The 2011 Geneseo Middle School track and Field teams pose for a team picture at their end-of-the-season banquet. This season the team had 195 participants.

Over the last few years, the Geneseo Middle School boys’ and girls’ track and field teams have seen great success with multiple trips to state, numerous school records broken and record participation numbers.

This season, coaches had 195 kids participating in track and field with eight school records broken and 40 athletes advanced to the IESA State Finals.

“To work hard and have fun is what it is about,” said coach Todd Ehlert. “And being involved with the IESA has helped out a lot to keep kids interested. The kids have goals to shoot for with a state meet.”

“I think the combination of the state finals as an incentive and also us allowing kids not to specialize in a certain sport is what has led to such a high number of kids participating,” said coach Chris Ward. “We believe that middle school is a place to experience as much as you can.”

Ehlert stated the Geneseo Middle School coaches realize that kids are involved in numerous activities at this age so the track coaches try to stay flexible with their schedules so the kids don’t have to choose between activities.

“Track is fun and the kids have fun,” said Ehlert. “By not making the kids have to choose between their activities allows us to keep our numbers up. The whole idea is to help out the other sports through making the kids faster and stronger.”

“We have some extremely talented children and they are all hard workers,” said Ward. “They respect being at state, they value it and know it is a privilege. They are very motivated by the people who have come before them.”

With 195 kids wanting to participate, Ehlert said “it is organized chaos” however each athlete is guaranteed to compete in three to four meets a year.

“We made the schedule so the home meets were a time where everyone could be included,” said Ward. “Everyone gets to experience competition and it is really competitive and they push each other.”

“I hope they learn to love to compete and love to be around track,” said Ehlert of what he hopes his athletes get out of being involved. “Having fun is a big key and I hope they continue running their whole life. We also want them to become better athletes.”

Ehlert said the most rewarding part of coaching track is seeing the kids smile. “We do have a lot of fun and we have been very lucky to have this type of success,” he said. “I love being around the kids.”

Having such a large group of athletes definitely has its ups and downs. Big numbers give the coaches a lot to choose from, but can also be difficult to choose from such a large group. It also makes every athlete better through the competition for spots in the line up.

“It is healthy competition and it just makes the athletes better,” said Ehlert. “Success breeds success and they all raise the standards, which I hope continues.”

This year, the track and field team had four special education students as members of the team.

“They have a very special spot on the team and the other kids are learning how to treat them,” said Ward. “All the kids are accepting, they include everyone and help each other.”

Those athletes breaking school records this season are as follows:

Seventh grade girls 4x400-meter relay of Lauren Coulter, Molly Lembke, Grace Madigan and Callie Miller.

Eighth grade girls 4x400-m relay of Katie Puls, Anna Wise, Abby Wilebski and Ashley Kempher.

Eighth grade boys 4x400-m relay of Sam Arndt, Josh Beard, Jeremy Harper and Ryan Pitra.

Eighth grade boys 4x800-m relay of Nolan Fassett, David Chenoweth, Ryan Ganson and Carson Krause.

Madigan, seventh grade girls long jump and triple jump.

Pitra, eighth grade boys long jump.

Beard, eighth grade boys triple jump.

“We’ve brought home 37 state medals in the last three years,” said Ehlert. “We’ve been lucky the last few years and it is pretty impressive what these kids are doing. They work hard and they are a good group of kids.”

“I think the reason we have been pretty consistent with our numbers is the fact the kids know they get to try,” said Ward. “They know the home meets are their opportunity.”

Members of this year’s boys’ track team are Nickolas Anderson, Samuel Arndt, Arthur Atwell, Keegan Banister, Jonathan Barry, Joshua Beard, Carter Biellier, Justin Bolte, Grant Chaney, David Chenoweth, Henry Cravens, Josiah Cropp, Will Daniels, Keaton Darin, Eric Dellett, Jacob DePauw, Joshua Smith, Hunter DeSplinter, Henry Dethlefs, Charles Elden, Nolan Fassett, Ryan Ford Nicholas Fox, Gunner Gaines, Ryan Ganson, Adam Gradert, Hunter Grau, Isaac Gustafson, Jeremy Harper, Ryan Hartsock, Devin Haxby, Matthew Henry, Drew Himmelman, Cooper Humphries, Wyatt Irish, Bryce Iwinski, Colton Jagers, Gabriel Johnson, Trace Johnson, Eric Johnston, Paul Kastorff, Elliott Koster, Carson Krause, Logan Lanphere, Nathan Lauritzen, Adam Lavine, and Dylan Lyon.

Callen Magerkurth, Dylan Mannon, Joshua Mathis, Craig Medema, Joseph Medina, Kameron Miller, Jacob Morgan, Matthew Parker, David Parrott, Aaron Pierce, Ryan Pitra, Ian Ramsey, Benjamin Rowley, Nash Salmon, Erik Sammons, Justin Scott, Gage Sears, Landon Schackelford, Quinn Singbush, Adam Smith, Caleb Talbott, Jacob VanDoren, Wyatt Wade, Austin Waldo, Levin Warren, Benjamin Watkins, Conner Welch, Eric Westerlund, Tyler Williams and Jacob Yarger.

Members of this year’s girls’ track team are Theresa Ashley, Shalana Atwell, Cassidy Barr, LaTesha Bergheger, Jaci Bergles, Lindsey Bideaux, Katherine Blackford, MacAllister Blakley, Cierra Blaszczyk, Karah Bos, Mikayla Bowton, Kendra Brower, Kristin Brown, Alaine Brucher, Casside Budde, Olivia Carroll, Jenna Casteel, Alyssa Castro, Kamber Causemaker, Savannah Chapman, Carlee Chehak, Halie Clark, Lauren Clark-Holke, Taylor Claus, Lauren Coulter, Adison Cunningham, Bibiana Curry, Megan Dale, Hope Daly, Amber Dauksas, Morghan Davison, Kelsey Etter, Hannah Evans, Madison Femali, Tarah Fisher, Paige Ford, Abbigail Frank, Jenna Freebern, Sommer Gagnon, Emily Gentry, Casidy Gramling Katytlyn Gramling, Rachael Himmelman, and Makayla Humphrey.

Ashley Kempher, Kayleigh Kruger, Rachel Lawson, Molly Lembke, Monica Lieving, Grace Madigan, Samantha Mannon, Callie Miller, Madison Miller, Kailynn Mohr, Carlie Newton, Bailey Noble, Natasha Olson, Corey Panicucci, Paige Pitra, Kelsi Pittenger, Cori Pullen, Kathia Puls, Kori Ralston, Rebecca Rapps, Rachel Rice, Vanessa Ritter, Kaitlyn Rule, Carolyn Rusk, Angela Schaumburg, Rachel Sears, Kaitlin Setser, Madeline Shoemaker, Rachel Slaughter, Katie Smith, Sierra Sommer, Makenna Stephenson, Dana Storm, Rachel Thorndyke, Devon Tracey, Emma Vandemore, Hanna Vanderheyden, Ariana VanTieghem, Cynthia Venneberg, McKinsey Walters, Lydia Warren, Karen Wheeler, Abigail Wilebski, Abigail Williams and Anna Wise.

The coaching staff includes Ehlert, Ward, Kiera Fauth, Jill Schauland, Jeff McAvoy and Tom Cutlip.

“The best part is the kids and the coaches,” said Ward. “We have really nice kids to work with and we have nice support from the parents.”

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