by Mike Slodki
Fourth-year head coach Eric Baron is happy where things are at with boys track.
â€œWeâ€™re ahead of where weâ€™ve been since Iâ€™ve been here. We are as deep and as good as weâ€™ve been in awhile,â€ Baron said.
Thatâ€™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.
â€œWe have people fighting for spots, but itâ€™s a pleasant problem and they canâ€™t wait to get out there,â€ 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.
â€œKids get their eyes opened the first time down there, and they get very serious about getting back a second time,â€ 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.
â€œHeâ€™s as fast as Iâ€™ve ever seen him,â€ 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.
â€œWeâ€™ve seen what he could do in cross country and we really need him out there,â€ 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, whoâ€™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 Knightsâ€™ 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.
â€œThis is a group thatâ€™s extremely eager to please and great to be around, and weâ€™d like to see improvement from last year. Thatâ€™ll determine a successful year, rather than trophies,â€™ 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