ROCHELLE — The Rochelle Hub track and field team leaned on its success in the field events this season. Developing more athletes in the sprints and sprint relays will be the key for head coach Dale Bergeson and his staff as the Hubs look to build on their results this year.
Rochelle finished sixth in the Interstate 8 Conference Championship meet and 10th in the IHSA 2A Sectional at Rochelle Township High School this season. The Hubs secured three victories in head-to-head competition including one over Rock Falls on Senior Night and two conference wins against Morris and Plano. The 2020-21 season was Rochelle’s first under Bergeson.
“Based on all of the circumstances and COVID-19, I thought the boys worked really hard,” Bergeson said. “Their times and their distances improved dramatically. We saw a lot of improvements and we received a lot of praise from other coaches for how our kids conducted themselves. We’re definitely looking forward to seeing how much we improve next year.”
The Hubs will lose two key contributors in the field events including thrower Oscar Aguirre and former IHSA State Championship qualifying triple jumper Trevor Goodwin. Rochelle will return a pair of top-scoring field-event specialists, however, in junior thrower Zach Sanford and junior jumper Ryan Simmons, who each recorded third-place finishes at the sectional meet. Sophomore Hayden Inman could also return to lead the Hubs in the pole vault next season.
“Our goal was to get better in the throwing events this season,” Bergeson said. “Oscar and Zach really stepped up and they scored the majority of our team points in the shot put and discus. We want to get better in our relays, especially the 1600 and 3200-meter relays… I think back to five years ago where we had three of our four relay teams make the state meet. That’s an area we need to improve on for next season and I think we’re capable of doing that.”
Several distance runners will be eligible to return next year including juniors Josue Huerta and Hayden Smith. Rochelle could also return multiple junior sprinters including Simmons, Ethan Wells, Michael Ramsey, Luke Orlikowski and Max Orlikowski. Sophomore Landon DeLille and freshmen Irving Escalante and Caleb Wyssbrod made an impact on the varsity team as well.
“We need to see some improvements in the distance crew,” Bergeson said. “I think we’ll see that with more time over the offseason to run more miles.”