Category Archives: Fall Sports


Kaneland boys cross plays in Peoria

Photo: Freshman Matt Richtman ran the course at Detweiller Park in Peoria, Ill., in 16:01, earning a top 50 medal for his efforts.Photo submitted by Patti Wilk to

First to the Finish gathering tests KHS mettle
PEORIA, Ill.—Peoria Central High School hosts the First to the Finish Invitational every year around this time.

It was Kaneland boys cross country’s responsibility to act appropriately as the guest.

With a crowded field of 2A elite competitiors, the Knight-littered race was won by Northern Illinois Big 12 foe Yorkville’s Jake Hoffert at 14:32.8, with twin brother Luke taking second at 14:38.3.

KHS ended up in 14th place overall in the 51-team field.

For the Knight pack, the top time was Matthew Richtman’s 47th place-16:01.8 time, followed by teammate Brandon Park’s PR 66th place effort of 16:16.

Knight Sean Spaetzel’s 81st place was due to a 16:23.9 time, another PR. Mitch Reger was 98th best with a time of 16:33.6.

“Mitch poured everything he had in that 16:34 time,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said,

Will Kuipers was 145th with a time of 17:02, in a field featuring an astounding 735 runners.

“Glad to have had such a promising day, particularly with the youth moving forward,” Clarey said.

On Saturday, Sept. 20, the Eddington Invitational once again hits the area, with the location switching to Kaneland High School, rather than the Elburn Forest Preserve.

Wauconda this way

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.


Kaneland Rivals Project: Team of Rivals

Editors note: This is part one of a three-part series about Kaneland’s rivals—both current and historical. Part one focuses on more contemporary rivals, part two will feature a look at historical rivals, while part three will focus on our survey results. We encourage you to take our survey.
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Community gives take on favorite storied programs that have crossed Kaneland’s path
KANELAND—Since forming in the late 1950s, Kaneland athletic travels have taken many athletes to Illinois sports meccas.

Countless Knights and Lady Knights have done well enough to join sports showcases in Peoria, Normal and Joliet.

Those stops usually preceded athletic glory given to the black and silver (and sometimes orange).

But there’s just something about the more local programs Kaneland has faced throughout its time that brings a little more fervor and intensity. Contests for State glory in places like Detweiler Park in Peoria, or Silver Cross Field in Joliet are memorable, in part, because of the stakes involved at the end of a particular season.

However, there remains other times where it doesn’t matter the month or the standings— it’s just two rival schools trying to best one another on the pitch, gridiron or court.

Kaneland has dealt with and continues to deal with storied schools to this day, since entering conference play in groups like the Little Eight, Little Seven, Suburban Prairie and Western Sun before hooking up with the Northern Illinois Big XII.

Schools like Genoa-Kingston and Hiawatha would give way to sustained conference rivals like Sycamore and Yorkville, while the Knights kept touch with Burlington Central and Geneva with or without a conference rival at stake.

In future issues, the Elburn Herald looks to get opinions and thoughts from a variety of people associated with Kaneland athletics. They coached and played under the Kaneland Knight banner, and have their own thoughts on who the biggest rival is, favorite rival to beat, and who they would have liked to face more often. You’ll also read about historical rivals that don’t cross Kaneland’s path much anymore, and readers will have a chance to mark their own opinion with a survey.

Andy Drendel, former cross country and track asset, and now a member of the KHS coaching staff for multiple sports, thinks the most noteworthy rivals were the more conventional ones—Sycamore and Yorkville.

“(Kaneland’s) been in the same conference since the Little Seven days; they are bordering schools with similar enrollment size,” Drendel says.

KHS girls basketball coach Ernie Colombe always gets geared up for Sycamore, as well.

“They’re similar size, and both schools have athletes who compete hard every contest. The two schools have been in the same conference for awhile, which helps build rivalries,” Colombe said. “I really enjoy playing all of our conference schools, but if I had to pick one, it would be Sycamore.”

David Dudzinski, who’s seen two children pass through Kaneland elite athletic history thus far, has a similar perspective on rival No. 1, taking over from another school in the recent past.

“When we were coming into this 15 to 20 years ago, it was always Sycamore. (It was) maybe proximity, but when I spoke to the people that went to school there in the ‘80s, that was it,” Dudzinski said. ”It seemed like Batavia, more than most schools east. It was always a heated battle, football or basketball. They had their chants, and it made for an electric atmosphere, especially when they were in the same conference.”

Former volleyball coach Todd Weimer had his favorites to beat while manning the court sidelines.

“When I was coaching, it was always Geneva and DeKalb,” Weimer said. “The girls knew almost all the players from Geneva. And as far as DeKalb goes, the coaches knew each other, and the rivalry was intense on the court and in the stands at both places. We got after Sycamore as well in the last three years when I was at Kaneland, as well, so it was fun to get them after all the years they beat us.”

Head boys cross country coach Chad Clarey feels one can enjoy the local competition in addition to having the drive to win.

“I enjoy running with Sycamore and Burlington Central,” Clarey said. “Both schools are very well coached in cross country, and they cultivate State-caliber runners on an annual basis. Our portion of the state is a hotbed for cross country talent. There’s been a history of strong track programs at BC and Kaneland. When a team does a victory lap on your home track and sings, it leaves a bit of a bitter taste that one can’t shake. Something like that can add to the rivalry, I guess.”


Perfect week

Photo: Senior Brandon Park notched two victories in as many meets, while freshman Matthew Richtman was second at Elburn Woods Tuesday. Photo by Ben Draper

Invite win and flawless run at home round out boys cross country week
KANELAND—Senior Brandon Park can’t complain. It’s been two individual titles to go along with two-straight wins for the Knights cross country crew.

On Saturday, Park was the champion at the inaugural Harvest Fall Classic, hosted by Harvest Christian in Elgin, Ill. His effort of 17 minutes even bolstered a strong showing by the rest of the roster en route to a 47-60 win over runner-up Elk Grove.

“Brandon took over the lead in the first mile of the race,” said KHS coach Chad Clarey. “A pair of Elmwood Park runners, who had beaten him earlier in the week, made it a great race. In the final 400 meters, Park simply wanted it more and put on an impressive surge to the finish.”

Senior Mitch Reger (sixth) and junior Will Kuipers (seventh) cracked the top 10, finishing in 17:46 and 17:49, respectively.

“It was a very competitive day out of that top three,” Clarey added.

Junior Sean Spaetzel (15th, 18:25) and James Walker (18th, 18:48) rounded out the KHS scoring five, while Zach Kurz (21st, 19:36) and Alex Gale (22nd, 19:43) rounded out the top seven.

Also running in the varsity race but not factoring in the scoring were juniors Austin Parks (27th, 20:22), Ben Smith (34th, 21:54) and Brandon Cruz (37th, 22:54).

In the 2 mile junior varsity race, the Knights placed seven runners in the top 11. Freshman Matthew Richtman won in 11:39.

On Tuesday, the likes of East Aurora, IMSA and Yorkville came calling to what would be the only time the Kaneland cross country team will compete at their usual home course of Elburn Woods. Kaneland is scheduled to host an IHSA Sectional Nov. 1 at the high school, and will also run their annual Eddington Invitational at KHS, as well.

The Knights took advantage of their one chance to compete in “The Woods” by sweeping the top six spots and scoring a perfect 15-point victory.

Park again notched an individual victory, crossing the finish line in 17:53. He was followed by Richtman (18:01), Spaetzel (18:07), Reger (18:27) and Kuipers (18:29) before the first non-Knight finished 18 seconds behind in sixth.

Clarey was especially pleased with how his seniors competed in their final go-round at their usual home.

“The seniors took pride in their last run on their ‘least’ favorite course,” Clarey said. “Park took hold early and pushed hard through the finish. Reger battled to stay within reach of the leaders. Walker ran with a great deal of pride to hold off a charging teammate. Josh Kasap also demonstrated the same courage and will to win, out-kicking a teammate.

“All of our seniors have been the perfect fits for leadership of this year’s team, which is filled with youth and new runners. I’m very proud of their effort and dedication,” Clarey said.

The Knights now set their sights on Saturday’s First to the Finish invitational at Peoria’s Detweiller Park, which is also home to the IHSA State Meet. Thirteen of the top 25 teams in’s most recent 2A poll be be in attendance. The 2A boys race runs at 11 a.m.


Tough test vs. IMSA sees Lady Knights prevail

Photo: The Lady Knights tennis team held on to a 4-3 victory over visiting IMSA Tuesday. Senior Sammie Schrepferman had the lone singles win for KHS. Photo by Mary Paulson

MAPLE PARK—Kaneland’s tennis team came out on the right side of a 4-3 match over visiting IMSA Tuesday.

At singles, Kaneland’s lone victory went to senior Sammie Schrepferman, winning 6-1, 6-1 over IMSA’s Renu Varadheeswaran. However, IMSA would get the upperhand in the next two singles matches, with KHS junior Emily Lutter falling 6-1, 4-6, 0-6, and senior Emily Grams losing 0-6, 0-6.

The doubles prevailed for the Lady Knights, as they went 3-1 to secure the victory.

The top tandem of seniors Jelly Emmanouil and Madi Jurcenko won 6-1, 6-1, while No. 2 duo of seniors Colleen Lander and Stephanie Karolewicz won a close 7-5, 6-4 match.

The No. 3 doubles team of seniors Mallory Dugan and Anna Wendling fell to their IMSA counterparts 2-6, 3-6 before the No. 4 team of juniors Katelyn Blazynski and Emily Mirocha sealed the KHS team victory with a 7-5, 7-5 win.

Next up for the KHS tennis team is an away match at Sycamore tonight at 4:30 p.m. before Saturday’s Waubonsie Valley Challenge at 8 a.m.

Photos by Mary Paulson

Volleyball looks for Centennial challenge

KANELAND—Kaneland volleyball now has 10 matches under its jersey, all in large invite fashion.

Now at 6-5, the volleyball crew must hope the action this past weekend in Champaign, Ill., and the previous week in Wheaton, Ill., has prepared them for the rigors of Northern Illinois Big XII battles.

After a 2-3 finish at Wheaton North last week, the Lady Knights travelled for the first time to the Centennial Charger Invite down at Champaign Centennial High School and went 3-2, a slight improvement over the closer gathering.

Kaneland first lost to La Grange’s Nazareth Academy by a final of 25-17, 25-13. KHS then rebounded by beating Bloomington Central Catholic in a 25-22, 22-25, 15-13 affair, and then beat East Peoria 25-22, 25-16. Host Champaign Central took care of the visitors 25-17, 25-20, before KHS solved Mahomet-Seymour in a 25-19, 21-25, 15-9 matchup.

By virtue of her performance through five matches, the Lady Knights’ Ellie Dunn was named to the all-tournament team.

Cyndi Violett, KHS head coach, also saw plenty of other nice efforts.

“Riley Hannula and Anna Senese had a big weekend for us leading the team, with Ellie Dunn in kills,” Violett said.

A trip like the Charger Invite is more than a chance to visit an out-of-the-way tournament.

“The big weekend overnight invites is a great opportunity to bond as a team. It’s more than just the tournament. It’s the dinner, bus ride and hotel stay with the girls,” Violett said.

Additonally, against Montini Catholic in Lombard, Ill., the Lady Knights won 25-18, 26-24 over the Broncos. Dunn had seven kills, four sevice points, an ace and eight digs. Hannula had two kills, one block and two service points. Senese had three kills and five service points, while Hannah Nauert had one block, three digs and eight assists. Holly Fedderly also had six assists.

On Thursday, Kaneland hosts IMSA.


Kaneland 49ers

Photo: Junior Jake Marczuk (left) had a big second game under center for the Knights, throwing for 221 yards and four touchdowns. Photos by Mary Paulson

Knights have solid non-conference win vs. visiting Marshall
KANELAND—Friday’s matchup between Kaneland and Chicago’s Marshall on the football field had fewer weather hazards, but the same positive result for KHS.

The 49-6 win for Kaneland had area fans thinking T.G.I.F. at the end of the night.

Containing a physical Commandos team on both sides of the ball, the Knights had a smoother beginning than last week’s win over Brooks Prep of Chicago, and scored touchdowns on four of its first five possessions.

“We had a bunch of fundamental mistakes last week that we focused on in practice, and we wanted to get it right, right away,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said.

Kaneland begins 2-0 for the fifth consecutive season, and hasn’t lost a non-conference matchup since a Week Two loss against Huntley in 2009.

QB Jake Marczuk went 20-for-26 on the often rainy night for 221 yards and four touchdown throws. Wideout Connor Fedderly had 123 yards and a TD on 10 catches.

“Last year, I didn’t have a huge role, and I knew my role. This year, the team is counting on me. We’re really happy to get a win today,” Fedderly said.

Through two weeks, the senior captain is getting some idea of what the Knights offer week in and week out.

“The team’s really hard working. Everyone’s really tough and really starting to come together. This is one of the hardest-working seasons we’ve had,” Fedderly said.

Additionally, Mitch Groen had 59 yards receiving on six catches, while target Tyler Paulson also had 59 yards on four catches and a touchdown.

KHS won the total yards battle handily, 356-92.

The first drive for Kaneland went six plays and 44 yards, as Paulson caught a bullet pass from 15 yards out for the touchdown, and Marczuk rescued a botched point-after by tossing to Isaiah Baerenklau for an 8-0 edge with 9:12 left in the first quarter.

Kevin Fuchs ended the second scoring drive with a 3-yard touchdown catch with 5:05 to go that made it 15-0. Marshall scored its lone touchdown on the first play of the second quarter on a 24-yard touchdown pass to close within 15-6 with just six ticks gone in the frame.

Kaneland’s next scoring drive ended on a Marczuk 4-yard scramble to make it 22-6 with 4:46 to go in the half, while the Knights’ next drive went 50 yards on seven plays, ending in Fedderly’s 32-yard snag in the end zone on fourth down. The score made it 29-6 with 1:08 before halftime.

The third-quarter flurry ended any chance of a Commando comeback once and for all, beginning with Kaneland’s special teams swarming Marshall’s punt attempt, and then scoring on a Groen catch from 6 yards out three minutes into second-half play for a 36-6 edge.

After a Kyle Diehl interception, Alec Aureilo converted two plays later on a three-yard scamper with 6:31 to go in the third for a 43-6 margin. The scoring closed with 9:50 remaining in the contest on a 16-yard run by Giovanni Regalado to make it 49-6.

Coach Fedderly feels good about what the gelling Knights are capable of with seven games to go.

“What I know is that these guys are going to play hard. There’s no egos on the team, they just want to play football. Marshall had a lot of talent over there (tonight), and the coach did a really good job,” Fedderly said.

On Friday, Sept. 12, the Knights play Olympia Fields outpost Rich Central. The Olympians come into Maple Park at 1-1, including a 36-20 loss to Plainfield East and a 48-0 shutout of Chicago’s Kenwood Academy.


Golfers face familiar challenges

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Photo: Rhett Espe tees off for the freshman/sophomore team against Hinckley-Big Rock Sept. 3. Photo by Tiffany Kufer

KANELAND—Knight golfers had its share of time on the greens this past week as conference season gets set to blossom.

On Sept. 3, the Knights hosted Hinckley-Big Rock out at Hughes Creek, and came away with a win over the Little Ten Conference staple by a final of 177-205.

On Friday, Blackberry Oaks saw a slim 165-172 win over Yorkville for the Kaneland group. Saturday, out at Fox Valley Golf Club, Kaneland clubbed at the Batavia Invite and finished eighth. Meanwhile, KHS hosted rival Sycamore on the home greens on Tuesday and won 152-168.

KHS sits at 5-2 (2-0 NIB-12) and enjoys a five-match win streak.

Against the Royals, it was Jacob Sheehan taking the mantle with a 41, followed by Jeremy Faletto at 42, Jakob Sanders with a 46 and Zach Strayve at 48.

Jesse Denton paced Kaneland against the Foxes with a 40 medalist try, followed by Brett Glennon at 41, and both Jake Hed and Jeff VanGemert managed a 42.

In the Batavia-hosted clash, Kaneland’s 331 team try bested St. Charles North’s 332, paced by Denton and Hed, both with 80 scores. Hinsdale Central won the afternoon with a 286.

Against Sycamore it was Hed leading the way with a 35, with Deton right behind with a 36. Sanders shot a 40 and Sheehan a 41.

Wednesday had a match vs. Wheaton Academy, with results not available for press. On Monday, Sept, 15, Kaneland was set to travel to Sterling.[/vc_column_text][vc_message color=”alert-info” style=”3d”]Kaneland’s girls golf team made a trip to the LaSalle-Peru Invite on Friday and finished 5th out of 29 teams with a score of 103 on the 97-par course.[/vc_message][/vc_column][/vc_row]


Girls cross country building strength

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.

Photos by Ben Draper


Soccer loses hearbreaker to DeKalb

Photo: Senior Ivan Bohorquez pushes through the DeKalb defense en route to a scoring attempt Tuesday.
Photo by Tiffany Kufer

MAPLE PARK—The Knight soccer team opened their Northern Illinois Big 12 slate of games with a 2-1 loss to DeKalb in Maple Park Tuesday.

After a scoreless first half, junior Andres Tovar found the back of the net from an assist by junior Felipe Speraggi. However, DeKalb would score twice in the half, including an own-goal by Kaneland being the difference.

The team now sits at 1-4, 0-1 in conference play. They play Sycamore tonight at 4:30 p.m. at home.

Photos by Tiffany Kufer


Sugar Grove’s Morton wins PGA golf contest

SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove resident, Jimmy Morton. a freshman at Marmion Academy, won the Boys 14-15 year old Midwest Regional PGA sponsored Drive-Chip-Putt contest at Crooked Stick in Carmel, Ind., on Sept 6. He advances to the finals that will be held April 5, 2015, at the kickoff event of the Masters next year.

Morton is on the varsity golf team at Marmion.

Last year’s event at the Masters featured live coverage on the Golf Channel. Morton was interviewed and photographed by the Golf Channel for airing during the event next year.

For more information on the contest, visit

9-11 Sports recap

Fr/So Golf
Aug. 26 vs. Hinckley-Big Rock—Kaneland defeated Hinckley-Big Rock 178 to 261. Jacob Hummel led the team with a 43. Michael Petrick and Rhett Espe each shot a 44. Jacob Milton (47), Jacob Romas (47) and Joey Brandonisio (53) rounded out the scores.
Sept. 8 vs. Yorkville—The Knights defeated the Foxes 176-194. Dan Franck led the team with a 42. Milton (44), Brandonisio (45) Luke Calabrese (45) Hummel (45) Jacob Pearson (47), Brock Williams (49) and Petrick (49) also competed.

Sophomore Volleyball
Sept. 9 @ Montini—The Lady Knights defeated Montini 25-20, 25-18. No individual stats were provided.

Freshman Volleyball
Sept. 9 @ Montini—The freshman A squad won 25-22, 13-25, 25-14, while the B squad lost 13-25, 19-25. No individual stats were provided.

Sophomore Soccer
Sept. 9 vs. DeKalb—The Knights settled for a 1-1 tie against DeKalb. John McCaffrey scored the lone KHS goal unassisted. The sophomore team is now 0-1-1, and 0-0-1 in conference play.

Kaneland Youth Football League
Saturday, Sept. 6
Kaneland White 20
@ Kaneland Orange 0
Kaneland Silver 28
@ Burlington Blue 8
Burlington White 6
@ Kaneland Black 25

Kaneland Black 6
@ DeKalb Black 0 (OT)
Kaneland White 32
@ Yorkville Red 14

Kaneland Black 12
@ DeKalb Black 6 (OT)
Kaneland White 0
@ Yorkville Red 6

DeKalb Orange 33
@ Kaneland Black 8
Kaneland White 27
@ Yorkville Red 6

Don’t see your results in the Elburn Herald? Have your coach email them to or fax them to (630) 365-2251.


Knight football wins 10th-straight opener

Photo: Senior Connor Fedderly had six catches for 67 yards and two touchdowns for the Knights on Saturday. Photo by Mary Paulson

24-hour delay, tough beginning leads to 30-8 win over Brooks
KANELAND—Kaneland faithful and fans of decent weather probably hope Kaneland stops meeting Brooks Prep of Chicago like this.

For the second consecutive year, the Knights and Eagles were delayed due to stormy weather, postponing football’s season opener by 24 hours. After a leg injury to running back Isaac Swithers on his first carry, and three fumbles on Kaneland’s first three drives, the defense came up with key stops. After QB Jake Marczuk’s initial TD pass to Tyler Paulson in the first quarter, things settled down en route to a 30-8 win.

KHS has won 10 consecutive season openers, and four straight against the Eagles. The delay was the third such occurrence in eight seasons for KHS football, also happening before the 2007 season opener. It marked the third straight Saturday meeting between Kaneland and Brooks.

Kaneland has gone undefeated in regular season home encounters since an overtime loss to Geneva in Week 8 of 2009. The last home loss at Peterson Field was on Oct. 31, 2009, in a first-round loss to Sycamore.

Marczuk went 11-for-22 for 176 yards and four touchdowns in his first varsity action. Connor Fedderly caught six passes for 67 yards, while Paulson caught two passes, both TD’s for 65 yards. Kaneland was actually outgained by Brooks in total yards, 265-228.

“They had some really good kids rushing the passer, and we had to make our adjustments up front,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “But, we have kids that can make plays and we used the spread offense, where one play looks bad and then the next is a 70-yard touchdown.”

On Kaneland’s second play from scrimmage after Brooks botched a field goal attempt, Swithers coughed up the ball and sustained an injury, only to return to action in the fourth quarter. Brooks went four-and-out, leading to Kaneland’s Alec Aurelio fumbling on Kaneland’s next drive. After Brooks couldn’t convert on fourth down, Marczuk would cough up the ball on the third play of the next drive.

Brooks was forced to punt, and an errant snap was corralled by the punter, only to be swarmed by Mitch Groen. With KHS setting up shop at the 12-yard line, Marczuk found Paulson in the end zone for a TD pass with 4:16 remaining in the first quarter.

After a Brandon Kigyos pick, Kaneland’s drive ended in a three-yard scoring pass to Fedderly for a 13-0 edge with 9:49 remaining in the second quarter.

Austin Vickery pounced on a fumble giving possession back to Kaneland, and Marczuk found Fedderly on a fade for a 10-yard touchdown pass just 23 seconds after the last score for a 20-0 edge.

Eric Matthews called his own number for Brooks for an eight-yard touchdown run, followed by a two-point try to make it 20-8 with 6:05 remaining in the second quarter.

Later, Drew Franklin’s first varsity field goal try from 25 yards out was good with 1:38 left in the half for a 23-8 lead before the break.

After a scoreless third frame, the Knights cinched Saturday night on a bomb to Paulsen for a 53-yard scoring strike as he outran the Brooks secondary to make it 30-8 just 20 seconds into fourth quarter play.

Paulson was glad to leave Peterson Field with a victory which he contributed heavily.

“Being my first varsity game, I was pretty nervous to hit the field, but after I caught a couple balls I felt pretty good,” Paulson said. “After the fumbles, we needed to change our mindset, and we knew what we had to do to continue to succeed.”

Kaneland hosts Chicago’s Marshall High School for the two schools’ first-ever meeting on Friday, Sept. 5, at 7 p.m.. KHS hosted IC Catholic in the second game of 2013.

Kaneland Girls Volleyball Tournament Wheaton No. 8-27-14-9608

Volleyball’s spike OK in first test

Photo: Anna Senese spikes the ball over Raider defenders in action against Glenbard South Aug. 27. Photo by Laura Gampfer

Lady Knights manage comeback win over Romeoville as part of middle-of-pack finish at Wheaton
WHEATON, Ill.—Aug. 27 marked the return of Cyndi Violett to the Kaneland head coaching ranks, and also marked the beginning of the 2014 test for Kaneland volleyball.

After the opening night and Saturday’s conclusion in the Wheaton North tournament, the report card might note Kaneland’s perseverance, with some room to improve in other areas.

KHS managed a sixth-place finish out of 12 squads at the Falcon-hosted tournament, which has marked the unofficial beginning of the Kaneland volleyball campaign in recent seasons.

KHS began with a 25-19, 25-15 loss to former conference foe Glenbard South, and came back in the Aug. 27 nightcap against Romeoville, 23-25, 25-19, 27-26. On Saturday, KHS lost to Wheaton North 25-16, 25-15, beat Tinley Park, Ill. program Andrew 19-25, 25-17, 25-20 and lost to Glenbard West 25-16, 25-13.

Kaneland sits at 2-3 in the early goings of 2014.

Noteworthy performances after the first night of action had Ball State bound Ellie Dunn with 12 kills, two aces and nine digs, Anna Senese with 11 kills, a block and ace, Hannah Nauert with 15 assists and five aces and Sami Burgin with nine kills, eight digs and an ace.

“They finally got mad and let the nerves go away and played how they could play. Romeoville is a good defending team. Against Glenbard South, we had a lot of mistakes,” Violett said.

Against the Spartans of Romeoville, Dunn supplied two blocks to tie the score at 22, before Romeoville scored three of the next four points for the Game 1 win.

Romeoville went ahead 12-5, sending the Lady Knights to a possible defeat before a handful of Dunn kills and Romeoville errors gave KHS a 14-13 lead. Burgin and McKenzie McMullan executed a block to go up 19-15 and send Kaneland on a 7-5 run to end Game 2.

An evenly matched rubber encounter had the two squads tied at 17 and 22 after a Romeoville sideout, before a team block gave Kaneland a one-point edge. After Romeoville tied again, AnneMarie Franz and Senese combined on a block for a 24-23 lead. Romeoville scored twice before a Kaneland kill attempt. A sideout tied it at 26 before a Dunn kill gave the Lady Knights a one-point Game 3 win.

“There were jitters, and it’s a new team, so there was that aspect,” Dunn said. “We realized we lost and it was done with, and we came back and had to prepare for the season. It’s about never giving up. We were hesitant but then we were all-in and were like, ‘let’s win this game.”

Kaneland travels south to Centennial High School in Champaign, Ill., for the Charger Invite on Saturday, Sept. 6.

Kaneland kicks season off up north

KANELAND—Knights soccer headed to its usual Fox Valley stop to kick off the 2014 season, with some success and growing pains.

At the Jacobs Tournament on Friday, Kaneland began with a 2-0 loss to Harvard and a 3-1 loss to Upstate Eight school Streamwood on Saturday, but rebounded with a 4-1 Saturday win over host Jacobs.

Against the Hornets, the Knights surrendered two second-half goals after a scoreless tie.

Facing the Sabres of Streamwood, Felipe Speragi scored the first goal of the season on an unassisted effort with 15:15 left in the first half. All the goals came in the first half for both sides.

Ivan Bohorquez got the part against Jacobs rolling with a goal off an Angel Escontrias feed with 15:32 to go in the first half. Three second-half goals by Kaneland took the form of a Spergi goal with 14:14 left from another Escontrias assist, a Michael Meisinger score with 6:21 left off a Speragi assist, and the clincher just six seconds later by Bohorquez from Escontrias.

KHS coach Scott Parillo found plenty of early-season challenges the squad needs to deal with, in a setting that keeps giving good competition.

“I think the challenge is for them to be confident in their abilities and what they do when they find themselves losing a game. I think they realize that we blew game 1 of the Jacobs tourney—we handed Harvard that game. It was very lopsided, and yet we lost. We keep going to the Jacobs tourney because it is a competitive tournament to be in,” Parillo said.

On Tuesday, the Knights went to Carpentersville, Ill., to face Dundee-Crown, where they dropped the contest 2-0. The Knights are now 1-3 on the young season.

Ahead for the Knights is a Tuesday, Sept. 9, meeting with visiting DeKalb, marking the first Northern Illinois Big XII match of the year.


Knight golfers trek to West Aurora, Geneva Invite

KANELAND—Knight golfers, fresh off several years of sustained regular season and postseason success, continue to progress through the early part of the 2014 schedule.

On Friday, the Knights managed to beat West Aurora by a final of 165-172.

KHS also finished sixth out of 18 teams in the Geneva Invite last Thursday.

Kaneland is now 2-2 in dual action.

In the slim, seven-shot win over the local Blackhawks foe, top scores were had by Jake Hed with 40, Brett Glennon with 40, Jeff VanGemert with 42 and Jesse Denton with 43.

In Geneva, Kaneland’s 313 was just one behind DeKalb, but one ahead of Geneva’s Blue team. St. Charles East (291), Glenbard South (291), Marmion (309) Burlington Central (309) and DeKalb (312) rounded out the top five.

While the top three individual scores went to St. Charles East’s Gary King (69), Glenbard South’s Michael Wittenberg (69) and teammate Russell Matos (70), Kaneland was paced by ninth-place Denton at 73, 17th-place Glennon at 76 and Hed in 24th with a 78.

KHS coach Mark Meyer still sees the team as a work in progress through the early duals and invites.

“We’ve had our ups and downs in the early portion of this season,” Meyer said. “We were fortunate to start out our conference season with a one-stroke victory over a very good DeKalb team, and we were also very happy with our performance at the Geneva Invitational. However, we’re still searching for some consistency, especially at the back end of our roster.”

Kaneland was set to host Hinckley-Big Rock on Wednesday and go to Yorkville on Friday.

File photo: Senior Jakob Sanders


Lady Knights tennis gets to work

Photo: Junior Brittany Zablocki defeated Sam Myers-Miller of DeKalb 6-1, 6-4 Tuesday at No. 2 singles.
Photo by Tiffany Kufer

Win over Glenbard N., first at Plainfield North Invite key fast start
KANELAND—Finally swinging into action, Lady Knights tennis got off to the start most in the area believed they could.

On Thursday, 2014 action had its first volley with a 4-1 rain-shortened win over visiting Glenbard North. Kaneland was also able to nab a win at the usual late August stop Plainfield North Invite on Saturday.

Kaneland also battled visiting DeKalb on Tuesday, with a 5-0 victory the result.

Kaneland is now 2-0.

The lone win in the singles set for the Lady Knights came from senior No. 1 entry Sammie Schrepferman, with a 6-0. 6-3 win. Doubles was a sweep for KHS, with No. 1 team Madi Jurcenko/Jelly Emmanouil winning 6-0, 6-0, No. 2 team Colleen Landers/Stephanie Karolewicz winning 6-1, 6-1, and No. 3 unit Mallory Dugan/Anna Wendling winning 6-4, 6-2.

At Plainfield North, the team win was buoyed by the three doubles combos taking first places in their brackets.

The Lady Knights get a week off before a home matchup with IMSA on Tuesday, Sept. 9.

9-4 Sports Recap

Games played 8/27-9/2, 2014
Don’t see your results in the Elburn Herald? Have your coach email them to or fax them to (630) 365-2251.

Boys F/S Soccer
8-28 vs. DeKalb—The Knights defeated DeKalb 5-0 behind three goals by Zach Farris and two by Nick Berland. Michael Minogue had two saves. Javier Correra, Devin Pieczynski and Alex Rodriguez each had one assist.

Boys JV Soccer
9-2 @ Dundee-Crown—Goals from Brian Kenny and Brandon Luebke were not enough as the Knights fell to Dundee-Crown 6-2 in the JV team’s season-opener.

Girls JV Tennis
9-2 @ DeKalb—Kaneland defeated DeKalb 4-1 to move to 2-0 overall. The Lady Knights got wins from Kayla Corirossi and Taylor Parrott at nos. 1 and 3 singles. The doubles teams of Lauren Karolewicz/Marley Schiltz, Mary Collum/Ava Mandele, Liz Towell/Katrina McNew and Jess Bowgren/Katie Biard all earned victories as well.

WCC Women’s Soccer
8-28 vs. Rock Valley—The Chiefs defeated visiting Rock Valley 3-1. Haley Kilbride (Batavia, Rosary) had two goals while Lisa Gaffino (Aurora, Central Catholic) had 11 saves
8-30 @ Joliet JC—The Chiefs routed Joliet Junior College 8-1. Ashley Arlak (St. Charles, East), Andria Garcia (Aurora, East) and Kilbride each had two goals. Daniela Bueno (Aurora, West) and Elizabeth Goll (Plano) also had goals for the Chiefs. Kaneland graduate Anne Marie Giese had an assist.

WCC Men’s Soccer
8-30 vs. Lincoln-Land College—The Chiefs fell 8-0 to open the 2014 season.
8-31 vs. Lincoln College—The Chiefs won 6-0 behind a hat-trick by Akim Suraji (DeKalb) and seven saves by Christian Torres (Oswego).

Boys F/S Soccer
8-28 vs. DeKalb—The Knights defeated DeKalb 5-0 behind three goals by Zach Farris and two by Nick Berland. Michael Minogue had two saves. Javier Correra, Devin Pieczynski and Alex Rodriguez each had one assist.

Kaneland Youth Football League
Saturday, Aug. 30
Kaneland Black: 27
@ DeKalb Black: 0
Kaneland Silver: 7
@ Kaneland White: 25
Kaneland Orange: 0
@ DeKalb Orange 27
Kaneland Black: 31
@ Yorkville Red: 6
Kaneland Black: 12
@ Kaneland White: 25
Kaneland Black: 21
@ Yorkville Red: 0
Kaneland Black: 7
@ Kaneland White: 34
Kaneland Black: 14
@ Yorkville Red: 0
Yorkville Black: 12
@ Kaneland White: 25

Kaneland Knight logo challenge

Be part of history and design your best Knight logo
KANELAND—The Kaneland athletic and activities departments want you to submit your best Knight logo.

Entries can be drawn freehand or digitally produced, and must be original work that does not infringe on any copyrighted material. You must be a resident of the Kaneland School District to submit a logo.

Entries are due Friday, Sept. 26, to the athletic office at Kaneland High School.

The top four submissions, chosen by a committee, will then be put to vote during homecoming week, and the winner announced soon after.

Contest forms can be picked up at Kaneland High School. Contact Peter Goff at with any questions. You can also download it here: LINK >


New look Knights

Photo: Junior Will Kuipers was the Knight’s third man at Sycamore Tuesday, running the 3-mile course in 18:00.9 and placing 43rd. Photo by Mary Paulson

Top 10 finish for Knights at Sycamore
SYCAMORE—Losing quite a few runners to graduation in May has thrust more Knights into the varsity fray for the Kaneland boys cross country squad. Despite that, the Knights kicked off the 2014 campaign with a seventh-place team finish at the annual Sycamore Invitational at Afton Forest Preserve in DeKalb Tuesday.

“Looking at the powerful lineup of teams that field this invitational, we were very interested in seeing how our team faced off,” head coach Chad Clarey said. “Coming away with seventh was a very nice start for our team. Some programs have had a few races under their belts, so we like the opening results.”

Leading the way for the Knights were seniors Brandon Park and Mitch Reger. Park finished 36th in 17 minutes, 48 seconds, while Reger was .1 second behind in 37th.

“Reger was a nice surprise to be our No. 2 tonight,” Clarey said.

Following the seniors were a pair of juniors—Will Kuipers (43rd, 18:00.9) and Sean Spaetzel (45th, 18:04.3)—that completed a 16-second 1-4 split for the Knights.

“16 seconds between our top four scoring runners is pretty sweet,” Clarey said.

Junior Aaron French, in his first varsity race, finished 63rd overall in 18:47.7 to complete the scoring five—and a 59-second split. Senior James Walker (72nd, 19:07.9) and junior Zach Kurz (103rd, 20:14.9) rounded out the top seven Knights.

Another bright spot for the Knights was a freshman/sophomore race victory for freshman Matthew Ritchman. The rookie completed the 2.42 mile course in 13:31.3, 10 seconds ahead of Stephen Poorten of Sycamore. The freshman/sophomore team placed third as a unit in the 13-team field.

“We certainly have room to grow, but there are a lot of great things we saw tonight, and from such an inexperienced group,” Clarey said. “Losing a lot of depth to graduation hurt us; however, we see this as a fresh start with a new group of hard-working athletes. They pack up well, understand our same approach to racing, and leave everything out on the course.”

The Knights travel to the Harvest Christian Invitational at 9 a.m. Saturday.


Youth movement

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.


Week 1 Preview: Brooks Prep (0-0) at Kaneland (0-0)

Friday, Aug. 29, 7:15 p.m.

KANELAND—Knights football hopes recent history repeats itself against Brooks Prep in Friday’s season opener.

The KHS gridiron contingent has won every meeting between the two programs since starting the rivalry back in 2011. This encounter was originally scheduled for Gately Stadium before necessitating a move due to Chicago’s Gately Stadium’s unavailability, meaning Kaneland has six home games in 2014 at Peterson Field.

Kaneland, behind two Jesse Balluff touchdowns, bested the Eagles by a final of 27-7 in the 2013 season opener, a change of pace from the 2012 opener in Chicago that saw KHS scurry for an 18-point comeback in a 25-24 win.

Friday marks the debut under center for junior quarterback Jake Marczuk, who takes over for three-year starter Drew David.

Brooks, led by coach Jason Richardson, finished 9-3 in Class 5A, and sees one other suburban school in 2014, Carol Stream’s Glenbard North in week three.


Golfers get on better course

Sophomore Paige Guyton putts on the third green at Hughes Creek.

KANELAND—There’s nothing like getting off to a potential win streak in dual competition. And for KHS golf, there’s nothing like taking it to a Northern Illinois Big XII Conference rival.

Such was the case Tuesday out at Hughes Creek in Elburn, as the Knights handled the DeKalb Barbs by a slim 157-158 margin.

Kaneland sits on its dual slate with a 1-2 record, as it hopes to achieve the level of success it has seen in recent years.

Doing their best to ward off elite scores like Jacob Cook’s 38 and Connor Hoyle’s 39, the Knights countered with exemplary scores from Jake Hed (37), Jesse Denton (39) and Jeremy Faletto (40).

KHS also had crucial efforts from Brett Glennon with a 41, Jakob Sanders at 45 and Jacob Sheehan at 47.

Kaneland heads to the Geneva Invite on Thursday, Aug. 28, and treks to West Aurora on Friday, Aug. 29.

Photos by Mary Paulson


Here we go

Annual Knights Under the Lights officially kicks off 2014-15 sports season
KANELAND—Thursday’s Knights Under the Lights event had a different type of illumination.

Due to storms, the event was moved to the East Gym of Kaneland High School instead of the usual venue of Peterson Field.

The event still featured introductions of the 2014-15 KHS fall sports teams as they prepare to take on their rivals near and far. Fans and visitors were treated to scrimmages by the KHS volleyball squads as well.

The Brian Bemis test-drive fundraiser, hosted by the Kaneland Sports Boosters, was postponed to Friday, Sept. 26, at 4 p.m.


2014 Football Preview: Helmet to helmet

Photo: Senior Connor Fedderly will return as receiver and be a leader in the squad. Photos by Patti Wilk

Knights look to replace previous talented class on gridiron
KANELAND—Knight names that had heavy contributions the past three seasons for a squad that advanced to a 5A semifinal and two second-round appearances are many.

Names like David, Balluff, Pruett, Bishop, Carlson, Dyer, Nauert, Koehring, Komel, Diddell and Snyder provided big moments against noteworthy rivals.

New names must be added to the cast in order for this season to be a similar success in Maple Park.

That’s a challenge that is just fine with head coach Tom Fedderly, now in his eighth year.

“It’s the same thing, I’ve been here 23 years, and been through the routine. When Camaliere and Serpa left, people didn’t know what (kind of) year we would have, and who knows. We’re getting them ready,” Fedderly said.

A key for the Knights, coming off a 9-2 season after an opening round win over Hampshire and second-round loss to Joliet Catholic last November, is to copy the intangibles imprinted by the departed crew—the same group that helped launch a 35-game regular season win streak dating back to 2009, stopped by Sycamore in October 2013.

“They’ve gone through the system. We just want these guys to be themselves and play hard. If they do that, things are going to work out,” Fedderly said.

Taking snaps under center for the famed spread offense is junior athlete Jake Marczuk, a new varsity addition.

“He’s a really good athlete and can run, and he’s about the same size of Drew and Joe, so we’ll see how he does,” Fedderly said.

Isaac Swithers, who took a portion of the carries after Balluff went down with a knee injury vs. Sterling, figures to carry the load in 2014.

Catching passes will be Connor Fedderly, Tyler Paulson, Kevin Fuchs and Mitch Groen.

“We’ve got a group of receivers that are pretty good and pretty quick after Connor and Tyler,” Fedderly said. “Connor is a leader, and has been with us for three years and knows the role of a senior leader now.”

Many a game has been won in the trenches, but with a talented group mostly departed, new personnel will get a chance at a starting gig for the Knights.

Danny Hammermeister, Zach Thielk and Jake Gomes help anchor the O-line, with some two-way play forecasted with a rotation. Linebackers include Hammermeister, with Swithers playing secondary along with Kyle Diehl.

With Matt Rodriguez gone, it’s up to Drew Franklin to boom kicks into the stratosphere and at least give Kaneland a leg up on defense and field goals.

“He’s a soccer kid, and he’s kicking well. He has a real strong leg and should be pretty good,” Fedderly said.

With a slightly modified schedule compared to years past, which includes three non-conference games and two crossover games sandwiching the Northern Illinois Big XII East division slate, it’s paramount that the Knights are as solid a unit as possible.

“Turnovers are probably the biggest thing and penalties offensively are so hard to overcome, so that’s what we’re stressing, and hopefully it takes care of itself,” Fedderly said.

Projected to be solid as a conference can be, the new five-team East looks to be tight, with DeKalb, Sycamore and Yorkville all returning from playoff years.

“It’s going to be business as usual with a number of teams having good years, and anyone can beat you,” Fedderly said.

Kaneland kicks off at home against Chicago’s Brooks Prep on Friday, Aug. 29. The season opener last year was postponed 24 hours due to rain.


2014 Tennis Preview: Bedrock of success on court

Photo: Senior No. 1 singles player Sammie Schrepferman works through drills at last Thursday’s practice at KHS. Photos by Patti Wilk

Lady Knights tennis brings back leaders, battle for conference supremacy
KANELAND—How does a tennis team try and duplicate a 26th-place team finish at State?

Luckily for seventh-year coach Tim Larsen, he can correspond with those very same athletes on how to do that once again for their senior season.

With No. 1 singles Sammie Schrepferman and No. 1 doubles tandem Madi Jurcenko and Jelly Emmanouil all set to return for another crack at State, Larsen and company are pumped to improve on a 12-4 record (21-7 the last two years).

Additional seniors making a return to the court include Colleen Landers and Stephanie Karolewicz, who saw major time along with classmates Mallory Dugan and Anna Wendling.

The returnees, along with a new influx of varsity entries, will have to play up to their usual level in order to repeat as Northern Illinois Big XII champs.

“We have them all, everyone who went to State is back, and there is tons of experience coming back. The middle of my lineup is the same. We had two seniors we lost from the lineup. The junior class is filled with talent. It’s going to be a good year and everyone knows it,” Larsen said.

In his experience, Larsen can tell you that nothing about a good year is automatic.

“The challenge is to make sure there is no letup,” Larsen said. “Some of the strategy of how you play your match, you can’t play flat. The other team might see an opening and get hungrier and play harder,” Larsen said.

Schrepferman comes back for year four, battle-tested and experienced.

“That’s the toughest spot you can play, at No. 1 singles. She sees everybody’s best. There’s not a whole lot that can be thrown at her,” Larsen said. “She plays with a chip on her shoulder.”

Larsen expects a No. 2 slot to be filled with a JV entry from last year.

Jurcenko and Emmanouil come back ready to rock the conference.

“They are a pretty good machine at this point,” Larsen said. “They went to camps again; they really have seen everything. They’ve beaten teams and got beaten by really good teams. When we talk at the fence, any strategy they’ve already thought through.”

Landers/Karolewicz are No. 2 doubles.

“It’s overwhelming; Dugan played No. 3, it’s her spot to lose, but there are probably five juniors playing well enough. It’s going to take a good week to know,” Larsen said. “It might change as we go.”

Heather Albrecht, Katelyn Blaszynski, Emily Lutter are juniors in the mix.

Other returning seniors include Julia Golbeck, Madi Michaels and Jessica Poust.

With the rest of the conference awaiting the Kaneland threat, KHS won’t overlook its rivals.

“Yorkville and Sycamore are schools we have our eye on,” Larsen said. “We know each other and get along pretty well. There’s no coaching tension there. They know what to look for from us. They’ll be right on our heels.”

The season begins on Thursday, Aug. 28, vs. Glenbard North in Maple Park.


2014 Girls Cross Country Preview: Trail mix

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.


2014 Boys Soccer Preview: Soccer hopes for more of the same

Photo: Freshman John McCaffrey works on a ball-handling drill. Photos by Patti Wilk

Parillo’s roster has talent pool to be in postseason picture
KANELAND—Four straight regional final appearances would be satisfactory for any area soccer program.

For Kaneland High School, it’s also resulted in a sectional championship appearance in 2012.

But last year saw an overtime heartbreaker at the hands of Burlington Central in the regional final, off the cleats of a semifinal rout of Sycamore.

Coach Scott Parillo and the Knights hope that their usually positive trajectory in recent regular seasons, which included 10-6-4 in 2013 and a 26-10-6 mark through the last two seasons, keeps rolling along.

“Yes, it was still a success; we reached the Regional Championship for the fourth year in a row. That is always one of our goals for a season,” Parillo said.

A key to duplicating familiar levels of success will be to plug in capable players into holes created by graduation. That’s no small task with personnel like Anthony Parillo, Tyler Siebert and Arsim Azemi.

“There are holes to fill that would be expected after graduating 16 players last year and 12 the previous year,” Parillo said. “The coaching staff believes we have players that can and will fill those holes. We are not asking these players to replace those who have left, but instead be the best players that they can be.”

With positions still to solidify, seniors on the team include Jason Carlquist, returning captain Ivan Bohorquez, Billy Koziol, Eli Alvarado, Omar Aguilar, Jack Wolf, Michael Meisinger, Edson Del Real, Peter Jefferson and Jake Bilotta. Juniors include Andrew Mathys, Jon Turyna, Mark Dhom, Cameron Pieczynski, Sam Wolf, Felipe Speragy, Andy Tovar, Drew Franklin and Alex Mendoza. Sophomores are Trevor Jahns and Angel Escontrias, while Matthew Gombar rounds out the crew as a lone freshman.

Kaneland’s recent success will have to be duplicated with a pitch full of new starters, but the goal, attitude and preparation remain the same.

“The players are already talking about keeping the tradition going and making their mark on Kaneland soccer. We have asked them ‘What do you want your legacy to be when you leave Kaneland?” Parillo said.

The Northern Illinois Big XII, which saw KHS finish 6-2-2 in 10 matches, proves to have KHS in the mix, provided things point up.

“We expect Yorkville and DeKalb to be very good teams. They have excellent coaches, and they will be tough to beat,” Parillo said.

The Jacobs Tournament provides the first competition for Kaneland, beginning on Friday, Aug. 29, and going through Saturday.

Tuesday, Sept. 9, marks the first NIB-12 clash, at home vs. DeKalb.


2014 Golf Preview: Chipping away at challenges

Photo: Senior Jesse Denton tees off at the 10th hole during Monday’s Plainfield North Invitational. Photo by Mary Paulson

Kaneland Knight golf roster looks different at the top
KANELAND—In the most recent handful of Kaneland High School golf seasons, the caliber of play has yielded individual and team success.

Dual records, including nine dual wins a year ago, coupled with high-caliber athletes like Hayley Guyton, Brody Kuhar, Matt Yonkovich and Stephen Cannell, have made for a fun ride.

With the loss of personnel like fifth-place State finisher Yonkovich and teammate Brody Kuhar, the road back to considerable success could provide a challenge. However it’s something that Mark Meyer, now in his 10th season as head golf coach, has seen before.

“After 10 years, I feel like we’re good,” Meyer said. “It’s remained the same game here, and we’ve played a good game. I feel and think that golf is getting more popular.”

With Yonkovich and Kuhar responsible for so much good fortune on the Knight greens at Hughes Creek in Elburn and beyond, Meyer knows what must happen.

“Matt and Brody leaving has us with big shoes to fill,” Meyer said. “They were our top two players for three years. Last year, I think there was only one meet that we didn’t take their scores.”

Senior Jesse Denton and sophomore Jake Hed return to the varsity ranks and attempt to do damage to visiting lineups in the fall of 2014. Jeremy Faletto also returns, along with seniors Jacob Sheehan and Jacob Sanders. Sophomore Brett Glennon is also expected to see fairway time.

“We look for consistency and low scores. We have a lot of good seniors going for us, and it should be good,” Meyer said.

With the conference a breeding ground for rising teams and talent in the rough, Meyer thinks the KHS contingent can stand up to the rest, but the NIB12 is certainly not without its competitive teams.

“It kind of looks like DeKalb and Yorkville,” Meyer said. “Yorkville was good last season, but Morris also could step up.”

Additionally, Kaneland is projected to have a lineup of girl golfers able to compete at some select tournaments in 2014.

“We’re going to field a team, and it’ll be nice to have this year. We’re going to have Tori Guyton, a senior (medalist at NIB-12 tourament), her sister Paige, who’s a sophomore and comes over from soccer in the spring, Dominique Lee, a senior, and they’re joined by Julia Van Gemert.”

The first girls golf meet will be at the L-P Invite on Friday, Sept. 5, while the boys already teed off on Monday at the Plainfield North Invite and at Geneva on Tuesday. Tuesday, Aug. 26, represents the first NIB12 boys tussle against DeKalb at Hughes Creek.


2014 Boys Cross Country Preview: Boys XC always in the running

The 2014 Kaneland boys cross country team kicked off their season the morning of Aug. 13 at the Great Western Trail just north of Virgil. The team has qualified for state five out of the last six years, placing eighth in 2008, fifth in 2009, 15th in 2011, 13th in 2012 and 22nd in 2013. Photo by Patti Wilk

Harriers in no hurry to let up in 2014

KANELAND—They know the courses, they know the challenges, they know the drill.

It’s on the Kaneland High School boys cross country team members themselves to make sure every potential rival in the area knows them.

With the Chad Clarey-coached roster well-versed on how to approach and attack each season, 2014 remains no different, especially with such key losses to the varsity group that put together a 13th-place finish in 2012 and a 22nd-place finish last year down in Peoria, Ill.

“We learned a great deal in the past two years with qualifying for the State Finals,” Clarey said. “Actually, we’ve qualified five of the last six years out of arguably the toughest Sectional in Class 2A. We learned a lot about leadership in that 2012 season, and what works well for this program. That team wound up with the fastest team time in school history. Our 2013 team needed a stellar performance to make it out of our deep Sectional once again. They put everything they had into that race and wound up with a 34-second pack split, and qualified as the fourth team out. Our performance at State was not what we expected, and while we feel we had another top 15 team, sometimes things just snowball, and we just didn’t have our best races.”

The losses of such star personnel like Nathaniel Kucera, Kyle Carter, Ryan Bower and Luis Acosta are just part of the gig every season.

“That experience made a big difference for the team’s success,” Clarey said. “For the seniors, that sour note from the ending at the cross country finals became sweet motivation for their track campaign, which ended with a state trophy. Sometimes you need to fail at something to realize how hard you need to work to stay on top. We cannot replace the experience that those runners brought to the team. Not yet.”

A new rotation will have the hope of season-wide progression, but it may take some time. Hoping to solidify the Knight ranks on the Elburn Woods course in 2014 are athletes like Andrew Lesak (who’s still on the road back to 100 percent health from track), Sean Spaetzel, Brandon Park, James Walker and Mitch Reger. Kaneland also benefits from a transfer from Texas, Jared Murri.

“(Murri’s) been right up with the pack through the first week’s worth of work, and we look forward to seeing him in a checkerboard jersey. (Lesak, Spaetzel, Park) figure to be in the top 7 mix through much of the season,” Clarey said.

Members of Kaneland cross country looking to get a real shot at varsity time in 2014 include Will Kuipers, Alex Gale, Aaron French and Kyle Osborne.

Clarey is intrigued by the potential gains made by Walker and Reger, given the chance to shine on the courses.

“Walker was injured for much of last fall and never really got the chance to show what he could do. He’s a tremendous leader on the team this year, and he’s worked so hard this summer for his final season. Mitch is in that same boat. He’s not a real vocal leader, but he absolutely knows what he wants to get out of his running, and he works as hard as any senior we have,” Clarey said.

Dealing with a slightly modified conference in 2014 yields the same goals and wishes, i.e., keep up with Yorkville.

“The Yorkville Foxes continue to crank out big numbers in their program, and will look to repeat as conference champions,” Clarey said. “I doubt there is a team in our league this year that can break up what they have. If we can pull together, stay healthy, get some good experiences and confidence, then I think we could have a shot at finishing in the top 3. We see Dekalb, Sycamore, Sterling and Geneseo as prominent teams vying for that same distinction.”

On Tuesday, Sept. 2, the season begins with a trip to Sycamore. The Eddington Invitational is at Kaneland High School on Saturday, Sept. 20.


2014 Volleyball Preview: Kaneland volleyball rolls on despite reset button

Seniors Brittany Grider and Elle Dunn (right) work on a blocking drill at last Friday’s practice. Junior Makenzie McMullan (below) taps the ball over the net in other practice action Friday. Photos by Patti Wilk

Violett returns to head coaching spot with consistent talent pool
KANELAND—It’s a similar story in some aspects to begin the 2014-15 season for Kaneland volleyball.

After an exciting postseason, the Lady Knights have to begin battle on the court with a new head coach once again.

Luckily for KHS, it’s one who’s had the exact position before.

Cyndi Violett, originally head coach from 1997-2001 and an assistant under both Todd Weimer and Kerri McCastland, takes over the head spot again after McCastland’s acceptance of a position within DeKalb High School’s administration.
The transition, due to Violett’s familiarity with the school, program and players, looks to be as seamless as it can get.

“There’s not really much of a learning curve for me. I’m just excited to be back,” Violett said. “I worked under Todd and Kerri and learned a lot from them, but I’m definitely excited.”

A seamless change is beneficial for both parties involved: coach and roster.

“The biggest challenge was not to change too much. We’re going to keep going so there’s not much change for the girls,” Violett said.

KHS comes off an interesting year, which saw one senior, Jenny Lubic, on a squad that took Sycamore to three games only to lose the Sandwich Regional as a No. 1 seed. The Lady Knights ended at 16-16 after a 23-13 mark in 2012 and a sectional appearance.

“We play a lot of bigger schools during the season, so that contributes to some losses, but we’re competing with them. We’re going to still have some of that, and we’re changing some tournaments up,” Violett said. “It’s great competition.”

Taking the mantle this year are seniors like future Ball State player Ellie Dunn and future Greenvile College athlete Riley Hannula, both captains in 2013. Other seniors include Anna Senese, Brittany Grider at DS and Rachel Kintz at right side hitter.

“It’s a good core group of seniors,” Violett said. “I’ll lean on them and others a lot.”

Junior Kathy Nguyen brings quickness and court sense at the libero position again, in the footsteps of Kylie Siebert.

Setters picking up the slack for Lubic include sophomore Hannah Nauert and junior Holly Fedderly.

“They are great and hardworking this offseason, you’re going to be wowed by them,” Violett said.

Looking to do damage in the refurbished Northern Illinois Big XII East division, Kaneland sees the usual suspects for conference supremacy.

“Sycamore and DeKalb will be our tough matches. A lot of our girls play club with DeKalb kids. That’s going to be some good volleyball there,” Violett said.

KHS begins the 2014-15 journey on Wednesday, Aug. 27, at the usual Wheaton North Tournament stop, with the first NIB-12 match on Tuesday, Sept. 16, vs. DeKalb.


Turning up the heat

Hottest time of year the best time to teach v-ball fundamentals to area athletes

MAPLE PARK—Nearly 100 athletes were able to enjoy snow cones from a machine in the Kaneland High School East Gym on Tuesday.

That was only after perspiring in the morning hours going through the paces of volleyball camps for aspects like setting, basics and fundamentals of the court game.

Athletes from kindergarten through eighth grade were put through the paces by second-year head coach Kerri McCastland and assistant Cyndi Violett, Breanne Kahl and Kelsey Flanagan.

“Fundamentals is where we pick one specific one, and then break it down. We add it into what it looks like in game play, so it’s progression,” McCastland said.

Examining the specific fundamental and using it in a controlled setting for the prospective athletes is nothing new for McCastland, herself an experienced coach and official. However, this is the first camp she’s able to run after being appointed coach last summer with the departure of eight-season coach Todd Weimer.

“It’s fun,” McCastland said. “Even though I’ve been a head coach for a really long time, I can say it’s not my first kids camp. But this is the first time I can come in and teach my own thing. It’s fun to see the kids excited about learning.”

The camps were organized and made full use of the gym space with the amount of girls.

“Each court space had their own age group, and my girls broke down the fundamentals to smaller groups. It was a full staff effort,” McCastland said.

McCastland was encouraged by not just the effort of the girls, but the commitment of the staff during a hot July week.

“That’s kudos, and that all goes back to the staff. I offered it as optional for them and they all chose to come on their own. I think that’s a great tell-tale,” McCastland said.

Also coming through the late July exercise is a chance for Kaneland volleyball to show kids how the program is run.

“It’s an added benefit,” McCastland said. “Any time you can bring awareness to your high school program is a good thing. We’ll figure out in the fall how to take it a step further.”

Photos by Patti Wilk