NASHWAUK — There really wasn’t much more that Geno Uhrbom could accomplish this past season as a high school distance runner.
In the fall he captured the Minnesota Class A cross country title, and then he won both the 1,600-meter run and the 3,200-meter run at the Minnesota State Class A Track and Field Meet. Those three wins allowed Uhrbom to earn the coveted Triple Crown of high school distance running, something that is not achieved often in any location.
And the shocking thing is that Uhrbom has just completed his sophomore season with the Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin (G/N-K) boys track and field team and has two more years of high school competition remaining.
But with apologies to junior Luke Olson of Ely who won the state Class A title in the 800-meter run, Uhrbom was the top boys track and field athlete in the area this season with his two state championships. With his accomplishments, Uhrbom has been named the Iron Range Boys Track Athlete of the Year for the third consecutive year by the Hibbing Daily Tribune, the Mesabi Daily News and the Grand Rapids Herald-Review.
“The 1,600 and 3,200 races at state were must wins,” said Uhrbom. “I had to win those races for my career. I was really excited and happy when it happened. And to be named the top boys track athlete again feels pretty good because it means I am getting better and I am not getting worse.”
Will Floersheim, head coach of the G/N-K boys track and field team and also the Titans cross country team, said Uhrbom is a special talent.
“Geno is unbelievable,” said Floersheim. “There is a level of drive with him that I would say is mostly unparalleled, and his drive is matched every bit as much by how intelligent that he is, by how he takes care of his body, how he trains the right way. He is the whole package when it comes to a kid showing up on race day and doing the right things.
“But everything happens behind the scenes that makes him successful that people never see.”
Floersheim said he is often asked how he feels Uhrbom would finish against the top Class AA runners in the state from the large schools.
“I tell everybody that I think if he had the opportunity to run against the kids in the Class AA races, I think one of the things I’m proudest about the young man for is that he doesn’t shy away from any challenge,” Floersheim explained. “Some kids aren’t as quick to have the confidence to step up to every challenge but that’s not true of him. He thrives on having challenges and he’s not scared of any of them.”
Floersheim was asked what he thinks will come next for the sophomore Uhrbom in his final two years of competition and he said, “I have had to do some thinking about what’s next for Geno myself and is he going to continue to be dominant in our section and in the state? Absolutely.
“We are looking at a kid that
wants to go on and run collegiately so it is the little things that he can do right now to help him to prepare to be a good teammate at the next level where he is going to run with people that have similar ability to him. It will help him grow into some skills as a leader in our own program.
“Talent-wise, he is going to continue to take care of doing what he needs to and he continues to be a better and better kid in the program too.”
Uhrbom knows he will have a big bullseye on his back from other top runners but he said he will try to overcome that by training hard.
“I need to continue to train hard and not let anyone catch me,” Uhrbom explained. “I get help with my training through my coach and my dad and different other sources. If you don’t know how to train and take care of yourself then you are not going to be successful.
“There is a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff when it comes to my running. My dad (Jeff) and coach help me a lot and other family members help.”
Asked what goals he has for the future, Uhrbom said, “I don’t want to let up on the state championships so I would like to continue to win those, and I want to make it to Nationals in track and cross country.”
Uhrbom said he is not sure what the state high school records are in the races he runs, but he said a possible goal is eclipsing the existing records.
Following is the complete list for the All-Area team:
Geno Uhrbom, sophomore, G/N-K; Dylan DeChampeau, junior, G/N-K; Matt Jeska, senior, G/N-K; Jajuan Hall, sophomore, G/N-K; Eli Conaway, junior, G/N-K; Derek Wester, senior, Deer River/Northland; Cameron Stocke, eighth grader, Virginia; Chris Jacklen, Virginia, junior; Josh Creer-Oberstar, sophomore, Eveleth-Gilbert; Jericho Peterson, senior, Mt. Iron-Buhl; Gavin Skelton, sophomore, Mesabi East; Tyler Baribeau, senior, Mesabi East; Carson Becicka, senior, Mesabi East; Cole Meyer, junior, Mesabi East; Jagr Wippler, junior, Mesabi East; Luke Olson, junior (state champion in 800-meter run); Ely, Raif Olson, junior, Ely; Eric Omerza, junior, Ely; Nate Neffifee, junior, Ely; Emmett Faltesek, sophomore, Ely; Jasper Johnston, sophomore, Ely; Dylan Fenske, junior, Ely; James Schwinghamer, junior, Ely.