Photo: Conor Johnson tries to create distance between himself and the field at Detweiler Park in Peoria, Ill. last year during the Class 2A State race. The 15th best boys’ cross country program is slated to return five of seven top runners in 2012. File photo
Cross country team looks to return to top-tier at state
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—One has to be considered a top-tier team in Class 2A after securing 15th place in the boys cross country finals a year ago.
But Kaneland won’t be satisfied.
Yet, while Kaneland looks to aim even higher this year, the program also has to see how to replace important losses.
Gone from the 2011 season’s top seven are Miki Marin and Clayton Brundige, but the remaining top five look to be a force to be reckoned with.
“The very bottom line for us is it’s a 12-week season,” KHS head coach Chad Clarey said. “It’s a long campaign and there’s always a push by many different teams toward the end. We slowly progress our way toward the season.”
Kyle Carter came on strong as his sophomore season went on, and eventually put up top team numbers.
Carter’s 39th place finish could serve him well as a reminder of what’s possible.
“He had a great season last year. He ran a PR for the course at State, and he’s looking for more this year. He wants more out of himself and wants more out of this team,” Clarey said.
Also returning are senior leaders Conor Johnson, John Meisinger, Brandon Huber and junior Luis Acosta, all with pivotal postseason experience.
“Conor and John stand out right away. Both of them are working through some of those aches and pains. They’ve been in the program. This is their fourth year, and that experience makes a huge difference,” Clarey said.
Huber was touted as the most improved runner a year ago by Clarey, having run 16 minutes, 16 seconds at State.
‘We’re going to use our depth, and we’ve got a huge senior class,” Clarey said.
The sense of the moment allowed Kaneland to power through a stacked sectional hosted by Belvidere a year ago, and it will be a challenge to break through that upper class lineup.
The season opens at Elburn Woods on Tuesday, Aug. 28, with a meet against West Chicago and Wheaton Academy.
Varsity Boys Cross Country Schedule
• Tuesday, Aug. 28; 4:30 p.m.
Home vs. W. Acad., W. Chicago
• Tuesday, Sept. 4; 4:30 p.m.
Home vs. E. Aurora, Yorkville
• Saturday, Sept. 8; 11 a.m.
At First to the
• Saturday, Sept. 15; 9 a.m.
• Saturday, Sept. 22; 9 a.m.
At ACC Invite
• Saturday, Sept. 29; 9:30 a.m.
At Freeport Pretzel Invite
• Wednesday, Oct. 3; 4:15 p.m.
At Byron Handicap Invite
• Saturday, Oct. 6; 9 a.m.
At Sterling Invite
• Saturday, Oct. 13; 9 a.m.
at LaSalle Peru
NIB XII Conference