All posts by Mike Slodki

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

Taking summer stock

Photo: Tyler Carlson contributed a couple RBI, but it wasn’t enough as the Knights fell short in their Summer League comeback bid against Sycamore 7-6 on Monday. File Photo

Sycamore bests Kaneland in summer league action
SYCAMORE—It’s never a nice feeling to lose to a close and storied rival like Sycamore, but you can try to find some encouraging developments within.

A back-and-forth tilt on a sunny and breezy Monday in Sycamore off of Airport Road went Sycamore’s way in a 7-6 comeback win during the end of June.

Kaneland, at 7-6, has two more summer league contests before the tournament and IHSCBA postseason circuit begins in one week.

KHS had Colton Fellows, Nick Stahl and Kevin Kassinger get time on the mound, with Fellows working the first half of the action.

“Colton is one of those guys that’ll be right there in the mix, and we expect big things of him,” KHS coach Brian Aversa said. “He had a strong sophomore season, and we’re feeling him out and seeing what he can do and what pitches he throws well.”

Fellows failed to get much run support early, and the Knights found themselves down 2-0 after single runs in the first and second innings.

The top of the fourth inning saw KHS load the bases on two errors and a single, and Jacob Bachio’s double play managed to bring home the first run. Jake Bilotta’s single brought home Joe Panico to tie the score at 2-2.

Kaneland took a lead with a two-spot in the top of the fifth, thanks to an RBI single by Ty Carlson and an RBI double by Danny Hammemeister.

Sycamore’s double in the bottom of the fifth tied the score at 4-4, and the team managed three more runs to take a 7-4 lead.

That left three outs for KHS to try and rally some runs, beginning with a single, infield error and walk. Carlson reached on an infield single to drive home a run, followed by a Joe Laudont sac fly. However, a double-play stifled the remaining rally and ended the game.

“I told the guys that they’re going to get opportunities, but they’re opportunities to fail or opportunities to succeed. Some guys grasped the opportunities and some need to buckle down,” Aversa said.

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KNIGHT NUMBERS

3.27

The KHS baseball squad, with a 3.27 GPA for the season, earned an IHSA Team Academic Award. This award recognizes teams that maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher throughout their respective season.

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Lady Knight hoops solidifies core with summer play

Photo: Vanessa Gould handles the rock with care against Morris. File Photo
SUGAR GROVE—Cracking open a textbook can wait until the summer ends, but breaking through a defensive scheme on the court can’t, if you’re a KHS girls basketball player.

In order to solidify a fluid roster and improve on a campaign that saw a heartbreaking regional loss to Plano four months ago, the summer circuit has taken on more importance than ever.

Kaneland’s group, commanded by head coach Ernie Colombe and assistant coach Tom Dillavan in the summer months, has gone 17-7 with roughly a third of the schedule left.

A night before Tuesday’s action at the Glenbard South Summer League setting, Colombe took stock of the team’s talent and where the crew has been.

“We ran our own league last year, and we wanted to play some bigger schools,” Colombe said. “Glenbard’s got a good league with 19 teams, and most of the schools are 4A schools. Geneva and Downers Grove schools are there, Willowbrook and Glenbard West, so there’s a lot of good schools. We look forward to seeing some new faces.”

Additional action has brought KHS to shootouts in Oregon, Neuqua Valley, Morris and York high schools.

Kaneland lost six seniors, including four starters after February, but summer brings a chance for potentially new starters and new additions, entirely.

“Obviously, we want to win as many games as we can and make a culture where you’re expected to win. I think it’s important from that aspect, but at the same time there’s time’s we’re missing players. For us and our staff, it’s all about getting better,” Colombe said.

Returning to man the lineup are assets like post player Kelly Wallner, Caroline Heimerdinger at the point, Vanessa Gould as a mid-range find and Amber Winquist-Bailey, who finds tasks everywhere on the court.

“Katie Brinkman has also had some big games this summer and has shown she’s capable of scoring,” Colombe said.

Winquist-Bailey, who could see increased minutes at shooting guard, is taking the summer league experience in and realizes the importance.

“We’re finding out what people are good at and finding their position, and playing together as a team, because we haven’t played with these girls yet. So being able to play as a team like this is good,” Winquist-Bailey said.

Dividends will pay off, but it’s too early to tell just how big.

“When we lost the seniors, they had some big roles, so it’s been a big summer in terms of figuring out who might fill those roles,” Colombe said.

The Lady Knights continue the summer action on Thursday, June 27, as part of the Glenbard South league.

DrewDavid

Kaneland keeps ball rolling with summer basketball

File Photo: Drew David

Knights participate in weekend’s Tiger Shootout in Joliet
KANELAND—In the sixth tournament final, it was Benet Academy laying the roundball skills to Rich East on Saturday to capture championship glory.

Benet beat Homewood-Flossmoor, while Rich East bested York in the championship semifinals of the Tiger Shootout summer tournament in Joliet, Ill.

The Pool E final standings after Friday had Kaneland in third place, ahead of Minooka, but behind Homewood-Flossmoor and Mt. Carmel.

Chicago’s Mt. Carmel got past Kaneland by a 58-42 clip in pool play, followed by KHS edging sometimes-rival Minooka 47-43. H-F defeated Kaneland in the final initial Pool E encounter.

After losing to Ottawa, Kaneland beat Joliet West JV in Saturday’s third-place bracket semis before losing to Plainfield North in the third-place consolation final on Saturday, finishing 2-4 on the weekend.

For coach Brian Johnson, it was a chance to see high-caliber teams like Benet, Rich East, Zion-Benton, Crete-Monee and Thornwood.

“There were some really good teams there,” Johnson said. “Our league in the regular season is good, and we have a tough out-of-league schedule, so it’s nice to see those teams.”

Seeing action at outposts like Joliet and the upcoming Morris Shootout also gives the Knights roundballers a chance to hone skills, paying dividends once the weather turns colder.

The Knights’ summer rotation includes Drew David, John Pruett and Tyler Carlson, three members of the 2012-13 crew that were responsible for the productive run.

“Drew has worked on his shot; John tweaked an ankle and has been inactive a little bit, but he’s playing well, and Tyler has put a lot of work in and has been consistent. You also have guys like Tom Van Bogaert, who comes in every day at 6 a.m. to work on his shot. It’s nice to see guys like that step in. As a coach, it’s nice to see where everyone fits in,” Johnson said.

The Knights’ next challenge is the 28th annual Morris Shootout, which began on Wednesday and continues through Thursday, June 27. KHS faces Springfield High School at 3 p.m., followed by a meeting with Belleville West serving as the next opponent at 5 p.m.

Notes
Johnson also coaches the North side in the IBCA Class 3A/4A game at Illinois Wesleyan University’s Shirk Center on Saturday, June 29. Kaneland is also in the planning stages of a Feb. 15, 2014, shootout featuring teams like Hillcrest, North Chicago and St. Charles East. Varsity and sophomore teams would all see action, with name and additional team slots to be determined.

Kucera — File Photo

Late surge leads to Kucera win

Trio of KHS track athletes compete in elite meet; Kucera wins the 800-meter

KANELAND—Kaneland High School track state champion Nathaniel Kucera continued his dominating year by setting a school record in the 800m run on Saturday.

Kucera was one of three Kaneland High School track stars invited to the second annual Midwest Distance Festival on Saturday, held at Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill.

The Midwest Distance Festival, is an event geared to give student-athletes an opportunity to run against elite athletes from the region. Athletes must qualify for entry in the meet by achieving qualifying times during track meets this year.

Junior state champions Kyle Carter and Kucera both competed in the 800 meter run, and long-distance runner Victoria Clinton competed in the two-mile run.

One fourth of the Class 2A championship 4X800m relay squad, Kucera put on a burst in the final 200 meters of the run, weaving inside one runner and outside of another as he moved from fifth to the front. He crossed the line with a winning time of 1:51.33, .36 ahead of the second-place runner, Brad Johnson of Brookfield East, Wisc. Carter finished in 11th place, with a time of 1:55.31.

“Nathaniel and Kyle are both very confident. They knew the only expectation was to have fun and learn from the experience. Kucera had a huge break out. That broke the school record set by Ron Ackerman in 1975,” KHS track coach Eric Baron said.”Did I expect it? I’d say not yet, but the both of them are the best two middle runners I have ever coached or seen at this level.”

The video is available at dyestatil.com, or at the bottom of this article.

Just one of the eight boys and girls races held on the campus of Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill., the 800m field had 17 athletes, including Oswego East’s Chase Skenadore.

An accomplished runner having just completed her sophomore campaign, multiple State qualifier Clinton finished fifth in the two-mile run with a time of 11:29.84.

Fellow Northern Illinois Big XII standout Michelle Dobbs of Rochelle won the girls 800m run with a time of 2:10.96.

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Video via dyestatil.com[/colored_box]

nib12

Trophy case closed

Kaneland emerges with NIB-12 All-Sports Trophy
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—You’d be hard pressed to argue with the facts.

The facts say Kaneland High School athletics had an exemplary year in athletics for the 2012-13 calendar.

As a result, the Knights and Lady Knights were able to secure the Northern Illinois Big XII All-Sports Trophy for the season.

Kaneland’s 78.5 total was the same as West Division counterpart Geneseo.

In the 2011-12 year, KHS was second overall with 78.5, compared to DeKalb’s 79.

In the conference setup’s first season in 2010-11, the Knights finished second in the East with 68, compared to DeKalb’s 70 and Sterling’s 75.5 in the West.

Kaneland’s conference crowns came in football, golf, volleyball, boys basketball, softball, boys track and girls track.

In the rest of the East setup, Yorkville came in second at 72, followed by DeKalb at 66.5, Sycamore at 64, Morris at 48 and Rochelle at 38.

The West set-up had Geneseo, followed by Sterling at 72.5 and Ottawa at 64.5. LaSalle-Peru (63), Dixon (51) and Streator (35.5).

Dixon and Streator are vacating their NIB-12 spots at the end of the 2013-14 athletic season. Rochelle will then move to the West to create balanced, five-team divisions within the conference.

Dixon and Streator were the only institutions with no team conference titles in 2012-13.

Boys track going the Midwest Distance

Two Kaneland runners compete at Benedictine
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Not content with the productive goings-on at Eastern Illinois University two weekends ago, Kaneland High School track members Kyle Carter and Nathaniel Kucera, junior State medalists, have more work to do.

On Saturday, June 8, the two members of the Class 2A 4x800m relay champion foursome travel to Lisle, Ill., to compete at the 2013 Midwest Distance Festival, hosted by Benedictine University.

The second annual festival switches locations from the Joliet, Ill.-based Memorial Stadium.

The track tandem set a school record in Charleston, Ill. at the Class 2A State gathering along with junior teammates Luis Acosta and Conor Johnson with a time of 7:50.26.

Carter and Kucera are one of 16 athletes competing in the 800m run, which had a qualifying time of one minute, 56 seconds. Carter’s leg of the State run was 1:54.46, while Kucera’s entry was 1:54.40, fifth and ninth in the entire field, respectively.

Carter is not approaching the event any differently now that he is, by definition, one of the best in Illinois at what he does.

“I still get nervous before these things,” he said. “You never know what could happen. I just have to go in and see and run my own race.”

The two Class of 2014 members helped spur on a sixth-place team finish for boys track with 24 team points.

Slated to witness the race are the two runner’s families and KHS coach Eric Baron.

Lady Knight Victoria Clinton will also compete in the girls 2-mile run.

The festival consists of five events for the boys and three for the girls, along with a co-ed 5,000m run. The top three runners will be medaled after each event.

Benedictine University is located at 5700 College Rd. in Lisle, Ill.

Nathaniel Kucera secures the 4x800m State Title for the Knights. Tanner Andrews secured All State honors in the Triple Jump with a 44’ 1.5” effort at Saturday’s IHSA State Meet.                  
Photo by Sheri Farthing

A weekend to remember

4x800m Relay nabs State title, boys track takes sixth in Class 2A
KANELAND—Kaneland boys track has a long and storied history, and the 2013 team added to it this weekend.

The 4x800m relay team of Conor Johnson, Kyle Carter, Luis Acosta and Nathaniel Kucera set a school record and won the Class 2A State title for the 4x800m Relay event on Saturday at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Ill.

The 7:50.26 time beat Normal University’s effort by 1.32 seconds and put the KHS foursome into school immortality.

The State nod helped the Knights capture sixth overall in Class 2A with 24 team points. Cahokia (99.5), East St. Louis (40), Bloomington (37), Lakes (29) and Thornridge (26) rounded out the top five.

Recent history had the 4x400m Relay win first in 2010, Taylor Andrews win the 110m High Hurdles in 2011, Logan Markuson win the 300m Intermediate Hurdles in 2009 and Nick Sinon take the High Jump in 2010.

Friday saw the State kings take their Friday challenge with a time of 8:06.45.

“Conor, Kyle, Luis and Nathaniel are all great leaders, and they ran their legs,” KHS coach Eric Baron said. “They did great and ran outstanding.”

The State-winning challenge was accented by a topple of an opposing runner during a baton switch between Johnson and Carter, forcing Johnson to leap over a pile, and Carter to stop for the baton.

“I saw what was happening and it was a little bit of ‘Oh my God,’ but I recovered quick,” Carter said.

The Knight effort saw plenty of finalists competing on the EIU track on the final day of the track and field season.

The 4x400m group of Johnson, Carter, Kucera and Dylan Nauert, with a time of 3:20.06, took second and a State medal nod, just :1.02 behind East St. Louis. The four won their Friday heat at 3:23.22.

Tanner Andrews closed his career out with a sixth-place effort and a medal in the Triple Jump after a 44-1.5. The senior jumped 44-1.5 in Friday action to qualify.

Junior Nate Dyer took ninth in the Shot Put with a mark of 51-10, after clearing that mark in prelims.

Kucera took ninth overall in the 400m Dash (50.76), after topping his prelim heat at 50.01.

Senior Kory Harner finished 10th overall in the Pole Vault thanks to a 13-06.

Senior Marshall Farthing finished 14th overall in the High Jump with a mark of 6-2, after clearing 6-3 in the prelims.

Friday action also saw the 4x100m Relay squad of Brandon Bishop, Brandon Cottier, Nauert and Ben Barnes take fifth in their heat with a time of 43.95.

Nauert finished sixth in his 110m High Hurdles prelim heat with a mark of 15.52, and second in his 300m Hurdles event prelim heat at 40.05.

In the 200m Dash, Cottier took sixth in his prelim heat with a time of 22.74, while Bishop took sixth in his prelim heat at 22.80.

The Pole Vault prelims saw Dylan Kuipers go 11th at 13 feet, while Harner tied for first in the prelims at 13-09.

A productive year highlighted by an astounding weekend won’t soon be forgotten by the winners.

‘We were down there to compete, and we knew it was possible,” Carter said.

“People forget this was a young group of kids, and the relays are loaded with juniors,” KHS coach Eric Baron said. “You had guys like Andrews and Harner and Farthing close out their careers in great ways, and we got to see what’s ahead.”

The State Champion 4x800m Relay team (above) of Conor  Johnson, Kyle Carter, Luis Acosta and Nathaniel Kucera on the podium at Saturday’s IHSA State Meet. They broke a school record,  running 7:50.26. Photo by  Sheri Farthing
The State Champion 4x800m Relay team (above) of Conor
Johnson, Kyle Carter, Luis Acosta and Nathaniel Kucera on the podium at Saturday’s IHSA State Meet. They broke a school record,
running 7:50.26.
Photo by
Sheri Farthing
Nathaniel Kucera secures the 4x800m State Title for the Knights.
Nathaniel Kucera secures the 4x800m State Title for the Knights.
Photo by Sheri Farthing
The 4x400m Relay team (left) of Conor  Johnson, Kyle Carter, Nathaniel Kucera and Dylan Nauert ran a 4:20.06 to place second at Saturday’s IHSA State Meet.  Photo by  Sheri Farthing
The 4x400m Relay team (left) of Conor
Johnson, Kyle Carter, Nathaniel Kucera and Dylan Nauert ran a 4:20.06 to place second at Saturday’s IHSA State Meet.
Photo by
Sheri Farthing
Tanner Andrews secured All State honors in the Triple Jump with a 44’ 1.5” effort at Saturday’s IHSA State Meet.                   Photo by Sheri Farthing
Tanner Andrews secured All State honors in the Triple Jump with a 44’ 1.5” effort at Saturday’s IHSA State Meet.
Photo by Sheri Farthing
Marshall Farthing in the High Jump. Photo by Sheri Farthing
Marshall Farthing in the High Jump.
Photo by Sheri Farthing
Korey Harner in the Pole Vault.
Korey Harner in the Pole Vault.
Photo by Sheri Farthing
Softball_May25_6

Valiant comeback falls short

Softball eliminated despite six-run flurry in seventh inning
AURORA—The end of Saturday’s Class 3A Rosary Regional final is something Kaneland fans will remember for quite awhile.

Kaneland softball wishes there was more to the season than mere memories, however.

Falling behind 7-0 to No. 2 seed Rosary on Saturday morning, the top seed Lady Knights put together an exciting six-run rally before falling just short in a 7-6 loss.

Kaneland finished the season at 24-4, while Rosary improved to 13-18. The Lady Royals were scheduled to face perennial powerhouse Marengo at Wednesday’s Rochelle Sectional semifinal.

The Lady Knights captured a regional title last year at IMSA against Yorkville before being dethroned by Sterling at the Belvidere North Sectional, and seemed to have odds in its favor after a recent doubleheader sweep of Rosary, as well as a five-inning rout of Sandwich in the regional semi last week.

Rosary put up one run in the top of the second for a 1-0 lead, and KHS had a two-out opportunity with two runners in scoring position, but came up empty.

After Rosary put up two more runs in the top of the fourth for a 3-0 lead, the Lady Knights had the bases loaded with one out, but a fielder’s choice and groundout were induced by Rosary to extinguish the threat.

The Lady Royals tallied three in the fifth and one more in the sixth for a sizable lead, setting the drama for the last frame.

With one out, Lexi Roach and Aly O’Herron both singled before Lanie Callaghan drove home a run with a single to finally get on the board.

Catcher Paige Kuefler proceeded to smack a three-run homer to right field to close the deficit to 7-4, and was followed by Sarah Grams’ solo shot in her final Kaneland at-bat to make it 7-5.

Meg Cohrs doubled, and Allie Miller lined out to right. Haley Contorno hit a double to the wall to drive Cohrs home, cutting the lead to one. With the tying run in scoring position, Caroline Heimerdinger grounded out to the pitcher to end the game.

Ellissa Eckert took the loss in the pitchers’ circle.

“You have to take advantage of every opportunity, both offensively and defensively,” KHS coach Brian Willis said. “We didn’t do it early in the game. Until the last inning, it seemed every ball we hit hard went right at them.”

With the elimination, the Kaneland program bids farewell to the season with a core of seniors Grams, O’Herron, Morgan Newhouse, Taylor Krawczyk, Kristin Gabrielson and Eckert.

“I’m proud of the way they did win two back-to-back conference championships and a lot of victories,” Willis said. “They’ve only lost 11 games in two years. This is a painful one to lose, but Rosary gets credit today.”

Photos by Kimberly Anderson

491

Baseball spiked by Spartans

Knights nab first postseason win in 2 years, but loses in regional final
KANELAND—After getting upended by DeKalb in the regional semifinal in 2012, to play for a regional plaque in 2013 was a welcome sight for Kaneland baseball.

But the sight of a regional plaque is all that can be afforded, rather than grasping it.

The Knights took a day-long break before getting to the field due to rain in the area, ultimately beating Sandwich on Friday by a final of 6-0. They followed that up with a tough 3-2 loss to St. Francis of Wheaton on Saturday morning.

Kaneland finished the season with a 13-18 record, its first losing campaign since 2006, which ended in a regional loss to Batavia at Oswego High School.

Kaneland has hosted regionals three of the last four years in Class 3A, and been bounced by Hampshire, DeKalb and now St. Francis at the home location.

Before the end of the season, Kaneland was able to tame the Interstate Eight Conference stalwart Indians and Ohio University-bound pitcher Jake Roehn on Friday.

Roehn managed to mow down 10 Knights, but the KHS lineup supported winning hurler Curtis Thorson with five second-inning runs.

Thorson, Zack Martinelli, Ty Bellock, Dan Miller and Matt Limbrunner with a triple all had run-scoring hits in the frame. Tyler Carlson’s RBI single cemented the margin in the fifth inning.

Against the top-seeded Spartans, scheduled to face Burlington Central at the Sycamore Sectional on Wednesday, Kaneland found two runs in the top of the first thanks to a Joe Komel single and a Josh Cohrs fielder’s choice.

St. Francis managed to plate three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning off losing pitcher John Hopkins, and held off Kaneland threats the rest of the way.

With the loss, Kaneland says goodbye to seniors Josh Sitterly, Kyle Pollastrini, Martinelli, Limbrunner, Bellock, Matt Kucera, Hopkins, Cohrs, Miller, Lane Davis, Blake Sowell, Austen Davis, Jake Parry, Joe Pollastrini and Nick Albano.

Photos by Patti Wilk

Freshman Brianna Bower (19) cruised to an 11:19.33 in Saturday’s 3200m Run Final at the IHSA State Meet. Bower placed seventh overall, earning all state honors. Photo by Ben Draper

Fine finish

Girls track concludes season at state finals
KANELAND—It was a weekend well spent in Charleston, Ill.

With a select few events able to go down to Eastern Illinois University for the Class 2A girls track State meet, Kaneland made the most of it.

Seven events saw Kaneland garb grace the track, and the Kaneland’s four team points in the finals earned it 52nd place in the entire Class 2A landscape.

Six events, with the exception of the long jump, made PRs.

Lauren Zick still managed to finish 11th overall in the long jump with a mark of 16 feet, 11.25 inches, despite no PR and battling an illness.

Christina Delach took a 10th place tie in the pole vault with a 10-foot effort, same as in her prelim group.

Amanda Lesak, Aislinn Lodwig, Jessica Kucera and Sydney Strang took ninth in a crowded 4x800m relay field with a time of 9:40.76. They raced a 9:39.47 in prelims.

In the 3200m run, Brianna Bower broke the school record held for 26 years by Amy Eddington, with a time of 11:19.33, good for seventh overall.

Ashley Castellanos concluded a productive career in the triple jump by hitting a 35-06 in her Friday effort.

Victoria Clinton raced a 5:18.32 in her 1600m run effort on Friday, while the 4x400m relay unit of Lesak, Castellanos, Allie Heinzer and Zick raced a 4:04.11 on Friday.

“I think the consistent effort you see each year from the girls is a combination of learning from older girls, the work ethic and the fact we get quality girls to come out for track and field at KHS,” KHS coach Doug Ecker said. “Girls like Clinton and Bower show up with a great work ethic. But it’s much easier to keep the ball rolling than to start from scratch each year.”

The team sweepstakes was taken by Springfield Southeast, with 66 points.

Junior Christina Delach vaulted 10’0” at Saturday’s Pole Vault Final during the IHSA State Meet, placing 10th overall. Photo by Ben Draper
Junior Christina Delach vaulted 10’0” at Saturday’s Pole Vault Final during the IHSA State Meet, placing 10th overall. Photo by Ben Draper
Brianna Bower nears the end of the 3200m Run Final at Saturday’s IHSA State Meet. Photo by Ben Draper
Brianna Bower nears the end of the 3200m Run Final at Saturday’s IHSA State Meet.
Photo by Ben Draper
Amanda Lesak hands off to teammate Aislinn Lodwig during Saturday’s 4x800m Relay Final at the IHSA State Meet. Photo by Ben Draper
Amanda Lesak hands off to teammate Aislinn Lodwig during Saturday’s 4x800m Relay Final at the IHSA State Meet.
Photo by Ben Draper
Junior Christina Delach vaulted 10’0” at Saturday’s Pole Vault Final during the IHSA State Meet, placing 10th overall. Photo by Ben Draper
Junior Christina Delach vaulted 10’0” at Saturday’s Pole Vault Final during the IHSA State Meet, placing 10th overall. Photo by Ben Draper
Senior  Amanda Lesak  gets a good start to the 4x800m Relay. The Lady Knight quartet of Lesak, Aislinn Lodwig, Jessica Kucera and Sydney Strang ran the relay in 9:40.76, good enough for ninth place and a state medal. Photos by Ben Draper
Senior Amanda Lesak gets a good start to the 4x800m Relay. The Lady Knight quartet of Lesak, Aislinn Lodwig, Jessica Kucera and Sydney Strang ran the relay in 9:40.76, good enough for ninth place and a state medal. Photos by Ben Draper
Freshman Brianna Bower (19) cruised to an 11:19.33 in Saturday’s 3200m Run Final at the IHSA State Meet. Bower placed seventh overall, earning all state honors. Photo by Ben Draper
Freshman Brianna Bower (19) cruised to an 11:19.33 in Saturday’s 3200m Run Final at the IHSA State Meet. Bower placed seventh overall, earning all state honors. Photo by Ben Draper

Just short

Soccer falls in overtime to Rosary in regional
ROCHELLE—They have to stop meeting like this.

For the third time in the past five seasons, the Kaneland Lady Knights were eliminated in a regional final by the rival Rosary Royals.

It happened in double overtime to Rosary on Friday afternoon in Ogle County at Rochelle High School, by a final of 2-1.

That followed a 8-0 regional semifinal win on May 15 in Rochelle over Illinois Math and Science Academy.

KHS finishes the 2013 campaign 11-5-3, with a 7-1-2 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII play.

Kaneland lost to Rosary in regional finals in 2010 and 2011, while losing to Crystal Lake Central in 2009 and in a regional semi to CLC in 2012.

Rosary was set to play Prairie Ridge of Crystal Lake on Wednesday in the Freeport Sectional semifinal.

KHS played Rosary tight but couldn’t find the back of the net, until a Brittany Olson goal with just 1:20 to go in regulation tied the score after a 1-0 Rosary lead chiseled in the first half.

After one 10-minute overtime session went scoreless, the Lady Knights were felled by a goal in the second overtime for the loss.

Against IMSA last Wednesday, the Lady Knights ambushed the Lady Titans for six goals in the first half.

“The one thing we stress every game is win each half. So if we’re up 6-0, we immediately say ‘alright, it’s 0-0,’ and we’ve done that every game this year,” KHS coach Scott Parillo said.

Olson scored 1:28 into the contest on a feed from Jess Coia to open the floodgates. With 36 minutes to play in the first half, Heather Ortiz scored on an assist from both Olson and Courtney Diddell.

With 27:30 to go, Kiandra Powell found the back of the net on a feed from Courtney Diddell for a 3-0 lead.

Twenty minutes went by with no scoring until Olson scored for the second time with 7:12 left in the half on an assist from Madi Jurcenko for a 4-0 edge.

The first half scoring closed out thanks to Emily Chapman’s goal with 6:19 on a Diddell assist and Emily Grams’ score with 3:17 to go on a Coia assist.

In the second half, goals were accounted for by Diddell (Gabby Cano assist) with 34:15 to go, and the victory stamp came from Julia Lemp with 11:48 to play from a Michelle Ortiz assist.

The scoring barrage made it an easy day in net for keeper Jordan Ginther.

“You just have to stay in the game and stay focused,” Ginther said. “I know they can score, and they’re capable. It’s just as important for me to keep the ball out of the net.”

With the season-ending setback, the Lady Knights bid farewell to seniors Ginther, Anne Marie Giese, Brooke Harner, Alex Lyons, Nicole Hanlon, Anne Salerno and Karizza Sotelo.

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Rise of the Knights

Photo: Three-time state qualifier Corey Harner will be joined by numerous members of the boys track team at the IHSA State Track and Field meet this weekend. The Knights won the Sectional title, easily outdistancing second-place Winnebago 151-68. File Photo

Boys tracks wins 5th straight Sectional, qualifies 10 individuals, three relays for State
KANELAND—Fans could most likely identify Kaneland boys track on Friday by the team out in front.

At the Class 2A Sterling Sectional, the Knights amassed 151 points, compared to second-place Winnebago (68) and third-place Burlington Central (66).

School records were set by Kaneland in both the 4x800m relay and 4x400m relays.

In the 4×800, Kyle Carter, Luis Acosta, Nathaniel Kucera and Conor Johnson ran wild with a 7:55.09, while the foursome of Carter, Dylan Nauert, Kucera and Johnson hit the 3:19.99 mark in the 4×4.

“We just go out there and do what we’ve been doing all season,” Johnson said. “We just stay calm and try our hardest. We don’t want to look ahead too much.”

The 4x100m relay squad of Brandon Bishop, Brandon Cottier, Nauert and Ben Barnes also qualified for state with a second-place, 43.30 tally.

“At the state meet, that’s when we want to run our best times and do our best,” Cottier said. “This is all on the table, and we perform good at big meets.”

The relay success was just the beginning.

In the pole vault, both Dylan Kuipers (13-9) and Kory Harner (13-3) qualified as the top two vaulters.

As a three-time qualifier, Harner still gets pumped and focused for Charleston, Ill.

“I think this year I’m more mature than in the past,” Harner said. “The outcome has been the same at the sectional meet the last few years, but I think I still have a lot of room to grow.”

Marshall Farthing took second in the high jump with an effort of 6-3.

“I was pretty consistent on Friday and made a 6-1 attempt in my first jump and got all the nerves out of my system. I’m hoping the same thing happens at State,” Farthing said.

Fellow field competitor Nate Dyer won the shot put at 51-4.

Tanner Andrews won the triple jump at 44-9, and doesn’t feel like slowing down.

“I think I have pretty good form, and I’ve improved a lot from last year,” Andrews said. “I’ve been working in practice every day in all three phases.”

Nauert became sectional champion in the 100m high hurdles (15.33) and 300m intermediate hurdles (39.00), while teammate Kucera also took some individual praise with a 49.22, second-place showing in the 400m dash.

In the 200m dash, Bishop took third with a 22.4, followed closely by Cottier at 22.46.

The trip to Eastern Illinois University will be a packed one, but nothing the Knights aren’t used to handling, according to KHS coach Eric Baron.

‘We don’t win the sectional on the back of one or two athletes, we win the sectional on the depth of our entire squad,” Baron said. “We scored in all but two events. We have expectations, and the seniors know that, and the junior class will lead on with that next year, and our freshman saw it.”

The Class 2A meet begins on Friday, May 24.

Taking care of business

KHS begins regional with rout over Sandwich
KANELAND—Lady Knights softball continues to roll.

In the case of DeKalb, Rosary and Sandwich, it was over the opponents.

Kaneland clinched the outright claim of Northern Illinois Big XII champions after the 4-0 blanking of the Lady Barbs last Thursday, and followed it up with a 10-3 and 16-6 twin sweep of visiting Rosary on Saturday before crushing the Sandwich Lady Indians in the Class 3A Rosary Regional semifinal, 10-0 in five innings.

NIB-12 champion Kaneland is now 24-3 (9-1 Northern Illinois Big XII) headed into this weekend’s play.

Against the rival Lady Barbs, Ellissa Eckert earned the win in the pitcher’s circle. Leadoff presence Lexi Roach scored two runs, while cleanup slugger Lanie Callaghan homered off DeKalb pitching.

After stockpiling 26 runs against the Lady Royals over weekend play—including 17 hits in game two—to officially close out the 2013 regular season, Kaneland took over as top seed in the Aurora-based regional to subdue Sandwich. The Lady Indians earned the right to face KHS after a Monday win over IMSA, 27-5.

”I was pleased all-around,” KHS coach Brian Willis said. “Defensively and with the pitching, and of course, scoring 10 runs helps, too. I wouldn’t say they got on another level, but they’re at the level they’re capable of being at. That helps everybody else get going.”

Eckert didn’t allow a hit in the five-inning affair. Kaneland broke a scoreless tie with a six-run second inning that featured triples by Sarah Grams and Meg Cohrs (two RBI), with Haley Contorno, Caroline Heimerdinger and Lexi Roach getting run-scoring hits.

In the bottom of the third, Allie Miller scored on an RBI single by Roach to make it 7-0.

The three-run explosion by Kaneland would end the contest early, beginning with back-to-back singles by Contorno and Miller, with Cohrs reaching on an error.

Heimerdinger singled to make it 8-0, followed by game-ending walks drawn by Roach and Aly O’Herron for the victory.

Miller thinks she can help the lineup continue with a torrid pace.

“I’ve been seeing the ball so much better,” Miller said. “I’ve improved my swing. I’m smarter when I’m hitting, and everything is coming together this year.”

Kaneland is set to face either (2) Rosary or (3) Plano in the regional title game on Saturday, May 25, at 11 a.m.

Senior Joe Pollastrini, leaps to grab a high throw in attempt to make an out at second base during Kaneland’s 5-3 loss to Batavia at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva.
Photo by Patti Wilk

Hello, old friend

KHS faces Batavia in Midwest League setting in tail-end of regular season
KANELAND—What’s one more postponement for Kaneland baseball?

In a 2013 campaign rife with cancellations, 19 to be exact, Kaneland baseball wanted to make up its non-conference contest from Friday with Batavia.

It was to get a final tune-up before Class 3A regionals start; it was for a good cause—the Caitlyn Phillips Memorial game—and it was a chance to get some innings in at the home of the Cubs’ Class A team, the Kane County Cougars.

With the match-up moved to Saturday morning, the Knights were not able to withstand the Bulldogs in a 5-3 matchup.

The game was moved in place of a contest with West Aurora.

Tuesday saw the regular season finale with visiting Wheaton-Warrenville South of the Dupage Valley Conference, in which Kaneland fell 10-2.

Kaneland finishes the regular season with a 12-17 mark, with a 7-8 record in Northern Illinois Big XII play. The tally marked the first losing season for Kaneland baseball in seven years.

Against the former Suburban Prairie Conference North division and Western Sun Conference rivals, the Knights gave up single runs in the first, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings, with the one of the fourth breaking a 1-1 tie. Kaneland’s two-spot in the bottom of the sixth closed it within 4-3.

John Hopkins took the loss for the Knights, despite giving up just one run on two hits. Josh Sitterly went 1-for-1, while teammate Jake Parry went 1-for-2 with an RBI.

Against WWS, Kaneland fell behind early, surrendering one in the first, three in the second, and two in the third. The Knights put up a pair of runs in the fifth, but it wasn’t enough to turn the tide.

Kaneland prepares for the Class 3A postseason landscape, with the No. 2 seed Knights facing No. 3 Sandwich in the Kaneland Regional.

The winner of that Thursday, May 23, 4 p.m. contest faces either No. 1 St. Francis of Wheaton or No. 4 Plano (Tuesday) in the regional title game on Saturday, May 25, at 11 a.m.

The Kaneland Regional champ faces the Burlington Central Regional winner out at Sycamore next week for a sectional semifinal.

A year ago, and fresh off a 2011 State crown, Kaneland was dropped by DeKalb on May 21, 2012, in a 9-3 regional semifinal. DeKalb would go onto the Kaneland Regional final only to lose to Marmion Academy 4-1.

The 2013 Kaneland baseball seniors. Photo by Patti Wilk
The 2013 Kaneland baseball seniors.
Photo by Patti Wilk

Varsity Head Coach Brian Aversa addresses the team at the end of the game. Photo by Patti Wilk
Varsity Head Coach Brian Aversa addresses the team at the end of the game.
Photo by Patti Wilk
Senior Joe Pollastrini leaps for a high throw in attempt to make an out at second, while John Hopkins looks on. Photo by Patti Wilk
Senior Joe Pollastrini leaps for a high throw in attempt to make an out at second, while John Hopkins looks on.
Photo by Patti Wilk
Senior Dan Miller dives back to first base during the sixth inning. Photo by Patti Wilk
Senior Dan Miller dives back to first base during the sixth inning.
Photo by Patti Wilk
Senior Josh Cohrs tags for an out at home plate , but the call was overturned.  Photo by Patti Wilk
Senior Josh Cohrs tags for an out at home plate , but the call was overturned.
Photo by Patti Wilk
Matt Kucera makes a flyball catch for an out. Photo by Patti Wilk
Matt Kucera makes a flyball catch for an out.
Photo by Patti Wilk
Senior Matt Limbrunner is ready to grab the ball for an out at first base during the third inning of Kaneland’s 5-3 loss to Batavia at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva. Photo by Patti Wilk
Senior Matt Limbrunner is ready to grab the ball for an out at first base during the third inning of Kaneland’s 5-3 loss to Batavia at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva.
Photo by Patti Wilk
Senior Zack Martinelli offers a high five to Lane Davis as he arrives at home plate during the second inning of Kaneland’s 5-3 loss to Batavia at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva. Photo by Patti Wilk
Senior Zack Martinelli offers a high five to Lane Davis as he arrives at home plate during the second inning of Kaneland’s 5-3 loss to Batavia at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva.
Photo by Patti Wilk
Senior Joe Pollastrini, leaps to grab a high throw in attempt to make an out at second base during Kaneland’s 5-3 loss to Batavia at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva. Photo by Patti Wilk
Senior Joe Pollastrini, leaps to grab a high throw in attempt to make an out at second base during Kaneland’s 5-3 loss to Batavia at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva.
Photo by Patti Wilk
Senior John Hopkins readies a throw to first base during Kaneland’s 5-3 loss to Batavia at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva. Photo by Patti Wilk
Senior John Hopkins readies a throw to first base during Kaneland’s 5-3 loss to Batavia at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva.
Photo by Patti Wilk
The family of Caitlyn Phillips was warmly received by Kaneland Varsity players. Photo by Patti Wilk
The family of Caitlyn Phillips was warmly received by Kaneland Varsity players.
Photo by Patti Wilk
Seniors and their parents are announced and gather on the field to be recognized at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva May 18.  Photo by Patti Wilk
Seniors and their parents are announced and gather on the field to be recognized at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva May 18.
Photo by Patti Wilk
BTrack2a

Conference Champs

KHS boys track team takes top spot at NIB-12
KANELAND—Northern Illinois Big XII conference boys track certainly has its share of talented teams.

Kaneland made certain it was included in that discussion, netting a conference championship as a team and showing the strength it boasts in a variety of events.

Venturing to the grounds of Dixon High School for the final time under NIB-12 jurisdiction, the Knights finished first by a sizable margin, with 139 points. Close rival DeKalb was second with a 95-point output, and Geneseo was third at 71 points.

It marked the last stop before Kaneland’s trip to the Class 2A sectional gathering in Sterling.

Kyle Carter beat his conference foes and almost beat a KHS school record, winning the 800-meter run with a time of 1:54.46, the second-fastest time in school history.

“Distance had a huge night,” Baron said. “(Carter) beat his best time by almost four seconds.”

Carter added to his winning ways as part of the 4×400-meter relay team and the 4×800-meter relay team, earning a total of three conference crowns.

The 4×400 team of Carter, Dylan Nauert, Nathaniel Kucera and Brandon Bishop took the top spot with a time of 3:23.77. The 4×800 team of Carter, Kucera, Conor Johnson and Luis Acosta left the rest of the field behind, winning the event by a 12-second margin at 8:03.68.

Kucera, who earned conference titles with Carter in both the 4×400 and 4×800 relays, added his third of the night with a big win in the 400-meter dash, cruising to a 49.79 time. Johnson took third in the event with a time of 50.80.

Nauert earned two conference titles and added a second-place finish, having been part of the 4×400-relay team and then taking the 300-meter low hurdles title with a time of 39.88 seconds, 1.2 ahead of the rest of the pack. He teamed up with Bishop, Brandon Cottier and Ben Barnes to nab second in the 100-meter relay, with a time of 43.80.

Kaneland relays earned another second-place finish with a tally of 1:31.81 in the 4×200-meter relay, featuring Bishop, Cottier, Isaac Swithers and Barnes.

The field events proved to be an equal opportunity for Knight success, with the top two pole vault spots going to Dylan Kuipers (14-0) and teammate Kory Harner (13-3).

Tanner Andrews of the Knights outfit was king of the triple jump with a 44-05, a good 1-04 over Geneseo’s Josh Beard.

Kaneland heaver Nate Dyer managed a first in the shot put with a 53-02.25, while a 151-04 was good for third in the discus throw.

In the 100-meter dash, Cottier took second with a time of 11.20 seconds, while teammate Bishop managed a fourth with a mark of 11.32.

The 200m dash yielded similar success, as Cottier took second at 22.90, while fellow Knight Barnes was fourth with a time of 23.43.

Kaneland also hosted a pre-postseason get-together in Maple Park against the likes of Hinckley-Big Rock, IMSA and Sandwich on Monday, with team scores not kept.

Noteworthy first-place performances were had by the 3200m relay team (9:11.94), Nauert in the 110m high hurdles (15.29), Bishop in the 100m dash (10:59), Dalvell Triplett in the triple jump (41-03) and Carter in the 800m run (2:04.12).

Ahead for Kaneland is the Friday, May 17, Sterling Sectional. Other NIB-12 schools include Dixon, Rochelle and Sycamore.

119-e1369334720625

Leading the way at Burlington Sectional

Lady Knights qualify for state in seven events
KANELAND—Friday’s Class 2A Burlington Central Sectional had many good teams, but only one collective winner.

That would end up being the local outfit from Maple Park.

With 73 points as a team, Kaneland girls track edged Hampshire to become 2013 sectional champs.

The hosts, at 69 points, took third, followed by Sterling with 57 and Sycamore with 52.

Kaneland ended up with seven events in the state-qualifying range, with the end-of-season meet at Eastern Illinois University this weekend.

“They always rise to the occasion, just like they did at conference,” KHS coach Doug Ecker said. “We never try to win a sectional; we try to qualify kids, but I think if they did what they were supposed to do, they would have a chance. Hampshire is a very good team.”

Junior Christina Delach got the party going with a third place, 9-9 effort in the pole vault.

Delach said she is happy to continue the long line of successful State-bound vaulters.

“I’ve been with a lot of girls that have qualified before, so it’s just kind of cool to be down there. I’ve been there to watch, now I can jump,” Delach said.

Junior Lauren Zick took second in the long jump, thanks to a 16-6.5.

Senior Ashley Castellanos was crowned sectional champion in her triple jump group by covering 34-08, which she did on her second, as well as her final jump.

Going for multiple events, Castellanos knew the value of practice and form.

“Every day I practiced, it made me a little bit better,” Castellanos said. “In something like the 4x400m, it’s how I can push through and how I can hold on to running that whole lap.”

In relay action, the KHS 4x800m foursome of senior Amanda Lesak, sophomore Aislinn Lodwig, junior Sydney Strang and sophomore Jessica Kucera captured the event with a time of 9:51.73, 2.23 seconds ahead of the Dixon challenge.

Freshman sensation Brianna Bower, with an 11:37.52 time in the 3200-meter run, secured a first-place honor.

Sophomore 1600m run rep Victoria Clinton continued along on her stellar 2012-13 athletic season by qualifying with a second-place, 5:20.92.

Finally, the 4x400m relay group of Castellanos, freshman Allie Heinzer, Lesak and Zick finished in second with a 4:07.45.

“I’ve definitely been working on race plans,” Zick said. “Basically getting ready for the competition and being ready for whatever comes our way.”

Lesak, a 4×4 veteran since the beginning of the campaign, thinks this week’s prep is simple.

“The most important thing we have to remember is to stay relaxed,” Lesak said. “Sometimes if you’re really nervous or tense up or thinking too much, that’s when the mistakes happen.”

The State meet occurs Thursday, May 16, through Saturday, May 18.

120

Pitching, defense lead to win over Cary-Grove

Baseball beats Streator, falls to Marengo, Sycamore, in big week
KANELAND—Knights baseball may have had a rougher go of it in 2013, but that doesn’t mean the boys can’t put together a stellar performance.

Behind junior Curtis Thorson’s arm, the infield defense and a homer by Matt Limbrunner, the Knights bested the Cary-Grove Trojans in non-conference play, 4-1, on Tuesday afternoon.

Monday brought a loss to invading Marengo by a 2-0 clip, while Saturday had KHS beat crossover foe and host Streator, 2-1. Last Thursday had the host Knights drop a 12-4 loss to the Morris Redskins.

With the regular season homestretch in sight, the Knights are 12-15 (7-8 Northern Illinois Big XII).

Thorson had his best arsenal against the Trojan lineup, and even went through a two inning stretch with just nine pitches thrown. Two key double plays in the field also helped the effort.

“This gives us some momentum going into regionals,” Thorson said. “My fastball was working, and the double plays kept the pitch count low.”

Limbrunner smacked a ball that straddled the inside of the left field foul pole for a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. After C-G tied the score in the fourth, a three-run fifth gave the Knights the lead once again. Nate Hopkins and Ty Bellock submitted RBI singles in the frame.

The win serves as a glimpse of what could happen if it all gets put together for KHS.

“I’d much rather have it this way,” KHS coach Brian Aversa said. “The double plays were a key to getting out of a lot of big innings. They turned it a few times and that was huge.”

Against Marengo, the Knights could manage just three hits in the shutout. Limbrunner went 5.2 innings on the mound for the loss, and also had a hit in the batters box.

Facing the Bulldogs on Saturday morning, the Knights saw a complete-game five-hitter from winner John Hopkins along with eight K’s. Hopkins also helped his cause with an RBI double, while Josh Cohrs also managed a two-bagger.

In the eight-run loss against Morris, Blake Sowell took the loss, and the Morris lineup broke a 5-2 game wide open with seven runs in the seventh inning.

Thorson had two RBI in the loss, while Dan Miller went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

KHS heads to Fifth Third Ballpark in Geneva, home of the Class A Kane County Cougars, for a matchup with Batavia on Friday, May 17, for “Caitlyn Phillips Memorial Night”. The sophomore game starts at 4:30 p.m., with the varsity game at 7 p.m.

Battle for the top

Lady Knights’ conference race goes down to the wire
KANELAND—With the end of the regular season in sight, the Kaneland High School softball team finds itself battling for the top spot in the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference.

“We’re going to have to go out and earn it if we want a solo championship,” head coach Brian Willis said. “They’re a tight-knit group that play well together and they encourage each other, and I think that helps if somebody starts getting down.”

On Saturday in Sterling, the Lady Knights escaped with a close 5-4 win. Against the non-conference host Plainfield North Tigers, the KHS crew used a seven-run seventh inning under cloudy skies for an 11-4 win.

On Thursday in Sycamore, Kaneland won 6-4. The Lady Knights improved to a stellar 19-3 with an 8-1 tally in Northern Illinois Big XII conference play, earning at least a tie in conference action. KHS has won five in a row.

With a close win over the conference crossover Golden Warriors, the bats came out in full force against the Plainfield North team.

The Knights broke a scoreless tie in the top of the fourth inning helped by four hits, including RBI singles from Caroline Heimerdinger and Meg Cohrs; a Maddie Hester hit was mishandled by the pitcher to bring the third run home.

Plainfield North took advantage of opportune hits and smacked a three-run homer to tie the game before tacking one on for a 4-3 lead.

Cohrs tied the game with a run-scoring double in the top of the sixth, setting the stage for the top of the seventh, which got the win for reliever Ellissa Eckert.

Eleven batters came to plate in the inning. Heimerdinger’s at-bat resulting in an E-6 brought Aly O’Herron home to break the tie, and Cohrs earned her fourth RBI of the game with a sacrifice fly to right. After a walk to Hester, Sarah Grams torched a ball for a three-run double to the wall to break the game wide open. Lexi Roach had an RBI triple, and O’Herron added a run-scoring single to cap the immense rally.

Cohrs’ big day, featuring a double and four RBI, was sizable on its own, meaning more that it was able to help a rally.

“I was able to hit a changeup, which was good, because I sometimes have trouble staying back,” Cohrs said. “I just ripped it to centerfield, and it was really rewarding.”

Willis was glad with the late-inning heroics.

“We stayed resilient once we gave up that lead,” he said. “We came back, and I thought we hit the ball real hard the last couple innings, especially that last inning. We hit line drives and made their defense work hard.”

Against Sycamore, Roach went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI, while O’Herron went 3-for-4 with four RBI and her first career home run.

The Lady Knights face off against DeKalb on Thursday, May 16, at 4:30 p.m. in Maple Park.

Zick Shines at NIB-12 meet

KHS sprinter takes 3 conference crowns
KANELAND—Friday’s Northern Illinois Big XII girls track meet in DeKalb gave many individuals an opportunity to see how they measure up conference-wide.

For Kaneland sprinter Lauren Zick, it became clear that others need to use her as the basis for comparison.

Zick left the competition in the dust in all three of her track events, winning the conference title in the 100-, 200-, and 400-meter dashes.

She blew away the field in the 100-meter dash, winning by 0.49 seconds with a time of 12.46. She both doubled the distance and nearly doubled the margin of victory in the 200-meter dash, winning by 0.94 seconds with a time of 25.78. Zick earned the hat trick with a .98-second win in the 400-meter dash, crossing the finish line at 1:00.01.

She nearly took her fourth victory in the long jump, just missing first by less than three inches. Her jump of 17-08.75 was good for second place.

Zick wasn’t the only Lady Knight to earn a conference championship, however. Kaneland’s 4×400-relay team of Jessica Kucera, Amanda Lesak, Sydney Strang and Allie Heinzer won their event with a time of 4:13.99.

While there were many individual accolades for Kaneland, the team overall proved strong as well, putting up 104 points in a second-place effort.

Bested by only West Division foe Geneseo’s 110, Kaneland’s second place was ahead of Yorkville by 14 points. Rounding out the top five were DeKalb at 69 and Sterling at 58.

Sycamore finished sixth with 52, and Dixon was well behind in seventh at 21 points.

“If they had put forth their best effort and they had finished sixth I would have been happy with that,” KHS coach Doug Ecker said. “We try to concentrate on working hard, being prepared for the conditions and the competition, and just executing the race, or jump, or throw. The girls have been very consistent and shown steady improvement as the season has progressed.”

That steady improvement led to a series of strong finishes in a variety of events, which supported the team’s strong showing.

Elle Tattoni took second in the discus with a 101-10 .

On the field, it was Lady Knight Christina Delach who earned second in her pole vault category by vaulting a 9-3.

Brianna Bower managed a third in the 3200-meter run with a time of 11:33.53.

In the relay groups, the KHS foursome of Kaltrina Ismaili, Ashley Castellanos, Noelle Espino and Allie Heinzer took third in the 4x200m relay at 1:51.81. The 4x800m relay group of Lesak, Kucera, Aislinn Lodwig and Strang took second at 9:58.50.

Ahead for Lady Knights track is the Class 2A Sectional held on Friday, May 10, at Burlington Central High School. Dixon, Rochelle, Sterling and Sycamore round out the NIB-12 contingent at the meet.

#7 bringing it back

Barrage of offense

Firepower dovetails with regular season
KANELAND—KHS coach Scott Parillo believes his team is playing great in this current stretch of the 2013 season.

His current lineup is making it quite hard to argue such a claim.

Kaneland posted back-to-back 7-0 wins over Hinckley-Big Rock on May 1 and Yorkville on Thursday.

That firepower failed to ignite Tuesday, however, when KHS battled conference-foe Sycamore to a 0-0 tie.

Kaneland is now 9-4-3 in the regular season, 6-1-2 in the Northern Illinois Big XII landscape.

Against Yorkville on Thursday, the Lady Knights and Lady Foxes had to sit through two lightning delays within the first 10 minutes of play, equaling one hour of sitting time. KHS made up for lost time by amassing six goals in the first half, and getting the necessary seventh with 37:10 left on the clock. The 7-0 deficit meant time sliced in half for the duration of the contest.

Madi Jurcenko changed the scoreboard 10 minutes into the game off an assist from both Courtney Diddell and Delaney Stryczek. Brittany Olson made it 2-0 with 27:50 to go off a feed from teammate Sage Schlehofer. For the 3-0 lead, Kiandra Powell scored the first of her three goals with 12:47 to go in the half from an Emily Grams assist. Powell scored 24 seconds later with a goal from a Gabby Cano assist. Powell completed the hat trick with 6:38 to go off a Grams assist. The first-half scoring was complete with 1:56 to go, thanks to a Diddell goal off of an Olson feed.

Powell was happy to see the evening’s output as much as anyone.

“The passes are going through right, and everyone is just working together as a team,” Powell said.

The night’s scoring was capped on Diddell’s second goal, halving the time.

“We’re starting to play very, very well right now, and it’s a lot of fun,” Parillo said. “They’re talking, shooting and doing whatever we ask them to do. They buy in what we’re trying to preach and it shows. We’ve outscored the opponent 20-0 in the last three games.”

Against H-BR, Michelle Ortiz scored twice, while Diddell and Powell found the back of the net.

Kaneland was set to conclude the regular season on Wednesday at home against Sycamore, before the week-long layoff leading to the Class 2A Rochelle Regional first-round matchup against Illinois Math and Science Academy.

Lengthy layoff ends

Photos by Patti Wilk

KHS baseball team faces full conference schedule
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It was familiar territory for Kaneland baseball, trying to tee off against Sycamore, DeKalb and Yorkville pitching.

The Knights had varying degrees of success as the calendar left April.

On Tuesday, Kaneland fell in a tough pitcher’s duel to Sycamore, 2-1. Monday had a home matchup with Sycamore that resulted in a 7-3 loss. On Saturday, a makeup contest with DeKalb ended in a 4-0 win and 4-1 loss in Maple Park. On Friday, Kaneland beat host Yorkville 3-2 and lost 6-3 on April 24.

Kaneland’s Matt Limbrunner took the loss on the mound, pitching five innings while surrendering two runs and six hits and collecting five strikeouts. He also went 1-for-3 from the plate with a solo home run.

Against the Spartans on Monday, Blake Sowell was tagged with the loss. Down 4-0, Kaneland scored three in the sixth, but could get no closer. Limbrunner contributed an RBI.

In the positive end of the Saturday split, Kaneland put up two in the first and two in the fourth for the shortened victory. Nick Albano had an RBI, while Kevin Kassinger took the win. The loss featured Kaneland tying the game in the sixth inning off of a Limbrunner RBI, but DeKalb put up three in the top of the seventh for the win. John Hopkins took the loss in relief.

On Thursday, the Knights fell behind 6-0 before posting one in the fourth and two in the sixth. Lane Davis and Joe Komel (two RBI) supplied the run-driving capabilities, while Limbrunner took the loss.

In the April 24 loss, the Knights were plagued by four errors in the field and a difficult strike zone to manage. Tyler Carlson supplied the only hit in the top of the third, while Yorkville scored one in the second, one in the third and two in the fifth to cinch matters.

Sowell was tagged with the loss, while the Foxes’ Kyle Shimp mowed the lineup down with 12 strikeouts.

The last real opportunity to score for KHS was in the top of the fifth when Ty Bellock reached on an error and stole second, but two strikeouts and a grounder to second ended the rally.

It marked the first game after a weather-induced layoff for the Knights, but Aversa knew a bounceback was necessary.

“I wasn’t disappointed in our pitching performance at all,” Aversa said.
“Offensively, we’ve got a lot of stuff to work on, defensively same thing. There were dropped balls and a couple anomalies. We’ve got to shake some rust off.”

The Knights, with a 7-11 overall record and 4-5 mark in conference play, host Sycamore on Thursday, May 2.

Kaneland boys track talent on display

KANELAND—Boys track’s landscape in the area had best watch out for KHS, as it stands to mow most teams down in its tracks.

With the weather largely improving, Kaneland’s roster took to the track at Marmion Academy on April 24 and the usual late-April Crystal Lake Central Invite on Friday, before traveling to Yorkville for a Northern Illinois Big XII battle that involved Morris.

Against the host Cadets and Chicago’s Jones High School, Kaneland claimed the day with 120 points, compared to 57 for Marmion and nine for Jones.

Winners for the Knights included the 4×100 meter relay, which took its competition in 45.01 seconds, Dylan Nauert with a 15.46 time in the 110m high hurdles and teammate Ben Barnes in the 100m dash at 10.82.

Kaneland’s Nathaniel Kucera ran over the field in the 800m run, thanks to his 2:02.74 effort, while Nauert struck again in the 300m low hurdles at 41.44. Kyle Carter of Kaneland’s 4:36.17 was good enough to win the 1600m run.

Barnes was at it again for Kaneland with a 200m dash win in 22.56, and the KHS foursome in the 1600m relay took the event in 3:32.28.

The field events features standouts like Marshall Farthing, taking the long jump at 20 feet, six inches, Dalvell Triplett winning triple jump competition with a 41-11, Alex Snyder taking the discus at 127-8 and JR Vest besting the pole vault field in 12 feet.

At the Crystal Lake Central Invite, the Knights captured the team title with 140.5 points.

Host CLC was an 82-point show, while Machesney Park’s Harlem was third with 74 points.

Carter was at it again in the 800m run with a first-place entry of 1:58.20, while the 800 and 1600m relay foursomes grabbed first with times of 1:31.92 and 3:22.88, respectively.

Farthing was second in the high jump at 6-3, while Harner was a 13-3.3 in the pole vault for second.

“Our field events have gone unnoticed, and that is a shame. They alone scored enough points at Peterson to win the meet,” KHS coach Eric Baron said. “We bring at least two great people per field event. The second athlete is the reason we are winning meets. They score so many points … In the throws and vault, we have such depth that if one of our guys is out, we can put another right in the place who will score.”

Tuesday saw Kaneland travel to Yorkville for a tri-meet against the hosts and Morris. The Knights came away with a big win, earning 103 points, well ahead of Yorkville’s second-place showing of 46 points.

The Knights travel to the annual Kane County Invite hosted by Burlington Central on Friday, May 3.

Kane and gain

Castellanos wins triple jump, team takes 3rd at Kane County Invite
by Mike Slodki
GENEVA—For the first time since 2005, the girls version of the Kane County Invite was hosted by Geneva. You’d have to go back to the days of athletes like Kristen Heckert and Holly Gruenke from not-so-long ago.

This past Friday in Geneva, Kaneland girls did their best to keep up with ghosts of KHS past at the traditional homestretch meet, and did well for themselves.

With a total output of 83 points, the Lady Knights beat out Hampshire by 12 points for the third-place slot. West Aurora won its fourth straight invite with 131 points, followed by St. Charles East at 100.5.

The hosts finished with 69 to round out the top five. Former conference rival Batavia finished with 54 to take sixth.

Ashley Castellanos conquered the field in the triple jump by jumping a 35 foot distance. She also finished fourth in the 100 meter dash finals with a 13.27-second time.

“She’s doing very well and performing very consistently,” KHS coach Doug Ecker said.

Castellanos said she felt good things were in store for Friday, and with it, the season.

“It’s beautiful weather out here, it’s perfect and comfortable,” Castellanos said. “There’s a little breeze. I feel like I’m improving each and every meet in the triple jump and working on my phases.”

Teammate Lauren Zick took third in the 200m dash finals at 26.09, after winning the preliminaries, and ran a 59.14 in the 400m dash for a fourth place finish.

Productive sophomore Victoria Clinton, in the 1600m run, finished with a 5:19.22 time, while freshman teammate Brianna Bower managed a fourth overall in the 3200m run with a 11:38.76.

Lady Knight freshman Kyla Goodine can claim a finals appearance in her first-ever try in the Kane County setting, by taking seventh in the entire field of 100m hurdles girls with a time with a 17.69.

“I think it’s going good,” Goodine said. “I still think I have some room for improvement, but I’m working hard and hopefully I can get to State.”

In the 4x100m relay battle, KHS finished second overall with a time of 49.92, thanks to the efforts of Kaltrina Ismaili, Allie Heinzer, Castellanos and Zick. Kaneland came back in the 4x400m relay by having Amanda Lesak, Sydney Strang, Castellanos and Heinzer take fourth at 4:09.79. The 4x800m entries of Lesak, Strang, Aislinn Lodwig and Clinton took third at 9:47.34.

The field events turned out quite productive as well. In addition to Castellanos’s win in the triple jump, Zick earned second in the long jump at 17 feet, one inch.

Teammate Ellie Tattoni saw a good night in the discus throw, by completing a 119-02 try for third.

Against Morris and Yorkville on Tuesday, Kaneland earned a narrow three-point win over the host Lady Foxes, putting 86 points on the board.

Kaneland travels to the Northern Illinois Big XII meet on Friday, May 3, hosted by DeKalb.

Defense rules the field

KHS soccer earns shutouts in all 3 games of strong week
Kaneland–Withstanding challenges from conference rivals, Kaneland girls soccer is holding up nicely with just two weeks left in regular season play.

Traveling to Morris on April 25, the Lady Knights beat the host Lady Redskins by a score of 2-0, while entering into a 0-0 stalemate against host DeKalb April 24.

On Tuesday, the Lady Knights trekked to Rochelle, where they shut down the hosts in a 6-0 victory.

KHS sits at 7-4-2 with a 5-1-1 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII play.

The positive development at Morris came as a result of one goal in each half. Jess Coia struck first with the help of an Emily Grams assist with 20:56 to go in the first half. Grams found the back of the net in the second half thanks to a feed from Kiandra Powell with 18:43 left in the match.

The battle with the Lady Barbs offset the 1-0 loss suffered in early April, showing progress on the Kaneland end.

Tuesday’s big win came at the 10:48 mark in the first half when freshman Kiandra Powell reached the back of the net with an assist from sophomore Heather Ortiz.

The Lady Knights took a 1-0 lead into halftime before blowing the game open with five unanswered goals in the second half.

Powell collected the hat trick, scoring the team’s fourth goal (assist from freshman Nicole Koczka) and final goal (assist from sophomore Courtney Diddell).

Junior Michelle Ortiz started the second-half scoring with a goal at the 34:00 mark (assisted by sophomore Madi Jurcenko), and then another one less than three minutes later, this time off of a feed from sophomore Courtney Diddell.

Jurcenko added another assist later in the second half when she aided Heather Ortiz, who put one through at 6:41.

In addition to Kaneland’s solid week on the field, the Lady Knights learned of their post-season plans when the Class 2A postseason assignments were released to the public on Friday. The No. 2 seed Lady Knights will travel to the Rochelle Regional to open their festivities on Wednesday, May 15, at 4 p.m. against No. 3 Illinois Math and Science Academy.

HHS has one rout under its belt already against the Lady Titans in an early-season matchup.

The winner of that match takes on the winner of No. 1 Rosary and No. 4 Rochelle in the regional title match on Friday, May 17, at 4 p.m. for the right to head to the Freeport Sectional.

The Lady Knights were set to play Hinckley-Big Rock in Maple Park on Wednesday in a non-conference affair, and also host Yorkville on Thursday, May 2.

kenny

Familiar face fills coaching vacancy

KANELAND—As seems par for the course, the Knights wrestling program will have a familiar face leading the matmen.

Beginning this fall, the Knights will be steered by new head coach and Class of 2004 alum Jeremy Kenny, who was recommended for the position in April and approved at the KHS school board meeting on Monday.

“For me, I had a feeling it was going to happen,” Kenny said. “After talking to Monty (Jahns) and to have it be official, I think it was relief.”

Kenny, who was a State qualifier under former coach Gary Baum, takes over for fellow alum Jahns, who stepped away to focus more on responsibilities at his day job with Nicor Gas.

Kenny, the former two-year NIU Huskie wrestler, has seen almost every potential wrestler come through the ranks in Maple Park since joining the coaching staff six seasons ago.

“Monty and I ran together with the program; I’ve been able to learn the program, and he gave me flexibility,” Kenny said.

Jahns, himself a decorated Kaneland wrestler who graduated in 1982, helped launch the Knights Wrestling Club in 1987 and had seen virtually all the eventual Knight wrestlers take the mat.

A member of the Kaneland Hall of Fame and a former State qualifier, Jahns served as varsity assistant coach before taking over as head coach from Gary Baum for the 2008-09 campaign.

The Jahns era had a handful of State qualifiers, beginning with Jay Levita in 2008-09, Jimmy Boyle and Kyle Davidson in 2009-10, Boyle again in 2010-11, Stephen Gust, Esai Ponce, Dan Goress and Ben Kovalick in 2011-12, and Ponce, Zach Theis and 145-state State champ Goress this past season.

Kenny, employed as a full-time security guard at KHS, has an idea of a head coaching style already.

“I guess my style is action. I never like to ask the kids do something that I wouldn’t be willing to ask of myself,” Kenny said.

Kenny, who knows what it’s like to be one of the select few grapplers to make it to Champaign, Ill., as part of the 171-pound class, won’t just be a coach, but a fan and believer of the sport.

“I just want to develop the program more,” Kenny said. “I want to help make these kids into good young adults. Wrestling is one of the great sports for life lessons.”

‘Round the bases

Softball squad goes 4-1 in packed week
KANELAND—The Lady Knights softball team made its way around the Northern Illinois Big XII this past week and handled itself well.

On April 24, a trip to Morris yielded a 9-6 win, followed by a win in DeKalb on Thursday by 4-3 fashion. Saturday saw a crossover doubleheader against Geneseo split with an 8-3 win and a 13-10 extra-inning defeat.

The Lady Knights came back on Tuesday against Rochelle and steamrolled the visitors in a 9-0 rout.

The Lady Knights sit at 13-3 and 5-1 in NIB-12 play.

Against Morris, the Lady Knights stormed out to an 8-0 lead, with two runs in the second, four in the third and two in the fourth, until the Lady Redskins came back with a close rally.

Sarah Grams smacked a two-run homer, while freshman callup Courtney Davis earned the win.

Against the host Lady Barbs, the Lady Knights staked an initial lead, 4-0, before DeKalb creeped back into the game with three runs in the sixth for the slimmer final margin. Ellissa Eckert earned the win.

Sophomore Paige Kuefler went 3-for-4 with three RBI, while teammate Aly O’Herron went 2-for-3 with a double.

Eckert took the win in the first game, while Geneseo used five runs in the ninth, which was enough to withstand a two-run rally in the bottom of the inning.

Facing the Lady Hubs, an O’Herron single paved the way for a Kuefler homer to give the hosts a 2-0 lead.

“I think it was an outside pitch,” Kuefler said. “So I drove it. Our lineup is pretty solid right now.”

A four-run fourth inning saw an RBI groundout from Allie Miller after a Grams triple. Eckert helped her cause with an RBI single after Meg Cohrs advanced to third on an error in right field. Lexi Roach singled and O’Herron smacked a two-run double to put the game out of reach.

Eckert helped the fielders by inducing a number of groundouts, some to herself.

“The defense was solid and the pitching was solid, and it was an all-around good game,” KHS coach Brian Willis said. “Ellissa has pitched fine. She still needs to work on some stuff in terms of consistency and location if we’re going to go very far. But she’s making progress and working hard.”

Kaneland softball continues its run on Thursday, May 2, in Yorkville for a NIB-12 tussle.

Road trip success

KHS girls track wins the day Monday at Bureau Valley
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—With the Dixon Relays gone by the wayside and Kaneland girls track looking for more meets before the usual Kane County Meet excursion in late April, the Lady Knights found one on Monday in an unlikely location.

That unlikely location provided big dividends, in the form of Bureau Valley High School’s four-team meet in Manlius, Ill.

KHS put together a total of 104 points, compared to Cambridge’s 58.5, Bureau Valley’s 54.5 and West Carroll’s 54.

“The meet at Bureau Valley was a weekday meet that everyone could run in,” KHS coach Doug Ecker said. “We could not find one locally. It went very well; a nice day. They run a very good meet.”

First-place honors scattered the home of the Storm, beginning with the Lady Knights’ 4×800 meter relay of Maggie Brundige, Amanda Lesak, Abby Dodis and Brianna Bower taking the course at 10:30.33. The 4x100m foursome for KHS ran a first-place 51.55 thanks to the efforts of Kaltrina Ismaili, Allie Heinzer, Ashley Castellanos and Lauren Zick.

Kyla Goodine’s 17.50 in the 100m hurdles took the crown, and teammate Sydney Strang claimed the 800m run at 2:24.89.

The 4x200m relay also enjoyed first-place spoils with a 1:55.34 effort from Ismaili, Rachel Steinmiller, Noelle Espino and Heinzer, and Victoria Clinton outran the field in the 1600m run with a 5:24.66 effort. KHS swept the top five spots in that event.

More relay glory was to come with the 4x200m relay unit of Jessica Kucera, Aislinn Lodwig, Castellanos and Heinzer taking first with a time of 4:20.65.

KHS also made its presence felt in the accompanying field events, thanks to athletes like Zick, with a first-place effort of 17 feet, 1.5 inches in the long jump. Castellanos owned the triple jump group with a mark of 34 feet, 6.25 inches.

On Friday, April 26, the Lady Knights make the leap to the annual Kane County Invite, hosted by current Upstate Eight Conference school Geneva. Tuesday, April 30, has KHS hosting Morris and Yorkville in a Northern Illinois Big XII triangular.

Kaneland looks to try to improve last year’s output, held at St. Charles North. KHS took eighth in the gathering won by West Aurora.

Softball takes tussle with host Oswego

by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—It seems par for the course that every week in the spring 2013 season shall bring with it postponement and cancellations.

Kaneland softball can only try to worry about what’s in front of it on a given day, weather or not.

With the April 17 game at Morris postponed and the Thursday contest at Dixon cancelled, the Lady Knights took a trip to their lone game of the week on a beautiful Monday afternoon.

Kaneland came away from Kendall County with a 7-4 victory over the winless Oswego Lady Panthers.
KHS sits at 9-2, and 2-1 in Northern Illinois Big XII Conference play.
Originally down 1-0 after the first inning, Kaneland came back with a run in the top of the second and two in the third, before OHS scored another run in the bottom of that inning to close within 3-2.

The Lady Knights were able to breathe easier with three in the top of the fourth to go up 6-2. It would remain scoreless until the sixth, when the Lady Knights crossed the plate again before surrendering two in the bottom of the sixth. The victory came despite four errors committed in the field by Kaneland, compared to two for Oswego.

Courtney Davis started in the pitchers’ circle, going five innings and allowing two runs on three hits, while Anissa Becker and Ellissa Eckert finished the win in relief.

At the plate, slugging presence Lanie Callaghan went 3-for-4 with an RBI.

Ahead for the Lady Knights lineup was the rescheduled conference matchup at Morris on Wednesday, with results not available for press, and a matchup on Thursday, April 25, at DeKalb. The Morris encounter takes the place of an original crossover contest at LaSalle-Peru.

Soccer solves IMSA

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—After a Thursday conference tilt against Sycamore was postponed due to torrential rainfall, the Lady Knights soccer crew made up for lost scoring time on Saturday in Aurora on the home grounds of Illinois Math and Science Academy.

Converting an 8-1 win, the Lady Knights were able to bounce back from a hefty non-conference tour a week prior, which included Geneva and St. Charles East.

“We were fortunate that we were able to finish the way we as a team thought we should have doing all season,” KHS head soccer coach Scott Parillo said.
Getting down to business against the Lady Titan lineup, the Kaneland starters found the back of the net five times in the first half and three in the second.

Brittany Olson supplied a hat trick with an assist, while Emily Chapman added two of her own. Teammate Courtney Diddell had a goal and two assists, while Madi Jurcenko scored on a corner kick. Kiandra Powell closed out the scoring column, and Emily Grams added an assist of her own.

This Friday, April 26, sees the release of the Class 2A postseason pairings for Kaneland. The Lady Knights are part of the Rochelle Regional, along with just-seen IMSA, Rosary and the host Lady Hubs.

“We are playing pretty well as of late. It is nice when we can get outside a few times, in that we can work on improving our game,” Parillo said.

The regional is part of the Freeport Sectional and Barrington Super-Sectional. Kaneland has seen its season come to a close twice by the cleats of Rosary and twice by Crystal Lake Central in regional play the last four years.

KHS sits at 5-4-1 with a 2-1 record in the Northern Illinois Big XII.

KHS was set to visit DeKalb on Wednesday, with results unavailable for press time. On Thursday, April 25, the Lady Knights host Morris, while trekking to Rochelle on Tuesday, April 30.

KHS boys track defends its turf

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Saturday saw a lot of teams having to look up at Kaneland boys track.

There were 15 teams, to be exact.

With a 145.3 point output, the Knights were crowned kings of the usual late-April Peterson Prep on Saturday morning in Maple Park, a comfortable 87 points ahead of DeKalb and ahead of Oswego East’s 57.

Burlington Central claimed fourth with 46.5, while West Aurora garnered 46.3.

Other Northern Illinois Big XII schools included Sycamore in seventh with 38, Yorkville in ninth at 26 and Rochelle in 11th with 18.

Top honors and noteworthy finishes abounded for Kaneland, as the team found a comfortable distance between it and the rest of the field.

The sprint entries came away with a productive Saturday, beginning with Nathaniel Kucera’s second place in the 400 meter dash, with a time of 50.36 seconds, while teammate Dylan Nauert made his presence felt once again in the 300m low hurdles with a second-place time of 40.64.

The 4x100m relay team of Brandon Bishop, Brandon Cottier, Nauert and Isaac Swithers took the group with a final time of 43.79, while the unit of Bishop, Cottier, Swithers and Ben Barnes finished second in the 4x200m relay at 1:33.06.

Bishop, Kyle Carter, Nauert and Kucera captured the 4×400 with a time of 3:26.08, and the Knights struck again with Conor Johnson, Carter, Luis Acosta and Kucera in the 4×800 with a first-place 8:01.23.

“It was a decent day out, a little cold but still manageable and good for running,” Carter said. “We’ve been doing what we can. In the 400, we’ve been running with each other for three years now. We’re still working on things and getting in shape, but it’s going to be good.”

The field events also featured plenty of black-and-white honors, namely the pole vault that saw KHS sweep the top two spots, with Kory Harner and Dylan Kuipers hitting 12 feet, nine inches.

A similar situation arose in the long jump event, with Barnes (21-1.75) and Tanner Andrews (20-10) nabbing the top two spots.

Barnes enjoys the opportunity to see major field time in his sophomore campaign, and felt good about the team’s fortunes for Saturday and beyond.

“It’s like our whole team is PR’ing. Everyone thinks this is the best weather we’ve had, and I feel like I jumped pretty good in this weather. I can go farther if it’s a lot nicer,” Barnes said.

KHS teammate Dalvell Triplett took second overall in the triple jump with a mark of 42-6.25 for second place.

In the shot put, asset Nate Dyer was second at 51-3, and in the discus at 143.

Kaneland boys track was set to compete in a makeup day at Marmion Academy on Wednesday, and head to the Crystal Lake Central Invite on Friday, April 26, before heading to Yorkville along with Morris on Tuesday, April 30.

KHS boys track defends its turf

Boys track team dominant Saturday at Peterson Prep
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Saturday saw a lot of teams having to look up at Kaneland boys track.
There were 15 teams, to be exact.

With a 145.3 point output, the Knights were crowned kings of the usual late-April Peterson Prep on Saturday morning in Maple Park, a comfortable 87 points ahead of DeKalb and ahead of Oswego East’s 57.

Burlington Central claimed fourth with 46.5, while West Aurora garnered 46.3.
Other Northern Illinois Big XII schools included Sycamore in seventh with 38, Yorkville in ninth at 26 and Rochelle in 11th with 18.

Top honors and noteworthy finishes abounded for Kaneland, as the team found a comfortable distance between it and the rest of the field.

The sprint entries came away with a productive Saturday, beginning with Nathaniel Kucera’s second place in the 400 meter dash, with a time of 50.36 seconds, while teammate Dylan Nauert made his presence felt once again in the 300m low hurdles with a second-place time of 40.64.

The 4x100m relay team of Brandon Bishop, Brandon Cottier, Nauert and Isaac Swithers took the group with a final time of 43.79, while the unit of Bishop, Cottier, Swithers and Ben Barnes finished second in the 4x200m relay at 1:33.06.

Bishop, Kyle Carter, Nauert and Kucera captured the 4×400 with a time of 3:26.08, and the Knights struck again with Conor Johnson, Carter, Luis Acosta and Kucera in the 4×800 with a first-place 8:01.23.

“It was a decent day out, a little cold but still manageable and good for running,” Carter said. “We’ve been doing what we can. In the 400, we’ve been running with each other for three years now. We’re still working on things and getting in shape, but it’s going to be good.”

The field events also featured plenty of black-and-white honors, namely the pole vault that saw KHS sweep the top two spots, with Kory Harner and Dylan Kuipers hitting 12 feet, nine inches.

A similar situation arose in the long jump event, with Barnes (21-1.75) and Tanner Andrews (20-10) nabbing the top two spots.

Barnes enjoys the opportunity to see major field time in his sophomore campaign, and felt good about the team’s fortunes for Saturday and beyond.

“It’s like our whole team is PR’ing. Everyone thinks this is the best weather we’ve had, and I feel like I jumped pretty good in this weather. I can go farther if it’s a lot nicer,” Barnes said.

KHS teammate Dalvell Triplett took second overall in the triple jump with a mark of 42-6.25 for second place.

In the shot put, asset Nate Dyer was second at 51-3, and in the discus at 143.

Kaneland boys track was set to compete in a makeup day at Marmion Academy on Wednesday, and head to the Crystal Lake Central Invite on Friday, April 26, before heading to Yorkville along with Morris on Tuesday, April 30.

Tight contest goes Lady Knights’ Way

Heimerdinger hit wins it in bottom of 7th against Sycamore
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Looks like three cancellations this past week just delayed the inevitable.

But the win over visiting Sycamore on Tuesday afternoon for KHS softball was anything but.

Muddling through shelved contests with Morris and Maine West, the Lady Knights took to the field against Sycamore and went out to a 3-0 lead before Sycamore put up a three-spot in the top of the sixth.

Kaneland took a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the inning before the visitors deadlocked it again.

It was a Caroline Heimerdinger bases-loaded single to drive Sarah Grams home with the winning run with nobody out in the bottom of the seventh to cinch a 5-4 win.

Kaneland is now 8-2 and 3-0 in the Northern Illinois Big XII landscape.

The scoring began with cleanup hitter Lanie Callaghan’s two-run shot to left field for a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first.

Kaneland failed to get any runs out of a bases loaded chance in the bottom of the third.

It remained 2-0 until the bottom of the fourth when Aly O’Herron’s sacrifice fly brought home Heimerdinger.

Sycamore finally struck in the sixth, first on a two-run homer, and then stacking runners until a flyball to right evaded Callaghan’s attempt, tying the contest.

Three consecutive Lady Knights reached base, ending with Paige Kuefler’s RBI single that drove in Lexi Roach to make it 4-3.

Ellissa Eckert (W) relieved starter Annisa Becker in the seventh, but Sycamore tied the score at 4.

In the bottom of the seventh, Grams doubled and Hayley Contorno singled. Allison Miller was hit by a pitch to load the bases, setting the stage for Heimerdinger’s third and decisive hit.

“That was clutch by Caroline, but we left a lot of baserunners out there,” KHS coach Brian Willis said. “I don’t know if the odds were with us and we were due for a hit there, but Caroline did strike the ball well all day.”

“I was told it needs to be in the outfield so that’s the only thing I was looking for,” Heimerdinger said. “I mostly put it out of my head when we were tied.”

Kaneland was set to travel to Morris on Wednesday, before heading to Dixon for a crossover contest on Thursday, April 18.