Bringing their best
Photo: Kyle Carter (891) dukes it out with DeKalb’s Marc Dubrick at the Eddington Invitational Saturday at Elburn Woods. Photos by Ryan Wells
Boys XC team sets numerous personal records at Eddington
by Ryan Wells
Kaneland—Across the board, the KHS boys cross country team stepped up in a big way for one of the biggest races of the year, the annual Larry Eddington Invitation at Kaneland’s home course at Elburn Woods.
All seven of Kaneland’s runners set some form of personal record on their home course.
“I thought our boys did very well,” KHS head coach Chad Clarey said. “All the guys that competed were either hitting their PR for the season on their home course or their career PR here.”
As a team, the Knights finished sixth with 140 points. Crystal Lake Central pulled away in the second half of the race to score 61 team points, good for the overall victory. Jacobs finished second with 91, followed by West Aurora (109), Benet Academy (128) and DeKalb (129). Mooseheart ran in its first-ever cross country race as a team, taking 15th overall.
Kaneland junior Kyle Carter led the team with a fourth-place finish, with a time of 16:08. He said the atmosphere spurred the Knights to push the pace throughout the course.
“It’s quite an honor to represent Kaneland and Larry Eddington, of course, and … we just wanted to represent Kaneland as best we can,” Carter said.
Because Carter trains at Elburn Woods regularly, he said he knew that being familiar with the difficult, hilly course could give the team an edge. He said he tried to come out of the start at a faster pace than usual.
“I went out a little fast, but I was trying to push the pace because most guys can’t handle the hills as good as us, because we work here all the time,” he said.
He said that after the initial burst, the lead group settled in before hitting the two-mile mark on the three-mile race.
“We just got to the two mile, and then the race really began,” he said. “They really took off and then I just hung on.”
Clarey said Carter ran a 29-second personal record on the home course.
“I think he was pumped up about getting started and he wanted to have a strong time,” Clarey said.
Senior Connor Johnson was the second Knight to cross the finish line, taking 18th overall with a time of 16:41, 24 seconds faster than his previous best time.
“This was a huge race for him,” Clarey said. “As a senior, he really stepped up and led our charge to be our No. 2 runner.”
Senior John Meisenger came into the race with a goal of hitting near 17 minutes, and he accomplished it, finishing 34th overall with a time of 17 minutes flat. That time served as an eight-second personal record.
Meisenger said that the early fast pace was a bit faster than he normally runs, but he anticipated it happening at the Eddington Invite.
“That was a faster mile for me coming into the first mile, but we’re used to setting the first mile faster,” he said.
Junior Ryan Bower was the fourth Knight across the finish line, taking 40th overall with a time of 17:15. That shaved 30 seconds off his career best time.
“Ryan Bower is new to varsity; he’s filling that role we need to have somebody come up and be a four or five guy,” Clarey said.
Junior Brandon Huber made a pre-race decision to run the race at all, as he was facing some soreness in his foot that morning. He finished in 17:23, good for 44th overall, cutting some time off his personal best on the course as well.
“He was a little bit sore this morning in his foot and wasn’t sure if he was going to race or not,” Clarey said. “He decided to jump in and wound up being our fifth man in the race. He did very well, especially with that foot pain.”
Junior Nathaniel Kucera beat his career best by 40 seconds, finishing in 17:38, good for 51st overall.
“He’s an important piece to our puzzle as well,” Clarey said. “We just need to make sure he’s feeling healthy.”
Ryan Paulson stepped in at the last minute to run as the seventh Knight, and used that motivation to set a 45-second PR on the home course. He finished in 18:00, taking 60th overall.
“I think it boosts up the momentum,” Paulson said of running as the host team at a big event like Eddington. “It really tries to push you to do better.”
“He’s another senior that really stepped out; when we needed him he stepped in and did a great job on this home course,” Clarey said.
Kaneland will travel to the ACC Invite on Saturday, Sept. 22.