ROCHELLE — Head coach John Dobbs was pleased with the progress the Rochelle varsity boys track and field made this season. After sending two athletes to the IHSA State Championships in the field events (Trevor Goodwin and Mason DeLille), Dobbs and the Hubs are eyeing their strengths and areas of improvement entering next season.
“I was very pleased with the way our team came together at the end of the season,” Dobbs said. “We didn’t have a chance to peak, but we had a lot of young guys competing and seeing them do their best was very promising. I think we’ll be looking to have a lot of younger guys step up and become big contributors next year.”
Rochelle recorded four second-place finishes this year, earning runner-up placements in both the Assumption Invitational and the Ogle County Invitational. The Hubs won the Sterling Quadrangular and placed fourth in the annual Hub Relays before taking ninth in the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference Championships and seventh in the IHSA Class 2A Sterling Sectional.
Goodwin, who set the Rochelle fresh-soph triple jump record (43-9 ¼), will lead the Hubs in the field events next season along with junior pole vaulter Aaron Vondergathen and junior high jumper Ben Hickey. The Hubs will return several distance runners including juniors Gyvanziel Quinonez, Santi Cordoba and Tucker Louis.
“I don’t want our boys to put themselves in a box,” Dobbs said. “I want them to know there are no limits to how good they can be… We’ll be doing a lot more goal-setting next year and I thought we did well when we set goals this year.”
Several seniors will graduate from the sprints and relays including Greg Ricketts and Connor Lenkaitis. Seniors Ryan Friestad and Dylan Finkboner will move on from the hurdling events, while DeLille’s absence creates room for competition in the jumping events. Sophomore Oscar Aguirre will return to lead Rochelle in the throwing events, while freshmen Michael Ramsey and Shepard Hayes are expected to step up in the sprints and relays.
“Michael and Shepard did a really nice job filling in for our relays toward the end of the season,” Dobbs said. “We need to do a better job recruiting and getting our roster up to around 50 boys. It helps when we’re putting our lineup together and we don’t have to rely on one boy doing 4-to-5 events.”