Geisler makes history for Huntley cross country program
As Jared Birchfield noted in his story on the Fox Valley Conference boys and girls cross country meets Oct. 19, Huntley's Ian Geisler became his school's first FVC cross country champion.
Naturally, the senior hopes that first won't be his last.
"I have some pretty big goals," said Geisler, who finished the muddy 3-mile course at Plato Park in 15 minutes, 20 seconds. "I wanted to win conference. I want to repeat as regional champion, I want to win sectionals, and I want to be in the top three in state."
In 2018 Geisler won the Class 3A Rockford Guilford regional at 15 minutes, 27 seconds, leading the Red Raiders to the team title. He finished second at the Waubonsie Valley sectional and ended up 17th in Class 3A at Detweiller Park in Peoria at 14 minutes, 44.80 seconds. Only three-time all-stater Keagan Smith has finished higher for Huntley.
The Red Raiders compete Saturday at the Class 3A Rockton Hononegah regional at Barkwood Park in Rockton.
Geisler, who will run cross country and track at Iowa, set his 3-mile personal record earlier this month at the Peoria Invitational, a time of 14:34 that ranks seventh on the Dyestat board. He's qualified for the state cross country and track meets both his sophomore and junior years. Last spring he led off Huntley's 3,200-meter relay in the Class 3A finals, the sole junior on the unit.
Geisler said he trusted his training at the Fox Valley Conference meet. While he "just wanted to see what I could do," he had enough to lead from start to finish, ahead of a game challenge from Burlington Central's Anthony Farmer.
"It means a lot to me because there's been quite a few great runners who've come through our program in the last couple years," Geisler said. "And for me be the first (FVC champion), I'm really proud of that, not just for me but for the team as a whole."
Geneva's Chloe Ryan won a major ice dancing championship at a Utah arena that hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Hugely satisfying ... and a little heartbreaking.
That's because, as she said, "That was it."
Her final competition.
A senior at St. Francis, Ryan has won four United States Figure Skating Association national titles in solo ice dance, and nine national medals overall over the last five years.
On Sept. 7 at the Peaks Ice Arena in Provo, Utah, Ryan won the U.S. Senior Solo Ice Dance Championship, her first senior title. She earned the highest score in the senior event's nine-year history in the technically based Rhythm Dance portion of the competition.
"It was so bittersweet. Happy that I was able to go out the way that I wanted to but sad, in fact, that I realized that I would never set foot on competitive ice again," said Ryan, who for years has trained with former British ice dancing champion Jamie Whyte at the Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva.
"I want to focus on college and after winning this year it really was my perfect way to go out and I felt if I was going to go out for another season it would be a letdown from this season," Ryan said.
A National Honor Society student at St. Francis, on Oct. 15 she received notice of acceptance into Loyola-Chicago. A few years back she had the goal of going into medicine, but all that biology and chemistry rubbed her the wrong way. She's reassessed, and now hopes to practice medical malpractice law.
"The concept of being able to use my voice to help people who don't have a voice means a lot to me," she said.
It means more than continuing a passion she's pursued since she was 5. She'll still skate, but the pressure is off. She no longer needs to get up at 4:30 in the morning to secure rink time before school.
"It was a job," she said. "Now it's not and I can go there and have fun."
Skating, and her peers and coaches in that competitive world, taught her perseverance, teamwork, acceptance, dedication, how to "get up when it hurts, literally and figuratively," she said.
Ryan won, on and off the ice. She has no regrets.
"I don't think so," she said, "because skating has become such a huge chapter in my life, but there are so many other chapters to come that I am looking forward to."