Kaneland takes care of sectional challenge
Photo: Sophomore Sean Spaetzel cracked the varsity roster, running as Kaneland’s seventh runner at the Belvidere Sectional with a time of 16:51. File Photo
Boys’ fourth place yields State berth
KANELAND—In certain situations, a team’s fourth-place finish might be cause for kicking one’s self.
For the Kaneland boys cross country team, it’s a chance to keep striding toward bigger and better things at this coming weekend’s State contest at Detweiller Park in Peoria, Ill.
Kaneland boys cross country’s performance at the Class 2A Belvidere Sectional on Saturday morning yielded a total of 163 points, in the middle of the pack of State qualifiers. Vernon Hills took first with 45 points, followed by Northern Illinois Big XII entry Dixon with 99 points. Crystal Lake Central took third at the 102-point mark. After Kaneland’s comfortable fourth-place slot, Prairie Ridge and Grayslake Central earned qualifying nods with 181 points each.
Ryan Pitner, senior representative from Crystal Lake Central, finished the morning with a time of 15 minutes 9 seconds to nab individual champion honors.
Kyle Carter, a KHS senior, finished in 19th place at 15:56, finishing over Grayslake Central’s Jack Battaglia by .09 seconds, with senior classmate Nathaniel Kucera next up for KHS in 21st at 16:00. Additionally, junior Brandon Park took 37th at 16:21, followed by fellow junior Andrew Lesak in 41st at 16:23, while senior Ryan Bower finished in 45th at 16:30.
Kaneland’s average varsity time was 16:23 on the Belvidere school course.
“We knew it was a battle for the final two qualifying spots, and we knew a pack split under 40 seconds was necessary for this team to advance for a third year in a row,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said. “Led by an inspired effort from the seniors, the team advanced with a 34-second pack split.”
As the 17th boys team to advance to the big course, Clarey was glad to see the team effort work on the grass.
“We are very thankful for the opportunity to return to Peoria. We realize there are some very talented teams who will end their seasons today. When we needed it most, the team rallied around one another and got the job done,” Clarey said.
The highest finish for the Kaneland program in recent memory was second place 14 years ago. In 2012, Chicago’s Jones High School took the Class 2A crown with 85 points, followed by Belvidere North at 126 points. Local rival Yorkville took third with 129 points.