Rise of the Knights
Photo: Three-time state qualifier Corey Harner will be joined by numerous members of the boys track team at the IHSA State Track and Field meet this weekend. The Knights won the Sectional title, easily outdistancing second-place Winnebago 151-68. File Photo
Boys tracks wins 5th straight Sectional, qualifies 10 individuals, three relays for State
KANELAND—Fans could most likely identify Kaneland boys track on Friday by the team out in front.
At the Class 2A Sterling Sectional, the Knights amassed 151 points, compared to second-place Winnebago (68) and third-place Burlington Central (66).
School records were set by Kaneland in both the 4x800m relay and 4x400m relays.
In the 4×800, Kyle Carter, Luis Acosta, Nathaniel Kucera and Conor Johnson ran wild with a 7:55.09, while the foursome of Carter, Dylan Nauert, Kucera and Johnson hit the 3:19.99 mark in the 4×4.
“We just go out there and do what we’ve been doing all season,” Johnson said. “We just stay calm and try our hardest. We don’t want to look ahead too much.”
The 4x100m relay squad of Brandon Bishop, Brandon Cottier, Nauert and Ben Barnes also qualified for state with a second-place, 43.30 tally.
“At the state meet, that’s when we want to run our best times and do our best,” Cottier said. “This is all on the table, and we perform good at big meets.”
The relay success was just the beginning.
In the pole vault, both Dylan Kuipers (13-9) and Kory Harner (13-3) qualified as the top two vaulters.
As a three-time qualifier, Harner still gets pumped and focused for Charleston, Ill.
“I think this year I’m more mature than in the past,” Harner said. “The outcome has been the same at the sectional meet the last few years, but I think I still have a lot of room to grow.”
Marshall Farthing took second in the high jump with an effort of 6-3.
“I was pretty consistent on Friday and made a 6-1 attempt in my first jump and got all the nerves out of my system. I’m hoping the same thing happens at State,” Farthing said.
Fellow field competitor Nate Dyer won the shot put at 51-4.
Tanner Andrews won the triple jump at 44-9, and doesn’t feel like slowing down.
“I think I have pretty good form, and I’ve improved a lot from last year,” Andrews said. “I’ve been working in practice every day in all three phases.”
Nauert became sectional champion in the 100m high hurdles (15.33) and 300m intermediate hurdles (39.00), while teammate Kucera also took some individual praise with a 49.22, second-place showing in the 400m dash.
In the 200m dash, Bishop took third with a 22.4, followed closely by Cottier at 22.46.
The trip to Eastern Illinois University will be a packed one, but nothing the Knights aren’t used to handling, according to KHS coach Eric Baron.
‘We don’t win the sectional on the back of one or two athletes, we win the sectional on the depth of our entire squad,” Baron said. “We scored in all but two events. We have expectations, and the seniors know that, and the junior class will lead on with that next year, and our freshman saw it.”
The Class 2A meet begins on Friday, May 24.