Category Archives: Boys Track

Knights leap to second place at Ottawa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KHS boys track off to quick outdoor start

by Mike Slodki
Coach Eric Baron’s boys track team is performing about as well as expected.
Luckily for the black-and-white clad Knights, that’s pretty good.

This past Saturday, the Knights traveled to East Moline United Township High School for the United Township Kiwanis Invite and managed a fifth-place finish (149.5 points), with the host school taking the top prize at 292 points.

The Knights also traveled to Batavia High School on a blustery Tuesday to clash with the Bulldogs and fellow Western Sun Conference school Rochelle.

With A, B, and C heats for all the events, Kaneland saw success near the Quad Cities. Matt Reusche took second place in the 1600 meter run “B” with a time of 4 minutes, 44.8 seconds. Logan Markuson was first in the 300m hurdles “A” at 39.9 seconds. Teammate Taylor Andrews was second in the “C” heat with a time of 42.1 seconds.

The 4x100m relay foursome finished third at 44.72 seconds, while the 4x400m relay team also took third at 3:31.6. The field events featured athletes like Nick Sinon finishing second in the high jump “A” with a six-foot jump. Markuson took third in pole vault “A” with a 13-foot vault. Jemmar Parenas finished first in the “C” vault at 10 feet.

On Tuesday, Kaneland finished second behind Batavia with 76.5 points thanks to seven firsts.

“Our kids have come to compete against the best kids in the conference,” Baron said. “I’m really happy with all of them-the first conference meet of the season-and we look good.”

Photo: 2009 Boys track and field team. Courtesy of kaneland.org

KHS track hits Bloomington

At the Illinois Prep Top Times Indoor Classic in Bloomington, Kaneland’s presence was felt in a number of events.

The Knights and Lady Knights participated in the A and AA school grouping on Friday, with Nick Sinon kicking things off with a fifth place finish in the high jump at six feet, one inch in the finals. Lady Knight Jordan Pinkston finished seventh in the pole vault at 9-6.

Logan Markuson’s pole vault of 13-6 was good for fifth, while teammate Josh Bloome went eighth at 13 feet. The 4×800 relay team of Lisa Roberson, Kelly Evers, Kris Bowen and Andie Strang finished fourth with a final effort of 10:10.18.

The 4×800 boys group of Hayden Johnson, Derek Bus, Matt Reusche and Edgar Valle went sixth at 8:20.03. Strang finished 18th in the 1600m run with a time of 5:45.47.

Lucas Ross, Johnson, Valle and Logan Markuson took seventh in the 4x400m relay with a time of 3:35.23.

The first outdoor meets of the season are Tuesday, April 7 for the Lady Knights at Burlington Central and Saturday, April 11 at East Moline United.

Photo: Freshman Kelly Evers runs her leg of the 3200m Relay at the 18th annual Illinois Prep Top Times Indoor Classic, held at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Ill. Friday. Evers and teammates Lisa Roberson, Kris Bowen and Andie Strang placed fourth overall, with a time of 10 minutes, 10.26 seconds. Photo by Ben Draper

Spring Sports Preview: Fully loaded: Kaneland boys track brings the talent

by Mike Slodki
Fourth-year head coach Eric Baron is happy where things are at with boys track.

“We’re ahead of where we’ve been since I’ve been here. We are as deep and as good as we’ve been in awhile,” Baron said.

That’s good news for KHS fans, and uneasy news for their competition.

Drawing comparisons with the Class A juggernaut from 10 years ago that sent personnel like Bill McKeown and P.J. Fleck, the 66-person team is quite deep.

“We have people fighting for spots, but it’s a pleasant problem and they can’t wait to get out there,” Baron said.

A year removed from sending graduated Phil Christensen to State in the shot put and discus, Logan Markuson in the pole vault, Lucas Ross, Colin Zagel, Brendan McCarthy and Tommy Whittaker in the 4×200 relay and Hayden Johnson, Whitaker, Edgar Valle and Markuson in the 4×400 relay, the Knights return all the State-goers but Christensen.

“Kids get their eyes opened the first time down there, and they get very serious about getting back a second time,” Baron.

Armed and ready for a repeat trip to State are runners like Ross, who looks to make his mark in the 100m dash, 200m dash and relays.

“He’s as fast as I’ve ever seen him,” Baron said.

Hayden Johnson is ready for the 400 and 800 runs and provides great leadership, according to Baron.

Matt Weaver will try to separate himself in the hurdles, and both the 400 and 800.

“We’ve seen what he could do in cross country and we really need him out there,” Baron said.

The distance end of things reveals Paul Davies, who saw a personal best in the two-mile indoor race this season. McCarthy, Brett Ketza, Alex Mollohan and Eric Dratnol also see action at various events.

Matt Reusche can make an impact in the distance and the relays after qualifying for State in cross country.

Nick Sinon, who saw a productive indoor season that included a first-place finish at the WSC indoor meet, looks to do damage in the high jump, and Dominic Furco is set up for distance.

Sinon could also be an entry in the triple jump, while Sean Paulick will try the long jump.

Other ingredients to the mix are Taylor Andrews in the triple jump and Johnson in the long jump.

Newcomers to the track program are Blake Serpa, who’ll try his craft at sprints and relays, and Jimmy Boyle in the throwing events.

The hurdles look to have Markuson, Andrews and Weaver helping the Knights’ cause.

Trying to fill the shoes of Christensen and remaining healthy will be tantamount to the KHS success, but Baron feels that this crew can turn the local competition on its ear.

“This is a group that’s extremely eager to please and great to be around, and we’d like to see improvement from last year. That’ll determine a successful year, rather than trophies,’ Baron said.

The outdoor season begins on Tuesday, April 14, as Kaneland and Rochelle go to Batavia. The famed Peterson Prep kicks off on Saturday, April 25. The Kane County Meet takes place on Friday, May 8, and the WSC meet happens on Friday, May 15, at Batavia.

Photo: Alex Mollohan, seen throwing at the WSC indoor meet last week at Sycamore, looks to be one of the field contributors for a successful 2009 in Kaneland boys track. Photo by Ben Draper

Drendel gets due; KHS mainstay inducted into coaches’ hall of fame

by Mike Slodki

When asked to reflect on the recent honor bestowed upon him, former Kaneland track coach Ralph Drendel simply said, “I’ve got a lot of Kaneland in my system.”

It might be that all-encompassing take on his career that inducted Drendel into the Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame on Jan. 10 in a ceremony at Oak-Park River Forest High School.

Drendel was accompanied to the ceremony by coaches Eric Baron, Joe Thorgesen, Matt Smith, Barney Callaghan, Randy Olesen, Robby Bieritz and Chad Clarey, along with the rest of the Drendel family.

“I’ve never had a more passionate coach,” Clarey said. “He stressed working hard and putting on the best home meets possible.”

A KHS teacher from 1978-2005, Drendel coached track and field athletes to over 60 State medals and two State trophies (90-99), and was coach of the year on three occasions (90-91-99).

Fellow former Kaneland coach Bruce Peterson is also a member of the Hall of Fame. Current Kaneland assistant coach Randy Olesen was also honored with the Dave Pasquinini Award for Assistant Coach of the Year. Current boys track coach Eric Baron was given the award in 2001 for cross country.

Other honorees at the hall-of-fame gathering were OPRF coach Glenn Cothern, Springfield Lanphier’s Mike Garcia, John Lemke of Rolling Meadows, Barrington’s Debbie Revolta, OPRF coach Josa Sosa and Champaign Central’s Dike Stirrett.

Drendel, who’s resume includes being the point man for home track invites and doing P.A. for athletic events, was humbled by his peers joining him in the hall, and about those who already reside there.

“You sit there and watch all these great coaches and these guys are really good. You can’t believe you get to join them,” Drendel said. “I just wanted to do a good job at being in charge of the events.”

Drendel joins the the elite brethen, but not without remembering what it took to get there, and with whom.

“Eddington, Bob Pederson, Bruce Peterson, Joe Thorgesen, these are pretty important people in my life. I learned from guys like them,” Drendel said.

Upon learning of the honor, Clarey asked Drendel to be at KHS to give a talk to the cross-country team before the WSC meet, where Peterson and Drendel’s family joined in announcing the honor.

“It was after practice, and I was so excited and proud that they would choose my dad,” said current sophomore volleyball coach Kelsey Drendel, Ralph’s daughter. “I most want to emulate his ability to motivate his athletes to always give their best effort and to reach for something higher than they could even imagine.

The hall-of-fame member of the Drendel clan summed up his continuing Kaneland story.

“I went to Kaneland, my kids went here and it’s a good place to have your kids grow up. At the end of the day you did this for the kids and tried to do the best you could.”