All posts by Mike Slodki

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

Kaneland loses heartbreaker to BC girls

by Mike Slodki
Lady Knights softball only had to score one run to take the regional title from host Burlington Central during Saturday’s championship.

It was not to be, as BC eliminated Kaneland from the regional for the third straight year in a 1-0, nine-inning affair.

Burlington Central improved to 22-5 in winning the 3A regional, while pitcher Mackenzie Scott improved to 17-2. Scott struck out an astounding 20 batters on the day.

Kaneland counterpart Delani Vest stepped onto the big stage as a freshman, giving up just three hits and striking out four, but fell to 17-6 for the season.

“Delani pitched a heck of a game,” interim coach Ken Neahring said. “She did an excellent job and kept them off balance. She didn’t strike out as many, but she didn’t take a back seat.”

Kaneland’s overall record is 27-9.

The end came with two outs in the ninth inning and Samantha Gruner on second after a single and sacrifice. Lindsay Lange’s grounder to Sara Rose at third base was routinely fielded, but a throw went over first base. The errant throw allowed Gruner to score the only run.

Kaneland’s lone hit was a Brianna Hurst single in the top of the sixth inning. BC had retired nine straight KHS hitters before the end of the contest.

BC was set to face Sycamore at the Rochelle Sectional on Wednesday.

Leading into Saturday’s clash was Kaneland’s regional win over Hampshire, a 6-1 result on May 27.

Vest struck out nine hitters and allowed no earned runs.

Jordan Herra hit a home run and also smacked a double in a three-RBI effort.

Kaneland scored one run in each of the first four innings before scoring two in the bottom of the fifth.

Lady Knight softball says goodbye to seniors Erin Heyob, Mallory Huml, Hurst, Rose and Mangers.

“The seniors were really good for us. We wish them the best of luck; they’ve been great all year,” Neahring said.

Photo:
Lady Knight freshman Delani Vest delivers in the fifth inning of Saturday’s 1-0 regional championship loss to Burlington Central. Photo by Mike Slodki

KHS girls track secures 9th-place finish at State

Lady Knights girls track put an exclamation point on its 2009 story this past weekend in Charleston.

Buoyed by stellar performances in the preliminaries and finals, Kaneland came away with a ninth place finish (26.5 points) in the Class 2A State track meet at Eastern Illinois University.

Rock Island turned out to be the champs with 49.5 points, followed by Springfield Southeast at 48 and Cahokia at 39.

Incidentally, five of the six Western Sun Conference schools were bunched together in the standings. Sycamore and Rochelle tied for seventh at 27, while Yorkville finished just behind Kaneland in tenth at 25 points. Glenbard South was tied with Kankakee with 24 points for 11th place.

Lindsay Gierke claimed her spot as one of the most exceptional track athletes in school history with her showing on Friday. The senior finished second in the 100 meter hurdles at 14.67 seconds, second only to Cahokia’s Laquitsha Bejoile (14.48). Gierke made the finals by tying for first in the preliminaries with a 15.02 effort in her heat.

Gierke also finished fourth in the 100m dash at 12.28 seconds, after finishing second in her prelim heat at 12.35.

Gierke also finished third overall in the 300m hurdles event at 45.14 seconds. Cahokia’s Bejoile took that event as well at 44.92. The Lady Knight senior finished second in her prelim heat at 46.13.

Sophomore Andie Strang was up to her old tricks at her second trip down to State. Not only did she finish 10th in the 800m run (2:22.95) but was also part of the ninth-place 4x800m relay squad that finished in 9:47.58. Strang joined Kris Bowen, Kelly Evers and Lisa Roberson for the honors.

Lady Knight Jordan Pinkston took home a fifth-place tie overall in the pole vault at 10 feet, three inches. In the prelims, Pinkston went 10 feet, and teammate Sara Wallace finished with nine feet.

Photo: Lady Knight senior Lindsay Gierke goes for the finish during Friday’s Class 2A girls track State gathering in Charleston. Gierke came away with a second overall in the 100m hurdles, a fourth in the 100m dash (pictured) and a third in the 300m intermediate hurdles. Photo by Ben Draper

Boys track crowned Sectional champs, send vanload to State

by Mike Slodki
Before the season, boys track coach Eric Baron had a good feeling about his team’s chances this season.

The Freeport Sectional this past Friday made Baron seem downright clairvoyant.

The Knights captured a sectional title with 88 points, a two-point edge over Sycamore, and sent seven separate events to the State final this Friday at Eastern Illinois University.

A year ago, Kaneland sent five events to the big meet.

Freeport finished third at its own home with 60 points, while Burlington Central finished fourth (58 points).

The Knights send junior Logan Markuson to Charleston in several events, the first being pole vault, where he finished third at 14 feet, 9 inches. Teammate Josh Bloome also made sure more Kaneland members will join in the fun, finishing fifth at 13-9.

Nick Sinon continued on his tear, adding Sectional champ to his Western Sun Conference honors with a 6-3 effort in the high jump.

The Knight foursome of Derek Bus, Sean Paulick, Hayden Johnson and Edgar Valle is going down in the 4×800 relay, thanks to a sectional title time of 8 minutes, 6.27 seconds.

Knight distance runner Paul Davies made the grade with a third-place showing in the 3200 meter run (9:49.21).

Markuson (14.88) and Taylor Andrews (15.32) were up to business as usual in the 110 meter high hurdles and join the State crowd in that event. Markuson also took a sectional title in the 300m intermediate hurdles with a 38.87 second tally.

“We’re just building concentration and getting ready,” said Markuson, who qualified in 2008 for the pole vault. “It won’t be too out of the ordinary, but a little more intensity than usual.”

In Markuson’s opinion, the sectional success was contagious.

“I think the 4X800 really started things off for us, That was huge and that set the tone. Everyone was really stoked after that.”

Finally, the Knights’ 4x400m relay squad of of Johnson, Markuson, Tommy Whittaker and Valle won first at 3:24.72.

Photo: Kaneland’s Nick Sinon takes to the skies during Friday’s Freeport Sectional. Sinon joins the Knights contingent going to Charleston for the Class 2A boys track State event. Photo by Ben Draper

Kaneland’s ‘09 kicks ended by Crystal Lake Central

by Mike Slodki
A productive Kaneland soccer season launched the girls into their first ever regional championship match on Friday night.

Unfortunately, at the home of the Burlington Central Rockets, that’s where the launch ended.

Dealing with top-seeded Crystal Lake Central, the Lady Knights dropped a 3-0 result in a physical contest.

The loss, coming after a high-intensity 1-0 win over Hampshire last Tuesday, ended the Lady Knights’ 2009 campaign at an above-average 11-9-3.

That’s the best winning percentage in team history, eclipsing a 2005 squad that went 11-10-1.

That team, also coached by Scott Parillo, defeated Hinckley-Big Rock in a class A opening round matchup before losing to Wauconda in Hampshire.

The Tigers drew first blood with a shot over goalkeeper Sophie Blank’s head in just 6 minutes, 40 seconds into the match for a 1-0 lead.

The two teams stalemated until a header found its way in just 1:31 before halftime to make it a 2-0 margin.

Crystal Lake Central’s final score came with 36:52 left in the contest.

Parillo lauded the girls’ season despite the less-than-ideal end result.

“We really did well,” Parillo said. “We had freshmen and sophomores starting at different points. We’re young and this is going to leave a bad taste in their mouths. Crystal Lake Central did everything they needed to do to win, but this is the first time to a final for us and it was a good experience.”

Kaneland says goodbye to five seniors: Savanna Castillo, Brittany Chase, Bridget Crosby, Danni Garcia and Sarah Goodrich.

“We had pretty good leadership. Three were captains and it’s a shame to lose them, they were all good kids,” Parillo said.

Lady Knights finish 2nd in WSC, look toward playoffs

Softball comes into its regional action with a formidable 25-8 record, but it doesn’t include a share of the conference title.

Kaneland (10-4 Western Sun Conference) earned a 1-0 win over Batavia on Thursday before losing a 5-1 rain makeup showdown with host Glenbard South that officially decided the WSC. The Lady Knights ended the regular season with a 6-1 win vs. Rosary on Saturday.

Against Batavia, a Sara Rose homer in the top of the first was all KHS needed in a 1-0 win. The knock was one of the two hits the Lady Knights had. Delani Vest (16-5) got the win with six strikeouts in her name.

Against the host Raiders, Vest gave up four earned runs and fanned five.

Rose and Jessica Lubic came through with doubles and Rilee Vest went 3-for-3. Kaneland’s one run came in the top of the sixth which made it 4-1.

Kaneland took care of the Royals, thanks to a solid performance by Delani Vest in the pitchers’ circle and the plate. Vest hit a homer and went 2-for-3, striking out seven. KHS put up six runs in the sixth.

Kaneland freshmen continue their productive season with a 3-2 win over Glenbard South. The sophomores defeated Rosary 12-2 for a win this week.

Interim coach Ken Neahring and Kaneland softball were set to do battle with third-seeded Hampshire out at the Class 3A Burlington Central Regional on Wednesday. (2) Kaneland needed to get past the 12-16 Whip-purs in order to face (1) Burlington Central on Saturday, May 30, at noon for the regional title.

Kaneland boys anticipate sectional

by Mike Slodki
Kaneland saw plenty of top finishers as it prepares for the important Freeport Sectional this Friday, May 22.

The 1-2 combo of Taylor Andrews and Logan Markuson finished in the top two spots in the 110 meter hurdles event. Andrews ran in 14.69 seconds while Markuson took second at 14.84.

The two Knights were at it again in the 300m hurdles event, as Markuson won with a 39.41 final effort, with Andrews taking third at 41.03.

“Taylor and Logan both feed off each other in the 110’s,” Kaneland coach Eric Baron said. “They have used each other as a gauge to see how well each one is running. It will be interesting to see how they run when they both have a good clean race. Taylor has a built-in role model, and Logan has one as well in Taylor. They are both great kids, and coach Robbie Bieritz has done an amazing job with all of our hurdlers.”

“A lot of it is Logan,” Andrews said on Saturday morning. “In the hurdles we push each other to succeed and get better.”

Kaneland’s 4x800m relay foursome of Hayden Johnson, Sean Paulick, Derek Bus and Edgar Valle finished second with a time of 8:19.12.

Nick Sinon became conference champ with a six-foot result in the high jump.

“Nick had a great week last week, and he handled the presure of being the top ranked high jumper in conference, and that will bode well for the sectional,” Baron said.

Markuson took home the WSC crown in the pole vault (13-9), while teammate Josh Bloome was third at 12-9.

On the frosh/soph side of things, Tommy Whittaker continued his road back from injuries with a second place, 53.81 second final effort in the 400m dash.

Whittaker also took part in the f/s 4x400m relay that finished third at 3:52.40. Whittaker, Andrews, Curtis Secrest and Jake Ginther made up the contingent.

The Knights’ 4×800 relay featuring Trevor Holm, Nick Dunetman, Clayton Brundige and Jake Ginther managed a second in the frosh/soph race by running 8:54.09.

Knight Josh Bloome represents Kaneland pole vaulting on Tuesday. Coach Eric Baron’s crew looks to make a dent in the Freeport Sectional on Friday, May 22. Photo by Ben Draper

Lady Knights softball putting the hurt on

by Mike Slodki
Kaneland softball is on a tear and it couldn’t come at a more opportune time.

The Lady Knights now sit at 23-7, with an 9-3 record in the Western Sun Conference.

This past week saw KHS sweep non-conference Minooka on Saturday in Maple Park by slim 2-1 and 1-0 margins.

Those close victories were balanced by a power-fueled 11-1, six-inning rout of host Sycamore on Thursday.

On Tuesday, the Lady Knights got past Rochelle by a 2-1 (eight innings) margin.

In game one against the Indians, Delaney Vest earned the win and scattered just two hits. The freshman also had a double at the plate and struck out seven on the mound.

Andrea Potts went 2-for-3 with a double, and the Lady Knights broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the seventh with a Jessica Lubic double that scored Chassidy Mangers.

In game two, Mallory Huml shut down Minooka with a two-hit shutout that was accented by three strikeouts.

Potts went 3-for-3 with a double, and Brittany Davis’ double in the bottom of the sixth scored Mangers with the deciding run.

Vest (17-4) had a five-strikeout effort against the Spartans but showed prowess at the plate with a two-run homer hit in the second inning, which gave the Lady Knights a 3-0 edge. The Lady Knights struck gold in the first when Davis drew a bases-loaded walk.

Mangers came home on a fielding error to make it 4-0 before a Sycamore homer in the bottom of the fourth made it 4-1.

Jordan Herra’s two-run shot in the fifth made it 6-1.

In the sixth inning, Lady Knight Lubic hit a homer before Potts singled and Herra slammed her second round-tripper of the afternoon.

“It felt great,” Herra said. “The first one I knew I had it, but the second one I was thinking I needed to get down the line as fast as I can. (The win) was a big boost of confidence, and we’re ready for regionals.”

Sycamore’s failure to score in the bottom of the sixth shut the contest down after six innings.

“We’ve been starting to hit better, and we have other people in the lineup starting to get on base,” interim coach Ken Neahring said.

The sophomore Lady Knights dropped a 5-1 meeting with Sycamore and the freshmen took care of the Spartans 14-6 in five innings.

Against the Lady Hubs, Rochelle got on the board in the top of the first, but Kaneland put one up in the bottom of the fourth and sent everyone home in the bottom of the eighth on a Rilee Vest base hit.

Rilee Vest went 4-for-4 with two RBI, while Potts went 3-for-4 with a double.

Kaneland attempts to handle host Batavia on Thursday, May 21, and has a makeup game in Glen Ellyn against Glenbard South on Friday, May 22.

Knights earn win against Barbs

Kaneland baseball continues to plug away in the season’s homestretch, and in the process eclipsed last season’s win total.

A 3-2 victory on Tuesday over the rival DeKalb Barbs raised Kaneland’s record to 21-10 with a 12-7 tally in the Western Sun Conference.

Righty Steve Colombe improved to 6-2 on the season and went 6.2 innings while Ty Hamer earned save No. 5 by coaxing the final out.

Mike Pritchard’s triple in the fourth inning scored Jay Levita and gave Kaneland a 1-0 edge.

Jake Fielder hit a single in the bottom of the fifth to score Joe Camaliere, and Jeff Smith came home on an error.

The Knights got some face time at Elfstrom Stadium on Monday against rival Batavia, but lost 4-2 on a late comeback by the Bulldogs.

KHS prepares to suit up against DeKalb in a contest scheduled for Northern Illinois University on Thursday, May 21, at 4 p.m.

It all leads to an IHSA Class 3A Regional showdown at Burlington Central High School against either Hampshire or Rochelle. Besides the top-seeded Knights, who would play on Wednesday, May 27, at 4:30 p.m., (2) Sycamore and (3) Burlington Central make up the rest of the regional.

KHS rockets over Hampshire in 1-0 thriller

Free kick by Gebauer propels soccer to regional title chance
by Mike Slodki
Lady Knights soccer had the odds against it in the regional semifinal match on Tuesday.

Going up against a Class A juggernaut in Hampshire that moved to 2A in the new three-class system and was a State-goer the past three seasons, the Lady Knights’ chances against the Whip-purs may have seemed slight.

What happened was that Kaneland made good on its best chance, a free kick by Colleen Gebauer with 4:17 remaining in regulation, and took a 1-0 win into Friday’s 2A Burlington Central Regional against (1) Crystal Lake Central.

Kaneland improved to 11-8-3 and tied the most wins in team history.

“I just asked for my 10 yards and waited for our people to get set up,” Gebauer said. “I just aimed for the corners and hoped for the best.”

With still more work to do, Sophie Blank held strong in goal and made a sliding save with 3:28 remaining. Emily Heimerdinger had a chance just a minute prior to the goal with a shot that hit the post.

“We just needed to be aggressive and keep our focus,” defender Megan Gil said. “The last five minutes were going to be the most crucial of the whole game. Celebrate the goal and settle down.”

With a 9-1 win at Western Sun Conference rival Yorkville in the morning, the Lady Knights assured themselves of their first winning season since 2005 (11-10-1) and the second in team history.

Kaneland also ends its conference portion of the season at 2-5.

Against the Lady Foxes, KHS went out to a 5-1 lead after the first 40 minutes of action, and added four more in the second half.

Emily Heimerdinger scored three goals, and Bridget Crosby added two herself. The other goals were had by Thalia Garcia, Andi Bruce, Paige Rogers and Sarah Goodrich.

The freshmen closed their season out with an 8-1 loss to Plainfield North on Thursday, as Hayley Garcia found the net.

PHOTO: Megan Gil tries to get the ball out of Kaneland’s zone in the second half of the varsity home loss to Batavia on May 12. The Lady Knights improved to 11-8-3 with an upset win over Hampshire at Tuesday’s regional. Photo by John DiDonna

Girls track sending large group to State competition

by Mike Slodki
For those who were looking for a bigger Kaneland High School presence at the upcoming IHSA Class 2A State finals, they’ll get their wish.

Include the seven Lady Knight athletes in that group.

Based on its showing on Saturday morning at the 2A Sterling Sectional, KHS, which finished third with 71 points, sends seven entries to Eastern Illinois University beginning on Thursday, May 21.

Senior Lindsay Gierke enters her final postseason listed in three State events, thanks to a 15.09 second effort in the 100 meter high hurdles, a 12.48 time in the 100m dash and a 48.69 second tally in the 300m low hurdles.

“It felt a little different and the endurance was a bit harder, but I still gave it my all,” Gierke said.

Gierke has qualified for State all four seasons in Kaneland colors.

“I’m just going to go out there and run and not think about anybody else,” Gierke said.

Teammate Andie Strang qualified for the ultimate season’s end for the second consecutive year as the sophomore ran a 2:24.62 in the 800m run and was part of the 4x800m relay along with Kris Bowen, Kelly Evers and Lisa Roberson, which ran 10:04.44.

“We were worried about a lot of teams in the sectional, but it’s all the mental part now. We’re just trying to get faster and we know what we need to do,” Strang said on the relay.

“It was coming down to State and we knew how hard we worked and how much we wanted it, so we just left everything out on the track,” Roberson said.

Kaneland also sends a double-barreled attack to Charleston, thanks to a 10 foot effort from Jordan Pinkston and a 9-0 try from Sara Wallace.

“My coach (Barney Callaghan) looked at me and said my try was bigger than 10 feet and I was so excited,” Pinkston said. “Then Sara made it and it was even more exciting. I think we know what to expect down there.”

“I was more nervous than most meets,” Wallace said. “I felt prepared and it was a good season. Turning over was my biggest problem, and it makes a big difference, and I just have to keep it up.”

Gierke narrowly missed the 200m dash threshold by finishing third in 26.25 seconds.

Sycamore and Yorkville, with 88 and 79 points, respectively, finished ahead of Kaneland in the sectional.

Freeport, at 64 points, finished fourth and Rochelle took fifth with 57 points.

Gierke’s Hitlist: State events for Lindsay Gierke through the years.
2006
100m dash
300m low hurdles
200m dash
2007
100m dash
300m low hurdles
200m dash
2008
100m high hurdles
100m dash
300m low hurdles
200m dash
2009
100m high hurdles
100m dash
300m low hurdles

Knights outslug foes, match ’08 win total

by Mike Slodki
Knights baseball dealt with conference and non-conference rivals alike the same way: by nabbing the “W.”

The varsity Knights took it to Yorkville on Thursday afternoon under drizzly-turned-to-sunny skies and made short work of it, 12-2 in five innings.

Then, the Knights beat Yorkville on Friday, 5-2, Oswego East on Saturday 9-6, and Sycamore on Tuesday, 11-9.

Kaneland improved to 19-7 with a 10-5 Western Sun Conference record.

Joe Gura earned the win and struck out four batters while giving up just two runs on four hits on Thursday. Jeff Smith ended up 2-for-3, while Joe Camaliere plated three of the Knights’ runs. Camaliere reached on a three-base error, which allowed Jake Fieldler to score for the first run in the opening inning. By the end of the second inning, the Knights enjoyed a 7-1 lead that was buoyed by a Gura homer in the second. Kaneland scored five more runs in the fourth inning to go up 12-1 before the game was finished after the top of the fifth.

On Friday, the Knights took care of Yorkville in a 5-2 game that was continued from a Thursday stoppage due to rain. Resuming action with Kaneland leading 1-0, Yorkville came back to take a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth. The Knights scored three in the top of the sixth and Fiedler walked, later coming home on a second baseman error. Jeff Smith improved to 4-1 in the win.

Kaneland nabbed its 18th win of the season, just one off its 2008 mark, with a 9-6, come-from-behind win vs. Oswego East on Saturday.

Mike Pritchard went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and a homer to left center. Jay Levita went 2-for-3 and Curtis Lubic went 2-for-2.

Lefty Troy Pritchard improved to 4-1 in a five-inning outing.

Kaneland struck first in the bottom of the second, thanks to a two-out RBI single by Lubic for a 1-0 advantage.

After Oswego East scored two in the top of the fourth inning, KHS managed to deadlock the affair on a Smith sac fly in the bottom of the inning. The Wolves took advantage of suspect fielding by the Knights to go up 5-2 after the top of the fifth, but Kaneland came back with four of its own in the bottom of the fifth.
Fiedler doubled and Camaliere walked. An errant pickoff throw put runners at first and third when Gura walked to load the bases. Mike Pritchard made it 5-4 with a two-run double and Levita gave the Knights the lead at 6-5 with a two-run single. Pritchard was up to his old tricks in the bottom of the sixth with his three-run homer in the teeth of a strong wind.

“I was just looking for my pitch with no strikes on me, and I got ahold of it,” Pritchard said.

“We didn’t really feel comfortable until the final out. We came through offensively and defensively at the end. Mike’s home run was a big lift, and he’s a leader out there,” KHS coach Brian Aversa said. “We’re going to tighten up the screws and get some guys going here.”

On Tuesday, Fiedler’s two-run homer keyed the win, played at Road Ranger Stadium in Loves Park, home of the Frontier League’s Rockford Riverhawks.

Baseball continues the homestretch of the regular season on Thursday, May 14, at Sycamore and Friday, May 15, at Batavia.

Girls track gearing up for postseason glory

by Mike Slodki
Friday’s third annual Western Sun Conference girls track meet served as a benchmark for Kaneland before the upcoming postseason sectionals.

At the end of the litmus test, the Lady Knights looked at a third-place tie (70 points), along with Yorkville and Sycamore. Geneva (164.5) took the crown, followed by Batavia (75.5).

Glenbard South took sixth with 47 points, followed by Rochelle at 36 and DeKalb at 25.

The Lady Knights also had a sectional tuneup in Oregon on Tuesday, coming away with several high finishes.

At Geneva, senior Lindsay Gierke saw plenty of action in the finals of several races. The Lady Knight took a second place in the 100 meter dash finals with an effort of 12.43 seconds, just .06 behind Sycamore’s Lake Kwaza. Gierke also finished second in the 100m hurdles at 15.25 seconds. Batavia’s Melissa Norville’s 15.19 took the honors.

Gierke became 200m dash champ with a finals run of 26.0 seconds.

“I felt really good coming out of the 100m today in the prelims.,” Gierke said. “I’ve been working on the 300, but the 100, I feel pretty comfortable.”

The junior varsity side earned a little recognition with a second-place nod for the 4×800 meter relay foursome (11:13.21).

JV entry Jessica Stouffer finished second in the 400m dash with a time of 1:06.93.

Pole vaulter Jordan Pinkston worked on her postseason trajectory by nailing a second place finish with a 9 foot, six inch entry.

Kaneland’s Nicole Ketza won the JV discus throw with a mark of 90-1, more than three feet better than Glenbard South’s Marcy Rudins.

KHS teammate Katie Bergman finished second in the JV pole vault at eight feet.

Gierke schooled the rest of the field at the 12-team Oregon meet with a 15.44 second time in the 100m hurdles, good for first place.

Gierke also won first in the 300m low hurdles at 48.67.

The 3200m relay contingent of Laney Deligianis, Stouffer, Andie Strang and Lisa Roberson won first with a final time of 10:35.81.

Freshman Kelly Evers won second in the 800m run at 2:38.09.

Kelli Patterson took third in the long jump at 14-2.5.

Pinkston finished second in the pole vault at nine feet, while Sara Wallace finished third.

Alyssa Galvan was third in the shot put with a mark of 30-6.5.

Patterson also became triple jump winner with a 32-6 effort, but says she wishes to up the ante in all of her field events.

“I kind of hit a slump in the high jump for a couple weeks, and I fixed everything and ironed some stuff out; and same thing with my triple jumping,” Patterson said on Friday.

The Sectional challenge for the Lady Knights lies in Sterling at the home of the Golden Warriors on Friday, May 15, at 4 p.m.

The 2A gathering also features teams like Burlington Central, Dixon, Hampshire, LaSalle-Peru, Ottawa, Rochelle, Sandwich, Sycamore and Yorkville.

Photo: Senior Jordan Pinkston readies for liftoff during Friday’s Western Sun Conference meet at Geneva High School. Pinkston finished second overall with a 9-6 in the finals. Photo by Ben Draper

Knights baseball earns WSC win over Yorkville

Kaneland High School baseball held off a charging Yorkville Foxes squad on Tuesday in Maple Park, but emerged with a 9-6 win.

With the victory, Kaneland baseball improved to 15-7 with a 7-5 mark in Western Sun Conference play.

The win also offsets the 6-0 loss last Wednesday, April 29 suffered at the hands of Batavia, who’s pitcher Alex Karger, threw a 1-hitter.

Knights hurler Steve Colombe improved to 4-1 on the season, while Ty Hamer earned his first save on the year.

Jake Fiedler went 2-for-4 with two runs driven in, and Jeff Smith went 2-for-3 with two runs scored.

In five innings pitched, Colombe allowed six runs, but just one was earned.

Mike Pritchard’s two-run single in the first inning gave Kaneland a 2-0 lead. Smith came home on an error in centerfield in the second for a 3-0 lead, and KHS plated two more runs in the third for a 5-0 lead. Up 7-0 in the fifth inning, Yorkville sent nine men to the plate and scored six runs on just two hits to close within 7-6, but the Knights scored two insurance runs in the bottom of the inning to pad the lead.

Upcoming for Kaneland: a home matchup with Yorkville on Thursday, May 7 and a Saturday battle with visiting Oswego East.

Photo: Kaneland pitcher Steve Colombe fires a strike in the first inning of the Knights’ 9-6 varsity home win against Yorkville on Tuesday. The righty improved to 4-1. Photo by John DiDonna

Lady Knights softball falls short vs. Geneva

by Mike Slodki
In a deadlocked softball game that was going down to the wire, any late run would do.

Unfortunately for Kaneland, the late runs were had by the visiting Geneva lineup.

A two-base error led to two runs coming home for the Lady Knights’ WSC rival in a 2-0 defeat on Tuesday.

The runs, which were scored in the top of the sixth inning, were the only runs in a contest that featured just five hits and 10 strikeouts combined.

KHS fell to 14-6 with a 5-3 record in Western Sun Conference play.

Delani Vest was tagged as the losing pitcher and fell to 9-3, despite eight K’s and just one walk.

The lone hits for the Lady Knights were a fifth-inning double by Chassidy Mangers and a third-inning single by Kristen Stralka.

“We were swinging at bad pitches, and we weren’t patient,” KHS coach Dennis Hansen said. “The hitters were getting behind in the count, and no one really hit the ball hard.”

Geneva’s opportunity came in the top of the sixth when, with two runners on, a two-out ball went over the head of right fielder Jordan Herra, allowing the runners to score.

The Lady Knights’ last chance ended when Mangers grounded to second with a runner at second base to end the game.

The sophomores lost to Geneva 2-1, and the freshmen trounced the Lady Vikings 16-4 in five innings.

Kaneland goes to DeKalb on Thursday, May 7.

Photo: Kaneland first baseman Kristen Stralka looks to snag a throw from pitcher Delani Vest during Tuesday’s 2-0 conference loss to Geneva. Photo by John DiDonna

Kaneland’s Gierke snatches two firsts at Sycamore

Looks like the mini-layoff for KHS girls track got out of its system in a hurry.

With the annual Kane County Meet shelved in Batavia due to the closing of the school, thanks to H1N1 virus prevention, the girls’ track squad hadn’t seen competition since May 5.

With a meet at Yorkville vs. the Lady Foxes and Sycamore, the Lady Knights continued to tune up for a competitive Sterling Sectional in a little over a week with a close second-place finish in Kendall County on Tuesday. Kaneland had 73 points, compared to Sycamore’s 74 and Yorkville’s 35.

Garnering first places were senior Lindsay Gierke in the 300 meter intermediate hurdles (48.39 seconds) and the 110m high hurdles (15.54) and the 4x400m relay foursome, who hit the finish line in 4:29.71.

Lady Knight Andie Strang also picked up a first-place nod in the 800m run thanks to a time of 2:25.51, and the 4x100m relay team’s 54.31 time took the top crown on Tuesday.

Sara Wallace’s 8 feet, six inches effort in the pole vault brought home a first for Kaneland in the pole vault, and Kelli Patterson guarded her triple jump turf with a first, thanks to a 32-10.5 jump.

The Lady Knights also got several second places like Brianna Stark in the triple jump (30-10.5), Alyssa Galvan in the shot put (32-4), Lauren Whittaker in the discus (98-9), Grace Snyder in the 110m high hurdles (21.17), Lisa Roberson in the 800m run (2:26.69) and the 4×200 contingent (1:59.03).

Coming up
The Lady Knights program heads to the usual Western Sun Conference meet stop at Geneva High School on Friday, May 8, followed by a Pre-Sectional Invite taking place at Big Northern Conference stalwart Oregon High School on Tuesday, May 12.

Photo: Sophomores Ashley Diddell (left) and Grace Synder run the 100m hurdles at Tuesday’s triangular at Sycamore with Yorkville. Kaneland placed second with 73 points, one behind Sycamore’s 74. Yorkville placed third with 35 points. Photo by Ben Draper

Boys Track makes presence felt at Seegers, finishes 2nd at Yorkville

Knights boys track finished an exceptional second place in the 11-team Seegers Track and Field Classic at Sycamore on Friday evening.

The Knights’ 132-point total was 22 behind Geneva. Host Sycamore (107), Rockford Jefferson (60) and Oswego East (53) rounded out the top five. Western Sun rivals DeKalb and Rochelle tied for sixth at 41.

Kaneland entry Lucas Ross finished second in the 100 meter dash finals with an effort of 11.26 seconds, just behind Keyeon Hopson of Rockford East’s 11.17.

In the 110m hurdles finals, Kaneland’s Logan Markuson (14.90) and Taylor Andrews (14.91) finished in the top two places.

Markuson took the 300m hurdles crown with a 40.05 effort, 1.12 seconds over Geneva’s Alex Olenck.

In the 4x800m relay event, the Knights foursome of Derek Bus, Sean Paulick, Hayden Johnson and Edgar Valle finished in 8:14.07, good for second place.

Nick Sinon was crowned high jump champ after clearing the six-foot mark. Markuson was second-best in the pole vault with a 14-foot effort.

On Tuesday, Kaneland traveled to Yorkville to do battle with Sycamore and came away with a win thanks to a 77-point effort. Sycamore ended up with 69 and Yorkville had 33.

Markuson won the 110m hurdles at 15.4 seconds and the 300m hurdles at 40.5 seconds. The pole vault also went his way at 14-0.

The Knights’ 3200 relay squad, at 8:29, won the event.

Jake Ginther took the 3200m run at 11 minutes, 24 seconds, while Nick Sinon jumped a 6-5 in the high jump and 41-7.5 in triple jump for his two first places.

Meanwhile, the Knights’ 1600 relay ran 3:38.0 for a first.

Boys track hits the annual Kane County Meet on Friday, May 8 which is hosted by West Aurora.

Photo: Dominic Furco prepares to make an impact during the mile race at a Western Sun Conference gathering at Yorkville High School on Tuesday. Kaneland took first place in a meet also featuring Sycamore. Photo by Linda Bell

KHS improves to 8-4-2

by Mike Slodki
Lady Knights soccer (8-4-2, 1-2 Western Sun Conference) saw some tough wins and a tie along the way, but ended this past week with an undefeated slate.

Kaneland’s match with the visiting Royals of Hinckley-Big Rock ended in a 1-1 deadlock last Wednesday, April 29. On Monday, the Lady Knights defeated host Mendota 3-1, and Tuesday saw KHS hand Rochelle a 3-0 loss.

Despite overloading the Royals goal with shot attempts, the Lady Knights could manage just an Emily Heimerdinger score thanks to a Shelby Koester assist. Hinckley-Big Rock attempted just two shots on goal. Both goals were scored in the first half.

Monday brought the Lady Knights down I-39 for a meeting with the Mendota Lady Trojans. Kaneland won 3-1 after seeing the contest knotted up in the second half on a Mendota goal.

Colleen Gebauer scored a goal with 19:49 left in the second half to break the 1-1 deadlock and Danni Garcia scored an insurance goal with 18:01 left.

“I’ve been working on my touches a little more and I’m getting more confident in my shooting,” said Gebauer, who has found her share of goals this season.

Emily Heimerdinger scored the opening goal for the Lady Knights.

Despite getting the win, coach Scott Parillo feels that the last two matches have KHS not quite playing up to its potential.

“It was an ugly win,” Parillo said. “We had six point-blank breakaways and couldn’t finish. We need to finish and play better defense or else our season’s going to end in two weeks.”

Heimedinger, Gebauer and Koester scored vs. the Hubs, in a win that Parillo thought was a much better effort.

Awaiting the Lady Knights are the host Sycamore Lady Spartans on Thursday, May 7, and the Burlington Central tourney on Saturday, May 9.

Photo by Mike Slodki

Crosby rides Whitecaps wave

Knights grad adjusting to pro baseball grind for Tigers’ affiliate
by Mike Slodki

If you happen to visit Fifth Third Ballpark just north of Grand Rapids, Mich., and see a 6-foot-5 blonde-haired lefthander who looks vaguely familiar, signing autographs for young fans on the concourse during a rain delay, you’re not going crazy.
crosby_front_4c

For you’ve just located what Casey Crosby is up to these days.

Now fully recovered from Tommy John surgery 17 months ago, the 2007 two-sport athlete from Kaneland High School is the No. 1 starting pitcher for the Class A West Michigan Whitecaps in the Midwest League.

Drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the fifth round of the 2007 Major League Baseball draft, Crosby is 2-0 with a 2.08 earned run average after four starts, picking up his second win of the season on Sunday afternoon vs. the visiting Lansing Lugnuts.

“My first start here, my adrenalin was pumping, and the last few starts, I’ve been more relaxed,” Crosby said. “I felt comfortable in my first start because my whole family was here and it was better weather. I love pitching here; the fans back you up really well.”

The first baseball player to be drafted out of Kaneland, Crosby is now one of the many young athletes with a shot at eventually throwing to major league hitters. So far, he’s acclimating well in his current situation.

To Whitecaps play-by-play man Steve Lloyd-Jones, Crosby’s laundry list of gifts brought to the Tigers system are obvious from a broadcaster’s point of view.

“It’s obvious that it’s an overpowering arm. His velocity’s just tremendous. He hits the low-to-mid-90s on his fastball with regularity and has shown a good offspeed pitch,” Lloyd-Jones said.

Crosby, with 22 Ks, joins personnel like Mauricio Robles and Matt Hoffman, adding to a rotation capable of big things. The Whitecaps are 13-4 thus far.

“The Tigers’ whole philosophy is to draft power arms. You see it throughout their system. Now we’re on the lower end of that, but they’ve blown away most lineups,” Lloyd-Jones said.

“We’re doing real well. We’re hitting the ball. It’s just cool to see how good this team is and how much talent the organization has. It’s nice going out there knowing that your hitters will come up with a couple of runs.”

* * * * *
During Sunday’s game one of a rain makeup doubleheader, Crosby walks to the mound and gets ready for work. After allowing a single to Lansing’s leadoff man Kenny Wilson, he promptly picks him off. He gets Tyler Pastornicky to fly out to left, but walks Brian Van Kirk. Crosby then treats Yohermyn Chavez like he did any number of Western Sun Conference hitters during his 6-2, 0.88 ERA campaign in 2007 by striking him out to end the top of the first.

* * * * *
“After our games we’ve got to go right on the road. We left Fort Wayne last night and got back to Grand Rapids at 2 in the morning. You have good with bad.

There’s a lot of fun stuff about minor league baseball. I like traveling around, going to the different places, and I like the team chemistry,” said Crosby, who rooms with reliever Erik Crichton while on the road.

In the top of the second, Crosby allows a leadoff single to Mark Sobolewski, but induces Mike McDade to ground into a 5-4-3 double play.

* * * * *
“Obviously, I want to stay healthy. That’s the main one. Also, I want to keep the walks down and throw less pitches and throw into the sixth or seventh inning (Crosby is on a 75-pitch count) and just go from there.”

* * * * *
An inning later, the southpaw notches his second strikeout and fans A.J. Jimenez during his first 1-2-3 inning.

* * * * *
“Any pitcher that spends time away or on the DL, it’s a time to look at your whole surroundings. Crosby did a good job of, when he wasn’t throwing, of learning still and not just shutting down. That’s one thing to carry on once you start throwing again. He’s a great listener, great competitor and he has a great arm,” pitching coach Mark Johnson said.

* * * * *
“During the game, my catcher and I talk about what the hitters did last time against me. He’ll come to settle me down if I’m not throwing a lot of strikes,” Crosby said.

* * * * *
The fourth inning proves Crosby’s roughest yet. Pastornicky walks and Crosby commits a throwing error while attempting a pickoff. The next two batters ground out, but Crosby allows a single to Sobolewski before causing McDade to fly out to right field.

* * * * *
“I think they knew that we would have a high strikeout total because we have great arms. They just want us to get the walks down,” Crosby said.

* * * * *
To cap his winning outing, Crosby retires the side by fanning Bryan Kervin. The former Knight’s day ends with five innings, one unearned run, two walks and three strikeouts.

* * * * *
His win on Sunday served as a microcosm of his pro baseball career, facing early setbacks head on and powering out of them. Lloyd-Jones has seen many arms like Crosby’s show their stuff at the West Michigan stop.

“The one guy that immediately jumps to my mind is Joel Zumaya. At this level, he was a flamethrower. I remember watching in May of ’03, he faced the Beloit Snappers with Prince Fielder, and he racked up 14 strikeouts. Casey’s been one of the more pure strikeout pitchers we’ve seen,” Lloyd-Jones said.

Crosby’s odyssey to the big leagues could have a long way to go. For now, his journey took him to a concourse signing baseballs and hurling fastballs on a Sunday in western Michigan.

Photos by Mike and Erika Slodki

Knights take Peterson Prep crown, stop challengers in DeKalb

by Mike Slodki
Kaneland wasted no time impressing faithful fans at the Peterson Prep on Saturday, and continued the top-notch effort on Tuesday in familiar territory.

The Knights pulled out a close .5 win in the annual Peterson Prep with 83 points, compared to 82.5 for West Aurora.

Geneva (80), Dundee-Crown (73) and Sycamore (45.5) rounded out the top five while Rich Central finished sixth in the 15-team invite (33).

Logan Markuson schooled the field and became 110 meter high hurdles champ with a 14.74 second effort in the finals. Markuson came back in the 300m hurdles with a 40.34 time and took first.

The 4x100m relay foursome of Lucas Ross, Colin Zagel, Brendan McCarthy and Blake Serpa finished third at 45.18.

Those same four entries finished the 4x200m course in 1:35.51, good for second.

On Tuesday, Ross felt that as good as that even is, there’s more work to be done at this stage of the season.

“4x200m is the one I’d like to improve on, for sure,” Ross said. “We’d like to get our times down for that one. We’re working on our handoffs and getting the kinks out.”

Hayden Johnson, Derek Bus, Edgar Valle, Logan Markuson took second in the 4x400m relay at 3:31.02

High jumper Nick Sinon’s 6 feet, four inch effort was a second-place entry, while Markuson (13-0) and Josh Bloome (12-6) cleaned up the pole vault.

On Tuesday, Kaneland traveled to DeKalb to face off against the Barbs and Geneva Vikings, winning the event with 85 points. Geneva (67) and DeKalb (34) brought up the rear.

Kaneland’s roster nabbed nine first places. The honors went to the 4×800 relay (9:04.8), Paul Davies in the 3200m run (10:30.5), Taylor Andrews in the 110m hurdles (15.14), Ross in the 100m dash (11.48), the 4x200m relay (1:35.9), Markuson in the 400m dash (52.79), Andrews in the 300m hurdles (42.14), Sinon in the high jump (5-10), Markuson in the vault (13-6) and the 4x400m relay team (3:34.89).

The Knights try to continue their good fortune with a trip to Sycamore’s Seegers Invite on Friday, May 1, and go with the Spartans to Yorkville on Tuesday, May 5.

Photo: Hayden Johnson tries to separate himself from the field during Saturday’s 4x400m relay. The foursome of Johnson, Derek Bus, Edgar Valle and Logan Markuson finished second at Kaneland’s Peterson Prep. Courtesy Photo

KHS shows talent at Dixon, Glenbard S.

by Mike Slodki
With the temperature finally rising in the area, Kaneland High School girls track seems to be taking that as a cue.

The first-place honors are becoming more frequent, and the Lady Knights have a bit of momentum entering the prestigious Kane County Meet on Friday in Batavia.

Last Wednesday had the Lady Knights edged by just one point in a 72-71 loss to Glenbard South.

Friday saw Kaneland compete at its usual late-April stop, the Dixon Relays.

Against the host Raiders, Lauren Whittaker’s discus effort of 97 feet was good enough for first.

Teammate Kelli Patterson enjoyed three firsts on the day. The senior hit a 4-8 in the high jump, a 15-3 in the long jump and a 33-3.5 in the triple jump.

Jordan Pinkston was tops in the pole vault thanks to a 9-6 effort.

The Lady Knights also took first in the 4×800 relay thanks to a 11 minute, 5.7 seconds effort from their foursome.

s 15.4 second 100m high hurdles time was good for first place, as was her 48.7 second 300m intermediate hurdles time.

Kelly Evers, who ran a 5:53 1600m run, won the event.

In the 10-team Dixon Relays, the Lady Knights were fourth-best on the evening with 64 points. Machesney Park’s Harlem High School was first with 86, followed by Western Sun Conference mainstay Rochelle (73) and Moline (65).

First places by Kaneland were achieved in the pole vault, thanks to the efforts of Pinkston, Sara Wallace and Katie Bergman, and the varsity 3200m relay.

The vaulters hit a combined 27 feet, while the long-distance foursome of Lisa Roberson, Andie Strang, Laney Deligianis and Evers finished in 10:11.

Kaneland’s frosh/soph 400m relay took third in 54.04 seconds, and the F/S 3200m relay finished in 10:49, good for second.

“As of today this was the first time I didn’t hit 9 feet on my first attempt this season, so that kind of upset me, but I was hoping for a top finish because some of the girls here went to indoor State,” Pinkson said.

KHS coach Pat Sheetz saw the 3200m first-place finish in the works already, which happened as Strang pulled away in the anchor leg.

“They were posting great times, their best of the year, and it was a matter of continuing to work,” Sheetz said. “They’ll get better and better as we head toward Sectionals.”

“I just go out and try to get a lead for the rest of my team; if need be they have the lead to fall back on,” Roberson said.

Strang felt no added pressure being the last hope for the Lady Knights in the event.

“I don’t think I had any more pressure than any of the other girls; we ran what we needed to,” Strang said. “I just did what I had to do to catch up to the Geneseo girl.”

In the mile team race, Kaneland finished second with a cumulative time of 20 minutes.

In the unique throwers relay, Kaneland’s 58.66 time was enough for second place.

After the Kane County meet this Friday, the girls travel along with Yorkville to Sycamore on Tuesday, May 5.

Soccer pouring the offense on

Lady Knights soccer (6-4-1, 0-2 Western Sun Conference) hasn’t seen this much early success in quite a while, but it’ll take it.

Kaneland bested the visiting T-Wolves of Indian Creek on Thursday by a score of 2-0.

KHS weapon Emily Heimerdinger once again showed an affinity for the net by scoring one goal in each half.

In less than ideal weather, the Lady Knights peppered 30 shots on goal compared to just three for ICHS.

Meanwhile, Coach Kevin Bickley’s JV roster is not only unbeaten in six matches, but has yet to score a goal.

On Thursday, the JV Lady Knights beat visiting Hampshire 4-0, behind two goals by Katie Taylor and two by Abby Bend.

On Friday, Kaneland varsity used a prolific second half to squash Morris, 5-0.

Braving strong wind gusts, Heimerdinger scored three goals and Haley Johnson contributed with a goal and assist. Colleen Gebauer had two assists, while Andi Bruce added a goal. Megan Gil also notched an assist.

On Tuesday, KHS fell victim to the visiting Geneva Lady Vikings 6-0.

Soccer faces host Glenbard South on Thursday, April 30, and goes to Mendota on Monday, May 4.

Photo: Bridget Crosby gets a header in the second half of Kaneland soccer’s home game against Indian Creek on Thursday. Kaneland won 2-0 with both goals scored by Emily Heimerdinger. Photo by John DiDonna

Lady Knights (14-5) bring the bats

Lady Knights softball saw contributions from both ends this past week.

Pitching and hitting proved key in a week that had Kaneland take four out of five contests and improve to 14-5 with a 5-2 record in the Western Sun Conference, tied with Batavia.

Sycamore got the best of the host Lady Knights last Wednesday afternoon by a 2-0 final.

Delani Vest was tagged with her second loss of the season (6-2) despite seven strikeouts. The Lady Spartans plated one run in the top of the first and one in the third.

Jessica Lubic went 2-for-4 with a double and triple, and Andrea Potts also added a triple.

On the lower-class end, Kaneland sophomore softball came away with a win at Sycamore by a 10-3 clip.

Beth Smith improved to 6-0, and Nikky Rymarz went 3-for-3 with a home run.

On Thursday, the Lady Knights handed the host Rochelle Lady Hubs a 5-0 loss.

Vest took care of the purple-clad lineup with eight strikeouts and allowed just two hits.

Kaneland’s scoring output consisted of a single run in the second and four in the seventh.

Brianna Hurst led the way at the plate with a 3-for-4 evening along with a double. Potts went 2-for-4 with two driven in and Rilee Vest went 2-for-2 with an RBI.

On Saturday, the Lady Knights provided some hurt to host Woodstock by sweeping a doubleheader, 3-0 and 3-1.

In game one, Vest earned the win and fanned 12 batters, scattering just two hits.

The offense was led by Jessica Lubic (2-for-3, triple, RBI) and Huml (3-for-3).

Game two had the Lady Knights break open a 1-1 tie with two runs in the top of the sixth.

Potts went 1-for-3 with an RBI. Huml struck out 10 on the day.

On Tuesday, Kaneland took the aluminum to the visiting Batavia Bulldogs 9-0, thanks to homers from Potts and Rilee Vest. Vest’s grand slam was the third hit by Kaneland since 2004.

KHS visits Glenbard South on Thursday, April 30, and hosts Geneva on Tuesday, May 5.

Baseball runs into tough week

by Mike Slodki
Through 20 games, Knights baseball has seen more of its share of steady performances.

However, this week provided more difficulty than most.

The Knights (14-6, 6-4 Western Sun Conference) went 1-3 in a week that had them lose to Plainfield South, Rochelle and Batavia.

Kaneland’s lone win was vs. the rival Hubs.

Tuesday saw Batavia beat the visiting Knights 3-2. The Bulldogs scored one in the third, sixth and the winning run in the bottom of the seventh.

Joe Gura was tagged with the loss, and went 2-for-3.

On a Saturday visit to the Plainfield South Cougars, Kaneland fell 8-3.

Ty Hamer (1-1) went six innings in the loss and strick out two batters.

Three singles in the bottom of the first led to an early 1-0 deficit. A sac fly and a double in the fourth inning sent the Knights down 3-0. Plainfield South added one more in the fifth and four in the sixth before the Knights finally crossed the plate three times in the seventh inning. Curtis Lubic had two RBI in the losing effort.

On Friday, the Knights defeated Rochelle in Maple Park by a 5-2 score, thanks to a winning effort from Troy Pritchard (3-1) and a bullpen outing by Joe Gura (fourth save).

An RBI double by Gura in the third inning tied the score at 1-1. Two more runs came home in the fourth inning to take a 3-2 lead.

Two more came home to pad the final margin. Hamer had two RBI on the day.

Last Wednesday vs. Rochelle, Jay Levita’s double gave Kaneland a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning, but Rochelle scored two to knot it up in the bottom of the first inning. Rochelle then scored three runs in the top of the third. Levita’s RBI single in the top of the sixth brought it to 5-3 before Rochelle scored an insurance run in the sixth.

Jake Tickle scored on a wild pitch in the seventh to close within two runs, but KHS stranded runners at first and second when the game ended.

“We can’t make errors like we did in the field today,” KHS coach Brian Aversa said. “Rochelle took advantage. They hit a couple balls at us and that should have been it, but the inning would keep going. (Steve) Colombe took the loss (3-1), but I think he’ll be alright.”

The Knights travel to Batavia on Thursday, April 30.

Lady Knights bring the goals in win over BC

by Mike Slodki
If Lady Knights soccer had more weeks like this, it’d put itself in pretty good shape.

A productive week leaves the Lady Knights at 4-3-1 through eight matches. Kaneland hosted Burlington Central on Saturday afternoon, coming away with a 6-0 win. Wednesday, April 15, saw KHS end the West Aurora Tournament with a 1-1 tie vs. Rochelle. KHS could have made it through with an undefeated week if not for a 2-1 Tuesday loss to DeKalb.

Against the Rockets, the Lady Knights went out to a 4-0 lead after the first 40 minutes and added two more goals in the second half.

Colleen Gebauer had a goal and assist, while Andi Bruce, Sophie Blank and Emily Heimerdinger also added goals. Amy Fabrizius scored an assist.

The Lady Knights finished the gauntlet a West Aurora with a 2-1-1 record, the second best in team history.

Down 1-0 after the first half against the Lady Hubs, Kaneland felt the pressure and was stopped on several close-range shots in the initial stages of the second frame.

A Blank save seven minutes in preserved the deficit and paved the way for a tie score. A rocket by Shelby Koester just outside the goalie box tied the score at one with 29:39 to go.

“I’m happy we salvaged a tie, because we did not play well in the first half,” Kaneland coach Scott Parillo said. “We played much better in the second half; that I’m happy about. If we play well, we’re going to score. I told the girls that it shows how good they really are, to not play up to their potential and still manage a tie.”

Against the Barbs, Crosby scored after being fed by Heimerdiner’s assist, but the Lady Knights still suffered a loss in its first conference match.

The JV crew managed a 2-1 win over Plainfield North on Wednesday, April 15. Perla Gaytan and Katie Merlo found the net.

Varsity heads back on the pitch Thursday, April 23, vs. Indian Creek and Saturday, April 25, vs. Morris.

No stopping Knights baseball

This Kaneland baseball team is on quite a run.

Four consecutive victories this past week brought coach Brian Aversa’s group to 12-3 (4-2 Western Sun Conference).

Last Wednesday, April 15, the Knights wrote off Glenbard South in a 6-5 road win. Steve Colombe improved to 3-0 while Joe Gura collected save No. 2.

On Thursday, Kaneland more than doubled up on the visiting Raiders in an 11-5 win, and lefty Jeff Smith improved to 2-1.

Friday had Ty Hamer nabbing the win (2-0) and Gura getting his third save. Curtis Lubic went 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored.

On Saturday, Kaneland beat the visiting Fenton Bison by a 3-0 final thanks to a dominant Troy Pritchard (2-1) and his one-hit shutout.

The Knights were scheduled to visit Rochelle on Wednesday and host the Hubs on Thursday, April 23, and Friday, April 24.

Knights leap to second place at Ottawa

Saturday brought Kaneland boys track to its usual mid-April stop: the Ottawa ABC Invite. Kaneland’s success was as easy as that in certain events.

The Knights finished second overall with 160.5 points, behind Moline at 182. Western Sun Conference-mate DeKalb finished 12th out of 15 squads with 55 points.

The first-place parade was led by Matt Weaver, who nabbed a first in the 300 meter hurdles “C” heat at 44.07 seconds. Weaver also took first in the 110m hurdles “C” with a 16.86 second output.

The 4×800 relay foursome won its event with a time of 8:17.86.

Other firsts on the day were turned in by Josh Bloome in the pole vault “B” group (12 feet) and Taylor Andrews in the 110m hurdles “B” event (16.11 seconds).

Lucas Ross finished second in the 100m dash “A” event with 11.60. Logan Markuson took seconds in both the 300m hurdles “A” (40.38) and the 110m hurdles “A” (15.89).

Andrews came back with a second place in the 300m hurdles “B” with an effort of 42.75. The 4x100m relay set finished second at 44.75 while the 4×400 relay team took second at 3:31.95.

Nick Sinon had a productive day with second place efforts in the high jump “A” at 6 feet, 2 inches and the triple jump “B” at 38-8.

Girls track shows talent at Jenni’s ABC

Kaneland High School girls track spent its Saturday winning.

The Lady Knights squad hit a stride in a well-spent showing in its own Jenni’s ABC Invite in Maple Park. The meet returned after a one-year layoff due to less-than-favorable conditions in 2009.

KHS had a 354 point total to take the invite crown while Huntley took second with 319 points. Rockford Boylan finished third in the seven-team group at 306 points.

Team anchor Lindsay Gierke took home four first places, beginning with her 100 meter dash “A” heat showing. The senior blazed to a 13.16 seconds finish, and followed that up with a 200m dash “B” first of 26.5 seconds. Gierke then won the 300m intermediate hurdles “A” race at 48.83 seconds, and also won the 100m intermediate hurdles challenge at 15.77 seconds.

Teammate Lisa Roberson continued her strong season with a first in the 800m run “A” (2:26.89) and a first place in the 1600m run “B” (5:45.61).

Andie Strang nabbed herself a first-place showing in the 800m run “B” with a time of 2:29.17 and took a second in the 1600m “A” at 5:35.17.

Kelly Evers’ effort consisted of a first in the 3200m run “A” at 12:24.84 and a first in the high jump “A” with a mark of four feet, four inches.

Kelli Patterson finished second in the high jump “B” with an effort of 4-6 and in the triple jump “A” at 31-10.5.

Brianna Stark took home a second place in the long jump “B” grouping with an effort of 14-1, and also won second in the triple jump “B” at 30-6.

Athina Ajazi had a second-place effort in the 400m dash “C” with a time of 1:10.96. The discus was supported by Kathleen Kuhar in “B” at 74-9, good for first, and second-place Katie Weiss in “C” at 72-9.

Kris Bowen won first in the 800m run “C” with a run of 2:37.11. In the pole vault event, asset Jordan Pinkson vaulted to a 9-6 and a first in “A” and Sara Wallace managed an 8-0 and a first in the “B” group.

Lindsay Douglas won first in the long jump “C” heat with a 14-0 jump. In the 300 intermediate hurdles “B”, Ashley Augusty took second at 55.11 seconds. The 4x400m relay “B” team won second at 4:38.87 and Kelsey Gould threw a 27-6 in the shot put “C”.

The Kaneland girls track roster is set to participate in the Dixon Relays on Friday, April 24.

Photo: Lady Knight Lindsay Douglas competes in the Long Jump at Saturday’s Jenni’s ABC Meet at Kaneland High School. Kaneland won the meet with 354 points, outdistancing Huntley (319) and Boylan (306). Photo by Ben Draper

Lady Knights have steady showing at Holmes Invite

by Mike Slodki
This past Saturday, Geneva was crowned the overall winner of the 32nd Holmes Invitational for the second straight season thanks to a 147.75 point output.

West Aurora came in second with a 123.5 point day. Rosary of Aurora finished third with 59.5 points, followed by fourth-place Rockton Hononegah at 52. The Lady Knights finished fifth overall in the 16-team invite with a total of 48.5 points, tied with Lockport. Oswego East finished sixth with 40 points. Western Sun Conference rivals Sycamore (22) and DeKalb (21) finished 12th and 13th, respectively.

Tuesday had the Lady Knights appear at a Western Sun Conference clash in Rochelle along with Batavia. Kaneland finished third with 43 points, compared to Batavia’s 73 and Rochelle’s 63.

The Lady Knights had plenty of representation in the final heats on Saturday, improving their standings. University of Northern Iowa-bound senior Lindsay Gierke took the 100 meter dash event with a final time of 12.84 seconds, edging Geneva’s Sammi Hill by .17 seconds. Gierke finished third in the 200m dash finals at 26.30 seconds, behind Hononegah’s Ana Armitage (25.95) and Geneva’s Erica Miller (25.93).

Lisa Roberson finished a solid fifth in the 800m run with a final time of 2:27.33. The 4×100 relay foursome of Gierke, Sydney Bilotta, Jordyn Lawrence and Arianna Espino finished sixth in 52.99 seconds. The 4×400 squad of Bilotta, Gierke, Lawrence and Roberson finished third at 4:19.15.

Roberson, Andie Strang, Kris Bowen and Kelly Evers put in a third-place result in the 4x800m event with a time of 10:04.40. Junior Sara Wallace took sixth place in the pole vault with a eight-foot vault in the final. The discus had a strong Kaneland flourish as Lauren Whittaker finished second with a final throw of 96 feet-6 inches, and Katie Weiss finished sixth at 91-1.

With the throwing ranks of Kaneland showing big numbers in the early outset of the season, the discus troops were encouraged by Saturday’s showing.

“You can kind of tell how the day will go by how you feel right then, and I thought my last throw was better,” Whittaker said.

Main keys were coaching and preparation.

“(Pat) Sheetz encourages us the whole time, and he’s a great coach,” Weiss said. “It’s been great because we use what he says and we see what the other throwers on the team do and feed off of that.”

In Rochelle, Gierke was up to more of her old tricks and ran to a first in the 100m high hurdles (15.45).

Gierke also won the 300m low hurdles at 47.87 seconds. Strang was crowned the winner of the 1600m run at 5:40.69.

Pole vaulter Jordan Pinkston won the event at 9 feet, six inches.

The Lady Knights look to impress at Jenni’s ABC Invite at Kaneland on Saturday, April 18, at 10 a.m. They’ll also travel to Glenbard South on Tuesday, April 21.

Lindsay Gierke makes quick work of the 200m dash field in her first victorious heat at the Jill Holmes Invitational on Saturday at Kaneland. Photo by John DiDonna

3/16 Soccer Notes

by Mike Slodki
Blackhawk down
A recent standing tradition for the Lady Knights crew is its April stop at West Aurora High School for the Blackhawk tournament.

Now in its fourth year of participating in the invite, Kaneland is 2-1 as of presstime. In 2008, the Lady Knights finished 2-2 in the four matchups-an improvement over the 1-3 finish of 2007.

The Lady Knights took the tournament in 2006 with a 2-0-2 finish.

Net-work
With the infusion of personnel like sophomore Emily Heimerdinger a year ago, Kaneland’s offense has given itself a fighting chance.

The Lady Knights have outscored the competition by a 14-8 count after five matches.

A year ago, Kaneland had just five goals through four contests, while giving up 10.

Battling Burlington
When the Lady Knights get back to the non-tournament swing of things, they’ll be facing the host Burlington Central Rockets on Saturday.

A member of the Big Northern East Conference, the Rockets are finding it difficult to match the good fortune of last year’s 12-8-1 finish. Currently at 1-5 on the season, BC is led by players like goalkeeper Kirby McMahon and forward Emma Bruderle.

Soccer (3-2) finding good fortune at West Aurora stop

Braving chilly temperatures and unforgiving defenses, Kaneland is doing well for itself in the opening chapters of the 2009 season.

Lady Knights soccer (3-2) opened the annual West Aurora Tournament with a bang as it handed Plano a 5-0 loss on Thursday, April 9.

The Lady Knights improved to 2-1 thanks to a prolific shoot attack. Emily Heimerdinger scored four goals while Bridget Crosby added one. Paige Rogers contributed with an assist.

KHS led 1-0 after the first 40 minutes of play.

KHS then suffered a tough 4-3 loss on Saturday to the host Blackhawks in a game that featured West Aurora coming back from a 3-0 deficit at halftime.

Crosby, Heimerdinger and Colleen Gebauer scored the goals, with Sarah Goodrich supplying an assist.

Continuing the Blackhawks escapade on Tuesday, Kaneland served up a 2-1 defeat to the Streamwood Sabres.

Crosby and Gebauer each scored for KHS while Heimerdinger had an assist.

The Lady Knights looked to end the tournament on a winning note vs. Western Sun Conference-mate Rochelle on Wednesday. A win would put the Lady Knights at 3-1 at West Aurora, their best finish.

Meanwhile, the JV team improved to 3-0 with a 5-0 shutout of Lake Park on Tuesday.

The Lady Knights travel to Burlington Central on Saturday, April 18, and host DeKalb on Tuesday, April 21.

Photo: Junior Thalia Garcia gets one of Kaneland’s many shots on goal in a 5-0 win over Plano last Thursday at the West Aurora Tournament. Kaneland spent almost the entire game on the attack against a second-year Plano squad. Photo by Ben Draper

Knights have field day with a three-game win streak

by Mike Slodki
After falling behind 11-0 last Wednesday and narrowly missing a comeback win vs. Geneva, Kaneland just decided to do away with the dramatics through their next three contests.

Thursday saw Kaneland comeback at Geneva after its 12-9 loss with a 7-5 win over the rival Vikings.

Saturday saw the Knights sweep a double-header with opponent to the north Marengo, 9-0 and 10-3.

When the dust settled on the active week, Kaneland was 8-3 with a 1-2 record in Western Sun Conference play.

Falling behind 11-0 in the third inning, the Knights scored single runs in the third and fourth before coming alive with a five-run fifth. With runners at second and third, Jay Levita laced a two-run double. A fielder’s choice then brought another runner home, and Aaron Lamp hit an RBI single to close the deficit.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Joe Gura hit a two-run double to close it to 11-9, but Geneva held on and added another run.

“We did a nice job of bringing guys to the plate on the comeback, but we can’t start a ballgame in a hole like that,” KHS coach Brian Aversa said. “We limited the strikeouts, and we were seeing the ball well when we scored the runs.”

On Thursday, Mike Pritchard hit a two-run blast with Joe Gura getting the win in relief (1-1).

Saturday had Dave Dudzinski go six innings with six strikeouts for the win. Dudzinski is now 1-0. Lamp went the distance in game two while fanning 14.

In lower class play, Sam Komel tossed a five-inning no-hitter for the sophomores, 14-1.

Lady Knights softball secures wins over three schools

A busy week for Lady Knights softball left the varsity roster in pretty good shape through 10 contests.

Softball (6-4, 2-1 Western Sun Conference) took care of Hoffman Estates by a final of 1-0 on Wednesday, April 8, thanks to a sixth-inning single by Brianna Hurst. Delani Vest continued her impressive start and nabbed her third win in a row to go along with 10 strikeouts of the host Hawks.

The sophomores defeated Hoffman Estates by a 13-3 score in five innings. The freshmen team also took a five- inning victory by a 12-1 final. Sarah McGinnis earned the win on the mound.

On Thursday, the Lady Knights came back from a 3-0 deficit against the host Geneva Lady Vikings only to fall 4-3 in eight innings.

Mallory Huml took the loss and fanned three batters. Jessica Lubic went 2-for-4 in the losing effort.

The sophomores fell to the Vikings by a 4-2 final despite 10 K’s by pitcher Katy Dudzinski.

On Saturday, under sunny skies, the Lady Knights suffered a sweep at the hands of the visiting Indians, 7-1 and 2-0.

Delani Vest was tagged with her first loss, but struck out five. Sara Rose’s double accounted for one of the two KHS hits. The Lady Knights were also plagued by six errors in the field.

In game two, Marengo scored a single run in the sixth and seventh to get the win. Kaneland struggled at the plate again with just three hits, including a double by Jordan Herra (2-for-3). Kristen Stralka went 1-for-3.

Tuesday saw the Lady Knights get another strong outing from pitching and offense in a 9-4 handling of the WSC rival DeKalb Barbs.

Delani Vest improved to 4-1 and struck out seven. Lubic went 2-for-2 with 2 RBI, and Rilee Vest went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI. The offensive highlight was a seven-run third inning.

The varsity team heads to Yorkville on Thursday, April 16, to tackle the Lady Foxes and travels to Des Plaines for a Maine West doubleheader.