GENESEO, Ill.—Looking at how the Kaneland High School boys cross-country team performed at the Northern Illnois Big XII Conference meet a year ago, the improvement in the 12-team field is apparent.
Heading into the State series, Kaneland and Co. would love to see even more.
A year after finishing seventh in the conference, KHS upped the performance level to third with a 98-point total in Geneseo, Ill.
Yorkville took the boys crown with 40 points, including four of the top nine runners. DeKalb took second, just four points better than the Knights.
Sycamore and Dixon at 116 and 119, respectively, rounded out the top five.
Geneseo, Sterling, Rochelle, Morris, Ottawa, LaSalle-Peru and Streator went six through 12.
The top runner in the conference for 2011 was Dixon High School’s Simon Thorpe, winning the Maple Leaf course in 16 minutes, two seconds.
The first Knight in the mix was sophomore Kyle Carter, who took fifth at 16:30.3.
“He was very determined the entire race, to battle the elite runners of the field,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said. “His strong performances of late bode well going into the State series.”
Kaneland next crossed the finish line at 17th place, thanks to John Meisinger’s 17:04. Close by in 19th place was Brandon Huber with a time of 17:08. Conor Johnson was 23rd with a 17:14.6 effort.
With the postseason upon them, Clarey thinks conditions are favorable.
“The end is nearing, and we fortunately got ‘the bad race’ out of our systems. Time to go back to what we do best, on our home course at Regionals,” Clarey said.
This Saturday, Oct. 22, brings the Kaneland Regional to Elburn Woods.
A year ago in Malta, Ill., the Knights took third in the regional and advanced as a team to Belvidere’s sectional.
The top returning runner from 2010’s postseason is Johnson, who finished 20th overall.