‘One solid group’ gets to a better State

Photo: Kyle Carter (right) strides on Saturday, as he has done all season, as part of the State-bound Knight boys cross country squad. Photo by Mike Slodki

Fourth-place means 15th trip to State in 25 years
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—In a loaded Class 2A sectional hosted by Belvidere High School, Knight boys cross country had quite the challenge ahead of it and quite the trail to conquer.

If qualifying for the State race in Peoria this weekend is any indication, Kaneland went above and beyond, qualifying as a team.

KHS finished Saturday with 208 team points, two points ahead of final qualifying team Grayslake Central.

Belvidere North, with junior star Tyler Yunk, was first with 60 points, and Yorkville was second with 89 points.

Crystal Lake Central was third with 129 points.

The productive showing marks an improvement over a year ago, with one Knight, Trevor Holm, qualifying in 2010. The entire team qualified in 2009 and finished fifth.

“To take a busload of boys and girls to State for this meet hasn’t happened since 1992,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said. “To share this special day with them is great. We look forward to the chance to represent our community well in Peoria.”

Using a solid, 40-second pack split, something that Clarey has stressed the utmost importance of in 2011, the Knights’ Kyle Carter was the top finisher for his group in 19th place at 15 minutes, 59.9 seconds.

“What a great breakout sophomore season for him. Him and Brandon Huber are probably our most improved runners,” Clarey said.

Following close behind was 33rd-place John Meisinger at 16:18.8.

Teammate Huber was 49th and next for KHS at 16:34.7.

The fourth-best runner for the Knights was integral to the bottom line: Miki Marin, hobbled by a bum hamstring.

“He started passing, and didn’t stop for the last two miles. He ran a perfect race and did everything we asked of him. These boys came together as one solid group,” Clarey said.

Conor Johnson finished fifth for KHS with a time of 16:39, good for 56th.

Also in the mix on Saturday was Luis Acosta, at 17:03 (88th place). Senior Clayton Brundige was 109th at 17:24, and now a three-year member of the Kaneland State caravan, having gone in ‘08 and ‘09.

The boys’ race is set to begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5.