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Kevin McDowell, Bob Thomson, Kelly Whitley Jordan Join Geneva High School Athletic Hall of Fame
Olympic medal winner, state champion cross country coach and a cross country and track standout will be inducted during a Feb. 11 boys basketball halftime ceremony.

Three outstanding inductees will join the ranks of the Geneva High School Athletic Hall of Fame next month.

They include Olympic medalist Kevin McDowell, two-time state champion in cross country coach Bob Thomson, and cross country and track star Kelly Whitley Jordan.

All will be honored during the 21st annual Geneva Community High School Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Feb. 11, 2022, at Geneva High School’s main contest gymnasium, during halftime of the Geneva-vs.-Wheaton North boys varsity game. The varsity game starts at 7:15  p.m.

After the game, all attendees are invited to meet the Hall of Fame inductees during a coffee-and-cake reception in their honor in the north balcony of Geneva High’s contest gymnasium.
 
Here are some details on this year’s Hall of Fame inductees, chosen by a committee of former Geneva sports journalists, Viking athletic alumni and coaches:

Kevin McDowell
Kevin McDowell ImageKevin McDowell overcame cancer to become a world-class athlete and is the first Geneva High School athlete to have won an Olympic medal.In high school, McDowell was a mainstay of Geneva High’s cross country team from his freshman year in 2007 through fall 2010. He earned All-Conference designation all four of those years, and Academic All-Conference as both a junior and senior.

As a sophomore, he finished 14th in the state meet at Peoria’s Detweiler Park — as Geneva finished third in the state as a team in Class AA.

In 2010, he was a silver medalist in the Youth Olympic games and was USA Triathlon Junior Elite Triathlete of the Year.  That same year he was the Bronze Medalist in the Triathlon World Junior Championships.  

In 2011, he finished 10th in his Elite Triathlon Academy debut at the Clermont ITU Sprint Triathlon Pan American Cup.

Later that same year, he was sidelined with Hodgkins’ lymphoma, but after 12 sessions of chemotherapy and a return to college, McDowell began his comeback.

In 2014, he won the Brasilia FISU World University Triathlon Championship, leading the U.S. to its first team victory in the competition that combines the three components of swimming, bicycling and distance running.

Since then, his career highlights include silver medals in the 2015 Pan American Games and in the 2015 USA Triathlon Elite National Championships, the top prize in the 2017 USA Triathlon Elite National Championship, and seven times as a World Triathlon Cup medalist.

In the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, which concluded this past summer, he placed sixth in the men's individual event – the highest finish ever for a U.S. male triathlete at the Olympic Games.

And in those same Olympics, along with teammates Morgan Pearson, Katie Zaferes and Taylor Knibb, his foursome won the 2020 Olympic Silver Medal in Mixed Relay Triathlon.

McDowell and Pearson are the first U.S. men in history to medal in a triathlon event at the Olympic Games.
 
Bob Thomson
Bob Thomson ImageBob Thomson coached the first and second teams to win an IHSA State championship for Geneva High School and ranks among the most successful coaches in Geneva history. Thomson played sports at, and graduated in 1974 from, Ramapo High School in Franklin Lakes, NJ. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin at Stout in 1978, he began teaching technical education and coaching basketball, cross country and track in the northwest and western Chicago suburbs — in Lake Park, Westmont, Elgin, Streamwood and West Chicago.

He came to Geneva High as cross country coach for both girls and boys in 2001, and promptly built a program of consistent success.

With the boys’ team, over 17 seasons, he coached the Vikings to four Western Sun and Upstate Eight Conference Championships, to six state-qualifying berths, three regional championships, and in 2008, a sectional championship and a team that finished third in the State AA meet.

With the Viking girls, his record over 17 seasons was even more impressive: nine conference championships, 10 state-qualifying teams, seven regional championships, two sectional championships, and in fall 2007 and fall 2008, two consecutive IHSA AA team titles.

Kelly Whitley Jordan

Kelly Whitley JordanKelly Whitley Jordan is one of Geneva’s elite track and cross country stars – and a key component of those Bob Thomson teams that won Geneva’s first-ever state championships.In cross country, she was voted by Upstate Eight coaches as the conference MVP for her freshman through senior years, fall 2007 through fall 2010. During that period, she won four conference, three regional and two sectional individual championships. At the IHSA State level in 2007 she finished 2nd to lead the Vikings to their first state championship, and in 2008 she duplicated that feat as Geneva defended their title. In 2010, she finished 3rd at the IHSA State Meet, concluding a career that included four all state performances.  

Running track in the spring, she was a state qualifier as both a freshman and sophomore — finishing sixth in the state on the 4-by-800 relay in 2009. She and her teammates hold the school record in that event.

She was Academic All-Conference during her junior and senior years. In 2010 and 2011 she was also active with USA Triathlon where she won the U.S. Junior National Championship in 2010 and was honored as Rookie of the Year and Junior of the Year in 2011.  

Following high school, after starting at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, she transferred to The University of Wisconsin at Madison, where she ran cross country and track, and earned her bachelor’s degree in finance in 2016.

She is now working on the tech side for Frontline Education, consulting to school districts in financial planning. She met her future husband, All-America wrestler Ben Jordan, at school in Madison; they were married in 2018.

Her older sister Taylor was inducted into the Hall of Fame six years ago in 2016.

About the GHS Athletics Hall of Fame

The Geneva Community High School Athletic Hall of Fame selection committee, chaired by Athletic Director Dave Carli, consists of former Geneva Community High School Athletic Director Jim Kafer, who founded the Hall of Fame 20 years ago, Jerry Auchstetter, retired Geneva High head football coach who compiled an .801 record over 21 seasons from the 1960s into the 1990s, Rick Nagel, Class of 1975, outreach coordinator for Kane County, IL, who covered Viking sports from 1985 to 2014; Dr. Peter Temple, Class of 1981, a clinical psychologist in local private practice who led the Viking football team to 17 victories over nearly three seasons as its starting quarterback; and Kurt Wehrmeister, Class of 1975, who began his professional career covering Viking athletics for six years as the sports editor of The Geneva Republican, and who served for more than 30 years as the Vikings’ varsity football and basketball public-address announcer.
 
Auchstetter, Temple, Wehrmeister and Kafer are Viking Athletic Hall of Fame inductees.
 
To submit an application for consideration of a Geneva athlete, coach or team into the hall of fame, please contact Athletic Director Dave Carli at 630-463-3812 or [email protected].

GHS Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees

2022 Inductees
  • Kevin McDowell
  • Bob Thomson
  • Kelly Whitley
2020 Inductees
  • Jim Kafer
  • Tim Sandman
  • Lauren Wicinski
2019 Inductees
  • Josh Braley
  • Tom Busch
  • Bonnie Gardiner
2018 Inductees
  • Joanna Connor Gutkowski
  • Lindsey Koehn Huettemann
  • Bill Koehn
2017 Inductees
  • Gregg Nelson
  • Zac Scaffidi
  • Team: GHS Girls Cross Country State Champions 2007, 2008
2016 Inductees
  • Gina Nolan
  • Tom Rogers
  • Taylor Whitley-Fieser
2015 Inductees
  • Joe Herrera
  •  Nick Herrera
  • Mack Olson
2014 Inductees
  • Jeff Ainsworth
  •  Jim Klein
  •  Jackie Santacaterina

2013 Inductees
  • Team: 1963 Boys Basketball Team
  • Ray Soto
2012 Inductees
  • Katy Lindenmuth-Green
  •  Derek Swanson
  •  Kurt Wehrmeister
2011 Inductees
  • John Barton
  • Julie Koivula
  • Jerry Vitton
2010 Inductees
  • Ron Johnson
  • Sarah Landau
  •  Todd Searcy

2009 Inductees
  •  Dave Shaver
  • Jill Odenthal-Sracic
  •  Allan Tison
2008 Inductees
  • Charles Hokonson
  • John LeFeber
  • Peter Temple
2007 Inductees
  • Karen Bauer
  • Jim Newbill
  • Mark Schick
2006 Inductees
  • Doug Reese
  • Mark Searcy
  • Mike Van Deveer
2005 Inductees
  • Jim Conterato
  • Rebecca Mitchell
  • Richard Temple
2004 Inductees
  • Bob Peterson
  • Bob Schick
  • Joan Wallner
2003 Inductees
  • Gary Birch
  • John/Ann Burns
  • Howard Smith, Jr
2002 Inductees
  • Jeff Cesarone
  • Annica Cooper
  • Bob Johansen
  • Allen Mead
  • Tilden Meyers
2001 Inductees
  • Jerry Auchstetter
  • Jenny Birkner-Gallagher
  • Frank Burgess
  • Mel Johnson
  • Carl Nelson
  • Al Stark
  • Haskell Tison, Jr.
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