Category Archives: Sports

Boys hoops conference clash fails to go way of Knights

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—KHS boys basketball kept afloat for three quarters.

It was the fourth quarter that sunk the Knights on Friday.

Victim to a 9-0 run and going nearly 10 minutes with just two points scored served a bad ending in a 44-40 loss to visiting DeKalb in a highly anticipated matchup.

The Knights are now 2-2 with a 1-1 record in Western Sun Conference.

“It was a big game and we lost, and I’m not a big fan of moral victories, but our guys are going to learn what it takes to compete with the big boys like the DeKalbs, Batavias and Genevas, and this was a good test for us,” Kaneland coach Brian Johnson said.

The Knights were led by Dave Dudzinski, who put a game-high 22 on the board in the effort. Kaneland held Dekalb at bay for three quarters before DeKalb found its way to the basket and outscored KHS 14-8.

Recent Illinois State University-signee Jordan Threloff had a team-high 16 points.

With Kaneland using a Dudzinski dunk with 27.8 seconds left to go up 32-29, things looked to be going the Knights’ way and they led 32-30 at the end of the frame.

DeKalb went on a tear, hitting six of its first eight shots to go up 42-35 with 55.8 seconds left.

Dudzinski showed an adept outside shooting touch and hit a three to close within 42-38 with 38.9 to go. Matt Cowans’ two foul shots closed within 42-40 after a foul gave the Knights possession, but with two turnovers coming on the next two possessions, DeKalb hit two foul shots to provide the final margin.

KHS faces visiting Yorkville on Thursday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m.

Kaneland shines spotlight on fall athletes with awards

Monday saw Kaneland High School dish out their annual awards for the fall sports season.

For girls cross country, Shelby Koester and Lisa Roberson were recognized by the team as captains, while Shaela Collins and Jessica Stouffer won the most improved runners nods. Junior Andie Strang took home the Most Valuable Runner award and was also recognized for her all-Western Sun Conference nomination.

In Knights golf action, the varsity most improved player award was given to Adam Grams, while Most Valuable Player was Hayley Guyton. Rhys Childs took home the frosh/soph MVP, and Dan Miller was named the frosh/soph most improved player. Guyton was also lauded for her second-place finish at the girls’ golf State gathering.

For soccer, Kevin Szatkowski, Marcos Dorado, Joe Garlinsky and Genaro Garcia were recognized as captains, and Alex Dorado and Sam Rymarz were given coach’s awards. Jake Tickle won the most improved player award, while J.P. Minogue was named team MVP thanks to his play in goal. Marcos Dorado, Derek White and Minogue were named to the All-WSC squad, while Dorado was also named the 2009 All-Sectional team.

For the tennis troops, Randi Bader, Lindsay Jurcenko and Kelsey Lenhardt were recogznied as garnering the best individual records this season with 18-7 records. Most Valuable Player awards were dished out to Jurcenko, Olivia Emmanouil and Liz Webb. Bader, Webb, Megan Cline and Mel Mazuc were recognized as captains. Jordyn Withey took home the team spirit award, while Stephanie Rosenwinkel and Jess Woodward nabbed the most improved player honors.

For the State-going boy cross country, Joe Levita, Edgar Valle, Dominic Furco, Matt Reusche and Logan Markuson were recognized as captains.

Trevor Holm and Reusche took the most valuable runner awards, while Levita was named most improved runner. Valle and Markuson were given the Larry Eddington Award for Courage, Leadership and Strength. The Golden Knight award, given to one representative of each grade level, was given to freshman Brad Kigyos, sophomore Jake Ginther, junior Tommy Whittaker and to Furco, a senior.

Reusche and Holm were lauded for their nomination to the all-Western Sun Conference team.

John Meisinger, Ginther, Billy Hart, Nate Rehkopf, Conor Johnson, Holm, Reusche, Levita, Valle, Furco, Markuson, Whittaker and Clayton Brundige were recognized as State qualifiers.

For the playoff-going Knight football team, Brock Dyer, Ryley Bailey, Brett Ketza, Eric Dratnol and Derek Bus were recognized as captains, while Kyle Davidson won the most improved player award. Dratnol was named the Most Valuable Player. Bailey was named the offensive MVP and Taylor Andrews won the defensive MVP award.

Bailey, Joe Camaliere, Andrews, Tyler Callagahan, Dratnol, Ketza, Jimmy Boyle and Blake Serpa were given all-WSC honors, as mentioned in last week’s Elburn Herald.

In volleyball, Jessica Lubic was named the Most Valuable Player, while Katy Dudzinski was given the top offensive player nod. Kylie Siebert won the top defensive player nod. Tara Groen was named best server, and Meredith Ament took home the spirit award. Mackenzie Curran won the most improved player nod, and Lubic and Dudzinski were nominated for the all-Western Sun Conference roster.

Photo: Tennis asset and tri-MVP Lindsay Jurcenko was one of the many KHS athletes noted for exceptional play during the fall season. File Photo

Bowlers split first two battles

by Mike Slodki
While there were some positive indicators in Monday’s opening bowling matchup with host Morris, the end result was not what Kaneland was hoping for.

Kicking off the 2009-10 season at Echo lanes off of Route 6 in Morris, the Lady Knights lost by a final of 2,635-2,018 to fall to their future Northern Illinois Big 12 rival.

However, the Lady Knights came back to top WSC rival Geneva on Tuesday at Mardi Gras Lanes with a 2,443-2,280 victory.

KHS now sits at 1-1 (1-0 WSC).

Expected to produce big numbers for Kaneland this winner, Holly Thomas bowled a 517 series and had the top three games bowled with 185, 172 and 160 totals.

“She knows exactly what to do out there,” KHS coach Jim McKnight said. “We are also looking for improved score from girls like Jessica McHenry and Amy Kuryliw.”

Teammate Seleana Isaacs bowled a 382 series, while McHenry bowled a 378 series.

Against Geneva, Thomas came through again with a 537 series, highlighted by a 200 game. Molly Lambert bowled a 471 series, while Isaacs bowled a 371 series. Other high games were Thomas’ 179 and Lambert’s 172.

The JV crew also game away with a 1,892-1,814 victory. Jenna Bartel paced the effort with a 377 series.

KHS takes third at Strombom hoops gathering

by Mike Slodki
How’s that for an opener?

Marking the first game of the coach Brian Johnson era, the Kaneland Knights boys basketball team took roughly a quarter to find its footing before captializing on fast breaks and high-percentage shots.

The resulting offensive party lead to an 82-53 win over Aurora Christian at the opening contest of the historic Leland G. Strombom Holiday Tournament at Sycamore High School on Nov. 24.

Following that contest, the Knights lost to Hampshire in overtime, 54-49 on Friday, and beat host Sycamore in the third-place game, 58-56.

On Tuesday, Kaneland improved to 3-1 (1-1 Western Sun Conference) with a 61-52 win vs. Glenbard South.

Center Dave Dudzinski paced the opening-night effort with 26 points. The night for the Holy Cross-signee included a three-pointer and 5-for-7 from the foul line.

“Both teams were kind of butting heads for awhile, and once we settled down and found our stride, everything just seemed to start clicking for us,” Dudzinski said.

Teammates Chaon Denlinger and Ryley Bailey added 11 points each. Donovan Williams added 10 for more scoring balance.

The Knights were 8-for-13 from the line, as well.

A Bailey bucket gave the Knights a 12-10 lead with 1:29 to go before AC tied it with 49 seconds left. Williams converted on a field from Bailey with :35 left for a 14-12 lead, and then hit a trey with seven seconds remaining in the frame before Aurora Christian nailed a three at the buzzer, thanks to Ryan Suttle, to make the score 17-15.

With 6:10 left in the second quarter, a Nick Marema three-pointer put the Eagles up 23-17 and completed an 11-0 run.

Kaneland then went on an absolute tear with a 14-0 run, capped by Dudzinski’s basket with 2:31 remaining in the half for a 31-23 lead.

Taylor Andrews hit a shot with 1:04 to go for a 37-28 lead, the Knights’ biggest up to that point ,and KHS went up 39-32 at the break.

Kaneland the scored the first five baskets of the third quarter thanks to Denlinger, Bailey and Dudzinski, for a 49-32 lead with 5:41 left in the frame.

With Tyler Callaghan’s basket with 1:01 left in the third, the Knights took their biggest lead of the game at 62-41, which is how the quarter ended. The biggest lead for the game was 29 at the end of the contest.

“Once we kind of spread out the floor, we were able to get better looks,” Johnson said. “It helps to have a 6-foot-9 kid in there to create stuff, but the kids were real smart with their shot selection.”

Against the Whip-purs, Denlinger had 21 points, while Dudzinski had 14 and Bailey had 10. The game was tied after regulation at 41.

Battling the Spartans, Dudzinski had a game-high 16 points, and the Knights were a helpful 17-for-22 from the foul line.

Against GS, Dudzinski and Denlinger had 20 points each, and parlayed a 35-20 halftime lead into a win.

Soph action had the Knights win their own tournament with a 57-55 OT win over Sycamore on Nov. 25.

Friday sees Kaneland host DeKalb at 7 p.m.

Photo: Knight Sean Paulick takes to the air during Kaneland’s 58-56 win over rival Sycamore in the Strombom tourney on Saturday evening. Photo by Ben Draper

KHS grapplers manage strong start with 3 wins

by Mike Slodki
BURLINGTON—Why can’t every meet be like this for the Kaneland wrestlers?

While winning against every opponent for the remainder of the year is monumentally tough, the KHS crew saw at least a glimpse of what it was capable of on Saturday.

The Knights won their first three obstacles on Saturday, beating host Burlington Central 40-26, Oswego 27-21 and Freeport 35-6.

Against the host Rockets, pinfalls were had by 103-pounder Esai Ponce (4 minutes, 52 seconds), 112-pounder Dan Goress (1:38), 119-pounder Josh Kuefler (:54) and Nick Michels at 171 (3:41).

125-pound anchor Devon Scholl won a 4-1 decision, and Joe Levita took a 9-2 win at 135. Kyle Davidson, the 152-pound entry, won a 6-3 encounter. 215-pounder Ben Kovalick came out with a 3-2 victory, and heavyweight Jimmy Boyle won 3-1.

When the Knights handled the Panthers, all the wins came on points thanks to Goress (2-0), Kuefler (8-2), 140-pounder Mark Southern (4-1), Davidson (2-0) and Boyle (3-0).

“I just had to be more aggressive,” Boyle said on his win that went the distance. “I could see he was getting a little tired and I just had to keep going.”

Against the Pretzels, the Knights saw impressive wins from Goress (15-1), Dinnis Brettman (11-2) at 130 pounds and 160-pounder JT Webb (17-1).

Photo: 189-pound entry Keagan Mattes, shown wearing a bandage after his Oswego opponent was bleeding, manuevers for points on Saturday. Photo by Mike Slodki

Girls hoops splits IC tourney

The Lady Knights basketball squad would rather take the first half of their tournament at Immaculate Conception High School in Elmhurst during Thanksgiving week.

Winning the first two but losing the last two, Kaneland now sits at 2-5 on the season.

Kaneland’s first win of the season came on Nov. 24 at the hands of Luther North of Chicago by a final of 57-40, thanks to 13 points from Emily Heimerdinger and 12 points from Emma Bradford.

The Lady Knights went 25-for-71 from the field and 7-for-16 from the foul line.

Kaneland was up 17-11 after one quarter before seeing the lead shrink to 28-25 at the halftime break. Kaneland pulled away in the third to go up 42-36 before going on a 15-4 run in the fourth for the win.

KHS then nabbed its second straight win on Nov. 25 against Elmwood Park in a 41-34 affair.

Mallory Carlson was the lone Lady Knight in double figures with 15 points, as Kaneland went 17-for-51 from the field and 7-for-17 from the free throw line.

Despite falling behind 15-6 after one quarter, KHS managed to close within 22-15 at the break before outscoring its opponent 26-12 in the second half.

The last two matchups in Elmhurst provided a bit roughter as Kaneland lost to host IC on Friday, by a final of 64-17, in a game that featured a scoreless third quarter.

In the finale on Saturday, Plainfield South bested KHS by a 57-45 final despite 15 points from Carlson. The Lady Knights went 19-for-73 from the field.

The Lady Knights try to right the ship vs. DeKalb in Maple Park on Friday, Dec. 4.

Kane County Cougars tickets on sale for 2010 season

20th season of Class A baseball hits Elfstrom
GENEVA—Both single-game and group tickets are now on sale for the Kane County Cougars’ 2010 season. The organization’s annual ticket-on sale event, held Saturday morning at Elfstrom Stadium, was the formal kickoff for single-game ticket sales.

Open to all Cougars fans, the event was the first opportunity to purchase individual tickets and secure prime seats for home dates that are consistently popular among Cougars faithful. Fans were also treated to an all you-can-eat breakfast buffet inside the Cougars’ new upstairs Super Suite and were greeted at the door by Ozzie T. Cougar and Cougars staff.

Numerous fans arrived before the first ray of sunshine emerged in west suburban Chicago, including Geneva resident Jay Carroll. Carroll was officially No.1, arriving at midnight to stake his place in line. Carroll was soon joined by Hoffman Estates resident Bill Taylor at 1 a.m. Taylor and Carroll, like many fans this morning, hoped to secure their favorite seats for popular dates such as Saturday evenings, Opening Day and holiday games. Fans both young and old continued to arrive in the pre-dawn hours and throughout the morning to make Elfstrom Stadium a bustling place on a sunny November morning.

Saturday’s event was the formal ticket on-sale kickoff for the 2010 season as fans can now purchase single-game tickets for the 2010 season in a variety of options, ordering online at, by phone at (630) 232-8811 or in-person at the Cougars’ box office during normal business hours.

Season tickets and ticket packages starting at five games are also on sale. All ticket packages include popular fireworks and entertainment nights, along with a complimentary picnic held during the summer. Season ticket holders receive some great perks as well, such as exclusive picnics and access to VIP parties. A new 20-game ticket plan gives fans the ultimate choice in selecting 20 of their favorite dates, to literally customize their entire ticket package.

Group tickets are also on sale for the 2010 season—perfect for all types of groups including businesses, social organizations and family gatherings. Parties ranging from 15 to 2,000 people can reserve their block of seats or picnic area today with a deposit. Groups are encouraged to reserve their outing early as the anticipation of the ’10 season will lead to dates filling up quickly.

Picnic options include fully-catered events for groups of 35 or more while groups of 75 or more can reserve one of the Cougars’ exclusive outfield decks. Cougars staff takes care of the preparation, set-up and clean-up as picnic groups can focus on the most important part: enjoying a memorable, affordable and entertaining event from start to finish.

Groups of any size and type can also enjoy the new upstairs areas of Elfstrom Stadium in 2010, including nightly suite rentals, a Super Suite that accommodates up to 200 people and is sub-dividable for smaller groups, and outdoor rooftop patios for groups in the 75-150 person range.

Theme nights in 2010 include recognition for youth baseball and softball, business, church, scout and union groups, among others. Discounted group tickets are available in limited quantities for these groups on select dates. Groups interested in reserving their outing or obtaining more information can contact the Cougars ticket office at (630) 232-8811.

Lady Knights drop matchups with E. Aurora, Westmont

Lady Knights basketball is hoping that the next couple of contests go better than their three opening games.

After losing their opener at Rosary on Nov. 17, the KHS troops went to East Aurora on Thursday only to drop a 48-41 affair.

The girls also opened action at the Immaculate Conception Thanksgiving tournament in Elmhurst with a 54-41 setback at the hands of Westmont on Monday.

Coach Ernie Colombe’s squad is 0-3 as it continues at Immaculate Conception. Kaneland had won four straight meetings since losing a regional opener in February, 2006, to the Lady Tomcats.

Senior Mallory Carlson paced the Lady Knights with a team-high 13 points. Tesa Alderman followed with seven.

The Lady Knights fell behind early after the first quarter by a 12-5 count, but closed to within 26-24 at the halftime break. East Aurora took control in the third frame with a 14-7 edge and a 40-31 lead.

Kaneland outscored the Lady Tomcats 10-8 in the fourth quarter to no avail.

Against the Sentinels, a former conference mate in the Suburban Prairie Conference, the Lady Knights fell behind 18-8 after one quarter and 34-15 after two.

Kaneland came back in the third quarter to close within 40-29 until Westmont held its ground.

The Lady Knights were 14-for-37 from the field and 3-for-11 from three-point land. Andie Strang had a team-high 14 points, followed by Emily Heimerdinger with nine.

In other Kaneland-East Aurora action, the freshmen “B” team handled its task with a 21-8 win and the “A” squad won 43-32 thanks to 14 points from Ashley Prost. The sophomores lost 44-41 despite 18 from Kylie Siebert.

On Nov. 17, the freshmen “B” won 15-13 over Rosary, while the “A” won 32-16.

On Saturday, the sophomores were defeated by visiting Rochelle by a 39-22 final.

Next up for the Lady Knights is another IC Thanksgiving game vs. the hosts on Friday, Nov. 27, at 7 p.m., and the tourney finale vs. Plainfield South on Saturday, Nov. 28, at 1 p.m.

Kaneland Knights football recognized for talent, smarts

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—Kaneland High School learned of five football players that were not just exceptional on the field, but in the classroom as well.

Linemen Brett Ketza and Eric Dratnol, cornerback Taylor Andrews, linebacker Tyler Callaghan and quarterback Joe Camaliere were named to the Class 5A All-Academic All-State team last week.

“That’s what we really strive for,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “To achieve in the classroom and to be leaders on the field is great.”

Not only did those five get recognized for classwork and ability, they also joined lineman Jimmy Boyle, linebacker Blake Serpa and wideout Ryley Bailey for the final version of the All-Western Sun Conference team.

The offensive co-MVP’s of the conference were Glenbard South QB Trace Wanless and Sycamore RB Marckie Hayes.

The defensive co-MVP’s of the conference were Glenbard South DL Austin Teitsma and Geneva DL Frank Boenzi.

Rosary beats Lady Knights in hoops opener

by Mike Slodki
AURORA—A fast start for one team usually means doom for another.

In that case, it was the Kaneland girls hoops team that was the victim on Tuesday evening.

The Lady Knights fell behind 21-4 after the first eight minutes en route to a 50-32 setback to host Rosary.

Kaneland, winless in season openers since 2005, fell to 0-1.

For KHS, Nicki Ott led the team with eight points, followed by Tesa Alderman with seven.

The Lady Knights were 15-for-45 from the field and 2-for-9 from the foul line. Rosary’s Jordan Rettig had a game-high 11 points.

“We had a chance to add them to our schedule,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “If you play a good team like that, it’ll make you better.”

Despite an Ott basket with 5:47 to go in the first to make it 8-4, Rosary went on a 13-0 run to close the quarter.

McKinzie Mangers’ bucket with 34.6 ticks left in the half put the Lady Knights in double figures at 28-11.

Alderman and Mangers came up with three consecutive steals in the fourth for a nice flurry, and Kaneland closed the deficit to 18 by the game’s end.

“I thought we were really tentative in the first half and came out a little nervous. I was happy in terms of the way we battled,” Colombe said.

The sophomores lost to the Royals by a final of 30-25.

The varsity troops try and best host East Aurora on Thursday, Nov. 19.

Photo: Lady Knight Trinae Coachman goes up for a bucket during the first quarter of Kaneland’s 50-32 loss at Rosary. Coachman pulled down five boards in the loss. Photo by Ben Draper

Lady Knights look to steady core in 09-10

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—Look beneath the surface if you’re worried about Kaneland girls basketball in 2009-10.

While the Lady Knights finished 8-19 a year ago, with a 3-11 mark in Western Sun Conference play, they did manage a playoff victory for the first time since 2005.

In addition, even though Kaneland lost seven seniors to graduation, the team returns a core of players that saw quality minutes in the starting lineup.

“We definitely lost a lot in terms of graduation,” fourth-year coach Ernie Colombe said. “We are fortunate that we do have Andie Strang, Mallory Carlson, Emily Heimerdinger and Kelly Evers back. Emily and Andie were in our rotation the entire season and gained valuable experience.”

With Strang and Heimerdinger looking forward to bigger roles, Carlson and Evers look to join them in creating a nucleus.

“Mallory knows that she has to step up this season, and we feel like she can do that. Kelly played on the sophomore (team) and the varsity at the end of the year, and we think they’ve all improved,” Colombe said.

New additions to the varsity roster primed for contribution are Nicki Ott, Emma Bradford, Tesa Alderman and Trinae Coachman.

Also making up the Lady Knights roster is Kris Bowen, Tatiana Brown, McKinzie Mangers and Jessica Stouffer.

All will need to subscribe to a “zero-tolerance” policy when it comes to turnovers, a stat that plagued the team a year ago.

“Turnovers really did hurt us last season. We know that we have a young team and we have to be patient in some aspects this season. We are emphasizing taking care of the basketball and knowing what a good pass and a good shot is,” Colombe said.

Working on that aspect will go a long way to adding success to the roster.

“The biggest positive we have right now is that we really have a group of kids that enjoy being around each other and want to work together to get better,” Colombe said.

With the end of this coming season brings the end of the WSC, Colombe said that focusing on the present will help in the future.

“We believe playing in this conference will prepare us well for the move to the new conference. There are no easy games, and the new conference will be tough night-in and night-out,” he said.

The girls began their season on Tuesday in Aurora against Rosary.

Kaneland Knight wrestlers look to be aggressive on mat

by Mike Slodki
This might be the Kaneland High School wrestling version of a high-powered passing offense in football or a run-and-gun in basketball.

“We are preaching attack, be aggressive and six minutes of offense,” Knights head coach Monty Jahns said.

Himself a state qualifier in 1980-81, the second-year coach realizes the importance of every match during a meet and is eager to see it unfold.

“This year, we’ll see how it goes; we have a lot of tough opponents to deal with,” Jahns said.

Gone are personnel like Matt Wagner, Emiliano Ponce and last year’s lone state qualifier at 145-pounds, Jay Levita.

“Kids really looked up to Jay and saw how hard he worked,” Jahns said.

Returning to the forefront is senior 125-pounder Deven Scholl, who nabbed 24 wins last year.

Also looking to contribute are returnees JT Webb, Joe Levita and Ben Gust, all seniors.

Jahns also likes the prospects of senior Dennis Brettman.

“Dennis is going to be at 130 and didn’t get a lot of time in varsity, but went undefeated in JV and has looked real strong,” Jahns said.

At 189 pounds, Alex Mollohan and Ethan Williams return to the ranks after a couple of years off.

Anchoring the 275-pound group is Jimmy Boyle, team leader in wins a year ago with 30.

“Jimmy is a hard worker and pushes himself so we don’t have to,” Jahns said with a laugh.

Kyle Davidson, with 21 wins in 2008-09, battles at 145 while Josh Kuefler returns to pin opponents at 119.

This also marks the final wrestling go-around with the Western Sun Conference.

“I have mixed feelings—we’ve been wrestling Geneva and Batavia forever and they are good teams; overall it’s a good move,” Jahns said.

Photo: Junior Jimmy Boyle looks to make an impact in the 275-pound division for the Kaneland wrestlers. File Photo

With new home, bowlers look for welcome season

by Mike Slodki
DeKALB—When you are looking to turn the page on a program, you might as well start with a new home.

Looking to go on the comeback trail, the KHS bowling team has packed up its belongings after the shutdown of AMF Valley Lanes in North Aurora, and moved to Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb.

“It’s very different here, but the lanes are nice, it’s clean and well-managed,” Kaneland head coach Jim McKnight said.

The Lady Knights, who finished 5-15 in 2008-09 competition, lost seven seniors to graduation, but returned a valuable number of bowlers.

“We’re looking for Holly Thomas to be the big gun, with Jessica McHenry and Amy Kuryliw bowling full time this year,” McKnight said. “They’re throwing the ball real well so far.”

With Thomas (148 average) in her third year, McHenry (123 average) in her third year, and Kuryliw in her fourth, a stable core is key to Lady Knight success.

“McHenry is a natural leader and a hard worker, Thomas is working hard and bowls quite a bit year-round, and Amy is ready to step up and surprise people,” McKnight said.

Other varsity entries in 2009-10 include senior Jenna Bartel, senior Molly Lambert, senior Tierra Lee and sophomores Seleana Isaacs and Megan Scott.

Other competitors for Kaneland bowling looking to make a contribution are senior Sabrina Gabrielle, sophomore Madi Bluml and the lone freshman, Angela Charhut.

The Lady Knights start the regular season off with a matchup on Monday, Nov. 30 at Morris, and end the regular campaign on February 2 at Geneva for the final Western Sun Conference position night.

Photo: Bowler Holly Thomas, who bowled an average of 148, will be counted on heavily for good things at Kaneland. File Photo

Brian Johnson era begins for boys basketball

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—West Aurora’s loss is Kaneand’s gain.

Brian Johnson, an assistant to Gordie Kerkbaum at West Aurora High School a year ago, makes his coaching debut next week in Sycamore.

With a first-year coaching gig on the way, and the challenge of trying to improve a team that went 13-13 (5-9 Western Sun Conferernce) on the way, the task can seem overwhelming.

“I still have a lot to learn,” Johnson said. “I’m learning how to handle the kids energy.”

But the former Judson College player has a built-in ace up his sleeve.

“It starts with Dave, who’s a very good player,” Johnson said.

College of the Holy Cross-signee Dudzinski returns for his senior campaign, having averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds per game last year. The senior was also nominated for a McDonald’s All-American honor this week.

Johnson also likes what he has with other players going into the 2009-10 season.

“We have guys that are tough—that are looking to get to the next level,” Johnson said.

Returnees include senior guard Ryley Bailey, forward Steve Colombe, who has a flair for the perimeter game, forward Sean Paulick, guard Donovan Williams, forward Chaon Denlinger and forward Pat Fleming.

“Ryley has had a real nice couple of weeks. He’ll be a really strong player for us. Denlinger has gotten a lot better defensively,” Johnson said.

New to the varsity ranks are forward Danilo Bruno, guard Zach Ringhouse, guard Andrew O’Herron, forward Matt Spitzzeri, guard Matt Cowans, forward Taylor Andrews and forward Tyler Callaghan.

“The guys will get used to playing with each other and learning their role and we’re still trying to see where guys will fit in for us, but guys like Taylor, Tyler and Sean are unsung guys who will do the little things,” Johnson said.

The Knights hit the Strombom tournament in Sycamore for Thanksgiving week, beginning with Aurora Christian on Tuesday, Nov. 24.

Photo gallery: KHS grad Cinto, WCC men compete at NJCAA National Meet

Kaneland grad and current Waubonsee Community College sophomore Erin Cinto (right) was the Lady Chiefs’ lone qualifier for the NJCAA Division I National Meet, placing 199th overall out of 263 runners with a time of 22:56 on the 5K course.

On the men’s side, Waubonsee’s squad placed 16th overall out of 35 teams. Drew Schmitt led Waubonsee by placing 63rd out of the 260 competitors in the field, with a time of 27:39. Greg Adelman was not far behind his teammate in 68th (27:34), Max Sliwa came in 75th (27:44) and Evan Ehrhardt placed 100th (28:09). Jared Klein and Chris Higgins, normally at the front of the Chiefs’ pack of runners, struggled to 118th (28:30) and 168th-place (29:38) finishes, respectively. Andrew Peters rounded out Waubonsee’s contingent with a 173rd-place finish (29:45).

Photos by Ben Draper

Kaneland Boys Cross Country 5th in state

Holm earns All State honors
by Ben Draper
Peoria—On an unseasonably warm day for early November, the Kaneland High School boys cross country team etched itself into the record books once again, placing fifth in the class 2A state finals in Peoria, Ill.

The finish bettered last years’ eighth place finish, and was the highest finish for the Knights since 1999, when they placed second in the class 1A field.

Led by junior Trevor Holm, the team featured a 36-second split between their lead runner and junior Grant Alef, Kaneland’s fifth and final scoring team member—a historic feat according to head coach Chad Clarey.
“Today we raced to a school-record (for the state finals) 36-second pack split, bettering the 1987 (Kaneland) state champs by two seconds,” Clarey said. “The pack was outstanding today.”

Clarey was pleased with how his team faired overall.

“These boys put themselves right among the best in the school’s great history at the state finals,” he said. “Every bit of this awesome performance was satisfying.”

Holm earned personal accolades, placing 23rd overall with a time of 15 minutes, 35 seconds, which was good enough for All State—the 10th Knight in school history to achieve the honor.

“Holm got into medal contention early, held on for All State, and gave us the strong start in team points,” said Clarey.

In the 2008 state finals, Holm placed 100th, 53 seconds behind his 2009 time.

The 2009 boys cross country team after the state meet. Courtesy photo
The 2009 boys cross country team after the state meet. Courtesy photo

On Holm’s heels, seniors Dominic Furco (44th overall, 15:56), Edgar Valle (60th, 16:08) and Matt Reusche (63rd, 16:11), and junior Grant Alef (64th, 16:11) rounded out the Knights’ scorers. Seniors Logan Markuson (76th, 16:19) and Joe Levita (121st, 17:02) battled for Kaneland as the team’s sixth and seventh runners.

Belvidere North won the team title with 77 points behind individual winner Paul Zeman, followed by Normal University’s 119 and Springfield’s 132, to round out the trophy winners. Peoria Notre Dame’s 168 and Kaneland’s 192 rounded out the top five.

“We wanted to leave Detweiller Park leaving everything on the course, and with no regrets,” Clarey said. “We accomplished everything we set out to do—and five seniors will savor this day the rest of their lives. We are so grateful for all they’ve given.”

The Knights cross country team says goodbye to seniors Furco, Levita, Markuson, Jemmar Parrenas, Reusche, Nick Sinon and Valle.

file photo

Under the Western Sun

Two WSC teams remain in the 2009 IHSA football playoffs
Kaneland’s round-one foe Sycamore (8-3) easily dispatched Wheaton Academy 42-0 in Sycamore. The No. 9 Spartans now face No. 12 Montini at home Saturday at 1 p.m.

No. 3 Glenbard South (9-2) also faired well in 5A, defeating No. 6 Vernon Hills 33-27 in Glen Ellyn. The Raiders will now take to the road to face No. 7 Woodstock Saturday at 7 p.m.

In class 7A, No. 3 Geneva fell to No. 2 Wheaton-Warrenville South 30-16 in Wheaton. The Vikings finish the year 9-2.

Henningson contributes at next level

Kaneland class of 2008 Knight Jody Henningson (10), shown here catching a hail-mary touchdown pass in Bemidji State University’s 35-34 loss to Minnesota-Duluth on Oct. 24, is getting some increased playing time for the Beavers.
The former Kaneland WR/QB had 15 catches for 165 yards and 3 touchdowns. Bemidji State football is 8-3 for the season.
Courtesy of BSU Sports Dept.

Maple Park Basketball

The Maple Park Winter Youth Basketball Program for boys grades three through eight runs from mid-January through mid-March, with games on Saturday.

Registration is open and ends Saturday, Nov.14. Forms will be available at Casey’s General Store and the Maple Park Library.

For more information on sign-up, call Scott Willis at (630) 621-0736.

Hamer commits to U of I

Ty Hamer, a senior at Kaneland High School has verbally committed to pitch for the University of Illinois baseball program. Although the other Division I Big Ten programs of the University of Michigan and Indiana University had also expressed interest in the 6′ 4” right handed pitcher, Hamer selected the University of Illinois following his official visit to the school.

The Illinois baseball team finished this last season with a 34-20 record, placing them in fourth place in the Big Ten, and were ranked as high as 19th in the nation. At the end of the season four players were drafted into the Major League system.

Hamer was a part of theKaneland Varsity baseball team of 2009 which recorded the highest number of wins in Kaneland history.

Ty Hamer came up through the Elburn youth baseball program and the Bulls/White Sox Academy.

Boys XC heads off to State

by Mike Slodki
Watch out, Peoria.

The Kaneland boys cross country team rose to the occasion at the Class 2A Belvidere Sectional and took care of business, nabbing a fourth-place finish en route to a State berth at Detweiler Park this coming weekend.

Kaneland’s 144 point total was behind Belvidere North (36), Prairie Ridge (113) and Sycamore (142). Marmion Academy also qualified (148).

[quote]”We were fortunate to make it out on the strength of our pack, and the heroic efforts of unexpected runners,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said.

Leading the way for the state-going Knights was Trevor Holm, in 13th place with a time of 16:40, and Matt Reusche in 23rd.

“Course conditions were very slow with all the recent rain. Every point counted today,” Clarey said.

Dominic Furco finished 25th with a time of 16:52. Edgar Valle was 36th-best at 17:06, while Grant Alef finished 57th at 17:23. Throw into postseason fire, freshman Billy Hart contributed to the Knights’ effort with a 75th place time of 17:47.

Dudzinski selects Holy Cross for hoops stop

Senior averaged 17 points, 10 boards in 2008-09 season
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland senior Dave Dudzinski made quite the tough decision on Tuesday; one that will make life tough for opposing teams in the Patriot League.

Dudzinski, a six-foot-nine center that has come into his own patrolling the floor for the Knights, verbally commited to Holy Cross for his college basketball stop.

The Crusaders are based in Worcester, Mass.

“It’s like an Ivy-League alternative,” Dudzinski said on Tuesday. “I think I fit in well with the team, and I really worked hard on all parts of my game.”

Dudzinski was also considering Loyola of Chicago and Austin Peay.

“He had a big smile on his face and glad to have this decision out of the way,” new KHS boys basketball coach Brian Johnson said. “They want to use him as a power forward that can run the floor and he’s going to develop his skills at the college level.”

The Crusaders finished second in the Patriot League a year ago.

“The schools I was looking at were similar, but I liked the coaching staff and they like what I can do,” Dudzinski said.

Holy Cross hired Sean Kearney this summer, after he served as an assistant for Notre Dame hoops.

Dudzinski came into the college process with his parents already having gone through it themselves. Father Dave and mother Barb participated in football and swimming, respectively, at Northwestern.

“The whole process is tough,” said the elder Dudzinski, who played under Dennis Green for the Wildcats. “I’m proud of him for making the decision. It’s a really strong, quality program and he’s really worked on his game.”

Meanwhile, the Kaneland boys gear up for its opening challenge, the annual Strombom Tournament which starts on Tuesday, Nov. 24, in Sycamore at the home of the Spartans.

Spartans oust Knights in 5A opener

Kaneland caught in rush during 40-13 loss
If this were a major production, then Sycamore stole the second act.

Getting revenge for a September contest in which the Kaneland Knights beat the Spartans 21-14, Sycamore ran, ran and ran some more in a 40-13 first-round beating of Kaneland.

The loss on Saturday evening put an end to the KHS Class 5A playoff quest at 6-4. Sycamore will now host 16th-seed Wheaton Academy on Saturday, Nov. 7, at 1 p.m., after the Crusaders upset top-seeded Hillcrest in the lower bracket.

Sycamore gained an immense 415 yards on the ground, while passing only once for 13 yards. Kaneland gained 207 yards on offense, while rushing for 62 yards.

For Sycamore, running back Joe Dougherty ran for 209 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries, while teammate Markie Hayes had 172 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns.

QB Joe Camaliere was 17-for-32 for 145 yards for the Knights, passing for two touchdowns. Blake Serpa rushed for 56 yards on 12 carries.

Taylor Andrews caught five balls for 79 yards and a touchdown.

The Spartans got the scoring underway with 6:34 left in the first quarter on a Hayes 9 -yard touchdown run. Kaneland tied matters just 61 seconds later with a Andrews touchdown catch from 43 yards out.

Hayes gave Sycamore a lead it would never relinquish on an 8-yard touchdown run to go up 14-7 with 1:08 left in the first.

Sycamore scored three touchdowns in the second quarter, beginning with Dougherty’s 51-yard touchdown run with 5:28 left for a 20-7 lead. Dougherty struck again with a 29-yard scoring run to go up 27-7, with Spartans QB Trevor Mathey hitting CJ Compher on a 13-yard touchdown pass with eight ticks remaining in the half for a 33-7 lead.

With no scoring in the third quarter, Dougherty scored his third TD of the contest, a five-yarder with with 10:16 to go. On the final play of the game, Camaliere found Ryley Bailey for a 9-yard touchdown for the final 27-point deficit.

Photo: Knight Taylor Andrews (11) takes to the air during Kaneland’s first-round exit to visiting Sycamore on Saturday. Photo by Ben Draper

Volleyball eliminated by DeKalb in regional

Dekalb ended the Lady Knights’ 2009 volleyball campaign with a 25-20, 25-15 sweep at the Burlington Central Regional’s first-round match on Thursday evening.

The fourth-seeded Lady Knights finish coach Todd Weimer’s fifth campaign with a record of 16-18 (6-8 Western Sun Conference), a far cry from the first three years of the program, which had a combined seven wins.

Jessica Lubic, who had 14 assists and one ace, left midway through the second game with what was thought to be a sprain.

“She’s in good spirits, it’s just a really bad sprain,” Weimer said. “She’s one of our captains and a third-year starter, kind of our quarterback out there.”

In the first game, relatively tight action ensued with a 5-5 tie early on before DeKalb took a 10-6 lead. With strong front line play and DeKalb getting a case of the errors, KHS stormed ahead for a 16-13 lead.

After a couple of hitting errors tied the score at 17-17, DeKalb went in for the kill and went on an 8-3 run to finish.

Alyssa Snyder had four kills and three blocks. Abby VanDerHeyden had three kills and three digs. Katy Dudzinski added four kills.

“We just controlled that whole match, positively and negatively. We were neck-and-neck, and there were a lot of errors on our part. We just have to take care of the ball,” Weimer said.

With the loss, Kaneland volleyball says goodbye to five seniors: Ashley Dunn, a transfer from West Chicago High School, Abby VanDerHeyden, Tara Groen, Jordan Hester and Alyssa Snyder.

Girls XC stopped by illness, field in Class 2A Sectional

KHS girls cross country had its season come to an end on Saturday in Belvidere.

At the 2A sectional, plagued by a broken roster and illness, Kaneland came up 17 points short for qualification for this weekend’s State race.

With 227 points, the Lady Knights finished behind Woodstock (127), Crystal Lake Central (134), St. Viator (166), St. Francis (172) and Prairie Ridge of Crystal Lake (210).

Finishing at the top of the list were siblings Kayla Beattie (18:34) and Elise Beattie (18:38).

For Kaneland, Andie Strang finished best in 28th place with a time of 20:41, while teammate Ashley Castellanos finished in 29th at 20:46.

Abby Dodis finished 47th at 21:07, followed next by Kris Bowen at 73rd (21:34).

WCC Highlights feature XC, soccer

SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College’s boys’ cross country team saved a great performance for the biggest stage of the season so far, posting a team total of 16 to secure the NJCAA Region IV Division I championship on Saturday.

Entering the race ranked 16th nationally, WCC outpaced Oakton (83) and Morton (91) to take the title. Greg Adelman ran the course in 27 minutes, 46 seconds, while teammate Drew Schmitt was close by at 27:48. Sophomore Jared Klein finished third at 28:04.

On the women’s side, Kaneland High School graduate Erin Cinto placed eight in order to qualify for the National meet.

• • • •

Waubonsee’s soccer team ended its season thanks to an Elgin Community College goal on Saturday, 1-0 in the Region IV championship. Goalkeeper Brittany Chase had five saves in goal. WCC’s final record is 13-5-3, while ECC plays Schoolcraft next Saturday in the District title game.

Boys hoops going golfing in June, 2010

The Kaneland boys basketball program is set for a day of fun at their first-everl golf outing on June 11, 2010, at Bliss Creek. The golf outing has been developed to bring together athletes, parents, alumni and community business. The fundraiser will raise money for uniforms, equipment and fees for summer leagues and shootouts.

There will also be a silent auction with exciting prizes. The golf outing will be a scramble and cost $400 for a foursome and $35 for the dinner.

For more information, contact Brian Johnson at