Triple jumper Matt Spitzzeri will be among the Knights carving out a niche in the field events at Saturday’s 42nd annual Peterson Prep at Kaneland High School. Spitzerri is also riding a wave of long jump momentum, having jumped 18 feet, nine inches at Sycamore two weeks ago. The Knights took their second consecutive Prep crown a year ago, with 100 points, over Geneva and West Aurora. Photo by John DiDonna
KANELAND—What did a textbook Kaneland-Sycamore dual meet on Tuesday hold for curious fans?
How about a convincing 98-51 Northern Illinois Big XII win and a Kaneland school record in the hurdles.
Taylor Andrews, bound for West Point in the fall, broke his own school mark in the 110 meter hurdles with a time of 14.3 seconds.
Other firsts went to Matt Spitzzeri in the long jump (18-09), Marshall Farthing in the high jump (5-8), Alex Gil in the pole vault (11 feet) and Trevor Holm in the 3200m run (10:33.73).
The Kaneland relays in the 4x800m, 4×100, 4×200 and 4×400 also took firsts.
“A lot of people have stepped up so far, especially underclassmen,” Knight Tommy Whittaker said. “I don’t think we have any holes. I honestly don’t think it’s a rebuilding year, it’s a reloading year.”
Whittaker will be counted upon for a mid-to-late season surge.
“I want my strongest event to be the 4×4 because we have a tradition of being so good in it. I think the 200 or 400 will push me a lot more,” Whittaker said.
KHS goes to Ottawa on Saturday, April 16, and Rochelle on Tuesday, April 19
KANELAND—Kaneland CUSD is looking for contact information for members of the 1976 Boys’ Track team, set to be inducted into the Kaneland Hall of Fame on Monday, May 2.
The members are: coach Harold Anderson, Matt Barsic, coach Rich Born, Brian Burgholzer, Bruce Burgholzer, Darryl Carlson, Jeff Carlson, Eric Carnes, Brian Christensen, Mark Claypool, Steve Fredrickson, Paul Garbe, Eric Hamann, Joel Hicks, Tim Hoffman, Mike Jorgensen, Bob Jorgensen, Jerry Klusak, Marty Lyle, John McQuade, James Morris, Gary Mueller, John Oksas, Dean Paschen, coach Bruce Peterson, Dale Plant, David Potts, Jim Sandberg, manager Mark Sibley, Randy Stayner and Chuck Swift.
If you have any information, contact Beth Sterkel in the district office at (630) 365-5111, ext. 109.
Photo: Trevor Holm remains a key component of the Kaneland High School boys track success the last several years, especially in the 1600m run. Photo by Linda Bell
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It was a high ceiling for Kaneland High School boys track in 2010, and by the end of the season in Charleston, Ill., it turned into a celebration.
A second-place finish in the Class 2A State meet and a State championship in two events were reason to party, and Kaneland hopes to extend it.
But, it’ll have to come with a lot of preparation, which fifth-year coach Eric Baron has already started on.
“It started at track camp in June, and we took a look at what we have coming back,” Baron said. “We looked at areas we need to strengthen. It’s a reloading program. We lost a lot of good seniors. I think the group of freshmen that’s coming in might be better than the group that just left, talent-wise.”
In terms of sprints, Tommy Whittaker’s name will come up early and often.
“Tommy is not only going to win a lot of races, he is just a tremendous leader,” Baron said. “It’s a senior class of seven. Their leadership is outstanding.”
Whittaker, Taylor Andrews, Matt Spitzzeri and Trevor Holm will be counted on to give that frosh-soph class some leadership.
“It’s gone on since before I was coach. You listen to the upperclassmen because they’ve been through the wringer,” Baron said.
Sprints and hurdlers will see an Andrews presence, who competed side-by-side with new Golden Gopher Logan Marcusson.
The entire 4×100 and 4×200 meter relays return to give KHS an added boost, fresh off a Charleston trip last year.
Brandon Cottier, Andrew Essex, Curtis Secrest and Quinn Buschbacher also look to contribute. Sophomore Dylan Pennington is also expected to make the most of his time on the track.
Holm takes care of the distance question.
“Trevor could be an All-Stater in pretty much any event we decide to go with,” Baron said.
Baron touted freshmen Luis Acosta and Kyle Carter as pleasant surprises in the early goings, especially in relays.
In the field, Frankie Furco has high jumped over six feet in indoor competition.
A young jumper looking to help the Knights is Marshall Farthing, also excelling in indoor action.
Spitzzeri in triple jump looks to make the State meet after missing by 1.5 inches last year.
“Matt Cowans is coming in in great shape off of basketball and is jumping real well,” Baron said.
Kaneland remains quite young in the throws and looks to several underclassmen to step in to spots previously held by personnel like Phil Christensen.
“There’s the potential for several Phil Christensens in our throwing crew right now, like Alex Snyder and Nate Dyer and Tom King,” Baron said.
On Saturday, April 9, the Knights begin the outdoor season at East Moline United. The Peterson Prep is hosted at KHS on Saturday, April 23.
STERLING—At Westwood Track in Sterling, Ill., it was prime time to see how Kaneland boys track measured up against the rest of the Northern Illinois Big XII slate. As it turns out, when it comes to indoor clashes, Kaneland was pretty good.
With 81 team points, the Knights finished second only to Yorkville’s 88 point total.
Dixon (64), Sterling (57) and Rochelle (46) rounded out the top five. Ottawa, Geneseo, Sycamore, LaSalle-Peru, Streator, DeKalb and Morris filled out the six-through-12 slots.
The accolades came quite often for KHS, beginning with Matt Spitzerri’s third place in the triple jump (39-5.5) and Marshall Farthing’s fourth place in the same event (39 feet).
The 4×800 relay team for KHS finished first at eight minutes, 36.29 seconds.
In the 55 meter hurdles, anticipated assets Taylor Andrews won the race (7.95) and teammate Chad Swieca (8.62) finished third.
The 4x200m relay finished second at 1:35.76, just .13 behind the Dukes’ unit.
Tommy Whittaker finished second in the 400m dash with a time of 52.16, and classmate Trevor Holm finished first in the 1600m run with a time of 4:37.77.
Kaneland’s Curtis Secrest took fourth at 24.48 seconds in the 200m dash.
To close out the honors, KHS won the 4x400m relay event with a time of 3:35.16.
BYRON, Ill.—Saturday brought some indoor track competition to Byron, Ill., and also brought some fine numbers and totals for Kaneland boys track.
Looking to get the 2010-11 season on the right foot indoors, Kaneland finished tied for fourth out of 12 teams.
Their 43-point total tied with Rockford Jefferson. Rockton’s Hononegah had 97 points, followed by Burlington Central’s 69.5 total and Belvidere North with 47 points. The Knights were the lone representative from the Northern Illinois Big XII conference.
Tommy Whittaker of the Knights took second in the 400 meter dash with an effort of 53.97 seconds, behind Hononegah’s Kassidy Freeman by .9 seconds.
Taylor Andrews ran 7.9 seconds for second place in the 55m hurdles finals event, and was also part of the first place 4x400m relay team with Whittaker, Brandon Cottier and Chad Swieca (3:37.90).
Frankie Furco acclimated himself well in the finals of the high jump, finishing third in the group with a six-foot effort.
Finally, Matt Spitzzeri took second in the triple jump group by completing his turn at 41-4.5.
The boys’ next challenge is the Northern Illinois Big XII indoor meet in Sterling on Saturday, March 19.
Kaneland CUSD is looking for contact information for members of the 1976 Boys’ Track team, set to be inductedinto the Kaneland Hall of Fame on Monday, May 2.
The members are: coach Harold Anderson, Matt Barsic, coach Rich Born, Brian Burgholzer, Bruce Burgholzer, Darryl Carlson, Jeff Carlson, Eric Carnes, Brian Christensen, Mark Claypool, Steve Fredrickson, Paul Garbe, Eric Hamann, Joel Hicks, Tim Hoffman, Mike Jorgensen, Bob Jorgensen, Jerry Klusak, Marty Lyle, John McQuade, James Morris, Gary Mueller, John Oksas, Dean Paschen, coach Bruce Peterson, Dale Plant, David Potts, Jim Sandberg, manager Mark Sibley, Randy Stayner and Chuck Swift.
If you have any information, contact Beth Sterkel in the district office at (630) 365-5111, ext. 109.
Editorâ€™s noteâ€”To further commemorate the noteworthy accomplishments of the recently completed track season, in which Kanelandâ€™s team finished second in the state, the Elburn Herald is pairing a Knights track personality with a storied history, and a recent graduate. Their comparison of stories and memories will be a regular feature this summer. Eric Baron is the current head coach of Kaneland High School boys track, after succeeding Ralph Drendel, and a teacher at Kaneland Harter Middle School. Distance runner Edgar Valle is a State champion and will compete in Rock Island, Ill., for the Augustana Vikings in the 2010-2011 school year.
ELBURN HERALD (EH): Getting involved with cross-country and track, with this monster year, now that you’ve had four years to look back on it, was it a burning ambition to compete and succeed and stand up on the podium at the end of the year, or was it something that just fell into your lap where it’s “oh, i know a bunch of people and I’m friendly with them, let’s see how this goes?â€
EDGAR VALLE (EV): Track and field is something I’ve always loved doing. It’s a sport I think I have the most passion for. Being able to compete with my teammates and fight for what we really wanted and to succeed, and at the end of the year, being able to stand on that podium, it was an amazing feeling. That’s what I was fighting for.
EH: Eric, what about you as an athlete?
ERIC BARON (EB): My beginnings were here at Kaneland in Cheryl McCoy’s P.E. class. Track was a way of life here at Kaneland. There was no baseball at the time. You ran track in the spring. I was lucky enough to stand on that podium, and unlucky enough to miss being on that podium. It was a great learning experience, and every day I’m glad I made choices to lead me into the sport.
EH: People have said on occasion that this past season cemented the fact that Kaneland was a track school, and people can remember that again.
EB: Our numbers keep going up. We’ve fought for the three-class system. We thought we were a great track school, and going against the Neuqua Valleys and Yorks was really hard for our school. It deterred the big goal at the end of the season. Now that we’re competitive again, people are saying â€œhey, there’s some great track athletes at our school and great coaches with abilities that really lend themselves to big things.â€
EH: Being involved in track with the 800m and the 1600m, it seemed like you might have been one of these kids who had a stamp of versatility. You could take an event, and maybe not be totally experienced, but take an event and make it yours. To be an asset in three or four events and just sort of plug yourself in. You didn’t know what your ceiling would be, but you knew what your floor was.
EV: Yeah, that’s how I kind of figured things out my first couple of years. The first time I did the 1600, I was competing and doing really well and actually won once and I was like “wow, I surprised myself.” With Coach putting me in different events, I realized I could do a lot of these different things. I knew what I had to do and tried not to let the team down.
EH: When you finally had your roster that qualified for State, did you feel that versatility was a big key, or did you think that kids specializing in one or two events was more important?
EB: I really coach the guys to be versatile. As someone who pays attention to the sport, I look for ways we can do best as a team. If we run guys in the 400, then we run guys in the 400. If I see thereâ€™s a weaker event that we can capitalize on, then thatâ€™s the direction we try to go if theyâ€™re versatile.
This year, I trained the entire team to basically be 400 and 800 guys. I thought if we did that, then we could be very competitive, and it turned out real well. The guys that we had this year, I knew they had a lot of leg speed, which you need for the 400 and 800. But, versatility is a huge thing. You look at Edgar and Logan (Markuson) and Nick Sinon. I mean, these guys will do any event I put them in.
EH: Going against other athletes from the CCIW (College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin) next spring, have you heard or figured that college track is almost a different sport or even a profession?
EV: Iâ€™ve heard that college track is like a whole new start. You have to rebuild everything. Itâ€™s a lot more competitive. Run twice a day, multiple practices, schedule your time; and thereâ€™s school and everything. Itâ€™s a lot more difficult and very time-consuming, but I know the coaches at Augustana are really good guys.
EH: Plus, thereâ€™s going to be a familiar Kaneland touch with some former teammates on there. So, it wonâ€™t be too foreign of a setting.
EV: Yeah, thatâ€™ll be nice to go into.
EH: In what ways was this senior core of 2010 really special and uniquely qualified to get the team to State?
EV: Weâ€™ve noticed ever since our freshman year that our class was a really good class. One of our freshman invites, we had nine guys on the team, and were going with Geneva and Batavia and we thought we had a really good team. It was a really good group of guys.
EH: Eric had coached this 2010 group since they were freshmen.
EV: He kneeled down to us after that meet and said â€œYou guys are real good.â€ He was really excited for us and for what we could do over the next couple of years.
Us being seniors this past year, we demonstrated leadership qualities. We showed the younger kids what weâ€™d been through. We tried to teach them how to run well.
Us as seniors, we tried to do everything we could succeed, and we wanted it. We were all so competitive as well. Competing with each other at practices and everything pushed us farther and farther.
EB: I think one of the things with this groupâ€”I had a great group of friends in high school trackâ€”they left the competitiveness on the track and at practice. It never carried over to their personal lives. Edgar could run with Logan or Derek (Bus) or Matt (Reusche), and Iâ€™d kick them out at the end and theyâ€™d go out and have hamburgers or whatever. Their competitiveness as a team was channeled correctly. As much as Iâ€™d like to take a lot of credit for it, I think a lot of it was just their personality.
EH: Thereâ€™s still the coach-student dynamic, but in a way, was having that senior core of guys almost like having another set of coaches on the track?
EB: It was like having a set of coaches. These are guys that Iâ€™ll probably know for the rest of my life. You know, I look back at my coaches that Iâ€™ve had. Iâ€™ll be talking to my former coach later; heâ€™s up from Florida. Weâ€™ll go for a run; heâ€™s 65 years old. I think these guys are going to be like that and talk to me whenver they need to.
EH: (Mark) Claypool mentioned that he talks to his coach down in Florida on a regular basis. Regarding this past yearâ€™s team, what was it about this year, specifically, that made them unique compared to any other year?
EB: The end result was big. Before sectionals, I told them that no matter what we do, weâ€™ve already been a great success. I look at this group of people and tried to help them become great leaders out there. I look at Logan (Markuson), and what he did this season took great pressure off of me. We set standards, but we remembered itâ€™s still a sport, still a game. Itâ€™s supposed to be fun, and if weâ€™re not having fun, then Iâ€™m not doing a good job. We had a lot of fun as a team. Things fall into place when youâ€™re having fun.
EH: Asking Logan a couple weeks ago about trying to give a sense of what running the 1600m relay is likeâ€”toward the end of the meet, can mean a big difference in team placement. Can you take us through what your experience is like running that event?
EV: The 1600m relay is one of my all-time favorites. Itâ€™s like, to have three other guys that are so talented and work together so well and like to run together is amazing.
Everyone knows a lot of the time it comes down to that one race to make or break the meet. Thatâ€™s happened to us a few times. I know with the great group of guys that we have, we can pull it off. This happened a lot this year, where the race would be over by the second guy. A lot of pressure gets taken off. Iâ€™d say we really got our streak of competitiveness about mid-season. But, just thinking about running that 400, the adrenaline starts going. When you see those first guys go around and you know itâ€™s close. You just want to go after it and fight for that first place.
EH: Is it that big of an event where it can influence how the next week of practice goes or how the next meet goes? Or is it pretty much self-contained?
EV: Not really in the first half of the season, because we usually won. But the way the coaches set the practices up, they usually try to have us peak at a certain moment. If we feel we did really well, we feel awesome going into practice. Weâ€™re excited to talk about the next meet. Days and meets that we donâ€™t do so well, we feel a little sluggish but we come back and practice hard.
EH: It seems we have a winner for favorite event here, but Eric, what was your favorite event as a younger athlete, and do you feel your tastes evolving as a coach?
EB: Well, for me personally, it was always the 1600. Edgar reminds me of the way I ran in high school and college, in that I liked being with my teammates and liked to run with them. I loved running the 4×4. If I had to step in and run that relay, I would. Itâ€™s a very unique event, because anyone on your team can run it. You just have to go as hard as you can. Itâ€™s almost whoever has the most guts ends up winning it. You want to run that 4×4. What people might not understand about this team was that we ran three teams that could have qualified for State. They were that talented and that deep. Taylor Andrews didnâ€™t make our varsity 4×4, but (he was) probably a 51-second quarter-miler. It was fun. Running with your team is a different thing than running by yourself. Running the mile was always the highlight of the meet.
EH: Edgar, what aspect of your track talents improved the most over the four years?
EV: I think physical endurance. Pacing was up there, as well. I did the 800 a lot and 4×8, and you used to hate that race, but Iâ€™d still do it anyway. Then came my junior year, once I finally broke two minutes, and I kicked down one of the best runners Sycamoreâ€™s ever had. I was thinking, â€œOh my God, I could actually be good at this.â€
Editorâ€™s noteâ€”To further commemorate the noteworthy accomplishments of the recently completed track season, in which Kanelandâ€™s team finished second in the state, the Elburn Herald is pairing a Knights track personality from years past, and an athlete who is a recent graduate. Their comparing of stories and memories will be a regular feature this summer. Mark Claypool is Chairman and COO of Optima Worldwide Limited. He was a member of the class of 1977 and is the all-time leader in points garnered for the Kaneland Boys Track team. Claypool went on to compete for the University of Illinois track team and was a Big Ten champion and All-American. Multi-event athlete Logan Markuson is second all-time for points gathered in Kaneland boys track and is joining the University of Minnesota track team in the 2010-2011 school year.
ELBURN HERALD (EH): Mark, you came along and gave this year’s team whatever experience and wisdom that you could give them. How did your arrival to the team this year come about?
Mark Claypool (MC): I’ve been watching the teams over the years. Coach Drendel and Coach Baron have asked me to come in and speak to the team at different parts of the year, and I used to run against Logan’s dad,
Jay, and he ran for Batavia. So we got to know each other pretty well back then, and I’ve watched Logan since he was a freshman and seen how well he was doing at scoring varsity points. I was interested in Logan’s progress and saw how well the team was doing as a whole, and saw that this team could really do something down at county and State.
I wanted to be there somehow and support them and show them that Kaneland history lives on and that somebody from the past cares about it. So, I went to a couple of the meets, and initially nobody even knew I was going to be there except for Mickey Marin, a sophomore who actually found me on Facebook and asked how to run a 400, and so I gave him some pointers and went out to see how he and the team would do, and went to the Peterson Prep first. I had a chance to see some of the other guys run, and saw Logan come out of the starting blocks and thought he might need some pointers. So a couple of the guys and I struck up a friendship and to know I was there to support them.
I went to the County meet as well and thought they had a real shot to be the first team since ’75 to win. It’s real hard to compete against big schools like that and to have the kind of showing Kaneland had. They gave it their best.
Anyway, I was interested in the team as a whole and then in the individuals as I got to know them, just because they’re quality young men and they worked hard and the coaches all said it was a special group. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime kind of team.
EH: Talking with Baron for the Preview article in March, he mentioned the team had a very high ceiling. He didn’t know how far they’d go, but that they were capable of great things.
Logan Markuson (LM): Definitely. Back in seventh or eighth grade we had like eight kids in track, I think it was 12 actually. But our coach called us “The Dirty Dozen.” I knew that as our group moved through high school, as a group like that moves through high school, you become friends. We hung out throughout the years and that was nice. It was nice to see how we worked out and how we progressed during those four or five years. I think just having that friendship and training, it just went hand in hand.
EH: Did your team have a senior core that you came up with, similar to Logan’s?
MC: Yeah, we had a pretty good cross-section. Back then we seemed to have sophomores, juniors and seniors all participting, but we had a pretty good core group of seniors, in the 4×880 relay and the 4×440. We had a good group of seniors for sure in â€˜77. In â€˜75, we had the Ackermans, the Bishops and Larry Will. A big thing for Bruce Pederson was senior leadership. He always talked about that as a key.
EH: With both of you being relay guys, you hear people often say the 4×400 is the biggest event of the meet. Describe what you go through in a very competitive event like that.
MC: Often times, it can decide who finishes first or second or third.
LM: We came down to a few of those this year.
MC: There’s always a lot riding on it. There’s a lot of pressure on those four guys to go out and perform and not drop the baton. It’s something where the teams all know that this is it. Itâ€™s often the last race, and youâ€™re performing as a group. As you get to the end, you see your team colors and the team is jumping up and down. I never heard a whole lot. I never paid too much attention to the buzz but I could tell there was excitement. At State championships there was always the roar of the crowd, but youâ€™re in such a zone you donâ€™t even pay any attention. For us, thatâ€™s what it was like, and I saw it was like that downstate for you guys.
LM: Yeah, it was like that for us. In the 4×4, itâ€™s definitely lots of pressure. I like to think of it as a â€œwhoâ€™s got the most gutsâ€ kind of thing. Itâ€™s at the end of the meet, and some of these bigger schools like to run a fresh team. For a smaller school like us, weâ€™re coming back after two or three races. Itâ€™s like â€œthis is my last event of the night and I donâ€™t have to run any more,â€ and lay it all down on the field.
EH: Can the finish dictate your mood for the week, or how you practice leading to the next meet?
LM: Yeah, it can a little. In indoor conference, I was supposed to run the 4×4, and was having some injuries, and ran on a different team. It was a two-point difference headed into that race, and our alternate team won it. That whole week, going into our first outdoor meet, we were stoked. We were like â€œthat was amazing.â€ Training ahead, it just sets the mood for the whole week.
We just came off of that and see what we could do next week.
EH: Coaching has to be quite strong in a season like this. What did your coaches stress and what kind of personality did they show while coaching?
MC: Track and field is so diverse. Youâ€™ve got weight events and pole vault, hurdles, sprinting. Every one of these events has itâ€™s own set of techniques. Itâ€™s a very difficult thing for a finite group of coaches to be real good jacks-of-all-trades. But Kanelandâ€™s been very fortunate over the years. Back when I was there, Bruce Pederson was an icon, and everybody looked up to him. Heâ€™s still my greatest mentor, and I still talk to him a couple of times a year and heâ€™s in St. Augustine, Fla. He would set the tone mentally.
LM: Iâ€™ve loved the coaching. Itâ€™s not just â€œgo to practice and do your workout.â€ Itâ€™s â€œgo to practice, and if youâ€™re feeling bad, give them a call.â€ Theyâ€™re not just your coaches, we really got to develop a friendship. Just the time and effort they put into it, you can tell theyâ€™re really dedicated. I would think itâ€™s hard to do with a family and everything. I was fortunate to have such great coaches. I really donâ€™t think Iâ€™m going to find something like this anywhere else.
EH: Mark, you competed in Big Ten track, what was the time like for you and what can Logan expect?
MC: Well, I went down to the University of Illinois on a full ride. It is a whole different ballgame. Youâ€™re suddenly living on your own, youâ€™re away from family, and your freshman year is a whole different scenario. It becomes almost a profession that youâ€™re doing, because youâ€™re expected to be there at such and such a time and you arrange your class schedule around that. You get tutors to help you because youâ€™re spending so much time in the afternoon and early evening, and youâ€™re really working hard. With what Loganâ€™s going to be doing, decathlon and heptathlon indoors along with everything else heâ€™ll do, heâ€™s going to be working on an awful lot of stuff. It is entirely a different ballgame. Youâ€™re going from a team with some real standouts like Logan with some success at State, and youâ€™re amongst others who also are at the top of their game. All of the sudden, youâ€™re not just a standout on your team. Youâ€™re one of many, many fine athletes on a team of fine athletes. So, itâ€™s an eye-opener the first time you run and youâ€™re wondering â€œwhy is everyone right here with me?â€ Leave your letter jacket at home, donâ€™t take it to school there. That was high school, now you have to perform at an entirely different level. Minnesotaâ€™s a powerhourse and returning Big Ten champions.
LM: Iâ€™m looking forward to it. I know, with the different ballgame, how busy itâ€™s going to get. Iâ€™ve already kind of scheduled my classes, and Iâ€™ll probably have to work out in the mornings. Then class and then practice and maybe another class. They expect you to study two hours for every hour youâ€™re in class.
EH: Itâ€™s only for four years, though.
LM: Iâ€™ll catch up on sleep when Iâ€™m older.
MC: Time managementâ€™s going to be key. Itâ€™s not just going to school, itâ€™s school and athletics in there.
EH: In college sports, youâ€™re not looking at a three-month season, especially nowadays. Itâ€™s almost a year-round profession.
MC: Absolutely, even in high school, you had to find something to keep yourself in shape. We were typically running three-lappers around the school. We would get heavy sweats and wrap towels underneath in the wintertime. We were outside in January and Feburary, below zero. I played basketball my freshman and sophomore years and that kept me in shape in the offseason. After sophomore year, I went to Purdue basketball camp and got hurt.
EH: Was Gene Keady not happy?
MC: Well, Bruce Pederson wasnâ€™t happy. He said, â€œokay, thatâ€™s it. No more basketball for you.â€ I got my cast off in August and couldnâ€™t run on it just yet, so I went out for the golf team.
EH: Mark, it obviously meant a lot to come back and be involved. Logan, can you see yourself coming back in 30 years if asked?
LM: If I was asked to come back and coach or do something else, Iâ€™d be happy to. My mom told me that she sat next to Mark Claypool at the Kane County Meet, and said heâ€™d be willing to work with me on starts and I was just like, â€œMark Claypool? Thatâ€™s awesome.â€ Iâ€™d love to come back and help any way I could. Just because itâ€™s really cool when others come back to share their memories.
Nathan Dyer of Virgil competed last week in the Regional Jr. Olympics in Indianapolis. Nathan placed first in javelin with a personal best of 123 feet, first in discus with a personal best of 159.09 feet, second place in the Pentathelon and fourth place in shot put. Nathan will compete in the National Jr. Olympics competition in Sacramento, Calif., the week of July 26.
Nathan is a member of the DeKalb Huskie Track Club and will be a freshman at Kaneland in August.
Nathan Dyer, 14, competed in the State Jr. Olympics on June 19-20 and took first place in javelin, second place in shot put, third place in high jump and second place in discus. He will compete in the Regionals in Indianapolis Thursday-Sunday, July 8-11. If he qualifies in the top three, he will go on to Nationals in Sacramento, Calif., the week of July 26.
Nathan will be a freshman at Kaneland High School in August.
KANELANDâ€”Kaneland High School dished out end of the year and spring speason sports awards last week.
In Knights boys track and field, Logan Markuson was named the Track MVP, while Nick Sinon, state champ in high jump, was named Field MVP. Edgar Valle, also a state champ as part of the 4×400 relay , was named recipient of the Drendel Award. Markuson, Derek Bus, Joe Levita, Brett Ketza, Justin Choate and Sinon were recognized as captains. Andrew Essex was named winner of the Ron Probst Award. Sinon, Markuson, Taylor Andrews, Valle, Bus, Matt Reusche, Matt Spitzzeri, Sean Paulick, Tommy Whittaker, Dominic Furco, Trevor Holm and Levita were recognized as the final Kaneland representatives for the all-Western Sun Conference team.
Brandon Cottier, Essex, Curtis Secrest, Whittaker, Spitzzeri, Valle, Bus, Taylor Andrews, Markuson, Levita, Holm and Sinon were all lauded for their trip to the Class 2A State Finals in Charleston, Ill.
For girls track, Lisa Roberson and Andie Strang, both State-goers, were named co-Track MVPâ€™s, while Brooke Patterson, fresh off a trip to Charleston, was named field MVP.
Mel Mazuc and Nicole Ketza were part of a group of three named most improved field athletes, along with Briana Stark in long jump. Hurdler Hillary Luse took the most improved track athlete award.
Roberson and Sydney Bilotta were recognized as captains, while Patterson, Ashley Castellanos and Gabby Aguirre were honored for their All-Western Sun Conference performances.
Strang (800 meter run, 4x800m relay), Roberson and Kris Bowen (4x800m), Sara Wallace (pole vault), Jessica Stouffer (4x800m), Patterson (pole vault, triple jump) and Castellanos (long jump) were lauded for their State trip.
For the 20-win softball team, first-year coach Brian Willis gave most outstanding defensive player to Jordan Hester and most outstanding offensive player to Andrea Dimmig-Potts. Samantha Hansen took home the most improved player award, Kristen Stralka and Brittany Davis got in on the Lady Knight Award, while 13-win pitcher Delani Vest was given the most outstanding player award.
In the freshman softball ranks, Elizabeth Eckert and Sarah Grams took the co-MVP honors, while Danielle McCormack won the Kaneland Knight award.
For baseball, Dave Dudzinski and Bobby Thorson were named recipients of the Mr. Kaneland Baseball award.
Jake Tickle, he of the 19-game hit streak during the season, was named offensive MVP, and Steve Colombe was crowned defensive MVP.
The 41 Award, in honor or Jeff Malewig, was given to Tickle and Jake Fiedler.
Thorson, Fiedler, Colombe and Tickle were all recognized for their All-Western Sun Conference honors.
For the 15-win girls soccer teamâ€™s history- making season, Megan Gil, Haley Johnson, Shelby Koester, Colleen Gebauer and Emily Heimerdinger were lauded for their captain-ship.
Amy Fabrizius was given the most improved player honor, and freshman goalkeeper Jordan Ginther was named Rookie of the Year.
Sophie Blank, Andie Bruce and Natalie Swieca won the coachâ€™s award. Gebauer and Katie Taylor were co-winners of the Lady Knights Award, while Heimerdinger and Gil took the MVP honors.
For the final awards of the night, the female Birkette award was given to Roberson. Markuson and Bus took home the male Birkette award.
Markuson was honored with the Male Athlete of the Year award, while Roberson was given the Female Athlete of the Year award.
Levita, for his time in cross country, wrestling and track, was honored for his three-sport commitment.
Photo: Lisa Roberson, shown here in relay action in Charleston, Ill., two weeks ago, was awarded Female Athlete of the Year and Female Birkette Award winner at last weekâ€™s 2010 Senior Athletic Banquet Awards. File Photo
by Mike Slodki
CHARLESTONâ€”Followers of KHS track maybe have seen a boys track roster for the ages in 2010.
Actually, judging by the second-place team finish at Friday and Saturdayâ€™s Class 2A Boys Track State Finals at Eastern Illinois University, thereâ€™s no â€œmayâ€ about it.
The Knights, with 53 points, finished second in the state only to Hillcrest High School with 61. It marked the Knightsâ€™ highest team finish since 1999. Cahokia tied for second with 53, Oak Forest was fourth with 39 and Crete-Monee was fifth with 35 points.
An impressive showing for Kaneland featured six events with All-State honors and two State champions.
The roster, with the largest contingent at State for the Knights since 1998, featured the 4×400 meter relay team of Tommy Whittaker, Derek Bus, Edgar Valle and Logan Markuson setting a meet record with a time of 3:20.29, and Nick Sinon setting a meet record in the high jump at six feet, nine inches.
At the conclusion of the season, the Knights now have five State champs on the roster, with Markuson winning the 300m low hurdles a year ago.
Sinon and the relay crew now mark the 15th and 16th first-place nods at the State finals in Knights history.
Sinon beat out Burlington Centralâ€™s Cameron Ostrowski by two inches for State glory and was helped by a 6-03 jump in the preliminaries.
The relay squad broke the all-time record by 1.31 seconds, set in 1980.
Markuson knew something big could happen based on the initial performance on Friday.
â€œAfter prelims, I knew we were sitting pretty, and we were going to see how it all played out,â€ Markuson said. â€œItâ€™s cool to have won that event; there was definitely a lot of emotion.â€
Valle continued the good times in Charleston with a second-place finish in the 800m run with a time of 1:58.03 in the finals. The senior was followed closely by teammate Derek Bus, who finished fifth at 1:58.29.
To add to the All-State party, Taylor Andrews cinched up fifth overall in the 110 meter low hurdles with a time of 14.81 in the finals.
Markuson also earned All-State honors in the 300 meter low hurdles with a time of 38.43 seconds, good for fourth.
Markuson also highlighted a productive day for other finals, finishing seventh in the pole vault at 13-03, and seventh in the 110m hurdles at 15.09.
A standout at pole vault and hurdles throughout his Knights tenure, Markuson was thoughtful about his performance in the 2010 season.
â€œItâ€™s kind of weird when you get down to State and see all this competition. Itâ€™s a cool experience but I donâ€™t really consider myself to be in the elite group in my events, Markuson said.
The 4x800m relay team of Dominic Furco, Sean Paulick, Joe Levita and Trevor Holm made it to the finals and finished seventh at 8:01.44.
Also making the trip down to State was Matt Spitzzeri, who jumped a 43-01.5 in the triple jump prelims. Andrews raced a 42.08 in the 300m intermediate hurdles.
Whittaker raced 11.32 in the 100m dash prelims. The Knights also saw additional prelim action for the 4×100 and 4×200. Andrews, Whittaker, Andrew Essex and Brandon Cottier ran a 43.80 in the 100, while Whittaker, Cottier, Essex and Curtis Secrest raced the 200 in 1:32.00.
With the conclusion of the season, the Knights say goodbye to 19 seniors including seven State-goers.
Top photo: Knight boys track cornerstone Edgar Valle closed out his high school career with a second place in the 800m run, and a first in the 4x400m relay on Saturday at Class 2A State in Charleston. Photo by Ben Draper
by Mike Slodki
STERLINGâ€”Kaneland boys track isn’t just getting hot at the right time, it’s smokin’.
With 126 total points and 11 State qualifying events coming out of Friday’s Class 2A Sterling Sectional, Kaneland beat its closest competitor, DeKalb, by 57 points.
Burlington Central finished third with 58 points, followed by Yorkville at 55 and Rochelle at 52.
The Knightsâ€™ 11 events was the most since 1998, in which Kaneland qualified in 12 events.
Coach Eric Baron’s crew now gears up for a trip to the Class 2A State finals in Charleston, Ill. at Eastern Illinois University.
Kaneland’s entry in the 4x800m relay (Dominic Furco, Sean Paulick, Joe Levita, Trevor Holm) earned sectional champ honors with a time of 8 minutes, 6.99 seconds, beating BC by 1.73 seconds.
In other relay action, the 4x100m relay squad (Andrew Essex, Brandon Cottier, Taylor Andrews, Tommy Whittaker) finished second with a time of 43.57 seconds, just .19 behind DeKalb.
In 110 meter high hurdles action, the tandem of Taylor Andrews and Logan Markuson pushed each other to higher levels all season, and it was no different in Sterling as the two Knights finished in the top two spots. Andrews finished first at 14.54 seconds, while Markuson took second at 14.74.
With a second-place nod in the 100 meter dash, Whittaker’s 11.17 was good enough to send him packing to EIU.
Kaneland will send two competitors to State in the 800m run, as stalwarts Edgar Valle (1:58.27) and Derek Bus (1:59.04) took the top two spots in the event.
KHS also sends the unit that participated in the 4x200m relay (Essex, Cottier, Curtis Secrest, Whittaker) to State, as it finished third with a qualifying time of 1:31.82.
â€œWe have underclassmen in both the 100 and 200 (relay); thatâ€™s impressive,â€ Baron said. â€œReally, the guy who got the ball rolling for us was Whittaker. He had a huge night in the 100 and won his heat in the prelims, and once he did that it kind of carried over to the rest of the team.â€
Markuson came back to take the sectional champ crown in the 300m low hurdles, running in 39.62, and will be joined by teammate Andrews (second place, 40.68 seconds).
The Knight foursome that ran the 4x400m relay (Whittaker, Bus, Valle, Markuson) finished first with a time of 3:23.01, beating out BC by 3.71.
Markuson qualified for a third event with a second-place pole vault effort of 13 feet, 3 inches, continuing Kaneland’s long standing tradition of sending pole vaulters to the big meet annually since 1983.
â€œWeâ€™ve had great coaching,â€ Baron said. â€œKaneland is about pole vaulting, and Andy Drendel came in this year. He and Logan felt a great deal of pressure. Logan stepped up when it mattered in his last attempt.â€
Nick Sinon returns to Charleston, based on his second-place high jump at 6-07.
Matt Spitzzeri makes it to State for the first time by capturing fourth in the triple jump at 43-07.
The State finals are Friday, May 28, and Saturday, May 29.
by Mike Slodki
GENEVAâ€”Kaneland boys track ended its Western Sun Conference tenure on a nice note this past Friday in Geneva.
The exceptional finishes might pave the way for a prolific Class 2A sectional in Sterling on Friday afternoon.
Thanks to a handful of first-place finishes, the Knights garnered 120 points, enough for second place. Geneva, at 143 points, finished atop the standings.
Glenbard South (82), DeKalb (60) and Batavia (55) rounded out the top five, while Yorkville (42), Sycamore (30.5) and Rochelle (24.5) finished in the bottom third.
The first-place party began with Taylor Andrews in the 110 meter high hurdles, when he ran the stretch in 14.69 seconds. Andrews finished fifth in preliminaries.
The 4x400m relay foursome won its event with a time of 3:23.44.
Logan Markuson became the last-ever WSC champ in the 300m hurdles with a time of 39.30, winning by .22 seconds over Genevaâ€™s Ryan Ahern.
Markuson also won the pole vault with a mark of 13 feet, nine inches.
Nick Sinon, with an effort of 42-10, won the triple jump, while also taking the high jump at 6-09.
For the frosh-soph roster that finished fourth with 78 points, several exceptional finishes came Kanelandâ€™s way.
Dylan Pennington finished third in the 200m dash with a time of 24.81. Teammate Clayton Brundige, with a run of 2:08.26, finished second in the 800m run.
Knight Chad Swieca took the conference title in the 300m hurdles with a time of 43.43 seconds.
Successful finishes for relay units included a second place in the 4x400m at 3:44.30 and a 4x800m first place nod with a time of 8:43.16.
Knight Marshall Farthing took a third in the high jump at 5-05 and a third in the triple jump at 37-10.5
The Knights now gear up for the Class 2A Sterling Sectional on Friday, May 21.
by Mike Slodki
KANELANDâ€”It was cold and windy, but Knights boys track managed to leave all but one team in its collective dust on Friday.
With 103 points, the Kaneland Knights took a second-place nod during the 2010 Kane County Invite out at West Aurora High School.
The host Blackhawks, with 126.5 points, took the crown, with Geneva (73), St. Charles North (68), Batavia (61.5) rounding out the top five.
The noteworthy finishes began with Taylor Andrews and Logan Markuson finishing 2-3 in the finals of the 110m high hurdles. Andrews ran in 14.90 seconds, while the University of Minnesota-bound Markuson was .03 seconds behind.
Markuson was in the same boat as everyone in terms of having to brave the conditions.
â€œYou just try to run the same throughout, and thereâ€™s a little bit of a tailwind, which isnâ€™t ideal, but I guess everyone has to run in the same thing,â€ Markuson said.
Markuson might have a leg up in terms of competitors, as heâ€™ll be competing in Minneapolis next season on a partial scholarship.
â€œIt was nerve-wracking at first,â€ Markuson said. â€œThey were interested and it felt like a big deal. Iâ€™m excited for it, and I love the campus.â€
Kaneland asset Nick Sinon took second place in the high jump thanks to an effort of six feet, three inches; four inches behind West Auroraâ€™s Aviance King.
Knight Derek Bus, with a time of 51.12 seconds, was king of the 400m dash.
Markuson, with a pole vault effort of 13-09, was first in that event, a half-foot better than the next entry.
Kanelandâ€™s 800m sprint medley foursome finished first with a time of 1:43.80, while the 4x400m relay squad was first at 3:27.31.
Additionally, the Knight 4x800m relay unit beat the field with a time of 8:04.58.
In the triple jump, Kanelandâ€™s Sinon finished third with an effort of 42-5.25 feet, and he also took third in the long jump with a tally of 20-7.25.
In the 300m hurdles event, Markuson became invite champ at 39.89 seconds, while Andrews finished in third at 40.74.
Coming up for the Knights: the final version of the Western Sun Conference meet in Geneva on Friday, May 14.
SYCAMOREâ€”Knights boys track looks like a force to be reckoned with as the regular season winds down.
With the annual Kane County Meet taking place on Friday, May 7, and the Western Sun Conference meet the next week, coach Eric Baronâ€™s crew invaded Sycamore on Tuesday and scored 76 points, compared to the Spartansâ€™ 55 and Yorkvilleâ€™s 44.
The first places numbered nine for the Knights under sun-drenched skies.
The 4x400m relay team ran the track in 3 minutes, 31.73 seconds, while the 4x200m foursome won in 1:35.56. Fellow relay event 4x800m took the event in 8:29.02.
Logan Markuson won the 300m intermediate hurdles with a time of 41.57 seconds, and also outlasted the 110m high hurdles field at 14.55 seconds.
In the 400m dash event, Derek Bus won in 53.33, beating Yorkvilleâ€™s Zach Cooper by 1.51 seconds.
Nick Sinon did well in the high jump, winning first with an effort of 6-02.
Matt Spitzzeri took the triple jump with a mark of 40-10, and Sean Paulick won the long jump at 18-6.5.
Also encouraging was a frosh-soph win by Kaneland against Yorkville and Sycamore. The Knights had 72 points while Yorkville had 61 and Sycamore had 33.
The Knights gather in West Aurora on Friday for the Kane County Meet at 4:30 p.m., and finish the regular season with the final version of the WSC meet in Geneva in eight days.
Photo: Kaneland representatives (from left) Sean Paulick, Edgar Valle and Trevor Holm strive to finish the 800m run on Tuesday in Sycamore. Photo by Ben Draper
by Mike Slodki
KANELANDâ€”Knights boys track is performing at a high level at this seasonâ€™s juncture, judging by Saturdayâ€™s home meeting and Tuesday conference action.
Kaneland took the annual Peterson Prep Invitation held in Maple Park this past Saturday with a showing of 100 points. Geneva came in second at 86 points, followed by West Aurora (77 points), Dundee-Crown (52) and Lincoln-Way Central (36).
KHS saw exceptional finishes throughout the afternoon. Derek Bus, with a run of 1 minute, 56.83 seconds, finished second in the 800 meter run, while teammate Edgar Valle took fifth with a time of 1:58.31.
In the 1600m run, Matt Reusche of Kaneland finished sixth at 4:38.68.
In the 3200m run, Trevor Holm ran the track in 10:03.77, good for sixth in the finals.
The hurdles yielded big gains for the Knights, with Taylor Andrews and Logan Markuson having a productive afternoon.
Andrews and Markuson finished in the top three of the 110m hurdles semifinals, before Andrews finished first at 14.55 second, and Markuson finished .06 behind to cinch the top two spots.
In the 300m hurdles, Markuson finished second (39.53) and Andrews finished third (40.25).
Relay action saw the foursome of Tommy Whittaker, Bus, Valle and Markuson win the 4x400m relay at 3:22.55, a new meet record.
Kaneland also had a fifth-place finish in 4x800m relay competition thanks to Sean Paulick, Joe Levita, Dominic Furco and Clayton Brundige running in 8:23.64.
Nick Sinon finished with an effort of six feet, six inches in the high jump for second place.
Marksuon vaulted to a 14 foot pole vault effort, good enough for the top spot at the invite, while Jemmar Parrenas finished second at 13 feet.
Sinon was at it again with a second-place long jump try at 21-09, followed by teammate Paulick at 21-05 for fourth place.
â€œIt was a tremendous effort by Sean and Nick today,â€ coach Eric Baron said. â€œSean is talented, but that was a huge jump, and the long jump is Nickâ€™s best event.â€
Paulick, who jumped a foot farther than his usual effort in the prelims, was pleased with the outcome.
â€œI did the same thing that I always do after warming up,â€ Paulick said. â€œI thought it was just a typical jump and it ended up being a foot farther. This season is starting out great, you couldnâ€™t ask for anything more, and the whole team is clicking.â€
Brock Dyer had an encouraging third-place showing in the discus at 135-02.
Tuesday saw the boys travel to Geneva and score 75 points to beat the Vikingsâ€™ 62 point total and DeKalbâ€™s 46.
KANELANDâ€”What better way to let a future conference rival know whoâ€™s king of the track than to show them a year early.
Thanks to strong individual performances, the Kaneland High School boys track team was tops overall at the Ottawa Invite on Saturday afternoon, racking up 193 team points.
Moline was close by with 190 points, and Peoria Richwoods rounded out the top three with 134 points.
On Tuesday, the Knights took care of host Glenbard South by a 74-20 clip.
The exceptional finishes in Ottawa began with senior Jemmar Parrenas, who vaulted to 11 feet, six inches in pole vault grouping B for second place. Teammate Logan Markuson took the honors in pole vault A at 14 feet.
In the high jump event, sophomore Frankie Furco entered the mix with a second-place showing in the B group at 5-08, while Nick Sinon took first in the A group at 6-02.
For the long jump C category, Matt Spitzzeri finished second at 18-10.5.
In triple jump B, freshman Marshall Farthing finished second at 38-08.5.
In the 4x800m relay A race, the senior foursome of Derek Bus, Dominic Furco, Joe Levita and Edgar Valle beat out the competition at 8:15.53, beating Lincoln-Way Eastâ€™s unit by 6.41 seconds.
In the 110m hurdles C group, freshman Chad Swieca finished second at 18.12, while Taylor Andrews took second with a time of 15.87 seconds in 110m hurdles B.
Dominic Furco finished second in the 800m run C with a time of 2:08.71. Teammate Clayton Brundige, with a run of 2:07.13, finished second in the 800m run C group.
Swieca won the 300m hurdles C race at 45.19 seconds, while Andrews finished second in 300m hurdles B.
Markuson won the 300m hurdles A race at 40.50. Matt Reusche was tops in the 1600m run C with a time of 4:47.86.
Kanelandâ€™s foursome of Tommy Whittaker, Bus, Andrews and Markuson took the top spot in the 4x400m relay A with a time of 3:25.90.
Against the Raiders, Sinon won the long jump at 20-7.75, and the high jump at 6-4. Markuson took the pole vault at 13-6.
Kanelandâ€™s 4×800 relay won at 9:21.1, and the 4×400 finished first at 3:29.3.
Dominic Furco took the 3200m run at 10:43.4.
Andrews finished first in the 110 hurdles at 15.4 seconds, and also first in the 300m hurdles at 40.7.
Trevor Holm won the 1600m run at 4:39.3, while Sean Paulick won the 800m run at 2:11.3.
The Knights host the annual Peterson Prep on Saturday, April 24 at 10 a.m.
Photo: Curtis Secrest and Andrew Essex participate in a sprint relay down at the Ottawa Invite on Saturday. Courtesy Photo
by Mike Slodki
KANELANDâ€”Kaneland got its outdoor track season off to a suitable start, finishing fifth in the East Moline United Township Boys Kiwanis Invite on Saturday.
Kaneland (152 points) finished behind the hosts (268), Plainfield South, Rock Island, and Moline, and finished ahead of future Northern Illinois Big 12 rival Geneseo (110.5).
In the 4×400 meter relay A grouping, KHS foursome Derek Bus, Taylor Andrews, Edgar Valle and Logan Markuson finished second at 3 minutes, 28.22 seconds.
In discus throw group C, Brock Dyer took home the crown with an effort of 126 feet, seven inches, obliterating the next farthest total of 115-04.
Frankie Furco finished second in the high jump B group at 5-08, while Nick Sinon used a 6-06 jump to win the high jump A category.
Teammate Jemmar Parrenas finished second in the pole vault B category at 12-06.
Logan Markuson finished second with a vault of 13-06 in the pole vault A group.
In the 4×800 meter relay A, Matt Reusche, Dominic Furco, Sean Paulick and Clayton Brundige took second with a time of 8:26.13.
In the 3200m run, Trevor Holm finished second at 9:52.11, while Andrews was at it again in the 110m hurdles B with a time of 15.46 seconds, good enough for second.
The Knights also put forth a couple of second places in the 800m run, with Bus running a 2:00.48 in B and Valle running a 1:58.80 in the A group.
Additional action this week took place on Tuesday, as the Knights scored 91.5 points to hold Batavia (68.5) and Rochelle (22) at bay.
KHS had a handful of first places.
The 3200m relay team ran in 8:23.9. Holm won the 3200m run in 10:19.9. Valle won the 800m run in 2:05.9. Sinon took the triple jump in 39-8 3/4.
Markuson captured the 300m dash in 40.5 seconds.
Taylor Andrews picked up a second place in that event, and feels like running alongside the celebrated Markuson only serves him positively in the long run.
â€œThatâ€™s all we do in practice,â€ Andrews said. â€œHis job is to stop me, my job is to catch him. We work at it and we push each other.â€
The Knight 800m relay foursome ran in 1:38.2, while Reusche took home the 1600m crown in 4:50.5.
Sinon won the 200m dash in 24.8 seconds, the 1600m relay unit won the event in 3:28.9, and Markuson also won the pole vault.
The Knights now gear up for the annual Ottawa Invite on Saturday, April 17, at noon.
The Valparaiso menâ€™s track team competed at the DePauw Invitational in Greencastle, Ind., and took seventh place with 57 team points on Saturday.
2009 Kaneland graduate Joe Spitzzeri added to the Crusader team score with a sixth-place showing in the javelin throw, registering a toss of 143â€™4â€.
Photo: Preparation continues for members of the Kaneland boys track squad that finished 13th in Class 2A a year ago. Photo by Mike Slodki
by Mike Slodki
Maple Parkâ€”Can the Kaneland High School boys track roster top last yearâ€™s exceptional finish?
Seven separate events saw Kaneland representation at the Class 2A State meet in Charleston, and the team finished 13th overall.
Senior Logan Markuson was crowned State champ in the 300 meter intermediate hurdles.
Graduate Josh Bloome and Markuson both medalled in the pole vault, and senior Nick Sinon took third in the high jump.
It sounds daunting on paper, but with a roster eclipsing the 70-person mark and with a glut of talent familiar with success, itâ€™s possible for huge things to happen for KHS boys track.
â€œI would say weâ€™re pretty excited,â€ KHS coach Eric Baron said. â€œWe started with a lot of ambition and excitement about what we think we can accomplish. Winning the indoor invite this week was a first step.â€
Markuson, now quickly climbing up the record books for Knights track, is appreciated by Baron for what he brings.
â€œHeâ€™s just a great person,â€ Baron said. â€œ Itâ€™s about more than just athletic ability. He hasnâ€™t missed one day of school ever. Every meet, heâ€™ll go out and do what you ask him to do.â€
Markuson will look to make a mark in the hurdles, pole vault and 4×400 relay once again.
Sinon returns to the ranks after some offseason experience and has already cleared 6-8 in the indoor long jump.
â€œHeâ€™s looking at big things this year and is a real student of the sport,â€ Baron said. â€œWeâ€™ll be strong in all of our jumps, and this is going to be a big year for him.â€
Helping the KHS cause was a Western Sun Conference indoor championship last week.
Also back on the sprint side is Taylor Andrews, who qualified in the 110m high hurdles and benefited from racing alongside Markuson.
Much will have to be done to absolve the loss of Lucas Ross, Colin Zagel and Brendan McCarthy.
â€œWeâ€™re looking for Tommy Whittaker to have a nice year and Serpa ran well for us, and then thereâ€™s some young guys like Curtis Secrest and Andrew Essex, who are working super hard,â€ Baron said.
On the relay side, Whittaker, Edgar Valle and Markuson return from the 4x400m.
Valle, who Baron marked as an unsung contributor to track during his tenure, also qualified for the 4x800m relay, along with Derek Bus, Sean Paulick and graduated Hayden Johnson.
â€œBus qualified for State last year and has come out this year so far and made a statement,â€ Baron said.
â€œ(Edgar) doesnâ€™t get a lot of limelight, but heâ€™s been a relay guy for us every meet,â€ Baron said.
The freshmen class comes in with personnel like Brandon Cottier, Alex Gil and Chad Swieca, who are primed for action.
â€œCottier looks like a special athlete, and weâ€™re figuring out what his best event is,â€ Baron said.
On the field side of things, itâ€™s open season.
â€œAlex Mollohan and Brett Ketza are throwing for us and they look ready to step up,â€ Baron said.
Baron added Ben Kovalick to the throwing list.
For vault, Markuson and Jemmar Parrenas take the reins. Parrenas has gone over 12 feet in indoor competition.
For now, Baron mentions only a couple of nagging injury issues to Blake Serpa and Whittaker.
â€œA big thing right now is taking it easy on people when we can,â€ Baron said.
Seniors looking to contribute are Justin Choate, Brock Dyer, Dominic Furco, Kevin Hodge, Carlos Hufshlag, Joe Levita, Lukas Liebich, Justin Phillips, Matt Swift and Kyle Wagner.
Juniors looking to get in the mix are Cody McGinnis and Matt Spitzzeri.
Baron cited Matt Reusche on the senior side and juniors Matt Cowans and Trevor Holm as athletes that are capable of big things.
Sophomores are Chase Borneman, Clayton Brundige, Tom Chidester, Joe Cozzi, Mitch Dienst, Evan Dukes, Andrew Essex, Frankie Furco, Jake Ginther, Thomas King, Jimmy Lagness, Mickey Marin, John Michek, Thanasi Pesmajoglou, Kelvin Peterson, Nate Rehkopf, Brandon Stahl, Devin Swearingen and Nicholas Wieglos.
Freshmen are Trevor Anderson, Tanner Andrews, David Barnhart, Ryan Euting, Marshall Farthing, Dan Goress, Kory Harner, Billy Hart, Brandon Huber, Conor Johnson, Brad Kigyos, Jay Markuson, John Meisenger, Jimmy Merletti, Nick Messina, Liam Mulloy, Ben Nelson, Ryan Paulson, Dylan Pennington, Nick Sharp, Ben Sommers, Gus Stott, Chad Swieca, Zach Theis, Chris Wido and George WIlson.
The outdoor season for Kaneland boys track begins on Saturday, April 10, at East Moline United with conference action against visiting Batavia and Rochelle on Tuesday, April 13.
The Kane County Meet is on Friday, May 7, at West Aurora, with the final Western Sun Conference meet on Friday, May 14, at Geneva.
Kaneland boys track had itself a productive indoor meet in Byron on Saturday.
The outing produced 101 points, a Kaneland team indoor record at that particular meet.
The Knights were just five points behind Hononegah for first place in the 15-team event.
Rockford Jefferson (79), Freeport (46) and Burlington Central (37) rounded out the top five.
Kanelandâ€™s Nick Sinon had himself a stellar afternoon, finishing first in both the triple jump with a mark of 41 feet, zero inches, and the high jump with a 6â€™8â€ tally.
Teammate Jemmar Parrenas finished second in the pole vault with a result of 12 feet even, half a foot behind Freeportâ€™s Elliot Hollis.
Wading through preliminaries and semifinals, Logan Markuson and Taylor Andrews finished 1-2 in the 55 meter hurdles.
Markuson ran 7.75 seconds in the final, followed by Andrewsâ€™ 7.86.
On the distance side of things, Knight Matt Reusche finished third in the 3200 meter run with a a time of 10:21.10.
Kanelandâ€™s relay foursome of Sean Paulick, Dominic Furco, Clayton Brundige and Jake Ginther took fifth in the 4×800 race with a time of 8:53.26.
In the 400m dash, Markuson and Andrews once again excelled, with Markuson winning the event at 52.56 and Andrews following in fifth at 55.66.
KHS representatives Derek Bus (2:02.10) and Edgar Valle (2:02.66) finished first and third, respectively, in the 800m run.
The Knights also did well in the 1600m run, with Trevor Holm taking third at 4:40.44 and teammate Joe Levita finishing fifth at 4:42.24.
Brandon Cottier of Kaneland took sixth in the 200m dash with a time of 25:02, and the Knight contingent of Bus, Tommy Whittaker, Valle and Markuson won the 4×400 relay.
KHS Varsity Boys Track All-time Top Point Leaders
â€¢ 4) Logan Markusonâ€”499.25
â€¢ 37) Nick Sinonâ€”242
â€¢ 152) Taylor Andrewsâ€”114.75
â€¢ 172) Edgar Valleâ€”104
â€¢ 277) Matt Reuscheâ€”59.5
by Mike Slodki
In some cases, participating in a national showcase with elite high school track stars would be cause for extreme intimidation.
Not for Nick Sinon.
â€œIt was awesome. It was cool seeing all the best high school athletes and competing against them,â€ Sinon said on Tuesday.
Sinon, who finished third in the IHSA Class 2A meet in May as a junior, qualified for the Nike Outdoor Nationals meet from June 18-20 at North Carolina A & T University in Greensboro and attended with his mother.
â€œSome of the best people in the country were there, and it really felt like a big meet,â€ Sinon said. â€œI felt like I adjusted well after I practiced.â€
Sinon, whoâ€™s second in KHS history for the high jump event, finished tied for ninth in his preliminary flight with an effort of six feet, 4.75 inches. He ended up 15th overall.
The national gathering serves to only help Sinon as he gets ready to contribute to the Kaneland High School cross-country cause in the fall.
â€œIt was a huge hurdle for my career; I feel like I can go into a meet and be more comfortable. You see how you compare against the other high school athletes in the U.S.â€
Photo: Kaneland Knight Nick Sinon, an all-State high jumper for the 2009 Kaneland boys track squad, competed at the Nike Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C. from June 18-20. Photo by Ben Draper
Markuson, Sinon earn All-State honors for KHS boys track
by Mike Slodki
This past weekend, Kaneland High School junior Logan Markuson lept right over hurdles and into the IHSA State record books.
Markuson, who had competed at the State level last year, was crowned Class 2A champion in the 300m intermediate hurdles event with a time of 38.57 seconds.
For KHS, it marks the first track State champ for the school since 2004 girls track entry Janine Zylinski, who threw a 42 foot, two inches effort in the shot put.
The last boys track State champion occurred 10 years ago, when Kurt Long pole vaulted at 14-9. The last race champ for the Knights was 1977’s Mark Claypool, running a 47.18 in the 440-yard dash.
â€œItâ€™s weird. I finished the race and it was like â€˜what do I do now?â€™â€ Marksuon said. â€œIt hasnâ€™t completely sunk in yet.â€
Kaneland as a team finished 13th overall in the 2A ranks (20 points).
Hillcrest took the title at 93 points. Cahokia finished a distant second at 47 points, and Springfield Lanphier finished third at 44 points. Western Sun Converence rival Sycamore finished 12th at 22 points, while Glenbard South finished 15th at 18 points.
Markuson’s memorable day also included a seventh-place finish in the pole vault at 13-6. Streator junior Logan Pflibsen won the event at 15-6. Knight Josh Bloome also earned a noteworthy finish at 10th overall (13-3).
Sectional champion Nick Sinon was up to his old tricks in the high jump, earning an all-State finish with a third-place, 6-7 launch.
â€œIt was amazing,â€ Sinon said. â€œGoing into this year, I didnâ€™t think Iâ€™d do as well, but it all worked out.â€
Sinon added,â€ I think I can go higher next year.â€
In the 3200m run, Paul Davies’ 10:00.48 run was good for 13th place in Illinois.
Markuson’s 110m high hurdles dreams were stopped with a false start in the finals.
â€œI knew there were a couple colleges out there, and they looked at how you recover from things like that,â€ Markuson said.
â€œAfter Logan false started in the 110, I said to him, â€˜Champions are measured by how they overcome adversity.â€™ Logan demonstrated what a champion is in so many ways this season, and the 300 Race at State showed everyone that Logan is a champion,â€ KHS coach Eric Baron said.
His State-winning effort in the 300m was .20 better than second-place Wana Wauna of Oak Forest.
Markusonâ€™s point total as a junior is six points shy of Claypoolâ€™s total.
Markuson and Sinon’s All-State honors are the first since Phil Christensen’s discus honors in 2008.
In the 4x800m relay, Kaneland’s Derek Bus, Hayden Johnson, Sean Paulick and Edgar Valle ran the track in 8:14.01.
110m hurdles entry Taylor Andrews ran his event in 15.35, .12 behind Harlan’s Brandan Presley for the final qualifying spot.
In the 4×400 meter relay, Knight foursome Johnson, Markuson, Tommy Whittaker and Valle finished in 3:27.22 in the preliminaries.
Photo: Kanelandâ€™s Logan Markuson became the first Kaneland boys track and field athlete to win an individual state championship since Kurt Long won the pole vault in 1999, when Markuson won the 300m intermediate hurdles Saturday. He is also the first state champion in the hurdles for the Knights, and placed seventh in the pole vault as well.
Photos by Ben Draper
by Mike Slodki
Before the season, boys track coach Eric Baron had a good feeling about his team’s chances this season.
The Freeport Sectional this past Friday made Baron seem downright clairvoyant.
The Knights captured a sectional title with 88 points, a two-point edge over Sycamore, and sent seven separate events to the State final this Friday at Eastern Illinois University.
A year ago, Kaneland sent five events to the big meet.
Freeport finished third at its own home with 60 points, while Burlington Central finished fourth (58 points).
The Knights send junior Logan Markuson to Charleston in several events, the first being pole vault, where he finished third at 14 feet, 9 inches. Teammate Josh Bloome also made sure more Kaneland members will join in the fun, finishing fifth at 13-9.
Nick Sinon continued on his tear, adding Sectional champ to his Western Sun Conference honors with a 6-3 effort in the high jump.
The Knight foursome of Derek Bus, Sean Paulick, Hayden Johnson and Edgar Valle is going down in the 4×800 relay, thanks to a sectional title time of 8 minutes, 6.27 seconds.
Knight distance runner Paul Davies made the grade with a third-place showing in the 3200 meter run (9:49.21).
Markuson (14.88) and Taylor Andrews (15.32) were up to business as usual in the 110 meter high hurdles and join the State crowd in that event. Markuson also took a sectional title in the 300m intermediate hurdles with a 38.87 second tally.
â€œWeâ€™re just building concentration and getting ready,â€ said Markuson, who qualified in 2008 for the pole vault. â€œIt wonâ€™t be too out of the ordinary, but a little more intensity than usual.â€
In Markusonâ€™s opinion, the sectional success was contagious.
â€œI think the 4X800 really started things off for us, That was huge and that set the tone. Everyone was really stoked after that.â€
Finally, the Knights’ 4x400m relay squad of of Johnson, Markuson, Tommy Whittaker and Valle won first at 3:24.72.
Photo: Kanelandâ€™s Nick Sinon takes to the skies during Fridayâ€™s Freeport Sectional. Sinon joins the Knights contingent going to Charleston for the Class 2A boys track State event. Photo by Ben Draper
by Lynn Meredith
To put Kaneland on a more equal playing field, the district is considering becoming part of a new conference.
At an informational meeting open to the public where two community members, one student, and 20 coaches attended, the School Board heard a presentation on the reasons for switching from the Western Sun Conference to a newly formed conference with schools as far away as Dixon.
“With the new conference proposal we will still be able to compete against schools of our size and IHSA classification on our area,” Superintendent Charlie McCormick said.
The schools in the farther-reaching districts have enrollments closer in size to Kaneland’s, so presumably Kaneland could win more games than it has been able to do with Geneva, Batavia and Glenbard South, in its current conference.
“It’s in our best interests for what we have. It’s good that every school’s the same size,” head girls cross country coach Doug Ecker said. “The conference will give good competition and Kaneland kids can all compete.”
Board member Cheryl Krauspe had questions about the cost of the switch.
“Here’s the question that I continue to askâ€”how much is it going to cost? It will cost more to drive to Geneseo than it does to Geneva, and you know transportation is the one area where the state reimbursements are not coming in,” Krauspe said.
Financial implications will be discussed further at the regular board meeting Tuesday, May 26.
Division #1 (new) Ottawa 1,602, LaSalle-Peru 1,280, Streator 1,030, Sterling 1,033, Dixon 969, Geneseo 914
Division #2 (new) DeKalb 1,710, Yorkville 1,295, Sycamore 1,162, Rochelle 1,116, Morris 1,075, Kaneland 1,040
WSC Geneva 1,978, Batavia 1,858, DeKalb 1,710, Glenbard South 1,421, Yorkville 1,295, Sycamore 1,162, Rochelle 1,116, Kaneland 1,040
Travel comparison from Kaneland
Proposed conference (miles) DeKalb 14, Sycamore 16.4, Yorkville 18.6, Rochelle 32.9, Morris 38.8, Ottawa 51.2, Dixon 55, Streator 67.1, Sterling 68.5, LaSalle-Peru 71.4, Geneseo 112
WSC (miles) Geneva 11.3, Batavia 12.2, DeKalb 14, Sycamore 16.4, Yorkville 18.6, Glenbard South 27.5, Rochelle 32.9
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland saw plenty of top finishers as it prepares for the important Freeport Sectional this Friday, May 22.
The 1-2 combo of Taylor Andrews and Logan Markuson finished in the top two spots in the 110 meter hurdles event. Andrews ran in 14.69 seconds while Markuson took second at 14.84.
The two Knights were at it again in the 300m hurdles event, as Markuson won with a 39.41 final effort, with Andrews taking third at 41.03.
â€œTaylor and Logan both feed off each other in the 110’s,â€ Kaneland coach Eric Baron said. â€œThey have used each other as a gauge to see how well each one is running. It will be interesting to see how they run when they both have a good clean race. Taylor has a built-in role model, and Logan has one as well in Taylor. They are both great kids, and coach Robbie Bieritz has done an amazing job with all of our hurdlers.â€
â€œA lot of it is Logan,â€ Andrews said on Saturday morning. â€œIn the hurdles we push each other to succeed and get better.â€
Kanelandâ€™s 4x800m relay foursome of Hayden Johnson, Sean Paulick, Derek Bus and Edgar Valle finished second with a time of 8:19.12.
Nick Sinon became conference champ with a six-foot result in the high jump.
â€œNick had a great week last week, and he handled the presure of being the top ranked high jumper in conference, and that will bode well for the sectional,â€ Baron said.
Markuson took home the WSC crown in the pole vault (13-9), while teammate Josh Bloome was third at 12-9.
On the frosh/soph side of things, Tommy Whittaker continued his road back from injuries with a second place, 53.81 second final effort in the 400m dash.
Whittaker also took part in the f/s 4x400m relay that finished third at 3:52.40. Whittaker, Andrews, Curtis Secrest and Jake Ginther made up the contingent.
The Knightsâ€™ 4×800 relay featuring Trevor Holm, Nick Dunetman, Clayton Brundige and Jake Ginther managed a second in the frosh/soph race by running 8:54.09.
Knight Josh Bloome represents Kaneland pole vaulting on Tuesday. Coach Eric Baronâ€™s crew looks to make a dent in the Freeport Sectional on Friday, May 22. Photo by Ben Draper
Boys track took to the track at West Aurora High School for the Kane County Mee,t now in its 10th decade.
At the end of Friday’s gathering, the Knights went home with 62 points and fifth place. The host Blackhawks won the event with 101.5 points, followed by Geneva (78), Batavia (77.5) and Marmion Academy (74).
Logan Markuson had perhaps the most productive evening in Knights garb. The senior won first in the 300 meter high hurdles at 39.52 seconds. Markuson also earned third in the pole vault with a 14 foot try and managed third in the 110m intermediate hurdles at 15.26 seconds.
The 4x100m relay squad managed a third place with a 43.87 effort.
Nick Sinon goes into the homestretch of the season on a high note with a first-place nod in the high jump (6-8), while Taylor Andrews finished second in the 110m hurdles at 15.26.
Awaiting the boys track troop is the third annual Western Sun Conference meet scheduled for Friday, May 15, at Batavia High School.
In the fall of 2006, Kaneland left the ashes of the Suburban Prairie Conference and joined seven other schools in the brand-new Western Sun Conference.
Now, in the spring of 2009, the Western Sun Conference looks as if its going supernova.
In late-April, Kaneland met with 11 other schools to draw up plans for a new 12-team conference that would kick off in the fall of 2010. The administration will recommend to the Kaneland School Board at the Tuesday, May 26, meeting to exit the eight-team Western Sun Conference.
Joining the exodus of the WSC with Kaneland would be DeKalb, Rochelle, Sycamore and Yorkville.
The proposed unnamed conference would also potentially include old SPC rival Morris, which is slated to join the North Central Illinois Conference in the fall. The new conference would only have Morris as an NCIC school for one year after leaving the Southwest Prairie Conference.
NCIC schools Dixon, Geneseo, LaSalle-Peru, Ottawa, Sterling and Streator, which make up the NCIC’s Reagan Division would round out the rest of the conference.
The shift would lead Western Sun rivals Batavia, Geneva and Glenbard South looking for new conference homes.
In the Western Sun Conference, KHS ranks eighth in enrollment with 1,140. Geneva’s 1,978 was first in the group.
The new conference would have Kaneland sixth out of 12. DeKalb’s 1,710 students would be at the top of the list, while Geneseo’s 914 would be at the rear.
The conference would likely use two six-team divisions, with the WSC schools pairing up with Morris for one of the divisions.
- Have your voice heard -
Kaneland Board of Education
Special Public Workshop
Monday, May 18 â€¢ 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Kaneland High School Library
District personnel will address Kaneland’s history of conference affiliations;
several reasons why a change in conferences is being considered at this time;
and, various aspects of the option being considered.
Questions and comments from the public can be heard.
The board will not consider the recommendation for conference change until Tuesday, May 26
Knights boys track finished an exceptional second place in the 11-team Seegers Track and Field Classic at Sycamore on Friday evening.
The Knightsâ€™ 132-point total was 22 behind Geneva. Host Sycamore (107), Rockford Jefferson (60) and Oswego East (53) rounded out the top five. Western Sun rivals DeKalb and Rochelle tied for sixth at 41.
Kaneland entry Lucas Ross finished second in the 100 meter dash finals with an effort of 11.26 seconds, just behind Keyeon Hopson of Rockford Eastâ€™s 11.17.
In the 110m hurdles finals, Kanelandâ€™s Logan Markuson (14.90) and Taylor Andrews (14.91) finished in the top two places.
Markuson took the 300m hurdles crown with a 40.05 effort, 1.12 seconds over Genevaâ€™s Alex Olenck.
In the 4x800m relay event, the Knights foursome of Derek Bus, Sean Paulick, Hayden Johnson and Edgar Valle finished in 8:14.07, good for second place.
Nick Sinon was crowned high jump champ after clearing the six-foot mark. Markuson was second-best in the pole vault with a 14-foot effort.
On Tuesday, Kaneland traveled to Yorkville to do battle with Sycamore and came away with a win thanks to a 77-point effort. Sycamore ended up with 69 and Yorkville had 33.
Markuson won the 110m hurdles at 15.4 seconds and the 300m hurdles at 40.5 seconds. The pole vault also went his way at 14-0.
The Knightsâ€™ 3200 relay squad, at 8:29, won the event.
Jake Ginther took the 3200m run at 11 minutes, 24 seconds, while Nick Sinon jumped a 6-5 in the high jump and 41-7.5 in triple jump for his two first places.
Meanwhile, the Knightsâ€™ 1600 relay ran 3:38.0 for a first.
Boys track hits the annual Kane County Meet on Friday, May 8 which is hosted by West Aurora.
Photo: Dominic Furco prepares to make an impact during the mile race at a Western Sun Conference gathering at Yorkville High School on Tuesday. Kaneland took first place in a meet also featuring Sycamore. Photo by Linda Bell
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland wasted no time impressing faithful fans at the Peterson Prep on Saturday, and continued the top-notch effort on Tuesday in familiar territory.
The Knights pulled out a close .5 win in the annual Peterson Prep with 83 points, compared to 82.5 for West Aurora.
Geneva (80), Dundee-Crown (73) and Sycamore (45.5) rounded out the top five while Rich Central finished sixth in the 15-team invite (33).
Logan Markuson schooled the field and became 110 meter high hurdles champ with a 14.74 second effort in the finals. Markuson came back in the 300m hurdles with a 40.34 time and took first.
The 4x100m relay foursome of Lucas Ross, Colin Zagel, Brendan McCarthy and Blake Serpa finished third at 45.18.
Those same four entries finished the 4x200m course in 1:35.51, good for second.
On Tuesday, Ross felt that as good as that even is, thereâ€™s more work to be done at this stage of the season.
â€œ4x200m is the one Iâ€™d like to improve on, for sure,â€ Ross said. â€œWeâ€™d like to get our times down for that one. Weâ€™re working on our handoffs and getting the kinks out.â€
Hayden Johnson, Derek Bus, Edgar Valle, Logan Markuson took second in the 4x400m relay at 3:31.02
High jumper Nick Sinonâ€™s 6 feet, four inch effort was a second-place entry, while Markuson (13-0) and Josh Bloome (12-6) cleaned up the pole vault.
On Tuesday, Kaneland traveled to DeKalb to face off against the Barbs and Geneva Vikings, winning the event with 85 points. Geneva (67) and DeKalb (34) brought up the rear.
Kanelandâ€™s roster nabbed nine first places. The honors went to the 4×800 relay (9:04.8), Paul Davies in the 3200m run (10:30.5), Taylor Andrews in the 110m hurdles (15.14), Ross in the 100m dash (11.48), the 4x200m relay (1:35.9), Markuson in the 400m dash (52.79), Andrews in the 300m hurdles (42.14), Sinon in the high jump (5-10), Markuson in the vault (13-6) and the 4x400m relay team (3:34.89).
The Knights try to continue their good fortune with a trip to Sycamoreâ€™s Seegers Invite on Friday, May 1, and go with the Spartans to Yorkville on Tuesday, May 5.
Photo: Hayden Johnson tries to separate himself from the field during Saturdayâ€™s 4x400m relay. The foursome of Johnson, Derek Bus, Edgar Valle and Logan Markuson finished second at Kanelandâ€™s Peterson Prep. Courtesy Photo