Category Archives: Sports

No rest for Lady Knights hoops

Colombe’s crew uses summer to its advantage
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—With a tough exit for the Lady Knights basketball squad nearly five months ago, Kaneland isn’t worrying about what might have been.

Instead, through Summer League girls basketball action at the Vaughan Athletic Center in Aurora, KHS is active at improving its fortunes for the future.

On Tuesday, Kaneland beat Plainfield East by a final of 34-28, which improved its record to 8-1 on the summer season.

Kaneland has both varsity and JV play during the summer, with most games scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The nine-team league also features West Aurora, Plano, Sandwich, Aurora Christian, Hinckley-Big Rock, Oswego East and Rosary, along with Plainfield East.

KHS coach Ernie Colombe continues to work, and is pleased with the Lady Knights’ summer output.

“Emily Heimerdiner and Andie Strang led a balanced attack,” Colombe said. “We have been getting key contributions from several players.”

Colombe singled out Heimerdinger, Strang, Tesa Alderman and Nicki Ott as players leading the way offensively, and returnees Kris Bowen and Katie Taylor as sparkplugs defensively.

“Kelly Evers has really improved and has been progressing throughout the summer. She is leading our team in blocked shots and rebounding. Emma Bradford has also stepped up her game on both ends of the floor and is finishing well for us,” Colombe said.

Kaneland lost only one senior to graduation after 2009-10, that being Mallory Carlson.

The Lady Knights face Hinckley-Big Rock at 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 1, for their next challenge.

Maple Park Outlaws

The Maple Park Outlaws 12U Travel team placed second in the DC Lightning Travel tournament on the weekend of June 12 in Cortland. (Front, left to right): Coach Andy Franklin, Justin Peterson, Zach Hurst, Adam Mish, Will Ring, Jack Coyle, Nick Mish and Drew Franklin. (Back) Coach Jim VanHorn, Jacob Violett, Jason Edwards, Coach Jeff Violett, Joe Laudont, Tanner VanHorn, Coach Tom O’Shea and Sean O’Shea. Courtesy Photo

Batter up

The Pythons’ Patrick Milton takes his swings during Saturday morning’s Instructional League Championship against the Shamrocks at the Elburn Community Center fields. The teams consisted of 7-8 year olds, with the Shamrocks claiming the crown after a 12-8 win. Photo by Mike Slodki

Geneva offers new Power Soccer Camp

GENEVA—The camp will be taught by Fox Valley’s own Bonnie Young, the former New York Power and Chicago Red Stars player.

Along with Bonnie, the camp staff includes current and former college players, licensed coaches and well-trained elite soccer players. At every level Fox Valley Soccer Club (FVSC) Power emphasizes development of the whole player concentrating on the Power Principles of excellence, desire, discipline and integrity while inspiring confidence, character and teamwork. Bring a soccer ball, water, shin guards, cleats and a sack lunch for extended camp players.

Ages 6-14— $150 residents and $160 non- residents at Persinger Recreation Center from Monday, July 26 through Thursday, July 29, from 9 am-noon.

Ages 11-14 Extended Camp—$225 residents and $235 for non-residents at Persinger Recreation Center from Monday, July 26 through Thursday, July 29, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Rose among best in Skyway softball

SUGAR GROVE—A trio of Waubonsee Community College softball players recently received post-season honors. Lady Chiefs’ third baseman Sara Rose, centerfielder Bridget Kennedy and middle infielder Sam Palucska were all named to the All-Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) First Team. In addition, Rose was selected to the NJCAA All-Region IV Division II First Team.

Rose led the Lady Chiefs in almost every offensive category this past spring, and ranked in the top-40 among NJCAA Division II softball players in home runs (23rd), triples (25th), on-base percentage (28th), runs batted in (39th) and batting average (39th). The freshman from Kaneland High School set a new Waubonsee single-season record with 10 home runs, including a single-game record of three. The right-handed hitter finished the year with a .456 batting average with 49 runs batted in, hitting .529 with runners in scoring position. Rose smacked 42 singles, 11 doubles and five triples en route to compiling a lofty .799 slugging percentage and tallying 119 total bases. She also stole 23 bases in 24 attempts and led the team with 41 runs scored in 49 games played. Additionally, Rose struck out just 10 times in 173 plate appearances for an average of once every 17.3 times at the dish.

Kennedy, a sophomore from Aurora Christian High School, batted .318 on the season as Waubonsee’s leadoff hitter. The switch-hitting speedster swiped 30 bases to finish tied for 16th nationally in stolen bases. Kennedy was second on the team with 54 hits and 38 runs scored, and led the team with 170 at bats in 49 games played.

Palucska, a freshman from Wauconda High School, batted .259 with 21 runs batted in and 24 runs scored in 47 games played. She hit four doubles, a pair of triples and a home run during the season, to go along with six stolen bases in seven tries.The Lady Chiefs’ middle infielder finished the season with a .921 fielding percentage, while not making any throwing errors all spring.

Kane County Xplosion 16U Red wins tourney

County—The 16U-Red Kane County Xplosion team was in action over the weekend at the 25th Annual Oak Lawn Senior ASA/USSSA qualifying tournament. The Xplosion went 5-1 overall and captured the tournament title by defeating the Lisle Slammers 10-8 in the championship game. The Slammers came out playing small ball and held a commanding 8-0 lead early in the contest. Keeping in step with the wet weather, the Xplosion opened the flood gates and plated 6 runs in their half of the 5th inning. The Xplosion tightened their defense and plated another 4 runs in their half of the 6th inning.

Leah Valesh went 3-0 and Alexa Caputo went 2-0 in the circle for the Xplosion, with Valesh getting the complete game championship victory. For the weekend, Valesh had 8 hits, including 2 triples, Alysha Guy, Taylor Velazquez and Lauren Rhodes each had 7 hits, with Rhodes getting 3 doubles and 7 RBIs. Devin Turner lead the team with 3 stolen bases.

The tournament victory now qualifies the Xplosion 16U-Red team for the ASA Nationals in August.

The Xplosion are in action this weekend at the Elgin Sports Complex for the Northern Illinois Lightning Summer Bash Friday through Sunday.

Sycamore Speedway weekend results

Sycamore Speedway
(815) 895-5454
15 miles west of St. Charles on Route 64
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Point Standings
Super Late Models
1. Dave Engelkins, Morrison—61
2. Pete Hatch, Gilberts—53
3. Bill Perkins, Sycamore—52
3. Charlie Olson, Kingston—52
4. Jim Klingel—39
Late Models
1. Paul Ermel, St. Charles—80
2. Paul Jackowiak, DeKalb—63
3. Steven Gardiner, St. Charles—58
4. Eric Newhouse, Millington—57
5. Danny Allen, Elgin—43
1. Tim Ludke, South Elgin—14
2. Jimmy Stephens, Richardson—10
3. Michael Brancecum, South Elgin—7
4. Kevin Memoli, Carol Stream—6
4. Chris Ricker, Elgin—6
4. Robby Moore—6.
Powder Puff
1. Danielle Heath, Kingston—11
2. Stacy Roach, Kingston—10
3. Megan Decker, Palatine—8
4. Mallory Jackson—6
4. Amy Memoli, Carol Stream—6.
1. Chad Askeland, Sycamore—8
2. Erik Grosch, Arlington Heights—7
3. Derek Walker, Marengo—7
4. Kyle Kosmel, Sycamore—6
5. Scott Vetter, Union—6.

The Old 97s

Kaneland Soccer Club’s U12 Knights 97 Black competed in the Peoria River City Classic June 18-20. They competed in the U13/U14 bracket going 1-1-2 and qualified for the Championship Game, where they lost in an overtime shootout. Maggie Bend (front). (First row) Becky Richtman, Kiandra Powell, Taylor Emigh, Bridgett Ransford, Lauren Ortiz and Olivia Galor. (Second row) Nicole Koczka, Sage Schlehofer, Ashley Crotteau and Taylor Zitkus. (Back) Asst. Coach Jenifer Chapman, Taylor Opperman, Vanessa Gould, Madison Gray, Emily Chapman, Heather Ortiz and Coach John Bend. Courtesy Photo

Watson enjoys HOF honor, volleyball action

Former WCC coach back from AZ after volleyball trip
by Mike Slodki
ELBURN—How does Maple Park’s Don Watson reflect on Hall of Fame accolades?

Not by taking a step back.

Watson, who was inducted into the Waubonsee Community College Athletics Hall of Fame at a banquet last month, also got back from Arizona this week where he was competing in Senior Nationals and the USA Adult Open Volleyball Championship.

A former sportswriter with the Elburn Herald, Watson also remains coach of local club volleyball and the Hinckley-Big Rock girls volleyball squad.

His hall of fame honor is a long way away from the humble beginnings of his WCC tenure, when he helped establish the Lady Chiefs volleyball program in 1977 as head coach, and remained for 14 years.

“It was an honor, in a sense that when I look at the others that went in (to the Hall of Fame) in years past, I knew all of them,” Watson said. “I was grateful and thrilled, it was a nice honor.”

Watson was also the first softball coach and led the team to its first Skyway Conference title in 1980.

“I’ve seen the Waubonsee athletic program grow a lot to where people are getting into the Hall of Fame,” Watson said. “We had some pretty good teams over the years.”

Watson began teaching a volleyball class in the 1980s and ran summer camps for high school players.

“I played with the Elgin YMCA team way back when and it was a very competitive league and that’s where I really learned the game,” Watson said.

With the new high school volleyball season set to begin shortly, Watson took the time to participate in mens volleyball for the sixth time in the USA Volleyball National Championships in Phoenix earlier this month, where the Chicagoland Masters took a bronze in the Mens’ 75 division.

“Then people ask how many teams were in the bracket,” Watson said. “But in the Men’s 75 group, it’s hard to get many people to compete. But the first and second-place teams were bigger and were better than we were.”

The group that Watson participated in also had teams from Florida, Maryland and Delaware.

The hall of famer has no plans to stop doing what he loves.

“With coaching high school, I feel I have to stay active,” Watson said. “I have to do what I try to teach and demonstrate sometimes what I’m talking about. It’s not just playing, you keep learning.”

Chiefs coaches recognized

ELGIN—The Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) honored a pair of current Waubonsee Community College coaches and a former coach at the league’s Annual President’s Luncheon on June 10 at Elgin Community College. Chiefs’ men’s basketball head coach Dave Heiss along with former Waubonsee coach and administrator Ray Lumpp, were inducted into the ISCC’s Hall of Fame. Long-time Chiefs’ baseball head coach Dave Randall was also honored as the ISCC’s Male Coach of the Year for 2009-2010 after leading the Chiefs to the ISCC and Region IV titles.

Heiss has led Waubonsee to nine league championships, four Region IV crowns and 483 wins over the last 25 years. He began coaching the Chiefs in 1986 and has built the program into a perennial power, winning 20 or more games 13 times. Heiss is the ISCC’s all-time record holder for career wins with 216 and counting, and he’s been named the league’s Coach of the Year nine times. He has also been selected as the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) and the Region IV Basketball Coach of the Year four times. Additionally, Heiss has guided the Chiefs’ golf program for the last 18 years, orchestrating two ISCC title winners and a Region IV crown, while helping 32 golfers reach All-Conference status. Heiss previously was enshrined into the Aurora West High School Hall of Fame, the NJCAA Region IV Hall of Fame and the IBCA Hall of Fame.

From Waubonsee’s inception, Lumpp was an integral part of the school and its athletic program. He was the school’s first physical education instructor and the first men’s basketball coach, directing the program until 1980. He guided the Chiefs to four ISCC Championships in the 1970’s, and his 1977 team earned a trip to the Illinois Region IV Finals, at a time when all Illinois community colleges were in one division. Coach Lumpp came back to guide the Chiefs for just the 1984-85 season, leading the team to a second-place finish in the ISCC. It was the fifth runner-up finish for Waubonsee under Lumpp’s leadership, meaning his Chiefs finished first or second in the Skyway nine of the 11 seasons he guided them. His teams won 75 percent of their league contests, going 101-34 overall with just one sub-.500 season, never finishing lower than fourth. Lumpp took over as Waubonsee’s athletic director in 1974 and held that position until his retirement in 1986. He also served as the Region IV Wrestling Chairman for 11 years during a time that Waubonsee hosted the Region IV Wrestling Championships. Even after retirement, Lumpp served as the officiating assignor of a variety of sports for the ISCC. Lumpp currently lives in the Knoxville, Tenn., suburb of Loudon.

Randall just completed his 33rd year directing the Chiefs’ baseball program, the longest current tenure in any sport for the NJCAA’s Region IV. His teams have been ranked in the top-15 of the NJCAA’s non-scholarship Division III polls for 16 of the last 19 years, including this year’s team which finished seventh in the nation. Randall has guided the Chiefs’ baseball program to 762 wins overall. The lone non-scholarship baseball program in the ISCC, Waubonsee has captured the league title four times under his direction, including this past spring. Randall is also the baseball chairman for the ISCC, serves as Awards Chairman for the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Association Committee and is the Region IV Code of Conduct chairman. Additionally, Randall is a member of the Region IV Hall of Fame and the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Red Stars honor group including Gil

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill.—The Chicago Red Stars announced the honorees for the 2010 Girls High School Soccer All-State All-Academic Teams. From among another record number of nominations, 138 student-athletes from across Illinois were chosen for recognition by the Red Stars for their work on the soccer field, in the classroom and out in their communities.

The 23 First Team selections were honored at the Illinois High School Soccer Coaches Association’s Honors Banquet at Diplomat West in Elmhurst on Thursday, June 10. Chicago Red Stars President and General Manager Marcia McDermott was in attendance to recognize the honorees.

In addition, all members of the All-State All-Academic Teams will be recognized on the Toyota Park field at halftime of the Chicago Red Stars’ July 10 game against Tasha Kai and Sky Blue FC. All student-athletes being recognized receive a complimentary ticket to the game and have the opportunity to purchase additional tickets at a discounted price.

Because of another large number of nominations from high school coaches, the 2010 Chicago Red Stars All-State All-Academic selections include a 23-member First Team, 23-member Second Team, as well as Special and Honorable Mention selections. Eight defenders were chosen for both the First and Second Teams, while eight midfielders were chosen for the First Team and seven for the Second Team because of the massive number of nominations at these positions. In all, 97 of the 138 honorees are midfielders or defenders. A fourth goalie was selected to the Second Team because of the high quality of the goalie nominations this year.

Locally, Kaneland defender Megan Gil was named to the Honorable Mention group, the lone representative from the 15-win Lady Knights.

Selections to the All-State All-Academic teams represent an impressive resume involving academic, sports and both school and community involvement. Four valedictorians are among the honorees (two on the First Team and two on the Second Team) and 21 percent of the selections scored 30 or higher on the ACT. Thirty-eight percent of these selected student-athletes coach soccer, while 21 percent also referee games.

Tickets are available at (866) WPS-2009 or visiting

Watson among HOF inductees at WCC

SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College inducted five former Chiefs into its Athletic Hall of Fame during the college’s annual Athletic Banquet on May 11.

David Hejtmanek, Donald Lee Watson, Sally (Toma) Kempton, Sharon Metzger and Steve Smerz were chosen to form the fourth class of the Waubonsee Athletic Hall of Fame for their involvement in sports, dedication to Waubonsee, athletic successes, and contributions to the community or career accomplishments earned after leaving Waubonsee. The Hall of Fame was formed in 2007 in conjunction with the school’s 40th anniversary celebration.

“We are proud to recognize the success of our student-athletes, as well as the coaches, administrators and community supporters who helped to foster that success,” Waubonsee Athletic Manager Dave Randall said. “Waubonsee athletics has a rich history in contributing to the total development of our students and to the campus community as a whole.”

David Hejtmanek led Waubonsee’s wrestling program for eight years, beginning in 1987. Under his tutelage, 22 grapplers qualified for Nationals, with eight Chiefs earning All-American status. Waubonsee captured the Skyway Conference wrestling crown in 1990 and went on to place 19th at the NJCAA Finals. In 1993 Hejtmanek’s squad finished 13th in the nation as he was tabbed the NJCAA Region IV Coach of the Year.

Hejtmanek describes his former athlete and fellow inductee Steve Smerz as someone who was “dependable, a great teammate, and someone who represented Waubonsee with the highest degree of character and integrity.” Smerz has displayed those traits wherever he has gone, and consequently, success has followed. While at Waubonsee, the 134-pound Smerz won 60 matches, qualifying for Nationals in both 1990 and 1991. After earning All-American status his sophomore season, he received a wrestling scholarship to Eastern Illinois University, where he was a starter for the Panthers his senior year. Smerz has been the head varsity wrestling coach at St. Charles East High School since 1997, guiding the team to three regional championships during his tenure.

Donald Lee Watson helped lay the foundation of women’s sports at Waubonsee, establishing the volleyball program in 1977 and serving as its head coach for the next 14 years. In more than half of those seasons, his squad finished in the Skyway Conference’s top three. In 1979 Watson helped build the softball program, spending two seasons in the dugout and leading the team to a Skyway Conference title in 1980. Recently, at the age of 50, Watson began playing on an Illinois volleyball team that went on to compete in nine straight Senior Nationals, and played in the USA Volleyball National Championships in Phoenix, Ariz.

Like Coach Watson, Sally (Toma) Kempton specialized in volleyball but dabbled in softball as well. On the volleyball court, she earned All-Skyway honors in both 1985 and 1986, and All-Region IV status as a sophomore. Kempton was the Lady Chiefs’ MVP in 1985, achieving a 95 percent serving efficiency rate and establishing a Waubonsee career record with 465 spikes. In the spring she helped out the softball team by playing first base. Kempton was subsequently named Waubonsee’s Female Athlete of the Year for 1985-1986.

Inductee Sharon Metzger was the first and only two-time NJCAA All-American cross country runner for Waubonsee. As a freshman in 2002, she led the Lady Chiefs to their first-ever Skyway Conference title, earning Runner of the Year honors in the process. Metzger also garnered All-Region status before placing 14th at the National Meet that year. As a sophomore she again achieved All-Skyway and All-Region honors before finishing 12th at the National Meet. The squad she anchored placed third in the nation academically among cross country teams with a cumulative 3.33 grade point average. Metzger made the Dean’s List twice and earned Academic All-Skyway honors as well. Not surprisingly, she was named Waubonsee’s Female Athlete of the Year for 2002-2003. Metzger is currently training for the 2010 Chicago Marathon.

The Waubonsee Athletic Hall of Fame honors former Waubonsee administrators, faculty and staff; athletes; coaches; community supporters; and specific teams who are five years removed from their involvement with Waubonsee athletics.

All-WSC, team awards handed out at KHS

KANELAND—Kaneland High School dished out end of the year and spring speason sports awards last week.

In Knights boys track and field, Logan Markuson was named the Track MVP, while Nick Sinon, state champ in high jump, was named Field MVP. Edgar Valle, also a state champ as part of the 4×400 relay , was named recipient of the Drendel Award. Markuson, Derek Bus, Joe Levita, Brett Ketza, Justin Choate and Sinon were recognized as captains. Andrew Essex was named winner of the Ron Probst Award. Sinon, Markuson, Taylor Andrews, Valle, Bus, Matt Reusche, Matt Spitzzeri, Sean Paulick, Tommy Whittaker, Dominic Furco, Trevor Holm and Levita were recognized as the final Kaneland representatives for the all-Western Sun Conference team.

Brandon Cottier, Essex, Curtis Secrest, Whittaker, Spitzzeri, Valle, Bus, Taylor Andrews, Markuson, Levita, Holm and Sinon were all lauded for their trip to the Class 2A State Finals in Charleston, Ill.

For girls track, Lisa Roberson and Andie Strang, both State-goers, were named co-Track MVP’s, while Brooke Patterson, fresh off a trip to Charleston, was named field MVP.

Mel Mazuc and Nicole Ketza were part of a group of three named most improved field athletes, along with Briana Stark in long jump. Hurdler Hillary Luse took the most improved track athlete award.

Roberson and Sydney Bilotta were recognized as captains, while Patterson, Ashley Castellanos and Gabby Aguirre were honored for their All-Western Sun Conference performances.

Strang (800 meter run, 4x800m relay), Roberson and Kris Bowen (4x800m), Sara Wallace (pole vault), Jessica Stouffer (4x800m), Patterson (pole vault, triple jump) and Castellanos (long jump) were lauded for their State trip.

For the 20-win softball team, first-year coach Brian Willis gave most outstanding defensive player to Jordan Hester and most outstanding offensive player to Andrea Dimmig-Potts. Samantha Hansen took home the most improved player award, Kristen Stralka and Brittany Davis got in on the Lady Knight Award, while 13-win pitcher Delani Vest was given the most outstanding player award.

In the freshman softball ranks, Elizabeth Eckert and Sarah Grams took the co-MVP honors, while Danielle McCormack won the Kaneland Knight award.

For baseball, Dave Dudzinski and Bobby Thorson were named recipients of the Mr. Kaneland Baseball award.

Jake Tickle, he of the 19-game hit streak during the season, was named offensive MVP, and Steve Colombe was crowned defensive MVP.

The 41 Award, in honor or Jeff Malewig, was given to Tickle and Jake Fiedler.

Thorson, Fiedler, Colombe and Tickle were all recognized for their All-Western Sun Conference honors.

For the 15-win girls soccer team’s history- making season, Megan Gil, Haley Johnson, Shelby Koester, Colleen Gebauer and Emily Heimerdinger were lauded for their captain-ship.

Amy Fabrizius was given the most improved player honor, and freshman goalkeeper Jordan Ginther was named Rookie of the Year.

Sophie Blank, Andie Bruce and Natalie Swieca won the coach’s award. Gebauer and Katie Taylor were co-winners of the Lady Knights Award, while Heimerdinger and Gil took the MVP honors.

For the final awards of the night, the female Birkette award was given to Roberson. Markuson and Bus took home the male Birkette award.

Markuson was honored with the Male Athlete of the Year award, while Roberson was given the Female Athlete of the Year award.

Levita, for his time in cross country, wrestling and track, was honored for his three-sport commitment.

Photo: Lisa Roberson, shown here in relay action in Charleston, Ill., two weeks ago, was awarded Female Athlete of the Year and Female Birkette Award winner at last week’s 2010 Senior Athletic Banquet Awards. File Photo

Crossroads approaching for Elburn Baseball & Softball

by Mike Slodki
ELBURN—If area residents wish to be informed and involved with Elburn Baseball and Softball, there is no better time than now.

That’s because later might not be an option.

According to a letter sent out to all Elburn Baseball and Softball families, the organization, full of 34 teams and approximately 400 boys and girls, will be without many board positions as of July 20.

With appointed members’ kids aging out of the program after the current season ends in June, many will not be returning.

“Elburn Baseball & Softball has enough means, equipment, coaches and fields to have another successful season next year, but without any behind-the-scenes people, there will not be any baseball and softball in Elburn for 2011,” the letter from the board stateed.

It went on to say, “The few of us that are left have already made the decision to fold the league entirely for 2011 if we cannot get enough involvement by the community soon.”

The organization for the 2011 season would typically start in August or September.

“This is the most important time for people to know what’s going on, because it’s toward the end of our season,” Secretary Pete LaSalle said on Tuesday. “At the next meeting in July, maybe we’ll get some people volunteering and stepping up.”

Run with a regular skeleton crew of roughly 10, the organization will need a new president, vice president, field maintenance coordinator, concessions coordinator, registrar and arbiter, among others.

LaSalle and Treasurer Shanne Kuipers are the only board members scheduled to return for another season.

Besides board positions, volunteers are needed for positions in league technology, field maintenance, marketing, and baseball/softball operations.

“We’d still like to have a nice-sized league and have some younger parents of kids in that age brackets to see what the meetings about and get involved and stay for a couple years,” LaSalle said.

While the number of kids wouldn’t be a forseeable problem, without people at the top, summer’s landscape would look quite different without a community effort.

“Whatever job people volunteer for, it’s less that the board has to take on. Every little bit helps,” LaSalle said.

The meeting, set for the Elburn Library on Thursday, July 1, is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Knights boys track makes mark on Charleston

by Mike Slodki
CHARLESTON—Followers of KHS track maybe have seen a boys track roster for the ages in 2010.

Actually, judging by the second-place team finish at Friday and Saturday’s Class 2A Boys Track State Finals at Eastern Illinois University, there’s no “may” about it.

The Knights, with 53 points, finished second in the state only to Hillcrest High School with 61. It marked the Knights’ highest team finish since 1999. Cahokia tied for second with 53, Oak Forest was fourth with 39 and Crete-Monee was fifth with 35 points.

An impressive showing for Kaneland featured six events with All-State honors and two State champions.

Coach Eric Baron holds the second-place State trophy for 2010. The team was escorted back into town by two fire trucks and a police car. Courtesy Photo
The roster, with the largest contingent at State for the Knights since 1998, featured the 4×400 meter relay team of Tommy Whittaker, Derek Bus, Edgar Valle and Logan Markuson setting a meet record with a time of 3:20.29, and Nick Sinon setting a meet record in the high jump at six feet, nine inches.

At the conclusion of the season, the Knights now have five State champs on the roster, with Markuson winning the 300m low hurdles a year ago.

Sinon and the relay crew now mark the 15th and 16th first-place nods at the State finals in Knights history.

Sinon beat out Burlington Central’s Cameron Ostrowski by two inches for State glory and was helped by a 6-03 jump in the preliminaries.

The relay squad broke the all-time record by 1.31 seconds, set in 1980.

Markuson knew something big could happen based on the initial performance on Friday.

“After prelims, I knew we were sitting pretty, and we were going to see how it all played out,” Markuson said. “It’s cool to have won that event; there was definitely a lot of emotion.”

Valle continued the good times in Charleston with a second-place finish in the 800m run with a time of 1:58.03 in the finals. The senior was followed closely by teammate Derek Bus, who finished fifth at 1:58.29.

To add to the All-State party, Taylor Andrews cinched up fifth overall in the 110 meter low hurdles with a time of 14.81 in the finals.

Markuson also earned All-State honors in the 300 meter low hurdles with a time of 38.43 seconds, good for fourth.

Markuson also highlighted a productive day for other finals, finishing seventh in the pole vault at 13-03, and seventh in the 110m hurdles at 15.09.

A standout at pole vault and hurdles throughout his Knights tenure, Markuson was thoughtful about his performance in the 2010 season.

“It’s kind of weird when you get down to State and see all this competition. It’s a cool experience but I don’t really consider myself to be in the elite group in my events, Markuson said.

The 4x800m relay team of Dominic Furco, Sean Paulick, Joe Levita and Trevor Holm made it to the finals and finished seventh at 8:01.44.

Also making the trip down to State was Matt Spitzzeri, who jumped a 43-01.5 in the triple jump prelims. Andrews raced a 42.08 in the 300m intermediate hurdles.

Whittaker raced 11.32 in the 100m dash prelims. The Knights also saw additional prelim action for the 4×100 and 4×200. Andrews, Whittaker, Andrew Essex and Brandon Cottier ran a 43.80 in the 100, while Whittaker, Cottier, Essex and Curtis Secrest raced the 200 in 1:32.00.

With the conclusion of the season, the Knights say goodbye to 19 seniors including seven State-goers.

Top photo: Knight boys track cornerstone Edgar Valle closed out his high school career with a second place in the 800m run, and a first in the 4x400m relay on Saturday at Class 2A State in Charleston. Photo by Ben Draper

Softball finished by Sycamore

SYCAMORE—Maybe the scales were tipping to Sycamore all long.

After slaughtering the Lady Spartans in their first meeting, Kaneland Lady Knights softball dealt with 16 innings of action in a tight 2-1 win three weeks ago. It all led up to the Class 2A Sycamore Regional final on Saturday morning, where the third-seeded hosts beat the top-seeded KHS roster 6-3 to claim the regional.

Kaneland finishes the first year of the Brian Willis era at 20-11.

“It was kind of the same game, but they had a few more extra walks. You have to put runs on the board. The difference with the last game is that we were able to get out of that jam,” Willis said.

Sycamore, coached by Jill Carpenter, improved to 20-15, was set to face St. Viator on Wednesday in the DeKalb Sectional.

Ending her sophomore season, Delani Vest was tagged with the loss (13-7) and gave up six runs (four earned) on 10 hits while fanning three.

At the plate, third baseman Andrea Dimmig-Potts went 2-for-3, while second baseman Brittany Davis went 2-for-3.

The scoring gates opened in the top of the second, when Anna Buzzard of Sycamore knocked home two runs with a single to increase Sycamore’s lead to 3-0.

Sycamore put up two in the fourth for a 5-0 lead and added one more with an RBI single to go up 6-0 headed to the bottom of the fifth.

Katy Dudzinski led the fifth off with a double and was sacrificed to third by Jordan Hester. Kristen Stralka singled Dudzinski home for the first run. After a fielders choice, Vest doubled and made it third on an error in the outfield and Sam Hansen scored.

The final run of the season scored when Davis came home after a three-base error on a fielders choice hit by Dudzinski.

Stralka, Sarah Kitz and Vest were retired in order to end the affair.

Davis, Stralka and Hester now say goodbye due to graduation.

“They meant a lot to our team. Leadership-wise, offense, defense, they’ll be missed, “Willis said.

Cinto among WCC honorees

SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College recently honored its’ top student/athletes for 2009-2010 at the school’s annual Athletic Awards Banquet. Individual achievements as well as team accomplishments were recognized during the festive evening in the college’s Academic and Professional Center, which also included the induction of former athletes Steve Smerz, Sharon Metzger and Sally (Toma) Kempton, along with former coaches Don Watson and Dave Hejtmanek to Waubonsee’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Student/athletes from throughout the Fox Valley area and beyond were among those honored during the evening.

Wrestler Omi Acosta was named the Male Athlete of the Year after becoming the college’s second National Champion when he won the 133-pound title. The graduate of South Dade High School in Homestead, Fla., helped lead the Chiefs’ wrestling team to a fourth-place finish among non-scholarship programs at the NJCAA Wrestling Championships. Acosta defeated four returning All-Americans en route to winning the title, including a 4-2 victory in the championship match over Rend Lake’s Eric Ellington who had beaten Acosta once last year and twice this season. Acosta also earned All-Region IV Second Team honors this season. He achieved NJCAA All-American status as a freshman finishing fifth in his weight class. Acosta has accepted a wrestling scholarship to Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa, where he will also be pursuing a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

Sarah O’Leary was chosen the Female Athlete of the Year, after leading the Lady Chiefs’ basketball team the last two seasons. A 5’8 guard was named to the All-Region IV First Team and the All-Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) First Team for the second consecutive year after averaging 16.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per contest. The sophomore led Waubonsee in points (505), offensive rebounds (118), total rebounds (267), assists (102) and made free throws (155).

The left-hander also averaged 2.4 steals and 3.3 assists a game, while pacing the Lady Chiefs in scoring 18 out of their last 19 games, including 17 consecutively and all 14 ISCC contests. For the season the Yorkville High School graduate booked 9 double-doubles in points and rebounds. A physical education major, O’Leary will be attending Aurora University this fall.

Men’s basketball player Alex Cannon was named Waubonsee’s Most Improved Male Athlete. A 6’1” forward from Bolingbrook High School, he saw very limited action as a freshman before earning All-ISCC Second Team honors this past season. Cannon was the Chiefs’ defensive specialist, often giving up several inches in height as he typically guarded the opponent’s top scorer. On occasion the sophomore was an offensive threat as well, as he managed to average 6.1 points, 1.7 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.8 rebounds per contest. Cannon also tallied a season-high 21 points and grabbed eight boards in Waubonsee’s 58-55 conference win over Prairie State College late in the season.

Kaneland High School graduate Erin Cinto was chosen as the Most Improved Female Athlete. A Cross Country runner, Cinto was often the Lady Chiefs’ third and sometimes fourth runner as a freshman before emerging as the leader this past season. She placed fourth at the ISCC Meet to earn All-ISCC status, and then came in eighth at the Region IV Meet to qualify for the NJCAA Division I Nationals. Cinto also finished 12th at the Waubonsee Invitational and 14th at the Harper Invitational to earn individual medallions during the fall.

Bridget Kennedy, an education major from Aurora Christian High School, was the recipient of both the Vermilion and Gold Award and the S.T.A.R. Award. The Vermilion and Gold Award is given annually to the Waubonsee student/athlete who best exemplifies the true ‘heart and soul’ of Chiefs’ athletics. “Essentially someone who helps others and gets involved on campus,” describes Athletic Manager Dave Randall. The S.T.A.R. award is given to the student/athlete that displayed a good work ethic, a dedication to academics and achieved perfect attendance in Waubonsee’s athletic monitoring program. Kennedy demonstrated these attributes and more while batting leadoff and playing outfield for the Lady Chiefs’ Softball team, and also performing as a member of the Waubonsee cheerleading squad. The left-handed hitter finished with a .318 batting average and 30 stolen bases in 32 attempts on the diamond.

One of the highlights of the evening was the presentation of the ISCC All-Sports Award trophy which Waubonsee won for the first time since 1990. Several team accomplishments were also recognized including the Men’s Cross Country team for capturing the ISCC title and the Region IV crown to advance to the NJCAA Division I National Meet for the third consecutive year. The women’s soccer team was also recognized for advancing to the Region IV Division II title game for the second straight year.

Individuals achieving All-Conference, All-Region, All-American and Academic honors during the school year were recognized throughout the evening. Long-time head baseball coach Dave Randall was also recognized for being named the ISCC Baseball Coach of the Year after leading the Chiefs to the league title for the first time since 1998. John Bell, head Cross Country and Men’s Tennis coach, was recognized as the ISCC and Region IV Coach of the Year after guiding both programs to dual titles. In addition, men’s basketball coach Dave Heiss was recognized for his recent induction into the Aurora West High School Hall of Fame, for being named the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Division II Junior College Coach of the Year, and for his upcoming induction into the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference Hall of Fame. The festivities were capped off with a standing ovation for long-time athletic secretary Jan Zahnzinger, who is retiring at the end of June.
file photo

WCC Hitting Camp returns for year 26

Boys and girls ages 8 through 14 are invited to the 26th annual Hitting Camp, hosted by Waubonsee Community College. The Hitting Camp runs from Monday, June 14, through Thursday, June 17, for baseball and fast-pitch softball.

Instruction begins each day at 12:30 p.m. and continues until 2:30 p.m. on Waubonsee’s Sugar Grove Campus.

The head instructors for the camp, Waubonsee’s Dave Randall and Naperville North’s Mark Lindo, will teach the fundamentals and techniques of hitting with the emphasis on the basic mechanics necessary to excel at baseball and softball. Station work, group drills and individualized instruction are used to teach each player those skills. The cost is $70 for each participant and $50 for each additional family member. Each participant receives a “Hitting Camp” T-shirt. Brochures are available at Kirhofer’s Sports in Aurora, Tri-Cities Sports in Batavia or by contacting Dave Randall at (630)466-2527. Registration is on line at

This year there will also be a Baseball Pitching Camp offered immediately following the Hitting Camp. The fee for the Pitching Camp is $30 and runs from 2:45 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. beginning Monday, June 14, through Thursday, June 17. Registration for the Pitching Camp is also online at

KHS trackster Patterson vaults to 10th place finish at State finals

CHARLESTON—Brooke Patterson wasn’t a perfect 10 this weekend, but that number put her in a pretty nice place.

With a 10-foot vault in the pole vault event on Saturday at Eastern Illinois University, the first-year track participant finished 10th overall in the Class 2A State girls track finals in Charleston, Ill.

Patterson, who came on the scene from a gymnastics background for coach Doug Ecker’s Lady Knights roster, finished with 10 feet, three inches in the prelims to launch herself into the finals.

Pontiac’s Emily Grove was crowned champion with a 12-06 final effort. Normal University High’s Emily Clay was second with 12 feet. Belvidere North’s Baily Murphy took third with 11-09 and fellow Western Sun Conference competitor Sam Elliott took fourth at 11-09.

Springfield Southeast won the team standings with 57 points.

Patterson turned out to be the only Lady Knight in six events to make it to Saturday’s final.

Patterson’s teammate Sara Wallace, in her final KHS event, made it to nine feet in the prelims of pole vault.

Freshman Ashley Castellanos finished tenth in her long jump flight with a mark of 15-6.25.

Patterson also competed in the triple jump and finished tenth in her flight at 34-11.25.

The 4×800 meter relay foursome of Lisa Roberson, Jessica Stouffer, Kris Bowen and Andie Strang finished eighth in their prelims with a time of 10 minutes, 6.18 seconds.

Strang also finished just .08 off the final qualifying mark in the 800m run with a time of 2:23.36.

With the 2010 campaign now complete, the Lady Knights track program says goodbye to a couple of State qualifiers in Roberson and Wallace, and additional seniors Elicia DiBella, Tara Groen, Hillary Luse, Mel Mazuc, Megan Mendoza and Lexie Pniewski.

Photo: Junior Brooke Patterson vaults over the nine-foot mark in the preliminaries at the Class 2A State Girls Track Finals in Charleston, Ill. Patterson, who also competed in the triple jump, was the only Kaneland finalist in six events.
Photo by Ben Draper

KHS falls to Hampshire in season-ender

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—In Monday’s regional opener play-in game against fifth-seeded Hampshire, the fourth-seeded Knights were bombarded by opposing offense and failed fundamentals.

The Whip-purs put up four runs in the first inning and four runs in the seventh to clinch a 10-6 win, ending the Knights season at 23-13 (14-7 Western Sun Conference) in hot late-spring conditions. KHS committed five errors in the loss. Hampshire improved to 16-17.

The final win total did tie last year’s all-time mark for season wins, however.

Meanwhile, Hampshire was set to take on top-seeded Burlington Central on Wednesday, with the winner facing either Prairie Ridge or Crystal Lake Central in the Hampshire Regional title game on Saturday, May 29, at 1 p.m.

The Whip-purs jumped on starting pitcher Ty Hamer for four runs in the top of the first, but the Knights came back with two in the bottom of the inning, thanks to RBI singles by Dave Dudzinski and Jake Tickle.

Hampshire put up one in the top of the second for a 5-2 lead and chased Hamer after 1.1 innings (7 H, 5 R).

Dudzinski launched a longball to right field in the bottom of the third to close within 5-3, but Hampshire added one in the sixth and four in the seventh off of Tickle to go up 10-3.

In a last-ditch effort, KHS had runners at first and third with three runs already in. Catcher Aaron Hayman, who subbed for an injured Tyler Callaghan, grounded to short to end the game.

“I think these guys had our number today,” Kaneland coach Brian Aversa said. “Hat’s off to them, and it’s too bad we can’t play two out of three.”

In the final regular season contest of the year, the Knights tied the school record for wins with their 23rd in a 4-3 win at Bartlett High School.

Sam Komel earned the win on the mound against his Upstate Eight Conference opponents with a solid 5.2-inning outing. Komel gave up three runs on three hits, while Dudzinski earned the save with 1.1 innings. Dudzinski struck out three of the five batters he faced in relief.

Komel also helped his cause at the plate with an RBI double.

Under consistently rainy skies and trying for a share of the last-ever Western Sun Conference, the Knights, who trailed DeKalb by one win, got a clutch three-run triple in the top of the seventh to buoy an 8-2 win.

Winning pitcher Steve Colombe went 5.1 innings and allowed two runs on four hits in a winning effort, while Jake Tickle struck out three in 1.2 innings of work for his first save of the year.

Dudzinski singled home Joe Camaliere for the first run of the game, while a pitcher’s throwing error allowed Callaghan to reach base and score Dudzinski and Bobby Thorson for a 3-0 edge.

Camaliere doubled home Jake Fiedler to go up 4-1 in the top of the second. The score remained that way until the bottom of the sixth, when the host Barbs scored once.

After the bases were loaded in the top of the seventh on two walks and a hit batsmen, Landers laced a triple that cleared the bases and gave KHS breathing room.

On May 19, at Elfstrom Stadium in Geneva, Kaneland surrendered four runs to the Barbs in a less-than-stellar fifth inning enroute to a 5-2 loss under the lights. Colombe went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI, while Hamer was tagged with the loss.

With the conclusion of the season, Kaneland varsity baseball says goodbye to seniors Hamer, Hayman, Tickle, Dudzinski, Colombe and Fiedler.

“Dudzinski came in from basketball again, and we loved his contributions all year. Tickle had the 19-game hit streak; all the seniors had a really good season stepping up,” Aversa said.

Photo: Jake Tickle fires toward the plate in the fourth inning of Kaneland’s 10-6 regional opener loss to Hampshire on Monday. Photo by Mike Slodki

Historic girls soccer season ends at foot of Rosary in regional

AURORA—For the second straight year, the Kaneland Lady Knights’ soccer journey ended on the cusp of regional glory.

However, the signs of progress continue to reveal itself, thanks to talent and depth.

Second-seeded Rosary got the best of the top-seeded Lady Knights on Saturday afternoon by a 1-0 final. Kaneland’s final record is 15-3-5 (3-2-2 Western Sun Conference), which marks an all-time best for coach Scott Parillo’s crew.

The Royals earned revenge for a 1-0 Kaneland win back on March 24.

With 10 minutes remaining in the first half, Samantha Duarte of Rosary scored the lone goal of the match, and was good enough for the final margin.

Kaneland now says goodbye to an impressive senior core that rose through the ranks: Colleen Gebauer, Haley Johnson, Natalie Swieca, Megan Gil, Andie Bruce, Shelby Koester and Thalia Garcia.

Slated to return next season, however, are standouts like freshman goalie Jordan Ginther, who shut out 12 different opponents, and junior Emily Heimerdinger, who now has 61 goals through three seasons, including 18 this season.

Rosary, meanwhile, lost to Sycamore 3-1 on Tuesday in the Hampshire Sectional opener. Sycamore defeated DeKalb 2-1 in the Rochelle Regional title match.

Boys track takes Sterling Sectional; 11 events to State

by Mike Slodki
STERLING—Kaneland boys track isn’t just getting hot at the right time, it’s smokin’.

With 126 total points and 11 State qualifying events coming out of Friday’s Class 2A Sterling Sectional, Kaneland beat its closest competitor, DeKalb, by 57 points.

Burlington Central finished third with 58 points, followed by Yorkville at 55 and Rochelle at 52.

The Knights’ 11 events was the most since 1998, in which Kaneland qualified in 12 events.

Coach Eric Baron’s crew now gears up for a trip to the Class 2A State finals in Charleston, Ill. at Eastern Illinois University.

Kaneland’s entry in the 4x800m relay (Dominic Furco, Sean Paulick, Joe Levita, Trevor Holm) earned sectional champ honors with a time of 8 minutes, 6.99 seconds, beating BC by 1.73 seconds.

In other relay action, the 4x100m relay squad (Andrew Essex, Brandon Cottier, Taylor Andrews, Tommy Whittaker) finished second with a time of 43.57 seconds, just .19 behind DeKalb.

In 110 meter high hurdles action, the tandem of Taylor Andrews and Logan Markuson pushed each other to higher levels all season, and it was no different in Sterling as the two Knights finished in the top two spots. Andrews finished first at 14.54 seconds, while Markuson took second at 14.74.

With a second-place nod in the 100 meter dash, Whittaker’s 11.17 was good enough to send him packing to EIU.

Kaneland will send two competitors to State in the 800m run, as stalwarts Edgar Valle (1:58.27) and Derek Bus (1:59.04) took the top two spots in the event.

KHS also sends the unit that participated in the 4x200m relay (Essex, Cottier, Curtis Secrest, Whittaker) to State, as it finished third with a qualifying time of 1:31.82.

“We have underclassmen in both the 100 and 200 (relay); that’s impressive,” Baron said. “Really, the guy who got the ball rolling for us was Whittaker. He had a huge night in the 100 and won his heat in the prelims, and once he did that it kind of carried over to the rest of the team.”

Markuson came back to take the sectional champ crown in the 300m low hurdles, running in 39.62, and will be joined by teammate Andrews (second place, 40.68 seconds).

The Knight foursome that ran the 4x400m relay (Whittaker, Bus, Valle, Markuson) finished first with a time of 3:23.01, beating out BC by 3.71.

Markuson qualified for a third event with a second-place pole vault effort of 13 feet, 3 inches, continuing Kaneland’s long standing tradition of sending pole vaulters to the big meet annually since 1983.

“We’ve had great coaching,” Baron said. “Kaneland is about pole vaulting, and Andy Drendel came in this year. He and Logan felt a great deal of pressure. Logan stepped up when it mattered in his last attempt.”

Nick Sinon returns to Charleston, based on his second-place high jump at 6-07.

Matt Spitzzeri makes it to State for the first time by capturing fourth in the triple jump at 43-07.

The State finals are Friday, May 28, and Saturday, May 29.

KHS baseball keeps hitting at 21 wins

KANELAND—Kaneland baseball hit the 20-win mark once again and found itself with a chance at Western Sun Conference-glory if things tumble in the right direction.

At 21-11 (13-6 WSC), the Knights split a doubleheader with Sycamore on Saturday afternoon in Maple Park and beat Sycamore on Friday by a 5-2 final.

They followed the weekend’s action with a convincing 9-1 win in DeKalb on Tuesday afternoon.

Kaneland is now in a first-place tie with Geneva in conference play.

In game one of the doubleheader, an 8-7 win, Jake Tickle improved to 8-0, pitching 2.2 innings of relief, and Bobby Thorson nabbed the save.

Thorson also produced at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Jake Fiedler doubled and drove in three runs for the Knights.

Up 4-2 after three innings, Sycamore took a 5-4 lead in the fourth, before KHS scord two in the bottom of the inning. Kaneland led 7-5 in the sixth when the Spartans scored twice to tie matters, before the Knights put up one in the bottom of the sixth.

In the 6-4 game two loss, Sam Komel, in 5.1 innings, gave up six runs and struck out seven.

Joe Camaliere went 2-for-4 with a double and RBI while Thorson went 3-for-4 with a double and run driven in.

On Friday, Kaneland scored two in the first, two in the second and one in the third, before allowing two Spartan runs in the bottom of the third. Illini-bound Ty Hamer went the distance and improved to 5-2.

Fiedler went 2-for-4 with a double and run scored.

Against the Barbs, Thorson improved to 4-2 with a complete game two-hitter, while Thorson, Tickle and Tyler Callaghan all went 3-for-4.

The Knights travel to DeKalb on Thursday, May 20.

Andrews, Markuson, Sinon finish WSC boys track action with flourish

by Mike Slodki
GENEVA—Kaneland boys track ended its Western Sun Conference tenure on a nice note this past Friday in Geneva.

The exceptional finishes might pave the way for a prolific Class 2A sectional in Sterling on Friday afternoon.

Thanks to a handful of first-place finishes, the Knights garnered 120 points, enough for second place. Geneva, at 143 points, finished atop the standings.

Glenbard South (82), DeKalb (60) and Batavia (55) rounded out the top five, while Yorkville (42), Sycamore (30.5) and Rochelle (24.5) finished in the bottom third.

The first-place party began with Taylor Andrews in the 110 meter high hurdles, when he ran the stretch in 14.69 seconds. Andrews finished fifth in preliminaries.

The 4x400m relay foursome won its event with a time of 3:23.44.

Logan Markuson became the last-ever WSC champ in the 300m hurdles with a time of 39.30, winning by .22 seconds over Geneva’s Ryan Ahern.

Markuson also won the pole vault with a mark of 13 feet, nine inches.

Nick Sinon, with an effort of 42-10, won the triple jump, while also taking the high jump at 6-09.

For the frosh-soph roster that finished fourth with 78 points, several exceptional finishes came Kaneland’s way.

Dylan Pennington finished third in the 200m dash with a time of 24.81. Teammate Clayton Brundige, with a run of 2:08.26, finished second in the 800m run.

Knight Chad Swieca took the conference title in the 300m hurdles with a time of 43.43 seconds.

Successful finishes for relay units included a second place in the 4x400m at 3:44.30 and a 4x800m first place nod with a time of 8:43.16.

Knight Marshall Farthing took a third in the high jump at 5-05 and a third in the triple jump at 37-10.5

The Knights now gear up for the Class 2A Sterling Sectional on Friday, May 21.

Lady Knights softball spends 16 innings in 2-1 win over Sycamore

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland softball got more than it bargained for this past week.

As in more innings than scheduled, quite a bit more.

On Friday, a rain makeup against rival Sycamore resulted in a 2-1 thriller that took an astounding 16 innings to resolve. KHS followed that up with an 11-inning encounter at Yorkville, but that resulted in a 2-1 loss.

With three regular season contests remaining, the Lady Knights are 15-10 with a 7-5 Western Sun Conference mark.

In the epic battle against the Lady Spartans, first baseman Andrea Dimmig-Potts, who went 5-for-8, not only drove home LF Sam Hansen with the winning run with the bases loaded, but also rushed home to tie the score in the bottom of the 15th on a wild pitch.

Dimmig-Potts was glad she could come through, when KHS was down to its final strike.

“A win like this shows us we can do anything,” Dimmig-Potts said. “We just had to push through it. I saw an opportunity to score and I took it.”

CF Jordan Hester went 5-for-7 with two doubles.

The Lady Knights had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the 12th and 14th innings on base hits, but Hester was gunned down by good Sycamore throws at the plate.
Pitcher Delani Vest worked the entire game and struck out eight, allowing just one run on seven hits.

In order to keep the Lady Knights in the game, coach Brian Willis noted a big improvement in one aspect of the game.

“We’re playing well defensively,” Willis said. “We’ve worked hard in practice, and it’s paying dividends in the game.”

Against the Lady Foxes, Kaneland scored on in the first, but Yorkville tied matters in the sixth and won in the eleventh.

The Lady Knights’ next challenge takes place on Thursday, May 20, vs. Batavia.

Soccer takes regional opener with 2-0 knockout

by Mike Slodki
AURORA—Better the second half than not at all.

A scoreless first half for Kaneland soccer in the semifinal of the Class 2A Rosary Regional had the 15-2-5 Lady Knights flummoxed against the fourth-seeded Aurora Central Catholic Lady Chargers.

But a Sophie Blank goal just 13 seconds into the second half gave Kaneland a lead, and an Emily Heimerdinger goal with 32:19 left provided the final 2-0 margin.

Kaneland now increases its season record for wins and also a team goal with 15 wins.

The Lady Knights will now await the winner of (2) Rosary and (3) IMSA, which were set to battle on Wednesday, in the regional title game on Saturday, May 22, at noon.

This now marks the second consecutive season that Kaneland finds itself in the regional championship.

Coach Scott Parillo feels that Kaneland will need to pick up the performance.

“It wasn’t a good display at times. We didn’t pass well and we didn’t shoot well. The good thing is we won and we’re in the regional championship,” he said.

Blank’s goal got the team off to as good a start as possible for the final 40 minutes of action.

“We just needed to be aggressive, and Andie (Bruce) had a good pass,” Blank said.

Heimerdinger’s goal occurred after weaving through waves of ACC defenders and hitting the left corner.

With the Lady Knights surrendering just 15 goals thus far, and goalkeeper Jordan Ginther pitching another shutout, captain and defender Megan Gil knows the defense’s task is magnified in this “second season.”

“You just have to keep your head in the game,” Gil said. “The defense has to be strong and help the offense. We work together as a team. We’ve played a long time and we’ve come from winning only three games our freshman year. We like playing with each other.”

Photo: Kaneland goalkeeper Jordan Ginther makes a stop against Aurora Central Catholic during Tuesday’s 2-0 regional-opening shutout. Photo by Mike Slodki

Bailey UWP-bound

“I have an advantage coming from knowing the playbook; we run that offense at Kaneland,” said WR/DB Ryley Bailey, who commited to play football for Division III University of Wisconsin-Platteville in the fall. Bailey had 56 catches and 8 TD’s in 2009.

File Photo

Catch WCC at NJCAA DIII World Series

Waubonsee Community College knocked off Harper College 5-4 to capture the Region IV Division III championship for the first time since 1998. The Chiefs advance to the 8-team, double-elimination NJCAA Division III World Series in Tyler, Texas. Waubonsee (34-26) plays Herkimer County (NY) Community College at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 22, in their opening game.

You can follow all the action live on the web by logging on to and clicking on the “Division III World Series” link in the upper right-hand corner. Access to live stats, audio and video, along with additional tournament information, will be available on this Internet site. For further information, you can also go to on line at

Feeder hoops programs sticking with what works

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—For area basketball of any age to have a chance at success, you need not only players, but organization.

Such is the case with the Kaneland Silver Stars and Cagers, who continue to service the budding area players of middle school age.

Plus, with the Kaneland School District now able to retain middle school sports, there doesn’t have to be changes to the already successful status quo to the feeder programs.

Focusing on grades 5-8, the older SIlver Stars are coming off a record of 46-16. For those who like to finish seasonal action strong, the Silver Stars of the 8th grade variety finished a 15-game win streak and included tournament wins at South Elgin, Grayslake and Elk Grove Village.

Head coach Jeff Heimerdinger and brother-in-law Mark Hotwagner were at the helm for the team that hoops it up in the Neuqua Valley League in Naperville, where each team plays twice against other programs in the Naperville area.

“I think one of our competitor’s coaches summarized it best when he said ‘The Silver Stars are incredibly tough to play because every one of the girls were solid fundamentally and understood their roles’. We went through a development process in year one and then were able to key on strategy more this year because kids were more confident in the basics,” Heimerdinger said.

Although a feeder travel program, all kids must live in the Kaneland School District, allowing the potential future Lady Knights to play as a team for seasons on end.

“We operated under a very simple premise, be accountable to your teammates and represent the program to the best of your ability and with class. We stressed as long as they gave us their best, they could not do anything wrong,” Heimerdinger said.

Since the inception four years ago, Heimerdinger, whose daughter Emily suits up for both basketball and soccer at Kaneland, has noticed definite growth.

“The biggest changes I’ve witnessed in the four years of the program is that teams are now starting to recognize our club and acknowledge how competitive Kaneland is becoming,” Heimerdinger said.

Hotwagner has seen the progress of the girls for several years.

“The girls are growing up, they are able to improvise. You can only call so many plays for them,” Hotwagner said. “Their instincts improve, and the success of the team is breeding more success and confidence.”

“The girls in the program have talent, and they’ve bought into it and they know that they need to execute,” Hotwagner adds.

For the Cagers, board president and 8th grade coach Joe Spitzzeri has wanted to get the 5th through 8th grade boys hoops athletes to get as in touch with the “big” club as possible.

“We’ve had coach (Brian) Johnson come and help with practice drills, and we’ve been moving away from parent coaches for the higher levels and turning toward former Kaneland players to coach,” Spitzzeri said.

The “farm team”/big club connection doesn’t stop there, as the Cagers, now it its sixth year of draining shots, plays its games at KHS as part of the Greater Suburban Basketball Association, along with 75 other area programs. Last year, the Cagers pocketed three tournament championships.

“The whole idea is to learn the high school system and get players familiar with each other,” Spittzeri said.

With everything remaining status quo, one wonders what changes would have been put in place if the Kaneland Middle School sports were not saved.

“I believe it would have created more opportunity for a team like the Silver Stars. The cost is so minimal that parents would have encouraged their kids to participate because there would have been no other option,” Heimerdinger said.

“Our season wouldn’t start until the middle school season ended anyway, so as far as big changes, I can’t really see any,’ Spittzeri said.

That leaves the young basketball talent to worry about what they do on the court, which looks to add on to their organizational success.

Kaneland seeks golfers, sponsors

Kaneland—The Kaneland boys basketball program is seeking golfers and sponsors for its golf outing on June 12 at Bliss Creek Golf Course.

The fundraiser will raise money for uniforms, equipment and fees for summer leagues and shootouts.

Prizes, raffles and a silent auction will follow the event. The golf outing is a scramble format and will cost $400 for a foursome; cost is $35 for dinner only.

For information, call (630) 365-5100, ext. 347 or email

Lady Knights sees 3 attain all-WSC status at Glenbard S.

GLEN ELLYN—In the last tune-up before the postseason begins, the Lady Knights track team participated in the final Western Sun Conference meeting at Glenbard South High School on Friday.

The varsity Lady Knights finished seventh overall with 37 total team points, ahead of Rochelle (28). Geneva (136.5), Batavia (120) and Glenbard South (81.5) rounded out the top three, while Yorkville (57), DeKalb (50) and Sycamore (48) finished in the middle of the pack.

Kaneland’s JV crew, with 62 points, finished in fourth behind Batavia (134), Geneva (126) and Glenbard South (109).

In varsity action, the relay group of Lisa Roberson, Jessica Stouffer, Kris Bowen and Andie Strang finished fourth in the 4x800m relay race with a time of 10 minutes, 9.58 seconds.

The varsity high jump yielded an all-WSC honor for freshman Gabby Aguirre, as she finished second in the event with 4 feet, 11 inches.

Freshman Ashley Castellanos took the next all-WSC mention with a third-place finish in the varsity long jump with an effort of 16-02.

Junior and first-year trackster Brooke Patterson continued her strong season with the team’s third all-conference honor, taking second in the varsity triple jump at 34-08.5.

The JV ranks saw some progress at an important juncture of the season. Lady Knight Sydney Luse took third in the 100m hurdles at 18.29 seconds, and third in the pole vault at 8-06. Teammate Amanda Lesak finished second in the 300m hurdles with a time of 53.38, and second in the high jump at 4-07. Briana Stark showed her skills with a second-place finish in the triple jump at 30-05.

The next stop for the Lady Knights is the most important one, thus far, the Class 2A Rochelle Sectional on Thursday, May 13, at 4 p.m.

Kaneland is one of 16 schools in a field including conference rivals DeKalb, Rochelle, Sycamore and Yorkville, and also includes schools like Burlington Central, Hampshire, Dixon and Ottawa.

Boys Track nabs 2nd at Kane County Invite

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It was cold and windy, but Knights boys track managed to leave all but one team in its collective dust on Friday.

With 103 points, the Kaneland Knights took a second-place nod during the 2010 Kane County Invite out at West Aurora High School.

The host Blackhawks, with 126.5 points, took the crown, with Geneva (73), St. Charles North (68), Batavia (61.5) rounding out the top five.

The noteworthy finishes began with Taylor Andrews and Logan Markuson finishing 2-3 in the finals of the 110m high hurdles. Andrews ran in 14.90 seconds, while the University of Minnesota-bound Markuson was .03 seconds behind.

Markuson was in the same boat as everyone in terms of having to brave the conditions.

“You just try to run the same throughout, and there’s a little bit of a tailwind, which isn’t ideal, but I guess everyone has to run in the same thing,” Markuson said.

Markuson might have a leg up in terms of competitors, as he’ll be competing in Minneapolis next season on a partial scholarship.

“It was nerve-wracking at first,” Markuson said. “They were interested and it felt like a big deal. I’m excited for it, and I love the campus.”

Kaneland asset Nick Sinon took second place in the high jump thanks to an effort of six feet, three inches; four inches behind West Aurora’s Aviance King.

Knight Derek Bus, with a time of 51.12 seconds, was king of the 400m dash.

Markuson, with a pole vault effort of 13-09, was first in that event, a half-foot better than the next entry.

Kaneland’s 800m sprint medley foursome finished first with a time of 1:43.80, while the 4x400m relay squad was first at 3:27.31.

Additionally, the Knight 4x800m relay unit beat the field with a time of 8:04.58.

In the triple jump, Kaneland’s Sinon finished third with an effort of 42-5.25 feet, and he also took third in the long jump with a tally of 20-7.25.

In the 300m hurdles event, Markuson became invite champ at 39.89 seconds, while Andrews finished in third at 40.74.

Coming up for the Knights: the final version of the Western Sun Conference meet in Geneva on Friday, May 14.