Category Archives: Boys Track


Kranz takes valuable pole position

2007 Kaneland graduate Sam Kranz (right), at the KHS pole vault summer camp June 27, is now a coach at Murray State University in Murray, Ky. Kranz gets a low-five from current Kaneland High School pole vault coach Andy Drendel (below, far right) after clearing 17 feet. Photos by Patti Wilk

Knight track alum important aspect of Murray State program
MURRAY, KY.—Sam Kranz, a member of Kaneland’s Class of 2007, has seen his track fortunes take him many places in the continental United States.

Most recently, he was in Los Angeles on the grounds of the U.S. Olympic Training Center at the Emerging Elite clinic for coaches of all levels, picking the brains of invited coaches and Olympic athletes.

That’s just another tool in Kranz’s coaching arsenal, which brings him back to Murray State University in Murray, Ky., where he was a women’s track graduate assistant, concentrating in pole vault.

A State qualifier in IHSA boys track for the Kaneland pole vault factory, Kranz, who lives in Murray, came over from his alma mater Northern Iowa after spending a year as a graduate assistant.

“It was kind of strange being a mentor to kids at that level after recently competing, but the kids understand after awhile once you put on the polo,” Kranz said.
On head coach Jenny Severns’ staff, Kranz is using his skills and acumen in an Ohio Valley Conference that is ripe for the taking.

“The OVC is in a real interesting spot, with your pole vault and high jump in kind of a weak spot conference-wise, but the triple jumps are up there with the best in the nation,” Kranz said.

Kranz knows what success and training can yield, and hopes the Racers program can improve on its 60-point, seventh-place team finish at the OVC meet.

“We had a girl earn a personal record by 2-and-a-half feet this year and another by over a foot, but there’s enough to look back on to see what we could have done differently,” Kranz said.

Kranz is also aiming to up his game in recruiting.

“Recruiting is such a big part of this,” Kranz said. “We’re not at the point where we can point to a lot of success at Murray for something like pole vault. That’s what I want to be able to point out to girls that we talk to in a couple of years.”

The Racer coaching staff member can draw on top-notch influences that he gathered as an athlete and give back from anywhere from a Kaneland pole vault camp to a conference meet in Edwardsville, Ill.

“I draw on anyone from Dan Steele, who was at Northern Iowa, to my dad, who founded his own company and is president,” Kranz said. “I can talk with them about anything and they are really good mentors and there are some similarities that overlap. They influence how I do this. I’ll continue to work hard and help develop the program.”

Photo by Marshall Farthing

Excellence in action

Boys track captures 2nd place in Class 2A State meet; boasts Barnes, Dyer as champs

CHARLESTON, Ill.—It was a group of athletes that rose to the occasion all season long.

One could probably say that about any incarnation of Kaneland boys track, but KHS resembled that remark with a vengeance in 2014.

With 84 team points and 12 finalists, the Knights were just six points behind Cahokia for the Class 2A State Title at O’Brien Stadium in Charleston, Ill., on Saturday. Cahokia won its fourth-straight title by outlasting KHS in the 4×400 m relay.

It marks their highest finish since a second-place, 53-point finish in 2010. KHS finished 16th in 2011, 11th in 2012 and sixth a year ago.

Kaneland also emerged from the Burlington Central Sectional as meet champs with 183 team points.

Burlington Central (38), Carbondale (34) and Chicago’s Dunbar (33) rounded out the top five. Conference rival Sycamore (26), Galesburg (25), Dixon (23), Dunlap (22) and Glenbard South (22) filled in the top 10.

The Knights were also able to boast two individual first-time State champs, with Ben Barnes leaping to the long jump crown with a finals effort of 23 feet, 5 inches. Teammate Nate Dyer heaved his way to the shot put honor at 58-05.25 in the finals.

“They both kept pushing themselves,” KHS coach Eric Baron said. “They both had personal bests on a day when it meant the most. Ben had nothing to lose after his first five jumps and brought more speed into his jump than ever before. Nate had been very consistent in the shot all season. That consistent effort put him in the lead and he then could go even harder with out fear of scratches. It paid off with a huge PR. They both put themselves in a position where they had done what we needed for our team first and then pushed themselves to achieve more.”

More All-State honors came down the pike for KHS, with Dylan Kuipers taking fourth with a 14-09 in the pole vault. Alex Snyder captured fifth in the shot put in 54-5.5, while Dyer came back for a seventh in the discus at 152-04.

Barnes made it to the finals with a 22-2.75 jump on Friday, which was third overall in his heat and trumped Cahokia’s Jamari Ward by 6.5 inches in the final. The junior finished second at the sectional with a 21-09.

The junior was still in awe of the weekend’s events.

“It hasn’t really sunk in, I don’t know if it ever will,” Barnes said.

Barnes went in with something to prove against the 2A field.

“Jamari was the top jumper in the nation and was expected to win,” Barnes said. “I had something to prove and had a third in the prelims. Once he got hurt after his first jump, Baron and I knew I had an opportunity.”

By definition one of the best long jumpers in Illinois already, Barnes went for the prize once the field sorted itself out.

“I knew coming in that I had been doing really well and had made it to State, and I decided to give it everything I had on my last jump and got a PR,” Barnes said.

Barnes will get a chance to defend his 2A crown next year, after attending track camps in Arkansas and at Stanford.

Dyer made it to the shot finals with a 56-09, better by 1-4.5 feet over heat rival Trevor Fox of Dunlap. The senior won sectionals with a 56-02 in the final.

The 4x800m relay finished second at 7:49.33 thanks to the efforts of Austin Kintz, Luis Acosta, Kyle Carter and Nathaniel Kucera.

Kaneland had a double shot in the 110m high hurdles with Brock Robertson finishing sixth at 15.15, followed by Dylan Nauert in seventh at 15.16.

The 4x200m relay had a third-place day with Barnes, Brandon Bishop, Isaac Swithers and Nauert finishing in 1:29.00.

Kucera secured a sixth in the 400m dash by sprinting to a 50.00. Nauert (38.22) and Robertson (39.27) took third and fourth in the 300m intermediate hurdles.

KHS had Robertson, Bishop, Carter and Kucera take second in the 4x400m with a time of 3:18.46, just .80 off the Cahokia pace, and 1.46 ahead of the Burlington Central foursome.

Other finalists included Dan Evers with a ninth in the pole vault at 13-03. The 4x100m relay of Bishop, Brandon Cruz, Nauert and Swithers found themselves disqualified in the finals.

KHS also had a preliminary presence with State qualifier Dalvell Triplett, who jumped a 41-03.5 in the triple jump prelims.

After a successful weekend, the ability to reach for great heights is coming as less and less of a surprise.

“I believe our Kaneland track program is self-sustaining,” Baron said. “I believe we reload each season. We will lose a tremendous class of seniors. We return a great team that will build on the experience that they gained this season. We have built a program that has freshman and sophomores train side by side with seniors. We will pull a talented eighth-grade group into our program. We may not score 84 points, but I guarantee we will have a team that won’t give up.”


Fantastic Friday for KHS boys track

Photo: Sophomore Austin Kintz was a surprising State qualifier for the Knights in the 1600m run, with a big run of 4:30.06. Photo by Marshall Farthing

Success comes Knights way at BC boys track sectional
BURLINGTON, Ill.—It’s come to be expected that the Kaneland boys track program will outdo themselves every so often.

There was no departure from the norm on Friday afternoon on the grounds of Burlington Central High School. That’s where the KHS outfit laid waste to the rest of the field and piled on 183 team points for the sectional crown.

Burlington Central’s 75.5 was a distant second, followed by Sycamore’s 72, Dixon’s 67 and Winnebago’s 43.

The six-through-10 schools were Rochelle (32), Sterling (25), Rockford Christian (21), Genoa-Kingston (122) and Freeport (9).

The Knights were able to qualify for this Friday’s IHSA Class 2A State finals in Charleston, Ill. in 13 of 18 events due to the outstanding output in Burlington.

“This week is all about normal practice, fine tuning some little things such as handoffs, starts and just getting in the right state of mind,” KHS coach Eric Baron said.

The first-places began with the 4×800-meter relay foursome that aced the Rockets track in 7:55.32. The 4x200m relay also took a first with a time of 1:29.54. The 4x400m relay joined them with a mark of 3:21.57.

Senior Alex Snyder will throw shot put at the State meet this weekend after a 53-10.75 effort at Friday’s Sectional. 					       Photo by Marshall Farthing
Senior Alex Snyder will throw shot put at the State meet this weekend after a 53-10.75 effort at Friday’s Sectional. Photo by Marshall Farthing

On the field side, it was KHS mainstay Dylan Kuipers earning a first in the pole vault with an effort of 14 feet, six inches.

Nate Dyer was able to claim both throwing events for himself, winning the shot put with a 56-02, and the discus at 164-08, a foot farther than Winnebago entry Chris Smith.

Kyle Carter rounded out the first-places with a 49.89 in the 400m dash.

Second-place honors were also good enough to punch a ticket to O’Brien Field this weekend, beginning with the 4x100m relay squad running in 42.76.

Ben Barnes was able to capture second in the long jump at 21-09, and teammate Dan Evers nabbed a second behind Kuipers in the pole vault with a 13-09.

In the shot put, Alex Snyder managed a 53-10.75, and Dalvell Triplett wrote a ticket to State with a 43-11.5 in the triple jump.

“The triple jump was also a big surprise,” Baron said. “Dalvell hit over qualifying on his first jump and Ben Barnes has 2-05 PR on his long jump. It really got the ball rolling.”

Rounding out the runners-up were personnel like Dylan Nauert in the 110m high hurdles at 14.75 and 300m low hurdles in 38.74, Nathaniel Kucera in the 400m dash at 49.93, and Austin Kintz in the 1,600m run at 4:30.06.

“Kintz was the biggest surprise,” Baron said. “He executed his race plan perfectly, and it was so rewarding for him and us coaches.”

Brock Robertson’s two fourth places in the 110m hurdles (15.22) and 300m hurdles (39.66) were enough to join the State caravan, as well.

The Class 2A preliminaries take place on Friday, May 30, and conclude on Saturday, May 31, on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.


Knights heights

Four-decade tradition of PV State presence still going strong
KANELAND—When you hit your 30s, you think you’ve seen most everything.

With Kaneland High School’s boys track squad on its way to the State finals in Charleston, Ill., this coming Friday, the program hopes there’s still amazing things on the pole vault side it hasn’t seen.

Beginning with a sixth-place finish from athlete Paul Johnson back in 1972, the pole vaulters have graced Kaneland with consistency and noteworthy heights. KHS hopes to continue that tradition with the duo of Dylan Kuipers and Dan Evers qualifying for the State finals. Kuipers’ 14 feet, 6 inch effort coupled with Evers’ 13-09 cinched the 32nd-straight season KHS has a State ticket in pole vault.

With three State champs and 27 all-State athletes, the Knights have found no shortage of elite personnel ready and willing to vault at Eastern Illinois University.

Boys pole vault coach Andy Drendel starts with the basics.

“No Kaneland vaulter has ever been hurt or put in a bad spot from vaulting. I take pride in teaching them how to be safe, and I don’t allow bad habits to form early on in their vault career. Having the right poles provided by our booster club has made my job easier. It allows me to focus on the vaulters’ technique so they can reach their full potential,” Drendel said.

Kuipers and Evers had a talent base and room to learn throughout their time at KHS.

“Dan Evers and Dylan Kuipers both were 5 feet tall and made 9’6 as freshmen, which is pretty average. They are now 15’3.5 and 13’9 vaulters and ranked top 10 in the state. They learned the proper form early on as freshmen, hit a growth spurt and physically matured. Since they already had a great technical base they developed as freshmen, they both developed very quickly when they grew into men,” Drendel said.

Evers, who is qualifying for the first time, is glad to go down there and not be the only Knight rep.

“I only got a 9-6 as a freshman, so to get State qualifying height is awesome,” Evers said. “As seniors, you’re determined to go down to State, so it’s great that we get to do this.”

Kuipers, who plans to join the vaunted North Central College track program next year after two EIU trips, feels the pole vaulters have always been on a different vibe.

“We have our own bond,” Kuipers said. “We’re with the team, but when it’s time for our event, it’s go time. It’s just us vaulters.”

With his first place at the Burlington Central Sectional, Kuipers’ approach made a difference.

“I didn’t put as much pressure on myself this second year,” Kuipers said. “I made the heights that I needed to, and that was a good start.”

Sam Kranz, member of the Class of 2007 and former University of Northern Iowa track athlete, was the last All-Stater, having reached a fourth place his senior year.

“I had a really good pole vault coach in Randy Oleson, and I expected to do well once I went down to State,” Kranz said. “My senior year, there was a lot of pressure on myself after having qualified three years. Dylan and Dan have their expectations going into it.”

Kranz still feels pride about the roster of vaulters he’s a part of.

“You go on the track website that they do an awesome job with and see the Top 50 list, and it’s really cool to see that,” Kranz said.

Class of 2013 member Kory Harner, who qualified three years in a row and attends Hope College in Holland, Mich., is mindful that determination and daring plays a sizable role.
“One year, I didn’t plant my first eight times. You just have to keep going, even if you have a bad practice or a bad meet,” Harner said.

The willingness to work stuck with Harner as part of the seemingly endless list of successful vaulters.

“Nobody gets by on sheer talent, it’s so completely different from anything. You see the tradition, you do the same drills and you build on it,” Harner said.

With a roster of vaulters tasting State since the Nixon administration, and consecutively since the 1980s, the event can only look forward.

“I love our KPV summer camp,” Drendel said. “In the past few years, I’ve had more kids from Geneva, St. Charles and Batavia come to my camp than Kaneland kids. I’ve asked those kids how they heard about my camp.”

“They said, ‘Everyone knows Kaneland has great vaulters.'”


KHS rolls to NIB-12 title

Sectional meet challenge awaits Friday
KANELAND—It was all in a conference season’s work on Saturday at Kaneland for the Northern Illinois Big XII boys track meet.

A weather delay from Friday evening didn’t deter any Kaneland success, as the Knights finished first with a total of 146. Dixon was next with a distant 92, followed by DeKalb’s 78, Sycamore’s 67 and Geneseo’s 57.5 to fill in the top five. Yorkville (35), LaSalle-Peru (29), Sterling (29), Rochelle (14.5) and Ottawa (10) filled out the point-registering outfits, as Morris and Streator failed to record varsity points.

“The seniors got this team going,” KHS coach Eric Baron said. “We had eight conference champions; seven by seniors.”

KHS saw relay success beginning with the 4×800 meter crew of Austin Kintz, Luis Acosta, Andrew Lesak and Nathaniel Kucera’s 8:04.15 for first place. The Brandon Bishop/Brock Robertson/Dylan Nauert/Isaac Swithers foursome took third in the 4x100m relay.

The 110m hurdles had Robertson take a second place with a time of 15.07 in finals action.

Kyle Carter managed to win the 800m run field and become conference champ with a time of 1:55.55, .96 seconds better than Dixon’s Kylian Lally.

Relay action continued with a second-place effort of the 4×200 crew of Ben Barnes, Bishop, Nauert and Swithers with a time of 1:30.49.

Kaneland then put its stamp on the 400m dash with Kucera becoming conference champ at 49.69 seconds, while Andrew Lesak took third at 52.40.

Nauert returned in the 300m hurdles to capture first with an effort of 39.07 seconds, a new NIB-12 record.

Kaneland capped the event on its own grounds with a Robertson/Bishop/Carter/Kucera win in the 4×400 by racing a 3:24.21, a new conference record.

Field events saw conference record holder Dylan Kuipers (15 feet) and Dan Evers (13-06) take the top two spots in the pole vault. Barnes was able to secure the long jump crown and an NIB-12 record with a 22-07 jump. Nate Dyer was able to make third in the discus at 148 feet, while acing the shot at 55-.5 and taking a new conference record.

Baron was also proud how the team conducted itself after one of its frosh/soph discus throwers, Tristan Kinder, was injured after a disc hit him through netting after a bounceback, requiring surgery to repair a broken bone below his eye.

“The boys on the team offered to drive his mom to the hospital. They comforted her and Tristan while this whole ordeal was taking place. As a coaching staff, we strive to have great athletes, but our number-one goal is to make these young men into caring compassionate people and that is exactly what happened. The victory is great, but to hear how the boys responded was what I was most proud of this weekend,” Baron said.

The Class 2A Burlington Central sectional, featuring Kaneland and 15 other squads, kicks off Friday, May 23, at 4 p.m.

“Looking ahead, our goal as always at sectional is to get as many state qualifiers as possible,” Baron said. “The team scores will take care of themselves.”

Photos by Marshall Farthing


Solving Streamwood

Photo: Dylan Kuipers reacts after clearing 15-3.5 in the pole vault. Photo by Marshall Farthing

Knights battle through Kane Co. field for first
KANELAND—Judging by Friday evening’s Kane County Boys Track Meet held at Millennium Field in Streamwood, Ill., the Knights continued to put their stamp on this current Millennium.

The Knights, with 128 team points, were runaway winners, as Batavia’s 77 was the next closest team.

St. Charles East’s 68, West Aurora’s 67 and Burlington Central’s 67 rounded out the top five.

Geneva (60.5), St. Charles North (57), Marmion (43.5), Dundee-Crown (40) and South Elgin’s 35 completed the top 10 of the 15 point-grabbing schools.

Sprints saw a KHS presence, thanks to Dylan Nauert’s 23.30-second time and Isaac Swithers’ 24.38 effort for sixth and eighth, respectively, in the 200m dash finals.

In the 400m dash, Andrew Lesak was able to nab a sixth-place finish with a time of 52.15.

Austin Kintz was able to have a presence on distance with a 4:37.05 effort in the 1,600m run event, for eighth place.

Hurdles happenings had Nauert take second overall with a 15.27 time in the finals of the 110m challenge, followed closely by Brock Robertson’s 15.37 for fourth. Meanwhile, Robertson was able to take second at 40.54 in the 300m low hurdles, followed by Nauert’s third at 41.63.

Relay action saw the KHS group manage a second in the 4x100m event with a time of 43.67. KHS also achieved a third in the 4x200m tussle at 1:32.02.

The 4x400m foursome of Robertson, Brandon Bishop, Nathaniel Kucera, Kyle Carter were kings of their lane with a time of 3:23.47, while the 4x800m unit of Carter, Lesak, Luis Acosta and Kucera also won their race with a clip of 8:00.64.

Bishop knew the relay roster had it in them for a memorable night.

“In the 4×100, we were in lane 7 and kind of a low rank,” Bishop said. “For three of us, it’s our senior year and we just said, ‘let’s do something special.’”

Field events also saw their share of success with Dylan Kuipers dominating the pole vault festivities at 15 feet, 3.5 inches. Teammate Dan Evers took fifth at 13-06.

Knight Ben Barnes continued his positive trajectory by becoming county champ in the long jump by mastering a 22-9.25 try.

The triple jump saw Knight Dalvell Triplett earn sixth at 42-8.25, while Barnes was close behind at 42-05 for seventh.

Kaneland’s Nate Dyer became a double champ, first by acing the shot put at 55-02, and taking discus at 153-11.

Other KHS finishers in throwing events were Alex Snyder taking second at 51-9.5 in the shot, and Shane Jorgensen taking seventh in the discus in 134-07.

KHS coach Eric Baron had his standout highlights in Upstate Eight Conference territory.

“(I thought) the pole vault, not because (Kuipers) he won, but because 15-3.5 is a big PR. Barnes in long jump broke his own school record, and the biggest surprise was Snyder getting second in shot,” Baron said.

The way the Kane County meet lands on the schedule holds importance and strategy for Kaneland.

“The way our coaches approach the season and approach May, we know it’s the most important time of the year,” Bishop said.

Ahead for the Knights: a chance to host the Northern Illinois Big XII Conference meet on Friday, May 16, beginning at 3 p.m.

Knights relay runs well at DyestatIL DMR

ELMHURST, Ill.—On April 30, the Knights sent Nathaniel Kucera (center), Brock Robertson (right), Luis Acosta and Kyle Carter (left) to York High School in Elmhurst, Ill., for the inaugural Distance Medley Relay. The unique event, at least for Illinois teams, features the following distances: 1200m, 400m, 800m and 1600m. In the elite field that was invited to compete, the KHS quartet placed seventh with a time of 10 minutes, 28.80 seconds. Kucera kicked things off with a 3:12.4 in the 1200m, and Robertson blazed to a :51.5 in the 800m. Acosta notched one of the fastest 800m splits of the day with a 1:58.9, while Carter anchored the 1600m in a speedy 4:26.1. The team’s overall time ranks the Knights No. 8 in the state and No. 62 in the nation, regardless of school size. Photos by Ben Draper

Talent is Central for KHS boys track

KANELAND—Opposing boys track outfits not only had to deal with threatening weather and a power outage that created a stoppage in action, but also the Kaneland Knights.

With 160.5 points, KHS was well ahead of Burlington Central’s 91, CLC’s 69.5, Vernon Hills’ 68.5 and Dundee-Crown’s 53.5. Machesney Park’s Harlem (49), Antioch (47), South Elgin (44), Belvidere North (38) and Yorkville (29.5) rounded out the top 10 of the 14 schools that were able to register points.

At CLC, KHS had a first-place effort in the 4x800m relay, thanks to Andrew Lesak, Luis Acosta, Kyle Carter and Nathaniel Kucera’s 8:02.98 effort.

The foursome of Brandon Bishop, Isaac Swithers, Dylan Nauert and Ben Barnes took the 4x100m relay by acing a speedster time of 44.10. That unit also won the 4x200m relay at 1:31.38. Robertson, Bishop, Acosta and Nauert managed second place in the 4x400m event with a time of 3:27.65.

“Honestly, it wasn’t that long of a (power outage) delay,” KHS coach Eric Baron said, “It really didn’t affect (us) as much as the cold did. The boys performed well. We tried some different lineups out and still won. Isaac Swithers had a really good night.”

Hurdles events featured Robertson’s 15.81 effort in the 110m high hurdles for second place.
Lesak acclimated well in the 400m dash with a 52.32 effort, and Robertson took second place in the 300m low hurdles with a time of 40.73.

Carter’s 4:27.32 effort was good for second in the 1600m run.

Field events had Kaneland leaping to first, thanks to a 21-08 chance by Barnes in the long jump. Teammate Dalvell Triplett took third in the triple jump with a mark of 41-02. Nate Dyer threw a 54-07 in the shot put for second place. In the pole vault, Dylan Kuipers’ 14-06 was sky high enough for a first place.

Friday, May 9, sees the Kane Count Boys Track Invite, held at Millenium Field in Streamwood, Ill.


Boys track shows no-doubt clout

Photo: Kaneland’s senior Brock Robertson (above) had a big day for the Knights Saturday, winning both the 110m hurdles (15.75) and 300m hurdles (40.30). Photos by Mary Paulson

Peterson Prep No. 45 goes KHS way
KANELAND—When you’re able to have an event be the fastest time in the state of Illinois as well as breaking a record at a 44-year-old event, something is going right.

In the case of Knights boys track, there was no better showcase for things going right than the late-April staple Peterson Prep on Saturday.

Celebrating 45 years, the 17-team gathering at Kaneland had the hosts run away with 140 points, ahead of DeKalb (66), Sycamore (63), Batavia (61) and Geneva (44).

West Aurora (43), Dundee-Crown (42), Yorkville (28), Oswego East (25) and Mt. Carmel of Chicago (17) completed the top 10 teams.

The 4×800 meter relay, run by Andrew Lesak, Luis Acosta, Kyle Carter and Nathaniel Kucera, set a meet record and was unofficially the best time that Illinois has seen in the event in 2014.

The Knights also saw plenty of accolades their way in other events.

In the 400m dash varsity, Carter ran a 50.36 race for second place, while Kucera finished third with a 50.81.

In the 800m run, it was Austin Kintz managing fourth with a time of 2:02.32.

Hurdles action saw Brock Robertson take a first in the 110m hurdles by dashing to a 15.75, followed closely by teammate Dylan Nauert’s fifth-place 16.52. Robertson would come back and grab first in the 300m hurdles event by racing to a 40.30 finish, while Nauert took fifth at 41.20.

Relay happenings saw KHS finish fourth in the 4x100m at 43.88, as well as in the 4x200m at 1:32.36.

In the 4×400, the Knights took second at 3:28.40, before the record-breaker in the 4x800m at 7:50.27, 4.5 seconds better than Yorkville’s time.

The Stanford-bound Kucera performed how he had to in the final stretch of the race.

“Yorkville was going to be right on me, because he’s a really good runner,” Kucera said. “I knew he was going to be right behind me if I let up at all, so I just turned it on and just tried to hold on.”

Field events also saw quite the collection of honors, with seniors Dylan Kuipers and Dan Evers taking the top two spots in the pole vault with 14 feet and 13 feet, respectively.

The long jump had Ben Barnes take the event by a 22-1.5 effort, followed closely by Dalvell Triplett in fourth at 20-9.25. Triplett also took a third in the triple jump event at 43-08.

Barnes was just glad to be out in reasonable conditions, having his talent do the rest.

“It’s the beginning of the season, with the biggest meets coming up,” Barnes said. “The last couple weeks, the weather hasn’t been good. It was perfect today, and the wind wasn’t at our face. I was just reaching for that goal.”

The throwing section also saw Knight life, with Nate Dyer besting the shot put field at 52-08, while Alex Snyder finished fourth at 46-8.5. Dyer also aced the discus at 162-9.5.

KHS coach Eric Baron knows that the roster, already high-caliber, isn’t peaking just yet.

“It was a great all-around performance for our team,” Baron said. “Brock Robertson had a huge meet winning both hurdle races. Dyer threw his best ever in discus. (The) 4×8 was good. However, only Lesak ran his best time. We have the potential to go much faster. The thing that I do as coach is compare to our times from the past. Last year, we ran 8:01 at Peterson. We are 11 seconds ahead of that this year. Can we be 11 seconds ahead of where we finished with last year?”

Ahead for KHS boys track is a trek to the Crystal Lake Central Invite on Friday, May 2.


Boys track tests mettle

Photo: Senior Brandon Bishop hands off to junior Isaac Swithers during the 4x200m relay Tuesday vs. Yorkville. The team ran 1:31.35. Photo by Mary Paulson

April tour features NIB-12 triangular, Minooka Invite, Yorkville challenge
KANELAND—Kaneland boys track is dependable for many things, but at this juncture of the season, it’s always finding something to improve upon.

While the boys tracksters can always find PRs and accomplished totals, the Knights also know they wish to peak later than mid-April.

Improving the body of work took on the form of a makeup triangular at home against Northern Illinois Big XII foes DeKalb and Sycamore in Maple Park on Thursday, followed by a trip to Southwest Prairie Conference stronghold Minooka for a Saturday invite, and a Tuesday obstacle in the form of visiting Yorkville High School.

Facing off against Barbs and Spartans, the Knights’ 89 points was considerably better than Sycamore’s 73 and DeKalb’s 23-point totals.

First places were many in the conference triangular, beginning with the 4x800m relay foursome earning first thanks to an 8:39.2 time.

Distance glory went the way of Kyle Carter, who finished the 3,200 meter run in 10:08.63.

In the field events, firsts were gathered by Ben Barnes with a 19-foot, 4-inch long jump try. Zack Wieglos took the 800m run at 2:12.72. Nate Dyer won the shot put at 52 feet, as well as the discus with a 153-6.

Nathaniel Kucera took the 400m dash at 51.72, and Dylan Kuipers conquered the pole vault at 14-3, while Knights teammate Austin Kintz took first in the 1600m run at 4:39.33.

The 4x400m relay closed the day out with a 3:31.26 effort to take that event.

At the Minooka Invite, the exemplary totals included a fourth place in the 110 meter hurdles by Tanner Robertsen with a finals time of 17.38 seconds. Teammate Dylan Nauert managed a fourth with a time of 15.53 in his finals heat for eighth place.

Nauert also managed an eighth in the 200m dash with a time of 23.19 seconds, and conquered the 300m hurdles field with an effort of 40.50. Robertsen took second at 43.17 in the same event, while Brock Robertson took fourth in the field with a 41.06 time.

The Stanford-bound Kucera took second in the 400m dash with a 50.63.

Relays were quite productive on Saturday, with the 4x100m foursome taking third at 44.80, the 4x200m racing to a fifth at 1:41.15. The 4x400m unit won the event at 3:22.93, and the 4x800m crew took second at 8:14.99.

Distance highlights also included Carter battling to a first overall in the 800m run at 1:56.06.

The field events yielded massive gains for KHS, beginning with Dyer’s title in the discus with a 155-foot effort. Tristan Kinder took fifth at 132-04.

In the long jump, Barnes leapt to a first place with a 20-07.5. Brett Hansen took a sixth at 17-09.

The pole vault saw Kuipers take first at 14 feet. In the shot put, it was Dyer at it again with a first-place effort at 56-03.5. Barnes won the triple jump at 41.07.25.

“It was a great meet against some big schools,” KHS coach Eric Baron said. “We could’ve won the meet; if we have everyone in the lineup, it would’ve been another victory. (I’m) really pleased with the seniors on Saturday. Luis Acosta ran anchor on the 4×800 that finished second. He ran an all-time best split of 1:58.6, taking us from fifth to second. Dylan Nauert ran real well in hurdles, as did Brock Robertson, and Kyle Carter beat an excellent field in the 800.”
Against Yorkville, the Knights continued their mastery over NIB-12 opponents, winning easily 105-39. Event wins came from all four relays, Wieglos in the 800m, John DeLach in the long jump, Nauert in the 110m hurdles, Brandon Bishop in the 100m, Connor Peterson in the high jump, Ryan Bower in the 1600m, Tanner Robertson in the 300m hurdles, Alex Snyder in the shot put, Dyer in the discus, Andrew Lesak in the 1600m, Mitchell Groen in the pole vault and Isaac Swithers in the 200m.

On Saturday, April 26, the historic Peterson prep takes place at Peterson Field.


Triple jump

April always time for KHS track atmosphere to shine
KANELAND—KHS track always seems to rise to the occasion, no matter the location.

For the month of April, the chance to rise, and go a little farther happens in a setting that has been home to top-of-the-class track competition.

For a handful of years, the Jill Holmes Invite, Jenni’s ABC Invite and the Peterson Prep have occupied three Saturdays in April, giving the best Kaneland and its invitees have to offer.

Renamed in 2001 for the Kaneland Hall of Fame member and former athletics director of the school, the Jill Holmes Invite has seen KHS girls track athletes shine since 1979.

Jenni’s ABC Meet—done in tiered “A,” “B” and “C” levels according to ability—is held in memory of former KHS athlete and cross country captain Jenni Kirwan, who died in a car accident in September of 1998.

The Peterson Prep, capping off the whirlwind track tour, yields the best boys track has to offer from Kaneland and others, and has a chance to do it again in its 45th year. The showcase, named after Bruce Peterson and recognizing his four-decade body of work as coach and AD, allows Kaneland to win consecutive Prep showcases.

“I think the meets offer solid competition and I think teams know when they come to any of those three meets, that it’ll be efficiently run,” interim AD Ralph Drendel said.

The month makes for a busy time on the organization end, but worth it.

“The Jill Holmes Invite offers great competition, Jenni’s ABC meet celebrates a young lady taken away too soon, and the Peterson Prep gets great teams up and down the Fox River Valley and has pretty good competition, and they know it’ll run smooth,” Drendel said.

The Peterson Prep, which housed 18 teams last year and saw KHS nab three of four relay events en route to a team trophy, offers KHS head coach Eric Baron a showcase.

“The Peterson meet has had some amazing talent over the years,” Baron said. “We take great pride in putting on a meet that shows respect to the talent of that meet. Bruce Peterson and Ralph Drendel set the bar very high for hosting quality meets that are set up for the athletes to perform well at. I try my best to continue that level of meet.”

With the Holmes invite history for another year, a level of greatness has made its way through the lanes, as eight of the meet records still standing were set by IHSA State champions.

It’s cause for a level of pride for the girls track program.

“Hosting a meet gives parents, relatives, friends a chance to see the KHS athletes compete without traveling,” KHS coach Doug Ecker said. “We have a tradition here at KHS of hosting quality meets with very good competition, The Holmes has been going on for 40 years, one of the oldest girls invitational meets in the state. Some of the best track & field athletes in the state have competed in this meet through the years.”

The Peterson Prep’s starting gun goes off on Saturday, April 26, at 10 a.m.

KHS adds to luck in Quad Cities

Boys track hits the usual outdoor opener in East Moline, Ill.
KANELAND—It doesn’t seem as if the learning curve for the Knights boys track roster will be that steep, if the East Moline United High School Boys Kiwanis Invitational held at the East Moline Soule Bowl is any indication.

KHS, with a total of 113 points, was a runaway winner in group “A” over the likes of Rock Island (94.5), Pleasant Valley (80.5) and T.F. North (79).

Galesburg (78.5), the hosts (78) and Sterling (67.5) were fifth through seventh, respectively, while Geneseo (60), Rock Island Alleman (44) and Sherrard (39) rounded out the top 10. Moline (26) and Freeport (8) completed the “A’ 12.

Kaneland’s 58-point total was good for fourth in the “B” group, while it gathered 31 points in the “C” group.

The meet could have gone even better by Kaneland’s perspective, according to head coach Eric Baron.

“The meet went well for the most part, but it was a meet we could have won if everyone was healthy and in the lineup,” Baron said. “I was really pleased with how several of our younger athletes stepped in and did great jobs for us, but in general it wasn’t what we had hoped for.”

The “A” accolades came often for the Knight group, beginning with Brandon Bishop blazing a 11.99 second trail for fifth place in the 100-meter dash. Teammate Isaac Swithers took fourth in the 200m dash at 24.61. Nathaniel Kucera managed a first-place in the 800m run by navigating a 1:56.94. Kyle Carter continued the distance success with a time of 4:31.60 in the 1,600m run, for second place. Ryan Bower took fifth for Kaneland with a 10:22.64 in the 3,200m run. Brock Robertson took third in the 110m hurdles with a time of 15.95, and added to his Saturday by nabbing second in the 300m hurdles with a 41.57.

Relay action in “A’ had KHS taking fifth with a time of 44.28, thanks to the efforts of Robertson, Ben Barnes, Bishop and Swithers. The 4x200m relay foursome of John Delach, Bishop, Brandon Cruz and Swithers took fifth at 1:34.33. The 4x400m relay foursome of Robertson, Bishop, Carter and Kucera took the race with a time of 3:27.41.

The field events in “A” saw highlights like Dylan Kuipers’ meet-winning pole vault effort at 14 feet and Barnes’ 20’ 11.25” first place in the long jump. Nate Dyer took the shot put with a 52’ 1” and finished second in the discus at 153’ 7”.

“B” highlights for the Knights group came courtesy of personnel like Luis Acosta’s 4:41.47 first place in the 1,600m run and Tanner Robertson’s 42.82 first in the 300m hurdles. Kaneland’s 4x400m relay foursome also won at 3:40.01. The “B” field saw a 12’ pole vault by Dan Evers for first place.

In the “C” landscape, the 100m dash saw a second by Cruz with a time of 11.74 and a 4:45.94 by Ryan Bower for second in the 1,600m run.

In the field landscape, the Knights’ Mitch Groen took first in the vault with a 12’ effort. Thrower Alex Snyder managed a first-place 44’ heave in the shot put, while Shane Jorgensen took second in the discus with a 127’1”.

A meet with DeKalb and Sycamore in Maple Park set for Tuesday was rescheduled for Thursday.

Knight boys track makes presence felt at IPTT

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.—Illinois Prep Top Times meet action down in Bloomington, Ill., always serves as a barometer for a team’s progress before the outdoor track season begins in earnest.

The Knights seemed to deflect the pressure.

At the Shirk Center on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan University, the Knights sent qualifying athletes to the event and competed in nine total events.

Ryan Bower ran a 3200m race in 10:22.22 for distance action.

Teammate Brock Robertson had a prelim effort of 8.84 seconds in the 60m hurdles. Robertson also joined Brandon Bishop, Dylan Nauert and Isaac Swithers for seventh place in the 4x200m relay at 1:36.20. The foursome of Robertson, Nauert, Kyle Carter and Nathaniel Kucera ran a third-place 3:28.21 in the 4x400m relay. Relay events concluded with the 4x800m relay event win for Andrew Lesak, Luis Acosta, Carter and Kucera at 8:07.62.

Kaneland was also able to boast a Shot Put champ in Nate Dyer, who threw a 56-08.75. Shane Jorgensen finished 10th at 47-01.5.

Field events also saw Ben Barnes’ 22-07.25 in the Long Jump for second place, followed by Dalvell Triplett’s ninth at 20-01.5. Triplett would go on to take the Triple Jump at 45-02.

Dylan Kuipers (14-00) and Dan Evers (13-00) took third and sixth, respectively, in the Pole Vault.

Saturday, April 12, marks the beginning of the outdoor campaign with a trip to East Moline United.

Lexi Roach

Joy Division: Knight athletes know what they’ve signed up for at D-I peak

KANELAND—High school athletes’ talent can bring them amazing things: wins, titles and even the chance to keep playing the sport they love.

With powerhouses like senior Joe Komel, future Central Michigan University Chippewa, it also brings certainty.

“I think every kid wants to ideally compete at that next level,” Komel said.

That’s echoed by speedster classmate Kyle Carter.

“I just knew I wanted to go to the next level and I knew I didn’t want to stop,” Carter said.

Last month, 13 Kaneland High School athletes participated in National Signing Day, with several athletes signing letters of intent with Division I schools.

For a speedster like Brandon Bishop, who signed as a preferred walk-on at the University of Iowa, he’s aware of the unique task and slot that awaits him on the gridiron.

“I just look at it as I get to do a sport that I love to play. I don’t look at it as a job,” Bishop said.

One of six Knight football players that signed to play with various levels of college programs, Bishop doesn’t know how big of a role he’ll have as part of the Hawkeye program, but will take what comes.

“Any level of college football is big time,” Bishop said. “I was originally with a D-II school, but once you experience a Big 10 program, you dream about that stuff. It’s a big-time mentality there.”

Bishop was also present at a Hawkeyes practice when the squad was practicing for the Outback Bowl in Tampa, that resulted in a 21-14 loss on New Year’s Day to LSU.

“It’s an eye-opener, and I was fortunate to see it,” Bishop said. “They have great facilities in the Big 10.”

Bishop, who wishes to major in social work and possibly be a position coach, is no stranger to the work as a gridiron and track standout.

“It just matters that I compete. I believe in myself to play at that level,” Bishop said.

Bishop joined fellow Knight football gladiators Justin Diddell (Indiana State), Gary Koehring (St. Cloud State), Komel (Central Michigan), Dylan Nauert (St. Cloud State) and Tyler Slamans (Western Illinois) in the Class of 2018 football group.

Komel joins a Mid-American Conference outfit that also boasts former Knight offensive threat Blake Serpa.

“Blake is good friends with my older brother, Sam, and he was able to help me meet with officials from the football program. I had been looking at MAC and Missouri schools,” Komel said.

Komel, part of the solid offensive line that yielded three consecutive Northern Illinois Big XII championships, feels the success at KHS helped buoy him and his chances at the top collegiate level.

“When CMU talked with me, they told me that I came from a program that knows how to win, and that’s what a lot of those schools are looking for,” Komel said. “Kaneland prepared me for that and they know how to win.”

The spring season action in the higher collegiate ranks look to highlight Sydney Strang (Indiana-Purdue at Fort Wayne) and Carter (Southern Illinois), who are joined by Nathaniel Kucera, who recently committed to Stanford track.

Kucera’s options opened up after receiving a packet from universities following the June Midwest Distance Festival at Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill.

“Things really opened up for me after that,” Kucera said. “I would have competed at any level after high school, Division III, whatever, but I jumped at the chance.”

Kucera, who’s a verbal commitment to the Pac-12 Conference school, visited the Palo Alto, Ca., institution in the fall.

“It was a surreal moment whenever you get out there. They are such high-caliber athletes, but I was able to talk to everyone on the team. There’s no big egos there,” Kucera said.

The senior looks to be taking a different path than his fellow classmates, all the way to the west coast.

“The first time I got there, it was mindblowing and not something I pictured. It’s a really beautiful city,” Kucera said.

Carter, who’s excelled at cross country and track for his four years as a State qualifier, always had a continuation of his gifts in mind.

“I was getting contacted by D1 schools. I think going to State multiple times and being the best in the NIB-12 prepared me,” Carter said.

Strang, headed to Division 1-AA territory, echoes her distance counterpart.

“I’m glad to move on,” Strang said. “Running is such a part of me. I have so much passion for it. My teammates and (coach Doug) Ecker helped me through it all and help keep that. I just want to continue getting better and keep my love for it.”

Commonplace among the Knight athletes that get picked is a flexibility that comes with the wide-eyed enthusiasm.

“I’ll be able to go anywhere, and wherever they need me next year,” Carter said. “I just want to compete with the best.”

Kaneland’s presence of Division I athletes, which includes the trio of Lanie Callaghan (Valparaiso), Lexi Roach (Youngstown State) and Lauren Zick (St. John’s) that committed to D-I softball outfits in late 2013, not only have the athletic talent, but also seem to know what to expect.

For those that have seen the group in action, that comes as no surprise.


Downright dominant

Photo: Senior Dalvell Triplett placed third in the Long Jump and first in the Triple Jump for the Knights as they rolled to a conference victory Saturday in Sterling, Ill. Photo by Marshall Farthing

Kaneland boys track talent on NIB-12 indoor display
KANELAND—When a boys track outfit like Kaneland gets used to a certain level of output, it’s not a bad thing, especially where Saturday’s Northern Illinois Big XII indoor conference meet is concerned.

Much like last year, the Kaneland boys took it to the rest of the rival conference field at the Westwood Sports Center.

With 130 team points, the Knights ran away with the meet, as 130 team points came their way. The total eclipses the 107 output from a year ago.

Dixon, Sycamore, Geneseo and DeKalb rounded out the top five, with 68, 59, 58 and 51, respectively. Yorkville (41), LaSalle-Peru (27), Sterling (24) and Rochelle (9) rounded out the scoring portion of the team sweepstakes.

Brandon Bishop got things started for the Knight side, with a fourth-place finish overall in the 60m Dash, on account of a 7.35-second effort.

Kyle Carter bested the competition in the 400m dash with a time of 52.09.

The 800m run field saw a double shot of Kaneland accomplishments, with Nathaniel Kucera taking a first (2:01.42) and teammate Austin Kintz working his way toward a fourth, thanks to a 2:08.87.

KHS leapt over obstacles in the 60m hurdles event, as seniors Dylan Nauert (8.68) and Brock Robertson (8.79) finished second and third, respectively.

In the 4x200m relay, it was the Knights taking the mantle with a time of 1:35.35, and the 4x400m did more of the same, with a first-place nod of 3:33.16. The 4x800m relay followed suit at 8:07.72 for first, a whopping 11.77 seconds faster than Dixon.

On the indoor field side of things, KHS acclimated well in the pole vault area. Senior duo Dylan Kuipers (13-9) and Dan Evers (13-3) swept the top two spots.

The Long Jump had Knight Ben Barnes grab first with a 21-1.25, and teammate Dalvell Triplett take third at 20-10. The Triple Jump saw Triplett and Barnes reverse the Knight order, with Triplett’s first (43-11.5) and Barnes’ fourth (40-2).

The indoor aspect of the Kaneland track attack yielded some pleasant surprises as the team gears up for the outdoor season, whenever the elements subside.

“(There were) lots of surprises,” KHS coach Eric Baron said. “Biggest was Danny Evers going 13-3 and just missing 13-9, and Dalvell Triplett in both jumps, but his Triple Jump of 43-11 was a personal best.”

Finally, Nate Dyer took care of the Shot Put conference threat with a first-place effort of 55-5.

Kaneland’s next challenge is the well-regarded Illinois Top Times meet hosted by Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Ill., on Saturday, March 29.


Knights qualify 23 to Top Times meet

Kaneland High School will be well-represented at this Saturday’s Illinois Top Times track meet at Illinois Wesleyan’s Shirt Center in Bloomington, Ill.

The meet kicks off at 9 a.m. Saturday morning, and will reportedly be broadcast at

For more information on the meet, visit For the meet program with seeds, click here.

Below is a list of the KHS qualifiers, plus where they rank in their events heading into the meet.

Boys Qualifiers Girls Qualifiers
• Long JumpBen Barnes 4th

Dalvell Triplett 7th

• Pole Vault

Dylan Kuipers 4th

Dan Evers 7th

• Shot Put

Nate Dyer 1st

Shane Jorgensen 11th

• Triple Jump

Dalvell Triplett 5th

• 3200m Run

Ryan Bower 18th

• 60m Hurdles

Dylan Nauert 13th

Brock Robertson 17th

• 4x800m Relay

Lesak, Acosta,

Carter, Kucera 2nd

• 4x200m Relay

Robertson, Bishop,

Cruz, Swithers 5th

• 4x400m Relay

Robertson, Acosta,

Carter, Kucera 2nd

• Long JumpLauren Zick 5th

• High Jump

Maddie Keifer 13th

• Pole Vault

Christina Delach 4th

• 3200m Run

Brianna Bower 6th

• 60m Dash

Lauren Zick 6th

Nicole Sreenan 10th

• 200m Dash

Lauren Zick 3rd

• 800m Run

Sydney Strang 11th

• 4x200m Relay

Galor, Sreenan,

Zick, Elliott 9th

• 4x400m Relay

Galor, Sreenan,

Richtman, Strang 6th


2014 Boys Track & Field Preview: Sprint toward success

Photo: Relay, distance and sprint runners resort to running laps through school halls due to poor weather so far this season. Photo by Patti Wilk

Sixth-place finishers from a year ago, Knight boys track takes charge
KANELAND—It looks to be more of the same for Kaneland High School boys track in 2014.
That’s the last thing area rivals need or want.

Despite the loss of state qualifying anchors like Brandon Cottier, Conor Johnson, Marshall Farthing and Tanner Andrews, ninth-year coach Eric Baron and company have their sights trained on exemplary, yet attainable, goals in 2014.

The Knights crew took the Northern Illinois Big XII by storm, taking both indoor and outdoor conference titles on their way to a sixth-place State finish for Class 2A.

“We should contend for the championship of every invite we compete in,” Baron said.

Among the important cogs returning for the Kaneland victory machine are Kyle Carter, future Southern Illinois Saluki, and Nathaniel Kucera, future Stanford Cardinal. Carter and Kucera, along with graduate Johnson and Luis Acosta, won the 4x800m relay event at State a year ago with a 7:50.26 time. Kucera also managed ninth in the 400m dash at 50.76 on the Eastern Illinois University track. Carter, Kucera and Acosta shore up the middle distance area, while ninth-place shot put State-goer Nate Dyer returns in the field category with outstanding prospects, and is joined in the throws by Shane Jorgensen.

Other returning field personnel primed for a big year include Ben Barnes for jumps, and Dylan Kuipers (11th in State) and Dan Evers in the pole vault.

Hurdles features State warrior Dylan Nauert, along with Brock Robertson. Brandon Bishop (returning medalist) and Isaac Swithers take care of the sprint category. Ryan Bower returns to take care of the distance matters, as well.

Newcomers to the varsity ranks expecting to contribute are sprinter Brandon Cruz, mid-distance athletes Austin Kintz, Drew Franklin, Sean Spaetzel and Andrew Franklin.

The mix between upper-and-lower classmen usually provides positive output on the track, the earlier the better.

“Getting individuals off to a good start is important. Our older athletes help make sure they understand training is structured to make our athletes peak in May,” Baron said.

With talent coalescing around experienced coaching and a tradition that speaks for itself, the Knights look to ward off challenges throughout the season, including the Kane County Meet on May 9 at Millennium Field in Streamwood, Ill., and the NIB-12 meet in Maple Park.

Baron knows if the conference meet is a reflection of the talent, KHS will be right up there.

“It will be an outstanding meet with a high level of competition. Expect teams from Yorkville, Dixon, DeKalb, Sycamore, Sterling, Geneseo and Ottawa to contend with us for the title,” Baron said.

KHS gets set for the first outdoor challenge of the year hosted by East Moline United on Saturday, April 12, with conference action beginning on Tuesday, April 15, against Sycamore.

The Peterson Prep, hosted by the Knights, is on Saturday, April 26.


Knights 3rd at Batavia

Photo: Senior Dalvell Triplett was second in the Long Jump and third in the Triple Jump at Batavia Friday. Photo by Patti Wilk

BATAVIA—Coach Eric Baron’s crew went just east to find some stout competition.

But the Knights held their own against 3A powerhouse Lake Park’s 128 points and Batavia’s 108 with 83 of their own at the Coach DiDomenico Indoor Invitational in Batavia. Burlington Central was fourth with 64 points, while West Aurora (42) and Bartlett (3) rounded out the field.

Dylan Kuipers achieved the lone Knight individual win with a 14-foot pole vault, while the 4x400m Relay team of Brock Robertson, Dylan Nauert, Kyle Carter and Nathaniel Kucera won with a time of 3 minutes, 31.72 seconds.

In the shot put, Nate Dyer was second with a 53’4” effort, while Shane Jorgensen was fifth with a 48’ 6.5” throw.

Dalvell Triplett placed second in the long jump with a jump of 21’ 8.5” and followed that up with a 42’ 3.25” triple jump, which was good for third.

Dan Evers also contributed field event points with his 12’ leap in the pole vault, which was good for fourth place.

Kaneland faired well in the other relays, with the 4x200m comprised of Brandon Bishop, Brock Robertson, Dylan Nauert and Issac Swithers placed third with a 1:36.24, while the 4x800m of Andrew Lesak, Luis Acosta, Austin Kintz and Sean Spatzel was fourth in 8:46.34.

In the 55m Hurdles, Nauert was second in 8.15 seconds, while Roberson was sixt in 8.35.

In the sprints, Spaetzel ran a 55.76 in the 400m Dash, placing fifth.

In the distance events, Nathanial Kucera ran a 2:00.86 to place second in the 800m, while Kyle Carter was third in the 1600m with a 4:37.83.


Tracksters roll to win

Photo: Senior Issac Swithers runs the opening leg of the 4x160m Relay at Sycamore on Feb. 26. The relay won, and Swithers went on to place second in the 55m and 200m dashes. Photos by Ben Draper

SYCAMORE—The Kaneland boys track team started the 2014 season with a team win at a four-team meet at Sycamore Feb. 26.

Individually, the Knights won eight of the 15 events—and had won another before a controversial interference call led to the disqualification of the 4x800m Relay—to amass 92.5 points. Host Sycamore was second with 75.83 points, while Grayslake North (35.67) and Yorkville (21) rounded out the field.

Senior Dylan Kuipers won the pole vault with a leap of 14’ 0” to help Kaneland win the four-team meet.
Senior Dylan Kuipers won the pole vault with a leap of 14’ 0” to help Kaneland win the four-team meet.
Event winners included Nathanial Kucera in the 400m (54.37) and 3200m (10:36.68), Kyle Carter in the 800m (2:08.20), Dylan Nauert in the 55m Hurdles (8.34), the 4x160m (1:19.48) and 4x400m (3:40.80) relays, Dylan Kuipers in the Pole Vault (14 feet), and Nate Dyer in the Shot Put (52’ 3”).

The Knights had even more contributions in the scoring department. Issac Swithers placed second in both the 55m (7.15) and 200m (25.40) dashes, and Gary Koehring (27.40) placed fifth in the 200m, as well. In the 800m Run, Zack Wielgos (2:12.8) placed second while Jimmy Walker (2:20.70) was fourth. In the 1600m, Ryan Bower (4:52.89) was second, with Adam Lesak (5:06.28) just behind in third. Brandon Park was second in the 3200m with a time of 11:24.48,

Senior Brock Robertson  placed second in the 55m Hurdles. Teammate Dylan Nauert won the event.
Senior Brock Robertson placed second in the 55m Hurdles. Teammate Dylan Nauert won the event.
while Brock Robertson was second in the 55m Hurdles with a time of 8.49. In the field events, Dan Evers was second in the pole vault with an 11’ vault, and was also second in the triple jump with a 36’ 4.5” leap. In the shot put, Shane Jorgensen placed third with a 49’ 5.5” throw.

Up next for the Knights is the Coach DiDimenico Invitiational at Batavia Friday at 4:30 p.m.


Kucera to run track and field at Stanford

Kaneland High School senior Nathaniel Kucera announced Feb. 12 that he would continue his track & field career at Division 1 Stanford University of the Pac-12. The stand-out 800m runner had a breakout 2013 season, highlighted by his anchoring the school-record breaking 4x800m relay that won the Class 2A state title. He was also on the state runner-up 4x400m relay and placed ninth in the 400m dash. In June, he used a massive surge in the final 200m to win the 800m at Midwest Distance Festival in Lisle, Ill. with a blistering time of 1 minute, 51.33 seconds. File Photo


Body of work

Boys track assistant coach accepts award
KANELAND—For two decades, Rob Bieritz has been a part of the fabric of Kaneland track.

Two weeks ago, he was awarded some hardware for his work.

Bieritz, a Batavia resident and a Class of 2001 graduate of Kaneland High School, was one of several honorees by the Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Association as a recipient of the Dave Pasquini Assistant Coach Award. The award can only be awarded to a coach once in their lifetime, and is for extraordinary effort as an assitant coach for either track and field or cross country.

Bieritz, along with Glenbard South’s Ryan Crissey, Evanston’s George Woodridge, Chicago’s Jones rep Ben Mahon, Neuqua Valley’s Michael Rossi and Sterling’s Tom Depasquale, were honored at a social in Downers Grove, Ill., on Jan. 10.

KHS boys track coach Eric Baron informed the track staff of the honor through email; fitting because Baron is also a winner of the award, along with Randy Olesen.

The award is named after former Glenbrook South High School coach Dave Pasquini, who died of cancer.

“You look at what coach Baron has done and what Randy has done, and all the way back to Ralph Drendel, and it’s as much them surrounding me,” Bieritz said.

Starting assistant track work in 2006 under Baron, Bieritz was influenced as a coach, but first an athlete, under the Kaneland success factory.

“You can’t put a description as to what the coaches taught me, but you try to resemble what they’ve done as much as you can,” Bieritz said.

Bieritz has been able to interact with current coaches as a Knight athlete and a KHS mentor in the lanes.

“Every coach I’ve had, guys like Tom Fedderly and Chad Clarey and others, you learn from them and take what you want,” Bieritz said.

The former 300m Intermediate Hurdles state qualifier has noticed differences in his coaching approach and now has eight years of track nuances to look back with.

It’s all the better for the perennial Class 2A medal threat.

“You try not to coach in general, you have to coach toward each different kid. What you try could affect a kid differently, and you have every style of kid. They’re all different,” Bieritz said.

The award, for assistant coach achievement, was given out before the annual ITCCCA track clinic held at Oak Park-River Forest High School. It could be fitting that an award that went to Bieritz comes shortly before a clinic, signifying that an assistant coach’s work is never done.

“You have to be able to bust your butt at this, so the kids can bust theirs and see the rewards,” Bieritz said. “When the kids see what the rewards are, that’s what it’s all about.”

Photos: Flying through the air

Pole vaulters from around the district gathered the first three weeks of June for the annual Kaneland Pole Vault Camp. The camp began with two weeks of “free” vaulting, followed by the official camp, which was held last week. Thirty athletes took to the skies every evening, and some even participated in a meet held at Yorkville Saturday. Dan Evers takes a shot on a practice vault. Coach Drendel gives instruction in the background while vaulters wait their turn. Mitch Groen about to land after a practice vault. Dylan Kuipers prepares for a practice vault.

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, 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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2013 Spring Athletic Banquet Awards

The Kaneland High School Athletics Department on Thursday, June 6, announced the award winners for varsity high school athletics.

Below are those winners.

Knight Award

for three-sport athletes:
Ashley Castellanos—Cross Country,
Basketball, Track and Field;
Sarah Grams—Tennis, Basketball, Softball;
Brooke Harner—Tennis, Basketball, Soccer;
Dan Miller—Golf, Basketball, Baseball
Female Athlete of the Year: Sarah Grams
Male Athlete of the Year: Matt Limbrunner
Female Birkette Award: Sarah Grams
Male Birkette Award: Dan Miller

2013 Spring NIBXII
All Conference

Girls Track:
Brianna Bower, Ashley Castellanos, Victoria Clinton, Christina Delach, Allie Heinzer, Jessica Kucera, Amanda Lesak, Aislinn Lodwig, Sydney Strang, Lauren Zick, Abby Dodis, Kyla Goodine, Kaltrina Ismaili, Rachel Steinmiller, Elle Tattoni
Boys Track:
Dylan Kuipers, Kory Harner, Tanner Andrews, Nate Dyer, Brandon Cottier, Brandon Bishop, Ben Barnes, Isaac Swithers, Conor Johnson, Nathaniel Kucera, Kyle Carter, Luis Acosta, Dylan Nauert
Girls Soccer:
Jordan Ginther, Delaney Stryczek, Madi Jurcenko, Courtney Diddell, Sage Schlehofer
Hayley Contorno, Allyson O’Herron, Lanie Callaghan, Lexi Roach, Paige Kuefler
Matt Limbrunner, Dan Miller, Tyler Carlson

2013 Boys
Track and Field Awards

MVP—Track: Dylan Nauert
MVP—Field: Tanner Andrews
Drendel Award: Jay Markuson
Conor Johnson, Kory Harner, Brad Kigyos, Brandon Cottier, Marshall Farthing, John Meisenger
Ron Probst Award: Ben Barnes
All Conference:
Dylan Kuipers, Kory Harner, Tanner Andrews, Nate Dyer, Brandon Cottier, Brandon Bishop, Ben Barnes, Isaac Swithers, Conor Johnson, Nathaniel Kucera, Kyle Carter, Luis Acosta, Dylan Nauert
State Qualifiers:
Conor Johnson and Kyle Carter—
4x800m, 4x400m Relays;
Luis Acosta—4x800m Relay;
Nathaniel Kucera—4x800m,
4x400m relays, 400m Dash;
Brandon Bishop and Brandon Cottier—
4x100m Relay, 200m Dash;
Ben Barnes—4x100m Relay;
Dylan Nauert—4x100m Relay, 4x400m Relay,
110m Hurdles, 300m Hurdles;
Tanner Andrews—Triple Jump;
Marshall Farthing—High Jump;
Nate Dyer—Shot Put;
Dylan Kuipers and Kory Harner—Pole Vault

2013 Girls
Track and Field Awards

MVP: Ashley Castellanos, Lauren Zick
Most Improved:
Murphy Garcia, Kyla Goodine
Maggie Brundige, Ashley Castellanos,
Abby Dodis
State Qualifiers:
Brianna Bower—3200m Run;
Victoria Clinton—1600m Run;
Ashley Castellanos—Triple Jump,
4x400m Relay;
Amanda Lesak—4x800m Relay,
4x400m Relay;
Sydney Strang—4x800m Relay;
Lauren Zick—4x400m Relay, Long Jump;
Christina Delach—Pole Vault;
Allie Heinzer—4x400m Relay;
Jessica Kucera—4x800m Relay;
Aislinn Lodwig—4x800m Relay

2013 Varsity Girls
Soccer Awards

Jordan Ginther, Anne Marie Giese,
Brooke Harner
Most Improved Player: Emily Grams
Rookie of the Year:
Sage Schlehofer, Kiandra Powell
Coach’s Award:
Courtney Diddell, Heather Ortiz,
Delaney Stryczek
Lady Knights Award:
Michelle Ortiz, Brittany Olson,
Madison Jurcenko
Most Valuable Player: Jordan Ginther
All Conference:
Sage Schlehofer, Jordan Ginther, Delaney Stryczek, Madison Jurcenko, Courtney Diddell
All Conference-Honorable Mention:
Kiandra Powell

2013 Softball Awards
Defensive Player of the Year:
Hayley Contorno
Offensive Player of the Year:
Allyson O’Herron, Lexi Roach
Lady Knight Award: Lexi Roach
Captains: Allyson O’Herron, Lanie Callaghan
NiB-12 All Conference:
Paige Kuefler, Hayley Contorno, Allyson
O’Herron, Lexi Roach, Lanie Callaghan
All Conference Honorable Mention:
Sarah Grams, Ellissa Eckert
Conference MVP: Allyson O’Herron

2013 Boys Baseball Award
Mr. Kaneland Baseball: Dan Miller
MVP Offensive: Matt Limbrunner
MVP Defensive: Joe Pollastrini, Dan Miller
Most Improved Player: Tyler Bellock
NIBXII All Conference:
Matt Limbrunner, Dan Miller, Tyler Carlson
All Conference Honorable Mention:
Joshua Cohrs, Tyler Bellock

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

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.


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.

Kane County Champs

KHS boys track claims Kane County Invite
BURLINGTON—The closest thing that was able to stop the Kaneland boys track squad on Friday during the Kane County Invite, now in its 10th decade, was the weather.

But the cold and wind were not as powerful as the local Knights in Burlington, Ill.

With 117 team points, the outright meet title was Kaneland’s alone, unlike the tie acquired with Geneva at the 2012 version of the meet at West Aurora.

Rounding out the top five schools were St. Charles North (101), West Aurora (82), Geneva (61) and Batavia (52.5).

The host Rockets were sixth with 50 points overall.

Kaneland boasted two relay champs in the Kane County landscape, first with the 4×400 group of Brandon Bishop, Kyle Carter, Dylan Nauert and Nathaniel Kucera (3:24.17) and the 4×800 grouping of Conor Johnson, Carter, Luis Acosta and Kucera at 8:03.15.

Kucera felt the 4x800m win was indicative of the hard work and talent that went into the unit.

“That was how we were hoping to do, walk away with a championship,” Kucera said. “We take whatever we can get; as long as it’s not raining and the wind’s not too bad, we’ll be happy.”

It looks like Kucera and Co. were just playing to the level of competition: good.

“We have all these great teams around us and pushing us the whole race, so that helps us with our times,” Kucera said.

The shot put went to Nate Dyer, who took first at 50-11, followed closely by teammate Shane Jorgensen in third (46-2.25). Dyer would go on to take second in discus with a heave of 153-09.

Kaneland’s presence was felt in the 100m dash finals, with Brandon Cottier (11.30) finishing fourth and Bishop (11.32) taking fifth.

Cottier was at it again in the 200m dash finals with a 22.90 time, good for fourth, while teammate Ben Barnes was seventh at 23.40.

In the finals of the 110m high hurdles, Knight threat Nauert was fourth at 15.92, but came back to win the 300m low hurdles at 40.80.

In the 4x100m relay, the foursome of Bishop, Cottier, Nauert and Barnes managed a third overall with a time of 43.76. Dylan Pennington, Cottier, Bishop and Barnes suited up and took third in the 4x200m relay at 1:32.31, 1.29 seconds behind victorious St. Charles North.

In the remaining field events, it was Dylan Kuipers effort of 13 feet, three inches that netted third in the county for KHS. In the long jump, Barnes gave himself a third overall with an effort of 20-0.75.

Ahead for the Knights is a stop in Dixon for the Northern Illinois Big XII meet, Dixon’s last opportunity to host before vacating the NIB-12 in the fall of 2014.

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.

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.