Boys Track: #upgrade highlights season goals for Hubs

Senior Ethan Bergeson headlines a core group of returning athletes for the Rochelle Hub track and field team this season. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Underclassmen make up large percentage of 54-man roster

ROCHELLE — Fifty-four athletes are out for the Rochelle Hub track and field team this season. While many of those athletes are freshmen and sophomores, head coach Dale Bergeson has optimism in the team’s returning varsity athletes as well as the team’s early workout results.

Practices are underway for the Hubs, who will begin the indoor season at the Byron Indoor Preview on Saturday, March 11. While Rochelle lost a talented senior class that included IHSA State Championship qualifier Zach Sanford, the Hubs will feature a small group of returning upperclassmen including seniors Ethan Bergeson and Landon DeLille who are back in the fold.

“Our team will be younger this year,” Bergeson said. “We had a lot more freshmen and sophomores come out than we did juniors and seniors, but they have a lot of speed and our times right now are faster than our times from last season. We have some new athletes out who are progressing very well and we’ll need those athletes to fill some of the voids from last year.”

Juniors Luis Hernandez and Landon Mickley are two more athletes who could see big roles for the Hubs this season. Rochelle’s indoor season will include the Sycamore Invitational on Wednesday, March 15 and the Sterling Invitational on Saturday, March 18. The Hubs open the outdoor season with an Interstate 8 Conference meet at Plano with Ottawa on Tuesday, April 4.   

“I think we’ll be stronger in the sprints and the distance events with Luis,” Bergeson said. “He’s improved so much and we saw that during the cross country season. Most of our 400-meter runners were sophomores and juniors last season and having those runners back will help us be a stronger team in many areas this season. It’s tough replacing a thrower like Zach Sanford, but having kids like Landon DeLille and Landon Mickley will help us fill that gap this season.”

Sophomore Jackson Smith headlines a large group of underclassmen looking to step up for Rochelle this season. The Hubs will travel for the Assumption Invitational on Saturday, April 8 before hosting the annual Hub Relays at Rochelle Township High School on Saturday, April 15. A new outdoor event for the Hubs will be the Rock Island ABC Invitational on Friday, April 21. 

“Ethan looks strong in the hurdles and the pole vault and we’re looking forward to seeing how he does this season,” Bergeson said. “Jackson’s one of our fastest runners right now and he’s made a big leap from where he was last season… Our motto this season is #upgrade and that means upgrading our personal lives and making our habits better. We want to upgrade what we do in school and in sports. We’re trying to revamp everything we’re doing so we can improve.”