by Mike Slodki
KANELANDâ€”With a middle of the pack finish at Saturdayâ€™s annual Jill Holmes Invitational, Kaneland High School saw some nice individual finishes with room to improve this month.
KHS finished with 45 points, good for eighth place in windy conditions and sunny skies.
West Aurora, with 168.5 points, took its first ever Holmes Invite title.
Lockport and Geneva, both not present this year, combines to win the last six championships.
The Lady Blackhawksâ€™ win marks the first for a DuPage Valley Conference outfit since Wheaton-Warrenville South in 2002.
West Aurora was followed by Oswego East (107), Burlington Central (80) and DeKalb (52.5), rounding out the top four.
The Lady Knights finished ahead of Dundee-Crown (28) in the 14-team field.
Capturing fourth place for Kaneland in the 4×800 meter relay run was the unit of Lisa Roberson, Jess Stouffer, Ashley Castellanos and Andie Strang, who finished with a time of 10 minutes, 20.09 seconds; 1.67 seconds ahead of West Aurora.
KHS representative Gabby Aguirre found herself contributing thanks to a fourth-place finish in the high jump. Aguirre jumped four feet, eight inches.
Lady Knight Sara Wallace continued her quest for a repeat trip to State with a second place finish in the pole vault at 9-03, three inches off the first-place finisher, Burlington Centralâ€™s Autumn Conn.
KHS stocked the triple jump with assets Brooke Patterson and Castellanos, both of whom finished well on Saturday. Patterson, a first-year girls track member, took third at 34-10, while Castellanos was sixth at 33-03.
Junior weapon Strang also took home a third place in the 800m run with a time of 2:35.13. Dundee-Crownâ€™s Jade Franz was first with a time of 2:32.02 and West Auroraâ€™s Alexis Anthony was second, defeating Strang by .59 seconds.
In the 3200m run, Abby Dodis managed a fourth-place finish thanks to a time of 12:16.12.
In the 100m hurdles, Hillary Luse took seventh in the finals (17.08) after finishing eighth in prelims.
â€œI saw (Oswego Eastâ€™s Shontica Anderson) way ahead of me,â€ Luse said about the prelims. â€œAnother girl was neck and neck with me toward the end and I just needed a little more energy to push through and thought, â€˜no oneâ€™s passing meâ€™ and that drove me until the end.â€
Kaneland also competed at Batavia on Tuesday, finishing third with 15.5 points compated to Bataviaâ€™s 91 and Rochelleâ€™s 74.5.
The lone first place was garnered by Patterson, who jumped 34 feet in the triple jump.
Teammate Nicole Ketza had a second place effort in the shot put with 30 1/2 feet.
Next up for the Lady Knights track squad is the annual Jenniâ€™s ABC Meet at Kaneland on Saturday, April 17, followed by a home matchup with Glenbard South on Tuesday, April 20.