Capac Standout Delivers 3-Letter Fall

November 14, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

The Blue Water Area Conference, on the eastern side of the Thumb, created this fall a patch it will award to athletes who letter in three sports during a school year.

Winning a high school letter always has been a notable accomplishment. Earning two is a sign of a well-rounded athlete. And in these days of single-sport specialization, we celebrate those who continue to play three at the varsity level.

Then there’s the rare – if not unique – case of Capac junior Nick Geliske.

Earlier this week, he became the first to win the newly-minted BWAC award – after just one season. He finished his fall as an all-league midfielder for the soccer team, an all-league honorable mention cross country runner and the fulltime kicker for the football squad.

“I wasn’t sure how it would work out when I decided to go into it. I wanted to do all of them, but a year ago I wouldn’t have seen myself doing this,” Geliske said. “I was just hoping to help my teams this year. 

"I’ve got bigger expectations for myself next year.”

Three-sport letterwinners are not a rarity in Geliske’s hometown. Despite an enrollment of 100 fewer students than all but one of the other schools in its eight-team conference, Capac has the most who play a sport every season. The Chiefs had 41 three-sport athletes during 2012-13, athletic director Arnie VandeMark said, and 33 athletes who earned letters in three sports played as part of the BWAC – 24 more three-sport athletes than the league school with the next-highest total.

Playing two sports during the same season, while uncommon, also occurs from time to time when an athlete can handle the added load and coaches can work out a flexible schedule. But VandeMark never had seen an athlete do what Geliske accomplished this fall – not to mention the success he had in the process. Geliske just kept finding ways to compete – and contribute to Chiefs teams alongside his friends.

He has been a starter on the soccer team for three seasons and captain these last two, and that’s his primary sport. A midfielder, he led the team with five assists this fall to go with three goals as Capac – in its eighth season as a program – set a wins record in finishing 11-8.

Geliske decided to double in cross country this season at the urging of a few friends on that team. Great move on their part, as Geliske ended up the team’s regular second- fastest finisher. He took sixth at his Regional (in 17:52) and was part of the lineup that made the Lower Peninsula Division 3 Final at Michigan International Speedway.

But before practice for either of those sports began, Geliske had another request from his best friend on the football team. Capac needed a kicker. Geliske loves football but never had played at the high school level and never had kicked. No matter – two hours before the first practice he decided to give it a try, showed up and won the job.

“Nick was a huge part of our team qualifying for team states. He set an example for others to follow being a very busy athlete in soccer and football,” Capac boys cross country coach Tim Gross said. “He would show up for practice and set the standard for everyone else to follow. He was not only a great athlete, but a very organized person.”

On schedule 

Geliske also holds a 3.85 grade-point average – after earning a 4.0 during the first quarter of this school year – and is involved with Capac’s student council and chapters of the National Honors Society and Business Professionals of America.

Pulling off the above plus participating on three athletic teams takes heavy doses organization and discipline both. Thankfully, the sports schedules just happened to fall into place.

First-year soccer coach Jerry Parisot needed to hold his practices at 6 p.m., leaving the afternoon for Geliske’s other pursuits. Geliske ran with the cross country team from 3-4 p.m. and kicked with the football team until 5 before catching a quick meal and heading to the soccer field.

On cross country meet days, Geliske would run and usually make it back in time for soccer practice. On soccer game days, he’d kick with the football team right after school before switching uniforms.

The biggest challenge came on Friday, Oct 25, when Geliske ran in the cross country team’s Regional at Algonac – an hour trip south of Capac – then had to drive nearly two hours back north for a football game at Sandusky. He made it two minutes before kickoff.

But amid jumping through those hoops, Geliske continued to make academics a priority with study time from 8-10 p.m. most weeknights.

“Usually, for football I’d just talk to my coach and could schedule around because I’m the kicker, and I have awesome coaches. For soccer, my dad is the assistant coach so that worked out pretty well, and the varsity coach coached me at younger levels. And for cross country, he was an awesome guy too. They knew I’d be busy all the time,” Geliske said.

“My mom wasn’t so sure about (three sports), but she said as long as I keep my grades up I can play all of those sports. I gave myself studying time; I didn't want to let my teams or myself down.”

Before the season began, Geliske brought Gross a schedule detailing where he’d be every day over the next three months. Gross credits Geliske's parents for his runner's discipline, and Nick also credits Mom and Dad with instilling that trait – and a lot more.

Cracking the code

Geliske was so competitive as a kid, sometimes he’d get a little out of control and his parents would have to calm him down. That intensity hasn't faded much – “Even during pick-up games and stuff, people get mad that I’m so competitive,” he said. “I don’t like losing ... (but) I have to tone it down a little bit.”

“He's 200 percent competitive,” Parisot said. “It’s not really about winning or losing. It's more about trying as hard as you can.”

That streak was ingrained by his father Barry Geliske, who along with coaching soccer and serving on the school board works on the chain gang for home football games and is “the most competitive and passionate guy about sports,” Nick said.

His athletic side? Geliske believes that comes from his mom Sandra. And then, matter-of-factly, he reveals a family line that backs his theory pretty well.

Among second cousins is former Marquette University basketball standout Travis Diener, who beginning in 2005 played for three NBA teams and now plays professionally in Italy. Sandra Geliske’s maiden name is Thome – as in Jim Thome, another cousin, and a likely future Hall of Famer who hit 612 home runs during a Major League Baseball career stretching two decades.

There’s another cousin, former NFL tight end Dave Casper, who made five Pro Bowls for the Oakland Raiders during the late 1970s. A great uncle named Ronald Jackson played seven seasons of pro baseball with the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox from 1954-60.

Geliske will begin basketball practice Monday and plans to play baseball and run track this spring before coming back for all six sports as a senior. VandeMark has had an athlete finish high school with 13 letters – but Geliske hopes to graduate with 15.

That leads to another significant question – how will Geliske display them?

Like at most schools, some Capac athletes wear traditional letter jackets. They receive an actual letter for their first, then a series of pins and medals for each additional year on a varsity team.

Geliske’s mom wants instead to frame the awards. If that’s the decision, Geliske is looking for something sizable – and he’s got to fit that BWAC patch now as well.

It's been a fall full of other accolades too. He made the all-league soccer team and earned an all-league cross country award, and was part of an academic all-state team in the latter as well. But he’s got much higher expectations for fall 2014 since he’ll be settled into his balancing act. And no way does that include picking a favorite. 

“I can’t imagine it for myself. I’ve been playing these sports my whole life,” Geliske said. “Sometimes someone might be really good in that (one) sport and stay with it, but I say doing more sports is better. It keeps you active. I just love competing, and that’s the big thing about it.”

PHOTOS: (Top) Capac’s Nick Geliske lettered as part of the school’s cross country, boys soccer and football teams this fall. (Middle) Geliske throws a ball in during a soccer game and turns a corner during a race this season. (Below) Geliske poses with his Blue Water Area Conference three-letter patch after becoming the first to earn the award. (Photos courtesy of Capac athletic department and Geliske family.)

Be the Referee: Soccer Offsides or Goal?

By Paige Winne
MHSAA Marketing & Social Media Coordinator

May 23, 2023

Be The Referee is a series of short messages designed to help educate people on the rules of different sports, to help them better understand the art of officiating, and to recruit officials.

Below is this week's segment – Soccer Offsides or Goal? - Listen

Today we’re on the soccer field for another You Make the Call.

Team A has a throw-in near midfield. Team A’s No. 9 is clearly in an offside position when the throw-in comes directly to her. She collects the ball and kicks it past the keeper and into the goal. What’s the call?

Should the referee:

► Award an indirect free kick to Team B?

► Award a goal kick to Team B?

► Award a re-take of the throw-in to Team A?

► Award a goal to Team A?

If you said, "Award a goal to Team A" … you are correct, despite the goal-scorer being in a clear offsides position.

The soccer rulebook states that a player shall not be penalized for offsides if she receives the ball directly from a goal kick, corner kick or throw-in. It’s a legal play – and counts as a goal.

Previous Editions:

May 16: Track & Field Exchange Zones - Listen
May 9: Girls Lacrosse Self-Start - Listen
May 2: Baseball/Softball Overthrow - Listen
April 25: Fifth-Quarter/Third-Half Rule - Listen
April 18: Soccer Referee in Play? - Listen
April 11: Softball Strikeout - Listen
March 14: Basketball Instant Replay - Listen
March 7: Hockey Overtime - Listen
Feb. 28: Baker Bowling - Listen
Feb. 21: Ski Finish - Listen
Feb. 14: Swimming Touchpads - Listen
Feb. 7: In or Out-of-Bounds in Wrestling - Listen
Jan. 31: Over the Back - Listen
Jan. 24: Competitive Cheer Judges - Listen
Jan. 17: More Lines - Listen
Jan. 10: On the Line - Listen
Jan. 3: Basketball Measurements - Listen
Dec. 13: Pregame Dunks - Listen
Dec. 6: Gymnastics Judges - Listen
Nov. 22: Football Finals Replay - Listen
Nov. 15: Back Row Illegal Blocker - Listen
Nov. 8: Swim Turn Judges - Listen
Nov. 1: Soccer Referee Jersey Colors - Listen
Oct. 25: Cross Country Tie-Breaker - Listen
Oct. 18: Soccer Shootouts - Listen
Oct. 11: Safety in End ZoneListen
Oct. 4: Football Overtime Penalty - Listen
Sept. 27: Kickoff Goal - Listen
Sept. 20: Soccer Timing - Listen
Sept. 13: Volleyball Replays - Listen
Sept. 6: Switching Sides - Listen
Aug. 30: Play Clock - Listen
Aug. 23: Intentional Grounding Change
- Listen

PHOTO: An official raises his flag during this spring's Trenton/Pontiac Notre Dame Prep game. (Photo by Chris Mudd/National Photo Scout.)