PEORIA, ILL.—Kaneland junior Brianna Bower on Saturday stood on the 100 yard long starting line for the start of the IHSA Girls 2A State Cross Country Championships. Looking out toward the wooded hills at the south end of Detweiller Park in Peoria, Ill., was a familiar sight for her, as was seeing the entire circumference of the historic 3-mile course ring lined shoulder-to-shoulder with more than 30,000 spectators.
To Bower’s left and right were 175 runners representing 25 advancing teams, and another 35 individual runners who, like her, had punched their tickets to Peoria by being one of the top-seven individual finishers from a non-advancing team at their Sectional.
This was Bower’s third trip to the big dance, where she had placed 32nd as a freshman and 37th last fall as a sophomore, on Lady Knights teams that placed sixth and fifth, respectively. What wasn’t familiar was being in the starting box without her teammates. The previous weekend, Kaneland had fallen one spot short of the fifth and final team qualifying place for the State meet at their Sectional championship, despite running their best race of the season and beating five ranked teams.
So for the first time in her cross country career, Bower was running solo in her silver and black Kaneland Knights checkerboard jersey.
Her focus was on placing in the top 25—a feat that would earn her All-State honors.
The weather earlier in the week in Peoria had been dry, so the footing was firm at this historically fast course. But the conditions were frigid with temperatures in the mid-40s and gusty winds, resulting in a wind chill near 30 degrees.
Bower has a condition known as “exercise-induced asthma” (or E.I.A.), which is a constriction of the airways in the lungs during exercise. It causes shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing during strenuous exercise. E.I.A. is not uncommon among endurance athletes, and it is often triggered or accentuated by cold temperatures. For Bower, it’s like trying to run 3 miles with a belt cinched tightly around her throat. There are inhalers she can, and does, use to ease her condition.
“Brianna got out well and was placed in the top 20 at the halfway mark, then slowed and gradually fell back more than 50 places. I knew right away she was having asthma issues,” head coach Doug Ecker said.
Despite her breathing issues, Bower on the final 600 yard uphill finishing straightaway moved up more than 10 places to finish 57th in the field of 210 of the state’s best 2A runners with a time of 18 minutes, 34 seconds. Bower ran 18:33 last year and 18:09 in 2012. File Photo
Junior Brianna Bower qualifies for State as an individual
KANELAND—The Knights’ boys and girls cross country teams were hoping for a little home course advantage at the IHSA Class 2A Sectional meet at Kaneland High School on Saturday.
To have a chance to advance to the State championships in Peoria this weekend, the Knights knew they needed to have better performances than they produced at the qualifying meet the previous weekend at the Woodstock regional, where the boys placed fifth and the girls placed fourth in the 10-team fields.
As it turned out, both teams produced their best performances of the season, but both came up just shy of a State berth.
The 18-team Kaneland sectional—one of five held state-wide on Saturday—featured the top-six placing teams from the Antioch, Belvidere North and Woodstock regional meets, plus the top-five placing individuals from teams that did not advance at those meets. It was considered the toughest 2A Sectional meet in Illinois, with 10 of the top-25 ranked girls’ teams on the starting line, including seven of the top-eight ranked teams led by No. 1 Yorkville.
In the boys’ race, five of the top 10 2A teams in the state were in the field, again led by No. 1 Yorkville. At each sectional, only the top-5 placing teams would punch their tickets to Peoria, plus the top-seven individual finishers from non-advancing teams.
At the Kaneland Sectional, it was cloudy and a brisk 37 degrees for the 10 a.m. girls’ race, but the snow and blustery winds from the previous day had disappeared. At the gun, Marengo senior Kitty Allen shot to the front, with only Belvidere North sophomore Jenna Lutzow willing to go with her. Mid-way through the 3-mile race, the duo opened a 100-yard lead on the rest of the field, with Kaneland junior Brianna Bower in the chase pack of 10 runners. In the last half of the race, Bower was in the top-15 and Kaneland senior Victoria Clinton had moved up into the top 30, with teammates Andrea Wells and senior Aislinn Lodwig in tow.
With 100 yards to go, Lutzow passed Allen to win the race in 17 minutes, 33 seconds, and Yorkville packed five runners into the top 22 places to win team honors with a 72-point total. Bower charged home in 12th place in 18:11, with teammates Victoria Clinton, Andrea Wells and Aislinn Lodwig all running under 19:00 in 27th, 35th and 39th place, respectively.
Kaneland’s No. 5 finisher, senior Jessica Kucera, ended up in 70th place in 19:30. Kucera gave the Lady Knights a team score of 171 and a sixth-place finish, ahead of ranked teams like Rockford Boylan, Marengo, Lakes and Woodstock.
Though the Kaneland girls missed advancing to the State championships by one place, Brianna Bower advanced as one of the top seven individual finishers from non-advancing teams.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our team,” head coach Doug Ecker said after the race. “I don’t think any of our seven runners could have finished one place higher today. They left it all on the course and finished our season with a great performance.”
“All I wanted to do today was run a P.R. (personal record),” Bower said. “So I went out fast and pushed hard all the way.”
Bower’s quest for a fast time led her to running an aggressive race, which resulted in her earning her third-consecutive appearance in the State Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Nov. 8, in Peoria, Ill. That, despite suffering a stress fracture in her foot last summer that saw her start the season under-trained and in the back of the pack.
In the boys’ race, things were much the same as for the girls, yet very different for Kaneland. The boys team was closer to a qualifying berth than the girls—missing by only eight points behind Prairie Ridge’s 162.
Prior to the race, head coach Chad Clarey knew an aggressive race was the only way his Knights would emerge from the tough Sectional field.
“Our goal today is to have Austin Kintz and Matt Richtman place in the top 15 individually and make a run at qualifying for the state meet—and for the rest of our team to run faster and closer together than we have all season,” Clarey said prior to the start. “That would be a daunting task with ten of the top-20-ranked 2A teams in the state standing next to them on the starting line, including 19 runners who had qualified for the state track championships last spring.”
At the start, Yorkville’s senior twins Jake and Luke Hoffert sprinted to the front of the race, and stayed there for the next 3 miles. Vernon Hills sophomore Shane Williamson was the only one who took up the chase, which proceeded at sub-15:00 pace. He ran most of the race 50 yards behind the Hofferts and 100 yards ahead of the rest of the chase pack.
A half-mile into the race, Kaneland’s Kintz, Richtman and senior Brandon Park were running in the mid-20s in the field of 147 runners. Over the last mile, Kintz and Richtman kept working their way past tiring early front-runners. Park defended his place in the 20s, and senior Mitch Reger broke away from teammates junior Sean Spaetzel, sophomore Andrew Kantola and junior Will Kuipers.
At the finish, Jake Hoffert crossed the line in 14:49, 1 second ahead of his brother Luke, and Yorkville added places 9, 27 and 28 to win the team title with 67 points. Behind them, a dogfight was being waged for the final four team qualifying spots for the State meet, with runners diving for the finish line and collapsing on the ground due to exhaustion.
In the end, Austin Kintz placed 16th in 15:33, and Matt Richtman placed 17th in 15:39—finishes that left them just two and three places short, respectively, of the final individual State qualifying spot. Park and Reger ran 3-mile lifetime bests of 15:48 and 16:28. And Spaetzel’s 69th-place finish gave Kaneland a team score of 170 points and sixth place—just eight points behind the fifth and final qualifying place for the State Championships.
The Knights’ efforts saw the team finish ahead of five ranked teams. Burlington Central senior Clay Musial qualified as the seventh individual finisher from non-advancing teams.
“This race was the start of something big for these guys,” Clarey said after the race. “It gives us momentum and confidence heading into the track season, and it sets the stage for us to end the cross country season next fall standing on the starting line at the state meet.”
In her third year qualifying for the IHSA State Meet, Bower will toe the line Saturday at 11 a.m. at Detweiller Park in Peoria. As a freshman, Bower placed 32nd with a time of 18:09, and ran 18:33 for 37th place last season. Bower represents the final fall-sport athlete still competing for Kaneland.
Photo: Freshman Andrea Wells and junior Brianna Bower work their way through a challenging Woodstock course at Saturday’s Regional. The Lady Knights qualified as a team to the sectional Saturday, which is hosted by Kaneland High School. Photo submitted by Patti Wilk to email@example.com
WOODSTOCK, ILL.—Saturday’s Woodstock Regional provided many challenges for the Lady Knight roster.
As it turns out, Kaneland excelled enough to make it to the Sectional in their backyard, by virtue of a fourth-place, 107-point output.
Ahead of host Woodstock by 16 points and Hampshire by 53, Kaneland was behind Yorkville’s exemplary 28-point score, Crystal Lake Central’s 68 and Vernon Hills’ 88.
Prairie Ridge, at 172, was 12 points short of qualifying for the Sectional.
Yorkville junior Skyler Bollinger led the entire field with a mark of 18:42. Tops for Kaneland was junior Brianna Bower with a 20:01 time for 15th place. Andrea Wells, in her first regional, was second on the team with a 20:03, good for 16th place. Not far behind in 19th was Aislinn Lodwig at 20:10. Lady Knight and former State champ Victoria Clinton was in 20th place with a 20:12 effort.
Fifth, sixth and seventh for the KHS crew were 37th place Jessica Kucera (21:32), 44th place Sarah Daley (22:03) and 51st place Grace Dodis (22:40).
“It was the best team race of the season for the girls so far,” head coach Doug Ecker said. “The top four of Brianna, Andrea, Aislinn and Victoria all ran strong races on the toughest course they have run on all year and the toughest 2A Regional in the state.”
Saturday, Nov. 1, will see the Kaneland Sectional at the high school grounds, with select teams from the Antioch and Belvidere Regionals, as well. A year ago, Kaneland finished fifth and qualified for State in Peoria, Ill., on the strength of an 18:31 effort from Clinton.
“(The Regional meet) gives us good momentum going into the Sectional,” Ecker said.
Oct. 16 vs. Morris—The freshman A team improved to 12-4, 7-0 in conference play with a 25-15, 25-20 win over Morris. The B team also won against Morris 25-22, 17-25, 25-21.
Oct. 16 vs. Morris—The Lady Knights won 25-15, 25-13 over Morris.
Oct. 17 @ La Salle-Peru—The Knights won 7-6 Friday.
Girls Fr/So Cross Country
Oct. 18 @ NIB-12 Meet—The Lady Knights were runners-up to Yorkville at the NIB-12 Conference meet held at Rochelle Twp. High School
8 Grace Dodis, 21:24.3; 11 Katie Huber, 22:14.6; 20. Sandra Gale, 24:03.6; 24. Marissa Dries, 24:49.9.
Girls JV Cross Country
Oct. 18 @ NIB-12 Meet—Kaneland was second at the NIB-12 Conference meet, held at Rochelle Twp. High School.
10 Grace Drake, 22:14; 16 Sam Sommerville, 23:15; 17 Murphy Garcia, 23:53; 20 Lilah Klingensmith, 24:06; 22 Haley Penkala, 24:17.
Boys Fr/So Cross Country
Oct. 18 @ NIB-12 Meet—The Knights scored just 35 points, but lost to Yorkville by six in the six-team race. Third place was Sycamore with 80 points.
1 Matthew Richtman, 16:35; 2 Andrew Kantola, 16:50; 8 Sam Webster, 17:56; 9 Henry Nosek, 18:00; 12 Anthony Messina, 18:09; 25 Kyle Wells, 19:03; 26 David Wojak, 19:06.
Boys JV Cross Country
Oct. 18 @ NIB-12 Meet—The Knights were second at the JV open race at Saturdays conference meet.
5 Aaron French, 18:00; 6 Zach Kurz, 18:07; 8 Jared Murri, 18:22; 10 Alex Gale, 18:31; 13 Peyton Heiser, 18:43; 15 Ben Smith, 18:51; 26 Cristian Girolamo, 19:32; 29 Nick Moses, 19:45; 30 Jack O’Sullivan, 19:48; 31 Tyler Nance, 19:49; 33 Josh Kasap, 20:00; 39 Austin Parks, 20:15; 48 Grant Gingrich, 21:26; 53 Ian Piazza, 21:44; 54 Jacob Wolfe, 21:49; 62 Kyle Osborne, 23:43; 65 Cole Rutter, 26:40/
Oct. 18, 2014—Playoffs, Round 1
Kaneland Silver 0
@ Kaneland White 27
Kaneland White 0
@ Burlington Blue 24
DeKalb Black 8
@ Kaneland Black 0
Kaneland Black 0
@ DeKalb Black 24
Kaneland Black 14
@ DeKalb Black 39
Kaneland White 6
@ DeKalb Orange 26
ROCHELLE, ILL.—When you are ahead of all other conference outfits with the exception of Yorkville, it’s been a pretty good Northern Illinois Big XII race.
On Saturday in Rochelle, the Kaneland girls cross country squad put shoes to grass in the annual conference gathering in West division territory, and came away with a 78 score and second place overall.
Yorkville, with 18, was a runaway winner, and Sterling (91), LaSalle-Peru (94) and Geneseo (111) cemented the top five slots. Morris (172), DeKaln (199), Ottawa (208) and Sycamore (214) rounded out the top nine point-garnering outfits.
Yorkville’s Skyler Bollinger (18:04), Erin Reynolds (18:34) and Lauren Daffenburg (18:37) were a triple threat at the front of the line. Lady Knight junior Brianna Bower’s 19:03 was good enough for top team finisher and ninth place overall. Hard-charging freshman Andrea Wells joined Bower in the All Conference category with a 19:12 and 11th place.
Other noteworthy Kaneland finishers were senior Aislinn Lodwig in 14th at 19:12, senior Victoria Clinton in 18th at 19:29, and sophomore Sarah Daley in 25th at 20:42. Both Lodwig and Clinton earned All Conference honors.
Rounding out the top seven were junior Carly Bartholomew (39th, 21:50) and senior Jessica Kucera (40th, 21:52).
A year ago, Yorkville’s 52 bested Kaneland’s 66 total for first place out at Morris, with Clinton earning the top KHS spot in fifth at 17:56.
On Saturday, Oct. 25, at Emricson Park in Woodstock, the Lady Knights join Burlington Central, Crystal Lake Central, Prairie Ridge, Hampshire, Sycamore, Vernon Hills, Wauconda, Woodstock and Yorkville for the Class 2A Woodstock Regional. Teams and individuals would then trek to the Kaneland Sectional on Saturday, Nov. 1, with the best from Antioch’s and Belvidere’s Regionals.
STERLING, ILL.—A loaded field helped propel the Lady Knights to several personal bests at Saturday’s Sterling Invitational.
Even with coach Doug Ecker running some of his top individuals at the freshman/sophomore level, KHS still managed a 14th-place team showing with 359 points, 23 points behind conference-mate Dixon. Schaumburg won with 55 points, followed by Minooka’s 67. Minooka’s Ashley Tutt, Mackenzie Callahan and Emily Shelton went 1-2-3 individually.
For Kaneland, Briana Bower paced the team with an 18th place in 18 minutes, 52 seconds. Bower, who is still working her way back from a stress fracture, was 12th in 2013 in 18:39.
Senior Victoria Clinton was next for Kaneland in 36th place with a time of 19:36. Jessica Kucera was behind her in 66th place, running the 3-mile course in 20:09.
“Kucera continues her steady season with a time of 20:07,” Ecker said. “(That’s) a PR for her.”
Also in the mix for the varsity group was Carly Bartholomew (110th, 21:34), Grace Drake (135th, 22:47), Lilah Klingensmith (143rd, 23:34) and Murphy Garcia (144th, 23:46).
Freshman Andrea Wells paced the frosh/soph squad with a runner-up finish, while Sarah Daley was 12th in the younger race.
The Lady Knights’ next challenge with be the Northern Illinois Big 12 conference meet, held at Rochelle high school. The varsity girls run at 10 a.m., and are followed by the frosh/soph girls at 11:15 p.m. and the JV open at 12:30 p.m.
Don’t see your results in the Elburn Herald? Have your coach email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax them to (630) 365-2251.
Girls JV Tennis
Oct. 8 @ Oswego East—The Lady Knights lost 4-3 at Oswego East. Abby Purnell (8-3) and Ava Mandele (8-5) won at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, and Mary Collum and Marley Schultz won 8-0 at No. 1 doubles.
Boys JV Cross Country
Oct. 8 @ Byron Invite—The Knights put up a perfect score of 15 to win the open race at Byron. The course was 2.87 miles.
1 A. Gale, 18:03; 2 D. Wojak, 18:29; 3 K. Wells, 18:31; 4 C. Girolamo, 18:34; 5 P. Heiser, 18:36; 6 T. Nance, 19:04; 7 G. Wilk, 19:25; 8 J. O’Sullivan, 19:38; 10 J. Kasap, 20:00; 12 K. Osborne, 21:07; 15 I. Piazza, 22:25; 16 J. Wolfe 22:26; 18 G. Gingrich, 22:49; 21 C. Rutter, 28:35
Boys Sophomore Soccer
Oct. 9 vs. Morris—The Knights won 5-0 over Morris. Brian Bartholomew had two goals and an assist, while Jose Chavez had a goal and assist. Diego Ruiz and Brandon Luebke also had goals, and Robbie Nachreiner had two assists for KHS.
Oct. 11 vs. Plainfield East—The Knights were down 2-1 to PE with 10 minutes to go in the second half when the Plainfield East coach was given a red card, and the game was left as “undecided.” Christian Medrano scored an unassisted goal for the Knights who are 10-1-2 on the season, 8-0-1 in NIB-12 play.
Girls Sophomore Volleyball
Oct. 9 vs. DeKalb—The Lady Knights won 25-13, 23-25, 25-14.
Oct. 14 vs. Sycamore—Kaneland won 25-21, 25-13.
Girls Freshman Volleyball
Oct. 9 vs, DeKalb—The freshman A squad won 25-19, 14-25, 25-16. The B team tied 19-25, 25-20, 21-21.
Oct. 14 vs. Sycamore—The A team won 26-24, 23-25, 25-12, while the B team fell 21-25, 19-25.
Girls JV Cross Country
Oct. 11 @ Sterling Invite—The Lady Knights placed 9th out of 22 teams Saturday. Andrea Wells led the team with a runner-up finish, while Sarah Daley was 12th. There were no team scores kept in the JV open race.
Fr/So results: 2 A. Wells, 19:45; 12 S. Daley, 20:42; 39 G. Dodis, 21:24; 76 K. Huber, 23:04; 99 M. Dries, 24:47; 100 M. Burger, 24:49.
JV Open results: 132 S. Sommerville, 24:17; 155 H. Penkala, 24:53.
Oct. 11 @ IESA Sectional—In one of the toughest sectionals int he state, the Kaneland Harter Middle School cross country team saw its girls team qualify for the IESA State Meet by placing third behind Batavia Rotolo and Yorkville. The girls were paced by Rachel Richtman’s 3rd place in 12:03 over two miles. Lesley Viveros placed 10th in 12:28. Both were all-sectional selections. Also running for KHMS were Cassidy Motyka (15th, 12:37), Grace Purcell (19th 12:45), Tessa Brennan (21st 12:48), Erin Ball (22nd 12:51), and Emma Ball (28th 13:11). The boys squad placed fifth as a team, but saw two boys qualify as individuals. Seventh grader Zach Long took 3rd place in 10:59, while Dan Occhipinti placed ninth in 11:14—a personal record by 50 seconds. The state meet takes place at Maxwell Park in Normal, Ill. The girls team will run at 12:30 p.m., followed by the boys at 1:15 p.m.
Eighth Grade Volleyball
Season recap—The 8th grade girls volleyball team of Kaneland Harter Middle School, coached by Jackie Self, had a successful season in the new Fox River Prairie Conference. This new conference includes St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia, and Yorkville. The A team was 8-3 overall in the regular season, and beat Geneva South, Yorkville, and St. Charles Thompson in the Conference tournament to claim the title of conference champions. The B team was 10-1 overall and claimed the title of defending champs at the Yorkville B tournament. This talented group of girls worked together incredibly well and have many great years ahead in the high school volleyball program.
Seventh Grade Volleyball
Season recap—The Kaneland Harter Middle School 7th grade volleyball A team, coached by Kevin Hagan, was 7-4 overall in the regular season and took 2nd at the conference tournament. The B team ended 4-7 and took third at the Yorkville B tournament.
Oct. 11, 2014:
Kaneland White 31
@ Yorkville Red 6
Kaneland Orange 9
@ Kaneland Black 0
Yorkville Black 26
@ Kaneland Silver 30
Yorkville Black 0
@ Kaneland Black 21
Kaneland White 27
@ Yorkville Red 7
Kaneland Black 0
@ DeKalb Black 20
Kaneland White 13
@ Yorkville Red 27
Kaneland Black 11
@ DeKalb Orange 8 (OT)
Yorkville Red 6
@ Kaneland White 20
Oct. 11, 2014:
DeKalb Orange 25
@ Kaneland White 6
Kaneland Orange 19
@ Burlington Blue 0
Kaneland Black 0
@ Yorkville Black 18
Kaneland Silver 19
@ Burlington White 0
Kaneland Black 31
@ Yorkville Red 0
Kaneland White 8
@ Burlington Blue 13
Kaneland Black 14
@ Yorkville Red 0
Kaneland White 6
@ Burlington Blue 27
DeKalb Black 38
@ Kaneland Black 8
Kaneland White 33
@ Yorkville White 6
The following teams have
qualified for the playoffs:
8U White, 8U Silver, 9U Black, 9U White, 10U Black, 11U Black and 11U White.
Photo: Sophomore Grace Dodis accepts Kaneland’s second-place trophy at Saturday’s Pretzel Invite. Photo submitted by Patti Wilk to email@example.com
FREEPORT, ILL.—For the best girls cross country talent the northern half of the state has to offer on an October Saturday, one need not look farther than the Pretzel Invite.
On Saturday, Kaneland girls cross country took second place with 53 points, meaning the talent is doing nicely after the season’s health and lineup concerns. More local outfit Boylan Catholic of Rockford, Ill., nabbed first with 34 points.
Dixon (59), Freeport (102) and Winnebago (122) filled out the top half of the afternoon in the 10-team invite.
Three top-10 finishers donning Lady Knight garb were Victoria Clinton in fourth with an 18:53, fifth-place Andrea Wells in 18:60 and Brianna Bower with a 19:28, good for seventh.
Senior cornerstone Jessica Kucera paced to a 14th-place finish at 20:06, and Grace Dodis took 23rd at 20:53.
Other KHS varsity runners included Sarah Daley (30th, 21:12) and Carly Bartholomew (39th, 21:53).
The Boylan trio of Delaney Appino (18:01), Erica Lowry (18:40) and Grace McLaughlin (18:44) took the top three spots.
KHS coach Doug Ecker is a fan of the Freeport setup.
“It is nice to run against some different teams and see Boylan before the sectional. We like it because it is a smaller meet and it gives the JV girls a chance to run in a meet where they can be successful. All meets are important in preparing for the end of the season, but we value the entire season as important. We do not just point to the state series as the only thing that determines a successful season,” Ecker said.
Wednesday had the Byron Handicap come the Lady Knights’ way, and Saturday, Oct. 11, has the 65th annual Sterling Invite in Northern Illinois Big XII West territory.
Boys Freshman Soccer
Oct. 1 @ Burlington Central—The Knights won 1-0. Michael Minoque had 16 saves, and Javier Correa had the goal on a Devin Pieczynski assist.
Oct. 6 @ DeKalb—Pieczynski’s goal and Minoque’s five saves helped the Knights to a 1-1 tie on the road against the Barbs.
Girls JV Tennis
Oct. 1 @ Yorkville—The JV tennis team fell 4-1 against the Lady Foxes. The Lady Knights are 3-1 in conference play.
Boys Sophomore Soccer
Oct. 1 vs. Hinckley-Big Rock—The Knights won 2-0. Diego Ruiz (Brian Bartholomew assist) and Tim Wachter (Brandon Luebke) each had goals.
Oct. 7 vs. Sycamore—The Knights rolled 6-2 over the Spartans. John McCaffrey had three goals and an assist, while Bartholomew also had two goals. Ruiz had a goal and an assist, while Robbie Nachreiner and Christian Medrano each had assists. The Knights are 9-1-2 overall, and 6-0-1 in conference play.
Oct. 2 vs. Sterling—The A team won 25-21, 25-19, while the B team also won 25-12, 25-8.
Oct. 7 vs. Ottawa—The A team lost 15-25, 25-19, 19-25, while the B team lost 25-23, 20-25, 11-15. The A team is 9-4, 5-1 in conference play, while the B team is 2-9, 1-5.
Oct. 2 vs. Sterling—The Lady Knights won 25-21, 25-19.
Oct. 7 vs. Ottawa—KHS won 25-19, 25-15.
Oct. 3 @ Sycamore—The Knights won 20-0 over the Spartans.
Girls JV Cross Country
Oct. 4 @ Freeport Invitational—The Lady Knights won the eight-team meet with 40 points. Boylan was a close second with 46.
3 O. Galor, 21:09; 6. K. Huber, 21:55; 8 G. Drake, 22:12; 9 L. Klingensmith, 22:13; 15 S. Sommerville, 23:27; 18 M. Garcia, 23:38; 26. M. Dries, 24:26; 29 H. Penkala, 24:30.
Boys Fr/So Cross Country
Oct. 4 @ Freeport Invitational—The Knights won the seven-team meet with 37 points, far ahead of runner-up Rockford East’s 66.
2 A. Kantola, 16:50; 3 A. Messina, 17:13; 5 S. Webster, 17:18; 13 H. Nosek, 18:17; 24 P. Heiser, 19:05; 25 D. Wojak, 19:08; 27 T. Nance, 19:14; 29. K. Wells, 19:17; 32. C. Girolamo, 19:29; 35. G. Wilk, 19:34; 38 J. O’Sullivan, 19:50; 80 C. Rutter, 25:22.
KHS ends September on strong note
STERLING, Ill.—Patience is key when it comes to long distance running.
For a season that begins in mid-August, runners usually don’t start to see the fruits of their labor until the cooler October weather hits.
But the Lady Knights cross country team decided to begin their upward trajectory a week early, putting together their best team effort of the season Sept. 27 at Sterling High School’s Rock Rive Run Invitational.
KHS placed third in the 17-team meet with 122 points, just one ahead of Hononegah. Geneva, fresh off their win at last week’s Eddington Invitational at Kaneland, took the team championship with 37 points over Belvidere North’s 44. Belvidere North was the runner-up at the Eddington Invite.
Kaneland also placed third at the 2013 edition of the Rock River Run with 134 points.
The Lady Knights, currently ranked No. 16 in DyestatIL.com’s most recent poll, were paced by Brianna Bower’s 19 minute, 32.2 second effort, which was good enough for 14th place out of the 173 runners in the race. Freshman Andrea Wells (20th, 19:47.2) was next for Kaneland, followed by Aislinn Lodwig (23rd, 19:52), Victoria Clinton (27th, 20:05) and Jessica Kucera (39th, 20:50.5). Kaneland’s scoring pack split of 1:18.3 was far better than last week’s 2:30 split.
Head coach Doug Ecker was pleased with the overall improvement week-to-week by the girls squad.
“It was a nice race for Brianna Bower with only two weeks of running after missing seven weeks with a stress fracture,” Ecker said. “Another solid race from freshman Andrea Wells and senior Jessica Kucera.”
Also running for KHS in the varsity race were Sarah Daley (48th, 21:10.9), Carly Bartholomew (79th, 22:19.2), Olivia Galor (82nd, 22:28.4), Grace Drake (86th, 22:50.0), Lilah Klingensmith (99th, 23:23.2), Samantha Sommerville (114th, 24:05.4), Murphy Garcia (120th, 24:25) and Haley Penkala (150th, 26:26.2).
Kaneland travels to Freeport, Ill., on Saturday for the annual Pretzel Invitational, starting at 9:30 a.m. on the campus Highland Community College.
Sept. 26 @ DeKalb—The Knights defeated the Barbs 25-6. No individual stats were provided.
Boys JV Cross Country
Sept. 27 @ Aurora Central Catholic—The boys freshman/sophomore team placed sixth at the Charger Classic in Aurora. Kaneland also had runners compete in the open race, but no team score was kept. Fr/So results: 8: A. Kantola, 16:55; 23: A. Messina, 17:32.4; 28: S. Webster, 17:48.4; 33: H. Nosek, 18:05.6; 58: C. Girolamo, 18:53.7; 69: D. Wojak, 19:14.7; 77: K. Wells, 19:31.7. Open results: 63: P. Heiser, 19:20.7; 97: G. Wilk, 20:11.6; 127: J. O’Sullivan, 21:20.1; 139: Josh Kasap, 22:21.6; 140: G. Gingrich, 22:21.6; 155: J. Wolfe, 23:14.3; 159: K. Osborne, 23:29.1; 180: I. Piazza, 26:42.9; 185: C. Rutter, 29:07.5.
Girls Fr/So Cross Country
Sept. 27 @ Sterling—With only four runners, the Lady Knights didn’t factor into the scoring at Saturday’s Rock River Run in Sterling, Ill. Results: 6: G. Dodis, 21:20.7; 26; K. Huber, 23:14.9; 61: M. Dries, 26:42.6; M. Burger, 28:38.
Boys Freshman Soccer
Sept. 24 vs. Burlington Central—The Rockets shut out the Knights 4-0. Michael Minogue had five saves.
Boys Sophomore Soccer
Sept. 20 vs. Mendota—Kaneland won 3-2 over Mendota. Peter Castillo had two goals, and Brian Kemp had one. Assists came from Jon Turyna, Diego Ruiz and Brian Bartholomew.
Sept. 20 vs. Genoa-Kingston—The Knights won in overtime on penalty kicks. The score was tied 1-1. Jose Chavez scored on a Christian Medrano assist. KHS converted all five penalty kicks.
Sept. 23 vs. Yorkville—Kaneland defeated the Foxes 1-0 on a Chavez goal (Ruiz assist).
Sept. 25 vs. Sterling—The Knights and Warriors tied at 2. Brandon Luebke (Ruiz assist) and Bartholomew (John McCaffrey assist) had the Kaneland goals.
Sept. 30 vs. Ottawa—The Knights defeated Ottawa 4-0. Ruiz (Medrano assist) and Bartholomew (McCaffrey assist) each had a goal, while Medrano (one unassisted and a Chavez assist) scored twice. The Knights are 6-1-2, 4-0-1 in conference play.
Girls JV Tennis
Sept. 25 vs. Ottawa—The Lady Pirates defeated KHS 4-1. The No. 1 doubles tandem of Lauren Karolewicz and Marley Schultz was the lone Kaneland winner, defeating their Ottawa oppenents 10-5.
Sept. 25 vs. Aurora Christian—Kaneland defeated Aurora Christian 25-12, 25-19. No individual stats were provided.
Sept. 30 vs. Yorkville—The KHS freshman A team defeated Yorkville 25-12, 25-19 to move to 4-0 in conference play. The freshman B team lost 25-23, 25-16 to fall to 0-4 in conference play.
Sept. 25 vs. Aurora Christian—The Lady Knights defeated Aurora Christian 25-12, 25-12. No individual stats were provided.
Sept. 30 vs. Yorkville—Yorkville narrowly defeated the Lady Knights 25-16, 18-25, 25-23. Kaneland is now 2-2 in conference play.
WCC Womens Soccer
Sept. 24 @ Oakton CC—Waubonsee defeated Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, Ill., 2-1 in overtime. Andrea Garcia and Haley Kilbride had the WCC goals, while Kelli Cardine and Elizabeth Goll had the assists. Lisa Gaffino had four saves. WCC had 35 shots on goal, and is 7-2 on the season.
WCC Mens Soccer
Sept. 23 @ McHenry—Waubonsee tied McHenry 1-1. Akim Suraji had a goal from a Ramon Eurioles assist in the second half.
Sept. 28 @ Augustana—WCC earned a win over Augustana 3-2 in Rock Island, Ill. David Renoso (Juan Ponce assist) and David Sanchez both scored in the first half for WCC, while Suraji (Alex Del Toro assist) put in the game-winner in the second half. WCC’s men’s soccer is now 5-3-1 on the season.
Boys Fr/So Golf
Sept. 25 @ WWS—Wheaton-Warrenville South defeated the Knights 162-186. Dan Franck led KHS with a 45, and was followed closely by Joey Brandonisio’s 46. Jake Hummel (47), Jacob Milton (48), Michael Petrick (53) Brock Williams (53), Jake Romas (54) and Rhett Espe (55) also competed for the Knights.
Sept. 27, 2014
Yorkville Black 6
@ Kaneland White 33
Burlington White 12
@ Kaneland Black 6 (OT)
DeKalb Orange 25
@ Kaneland Silver 0
DeKalb Black 0
@ Kaneland Orange 20
Burlington Blue 12
@ Kaneland Black 6
DeKalb Black 14
@ Kaneland White 13
Burlington Blue 22
@ Kaneland Black 8
DeKalb Black 50
@ Kaneland White 32
Burlington Blue 6
@ Kaneland Black 35
Yorkville White 7
@ Kaneland White 42
Don’t see your results in the Elburn Herald?
Have your coach email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to (630) 365-2251.
[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Photo: Junior Carly Bartholomew placed 72nd at the Eddington Invitational Saturday. Over 1,300 athletes competed at the Kaneland High School campus—one of the largest athletic events ever held there. Photo by Mary Paulson
KANELAND—Kaneland’s Eddington Invitational, held on Saturday, is always a highlight once late September rolls around.
However, its fixed place on the girls cross country schedule can also highlight a team’s strengths and areas it needs to build up before the high-intensity postseason.
Before the quest to Peoria gets rolling, 17 local teams got to gather a head of steam at Kaneland’s Eddington—the 2014 version of which was conducted on the Kaneland High School grounds.
Geneva’s 40-point total, including four of the top 12 finishers, was better than runner-up Belvidere North by 43 points. Crystal Lake Central (115), Benet Academy (116) and Marengo (125) took over the top five spots. Kaneland’s 206, including three of the top 35, was good for eighth, six points ahead of Grayslake Central.
Also finishing ahead of KHS were Glenbard East at 167 and Rosary at 189.
Belvidere North’s Jenna Lutzow’s 18:04.1 effort was a full six ticks better than Marengo entry Kitty Allen on Saturday, while Lady Knight senior Victoria Clinton was the premiere finisher on her roster with a 19:29.5, an 18th-place finish.
Steadily rising Aislinn Lodwig shored up the Kaneland total with a 30th-place finish, thanks to a 19:55.5, and junior teammate Brianna Bower took 35th overall at 20:01.9.
KHS representative Jessica Kucera managed a 53rd-place finish at 20:49.2, while fellow Lady Knight Carly Bartholomew made a case for a postseason spot with a 21:59.9, for 70th place. Additionally, senior Grace Drake hit the 77th spot at 22:45.2 and Murphy Garcia was 108th in 24:26.7.
Next up for the Lady Knights is the usual Rock River Run stop in Sterling, Ill., on Saturday, Sept. 27. In 2013, Brianna Bower finished an exceptional eighth with a time of 18:58.[/vc_column_text][vc_text_separator title=”Photos by Mary Paulson” title_align=”separator_align_center” color=”grey”][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
Don’t see your results in the Elburn Herald?
Have your coach email them to email@example.com
or fax them to (630) 365-2251.
KHMS Seventh Grade Football
Aug. 27 vs. Batavia Rotolo—Kaneland won 32-8. Max Gagne had three touchdowns, while Joe Smith threw for two TDs and ran for another.
Aug. 30 @ DeKalb Huntley—Kaneland won on the road, defeating Huntley Middle School 14-8. Gagne had two receiving TDs.
Sept. 11 vs. Yorkville—The Knights moved to 3-0 with a 20-8 win over the visiting Foxes. Gagne had two TDs, and Brenden Parks had a defensive TD as well.
Sept. 18 @ St. Charles Haines—Kaneland throttled Haines 42-6. Gagne had three TDs, Colton Doll had a 70 yard TD reception, and Smith threw for three TDs and ran for another. The Knights defense has only given up three touchdowns so far in 2014. Kaneland hosts Geneva Middle School Sept. 25.
KHMS Eighth Grade Football
Aug. 27 @ Batavia Rotolo—The Knights lost to the Rotolo 20-8. Kaneland’s Alstott caught a TD pass and ran in a two-point conversion for the Knights.
Aug. 30 vs. DeKalb Huntley—The Knights got their first win of the season over DeKalb Huntley, 14-6. C. Angelotti’s pass to K. Angelotti got KHMS going, and an Alstott two point conversion made it 8-0 early. A TD pass from McDonald to Denning made (two-point conversion failed) made it 14 for the Knights.
Sept. 11 @ Yorkville—The Knights fell to the Foxes 24-0. The Foxes racked up 211 yards to the Knights’ 69.
Sept. 18 vs. St. Charles Haines—The Knights lost 22-8. Kaneland was behind early 6-0, but a 30-yard pass from McDonald to K. Angelotti, with a good two-point conversion, made it 8-6. Haines would score two more times to seal their victory. The Knights are 1-3 and play St. Charles Wredling on Sept. 29.
Boys Soph. Soccer
Sept. 17 vs. DeKalb—The Knights shut out DeKalb 1-0 on a goal by Jose Chavez. They improved to 3-1-1, and 3-0-1 in NIB-12 play.
Sept. 18 vs. Sycamore—The freshman A team won 25-10, 25-18 and improved to 2-0 in conference play. The freshman B team lost 21-25, 19-25 and fell to 0-2 in conference play.
Sept. 18 vs. Sycamore—The Lady Knights improved to 1-1 in conference play with a 25-14, 25-19 win over Sycamore.
Sept. 19 @ Yorkville—Kaneland defeated the Foxes 21-7. No individual stats were provided.
Girls Cross Country
Sept. 20 Eddington Invite—FR/SO: 2 A. Wells 19:36; 27 S. Daley 21:24.6; 45 G. Dodis 22:18.9; 54 A. Shaw 22:46.1; 74 K. Huber 23:34.7; 112 M. Dries, 25:38.5; 148 K. Waweru 29:08.7. OPEN: 26 O. Galor 23:07.4; 35 L. Klingsensmith 23:37.8; 44 S. Sommerville 24:13; 76 H. Penkala 26:34.6.
Boys Cross Country
Sept. 20 Eddington Invite—FR/SO: 1 M. Richtman, 16:30.8; 18 A. Kantola, 17:37.2; 44 A. Messina, 18:33.2; 47 S. Webster, 18:36.8; 48 H. Nosek, 18:39.4; 91 C. Girolamo, 19:43; 114 D. Wojak, 20:19.6; 118 K. Wells, 20:22.1; 120 P. Heiser, 20:23.8; 124 G. Wilk, 20:27.9; 135 T. Nance 20:43.9; 178 B. Purcell, 22:00.1; 179 Jack O’Sullivan, 22:13.3; 229 C. Rutter, 27:25.9. OPEN: 101 N. Moses 20:45.2; 123 B. Smith 21:26; 140 Josh Kasap 22:39; 145 J. Wolfe 23:10.4; 150 K. Osborne 23:34.1; 151 A. Parks 23:57.1; 159 E. Cain 24:32.9; 162 I. Piazza 24:48.2.
Girls JV Tennis
Sept. 22 @ Oswego—The Lady Knights fell 3-4 to visiting Oswego. Abby Purnell and Ava Mandele earned wins at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, while the No. 4 doubles team of Katie Biard and Tiffany Castracion also won.
Sept. 23 vs. LaSalle-Peru—Kaneland defeated visiting L-P 4-1 Tuesday. Nos. 1 and 2 singles Kayla Corirossi and Purnell each won their matches 10-8, while the No. 1 doubles tandem of Lauren Karolewicz and Marley Schultz and No. 2 doubles group Mary Collum and Mandele each won their matches 10-3.
Boys Fr/So Golf
Sept. 23 @ Marengo—The Knights defeated Marengo 184-215. Dan Franck shot a 43, Luke Calabrese a 44, Jake Pearson a 47, Jacob Milton and Jake Hummel each shot 50’s, and Brock Williams a 56.
Football League Sept. 20, 2014
Kaneland White 19
@ Burlington Blue 0
Kaneland Silver 26
@ DeKalb Black 0
Kaneland Black 0
@ Yorkville Black 19
Kaneland Orange 0
@ Yorkville Red 6
Kaneland Black 12
@ Kaneland White 6
Kaneland Black 27
@ Kaneland White 21
DeKalb Black 33
@ Kaneland Black 16
DeKalb Orange 19
@ Kaneland White 6
Join the Knight cross country teams for a spooky “Knight of the Zombies” run Oct. 10.
The evening will feature two races:
Trick or Treat Run
This run features friendly zombies sharing treats with participants in grades second through fifth, begining at 5:20 p.m. Competitors may dress up and walk or run for treats from the team. Cost is $5 per student.
Run For Your Life
The second event will begin at 6 p.m. Flagged runners will try to elude the grasp of the zombies over the 1.2 mile course. Survivors will compete for trophies and ribbons. Cost is $10 per runner.
Lone meet of the week yields 10th overall for girls XC
WAUCONDA, Ill.—Saturday morning’s 39th annual Wauconda Invitational provided yet another opportunity for Kaneland High School girls cross country to see just what it has at an important juncture of the season.
Paced by decent finishes from the likes of Victoria Clinton and Aislinn Lodwig, the Lady Knights earned a 10th place finish as a team in the week’s only competition, a precursor to the Eddington Invite.
With 219 points, Kaneland’s finish was 85 points ahead of New Trier in the 15-team gathering. Filling the top three were Grant (88), Cary-Grove (96) and Warren (103). Kaneland’s average race time in the 3.05-mile course was 20:55.2.
Cary-Grove senior Morgan Schultz won the event with a 18:07.9.
Clinton’s 21st place was a result of a 19:38.9 effort, followed by Lodwig’s 19:55.4 for 28th. The next two Lady Knights to follow were Jessica Kucera, with a 20:39.5 effort at 36th overall. Carly Bartholomew, Kaneland junior, was a 61st place runner at 21:55.4.
The Wauconda event fit in to the larger puzzle and plan, according to KHS coach Doug Ecker.
“Our goals in September are to see week-to-week individual improvement and to have everyone healthy and running come October,” Ecker said. “(We) see how we look as a team, a very good day really for everyone, a nice starting point for Victoria.”
On Saturday, Sept. 20, the Lady Knights go to their own backyard, the Eddington Invitational, located this year at the high school.
Photo: Senior Victoria Clinton made her 2014 debut, cruising to a win at Elburn Woods Tuesday. Photo by Ben Draper
Weekend trip to Oregon, meet in Elburn highlight week
KANELAND—Kaneland High School’s girls cross country squad wants to be ready and healthy for the run up to the conference race and postseason. It could come at the expense of greater totals during meets like Saturday’s Oregon Invite and Tuesday’s varsity matchup with East Aurora, IMSA and Yorkville, but Kaneland still is not without its nice times.
Not at full strength quite yet, KHS coach Doug Ecker knows it’s part of the drill.
“It’s going to take Brianna Bower about five or six weeks to get back from her injury,” Ecker said. “You have to be patient. Two years ago and last year, we were healthy. These things happen, and you lead up to October, and it’s just different then.”
In Saturday’s setting, no team scores were kept up in Hawk-land, but KHS was still able to rattle off good mornings from Andrea Wells (20:56.2) and Aislinn Lodwig (21:02.4) for ninth and 10th, respectively. Teammate Sarah Daily finished 18th at 21:42.7.
On Tuesday at Elburn’s forest preserve, Yorkville won the field with 30, compared to Kaneland’s 42, IMSA’s 61 and East Aurora’s 113.
Victoria Clinton took the 3-mile course with a time of 21:19, while Wells took fourth at 22:20. Jessica Kucera was next for Kaneland in seventh, rounding out Lady Knight top 10 finishes at 22:47.
“We wanted to do a progressive run the first mile,” Clinton said. “Andrea is going to be a great runner, and she was right next to me and we got a little bit faster. We wanted to be faster on the last mile, but not extreme.”
Saturday, Sept. 13, sees Kaneland girls hit the Wauconda Invite.
Photo: Senior Aislinn Lodwig led the Lady Knights at Sycamore on Tuesday, placing 20th overall with a time of 20:53. Photo by Mary Paulson
Lady Knights open season at Sycamore
SYCAMORE—It was a subdued start to the 2014 season, but that was the plan.
With only four girls toeing the line at Afton Forest Preserve in DeKalb for head coach Doug Ecker’s varsity lineup, the Lady Knights cross country team didn’t factor into the team scoring for the annual Sycamore Invitational, Tuesday. But the four that ran took full advantage of the opportunity.
“It was a good start to the season,” Ecker said. “Even though this was an invitational, we tried to downplay it and just find a starting point to begin the season.”
Senior Aislinn Lodwig led the way with a 20th overall performance, with a time of 20 minutes, 53 seconds.
“Lodwig had her best race to start off the season. Aislinn has really embraced the leadership role as a senior, with the departure of the senior captains, and it has had a positive impact not only on her teammates but her as well,” Ecker said.
Ecker was also pleased with sophomore Sarah Daley’s performance, thinking she can make an impact for the varsity squad as the season progresses. Daley’s time of 22:12 was good enough for 41st overall.
Senior Jessica Kucera was 54th in 22:32.6, while junior Carly Bartholomew finished 77th with a time of 23:47.2.
The youth movement occurred over the 2.4 mile JV race, where freshman Andrea Wells was second overall with a time of 16:50.1 to lead Kaneland to a third-place team finish. Sophomore Becca Ritchman was seventh overall with a time of 17:39.4, while Grace Dodis also cracked the top 10 with her 10th-place finish in 17:58.8. It was the first race for both Wells and Ritchman, according to Ecker.
“Dodis ran very well and is much improved over last year,” Ecker said. “It was nice to see senior Grace Drake (24th, 18:45.8), in only her second year out for cross country, pick up a medal in the JV race.”
The girls cross country team heads to the Oregon Invitational Saturday at 9:30 a.m.
Photo: The girls cross country team started its practice schedule the morning of Aug. 13 at the high school. The last three years have seen the Lady Knights continue their upward trajectory, placing eighth in 2011, sixth in 2012 and fifth last year. Photos by Patti Wilk
Girls XC returns key cogs in victory machine
KANELAND—In recent years, Kaneland High School girls cross country has found itself in the postseason picture, be it individual or State.
Junior Victoria Clinton captured the 2A State race as an individual two years ago, while the collective effort of the Lady Knights group allowed a fifth-place finish at Detweiller Park in Peoria, Ill., for the State gathering in 2013.
While the troops lose steady seniors like Sydney Strang and Erika Carlson, the Lady Knights return a gaggle of their top rotation in 2014.
Junior Brianna Bower, a 37th-place finisher at State, is joined by senior Aislinn Lodwig and Clinton to make a threat, along with sophomore Abby Shaw who came on strong in her inaugural campaign a year ago.
Seniors Jessica Kucera and Murphy Garcia also return, along with sophomore Sarah Daley and junior Carly Bartholomew to be in the running for a competing spot.
“Brianna Bower isn’t out there right now; she’s recovering from a stress fracture, but we’re expecting her back,” 28th-year coach Doug Ecker said. “That happens here more than we’d like, but we’ll be okay, and we return four of the top seven.”
Ecker has more than enough to have Kaneland in the thick of things all season, with a very tough XC area ahead.
“Victoria is healthy, and she’s finished triathlon season. Aislinn is very consistent and gives us what we need, and Abby took that spot at the end nicely and was helped by Erika Carlson’s leadership last year,” Ecker said.
Personnel looking to make an additional impact include sophomore Becca Richtman, senior Grace Drake and freshman Andrea Wells.
“Andrea could be in there and looks solid,” Ecker said “You like to see them run well, and we run stronger depending on how good we are at the four-through-seven slots.”
Ecker’s pack mentality for the crew is one born out of necessity.
“That’s the way it has to be with us in a Class 2A or 1A setting. In 3A, the teams just have sheer numbers,” Ecker said.
The Lady Knights have a landscape that needs talent and results at just the right time, and the black-and-white clad roster look to build up all season.
“We are in the toughest sectional in the State, and sometimes we run okay at regionals, and all we needed in the postseason to go was a fifth place. That’s what we do. Later on in the season, you want to show improvement. Last year, we took second in the conference, and it’s been third or fourth before that. We try to compete with Yorkville, but we don’t have the talent they do. It’s work and effort,” Ecker said.
Tuesday, Sept. 2, sees the season kick off at Sycamore, while the Eddington Invitational is at Kaneland High School this season, on Saturday, Sept. 20.
Kaneland grad Heckert utilizes experience to coach, run marathons
PLAINFIELD, Ill.—As a multi-sport athlete at Kaneland High School nearly a full decade ago, Kristen Heckert used her immense talent to cross many a State-qualifying finish line.
Now as a math teacher and coach at Plainfield South High School, she’s been responsible for honing young athletes’ talent, while finding time to reach finish lines as a member of New Balance Chicago racing.
Having finished her college athletics career at University of Illinois-Chicago, Heckert soon made her way to a teaching post at KHS before landing at Plainfield South before the 2012-13 school year.
Heckert was the girls cross country coach this past season and assistant track coach, and plans to step into an assistant XC role to better concentrate on marathons when the New Balance banners fly.
There’s important overlap with the two.
“I try to talk about my running a little bit,” Heckert said. “I stepped down to an assistant for more time to train. My running is really important to me and I want to see what I can do with it. I didn’t want it to conflict with coaching. They should have a coach that is with them 100 percent, and nothing is more important than that,” Heckert said.
If anything, Heckert gets a built-in support staff in addition to her New Balance racing outfit, which most recently saw a 36:03 effort at United Run For The Zoo at Lincoln Park Zoo, tops in the 10K women’s division.
“They know that I am competing and know what my end goal is, but it’s not about me, it’s about the girls. They are so supportive, and the coaching staff and boys program is so supportive. It helps, because you let them know they always have to stretch and run. These kids are doing it all the time and combined with school. It just gives you an extra push,” Heckert said.
Now a three-time veteran of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon held in October, Heckert finished in 20th in the womens’ division with a 2:47.56 in 2012 and 2:44.12 in 2013. From the former Lady Knight’s perspective, there’s nothing not to like about the experience.
“There’s not outside pressure ever,” Heckert said. “There’s so many people. The pressue comes from ourselves. It’s kind of ‘go out there and see what you can do.” The racing team is so supportive and everyone wants the best for you. It’s a wonderful experience. To get that support from people who don’t even know you and are out at six in the morning, it’s wonderful and it’s a great accomplishment for anyone who does it.”
Having also competed in the Chicago Half-Marathon in September with a time of 1:19.18 and the DeKalb Corn Classic 10K last summer in 36:11, Heckert has plenty of great performances to draw from and still tries to match memorable runner highs.
“That first marathon was so perfect, it felt good. I thought they were all going to be that way, but the last two were so painful and hurt so much. I’ve been so lucky when it comes to injuries. You always wake up sore, but I haven’t had anything where I need to take time off, so I’m very thankful for that,” Heckert said.
With her 2012 Bank of America time in Chicago and top Illinois finisher, Heckert was able to be invited to a marathon in Osaka, Japan, but declined the task because it coincided with Plainfield South cross country regionals.
She was once again the top Illinois finisher in 2013, and Osaka won’t be a problem with an assistant coach job.
“If Osaka is offered to me this year, I’ll definitely take it,” Heckert said.
Heckert has more aspirations, only in the form of U.S. Olympic Trials in Los Angeles in 20 months, where she’ll need a 2:43.
“I would love to run in the Olympic Trials (March 2016), that’s the end-all, be-all goal. I have a lot of opportunities with coaching and teammates. I would love to do that with running, and be running with the top Americans ever,” Heckert said.
With her brothers and sisters in cross-trainers, the journey will be noteworthy and fast.
“We always do the Palos race, the Soldier Field 10-miler—those will wipe me out—and the Zoo race is sponsored by New Balance,” Heckert said. “We do the Human Race in Oak Brook, which has the money go to great causes. I don’t like racing a lot, and I’ve raced a lot this year. I love training.”
Clinton named to All-American list by USA Triathlon, preparing for Florida race
ELBURN—With the mood-crushing winter season still upon us, the urge to get outside and participate in athletic activities can weigh heavily.
Lady Knight sophomore Victoria Clinton can do something about it right now, and looks to push herself more than most.
Clinton, named last week to the Junior Elite All-American list for USA Triathlon in the 16-19 age group category as an Honorable Mention, looks to participate with her fellow MMTT members at the PATCO North American Junior Championship on Saturday, March 8.
The honor is a big deal, considering its Clinton’s first year in the category.
“You have to keep in mind that prior to her injuries, she was near No. 1 in those rankings, and near the top of the overall standings,” coach Steve Brandes said. “She’s extremely consistent; her biggest attribute is consistency.”
The Sarasota, Fla.-based event provides a chance for Clinton, the 2012 Class AA State cross country individual champ, to swim, bike and run with five other team members from the western suburbs against a field that includes athletes from Mexico and Canada.
Clinton, who owns the fifth-best Class AA State-winning time in cross country at 16:56, can use her cross country experience to perform at a high level this weekend.
“Cross country is pure racing, there are no splits,” Brandes said. “Victoria is very good at rising to that top level. She’s a state champ, and cross country makes her tough. It’s about racing hard, and she’s very strong.”
Clinton has also managed to qualify for the Pan American Cup in early June in Monterrey, Mexico, as one of eight American females vying for the lone Youth Olympics Games spot taking place in China this summer.
Clinton’s last competition under the ITU (International Triathlon Union) Triathlon banner came in June 2013 at the Pan American Championships in Vila Velha, Brazil. Clinton finished eighth in the junior women category with a clip of 1:07:24.
Brandes, in his first year of working with Clinton, feels there will be no off-base expectations.
“That’s what you sign up for with these international events. It’s her biggest test against tough competition,” Brandes said.
Collective effort yields fifth place in Class 2A final
PEORIA, ILL—There may have been no individual state champ for the Lady Knights cross country squad in 2013, but the team-wide effort was still something to behold.
Detweiller Park in Peoria, Ill. was the site for the Class 2A State final race, and saw the Kaneland roster’s fortunes and talent produce a fifth-place team finish.
Kaneland was led by team assets sophomore Brianna Bower, junior Aislinn Lodwig and senior Victoria Clinton, who paced the attack to a 246-point finish. The Lady Knights were given tiebreaker advantage over Chatham Glenwood.
The Lady Knights looked up at only four other teams in the Class 2A setting, with Northern Illinois Big XII rival Yorkville’s 104 points nabbing the trophy, followed by Glenbard South at 130, Vernon Hills at 181 and Marengo at 231.
Yorkville’s program has now nabbed three titles in a row.
For Kaneland, the finish marks a one-place improvement from last year’s sixth-place and 180-point output. It marked a third-straight top-10 finish, with the team finishing eighth in 2011, and marked the highest team finish in 24 years. The Lady Knights’ pack time was 1:47 last year, compared to just 54 seconds in 2013.
The overall individual champion in the competition was Riverside-Brookfield senior Mailin Struck at 16:35, beating Peoria Notre Dame’s Maryjeanne Gilbert by 29 seconds.
For Kaneland, Bower finished in 37th place with a time of 18:33, Lodwig, only healthy in the last five weeks of the year, was in 54th at 18:59, while Clinton, last year’s individual champion, took 76th overall at 19:12. Rounding out the top 5 for the Kaneland outfit were necessary components Abby Shaw and Erika Carlson, with the freshman Shaw finishing in 19:20 for 88th, and Carlson capping her senior season in 94th place with a time of 19:26.
Also taking the course for KHS were seniors Sydney Strang in 126th (19:58) and Anna Piazza in 148th (20:16).
Coach Doug Ecker couldn’t have been more pleased.
“The mark of this team was their ability to overcome injuries and setbacks, having eight or nine runners step up in various races to cover for injured or sick teammates,” Ecker said. “They truly got the most out of their season. I enjoyed every minute of coaching them.”
KHS girls cross country says goodbye to seniors Carlson, Riley Coyle, Christina Delach, Kayla Hedgren, Piazza and Strang.
Photo: Senior Erika Carlson stepped up for the Lady Knights, running as their No. 3 with a time of 19:30. File Photo
KANELAND—Looks like the Lady Knights cross country squad had just enough on Saturday in Belvidere, Ill.
Due to their 176-point total, the Kaneland girls cross country lineup earned the last Class 2A State qualifying margin by 27 points over Woodstock at the Sectional meet at Belvidere High School.
The Lady Knights, who saw sophomore Victoria Clinton take the top prize in 2012, now set plans for the Class 2A finals on Saturday, Nov. 9, at Detweiller Park in Peoria, Ill.
Crystal Lake Central was crowned Sectional champs with a 103-point total, followed by Marengo at 121, Vernon Hills at 126 and Lake Forest at 141.
Senior Maura Beattie of Woodstock took the course with a stellar time of 17 minutes, 43 seconds. For Kaneland, the troop was led by junior Clinton, who finished 11th at 18:31. Sophomore Brianna Bower continued her steady trajectory with a 18:37 for 15th place. Third-best for KHS was senior Erika Carlson in 42nd at 19:30. Rounding out the top five for Kaneland: freshman Abby Shaw in 53rd at 19:46, and veteran junior Aislinn Lodwig at 55th in 19:49.
For the third year in a row, the Lady Knight girls saw hard work and a rise to the occasion pay off.
“Once again, Victoria Clinton and Brianna Bower led the way with strong races,” KHS coach Doug Ecker said. “In arguably the toughest sectional in the state with 8-9 teams running for five spots, I’m very proud of how the girls ran their best race on the day it mattered most. They definitely earned their trip to the State meet.”
In 2012, Clinton’s championship run helped KHS toward a sixth-place team finish, with rival Yorkville and Normal University taking the top two spots on the Peoria course.
BURLINGTON, ILL.—One down, one to go in the Kaneland quest for the state meet.
Coach Doug Ecker’s crew, led by a sixth-place finish by sophomore Brianna Bower, secured fourth place at the competitive Burlington Central Regional last Saturday, and more importantly a spot at this Saturday’s Belvidere Sectional.
“The girls finished a respectable fourth at the very competitive 2A Regional,” Ecker said. “Brianna Bower ran her usual strong race to lead the team.”
Bower, running an 18 minute, 42.8 second time over the 3-mile course, was 24 seconds behind individual champion Vivian Overbeck of Vernon Hills.
Junior Victoria Clinton secured an 11th place finish with a time of 19:01 as the second KHS runner to finish. She was followed by three Lady Knights that were within seconds of each other: seniors Sydney Strang (19th, 19:56), Erika Carlson (20th, 19:58) and junior Aislinn Lodwig (22nd, 19:58) packed it up to finish the team’s scoring. Anna Piazza (33rd, 20:30) and Jessica Kucera (46th, 21:09) rounded out the top seven.
The Lady Knights, now ranked eighth in the latest DyestatIL poll released Tuesday, have their work cut out for them at the Belvidere Sectional.
Including the No. 8 Lady Knights, the sectional features No. 3 Crystal Lake Central, No. 5 Vernon Hills, No. 9 Lake Forest, No. 11 Marengo, No. 19 Belvidere North, No. 22 Woodstock and No. 23 Lakes. Only five teams qualify from the sectional to the state meet.
The sectional takes place on the grounds of Belvidere High School, with the girls racing for their chance at the state meet at 10 a.m.
Photo: Senior Sydney Strang leads most of the field at Saturday’s NIB-12 championship. Photo by Ben Draper
Girls cross country takes to Redskin school grounds for NIB-12 outing
MORRIS—The Northern Illinois Big XII conference cross country field can boast some high-caliber talent.
After Saturday’s conference meet at Morris High School, the Kaneland girls can boast up there with the best of them, but that wouldn’t be their style.
Bracing for impact for the first meet signifying the 2013 homestretch, Kaneland’s 66-point total was shy of only Yorkville’s 52-point total on Saturday, with DeKalb (105), Dixon (112) and Geneseo (125) rounding out the conference elite.
“You’ve probably got the first 10 or 15 girls here really good at handling this course. Dixon and us and Yorkville may not have been as strong at this met as last year, but still, it’s a very good conference,” KHS coach Doug Ecker said.
While Yorkville’s Skyler Bollinger won the school-housed course with a time of 17:23.2, and her and DeKalb rival Kelsey Schrader (17:31.6) were the top two striders, Kaneland sophomore Victoria Clinton took fifth with a time of 17:56.3, and classmate Brianna Bower finished seventh with a time of 18:09.8. Both were able to secure All-NIB-12 nods.
Other top KHS finishers on Saturday included senior Sydney Strang in 17th with a time of 19:00.6, and senior classmate Erika Carlson in 18th at 19:02.9.
“We’ve been trying to speed up on hills because of our home course,” Strang said. “But we definitely tried to just keep momentum and just look for our teammates. We always try to run together if we can.”
The fifth-best finisher for the Lady Knights was junior Aislinn Lodwig at 19:07.2 for 19th place.
Now awaiting Kaneland cross country: the IHSA Class 2A regional housed by Burlington Central on Saturday, Oct. 26, at 11 a.m. The nine-team regional features NIB-12 rival Sycamore.
Girls XC takes seventh at Sterling Invite
STERLING, Ill.—In a Saturday meet hosted by Northern Illinois Big XII outlet Sterling, Kaneland High School girls cross country had to deal with the talented field from the northern half of the state.
After a sixth-place varsity outing, KHS could consider itself part of that talented field that others had to deal with.
Kaneland’s 234-point total was sixth-best of 25 outlets at the meet. The top three featured Minooka (74), Schaumburg (78) and Hoffman Estates (94). The Lady Knights total was behind Iowa City High School’s 221.
While Riverside-Brookfield’s Mailin Struck won the course in 17 minutes, 2 seconds, Kaneland’s pack was paced by sophomore Brianna Bower, who took 12th overall with a time of 18:40. Senior teammate Sydney Strang continued her way back to health had a 27th place outing with a time of 19:06, while junior Aislinn Lodwig was 62nd overall with a time of 20:13. Rounding out the top five for KHS was senior Erika Carlson at 63rd with a time of 20:16, and freshman Abby Shaw at 70th with a 20:24.
KHS saw personal bests from Bower, Strang and Carlson.
The freshman/sophomore end had Kaneland taking ninth with a 283-point total, highlighted by sophomore Noelle Espino’s 20:23 for ninth place.
“The girls continue to work hard in practice and show improvement on a weekly basis,” KHS coach Doug Ecker said. “Aislinn Lodwig continues to improve after only three weeks of practice and racing.”
On Saturday, Oct. 19, the girls head down, along with the boys, for the Northern Illinois Big XII conference race in Grundy County, hosted by Morris High School. It marks the final race featuring 12 teams in the conference setting, with Dixon and Streator leaving at the end of the 2013-14 school year.
KHS girls cross country wins Pretzel Invite
FREEPORT, Ill.—The Kaneland girls cross country team is getting healthy at the right time.
After their early schedule saw ups and downs with injuries, the group put together a solid effort at Freeport High School’s Pretzel Invitational on Saturday, winning the 11-team meet with 50 points, six ahead of runner-up Boylan’s 56.
Head coach Doug Ecker was pleased with his team after their performance. It was the third year in a row the Lady Knights have been victorious at the land of the Pretzel.
“The girls continue to show improvement both individually and as a team as the season progresses,” he said.
Defending 2A State Champion Victoria Clinton led the way for KHS, posting a second-place finish with a time of 17 minutes, 52 seconds. Freeport’s Ellie Willging was first in 17:47.
Brianna Bower was next for the Lady Knights, posting a fifth-place finish in a time of 18:08.
“Bower continued her string of top 10 finishes,” Ecker said. “(It was) a 30-second improvement over last year.”
Newcomer Abby Shaw contributed as the No. 3 Saturday, placing 13th with a time of 19:41.
Erika Carlson continued to improve as well, besting her 2012 time by 60 seconds, placing 14th in 19:41 this year. Sydney Strang cracked the top five once again, by placing 16th with a time of 19:54.
Rounding out the Lady Knights were Anna Piazza (23rd, 20:28), Aislinn Lodwig (29th, 20:36) and Jessica Kucera (35th, 21:46).
Up next for the Lady Knights is another trip to Sterling on Saturday for the Sterling Invitational. Racing begins at 9 a.m.
Girls CC looks for October improvements
STERLING, ILL.—As the calendar turns to October, it’s time for cross country teams to start coming together and jelling.
The Kaneland girls cross country squad decided to start a little early, with a solid effort in their annual late September stop at Saturday’s Rock River Run, hosted by Sterling High School.
The Lady Knights were third out of the 15 teams with 134 points, behind only Belvidere North (117) and champion Geneva (49). Northern Illinois Big XII conference-mate Dixon actually tied KHS with 134 points, but Kaneland’s sixth runner, Anna Piazza, broke the tie by placing 49th—Dixon’s sixth runner placed 69th.
Kaneland was led by the 1-2 tandem of sophomore Brianna Bower and junior Victoria Clinton. Bower cracked the top 10, placing eighth with a time of 18 minutes, 58 seconds. Clinton was nearby, placing 13th in 19:19.
“Brianna Bower and Victoria Clinton once again ran solid races to lead the varsity,” head coach Doug Ecker said. “Both are looking to make some dramatic improvement in the next few weeks.”
Senior Erika Carlson was the next Lady Knight to finish, placing 35th in 20:23. Junior Jessica Kucera placed 42nd in 20:35, and freshman Abby Shaw closed out the KHS scoring by placing 48th in personal-best 20:57.
“Erika Carlson continues to impress each week with her consistent effort and improvement,” Ecker said.
Also competing for the varsity race were Piazza (55th, 21:12), Noelle Espino (62nd, 21:29), Sydney Strang (64th, 21:32), Aislinn Lodwig (68th, 21:42), Murphy Garcia (135th, 24:34), Grace Drake (146th, 25:27) Christina Delach (147th, 25:31) and Kayla Hedgren (155th, 26:35).
The freshman/sophomore team also placed fourth in the meet, led by top 15 efforts by Katie Huber (7th, 22:29) and Carly Barholomew (15th, 23:02).
Next up, the girls cross country team heads north to the home of the Pretzels for the Freeport Invitational Saturday at 9 a.m.
ELBURN—If one wants to see the quality of the Kaneland girls cross country lineup, one just needs to see the results from the traditional late September staple, the Eddington Inviite
The Elburn Woods-housed event saw the Kaneland group manage an above-average third-place finish out of the 17 teams running on Saturday.
Kaneland’s 122-point total was behind Geneva’s 64 and Crystal Lake Central’s 79. Kaneland bumped Rosary out of the top three by six points, while Belvidere North, at 131, snuck into the top five.
Rounding out the top 10 were Marengo (150), Waubonsie Valley (180), Glenbard East (206), Burlington Central (226) and Hampshire (262).
Kelsey Schrader of DeKalb outlasted the rest of the field with a winning time of 18 minutes, 30.5 seconds.
For Kaneland, sophomore Brianna Bower was the fastest of the black-and-white clad group at 19:16.6, good for fifth overall and a personal best. Junior teammate and State champ Victoria Clinton, in her first 2013 invitational race, was 12th at 19:49.6, followed by junior Jessica Kucera, who took 28th overall at 20:47. Senior Erika Carlson was next for KHS at 21:16.8 for 37th place, and sophomore Noelle Espino was 46th overall at 21:38.7 for her sophomore run of the Eddington.
“(I’m) very happy with the overall effort of all the girls today. Carlson, Kucera and Espino all ran personal best for 3 miles on any course and really competed today on a tough course,” KHS coach Doug Ecker said.
Bower tried to make the most of her home-based opportunity.
“It was really nice, and it was cool and perfect weather to run a race today,” Bower said. “We’re still working up our team with Victoria injured and Sydney (Strang) not feeling good and still trying to get healthy.”
Freshman Abby Shaw showed her strides by finishing as the top Lady Knight in the frosh-soph leg of the morning at 22:25.2, good for 13th place.
Coming up for Kaneland girls cross country is the usual Rock River Run in Sterling, Ill., on Saturday, Sept. 28.
ELBURN—The 44th annual Eddington Cross Country Invitational is Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m. at Elburn Woods.
The meet commemorates the 25-year teaching and coaching career of Larry Eddington, a long-time Elburn resident who passed away suddenly in 1994.
On the girls side, the team race appears to favor Geneva, Crystal Lake Central and Marengo, with Benet and Jacobs potentially a factor as well. Top individuals in the girls race include Lauren Van Vlierbergen of Jacobs, Kelsey Schrader of DeKalb, Allie Sprague and Katie St. Clair of Marengo, Maddie Dagley and Mary Fleming of Crystal Lake Central, McKenzie Altmayer and Brooke Nusser of Geneva, and Brianna Bower of Kaneland.
In 2012, four teams from the Eddington went on to qualify for state at either the 2A or 3A level Seven individuals went on to earn all-state honors. The Lady Knights took fifth at the meet in 2012, as Jacobs earned the team title.
On the boys side, Crystal Lake Central returns to defend their 2012 team title, as does 2012 runner-up Jacobs. Perennial 2A power Belivdere North joins the fray this year as well. The Knights finished sixth in 2012, paced by returner Kyle Carter’s fourth-place finish individually.
The girls varsity race kicks off the day at 9 a.m., followed by the boys varsity at 9:45 a.m. The girls f/s race is 10:45 a.m., and boys f/s is 10:45 a.m. Open races conclude the day, with the boys starting gun going off at 11:15 a.m. and the girls starting 11:45 a.m.
Parking for the meet will be at Kaneland High School, with regular shuttles going to-and-from the Elburn Woods course every 10 minutes.
Short-handed Lady Knights look for individual gains
WAUCONDA, Ill.—Without assets like senior Sydney Strang and junior Victoria Clinton in the lineup, the Lady Knights traveled to Wauconda’s 23-team Invitational held Saturday. Head coach Doug Ecker’s ladies finished 14th in the team standings with 390 points, sandwiched between Grant’s 354 and Richmond-Burton’s 400. Cary-Grove (88) won a close battle for first over Lake Zurich (82) and Crystal Lake Central (97). Lake Forest (123) and West Chicago (153) rounded out the top five teams.
Last year, Kaneland finished second only to Crystal Lake Central.
Kaneland sophomore Brianna Bower continued he impressive streak of meets, placing ninth in the 154-girl field with a time of 18 minutes, 44.36 seconds over the rolling hills of Lakewood Forest Preserve. Bower improved over her 2012 time by over 50 seconds when she placed 21st as a freshman.
Senior Erika Carlson was the next KHS runner to cross the finish line, placing 64th with a personal-best time of 20:47. Jessica Kucera (90th, 21:17), Noelle Espino (92nd, 21:20) and Anna Piazza (145th, 24:15) rounded out the KHS varsity.
Next up for the girls cross country squad is the 44th Annual Eddington Cross Country Invitational at Elburn Woods Saturday, Sept. 21. The morning kicks off with the girls varsity race at 9 a.m. The fr/so girls run at 10:15 a.m., and girls open at 11:45 a.m.
“We hope to have our full varsity team running in the next two to three weeks so the girls will continue to focus on individual improvement at this meet,” Ecker said.
Parking for the Eddington Invite will be at Kaneland High School, with regular shuttles available.
Photo: Kaneland senior Sydney Strang continued her solid start to the season, earning a fourth-place finish in Oregon, Ill., Saturday. File Photo
Lady Harriers run strong Saturday
OREGON, Ill.—The Lady Knights trekked to Oregon High School Saturday, and left with numerous individual accolades.
In a meet where no team score was kept, Kaneland placed six girls in the top 30 in the varsity race.
Brianna Bower again led the way with a time of 20 minutes, 32 seconds, which was good for third place overall. She was followed closely by Sydney Strang in fourth place, with a time of 20:42. Jessica Kucera also cracked the top ten, placing ninth with a time of 21:26.
“The three mile hilly Oregon High School course is very challenging on a good day to run,” head coach Doug Ecker said. “Today with the hot, humid, sunny conditions, all the girls did a very good job.”
Rounding out the Lady Knights varsity was Anna Piazza (15th, 22:00), Erika Carlson (17th, 22:14) and Noelle Espino (29th, 22:56).
The good times continued in the girls open race, as KHS placed three freshmen in the top five, led by Abby Shaw’s individual win in a time of 22:12.1. Katie Huber (3rd, 23:19) and Grace Dodis (4th, 23:48) were solid as well.
“The three freshmen running their first three mile high school race under today’s conditions were impressive,” Ecker said.
Rounding out the KHS open runners were Brianna Booton (11th, 24:27), Lilah Klingersmith (12th, 24:47), Sarah Daily (16th, 25:27), Carly Bartholomew (23rd, 26:09), Haley Penkala (27th, 26:21), Samantha Sommerville (31st, 26:59), Grace Drake (32nd, 27:08), Christina Delach (33rd, 27:09), Murphy Garcia (38th, 27:29) and Kayla Hedgren (46th, 28:45).
Kaneland canceled a triangular meet Tuesday at Elburn Woods against East Aurora and Yorkville due to hot conditions.
The Lady Knights next travel north to the Wauconda Invitational Saturday at 8:30 a.m.