by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It was a truncated lineup that took to the course at Sterling.
It was a way to improve and get even more battle tested en route to conference and beyond for those that participated.
Missing a number of top runners, the Lady Knights outfit tallied 415 points for a 15th-place finish of 22 participating teams at the Sterling Invite on Saturday morning.
Under partly cloudy, autumn-like conditions, it was Pleasant Valley of Iowa that boasted five of the top 11 runners for 33 points.
Southwest Prairie Conference entry Minooka was second with 90 points, and Bettendorf High School of Iowa finished third with 104 points.
Pleasant Valley speedster McKenzie Yanek took the Sterling course with a time of 17 minutes, 34 seconds.
Senior Maggie Brundige led the Lady Knight pack with a time of 19 minutes, 33 seconds, good for 35th place. Junior Sydney Strang continued her way back from illness with a 48th- place finish thanks to a time of 19:33.
“We are all healthy at this point,” KHS head coach Doug Ecker said. “Sydney is still not 100 percent, but is getting close.”
Junior teammate Erika Carlson finished 84th with an effort of 20:36, while senior Anna Piazza finished 116th with a time of 21:57.
Rounding out the top five runners for KHS was junior Megan Franklin in 132nd place with a time of 23:13.
Kaneland gears up for the talented field at the Northern Illinois Big XII race hosted by LaSalle-Peru High School on Saturday, Oct. 13.
A year ago, Kaneland finished second only to Yorkville. Victoria Clinton finished fifth to lead the Lady Knights as a freshman.