints.
Reed Vanderheyden, jr., Geneseo: Vanderheyden returns after taking second in Class 2A state in 300 intermediate hurdles (37.86). Vanderheyden also was a member of fourth-place 1,600 relay which which returns all four runners, but two are battling injuries.
Nathan Graves, sr., Alleman: Graves is a triple threat. He returns after taking third in Class A state discus (169-10) and seventh in triple jump (43-07.25). He also took second in long jump in Western Big Six with leap of 21-11.
Casey Comodore, sr., Rock Island: Comodore took third in the long jump at the Big Six a year ago (21-8.5). Comodore should also be a factor in the 400.
Connor Dessert, sr., Moline: Took second in the Big Six in 800 (1:58.28) a year ago. Also should be factor in the 200 and 400.
Three teams to watch
United Township: The Panthers return two-time state placer Jean-Luc Soglohun in the triple jump, plus Anton Ranson, triple jump runner-up in Western Big Six to Soglohun. Dalton Martin, a junior, returns after a 3,200 championship in the Big Six and sectional a year ago, plus 1,600 runner-up in Big Six. UT also has Travis Leedom (reigning Big Six 110 high hurdles champ) and Logan Francis (Big Six runner-up in high jump and third-place Big Six finisher in pole vault). Huge squad also has plenty of talented newcomers.
Rock Island: Courtney Lindsey returns to help on relays besides sprints. Lindsey ran on Rocks fourth-place state Class 3A 400 and 800 relay teams last year. Casey Comodore, a senior, boosts the 400 and long jump (third in Big Six a a year ago with leap of 21-8.5). Rocks also return Jalil Gay for sprint relays and high jump (third in Big Six with jump of 5-9, and he’s already gone 5-10 this year).
Geneseo: Leafs have largest squad ever with 92 kids out after last year’s second-place Class 2A finish, their best ever. Among key returnees are entire 3,200 relay, though not all are healthy, plus Andrew Pischke, a senior, who took fifth at Class 2A state in 110 meter high hurdles (14.9) and junior Reed Vanderheyden, who took second in 300 intermediate hurdles at state, while also a member of the fourth place 3,200 relay team.
April 1 — Shipley invite at Browning Field
April 8 — Kiwanis Invite at Soule Bowl
April 21 — Rock Island Invite at RI Public Schools Stadium
May 11 — Western Big Six at Browning Field
May 18 — IHSA Class 3A Sectional at Browning Field
May 25-27 — IHSA state championships at Eastern Illinois University
— Jim Meenan