Pioneer power: The Alleman track and field team can get overshadowed at times competing against Class 3A schools in the Western Big Six, but at the Class 1A level, the Pioneers resemble somewhat of a powerhouse. Alleman has seven individuals and two relay teams who will compete at this weekend’s state meet with plenty of medal contenders in the bunch.
Senior thrower Kyler Yodts is the top seed in the shot put with his throw of 60 feet, 3 ½ inches at sectionals, almost five feet farther than the No. 2 seed. Alleman’s only other boys state individual gold medal was won by Nick Hird in the 3,200 in 2002.
Junior Nathan Graves has a shot to medal in three events as the fifth seed in the discus, the seventh seed in the triple jump and the 10th seed in the long jump. Senior sprinter Connor Rafferty also has a shot at multiple medals as the sixth seed in the 200, the 12th seed in the 100 and a part of the third-seeded 400 relay team and 11th-seeded 800 relay team.
Most of Alleman’s medals over its history have come in distance relays or individual distance events. This year, senior Aaron Golding has a chance to medal in the 3,200 as the No. 7 seed.
There’s the potential to be quite the haul for a program that doesn’t have a track record for winning multiple medals in one season.
History in the making for Geneseo: The Maple Leafs had their most success trip to state last season when they came home with medals in four events. After totally dominating their sectional meet last week, scoring over 100 points more than the runner-up team, they could potentially double up what they did a year ago.
With athletes among the top nine seeds in nine events, the Maple Leafs have a chance to approach a double-digit medal count and finish among the leaders in the team standings. Bear in mind Geneseo has won a total of 24 medals at state in its history.
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Fourth in the state pole vault competition last year, Arthur Atwell is the top seed this year after clearing 15-5. Senior Will Daniels, who was seventh in the long jump last year, is a contender in three events as the second seed in the triple jump, third seed in the high jump and eighth seed in the long jump.
Sophomore Reed Vanderheyden was fifth in the 300 hurdles last year and is the second seed this year. Fellow hurdler Andrew Pischke is the eighth seed in the event. In the throws, Josh Mathis is the eighth seed in the shot put and 11th seed in the discus, while Josh Thomas is the 10th seed in the shot put.
The Maple Leafs also have a good chance to medal in a pair of relays as the fifth seed in both the 1,600 and 3,200 relays.
It could be a very busy Saturday for Geneseo athletes and coaches at O’Brien Stadium.
In the mix from the Big Six: Every team in the Western Big Six has a state qualifier this year and a there are a handful of strong medal contenders from the league in the Class 3A field.
The Class 2A champion in the 100 and 200 last year, Galesburg’s Josh Eiker is a favorite in both events in 3A this season.
Moline’s Darius King is at state for the first time and the Northern Iowa signee is the No. 4 seed in the shot put after a heave of 58 8 ½ at sectionals. He’s looking to become the Maroons’ first medalist in the event since 2011 when Adam Rasche placed seventh.
Rock Island’s 400 and 800 are both seeded in the top seven and the Rocks could are looking to win medals in multiple relays for the first time since 2011. Doug Wilson (400) and Tyler Foulks (100) are both among the top nine seeds in their respective individual events.
UT has its most individual state qualifiers since 2012, sending four athletes to Charleston. Junior jumping standout Jean-Luc Soglohun is the lone returning medalist. He finished ninth last year in the triple jump last year and is one of three triple jump medalists in school history. He enters as the 10th seed at state, the highest seed among UT’s qualifiers.