Category Archives: Boys Cross Country

BXC

2013 Boys CC Preview: Stride right

Photo: Head coach Chad Clarey’s Knights look to make some noise at the conference and state levels in 2013. The Knights are currently ranked 11th in DyestatIL.com’s preseason poll. Photo by Kimberly Anderson

Knight harriers hope health and improvement go long way in ‘13
KANELAND—Productive finishes are a funny thing, sometimes.

For KHS boys cross country, the challenge is now to live up to the noteworthy end of 2012, by combatting the graduation losses and a consistent work ethic.

Gone are key elements like Conor Johnson, John Meisinger and Brandon Huber, but potent talent still remains who know what’s expected of them.

Assets like seniors Kyle Carter, Nathaniel Kucera, Luis Acosta and Ryan Bower remain.

All feet will have to be on deck to match and surpass a fifth-place sectional finish and a 13th Class 2A State output.

“We have four of our top seven back, and three of those seven have State championship experience from track,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said. “Ryan Bower is also an accomplished 9:50 two-miler. Those four have us sitting in a good position with senior leadership and experience. They understand the pressures of big meets.”

Those four are a pleasant group to have, but Clarey wishes for a solidifying of the rest of the lineup for conference tussles and Saturday invites.

“What weighs heavily is where do we go when it comes to keeping everyone healthy,’ he said. “When you feel like you’ve been dealt a nice hand, and we’re not anything but one of those teams that tries to qualify out of that sectional, we have to work to stay healthy and we’ve made adjustments to our training.”

“... in my 19th season, I’ve learned you may have an idea what’s going to happen, but you roll with whatever you’re given” KHS boys cross country coach  Chad Clarey
“… in my 19th season, I’ve learned you may have an idea what’s going to happen, but you roll with whatever you’re given”
KHS boys cross country coach
Chad Clarey

Seniors looking to crack into the everyday lineup include Dylan Kuipers, Phil Cutsinger and Brock Robertsen. Juniors include Mitch Reger, Adam Lesak, Brandon Park, James Walker, Connor Pennington and Phil Rawers.

Clarey cites upperclassmen Kuipers, Cutsinger, Lesak and Walker as examples who could see time, along with sophomore Sean Spaetzel.

“Bower and Lesak have really turned things up a notch, which makes it great for us as coaches. But in my 19th season, I’ve learned you may have an idea what’s going to happen, but you roll with whatever you’re given,” Clarey said.

Boys cross country seniors: Phil Cutsinger, Nathaniel Kucera and Kyle Carter (bottom row). Ryan Bower and Dylan Kuipers (middle row) and Luis Acosta.
Boys cross country seniors:
Phil Cutsinger, Nathaniel Kucera and Kyle Carter (bottom row).
Ryan Bower and Dylan Kuipers (middle row) and Luis Acosta.

Additional sophomores include Will Kuipers, Elliott Mejia, Aaron French, Kyle Osborne and Alex Gale.

Freshmen are Noah Duffey, Michael Booton, Anthony Messina, Andrew Kantola, Troy Moss, Cole Rutter and Danny Walker.

Around the Northern Illinois Big XII landscape has a steady group not affected by heavy turnover.

“The only school that might be affected is DeKalb, who had a great team last year and graduated five of their top seven. Dixon will be a top five school. Yorkville, if they’re healthy, will seriously be a factor. Things happen over the course of a season,” Clarey said.

KHS boys cross country heads to the Elburn Woods course for a triangular against West Chicago and Wheaton Academy on Tuesday, Sept. 3.

Boys CC hosts baggo tournament fundraiser

Sugar Grove—The Kaneland boys cross country team will host its inaugural Baggo Tournament Sunday, Aug. 25, at Kaneland Harter Middle School.

Entry fees for two-person teams are $20 per team for the high school and under division, and $40 per team for the adult (18-and-over, post-high school) division. The high school division begins at noon, and the adult division begins at 1:30 p.m. Entry deadline is Aug. 24. A limited amount of “day of” entries will be available.

Proceeds will help the boys cross country team purchase new meet warmups, and portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Marklund Home for disabled adults in Geneva.

To register or for more information, email kanelandxc@gmail.com.

Kaneland Foundation hosts cross country race

Kaneland—The Kaneland Foundation will host its 2nd annual 5k Cross Country Race on Friday, June 21, at 8 p.m. at the Kaneland High School campus/football stadium, 47W326 Keslinger Road, Maple Park. There will also be a 1/4-mile Kids Track Run at 7 p.m. and a 1-Mile Cross Country Fun Run/Walk at 7:30 p.m.

The 5k and 1-Mile runs will cover a flat cross country course entirely on the Kaneland campus.

Racers will finish on the Kaneland track for a spectator-friendly and exciting event. The 5K will be timed, and awards will be offered in age groups and overall categories. Prizes will be awarded to the top three overall male and female finishers in the following age groups for the 5K Cross Country Race: 14 and under, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-65, 65 and over.

All runners will receive a T-shirt for participating, provided they are registered by Saturday, June 15.

Packet pick-up begins at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, June 21, near the track at the Kaneland High School campus.

Schedule of Events
7 p.m.: 1/4-Mile Kids Track Run—$5 registration fee, signed waiver must be on file.
7:30 p.m.: 1-Mile Fun Run/Walk—$10 registration fee; signed waiver must be on file.
8 p.m.: 5k Cross Country Race—$20 registration fee; signed waiver must be on file.

Download the race applications from www.kaneland.org, or register and pay online from the website on the Webstore (click on Kaneland Foundation). For more information, please call (630) 365-8295 or email beth.sterkel@kaneland.org. To mail in forms and money, please address it to: Beth Sterkel, Kaneland Foundation, 47W326 Keslinger Road, Maple Park, IL 60151.

KHS fall sports announce awards

Kaneland—The Kaneland High School fall sports programs recently concluded their respective awards nights.

Cross Country—Boys
• Most Valuable Runner: Kyle Carter, Conor Johnson
• Most Improved Runner: Nathaniel Kucera
• Larry Eddington Award for Courage, Leadership and Strength—Nick Messina
• Captains—Kyle Carter, Conor Johnson, Brad Kigyos
• Golden Knight Award—Freshman: Kyle Osborne; Sophomore: Andrew Lesak; Junior: Ryan Bower; Senior: Gus Stott
• State Qualifiers—Kyle Carter, Conor Johnson, Nathaniel Kucera, John Meisinger, Ryan Bower, Brandon Huber, Ryan Paulson, Luis Acosta
• All Conference—Kyle Carter

Cross Country—Girls
• Captains—Abby Dodis, Maggie Brundige, Ashley Castellanos
• Most Improved Runner—Jessica Kucera, Sydney Strang
• Most Valuable Runner—Victoria Clinton
• All Conference—Victoria Clinton, Brianna Bower, Abby Dodis, Sydney Strang, Amanda Lesak
• State Qualifiers—Victoria Clinton, Aislinn Lodwig, Sydney Strang, Abby Dodis, Ashley Castellanos, Maggie Brundige, Amanda Lesak, Brianna Bower
• All State, State Champion—Victoria Clinton

Football
• Captains—Blake Bradford, Ryan Lawrence, Dan Goress, Kory Harner, Nick Sharp
• Most Improved Player—Bradley Johnson
• Most Valuable Player—Blake Bradford
• Offensive MVP—Zach Martinelli
• Defensive MVP—Gary Koehring
• Special Teams MVP—Matt Rodriguez
• NIB XII All Conference—Zach Theis, Nick Sharpe, Alex Snyder, Zach Martinelli, Jesse Balluff, Drew David, Justin Diddell, Jaumaureo Phillips, Blake Bradford, Kory Harner, Gary Koehring, Ryan Lawrence, Matt Rodriguez

Golf
• Varsity Most Improved Player—Jessy Denton
• Varsity MVP—Matt Yonkovich
• Fresh/Soph MVP—Jeremy Faletto
• Fresh/Soph Most Improved Player—Tori Guyton, C.J. Wehrmann
• All Conference—Matt Yonkovich, Connor Williams, Brody Kuhar, Luke Kreiter
• State Qualifiers—Connor Williams, Luke Kreiter, Matt Yonkovick, Brody Kuhar, Dan Miller, Sean Glennon

Soccer
• Captains—Alex Gil, Anthony Parillo, Marshall Farthing, Sam Rymarz, Alec Koczka, Ivan Bohorquez
• Most Improved Player—Jason Biddle, Marshall Farthing
• Most Valuable Player—Alex Gil, Anthony Parillo
• Rookie of the Year—Ivan Bohorquez
• Coach’s Award—Tyler Siebert, Alec Koczka, Chris Van Dinther, J.T. Karr
• Offensive Player of the Year—Anthony Parillo
• Defensive Player of the Year—Sam Rymarz
• Player of the Year—Anthony Parillo
• All Conference—Marshall Farthing, Alex Gil, Anthony Parillo, Alec Koczka, Sam Rymarz
• All Conference-Honorable Mention—Arsim Azemi
• All Sectional-Honorable Mention—Arsim Azemi
• All Sectional—Alex Gil, Marshall Farthing
• All State—Anthony Parillo

Tennis
• Team Spirit Awards—Varsity: Jess Woodward; JV: Katelyn Blaszynski
• Most Improved Awards—Varsity: Colleen Landers; JV: Mallory Dugan
• MVP—Sarah Grams, Stephanie Zwick
• Outstanding Achievement Awards—School Record: 38 wins—Madison Jurcenko, Angelica Emmanouil; 1st Singles player to qualify for the State Tournament—Samantha Schrepferman
• State Qualifiers—Madison Jurcenko, Angelica Emmanouil, Samantha Schrepferman
• All Conference—Madison Jurcenko, Angelica Emmanouil, Samantha Schrepferman, Sarah Grams

Volleyball
• Most Improved Player—Emily Laudont, Keri Groen
• Spirit Award—Rachael Clinton
• MVP—Jenny Lubic
• Top Offensive Player—Ellie Dunn
• Top Defensive Player—Shayna Tucek
• All Conference—Ellie Dunn, Lauren Banbury

KHS fall athletes earn accolades

Kaneland—A number of Kaneland High School fall athletes were recognized for their performance from throughout the 2012 season.

Leading the way for Kaneland’s post-season honors was senior offensive lineman Zach Theis. He was named to the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association All-State Team, was the NIB-12 East Division Offensive MVP and All-Conference.

Joining Theis as Kaneland football All-Conference Team members were senior offensive lineman Nick Sharp, junior offensive lineman Alex Snyder, senior wide receiver Zack Martinelli, junior running back Jesse Balluff, junior quarterback Drew David, junior defensive lineman Justin Diddell, junior defensive lineman Jaumaureo Phillips, senior defensive back Blake Bradford, senior defensive back Kory Harner, junior linebacker Gary Koehring, senior linebacker Ryan Lawrence, and junior kicker Matt Rodriguez. Balluff was also an All-State Honorable Mention. Balluff, David, Snyder and Koehring were each named to the All State Academic Team.

Earning All-Conference honors from the Kaneland High School volleyball team were sophomore Ellie Dunn, senior Lauren Banbury and senior Ashley Prost.

Girls cross country All-Conference honors went to sophomore Victoria Clinton, freshman Brianna Bower, senior Abby Dodis, junior Sydney Strang, and senior Amanda Lesak.

Junior Kyle Carter earned All-Conference distinction for boys cross country.

All-Conference golf team members were juniors Matt Yonkovick and Brody Kuhar, and seniors Luke Kreiter and Connor Williams.

Power in Peoria

Photo: Kaneland junior Kyle Carter (1296) and senior Conor Johnson (1298) battle a Yorkville runner shortly after the 2-mile mark at Saturday’s IHSA State Cross Country meet at Detweiller Park in Peoria. Johnson finished a team-best 15 minutes, 18 seconds, good enough for 36th place, while Carter was just behind in 15:22 (48th place). The Knights placed 13th in the meet. Photo by Justin Vacha

Knights’ 13th-best program in State after Detweiller Park run
by Mike Slodki
Peoria, Ill.—The Kaneland High School boys cross country team set a number of personal and team records at the State Finals in Peoria on Saturday.

The Knights finished 13th overall, improving upon last year’s 15th place finish at State.

Yet, even more important than inching up the team final totals, the Knights set an all-time school record for team time of scoring runners, 78:34. Kaneland’s previous best mark of 78:43 was set by the 1987 State Championship team.

KHS head coach Chad Clarey said the team came to Peoria with a gameplan consisting of a list of goals, both on a personal and team level.

“The team executed our race plan flawlessly, in the deepest and fastest (Class) 2A field ever,” Clarey said. “We averaged 15:42 for our scoring runners, and even that wasn’t fast enough to make the top 10 of this class.”

Keyed by top-40 finishes from leaders Conor Johnson and Kyle Carter, Kaneland finished 13th overall with a team score of 351 points, 20 better than in 2011.

With an 85-point total, Chicago’s Jones High School took the top team trophy, followed by Belvidere North at 126 and Knight conference rival Yorkville at 129.

Former conference-mate Glenbard South was fifth overall at 190, while fellow Northern Illinois Big XII outfit Dixon was 10th.

Kaneland finished 10 points behind East Moline United, and ahead of Fenton’s 376.

“The team has worked so hard through summer heat, cold ice baths, intense intervals and exhausting races,” Clarey said. “We are so proud, and even more blessed to have had this opportunity come and then be answered by seven courageous young men and their teammates.”

John Wold of Glenbard South ran the course in 14 minutes, 16 seconds for the individual title, followed by Crystal Lake Central’s Alex Baker at 14:21, and Riley McInerney of Charleston rounded out the top three at 14:33.

The top-seven of the Knights proved itself formidable in chilly conditions, with the senior Johnson running his final high school race at a 36th-place clip of 15:18, good for a 5:06 pace, shaving 42 seconds off his state run the year prior.

“His (Johnson) senior leadership has been a major reason why we made it this far,” Clarey said. “We are very proud of his character, as well as his running talents.”

Carter was next for the KHS lineup at 15:22, completing his junior season in 48th place in the state. Carter’s time shaved 23 seconds off last year’s appearance at the State Finals.

“We are so proud of Kyle, and all he has managed these past four weeks with an IT band injury,” Clarey said. “He’s overcome a lot, and certainly been a leader on the course and in practices.”

Junior Nathaniel Kucera was 103rd overall at 15:51.

“Nathaniel Kucera didn’t even make our state roster last fall. He turned that disappointment into fuel for a fire that allowed him to post an incredible 15:51 PR,” Clarey said. “His story from 2011 to 2012 will be long remembered, and cherished.”

Senior teammate John Meisinger took 111th at 15:53.

“Seeing seniors like Meisinger leave the course smiling and fulfilled is probably the best part of our day, as coaches,” Clarey said.

Junior Luis Acosta was fifth-best on the team and 139th overall with an effort of 16:12. Kaneland senior Brandon Huber was 157th overall at 16:22, while junior Ryan Bower finished the State lineup at 16:32 for 165th place.

“There isn’t a trophy for what this team achieved, but there’s great satisfaction in knowing that their group set the new standard over another that was Coach Eddington’s greatest cross country team,” Clarey said. “Granted, we are twice the size of a school now than when Larry’s crew won in ‘87.”

BXC’s big day in Belvidere

Boys running crew clinches 16th trip to State in 26 years
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—Chilly weather and northern Illinois powerhouses did their collective best to stop Kaneland boys cross country.

But the Knight collective powered through to earn a State berth.

In the loaded Belvidere Sectional on Saturday, the Knights finished fifth overall with a point total of 174.

The Knights outlasted sixth-place Grayslake Central by 11 points for the final qualifying spot.

Belvidere North was crowned sectional champ with a 47 point output, while Dixon had 95 for second place. Deerfield had 108 for third, while Crystal Lake Central had 109 to fill out the top five spots in the 21-team gathering.

In 2011, the Knights took fourth at sectionals, while it was lone Knight Trevor Holm that qualified in 2010. KHS finished fifth in 2009.

The is the 16th time the Knights have qualified for State since 1986, and they have made the trip in four of the last five years.

Belvidere North speedster Garrett Lee finished first overall in his final sectional, completing the three-mile course in 14 minutes, 49 seconds.

Kaneland junior Kyle Carter was tops for his team with a time of 15:42.2 for 16th place, followed by senior counterpart Conor Johnson at 15:51.1 for 17th place.

“Our 1-2 punch of Carter and Johnson was great,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said. “We knew we needed to beat Vernon Hills and Grayslake Central, and they beat other top runners. Our three, four and five runners made a huge impact.”

Senior John Meisinger (39) was third for the KHS lineup at 16:20.3, followed by Luis Acosta (48) at 16:32.0.

“Senior John Meisenger saved his best race of the season for a course he races well on last fall,” Clarey said. “John beat important scoring runners from teams we needed to defeat in such a talented and loaded field.”

Junior Nathaniel Kucera (54) was fifth for the Knights with an effort of 16:41.9, and fellow senior Brandon Huber (56) took sixth at 16:43.6. In seventh for the Knights was Ryan Paulson (70) at 16:53.4.

“Luis Acosta and Nathaniel Kucera looked exceptionally strong through the mid-race checkpoints,” Clarey said. “Kucera cramped up a bit, fell back, then finished strong to complete our scoring.”

Clarey said it was his team’s pack-running mentality that led to the strong team finish.

“Our pack made the difference for us today, running right at 60 seconds,” he said. “Having our third to seventh runners just 33 seconds apart was an advantage for us; being able to see your own teammates throughout the race is such a big key for us.”

The State race takes place on Saturday, Nov. 3 at Detweiller Park in Peoria, Ill.

“We are looking forward to the opportunity to race without the burden of pressure (from having to qualify), set some new PR’s at Detweiller (Park),” and give ourselves a shot at bettering our 2011 finish,” Clarey said, referring to the team’s 15th-place mark in Class 2A last season.

Good enough

Boys XC punches Sectional ticket with 2nd-place finish
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—If it weren’t for Crystal Lake Central, Kaneland High School boys cross country would have even more to celebrate.

As it stands, celebrating a berth at the Belvidere Sectional is cause enough.

With a pack separated by 46 seconds, the Knight lineup took second at the Class 2A Kaneland Regional on Saturday, thanks to a 69 point total.

Crystal Lake finished with 31 points, while Sycamore had 96 points to be the third and last unit to travel to the Sectional. The Spartans edged Prairie Ridge by one point.

Burlington Central, Woodstock, Hampshire and Rochelle rounded out the eight-team field.

“The team had a better overall performance than the conference meet,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said. “We have some mental hurdles to clear, but this group can respond quickly with great senior leadership.”

Crystal Lake senior Alex Baker was the first of three straight teammates to top the race, and finished with a leading time of 15 minutes, 37.1 seconds.

Kaneland’s top runner was senior leader Conor Johnson, who finished sixth with a time of 16:36.9.

Following closely was junior teammate Kyle Carter, who finished with a time of 16:37.2.

In 13th place was Knight junior Nathaniel Kucera, who finished with an effort of 16:56.5.

Junior Luis Acosta was fourth-best for the Kaneland lineup in 20th place overall at 17:14.4, and Brandon Huber was 23rd with a time of 17:24.0.

“We know the rigors of our home course, and we needed to get a solid race in and finish the day healthy,” Clarey said.

The boys race begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27, with successful teams from the Antioch and Belvidere North Regionals.

4-place output for KHS boys at NIB-12

Photo: Conor Johnson competes at the NIB XII meet in Peru, Ill. Saturday. Photo courtesy of Yorkvilletrackandfield.com

Carter leads Knights in crowded field
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—”Rain, rain, go away” is the usual saying.

The Knights just had to go forward in unusual weather.

Despite the outdoors releasing everything from a strong drizzle to a steady downpour, the Northern Illinois Big XII meet at Baker Lake in Peru, Ill., still went on and Kaneland ended with a fourth-place honor.

Yorkville finished its sweep of the NIB-12 with 27 points, followed by Dixon’s 59 and DeKalb’s 80.

Kaneland’s 118 bested Sycamore (128) and Geneseo (134).

Sterling, Morris, Ottawa, L-P, Streator and Rochelle filled the bottom-half slots.

Yorkville sophomore Jake Hoffert was tops with a 15 minute, 14.8 second race, 2.1 seconds over DeKalb’s Mark Dubrick.

Kaneland’s Kyle Carter was tops for his team with a time of 15:54.2.

Senior Conor Johnson was 23rd at 16:18.2.

“It’s always a weird meet,” Johnson said. “It seems we’re a little flat when we come here, but we’ll get back in the groove this week.”

Senior John Meisinger was 27th overall at 16:28.3, followed by junior Nathaniel Kucera in 28th at 16:35.8, and junior Brandon Huber in 29th at 16:38.9 to round out the Knight top five.

Kaneland’s Brad Kigyos didn’t mind the torrential rainfall.

“It kind of makes it fun,” Kigyos said. “It makes the time pass a lot easier. When you’re out there, it goes pretty quick.”

Kaneland prepares for the Class 2A Kaneland Regional in Elburn on Saturday, Oct. 20.

Also scheduled for the regional are Burlington Central, Crystal Lake Central, Prairie Ridge, Hampshire, Rochelle, Sycamore and Woodstock.

Advancing teams head to the Belvidere Sectional on Saturday, Oct. 27.

The road to the State Championships begins

by Skip Stolley,
Chairman, Chicago Area Track & Field Organizing Committee, Inc.

ELBURN—This Saturday, Kaneland High School will host the Class AA IHSA Regional Championship at Elburn Woods.

The girls’ three-mile race will start at 10 a.m., and the boys’ race will step off at 11 a.m. It will be one of 45 qualifying meets for the 2012 Illinois State Cross Country Championships being held statewide this weekend at the A, AA, and AAA divisions.

In each division, the top seven teams, and top five individual finishers from non-qualifying teams, will advance from the regional to the sectional championships next weekend, Oct. 27. The top five teams and top 10 individual finishers from non-qualifying teams from the state’s five AA sectional meets will advance to the State Championships at Peoria’s Detweiler Park on Nov. 3.

The Kaneland boys are led by junior Kyle Carter, who has been a top 10 finisher individually in every meet this fall, including those dominated by ranked 3A teams. Behind him, their chase pack has been led by senior Conor Johnson, who has had a breakthrough season in leading the Knights’ pack to running closer to Carter meet by meet, week by week.

On the girls side, another underclassman, sophomore Victoria Clinton, has led the Lady Knights this season. She has won five races this fall and placed no worse than third in invitational meets featuring as many as 23 teams, earning her designation as a “National Elite” runner by ESPN.com. Behind Clinton, freshman Briana Bower has emerged as the Lady Knights’ No. 2 runner and seniors Amanda Lesak, Abby Dodis and Maggie Brundige have been running within an arm’s length of one another as their No. 3, 4 and 5 finishers.

Competing with Kaneland in the Elburn Woods Regional this Saturday will be Burlington Central, Crystal Lake Central, Prairie Ridge, Hampshire, Rochelle, Sycamore and Woodstock high schools. Advancing from the eight-team regional on their home course should be no problem for either Kaneland team. However, at the Belvidere North Sectional Meet, to which they will advance the following weekend, both the boys’ and girls’ 21-team fields will showcase five of the state’s top 11 ranked 2A teams, and seven of the top 23, all vying for one of just five state-qualifying births.

Elburn Woods has only enough parking to accommodate participating teams and the meet staff, so spectators are to park at Kaneland High School, where three free shuttle buses will ferry them every 10 minutes to the Forest Preserve, which is only about five minutes away.

Modified lineup takes Byron Handicap meet

Cutsinger, Kuipers emerge from pack for boys XC
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—If it’s early October, you’ll know where to find Kaneland boys cross country.

They’ll be in Byron, Ill., ahead of everyone else.

Such was the case on Oct. 3, when the Knight boys cross country outfit made its usual stop for the Byron Handicap Invite.

Kaneland’s mastery of the staggered starts and the other seven schools led to 26 points and a victory.

The host Tigers finished with 43 team points, followed by Bureau Valley and 94 points.

Eliminating a 20-second disadvantage, Kaneland’s Phil Cutsinger finished in 17 minutes, 5 seconds, followed by teammate Joe Kuipers in second at 17:10.

“(Phil’s) worked very hard this season, and we’re happy to see him achieve this,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said. “Joe is just an amazingly humble and hard-working young man.”

Two Byron runners took the third and fourth spots before Kaneland struck again with Matt Rodway’s fifth-place nod at 17:38.

Nick Albano and Gus Stott helped wrap up the team title, as well, along with Brad Kigyos and Ryan Paulson.

Clarey, even with the top seven runners held out of the lineup, was pleased to see the competition bend toward KHS.

“We held out our top seven runners, and went with the great depth of our lineup versus some talented western fringe schools. Byron was second to us, and put up a great fight. Byron is the seventh-ranked team in Class 1A,” Clarey said.

Ahead for the Kaneland lineup is the LaSalle-Peru-hosted Northern Illinois Big XII Conference meet on Saturday, Oct. 13.

“Our bottom line is that we are coming to give the best of ourselves, and to let the chips fall where they may,” Clarey said. “We’ve had a rough string of less than stellar performances at the conference meet for more years than we care to admit. By no means is it because our kids are not prepared or don’t give the best they’ve got. Our training has been built over the years, to help point us toward our best performances coming when we need them.”

Knight boys run circles around Freeport

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—There’s nothing like a victory pretzel.

You can ask the Kaneland High School boys cross-country team.

This past Saturday brought the 36th annual Freeport Pretzel Invite, and it was won by Kaneland.

The Knights’ total of 31 was due to five Knights placing in the top 12 runners in the entire field.

Second place was owned by Rockford Jefferson with 60, followed by Winnebago in third at 74, and Rock Falls at 110.

A key to the Kaneland harrier success was the team’s pack split, which KHS coach Chad Clarey always stresses as being a key to success.

“One of our best pack runs of the season today, with a 1-7 split of just 63 seconds,” he said.

Junior asset Kyle Carter overtook the field after the mile mark and won the course in 15:23.55. Next for KHS was Conor Johnson who ran an impressive time of 15:34.01 after a late push.

John Meisinger finished sixth with a time of 15:57.83.

“His 15:57 was one of his best performances of the season, and a key to the team win,” Clarey said.

Teammate Ryan Bower took ninth at 16:15.38, continuing his first-year varsity trajectory. Luis Acosta was the fifth Knight runner to finish, in 12th at 16:20.22.

“We need to rest, recover and push hard to maintain the great start we’ve built for ourselves,” Clarey said. “This is a special group, with outstanding senior leadership. We hope to continue this, bringing all 31 boys to the finish.”

The boys battle competition at the Sterling Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 6.

6th in crowded ACC field marks good day for boys XC

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Despite an early scare in which an early fall led to a chain-reaction pile-up shortly after the race’s start, the Kaneland boys cross country team saw positive developments at the ACC Invite on Saturday.

“We had a very encouraging and fortunate day. Encouraging to see our pack split 1-6 of just 65 seconds, fortunate that none of our runners were seriously injured,” KHS head coach Chad Clarey said.

The Knights finished in sixth place with 169 points, with fellow Northern Illinois Big XII outfit Yorkville finishing second in the Aurora Central Catholic Charger Classic with 92 points, just three behind race king Normal U-High.

Oswego East runner Charles Thornton was tops in the 2.9 mile race with a time of 14:41.9, but the Knights boasted their own impressive totals.

Junior Kyle Carter finished sixth with a time of 14:57.4, and becomes the first KHS runner to break the 15-minute barrier on the course.

“It was a very big day for him, given the training he’s been doing this week,” Clarey said.

Conor Johnson finished in 20th place by running 15:15.2—this after being involved in the pileup of competitors early on in the course. Senior John Meisinger set a PR and finished in 44th, at 15:46.1, and junior Ryan Bower was 61st at 16:00.8, setting another PR by 32 seconds.

The Knights try to leave the field in knots on Saturday, Sept. 29, at the Freeport Pretzel Invite.

Bringing their best

Photo: Kyle Carter (891) dukes it out with DeKalb’s Marc Dubrick at the Eddington Invitational Saturday at Elburn Woods. Photos by Ryan Wells

Boys XC team sets numerous personal records at Eddington
by Ryan Wells
Kaneland—Across the board, the KHS boys cross country team stepped up in a big way for one of the biggest races of the year, the annual Larry Eddington Invitation at Kaneland’s home course at Elburn Woods.

All seven of Kaneland’s runners set some form of personal record on their home course.

“I thought our boys did very well,” KHS head coach Chad Clarey said. “All the guys that competed were either hitting their PR for the season on their home course or their career PR here.”

As a team, the Knights finished sixth with 140 points. Crystal Lake Central pulled away in the second half of the race to score 61 team points, good for the overall victory. Jacobs finished second with 91, followed by West Aurora (109), Benet Academy (128) and DeKalb (129). Mooseheart ran in its first-ever cross country race as a team, taking 15th overall.

Kaneland junior Kyle Carter led the team with a fourth-place finish, with a time of 16:08. He said the atmosphere spurred the Knights to push the pace throughout the course.

“It’s quite an honor to represent Kaneland and Larry Eddington, of course, and … we just wanted to represent Kaneland as best we can,” Carter said.

Because Carter trains at Elburn Woods regularly, he said he knew that being familiar with the difficult, hilly course could give the team an edge. He said he tried to come out of the start at a faster pace than usual.

“I went out a little fast, but I was trying to push the pace because most guys can’t handle the hills as good as us, because we work here all the time,” he said.

He said that after the initial burst, the lead group settled in before hitting the two-mile mark on the three-mile race.

“We just got to the two mile, and then the race really began,” he said. “They really took off and then I just hung on.”

Clarey said Carter ran a 29-second personal record on the home course.

“I think he was pumped up about getting started and he wanted to have a strong time,” Clarey said.

Senior Connor Johnson was the second Knight to cross the finish line, taking 18th overall with a time of 16:41, 24 seconds faster than his previous best time.

“This was a huge race for him,” Clarey said. “As a senior, he really stepped up and led our charge to be our No. 2 runner.”

Senior John Meisenger came into the race with a goal of hitting near 17 minutes, and he accomplished it, finishing 34th overall with a time of 17 minutes flat. That time served as an eight-second personal record.

Meisenger said that the early fast pace was a bit faster than he normally runs, but he anticipated it happening at the Eddington Invite.

“That was a faster mile for me coming into the first mile, but we’re used to setting the first mile faster,” he said.

Junior Ryan Bower was the fourth Knight across the finish line, taking 40th overall with a time of 17:15. That shaved 30 seconds off his career best time.

“Ryan Bower is new to varsity; he’s filling that role we need to have somebody come up and be a four or five guy,” Clarey said.

Junior Brandon Huber made a pre-race decision to run the race at all, as he was facing some soreness in his foot that morning. He finished in 17:23, good for 44th overall, cutting some time off his personal best on the course as well.

“He was a little bit sore this morning in his foot and wasn’t sure if he was going to race or not,” Clarey said. “He decided to jump in and wound up being our fifth man in the race. He did very well, especially with that foot pain.”

Junior Nathaniel Kucera beat his career best by 40 seconds, finishing in 17:38, good for 51st overall.

“He’s an important piece to our puzzle as well,” Clarey said. “We just need to make sure he’s feeling healthy.”

Ryan Paulson stepped in at the last minute to run as the seventh Knight, and used that motivation to set a 45-second PR on the home course. He finished in 18:00, taking 60th overall.

“I think it boosts up the momentum,” Paulson said of running as the host team at a big event like Eddington. “It really tries to push you to do better.”

“He’s another senior that really stepped out; when we needed him he stepped in and did a great job on this home course,” Clarey said.

Kaneland will travel to the ACC Invite on Saturday, Sept. 22.

Kaneland hosts 43rd Eddington Invite

Eddington Invite race schedule
(All races are 3 miles)

9 a.m. Girls Varsity Race
9:45 a.m. Boys Varsity Race
10:15 a.m.
Frosh-Soph Girls Race
10:45 a.m.
Frosh-Soph Boys Race
11:15 a.m.
Girls Open Race
11:45 a.m. Boys Open

KANELAND—One of Elburn’s oldest sports events, the Eddington Cross Country Invitational, will celebrate its 43rd edition this Saturday, Sept. 15, at Elburn Woods. Hosted by Kaneland High School, the meet commemorates the 25-year teaching and coaching career of Larry Eddington, a long-time Elburn resident who passed away suddenly in 1994.

Still an icon within the Kaneland School District, Eddington chaired the high school’s social studies and English departments and served as president of the Kaneland Education Association, while also coaching boys’ cross country, basketball, and track and field. His teams enjoyed success at the state level, winning the IHSA Class A State Cross Country title in 1987 and countless other awards and championships.

In 1982, Eddington was named “Kane County Educator of the Year.” Over the course of his coaching career, he was honored as “Illinois Cross Country Coach of the Year” three times. He was inducted into the Kaneland School District’s Hall of Fame in 2002 in recognition of his years of hard work and loyalty to Kaneland High School, where the “Larry Eddington Award for Courage, Leadership and Strength” is awarded annually by the school’s Athletic Department.

Eddington was an outstanding cross country runner, and track and field athlete at East Aurora High School and at Western Illinois University, where he prepared to pursue his goal of becoming a high school teacher and coach. His legacy is continued by former Knight runner Chad Clarey, who now coaches the Kaneland boys cross country team, and by former teaching colleague Doug Ecker, who coaches the girls team. Larry’s son Mark is the race director for the annual Elburn Days 5K and Mile Run.

At the 2012 Eddington Cross Country Invitational, the 21-team field includes seven girls teams who won their conference championship last fall and four teams that advanced to the State AA and AAA State Championships. Individually, eight individuals in the varsity girls race had performances on the track last spring that earned them “National Elite” designation by ESPNHS.com. Among the returners are Crystal Lake Central and sophomore Sami Staples, a 4:56/10:46 miler/2-miler on the track last spring, who are the defending Eddington Invitational varsity girls team and individual champions.

The boys’ varsity field includes four teams that advanced to the State AA and AAA Championships last fall, three individuals whose performances on the track last spring earned them “National Elite” designation by ESPN.com, and six others who received “State Elite” designation.

The host Kaneland boys’ team is led by junior Kyle Carter, who had a breakout track season last spring running 4:32 and 2:01 for the mile and 800. He is followed by seniors Conor Johnson, Brandon Huber, John Meisenger, and juniors Ryan Bower and Luis Acosta. The Knights placed 15th last fall in the IHSA AA State Championships and have won their first two triangular meets of the season with ease.

The Kaneland girls’ team is led sophomore Victoria Clinton who was the Northern Illinois Big-12 Conference Champion last year as a freshman and placed ninth individually at the state meet. She is backed by sophomore Aislinn Lodwig, seniors Abby Dodis, Maggie Brundige, Amanda Lesak and Ashley Castellanos, and junior Sydney Strang. The Lady Knights placed eighth last fall in the IHSA AA State Championships and have also notched lop-sided wins in their first two triangular meets of the season.

They are ranked No. 3 in the latest State AA girls team poll by Illinois Prep Harrier, behind Crystal Lake Central and Yorkville.

For Saturday’s Eddington Invitational, Elburn Woods has only enough parking to accommodate participating teams and the meet staff, so spectators are to park at Kaneland High School, where three shuttle buses will ferry them every 10 minutes to the Forest Preserve, which is only about five minutes away.

Knight runners excel at Peoria

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—One can only hope this past Saturday was a preview for bigger things down the course.

At Peoria High School’s First to the Finish race on Saturday, featuring the best Class 2A has to offer at Detweiller Park, the Knights ran away with a third-place nod.

With 184 team points, the Knights set a new high-water mark for the Peoria meet, after finishing fourth five years ago.

“The boys took advantage of great weather and fast competition to net a third-place finish,” KHS head coach Chad Clarey said. “Our pack split of 56 seconds (one through five) was a major factor in the team’s top five showing.”

Northern Illinois Big XII rival Yorkville’s 88 was tops out of 45 schools, followed by Normal U-High’s 119.

Kyle Carter was the flag-bearer for the Knight roster, finishing 10th overall with a time of 15 minutes, 23 seconds—setting a KHS record for the course, and also beating his own 2011 State race time by 22 seconds.

Next for KHS was Conor Johnson, who finished 30th with a time of 15:51, clipping his own state time by nine seconds.

John Meisinger was 40th with a time of 16:05, followed by Ryan Bower with a time of 16:08 (45th place).

KHS coach Chad Clarey was pleased with the 56 second pack split, and the Knights’ depth.

“John Meisinger and Ryan Bower each looked very strong,” Clarey said. “Another major key to our day was Luis Acosta. (He) ran nearly 30 seconds faster than his 2011 State time, and looks like a seasoned veteran.”

Acosta finished 59th at 16:19.

Ahead for KHS is the storied Eddington Invite at Elburn Woods on Saturday, Sept. 15.

Knight XC tops East Aurora, Yorkville

Kaneland—For the second week in a row, Kaneland’s pack-running mentality proved successful as the Knights cross country team defeated both East Aurora and Yorkville at Elburn Woods on Tuesday.

“Training through another Tuesday meet, our team finished the day healthy, and to win was a bonus,” KHS head coach Chad Clarey said. “Making the transition from summer training to the real thing has taken its toll on energy levels, and we have plenty of aches—just like every other team in the state.”

Kaneland’s 15 points were earned based on the Knights’ pack taking the top six spots. Led by Kyle Carter, who took first with a time of 16:51, the Knights’ lead group took first through sixth place, as well as ninth through 11th.

East Aurora finished second with 55 points, followed by Yorkville with 150.

Conor Johnson (17:15) came in second place, good for a 23-second personal best for the short season. Clarey said he has begun to emerge as a key leader on the team.

“It’s good to see him taking a lead role for the pack, being aggressive through mile one and maintaining speed the rest of the way,” Clarey said.

Ryan Bower (17:52), Luis Acosta (18:04), John Meisenger (18:12) and Brandon Hueber (18:13) completed the top six sweep.

A pair of East Aurora runners were sandwiched between the Knight runners, followed by the Kaneland trio of Ryan Paulson (18:50), Sean Spaetzel (19:03) and Matthew Rodway (19:05). Clarey pointed to Spaetzel, a freshman, as an example of the younger runners who are already making an impact on the team.

“Another standout performance came from freshman Sean Spaetzel, who ran his first three-mile race and wound up finishing in the top 10,” Clarey said.

The Knights run next at the First to the Finish Invitational at Peoria on Saturday, Sept. 8.

As a pack

KHS boys XC team takes 6 of top 7 spots in season opener
Kaneland—Pack running has long been the mantra of the Kaneland High School boys cross country team under head coach Chad Clarey. If the team’s performance in Tuesday’s season-opener is any indication of what to expect this year, the Knights will be just fine.

“We are happy with our first run on the home course,” Clarey said after Tuesday’s win over West Chicago and Wheaton Academy. “We clearly have a lot to work on, but this has a very good feel for the start of a strong campaign.”

The Knights took six of the top seven spots on their way to a 19-point team tally, taking first place by far in the three-team field. Wheaton Academy took second in the tri-meet with 53 points, followed by West Chicago with 108.

Kyle Carter took the top individual spot with a time of 16:39, well in front of the second-place finisher, Noah VanDyke of Wheaton Academy, who crossed the finish line at 17:24.

“Kyle Carter broke away from the pack and finished with our fastest course time for an opening night,” Clarey said.

The Kaneland pack closely followed, as Knights took spots three through seven. Connor Johnson finished third in 17:38, closely followed by John Meisinger (17:40), Louis Acosta (17:43), Ryan Bower (17:46), and Brandon Hueber (18:05).

“Johnson, Meisinger, Acosta and Bower all were within eight seconds of each other. We’ll take that any day of the week,” Clarey said.

Nathaniel Kucera finished as the KHS seventh-man, placing 10th overall with a time of 18:56.

“Our boys opened the season with a very encouraging pack performance,” Clarey said. “We loved seeing them pair up and push through the hilly Elburn Woods course.

The Knights will host another tri-meet on Tuesday, Sept. 4, when East Aurora and Yorkville pay a visit to Elburn Woods.

Boys Cross Country Preview: Making excellence familiar

Photo: Conor Johnson tries to create distance between himself and the field at Detweiler Park in Peoria, Ill. last year during the Class 2A State race. The 15th best boys’ cross country program is slated to return five of seven top runners in 2012. File photo

Cross country team looks to return to top-tier at state
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—One has to be considered a top-tier team in Class 2A after securing 15th place in the boys cross country finals a year ago.

But Kaneland won’t be satisfied.

Yet, while Kaneland looks to aim even higher this year, the program also has to see how to replace important losses.

Gone from the 2011 season’s top seven are Miki Marin and Clayton Brundige, but the remaining top five look to be a force to be reckoned with.

“The very bottom line for us is it’s a 12-week season,” KHS head coach Chad Clarey said. “It’s a long campaign and there’s always a push by many different teams toward the end. We slowly progress our way toward the season.”

Kyle Carter came on strong as his sophomore season went on, and eventually put up top team numbers.

Carter’s 39th place finish could serve him well as a reminder of what’s possible.

“He had a great season last year. He ran a PR for the course at State, and he’s looking for more this year. He wants more out of himself and wants more out of this team,” Clarey said.

Also returning are senior leaders Conor Johnson, John Meisinger, Brandon Huber and junior Luis Acosta, all with pivotal postseason experience.

“Conor and John stand out right away. Both of them are working through some of those aches and pains. They’ve been in the program. This is their fourth year, and that experience makes a huge difference,” Clarey said.

Huber was touted as the most improved runner a year ago by Clarey, having run 16 minutes, 16 seconds at State.

‘We’re going to use our depth, and we’ve got a huge senior class,” Clarey said.

The sense of the moment allowed Kaneland to power through a stacked sectional hosted by Belvidere a year ago, and it will be a challenge to break through that upper class lineup.

The season opens at Elburn Woods on Tuesday, Aug. 28, with a meet against West Chicago and Wheaton Academy.

Varsity roster
Seniors
Nick Albano
Conor Johnson
Bradley Kigyos
Joe Kuipers
John Meisenger
Nicholas Messina
Ryan Paulson
Joseph Pollastrini
Matthew Rodway
Christopher Wido

Juniors
Luis Acosta
Ryan Bower
Kyle Carter
Phillip Cutsinger
Nathaniel Kucera
Dylan Kuipers
Marcus Stott

Sophomores
Andrew Lesak
Brandon Park
Connor Pennington
Philip Rawers
James Walker

Freshmen
Aaron French
Alexander Gale
Joseph Kuchera
William Kuipers
Kyle Osborne
Sean Spaetzel
Ryan Weber

Head coach
Chad Clarey

Varsity Boys Cross Country Schedule
• Tuesday, Aug. 28; 4:30 p.m.
Home vs. W. Acad., W. Chicago
• Tuesday, Sept. 4; 4:30 p.m.
Home vs. E. Aurora, Yorkville
• Saturday, Sept. 8; 11 a.m.
At First to the
Finish Invite—Peoria
• Saturday, Sept. 15; 9 a.m.
Home—Eddington Meet
• Saturday, Sept. 22; 9 a.m.
At ACC Invite
• Saturday, Sept. 29; 9:30 a.m.
At Freeport Pretzel Invite
• Wednesday, Oct. 3; 4:15 p.m.
At Byron Handicap Invite
• Saturday, Oct. 6; 9 a.m.
At Sterling Invite
• Saturday, Oct. 13; 9 a.m.
at LaSalle Peru
NIB XII Conference

Kaneland cross country team hosts Baggo tourney

Kaneland—The Kaneland cross country team will host its inaugural double-elimination Baggo tournament on Sunday, Aug. 26, at Kaneland Harter Middle School.

The youth winning team will receive new Baggo boards for each team member. Adult winning teams will receive $250 to split, with prizes awarded for second and third as well. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.

The youth tournament will begin at 12:30 p.m., with a noon check-in. The adult tournament starts at 3:30 p.m., with a 3 p.m. check-in.

Register in advance by emailing your team name, and the names of both team members, to kanelandxc@gmail.com. Entry fees will be paid when you check in at the tournament.

The 88 keys


The 1988 Boys Cross Country Team was inducted into the Kaneland Hall of Fame at halftime during the boys varsity basketball game against Ottawa last Friday. Pictured L to R: Kaneland High School Athletic Director Leigh Jaffke, Kaneland School District Superintendant Dr. Jeff Schuler, Kevin McQuade, Jim Probst, Tim Wolf, Jake and Luke Fahrenbacher (Coach Eddington’s grandsons), Chad Clarey and Casey Wright. Shown is Dr. Schuler shaking the hand of Coach Eddington’s grandson Luke. Photo by Patti Wilk

KHS fall athletes recognized with awards

KANELAND—Kaneland High School athletics released their slate of Fall Sports Awards, with each sport trumpeting the best it had to offer, with some All-Northern Illinois Big XII honors thrown in for good measure.

In golf, All-NIB-12 went to Troy Krueger and Matt Yonkovich. Co-Varsity MVP’s were Brody Kuhar and Yonkovich. Connor Williams won the varsity most improved player award. On the frosh/soph roster, Stephen Cannell took the MVP, and Jacob Sheehan won the most improved player award.

For volleyball, All-NIB-12 nods went to Katy Dudzinski and conference MVP Kylie Siebert.

Dudzinski was named top offensive player while Siebert was named top defensive player.

Most improved player went to Rachael Clinton, and the Spirit award went to Lauren Banbury. Dudzinski and Siebert took home the team MVP awards.

In Kaneland tennis, Stephanie Rosenwinkel, Amelia Napiorkowski and Kelly Kovacic were recognized as captains. Mallory Dugan and Stephanie Karolewicz were named most improved. Kovacic and Colleen Landers took the team spirit awards. Outstanding achievement awards went to Jelly Emmnouil for a perfect regular season, Madi Jurcenko for a school record 33 wins, and the doubles tandem of Jurcenko and Napiorkowski for a record of 32-3. All-NIB-12 members were Napiorkowski, Jurcenko, Emmanouil and Sammie Schrepferman, and those four were also named team MVP’s.

For girls cross country, Victoria Clinton was honored for All-State totals, as well as being a State qualifier with teammates Maggie Brundige, Abby Dodis, Aislinn Lodwig, Amanda Lesak, Sydney Strang and Ashley Castellanos.

Lesak, Dodis, Lodwig, Brundige and Clinton were named to the All-NIB-12 team. Dodis, Brundige and Carolina Tovar were recognized as captains. Most improved runners were Dodis and Brundige, while Clinton was named as Most Valuable Runner, capping an exceptional freshman campaign.

For boys cross country, Kyle Carter, John Meisinger, Brandon Huber, Miki Marin, Conor Johnson, Luis Acosta, Clayton Brundige and Nate Rehkopf were recognized as State qualifiers, while Huber, Carter and Meisinger made the All-NIB-12 team.

The Golden Knight Awards went to freshman Andrew Lesak, sophomore Nathanie Kucera, junior Meisinger and senior Rehkopf. Rehkopf, Brundige and Marin were recognized as captains. Huber took the most improved runner nod. Brundige won the Larry Eddington Award for Courage, Leadership and Strength. Carter was named most valuable runner.

For the State semifinalist football squad, Quinn Buschbacher was recognized for his IHSCA All-State accomplishment, and Jacob Razo was credited with an IHSCA Honorable Mention. Alex Snyder, Drew David, Blake Bradford and Ben Kovalick were named to the IHSCA Academic All-State team.

Snyder, Nick Sharp, Buschbacher, Sean Carter, David, Ryan Noel, Kovalick, Razo, Kory Harner, Ryan Lawrence and Bradford were named to the All-NIB-12 team.

Special teams MVP was Matt Roriguez, while Buschbacher was offensive MVP and Razo was named defensive MVP.

Most improved player was Brandon Stahl, captains were Kovalick, Noel, Buschbacher, Razo and Carter, while Sean Carter walked away with the MVP award.

For the regional finalist soccer team, Alex Gil and Anthony Parillo were named to the All-Sectional team, while Jordan Escobedo, Gil, Parillo and Alec Koczka made the All-NIB-12 team. Pedro Perez and Tyler Siebert were honorable mention candidates.

Gil was named player of the year, with Escobedo taking the offensive player of the year and Sam Rymarz named the defensive player of the year.

The Coach’s Award went to Siebert, Koczka, Jason Biddle and Chris Van Dinther. Gil, Escobedo and Parillo were recognized as captains.

Rookie of the year went to Arsim Azemi. Thansi Pesmajoglou was named most improved player and Gil and Parillo took the team MVP.

Top-15 finish at State for KHS boys

Photo: Conor Johnson tries to create distance between himself and the field at Detweiler Park in Peoria, Ill., on Saturday during the Class 2A State race. The 15th best boys’ cross country program is slated to return five of seven top runners in 2012. Photo by Marshall Farthing

by Mike Slodki
PEORIA—Kaneland’s boys cross country lineup went after the finish line all season long, with the burden of sizable turnover from last year.

Even with factors like that, as well as nagging injuries to key personnel, the Knight harriers made the most of their 15th trip to the State race in 25 years.

With a team total of 371 points, KHS took 15th in all of Class 2A after Saturday’s Detweiler Park gathering in Peoria, Ill.

The seven-deep Knight lineup ran the course with an average time of 16 minutes, 8.1 seconds, and had a pack discrepancy of 57 seconds.

Tops in Class 2A was the always dangerous Belvidere North, with 110 points and four athletes in the top 15. Former Western Sun Conference rival Glenbard South was second at 128, followed by Normal U-High at 173.

NIB-12 mate Yorkville was sixth overall with 209 points. Local outfit Marmion Academy took ninth at 258 points.

Decatur MacArthur’s Michael Clevenger’s 14:26 effort was good for first place, followed by Belvidere North’s Tyler Yunk at 14:32 and Charleston entry Riley McInerney at 14:40.

For Kaneland, the conclusion to 2011 gets it on par with the outstanding fifth-place finish two years ago. In 2010, KHS sent Trevor Holm to State, where he finished 37th.

As he’s done quite often during his sophomore season, Kyle Carter had the top total for the Knights, finishing with the 38th best time of 15:45.

Junior Conor Johnson took 59th with a time of 16 minutes flat, followed by teammate John Meisinger in 60th, one second behind.

Meisinger was impressed at the team’s fortunes.

“This was a big year, we had good team unity and wanted to see what we could do after Trevor left. With all the races, even if you don’t know, you are always improving,” Meisinger said.

Brandon Huber finished 85th at 16:16, while Miroljub Marin took 129th at 16:41. Luis Acosta was 139th overall at 16:48, and Clayton Brundige was 155th at at 17:04.

KNIGHTS XC
Luis Acosta Nick Albano
Ryan Bower Clayton Brundige
Kyle Carter Brandon Huber
Conor Johnson Brad Kigyos
Miroljub Marin John Meisinger
Ryan Paulson Nate Rehkopf
Head Coach Chad Clarey

‘One solid group’ gets to a better State

Photo: Kyle Carter (right) strides on Saturday, as he has done all season, as part of the State-bound Knight boys cross country squad. Photo by Mike Slodki

Fourth-place means 15th trip to State in 25 years
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—In a loaded Class 2A sectional hosted by Belvidere High School, Knight boys cross country had quite the challenge ahead of it and quite the trail to conquer.

If qualifying for the State race in Peoria this weekend is any indication, Kaneland went above and beyond, qualifying as a team.

KHS finished Saturday with 208 team points, two points ahead of final qualifying team Grayslake Central.

Belvidere North, with junior star Tyler Yunk, was first with 60 points, and Yorkville was second with 89 points.

Crystal Lake Central was third with 129 points.

The productive showing marks an improvement over a year ago, with one Knight, Trevor Holm, qualifying in 2010. The entire team qualified in 2009 and finished fifth.

“To take a busload of boys and girls to State for this meet hasn’t happened since 1992,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said. “To share this special day with them is great. We look forward to the chance to represent our community well in Peoria.”

Using a solid, 40-second pack split, something that Clarey has stressed the utmost importance of in 2011, the Knights’ Kyle Carter was the top finisher for his group in 19th place at 15 minutes, 59.9 seconds.

“What a great breakout sophomore season for him. Him and Brandon Huber are probably our most improved runners,” Clarey said.

Following close behind was 33rd-place John Meisinger at 16:18.8.

Teammate Huber was 49th and next for KHS at 16:34.7.

The fourth-best runner for the Knights was integral to the bottom line: Miki Marin, hobbled by a bum hamstring.

“He started passing, and didn’t stop for the last two miles. He ran a perfect race and did everything we asked of him. These boys came together as one solid group,” Clarey said.

Conor Johnson finished fifth for KHS with a time of 16:39, good for 56th.

Also in the mix on Saturday was Luis Acosta, at 17:03 (88th place). Senior Clayton Brundige was 109th at 17:24, and now a three-year member of the Kaneland State caravan, having gone in ‘08 and ‘09.

The boys’ race is set to begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5.

Fifth place at own regional good for boys XC

Photo courtesy YorkvilleCrossCountry.com

by Mike Slodki
ELBURN—When you deal with boys cross-country rosters like Yorkville and Crystal Lake Central, the squeeze for sectionals can be a bit crowded.

Luckily, Kaneland’s crew can worry about Sectionals as an active participant.

The Knights, thanks to a 127-point output, took fifth place at the 2A regional at Elburn Woods on Saturday morning and are headed to Belvidere’s sectional.

The Foxes had 36 points, followed by CLC with 71, DeKalb with 117 and Burlington Central with 118.

Other teams advancing to this weekend were Aurora Central Catholic (138) and Sycamore (142).

Crystal Lake Central entry Alex Baker, a junior, was tops on the traditionally hilly course with a time of 15 minutes, 47 seconds, ahead of Rocket Clint Kliem by 3.3 seconds.

For the Knights, sophomore Kyle Carter came through again with a time of 16:33.1, good for ninth overall.

Junior John Meisinger was next in 16th place with a time of 16:55.2.

Knight junior Brandon Huber was 22nd with a time of 17:08.7.

Conor Johnson of KHS took 34th with a time of 17:25.4.

Knights coach Chad Clarey would like to see more of an effective punch lineup-wide. “We qualified as a team for the Sectional, obviously the most important factor of the day. We’ll go back to work this week, freshen up and make a run for the top five (Saturday) in Belvidere.”

The Saturday, Oct. 29, race begins at 11 a.m., and also features schools like Grayslake Central, Richmond-Burton, and other Northern Illinois Big XII schools like Dixon, Sterling and Rochelle.

Boys XC sees improvement, third place in NIB-12 action

GENESEO, Ill.—Looking at how the Kaneland High School boys cross-country team performed at the Northern Illnois Big XII Conference meet a year ago, the improvement in the 12-team field is apparent.

Heading into the State series, Kaneland and Co. would love to see even more.

A year after finishing seventh in the conference, KHS upped the performance level to third with a 98-point total in Geneseo, Ill.

Yorkville took the boys crown with 40 points, including four of the top nine runners. DeKalb took second, just four points better than the Knights.

Sycamore and Dixon at 116 and 119, respectively, rounded out the top five.

Geneseo, Sterling, Rochelle, Morris, Ottawa, LaSalle-Peru and Streator went six through 12.

The top runner in the conference for 2011 was Dixon High School’s Simon Thorpe, winning the Maple Leaf course in 16 minutes, two seconds.

The first Knight in the mix was sophomore Kyle Carter, who took fifth at 16:30.3.

“He was very determined the entire race, to battle the elite runners of the field,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said. “His strong performances of late bode well going into the State series.”

Kaneland next crossed the finish line at 17th place, thanks to John Meisinger’s 17:04. Close by in 19th place was Brandon Huber with a time of 17:08. Conor Johnson was 23rd with a 17:14.6 effort.

With the postseason upon them, Clarey thinks conditions are favorable.

“The end is nearing, and we fortunately got ‘the bad race’ out of our systems. Time to go back to what we do best, on our home course at Regionals,” Clarey said.

This Saturday, Oct. 22, brings the Kaneland Regional to Elburn Woods.

A year ago in Malta, Ill., the Knights took third in the regional and advanced as a team to Belvidere’s sectional.

The top returning runner from 2010’s postseason is Johnson, who finished 20th overall.

Knight boys XC takes to Sterling, Byron

KANELAND—At Byron, Kaneland’s 31 points was tops for the meet, above Byron’s 62. Richmond-Burton’s 68-point total was good for third.

With groups shooting out of the gate at 20 second intervals, Kaneland’s Gus Stott took the top spot for the Knights, followed by Nick Albano in fourth.

In Saturday’s Sterling Invite, the freshman-sophomore roster ran to a fourth-place finish with 121 points. Sophomore Kyle Carter’s 16 minute, seven second time was good for second, followed by teammate Luis Acosta, who finished seventh at 16:53.

The varsity group heads off to the second annual Northern Illinois Big XII meet, hosted by Geneseo High School, on Saturday, Oct. 15.

A year ago at Elburn Woods, Kaneland finished seventh out of 12 teams, with the Yorkville Foxes taking the mantle.

Knights take Freeport race

KANELAND—With four of the top seven slots all taken by Kaneland, it was a successful outing over the Pretzels on Saturday morning.

Knights boys cross country’s 34 points was good enough to hoist the Pretzel Invite mantle in Freeport, Ill., solving Rockford Jefferson (56 points), Oregon (86) and Rockford Boylan (86) in the eight-team encounter.

Kaneland sophomore Kyle Carter was second with a time of 15:07.7.

In fourth place, KHS entry Conor Johnson finished in 15:43.0. Teammate John Meisenger took sixth at 15:49.3, and Knight Brandon Huber was seventh in 15:50.1.

KHS hits Sterling on Saturday, Oct. 8.

Johnson, Carter show improving times at ACC

by Mike Slodki
AURORA—Oakhurst Park in Aurora was the site of a new challenge for the Kaneland boys cross country squad, and the Knights met it in a tough field.

With 204 points, Kaneland’s young but deep roster procured a ninth-place finish out of 18 squads. Yorkville won the meet with 91 points.

“We accomplished what we set out to do, closing the gap on schools ahead of us and racing to some personal best times,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said.

Plainfield East, Marmion Academy, Oswego and West Aurora rounded out the top five.

Metea Valley High School senior Joe Stewart took the race with a time of 14 minutes, 30.5 seconds.

The top finisher for KHS was first-time top Knight Conor Johnson, who finished at 15:31.3. 29th-place Johnson was followed closely by sophomore Kyle Carter, who finished 33rd at 15:35.2.

Junior John Meisinger took 51st at 15:50.7, with Brandon Huber packed close behind at 15:52.9, good for 53rd.

“We love the versatility of our lineup—to have a different runner popping up with a big race,” Clarey said.

The Knights head off to the Freeport Invite to take care of some NIC-10 compeition on Saturday, Oct. 1.

Impressive totals for boys XC at Eddington Invite

Photo: Kyle Carter ran a PR of 16:51.7 to pace the XC Knights at the Eddington Invitational at Elburn Woods Saturday. Photo by Madeline Cole

by Mike Slodki
ELBURN—If you can’t show your talent on the home stage at Elburn Woods, when can you show it?

Kaneland’s boys cross country team finished in sixth place out of 18 teams at its Eddington Invite showcase on Saturday morning, garnering 148 points and seeing noteworthy times from the top tier.

“We had a strong effort in a talented field of teams,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said. “We have some more work to do, but we like where we are headed.”

Crystal Lake Central won the meet with 88 points, followed by Benet Academy at 106 and Jacobs at 114.

Jacobs’ entry William Hennessy was tops with a 15 minute, 47.9 second tally. Kaneland sophomore Kyle Carter ran a PR of 16:51.7.

The sophomore was pleased with the individual and team effort.

“It was a great race,” Carter said. “We all did well and stuck as a pack, which is important, and it was an overall good day.”

Carter’s fellow Knight Conor Johnson (20th place) finished the hilly course in 17:05.9. John Meisinger was close behind in 22nd at 17:08.9. Junior Brandon Huber was next for the Knights in 43rd at 17:28.4.

The Knights take on the field at the Aurora Central Catholic Invite on Saturday, Sept. 24.

KHS Boys XC invades Peoria

PEORIA—While the total team standings didn’t lean the Knights’ way in the latest edition of the Peoria Woodruff Invite on Saturday, signs emerged that were encouraging for depth in boys’ cross country.

Whatever depth questions linger will go a long way to being cast aside with the younger Knights doing their part.

Sophomore Kyle Carter was tops for the runners in Knight garb, running the Peoria course in 16 minutes, nine seconds, good for 41st place.

Carter’s total was good for a personal best, as well. John Meisinger was next for the squad with a time of 16:19, followed by junior Brandon Huber’s PR of 16:40.

Teammate Conor Johnson was spiked, lost a show, was knocked down and stepped on, but managed to finish fourth on the team with 16:47.

Saturday, Sept. 17, brings the annual Eddington Invite with a start time of 9 a.m.