All posts by Mike Slodki

Mike Slodki is a sports reporter for the Elburn Herald. You can reach him at MSlodki@elburnherald.com.

Golfers drop opening dual at Wheaton Academy

ST. CHARLES—Kaneland High School golf had a fairly good total of its top four scores on Monday at Pheasant Run in St. Charles.

Unfortunately, host Wheaton Academy’s total was more exceptional.

Monday’s first dual meet of the year for the Knights ended up in a 141-161 loss to the Warriors.

For WA, the top scores were had by Jeff Berg at 34, David Flynn and Blake Biddle at 35 and CJ Urbanowski at 37.

For KHS, best score was by Josh Schuberg at 38, followed by Tyler Hochsprung, Adam Grams and Hayley Guyton at 41.

Knights soccer opens 1-0 against Marengo

MAPLE PARK—Against the always physical Marengo Indians, the host Knights soccer squad held its own, enough to open 2009 with a win.

The 4-2 win on Tuesday started off with a 1-1 tie after the first 40 minutes, but Jordan Escobedo’s goal six minutes into the second half gave Kaneland a 2-1 lead.

“I called for the ball and Kevin (Szatkowski) gave me a nice pass. I’m excited, it was the first goal in high school,” Escobedo said.

Kevin Szatkowski had three assists. Derek White had two goals with Alex Gil adding another goal. Joe Garlinsky had an assist.

The Knights host Wheaton Academy on Thursday, Aug. 27.

Photo: Mark Breon of Kaneland goes all out to protect the net in Kaneland’s season-opening 4-2 win over Marengo on Tuesday. Photo by Mike Slodki

Fall sports preview: Departure means opportunity

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—Second-year coach Tim Larsen has to deal with a lineup that sees personnel like Emma Anderson, Katie Hatch, Anna Rossi, Kristen Sanecki and Jen Zmrhal gone to graduation.

Larsen, however, returns several girls to the Lady Knights tennis squad that look to make good on opportunities created by the vacancies.

While singles and doubles slots are yet to be completely decided, Larsen feels that the initial practices were going well.

“I feel really good about it,” Larsen said about the current setup.

The intangible quality Larsen is most impressed with?

“A lot of leadership. They were here for four years and had (Cindy) Miller as varsity coach. But we have eight seniors returning this year, and I feel very good that we can be competitive this year,” Larsen said.

Liz Webb was singled out by Larsen has having good prospects coming into the season and has played throughout the year.

“I really do think she’s going to fill the void that Katie Hatch left,” Larsen said.

Varsity singles option Lindsay Jurcenko comes back for a second straight year after playing volleyball in the lower-class days.

Gone from the doubles and captains front are Sanecki and Zmrhal.

“They were captains along with Emma and kind of held the team together. Just having girls like Jen and Kristen around was a calming influence for everybody else,” Larsen said.

Kelsey Lenhardt and Liz Webb, doubles tandem a year ago, also make their return to the Lady Knight court in 2009.

Olivia Emmanouil, No.1 singles player from a year ago, returns, as does the doubles duo of Tessa Kuipers and Mel Mazuc.

For whatever kinks need to be worked out in the game, time will be saved on having to garner court time and experience.

“(The) really rewarding thing is that we’re just ironing out little bugs at this stage, just working on the little things with the returning players. It helps that I could be their coach when they were freshmen and again as seniors,” Larsen said.

The personnel representing Kaneland will continue to work toward improving on last season’s fortune, even with new faces.

“I want to go into matches thinking ‘we can win this,’” Larsen said.

This upcoming season marks the last in the short history of the Western Sun Conference, an arrangement which more often than not, gave KHS fits on the court.

“I feel good and bad about it. I think we’re still going to play Geneva and Batavia, and they serve kind of a measuring stick. I’d like to see as we continue to grow and improve, to see how we measure up against those teams in the future,” Larsen said.

The season serves up its first contest on Monday, Aug. 24, at Marmion Academy as Kaneland battles Rosary at 4:30 p.m.

The first conference battle is vs. Batavia on Thursday, Sept. 10, at 4:30 p.m., with the final regular season matchup at the Western Sun Conference tournament in Geneva on Saturday, Oct. 10.

Fall sports preview: Kaneland golf hope youth is strong

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—While Kaneland High School golfers are sure to be missing a senior presence from last year, the younger golfers moving up bring experience.

Coach Mark Meyer, now in his fourth season, is eager to see what the Knights crew is capable of.

“We are pretty young for sure; golfers that didn’t get a lot of varsity time are going to be stepping up, but it does make a difference,” Meyer said.

The golfers returning include J.C. Gillette, Tyler Hochsprung, Hayden Senese, Jon Hedrick and Josh Schuberg.

Also returning is fixture Hayley Guyton, who comes back as a junior after competing in tournaments in the summer and a top-50 finish at the IHSA Girls Golf State meet.

“She makes steady progress each year. There has never really been a dramatic drop in her scores, because she started out so low anyway,” Meyer said.

After tryouts, the Knight golfers are still situating their top six, which will include senior captain Gillette and junior captain Guyton, but Meyer said that big things are capable from sophomores like Troy Krueger, Adam Grams and Zach Douglas.

This campaign will also mark the final Western Sun Conference venture for the golfers before moving on to the Northern Illinois Big 12 in the fall of 2010.

“I’m excited about the new conference and new teams. They’re teams we haven’t played before. It’s tough to leave teams behind, because you build relationships with the other coaches, and the players get to have friendships with other players on other teams,” Meyer said.

Kaneland golf kicks off on Thursday, Aug. 20, at the Geneva Invite, while going into conference play on Tuesday, Sept. 1, vs. Sycamore.

Fall sports preview: Loaded with talent, ready to unload on opponents

Kaneland football looks to return to playoffs in ‘09
by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—Watch out, Knights football fans.

The Kaneland Knights football roster got a taste of playoff action a year ago after being absent in 2007, and liked what they had.

Even losing a close battle to Sterling in the Class 5A first round last November in a 23-21 affair, there is still much to build on.

“It was huge, the intensity of the playoffs is something you have to experience to see what its like,” said third-year coach Tom Fedderly.

Despite losing offensive weapons like Hayden Johnson and Tyler Suerth and defensive assets Steve Tosaw and Will King, the Knights return players that have impressed with dedication to the craft.

It begins with returning quarterback Joe Camaliere.

“You can definitely tell we have experience coming back at the position, if you look at last year to this year. We just picked up right where we left off,” Fedderly said.

Brock Dyer and Eric Tattoni will get carries in the backfield.

Catching passes at wide receiver will be the returning Ryley Bailey, Taylor Andrews and Tyler Callaghan, all who spent time in the end zone a year ago.

The offensive line features Eric Dratnol and Brett Ketza, with competition still going strong eight days from the opener for the other slots.

On the defensive side, Jimmy Boyle tows the line and Bailey features prominently in the secondary. Dratnol brings experience to the line, with competition still hammering itself out on the linebacking corps.

Fedderly eyed Boyle as someone who’s putting himself in a noteworthy spot through hard work.

“He’s just a gym rat, working out all the time, and doing the extra stuff to make himself better,” Fedderly said.

Taylor Andrews also looks to hit the secondary, as well.

Following the much-talked about kicking of graduate Chris Ott, Fedderly hopes it can happen again.

“It’s big, every time you get a point on the board that way, it’s huge. We have a number of kids looking to try it after they saw Ott,” Fedderly said.

With all the talent coming back, Kaneland looks to get further in determining what a successful season brings.

“Always making the playoffs means you had a good season, especially in this conference, but you want to contend for a conference championship. We’d like to get a home playoff game. Those are some goals we’ve set,” Fedderly said.

The festivities begin on Friday, Aug. 28, vs. Burlington Central, and the Knights host Huntley for the first time ever on Friday, Sept. 4.

The WSC slate begins on Friday, Sept. 11, at Rochelle, and the regular season ends on Friday, Oct. 23, at Yorkville.

Fall sports preview: Knights stride for better things

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—When Kaneland boys cross country finishes eighth in the Class 2A State gathering in 2008, what do they want to do for an encore?

There’s seven more spots to move up.

Despite graduating runners like Ben Brown, Paul Davies and Matt Weaver, the Knights return talented runners and don’t seem to be hurting for depth.

Matt Reusche returns after finishing 14th in the state a year ago, as does Dominic Furco, who finished 37th overall.

“We have six of our top seven back; we had a really good summer with solid consistent training,” head coach Chad Clarey said. “We’re ready to get started.”

Seniors are Joe Levita, Edgar Valle, Jemmar Parrenas, Furco, Nick Sinon, Reusche, Logan Markuson and Tyler Howland.

Juniors are Trevor Holm, Tommy Whittaker, Grant Alef and Cory Gotteau.

Sophomores are Devin Swearingen, Jake Ginther, Kelvin Peterson, Frankie Furco, Clayton Brundige, Stelios Lekkas, John Michek and Nate Rehkopf.

Freshmen are John Meisenger, Nick Messina, Ryan Paulson, Gus Stott, Conor Johnson, Billy Hart and Brad Kigyos.

Developming the competitive mindset with the returnees was hatched in the spring during Knights track, according to Clarey.

“I think from last track season, these kids had some great experiences, both good and bad. Logan won at State, Matt had a good sectional race but didn’t qualify in the 2-mile. So they are more focused than ever, and it makes you hungrier,” Clarey said.

Levita, Brundinge, Ginther and Whittaker were pointed out by Clarey as returning members who could sneak into a higher profile in 2009.

What will determine a successful campaign for the crew always looking to go the distance?

“In the end, if all of our athletes are healthy and have had a full season of training, I anticipate they’d want to set their goals to surpass what they did last fall,” Clarey.

The boys cross country season kicks off on Tuesday, Sept. 1, against West Chicago and Wheaton Academy at Elburn Woods, while the Eddington Invite takes place on Saturday, Sept. 19.

The regular season is scheduled to end at Rochelle for the Western Sun Conference Invite on Saturday, Oct. 17.

Fall sports preview: Knights soccer turns new page

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—Plenty of encouraging signs were all around during last year’s Kaneland High School boys’ soccer season.

A regional win producing six goals over Yorkville, and encouraging play from a core featuring Santiago Tovar, Chris Ott, Matt Haffner, Nick Williams and Kevin Durrenberger, gave the team a solid base.

“Those guys were on varsity for so long, it was tough for these guys to get a spot, and you hope these guys can step up,” Kaneland coach Scott Parillo said.

Now, Kaneland will have to seek out new personnel to replace the departed seniors in a Western Sun Conference that doesn’t seem to have gotten weaker.

Ending last season at 10-10-3 and still looking for its first regional championship since 2004, returning coach Scott Parillo reflected on the task ahead.

“You try not to dwell on the past too much,” Parillo said. “You always think, ‘man, what could we have done differently.’ But that’s over with; we graduated 12 seniors. This is a new beginning once again.”

In order to make a go of it in the last season of the WSC and beyond, Kaneland will need to look to Gennaro Garcia, senior forward and midfielder, forward and midfielder Derek White, defender and midfielder Joe Garlinsky, defender and midfielder Marcos Dorado, who has recovered from surgery, goalkeeper J.P. Minogue, and midfielder and forward Anders Winquist-Bailey.

Personnel also expected to contribute are midfielder/forward Kevin Szatkowski, defender/midfielder Pedro Perez, midfielder/forward Jordan Escobedo, defender/midfielder Thanasi Pesmajoglou, defender Trevor Wolf, plus new varsity additions Alex Gil, Chad Swieca, Alex Dorado, Mark Breon and Jake Tickle.

The current crop of Knights might do the trick, provided several things happen.

“Lot of good kids, just need to get them experience and get them to gel. We need to have some of the older kids to take the reigns,” Parillo said.

Kaneland looks to meet its goal of double digit wins again.

“Our goal all the time is to win as much as we can, never had the guns to do it. We’ll see. If we can get double digit wins, we’ll need some conference games. I think we can do it,” Parillo said.

Even with the wins amassed by the Knights last season, Kaneland spent a lot of energy with shots on goal, not always seeing the goals match up to the output.

“There were lots of shots, and the goals never matched up. I hope we shoot a bit. The ones who shot a lot graduated, so we need guys like Gennaro and Derek to step up,” Parillo said.

To begin the 2009 season, the Knights set up vs. Marengo on Tuesday, Aug. 25 and host Wheaton Academy on Thursday, Aug. 27.

Yorkville becomes the first WSC opponent for the season on Tuesday, Sept. 15, and the Oswego East Wolves host Kaneland for the final regular season match on Wednesday, Oct. 14.

Fall sports preview: Girls XC sees return of talent

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—With the Lady Knight girls cross country roster getting stopped after a sixth-place finish at the Class 2A Belvidere Sectional a year ago, the group wishes to hold off offseason plans a little later, in to November.

For head coach Doug Ecker and crew, the work for postseason glory begins now, with a return of many of their top runners.

“We return the top five from sectionals, plus Haley Johnson, so it’s six of the top eight, and we have talented freshmen coming in,” Ecker said. “You never know what they’re going to do, but they’ll at least add depth.”

Junior Andie Strang returns, as does sophomores Kelly Evers and Kris Bowen, seniors Lisa Roberson and Shelby Koester.

“The other teams return good people. Our girls can compete and have worked pretty hard and have been consistent this summer,” Ecker said.

Junior Sam Collins and senior Johnson also come back.

Sophomore Jen Howland is not returning in exchange for a go on the national triathalon circuit, and Ali Olson, Laney Deligianis, Chassidy Mangers and Kelli Patterson are gone due to graduation.

Krissy Chapman also makes up the senior side.

Sydney Bilotta, Shaela Collins, Arianna Espino, Liz Hylland, Jessica Stouffer and Bethany Swartz are the juniors.

Sophomores include Ashley Diddell, Jordyn Lawrence, April Smith and Carolina Tovar, while the freshmen are Maggie Brundige, Ashley Castellanos, Abby Dodis and Mikayla Ness.

With depth now on their side, Ecker will try and swat away all challenges, including the injury bug.

“You always get people hurt. Injuries can pop up anytime, and it happens to all teams,” Ecker said.

All that’s left is practice until the starting gun goes off for real.

“Right now, the top five are in good shape. Evers had a good track season and could be considerably better, and Strang is probably our top runner going in,” Ecker said.

The Lady Knights hit Elburn Woods to host West Chicago and Wheaton Academy on Tuesday, Sept. 1. The girls host the Eddington Invite on Saturday, Sept. 19, and the regular season ends with the Western Sun Conference Invite at Rochelle on Saturday, Oct. 17.

Festival’s community stage full of fun

Schedule of events set for Elburn Day’s community stage
by Mike Slodki
Somehow, some way, Elburn Days will attempt to pack an astounding amount of fun on the community stage from Friday, Aug. 21, through Sunday, Aug. 23.

On Friday, Ronald McDonald will bring his brand of fun following the Elburn Days Parade at 7:30 p.m. Also at 7:30, 2008 Teen Elburn Idol Alyssa Parma will open on the main stage for Catfight.

From 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., A Factor Dance Company brings the moves.

On Saturday, the next generation of Elburn Idol will shine during its finalist competition from noon to 1 p.m.

Jazzercise will hit the stage from 1:15 to 1:45 p.m.

Following shortly after will be Excel Gymnastics and Rebel Cheerleaders showing off their talent.

From 3:45 to 4:15 p.m. comes the Pretty in Pink Dance Exhibition, and all preschoolers can come on over to the stage for a free dance class with Miss Maggie.

At 4 p.m., the teen Elburn Idol runner-up gets set to sing on stage as an opening act for Back Country Roads.

4:30 to 5:30 p.m. sees the grooves of M&M Dance Explosion, while a hula hoop contest keeps the fun going on the stage from 5:45 to 6:15 p.m.

At 7:30 p.m., the spotlight goes onto the 2009 Teen Elburn Idol winner, who sings on the main stage and opens up for Red Woody.

From 7:45 to 9 p.m., St. Charles North High School Band “The Public” plays its rock and alternative originals and covers. The band is made up of John Welte, Ben Hodges, Jake Fulk, Kyle McDonald and Andrew Filipos.

On Sunday, the second annual talent contest takes place from 1 to 2 p.m., followed by the second annual ice cream eating contest, sponsored by Colonial Ice Cream. The contest will be for ages six and under, 7-12, 13-17 and adults. Prizes are to be awarded for first through third place, with all participants receiving a certificate.

At 3 p.m., the junior Elburn Idol runner-up sings on the main stage opening for Deep Six.
3:30 to 4 p.m. features a dance party for kids ages 7 to 10, with the opportunity to go up on stage to learn hip hop dances.

From 4:15 to 5:15 p.m., M&M Dance performs again.

At 6:30 p.m., the final community stage fun for another year takes place with the junior Elburn Idol winner on the main stage, opening for 7th Heaven.

Community stage schedule
Subject to change

Friday, August 21
7:30 p.m.: Ronald McDonald
8:30 p.m. A Factor Dance Company performs

Saturday, August 22
Noon “Elburn Idol” Finalist Competition
Jazzercise
2:30 p.m. Excel Gymnastics and Rebel Cheerleaders
3:45 p.m. Pretty in Pink Dance Exhibition: bring your
preschoolers to the stage for a free dance
class with Miss Maggie
4:30 p.m. M&M Dance Performs
5:45 p.m. Hula Hoop Contest
7:45 p.m. Teen Band/Dance, “The Public”

Sunday, August 23

1 p.m. 2nd Annual Talent Contest
2:15 p.m. Second Annual Ice Cream Eating Contest
Sponsored by Colonial Ice Cream.
Ages 6 and Under, 7-12, 13-17,
and adult categories.
Prizes awarded to 1st , 2nd and 3rd.
All participants receive a certificate.
3:30 p.m. Dance party for ages 7-10
4:15 p.m. M&M Dance performs

Rock out at Elburn Days

Festival features three days of wide-ranging music
by Mike Slodki

There’s no better place to rock out in late-August than the main stage at Elburn Days.

You may even get to hear some ‘80s hits, with the overall arcing theme of the entire weekend of “celebrating 80 years of service 80’s style.”

The collective rocking begins Friday on the main stage, with the five-person band HiFi Superstar playing from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

All about the power pop and vocal harmonies, HiFi Superstar plays both original and covers, and will have just come off a performance at Blues Bar in Mount Prospect.

The band has two CDs that have been released, “New Revolution” and a self-titled effort.

From 8 to 11 p.m., the band Catfight displays its musical talent on the main state. The five-person band is not only a fixture in the Chicago area, but has also mixed it up at Milwaukee’s Summerfest, Rockford’s On the Waterfront, and provides live at-bat music at Alexian Field during Thursday night home games for the Schaumburg Flyers. At Elburn Days, you can hear anything from Journey to Gnarls Barkley.

Saturday’s Main Stage action starts relatively early with the musical talent of He Said She Said. Influenced by anything from Blondie to the Beatles and featuring both male and female lead vocalists, He Said She Said is made up of Tamara, Kerry, Richard and Matthew.

From 4 to 7 p.m., Back Country Roads takes the stage with its co-ed brand of acoustic country. Based out of DeKalb, Mary Noren, Kyle Miller and Brian Miller look to sing the tunes from acts like Dierks Bentley to Miranda Lambert.

Local act Red Woody takes control on Saturday from 7:30 to 11 p.m. Now in its 10th year, “Red Woody is a high energy cover band specializing in ’70s, ’80s,’90s and ’00s radio rock hits,” according to redwoody.com.

Playing anywhere from MVP’s Street Dance in Sycamore to Starbuster’s in DeKalb, Red Woody is made up of Matt Miller on vocals, Keith Beebe on guitar, Ron McConkey on drums, Doug Wielert on bass, John Stephenson on guitar, Stan Dembowski on guitar and Cyril Wochok on guitar.

On Sunday, the main stage will see the invasion of five-piece band Deep Six. Deep Six plays several genres of rock and even country, with hits like “Funk 49” from James Gang to “Alive” by Pearl Jam. Deep Six will also be playing Yorkville’s Hometown Fest and has also played Blarney Island in Antioch recently.

From 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, 7th Heaven takes the stage with its five-piece band capable of original or covers. Playing in its third decade, the band released “Live at Durty Nellie’s” in 2005. 7th Heaven is made up of Mark Kennetz, Richie Hofherr, Keith Semple, Nick Cox, and Michael Mooshey and are going to be fresh off a performance at Grayslake Summer Days on Saturday.

The beer garden on Sunday will feature Pete and Tim from noon to 3 p.m.

THE BANDS:
HiFi Superstar
Main Stage • Friday, Aug. 21 • 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Combining an infectious ‘70s rock vibe with crunchy, modern, pop-rock energy, HiFi Superstar has established themselves as a notable presence among Chicago’s musical skyline.

Billboard Award winners for their song, “Milk and Honey,” they know what it takes to deliver fresh originals with a vintage sound as well as old school classics that have been refreshed and packed with their own unique flavor.

HiFi Superstar is eager to bring their groovin’ style and feel-good music to a new generation.

HiFi Superstar enjoys a unique and broad appeal across generations. Playing everywhere from clubs in the city and suburbs, to community festivals, churches, schools and private events—their entertaining style, versatility and ability to engage crowds of all sizes has secured their place in the hearts of a wide-ranging fan base.

Their debut CD, “New Revolution,” featuring their song “Milk and Honey,” first opened the doors to a broader audience, grabbing them an exclusive spot on “The Great Independent Rock CD, Volume 1”. The band has also had the opportunity to open for national headlining acts, including Stryper, Cheap Trick and American Idol’s Bo Bice.

Their second CD, “HiFi Superstar,” has been described as a great example of crunchy power pop a la Cheap Trick, The Knack and contemporaries such as Rooney and Weezer. Others have noted that the power chords and smooth harmonies recall the Raspberries and Gin Blossoms. And though HiFi Superstar is known for their melodic rock sound, they are not afraid to occasionally flirt with an R&B groove or infuse a bit of funk to the mix.

Noted for their memorable musical hooks with solid vocal harmonies … in addition to a great musical performance, these guys are just fun! Their songs are upbeat and just a plain good time. Whatever vibe you get from the stage at a HiFi Superstar show, you’ll no doubt feel the passion of a band on a mission.

Some have said that we all need the positive influences we can get in the world today. Well HiFi Superstar has their sights set on bringing their jacked up, feel good, pump-your-fist-in-the-air convoy to you!

If you’re looking to inject an upbeat, fun, or positive vibe into your life … no ordinary star will do. You’ll want HiFi Superstar!
courtesy of www.hifisuperstar.com

Catfight
Main Stage • Friday, Aug. 21
8 to 11 p.m.
Chicago-based, all-girl band Catfight has played the Joint in Las Vegas, opened for Snoop Dog, Tommy Lee, Styx, Night Ranger and on and on … played a multitude of festivals including Milwaukee’s Summerfest and Rockford’s On the Waterfront, colleges, weddings, mitzvah’s, private and corporate events.

There is practically nothing this band has not done and probably nothing they wouldn’t do. This high energy, fun, sassy, sexy performance is packed full of popular music from Kelly Clarkson to The Killers and will leave you wanting more, more, more! Get out to a Catfight show and enjoy the party!
courtesy of www.catfightband.com

He Said She Said
Main Stage • Saturday, Aug. 22 • 1 to 3:30 p.m.
He Said She Said shows can best be described as rock solid pandemonium, designed to make you kick up your feet and party.

What exactly does that mean? For starters, HSSS features both a male and female lead vocalist, both with outstanding dynamic range and versatility. Lead vocalist Tamara Mooshey (who also sings with 7th Heaven) shows off her high energy and passionate vocal stylings through an eclectic mix of current and classic favorites; sort of Katy Perry meets Stevie Nicks combo. Lead vocalist and guitarist Kerry Ridout brings a quiet, cool persona to the mix. He has an old school rock voice that takes you back in time, resembling Paul McCartney or Elvis Costello.

The band also boasts a high power rhythm section; both add a unique feature to the band. Rock steady Bassist Richard Dirkes-Jacks contributes a high energy stage performance and he loves to provide that tasty groove that calls you to the dance floor like a moth to a flame. Drummer Matthew Koller adds a whimsical and playful approach to the HSSS line-up. Think Ringo Starr meets Animal from the Muppets.

The HSSS set list is filled with diverse songs that everyone loves, spanning from the ‘60s to today’s current hits. The band also jumps through genres with ease, playing classic rock gems like The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” to dance party hits like Dee-Lites “Groove is in the Heart” and Pink’s “So What.” The band just as easily pulls off big arena sing-alongs like Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and Bon Jovi’s “Living on A Prayer” with their own special style that gets the crowd to feel like they are part of the rock and roll circus that is HSSS.

Finally, the energy on stage will make it clear that this band really enjoys one another and can feed off each other. The shows aren’t staged; everything is free flowing and spontaneous, keeping each performance fresh. HSSS combines this skilled musicianship, playful sense of humor and dynamic stage show every audience deserves. Come check it out and treat yourself to a good time.
courtesy of www.myspace.com/hsssrocks

Red Woody
Main Stage • Saturday, Aug. 22
7:30 to 11 p.m.
Red Woody is a high energy cover band specializing in ’70s, ’80s,’90s and ’00s radio rock hits. Since 1999, Red Woody has been redefining what a cover band is all about. Red Woody puts you in the front row of your favorite rock concert. Covering artists such as Journey, Bon Jovi, Goo Goo Dolls, Bryan Adams, Matchbox 20, AC/DC, John Mellencamp, Counting Crows, Kid Rock, Poison, Skynyrd, Lit, Nine Days and many more. Come experience the Red Woody sensation at an upcoming performance.
courtesy of www.redwoody.com

Deep Six
Main Stage
Sunday, Aug. 23
3 to 6 p.m.
DeepSix offers Chicagoland extreme musical diversity. Modern, classic & alternative rock are blended with rockin’ modern country and packaged in a dynamic stage show that gets your venue or event singing and dancing along! Tribute quality vocals and instrumentation bring the hits to life at each and every performance. Check out a show and see why this is one of Chicagoland’s fastest rising bands.
courtesy of deepsixrocks.com and www.myspace.com/deepsixchicago

7th Heaven
Main Stage • Sunday, Aug. 23 • 6:30 to 10 p.m.
Lifelong friends committed to leaving it all out on the stage, NTD Records recording artists 7th Heaven boasts these and other incredible accomplishments.

The lead singer, winner of the British TV version of American Idol known as Pop Stars, was brought in straight from Northern Ireland. He owns a gold disc on Jive records. The band has set attendance records at major night clubs across the tri-state region. Record sales nearing 30,000 units sold and digital offerings are available on iTUNES, Amazon, among others.

This is the premier Chicago festival act, according to prominent talent buyers in Illinois. The critically acclaimed website “Barstar” refers to 7th Heaven as one of the three best bands in Chicago.

Dead-on renditions of Def Lepard, The Beatles, Bon Jovi, Journey and even U2 are delivered at a frenetic pace, driving audiences to literally be dancing in the streets. Musicianship, theatrics and that unmistakable Irish brogue fuel original songs that came straight from the radio playlist.

Are you a Cubs fan? Listen for 7th Heaven all summer long during telecasts and you will hear their current smash hit “This Summer’s Gonna Last Forever”.

This is the band your neighbors will be buzzing about for the rest of the summer. While the festivals only last a short time, for 7th Heaven’s fans old and new alike, they will remember the experience of seeing and hearing them now, because as their song says, “This Summer’s Gonna Last Forever.”
courtesy of www.7thheavenband.com

Annual truck pull set for Saturday

by Mike Slodki
For 80 years, Elburn Days has been letting festival-goers run wild.

For 31 of those years, tractors have been getting stuck in the mud.

That’s just the way they like it.

Saturday, Aug. 22, brings the 32nd annual Truck and Tractor Pull to Lions Park.

The festivities begin on Saturday at 10 a.m. with the antique tractor pull, with registration beginning at Lions Park. Awards go to the top three finishers.

At 11 a.m., the 32nd annual Truck and Tractor Pull begins.

Sanctioned by the Illini State Pullers, the ISP governs all entry fees and rules.

The times are as follows:
5,000 lb. Naturally Aspiratred Tractors start at 11 a.m.; 6,000 lb. Stock Altered Tractors run at 11:30 a.m.; 6,5000 lb. Altered Stock Trucks run at noon; 7,000 lb Naturally Aspirated Tractors run at 12:30 p.m.; 11,000 lb. Modified Farm Tractors run at 1 p.m.; 6,500 lb. Super Stock Trucks run at 1:30 p.m.; 6,500 lb. Stock Trucks run at 2 p.m., while 7,500 lb. Diesel Trucks finish off at 2:30 p.m. Schedules are subject to change.

Cancel the diet

Elburn Days’ food deserves a break from the diet plan
by Mike Slodki
Want to sample mounds of area foods without having to go through the area?

Lions Park and Elburn Days 2009 is the answer.

Throughout the festival grounds, area business will be dishing out the goodies for kids and adults of all ages.

Vendors include Bev’s Popcorn, Genoa Pizza, Kaneville United Methodist Church, China Garden, Suzie’s Fun Food, Hill’s Country Store, T & D Concessions, Witters Concessions, Pancho’s Mexican Food, R & S Concessions and others.

The Elburn Lions Beef Stand returns to Elburn Days weekend for another year, and the Lions are set to grill their famous pork chops and BBQ chicken dinners on Sunday. The Community Congregational Church will also have their food tent featuring items like roast BBQ, cheeseburgers, hamburgers and homemade pies.

Also set to be at Elburn Days are a beef stand, hot dog stand and a root beer float stand.

Long Time: Girls hoops great gives back

by Mike Slodki
SUGAR GROVE—It wasn’t too long ago that Lyndsie Long was running up and down the court draining three-pointers against the likes of Batavia and Geneva, for highly successful Kaneland Lady Knight basketball squads.

The problem for opposing teams is that she still runs up and down the court at the college level, making life miserable for College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin teams.

However, during this week, she’s taking her tempo down a notch in an effort to teach. Long is hosting her first basketball camp for girls at Kaneland John Shields Elementary School in Sugar Grove.

“I want to be a P.E. teacher, and I obviously want to coach basketball,” said Long, entering her senior year at Elmhurst as a P.E. major. “I’ve done a few camps this summer and thought that maybe I should try to do my own camp, and I set it up with the (Sugar Grove) Park District.”

Long scored over 1,500 points for those noteworthy Lady Knights clubs, along with teammates Kelsey Flanagan and Jessica Lund, and in 2005 helped lead Kaneland to a sectional championship contest.

Long eclipsed the 1,000 point mark for Elmhurst back in January for coach Tethnie Werner’s roster and was the first Bluejay to be named to an all-region team from D3hoops.com and is a three-time all-CCIW member.

What better player for area girls to learn the game from?

“In my Kaneland days, I think I was more set on one aspect of the game. Now, I know the whole game, and I’ve learned so much from college players and coaches,” Long said.

Long’s Bluejays were 14-11 in the 2008-09 season.

Photo: Current Elmhurst College Bluejay and former Kaneland Lady Knight Lyndsie Long emonstrates some skills on Monday during her basketball camp, which takes place this week at Kaneland John Shields Elementary School. Photo by Mike Slodki

Express strives to be area’s team

by Mike Slodki
ELBURN—When any travel baseball or softball team does well, word tends to get out.

When a team like the Elburn Express wants to be something more than a team with a high winning percentage, it helps to get the word out, as well.

With the season coming to a close with this week’s area tournament in Geneva, the time is now for spreading the word about a team that wishes to be something for everyone.

“The girls program is relatively young and we are trying to build a reputation for the program based on this years success,” U14 coach Dan Kolzow said. “We’re just trying to get the word out, for everyone that would like to volunteer. They don’t even need to have a child that’s trying out.”

A program that had 22 girls try out for the U14 level, the Express, which plays its game at a donated Lions Park West, wants to increase its numbers.

“We lost some really good girls to other travel softball teams, and we’d really like to get the community involved,” Kolzow said.

The season goes from May to July and already has a U16 and U12 team.

The U14 crew had nine girls return to this year’s team and were 19-12 as of last week.

“We have tournament fees, equipment and gym rental, we’d like the community to get involved and there are sponsorship opportunities. We want this program to be a viable option for softball and for parents to get involved and for sponsors to be active,” coach Scott Boan said.

The Elburn Express is open to players in the Kaneland School District. For tryout and volunteer information, look at the inside page of Sports and consult www.elburn.com/baseball/express.

Keep the pace

Corn Boil 5K takes off Saturday
by Mike Slodki
The 2009 edition of the Sugar Grove Corn Boil 5K run/walk gives local runners a chance to celebrate the weekend with some sweat.

With the race headquarters now changed from the Sugar Grove Community House to the Sugar Grove Park District office at 61 Main St., the race fesitivities begin at 6:15 a.m. Saturday with packet pickup and registration.

At 7:15 a.m., stretch and warmup takes place. The runners are scheduled to start at 7:30 a.m. with the walkers (not timed) at 7:35 a.m.

The awards ceremony kicks off at 8:30 a.m.

The race will have splits announced at the one- and two-mile marks, and is a flat, fast, two-lap course through a quiet residential area.

The race will have commemorative T-shirts at the end and refreshments as well to go with the awards ceremony. Results will be posted on race day with results cards available to all finishers.

Results will be posted within 12 hours to racetime.info and chicagoaa.com

For more information, call (630) 466-7436, ext. 12, or e-mail info@sgparks.org.

Photo: Dany Saldana (226) of Aurora, Ed Saloga (288) of Sugar Grove and Anne Schuette (309) of Sugar Grove battle to the finish at the 2007 Corn Boil 5K. Race day signup begins at 6:15 a.m. at 61 Main St., Sugar Grove. File Photo

2009 entertainment lineup

by Mike Slodki
Live entertainment is always a crowd-builder at the Corn Boil, and with the addition of a Sunday performance, this year will be no different.

Event organizers built a strong lineup of local and diverse bands to keep festivalgoers entertained each day.

Scramble will perform its brand of ‘50s to ‘70s tunes and is the first musical act to invade the 2009 Corn Boil when they take the stage from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, July 24.

From 9:30 to 11 p.m. on Friday, Tin Horse will provide country rock tunes to close out the first night. Currently on its “Bucking the System” tour, Tin Horse will come fresh off a show at the St. Charles Park District on Thursday. Playing original tunes as well as covers, the co-ed band has opened for acts like Diamond Rio and Gretchen Wilson.

On Saturday, July 25, the Waubonsee Steel Drum Band gets the crowd going with island rhythms from noon to 2 p.m.

Wowing crowds with performances at its home base of Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove, the band is no stranger to the Corn Boil.

From 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, 7th Heaven takes the stage with its five-piece band capable of original music or covers. Playing in its third decade, the band released “Live at Durty Nellie’s” in 2005. 7th Heaven is made up of Mark Kennetz, Richie Hofherr, Keith Semple, Nick Cox, and Michael Mooshey and is going to be fresh off a performance at Streamwood Fest on Friday.

From 8:30 to 11:30 p.m., Hairbangers Ball rocks out the Corn Boil. A local and popular fixture, the band that’s seven strong will be coming off of a gig in Peoria, Ill., at the riverfront.

“In what started out as a ‘what if’ plan for bringing some extremely talented musicians together to revive and celebrate the mayhem of the 80’s monster rock bands, aka ‘The Decade of Decadence’, HBB has quickly grown into one of the most “Off the wall” live music acts touring the country today,” hairbangersball.com suggests.

On Sunday, July 26, the Duke Band takes center stage from 2 to 4 p.m. with its unique brand of rock ranging from the ‘60s to the present. The Duke Band is comprised of Pete Paulos, lead singer and guitar; Chuck Desmond, lead guitar; Dave Pawelski, bass guitar; Terry Lindsay, drums; Matt Dutkanych, guitar. The band has played venues like Alsip Fest and TC’s Pub in Oak Lawn.

All about: Tin Horse
cornboil_tinhorseTin Horse 2009—Locked, loaded and ready to roll!

Open the corral. Throw down the reins and watch out! Tin Horse is breaking out of the gate for their 2009 Bucking the System Tour. More shows. More originals. More excitement. And no boundaries.

“Hometown girls
taking the country world by storm.”
~ WGN-TV

Tin Horse sets the stage on fire with its power-packed southern rock. The guys in the back hold down the fort as the girls in the front jump up on the speakers and run out into the crowd as they shred away on their instruments. And then three wild women run back to stage to break into tight, three part harmonies on their catchy, award-winning original tunes.
“fiery personalities
and clever writing”
~ Freeport Journal Standard

But that’s not all! Tin Horse tears audiences apart with their renditions of well- known southern rock, country, and classic rock tunes as well. They’re backed by a band of veteran musicians, creating a sound so powerful, so fun, so energized, that you’re guaranteed to be dancing in the aisles & singing along before they finish their first set!

“(TIN HORSE)
is really awesome!”
~ River Country 101.7

It’s no wonder Tin Horse has opened for some of country music’s biggest names: (Diamond Rio, Gretchen Wilson, Toby Keith, Emerson Drive). This band has been gaining momentum throughout 2008, heading straight towards country stardom in 2009. So now’s your chance! Don’t miss Tin Horse as they blaze a new trail out of Nashville.
www.tinhorseband.com

All about: 7th heaven
cornboil_7thheaven
Highlights
• Started in 1985
• Released “U.S.A.—U.K.”
CD August, 2008
• Wrote and performed TV/radio
commercial for “Empress Casino”
• Wrote and performed TV
commercial for “Walter E
Smithe/Chicago Cubs”
• Performed the National Anthem
at the Chicago Bulls / LA Lakers
NBA Game
• Featured in Guitar Edge Magazine
July/Aug 2006
• 7th heaven’s music featured on
MTV in 2000-05
• Currently on full rotation on many
FM radio stations worldwide
• Performed on the
Jenny Jones Show
(over 75 million viewers worldwide)

24 YEARS PLAYING THE LOCAL SCENE? 250 BOOKINGS A YEAR?
Lifelong friends committed to leaving it all out on the stage, NTD Records recording artists 7th heaven boasts these and other incredible accomplishments.
The lead singer, winner of the British TV version of American Idol known as Pop Stars, was brought in straight from Northern Ireland. He owns a gold disc on Jive records.
The band has set attendance records at major night clubs across the tri-state region. Record sales nearing 30,000 units sold and digital offerings are available on iTUNES, Amazon, and such.
This is the premier Chicago festival act according to prominent talent buyers in Illinois. The critically acclaimed website “Barstar” refers to 7th Heaven as one of the three best bands in Chicago. (They couldn’t or wouldn’t pick just one.)
30 songs in 30 minutes. Believe it can’t be done? Watch! Dead-on renditions of Def Lepard, The Beatles, Bon Jovi, Journey and even U2 are delivered at a frenetic pace driving audiences to literally dancing in the streets. Musicianship, theatrics, and that unmistakable Irish brogue fuel original songs that came straight from the radio play-list.
Are you a Cubs fan? Listen for 7th Heaven all summer long during telecasts and you will hear their current smash hit, “This Summer’s Gonna Last Forever.” How about you Bulls fans? 7th Heaven performed the National Anthem at the United Center before the Bulls/Lakers game, which was televised worldwide.
This is the band your neighbors will be buzzing about for the rest of the summer. While the festivals only last a short time, for 7th Heaven’s fans, old and new alike, they will remember the experience of seeing and hearing them now because, as their song says—This Summer’s Gonna Last Forever!
www.7thheavenband.com

All about: Hairbanger’s Ball
cornboil_hairbangers
Not so long ago, bands like Poison, Guns N’ Roses, Mötley Crüe and Skid Row were selling millions of records and playing sold-out arenas across the country.
Now, having seen the recent, enormous commercial success of the “Monster Ballads” CD collection and the explosion of VH-1’s “Behind The Music,” one tribute band has tapped into the nostalgic energy of the “Decade of Decadence” like no other to deliver uncanny live performances and the wildest, never-ending party since Axl Rose welcomed millions of rabid fans to his rock n’ roll jungle.
It’s called Hairbanger’s Ball (HBB), and the crazy train has left the station, complete with the monster hair, the tattoos, the leopard print spandex, pyrotechnic masterpieces and all the make-up you can handle.
In what started out as a “what if” plan for bringing some extremely talented musicians together to revive and celebrate the mayhem of the ‘80s monster rock bands, aka “The Decade of Decadence,” HBB has quickly grown into one of the most “off the wall” live music acts touring the country today.
As the name itself suggests, Hairbanger’s Ball is not just a band. It is the wildest party coming to a rock shop near you. We are not exaggerating when we tell you that this six-piece is blowing the roofs off of large clubs and venues
If you’ve seen it or know anyone who has already experienced it, HBB looks and sounds just as good, if not better, than the original recording artists themselves. Whether you wanna hear Guns N’ Roses, Def Leppard, Van Halen, Twisted Sister, Warrant, Skid Row, Mötley Crüe or the rest of the Hairbanger’s Hall of Fame, HBB gives you the best of it all.
Whether you are 21, 25, 30 or 40 years old, Hairbanger’s Ball is a chronic party on maximum overdrive.
www.hairbangersball.com

Dudzinski a center of gravity

With one more year at Kaneland, Knight gets summer work in at court
DEERFIELD—After going to the hoop, working in the paint and jockeying for position against some of the area and nation’s best, what was Kaneland Class of 2010 basketball weapon Dave Dudzinski ready to do after play concluded on Monday in the North Shore?

“I had a really good time, but I’m glad it’s over and now I’m going to go sleep for awhile,” Dudzinski said.

The 6-foot-9 center, who is getting looks from various Division I basketball programs, participated in the fourth annual boys high school Academic All-American Showcase at Joy of the Game in Deerfield, Ill.

The camp, recognized in USA Today and grabbing the eye of college coaches throughout the country, was home to high-achieving academic players with an overall average ACT score of 27.

Dudzinski, an honor roll student, played five games over Sunday and Monday at the NCAA-certified event.

“You get to play in front of coaches here. You get such a small window and you have to make the most of it, so I felt I had to come out here and perform well,” Dudzinski said.

Even at 120 players strong, the showcase provided Dudzinski ample room to show off center skills, which included 35 points in one outing.

“I got put on a really good team,” said Dudzinski who wore jersey No. 123 on the Spurs team. “I was with some players who were really good at sharing the ball, so I was really pleased with that.”

The showcase on Sunday and Monday was only the tip of the iceberg for Dudzinski’s time in Deerfield, as he also participated in the Chicago Summer Classic at the same Joy of the Game location on Waukegan Road.

The event showcased talent from around the Midwest and was covered by local and national media that included basketball periodicals like SLAM magazine.

Dudzinski, who was on his usual AAU outpost Naperville Velocity for the Classic, also was a presence at the Indianapolis Summer Showcase last week and scored 24 points and racked up 17 rebounds against a formidable Tennessee outfit.

Dudzinski is far from done, as he also balanced summer league ball for the Kaneland Knights and is headed to Orlando for AAU Nationals from July 25-31.

The incoming senior looks to take the floor for new varsity coach Brian Johnson and capitalize on a season that saw him average over 17 points, nine rebounds and almost two blocks per game.

Despite what seems like living at the court, the center was noticed right up until the very end.

“Even though I’d been playing for a week straight, some of the coaches here really liked my athleticism. It’s just about working really hard all summer long. You need every advantage, so the athletic advantage is real important,” Dudzinski said.

PHOTO: Kaneland High School athlete Dave Dudzinski drives to the basket on Monday morning as part of an academic all-american showcase at Joy of the Game in Deerfield. Photo by Mike Slodki

Knights baseball a summer job

KHS summer roster getting cuts in league
MAPLE PARK—Infielder Jake Fiedler makes his way to base on a walk, then takes a quick opportunity to steal second out from under the nose of Aurora Christian on Tuesday.

The returning Knight baseball asset’s jersey and pants are already covered with dirt, and he pauses to dust himself off as best he can.

Yep, this is Kaneland baseball.

The Brian Aversa-led crew is getting some needed batting and pitching time as the Knights are cleat-deep into the summer league.

Tuesday featured Kaneland taking on visiting Aurora Christian under overcast-turned-to-drizzly skies and came away with a 12-0 win.

Hurler Kyle Davidson was the winning pitcher, and Jake Tickle showed power with a home run.

Aversa, even with the convincing win, feels a game like Tuesday only tells a small part of the story for these summer warriors, who are currently 14-9.

“We’ve seen great play overall from guys like Tickel and (catcher) Tyler Callaghan and guys like Aaron Hayman,” Aversa said.

While the wins are nice, Aversa stresses that they aren’t looking at the win column as the be-all, end-all in this break before student open the books again.

“We want to get guys some playing time and see what they’re able to do out there,” Aversa said.

With 10 games left in the season, the Knights are still full of pleasant developments.

“Overall, our defense has improved at a surprising pace. We look a lot better on defense,” Aversa said.

Monday, July 20, sees the start of the IHSA summer league playoffs against teams in the area.

Meanwhile, the regular season continues with a matchup against West Aurora on Thursday, July 9, at 5 p.m.

The Knights then travel to a tournament at Northern Illinois University set for Saturday, July 11.

Monday, July 13, is a clash with host St. Charles North, while the regular season ends on Thursday, July 16, vs. Batavia.

PHOTO: Knight Kyle Davidson was all over the diamond during Tuesday’s 12-0 handling of visiting Aurora Christian. Davidson, shown here batting, was the winning pitcher in the game for Kaneland. Photo by Mike Slodki

Knight Sinon hits North Carolina for Nationals

by Mike Slodki
In some cases, participating in a national showcase with elite high school track stars would be cause for extreme intimidation.

Not for Nick Sinon.

“It was awesome. It was cool seeing all the best high school athletes and competing against them,” Sinon said on Tuesday.

Sinon, who finished third in the IHSA Class 2A meet in May as a junior, qualified for the Nike Outdoor Nationals meet from June 18-20 at North Carolina A & T University in Greensboro and attended with his mother.

“Some of the best people in the country were there, and it really felt like a big meet,” Sinon said. “I felt like I adjusted well after I practiced.”

Sinon, who’s second in KHS history for the high jump event, finished tied for ninth in his preliminary flight with an effort of six feet, 4.75 inches. He ended up 15th overall.

The national gathering serves to only help Sinon as he gets ready to contribute to the Kaneland High School cross-country cause in the fall.

“It was a huge hurdle for my career; I feel like I can go into a meet and be more comfortable. You see how you compare against the other high school athletes in the U.S.”

Photo: Kaneland Knight Nick Sinon, an all-State high jumper for the 2009 Kaneland boys track squad, competed at the Nike Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C. from June 18-20. Photo by Ben Draper

What about Brian?

West Aurora import eager to get Knights rolling
MAPLE PARK—Tuesday morning had the usual cast of characters when it comes to KHS boys basketball.

Your Dudzinskis and your Bayleys were there at the East Gym, but the gray-shirted player leading the camp was a new face.

Getting in the action and giving instruction to the Kaneland players, however, made him look like he’s always been part of the fabric.

Meet Brian Johnson, the new head varsity basketball coach for the Kaneland Knights.

Johnson was offered the position last week and accepted, with the word officially coming down at the Kaneland School Board meeting on Monday. KHS sent out a press release detailing the appointment.

Johnson comes to the Knights after being a varsity assistant at West Aurora.

Johnson, who is set to teach P.E. and drivers Ed, takes over for Dennis Hansen, whose resignation was accepted after three years of coaching.

“It’s definitely a unique situation,” Johnson said. “All I can ask the guys is to make the adjustment. I don’t know what happened before 100 percent, but I can only let the guys know what I expect of them and ask them to give me their best.”

Johnson, a Sugar Grove resident, is no stranger to the court, having played at St. Edward High School and Judson College, both in Elgin, at the next level.

“We used to play Kaneland at regional time in high school. It was time to get to a place that I admired from a distance. I want to coach kids that have the type of mentality that I had as a player and work hard all the time,”Johnson said.

Johnson led the players through a two-hour camp that concludes with everyone shaking hands. A little touch that he doesn’t take complete credit for.

“I stole that from Lance Huber over at Dundee-Crown, who I had the pleasure and honor of working with for six years. It’s that blue-collar thing. We work hard, we’re still teammates, we shake it out afterwards.”

Johnson knows that the feeling-out process has to end soon and then preparation for the 2009-10 season begins.

“I know we have some players who are highly-touted. We’re going to use that to the best of our ability.

The Knights finished 13-13 in 2007-08 and lost in their opening round contest in February to Hampshire, 47-38.

Photo: New Kaneland High School varsity boys basketball head coach Brian
Johnson gets down to business during Tuesday morning’s basketball camp at KHS. Johnson, who comes over from West Aurora, will also teach P.E. and drivers ed. Photo by Mike Slodki

Give me a T!

Miabella Brandonisio takes her swings during Saturday morning’s T-Ball battle at Lions Park West in Elburn. Miabella is part of the Elburn Angels, the only local all-girl t-ball squad. Photo by Mike Slodki

Suiting up for Solheim Cup

Prospective members of U.S. team show skills at Rich Harvest Farms
by Mike Slodki
SUGAR GROVE—Rich Harvest Farms golf club was the site of some pretty special golf action on Monday.

LPGA legend Beth Daniel was there fielding questions and taking a couple swings, but only in a captain’s capacity and advisory role.

Similarly talented golfers like Angela Stanford, Nicole Castrale and Brittany Lang were there taking swings, and it was just technically practice.

If this June afternoon was just a scrimmage, fans can look toward the real deal on Aug. 21-23 for the LPGA Solheim Cup.

The U.S. vs. Europe competition happens every odd numbered year, and is similar to the Ryder Cup on the men’s side.

The practice round was for Daniel and assistant coach Meg Mallon to see prospective team members in action and get used to the course.

The team is decided based on the 10 best golfers based on the Solheim Cup Standings with Daniel getting two captain’s picks.

Nicole Castrale is ranked fourth in the Solheim Cup Standings and 43rd in the Women’s World Golf Standings. She’s no stranger to pressure, having sunk the winning putt in the 2007 skirmish in Sweden.

“We’ll be back in the U.S. and a good majority of the fans rooting for us,” Castrale said. “It’s a great golf course; it’s challenging and risk-reward.”

“It’s going to be totally different playing at home than playing away,” 21-year old Morgan Pressel (8th Solheim, 37th World) said. “I’m looking forward to shopping for all the red, white and blue paraphernalia and all kinds of stuff.”

Pressel is also looking for a return trip to the Solheim team.

“It’s a different kind of course. Some of the choices that you’re going to make on this golf course especially, you might take an extra risk,” Pressel said.

Photo: Brittany Lincicome, 23, of the LPGA tour drives a ball at Rich Harvest Farms golf club in Sugar Grove on Monday during a practice session that included prospective members of the U.S. team. Lincicome looks to rejoin the team that defeated Europe at the 2007 match in Halmstad, Sweden. Photo by Ben Draper

AD Jaffke talks Northern Illinois Big 12 launch

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—In August of 2006, the Elburn Herald’s headline in the sports section
was entitled “Hello Sun,” previewing the Western Sun Conference.

Out of the ashes of the sprawling Suburban Prairie Conference would come a high-caliber conference in the form of Batavia, DeKalb, Geneva, Glenbard South, Kaneland, Rochelle, Sycamore and Yorkville.

With the WSC not working out due to a number of factors, like widening enrollment disparity and Batavia and Geneva’s dominance, 12 schools gathered at LaSalle-Peru High School on Monday to officially introduce the Northern Illinois Big 12, a conference consisting of DeKalb, Kaneland, Rochelle, Sycamore, Yorkville, 2010 North Central Illinois Conference entry Morris, and NCIC schools Dixon, Geneseo, LaSalle-Peru, Ottawa, Sterling and Streator.

The conference, set with an East Division and a West Division (NCIC schools) kicks offfin August of 2010.

“It’s a great feeling, and it was a great atmosphere down there,” Kaneland athletics director Leigh Jaffke said on Tuesday. “12 schools, I think we’re going to work real well together. We’ve worked with the other six schools in what we’re calling the West Division; we’ve picked them up as opponents in the past. You get Morris back, and they were in the Little Seven with us.”

Meanwhile, Batavia and Geneva were invited to the Upstate Eight Conference, who with the addition of new school Metea Valley, will be up to 14 schools.

Glenbard South is still looking for a fall 2010 conference home.

The WSC had Kaneland, at 1,229 students at seventh in enrollment just head of Rochelle at 1,166. Geneva (1,978), Batavia (1,877) and Glenbard South (1,449) were first, second and fourth. DeKalb, at 1,698, will be the most populated school, and Ottawa would be second at 1,562. Kaneland would be sixth in the conference.

The disparity between the WSC schools (2008-09 numbers) was 862 students between Geneva and Rochelle. With the new conference arrangement, the disparty would be between DeKalb and Geneseo, which has 890 students, would be 808.

For Jaffke on behalf of KHS, the signs were creeping in that a new home might be needed.

“This winter, Yorkville and us were looking to possibly get out. Batavia and Geneva had been approached by other schools. We were all just trying to do what was best for our kids. We were still commited to the WSC as much as we could be, but we were all still looking,” Jaffke said.

When we met with the NCIC back in December in Sterling, there were about 30 schools there but not really a plan in place. As we were talking with some other schools in the NCIC, they were really wanting to get out,” Jaffke added.

“The enrollment disparity was enormous there. Spring Valley Hall at 432 and Ottawa at 1,700 and weekend crossovers were getting difficult. Sterling, Rochelle and Yorkville met up a couple times.

A proposal was made up and it was sent to me by Seth (Schoonover) from Yorkville to check out. The (WSC) schools got together and discussed the possibilities,” Jaffke said.

Kaneland will mostly stick with its familiar WSC brethren in play during the week.

In football play, the divisions will play five games, and play two crossover games in weeks three and four. Boys and girls basketball will be played round-robin style for 10 games. Four crossover games are also included in the schedule. For intra-division contests, quads will be scheduled and weekend play will be the norm.

“Talking with the coaches, the positive aspects outweight the negative ones 100 percent and they’re totally behind this. Looking at the divisions, a school like Morris is only 12 miles farther roundtrip than Glenbard South was. The travel within our division hasn’t changed. The trips to the West division will be an hour or an hour, 15 minutes. With the Suburban Prairie Conference, you never knew how long it would take. Going to Riverside-Brookfield, you’d have to make it through the ‘Hillside Strangler,’ and it depended on what time you left. It could take two hours. I don’t look at it as mileage, I look at it as time,” Jaffke said.

For Kaneland bowling, the Lady Knights will be part of a 10-team group with no divisions.

Football crossover games in the NIB12 could open the gateway for semi-regular battled between KHS and Sterling, who matched up in the 2006 and 2008 playoffs.

For Jaffke and Kaneland, the benefits look to be immediate and long-lasting.

“There will be parity between programs for a long time. All the schools in this conference are community-based schools and have tons of fans that travel. The school is the center of the community and that’s very important for us,” Jaffke said.

Northern Illinois Big 12 conference begins play in August of 2010.
East division will be former WSC schools DeKalb, Kaneland, Rochelle, Sycamore, Yorkville and new NCIC entry Morris.
West Division will be former NCIC group Dixon, Geneseo, LaSalle-Peru, Ottawa, Sterling and Streator.

Silver Sluggers at WCC

Hitting camp helping countless kids for a generation taking place this week
by Mike Slodki
Sugar Grove—Many things that began in the 1980s are woefully out of style.

But if they offer a good product and rising returns every year, thriving is in the cards.

Such is the case with the hitting camp hosted by Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove, now in its 25th year.

Kicking off on Monday and running through Thursday, June 11, the camp tutors athletes ages 8 through 14 in baseball and fastpitch softball.

“I think from our standpoint, we just want to give them a great experience,” Naperville North’s Mark Lindo said. “I can really see improvement from yesterday to today.”

The camp teaches aspiring players the fundamentals of hitting with emphasis on basic mechanics of the game.

At the end of each session, the younger and older kids split off and show what they’ve learned in a scrimmage.

Balancing work and play is what keeps the camp going, and even camp alumni come back and help, like Lindo’s son Sean, now an instructor.

“It’s definitely something I want to do in the future, and I can see myself as a coach one day,” said the younger Lindo, who played at Oswego High School and now plays for the Chiefs. “You really do see a difference in the kids from beginning to end.”

Estimating that the price of the camp has gone up just $20 since its inception, WCC athletic manager and baseball coach Randall echoes his fellow instructors in what keeps parents and kids coming back.

“It’s fun to see the kids progress from Monday to Thursday. We wanted something that’s reasonably priced and for kids to gain something out of it.”

Photo: Sandwich resident Christian Latham takes his hacks during Day 2 of the 25th edition of Waubonsee Community College’s Hitting Camp in Sugar Grove. The camp, running through Thursday, June 11, is run by Waubonsee’s Dave Randall and Mark Lindo of Naperville North. Photo by Mike Slodki

Logan’s Run

Markuson, Sinon earn All-State honors for KHS boys track
by Mike Slodki
This past weekend, Kaneland High School junior Logan Markuson lept right over hurdles and into the IHSA State record books.

Markuson, who had competed at the State level last year, was crowned Class 2A champion in the 300m intermediate hurdles event with a time of 38.57 seconds.

For KHS, it marks the first track State champ for the school since 2004 girls track entry Janine Zylinski, who threw a 42 foot, two inches effort in the shot put.

The last boys track State champion occurred 10 years ago, when Kurt Long pole vaulted at 14-9. The last race champ for the Knights was 1977’s Mark Claypool, running a 47.18 in the 440-yard dash.

“It’s weird. I finished the race and it was like ‘what do I do now?’” Marksuon said. “It hasn’t completely sunk in yet.”

Logan Markuson in the Polve Vault during Friday's prelims.
Logan Markuson in the Polve Vault during Friday's prelims.

Kaneland as a team finished 13th overall in the 2A ranks (20 points).

Hillcrest took the title at 93 points. Cahokia finished a distant second at 47 points, and Springfield Lanphier finished third at 44 points. Western Sun Converence rival Sycamore finished 12th at 22 points, while Glenbard South finished 15th at 18 points.

Markuson’s memorable day also included a seventh-place finish in the pole vault at 13-6. Streator junior Logan Pflibsen won the event at 15-6. Knight Josh Bloome also earned a noteworthy finish at 10th overall (13-3).

Junior Nick Sinon earned All-State honors by placing third in the high jump. Photo by Ben Draper
Junior Nick Sinon earned All-State honors by placing third in the high jump. Photo by Ben Draper

Sectional champion Nick Sinon was up to his old tricks in the high jump, earning an all-State finish with a third-place, 6-7 launch.

“It was amazing,” Sinon said. “Going into this year, I didn’t think I’d do as well, but it all worked out.”

Sinon added,” I think I can go higher next year.”

In the 3200m run, Paul Davies’ 10:00.48 run was good for 13th place in Illinois.

Markuson’s 110m high hurdles dreams were stopped with a false start in the finals.

“I knew there were a couple colleges out there, and they looked at how you recover from things like that,” Markuson said.

“After Logan false started in the 110, I said to him, ‘Champions are measured by how they overcome adversity.’ Logan demonstrated what a champion is in so many ways this season, and the 300 Race at State showed everyone that Logan is a champion,” KHS coach Eric Baron said.

His State-winning effort in the 300m was .20 better than second-place Wana Wauna of Oak Forest.

Markuson’s point total as a junior is six points shy of Claypool’s total.

Markuson and Sinon’s All-State honors are the first since Phil Christensen’s discus honors in 2008.

In the 4x800m relay, Kaneland’s Derek Bus, Hayden Johnson, Sean Paulick and Edgar Valle ran the track in 8:14.01.

110m hurdles entry Taylor Andrews ran his event in 15.35, .12 behind Harlan’s Brandan Presley for the final qualifying spot.

In the 4×400 meter relay, Knight foursome Johnson, Markuson, Tommy Whittaker and Valle finished in 3:27.22 in the preliminaries.

Photo: Kaneland’s Logan Markuson became the first Kaneland boys track and field athlete to win an individual state championship since Kurt Long won the pole vault in 1999, when Markuson won the 300m intermediate hurdles Saturday. He is also the first state champion in the hurdles for the Knights, and placed seventh in the pole vault as well.

Photos by Ben Draper

Baseball sees season end at Rockets home

by Mike Slodki
Monday’s Class 3A regional championship showed Kaneland and Burlington Central’s affinity for the long ball.

It was the Rockets who had slightly more of it.

Three costly homers by BC sent Kaneland baseball home for the season in a 6-5 defeat. The loss in windswept conditions ends the memorable season for the Knights at 23-13.

In a season that was accented by the loss of beloved teammate Jeff Malewig in December, the 2009 season is one that won’t soon be forgotten.

“The way we started with all the emotion, we started with these guys and won 23 games, a school record,” KHS coach Brian Aversa said. “This team is pretty special.”

For the Knights, it’s the third straight season of being ousted in the regional championship.

In 2007, eventual 2A State champ Neuqua Valley beat Kaneland, 4-1. 2008 had Sycamore oust Kaneland 6-5 in Dixon.

In the bottom of the first inning, Knight Jay Levita hit a home run to right centerfield for a 1-0 edge.

In the top of the third inning, Tanner Scott of the Rockets blasted a two-run shot for a 2-1 lead.

The bottom of the third had Jeff Smith reach on a bunt and Jake Fiedler hit a double to put two runners on. Smith scored on a passed ball to tie the game, and Fiedler came home on a fielder’s choice put in play by Joe Gura to take a 3-2 lead.

BC battled back in the fourth when Bill Rodriguez hit a homer to tie the score. Things got bad for KHS when Austin Jarvis hit a homer off Steve Colombe in the top of the fifth to take a 6-3 lead.

The bottom of the fifth saw life from the Knights when Levita hit a two-run shot to close within 6-5.

Ty Hamer shut the Rockets down in the top of the seventh. With one out, Gura drew a walk, but catcher Mike Pritchard grounded into a double play to end the game.

BC’s Nick Hahn earned the win.

On May 27, Kaneland ousted Western Sun Conference rival Rochelle 10-0 in five innings.

Smith gave up just one hit in his complete game effort. Dave Dudzinski’s second-inning homer, Joe Camaliere’s fourth-inning shot and Pritchard’s fifth-inning blast were plenty for the Knights to coast.

The Knights now say goodbye to a cache of seniors: John Rotella, Joe Spitzzeri, Curtis Lubic, Mike and Troy Pritchard, Levita, Ryan Stout, Gura and Smith.

Photo: Tyler Callaghan slides home safely to end the Knights’ 10-0, five-inning win against Rochelle on May 27. Photo by Mike Slodki