Photo: Preparation continues for members of the Kaneland boys track squad that finished 13th in Class 2A a year ago. Photo by Mike Slodki
by Mike Slodki
Maple Parkâ€”Can the Kaneland High School boys track roster top last yearâ€™s exceptional finish?
Seven separate events saw Kaneland representation at the Class 2A State meet in Charleston, and the team finished 13th overall.
Senior Logan Markuson was crowned State champ in the 300 meter intermediate hurdles.
Graduate Josh Bloome and Markuson both medalled in the pole vault, and senior Nick Sinon took third in the high jump.
It sounds daunting on paper, but with a roster eclipsing the 70-person mark and with a glut of talent familiar with success, itâ€™s possible for huge things to happen for KHS boys track.
â€œI would say weâ€™re pretty excited,â€ KHS coach Eric Baron said. â€œWe started with a lot of ambition and excitement about what we think we can accomplish. Winning the indoor invite this week was a first step.â€
Markuson, now quickly climbing up the record books for Knights track, is appreciated by Baron for what he brings.
â€œHeâ€™s just a great person,â€ Baron said. â€œ Itâ€™s about more than just athletic ability. He hasnâ€™t missed one day of school ever. Every meet, heâ€™ll go out and do what you ask him to do.â€
Markuson will look to make a mark in the hurdles, pole vault and 4×400 relay once again.
Sinon returns to the ranks after some offseason experience and has already cleared 6-8 in the indoor long jump.
â€œHeâ€™s looking at big things this year and is a real student of the sport,â€ Baron said. â€œWeâ€™ll be strong in all of our jumps, and this is going to be a big year for him.â€
Helping the KHS cause was a Western Sun Conference indoor championship last week.
Also back on the sprint side is Taylor Andrews, who qualified in the 110m high hurdles and benefited from racing alongside Markuson.
Much will have to be done to absolve the loss of Lucas Ross, Colin Zagel and Brendan McCarthy.
â€œWeâ€™re looking for Tommy Whittaker to have a nice year and Serpa ran well for us, and then thereâ€™s some young guys like Curtis Secrest and Andrew Essex, who are working super hard,â€ Baron said.
On the relay side, Whittaker, Edgar Valle and Markuson return from the 4x400m.
Valle, who Baron marked as an unsung contributor to track during his tenure, also qualified for the 4x800m relay, along with Derek Bus, Sean Paulick and graduated Hayden Johnson.
â€œBus qualified for State last year and has come out this year so far and made a statement,â€ Baron said.
â€œ(Edgar) doesnâ€™t get a lot of limelight, but heâ€™s been a relay guy for us every meet,â€ Baron said.
The freshmen class comes in with personnel like Brandon Cottier, Alex Gil and Chad Swieca, who are primed for action.
â€œCottier looks like a special athlete, and weâ€™re figuring out what his best event is,â€ Baron said.
On the field side of things, itâ€™s open season.
â€œAlex Mollohan and Brett Ketza are throwing for us and they look ready to step up,â€ Baron said.
Baron added Ben Kovalick to the throwing list.
For vault, Markuson and Jemmar Parrenas take the reins. Parrenas has gone over 12 feet in indoor competition.
For now, Baron mentions only a couple of nagging injury issues to Blake Serpa and Whittaker.
â€œA big thing right now is taking it easy on people when we can,â€ Baron said.
Seniors looking to contribute are Justin Choate, Brock Dyer, Dominic Furco, Kevin Hodge, Carlos Hufshlag, Joe Levita, Lukas Liebich, Justin Phillips, Matt Swift and Kyle Wagner.
Juniors looking to get in the mix are Cody McGinnis and Matt Spitzzeri.
Baron cited Matt Reusche on the senior side and juniors Matt Cowans and Trevor Holm as athletes that are capable of big things.
Sophomores are Chase Borneman, Clayton Brundige, Tom Chidester, Joe Cozzi, Mitch Dienst, Evan Dukes, Andrew Essex, Frankie Furco, Jake Ginther, Thomas King, Jimmy Lagness, Mickey Marin, John Michek, Thanasi Pesmajoglou, Kelvin Peterson, Nate Rehkopf, Brandon Stahl, Devin Swearingen and Nicholas Wieglos.
Freshmen are Trevor Anderson, Tanner Andrews, David Barnhart, Ryan Euting, Marshall Farthing, Dan Goress, Kory Harner, Billy Hart, Brandon Huber, Conor Johnson, Brad Kigyos, Jay Markuson, John Meisenger, Jimmy Merletti, Nick Messina, Liam Mulloy, Ben Nelson, Ryan Paulson, Dylan Pennington, Nick Sharp, Ben Sommers, Gus Stott, Chad Swieca, Zach Theis, Chris Wido and George WIlson.
The outdoor season for Kaneland boys track begins on Saturday, April 10, at East Moline United with conference action against visiting Batavia and Rochelle on Tuesday, April 13.
The Kane County Meet is on Friday, May 7, at West Aurora, with the final Western Sun Conference meet on Friday, May 14, at Geneva.