Category Archives: Girls Track

Back On ‘TRACK’ | 2013 Spring Sports Preview

Photo: Ashley Castellanos (right) put in good work last year at the Jill Holmes Invitational, including winning this 100 meter dash. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—For Kaneland girls track, each season is a like a new generation. As athletes advance through their careers, they gain experience and attain success, and then pass down what they’ve learned to the younger athletes just starting on their own paths.

“The girls have always had a good work ethic, for the 28 years I have been here, and that is due to younger girls learning from the older ones by their actions and approach to practice and meets,” long-time KHS head coach Doug Ecker said.

There are many lessons to be learned from the successes of last year. Kaneland will see one state finalist return to the fold, as well as five other state qualifiers. Add to that an individual Northern Illinois Big XII Conference Champ, and Ecker has plenty of reasons to feel good about this year’s prospects.

Returning from a trip downstate to close out last season are Sydney Strang, an 800 meter State Finalist, distance runner Maggie Brundige, sprinter Kaltrina Ismaili, distance runner Jessica Kucera, distance/hurdler Amanda Lesak, and jumper/sprinter Lauren Zick. In addition, NIB-12 shot put champ Elle Tattoni returns as well, to help form a solid core of team leadership. Even beyond those who advanced in the postseason last year, Ecker said there are already plenty of examples of upper classmen helping the younger members of the team.

“We are proud of all the girls. We have seen leadership from Zick, Ismaili, Ashley Castellanos and the senior distance runners,” Ecker said.

New additions to the varsity mix could be in line for big things in 2013, with the onset of freshmen sprinters Olivia Galor and Allie Heinzer.

“(Galor and Heinzler) give us good depth in the sprint and sprint relays, something we have not had in a long time,” Ecker said.

Shoring up the middle distance and distance ranks, according to Ecker, are cross country strengths Brianna Bower, a freshman, and sophomore Victoria Clinton.

The Lady Knights will do their best to hang with the conference rivals, and looks to be in good standing to to so.

“It is early, but the conference seems to be balanced this year. Yorkville has their distance crew and an All-State transfer in the jumps and sprints. DeKalb will be strong, and Sycamore is improved. Geneseo is always strong in track and will be this year, as well,” Ecker said.

Kaneland takes to the outdoor meets in 2013 on Tuesday, April 2, in Burlington, along with fellow visitor Oregon. The noted Jill Holmes Invite occurs on Saturday, April 6.

KHS Girls Track Roster

Carly Bartholomew 9
Brianna Booton 9
Brianna Bower 9
Maggie Brundige 12
Angelia Carbonara 12
Erika Carlson 11
Ashley Castellanos 12
Victoria Clinton 10
Christina Delach 11
Laken Delahanty 12
Abby Dodis 12
Noelle Espino 9
Olivia Galor 9
Ashley Garcia 9
Murphy Garcia 10
Kayla Girolamo 9
Kyla Goodine 11
Samantha Havlin 10
Jordan Hedgren 9
Allie Heinzer 9
Kaltrina Ismaili 10
Brittany Kemp 11
Lilah Klingensmith 9
Sarah Kolzow 9
Jessica Kucera 10
Amanda Lesak 12
Aislinn Lodwig 10
Sydney Luse 12
Hallie Miles 9
Madeline Mohatt 9
Alexia Orosco 10
Nicole Partipilo 10
Lauren Pence 10
Anna Piazza 11
Natasha Ring 12
Kaprice Sanchez 11
Sophia Sandquist 9
Julia Schaefer 9
Sam Sommerville 9
Rachel Steinmiller 11
Sydney Strang 11
Elle Tattoni 10
Amy Vanderschaaf 9
Lauren Zick 11

Spring kind to Kaneland athletics in awards season

Photo: Delani Vest capped a stellar senior season for Lady Knights softball by nabbing the NIB-12 MVP honor. File photo

KANELAND—A highly successful 2011-12 spring season was recognized with team awards dished out earlier this week, as well as honors from the end-of-year senior athletic banquet.

Awards were released on June 3.

Leading the charge was sectional semifinalist softball, which boasted the Northern Illinois Big XII MVP in pitcher Delani Vest. Joining the senior on the all-conference list was Paige Kuefler, Hayley Contorno, Allyson O’Herron and McKinzie Mangers, with teammate Lexi Roach an honorable mention.

Vest, Mangers, O’Herron and Sam Hansen were recognized as captains. O’Herron was named defensive player of the year, while Roach was named most improved player. Kuefler and Lanie Callaghan were named co-offensive players of the year, while Contorno and Kristen Gabrielson took home the Lady Knight award.

The senior athletic banquet awards recognized University of Wisconsin-Whitewater bound Sean Carter as Male Athlete of the Year, Kelly Evers as Female Athlete of the Year, Clayton Brundige as the Male Birkette award winner for dedication, and both Evers and Katy Dudzinski as the Female Birkette award for dedication recipient.

For boys track, Carter was named the Track MVP, while Nate Dyer took home the Field MVP honors. Brundige and Brandon Stahl were co-winners of the Drendel Award. Brundige, Carter, Miki Marin, Stahl, Nate Rehkopf, Kelvin Peterson and Mitch Dienst were recognized as captains. Dylan Nauert was named the winner of the Ron Probst award.

Finally, Kaneland’s boys track group of Luis Acosta, Brandon Bishop, Kyle Carter, Sean Carter, Dyer, Shane Jorgensen, Nate Kucera, Nauert, Tanner Andrews, Brandon Cottier, Marshall Farthing, Kory Harner, Conor Johnson, Dylan Pennington, Brundige and Marin were recognized as All NIB-12.

Meanwhile, the 11 State qualifiers were also lauded for their trip to Eastern Illinois University.

For Knights baseball, Tom Fox, Drew Peters, John Hopkins, Trevor Storck, Jake Razo and Tyler Heinle were named to the All NIB-12 team, with Bryan VanBogaert an honorable mention.

VanBogaert, Storck and Ray Barry took home the most improved player nods, and Trever Heinle was the recipient of the 41 Award in memory of Jeff Malewig. Fox was named the offensive MVP and Tyler Heinle was named defensive MVP, with Razo nabbed Mr. Kaneland Baseball for 2012.

The girls track season yielded quite the prestigious awards, with Amanda Lesak, Jessica Kucera, Maggie Brundige, Sydney Strang, Jen Howland, Lauren Zick and Kaltrina Ismaili being recognized as state qualifiers.

Christina Delach, Nicole Ketza, Elle Tattoni, Lesak, Gabby Aguirre, Strang, Zick, Ismaili and Howland also secured Northern Illinois Big XII honors.

Carolina Tovar and Ketza were recognized for their work as captains. Lesak took home the team’s most improved trophy.

The Track MVP honor was given to Strang, while the Field MVP honor went to Tattoni.

Kaneland soccer congratulated Jess Coia, Jordan Ginther, Delaney Stryczek and Katie Taylor for making All NIB-12, while Brittany Olson made the honorable mention list.

Melissa Bohorquez, Ginther, Taylor and Taylor White were recognized as captains, while Brooke Harner was named Most Improved Player for the Lady Knights.

Courtney Diddell and Madi Jurcenko capped impressive campaigns by garnering Rookie of the Year honors.

Taylor Opperman, Heather Ortiz and Stryczek were named winners of the Coach’s Award.

Michelle Ortiz and Olson were named winners of the Lady Knights Award, while the co-MVPs were revealed as Taylor and Ginther.

Girls track sees 2 finalists at 2A State meet

Photo: Sydney Strang was part of Lady Knight relay action during the Class 2A State meet in Charleston, Ill. Courtesy Photo

KANELAND—While it wasn’t on the scale of the final finish in 2011, the Lady Knights track outfit still came out of the weekend at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Ill. with elite totals in terms of the rest of the state.

When the dust settled from the Friday and Saturday meet, the top finishers brandishing Kaneland duds were Sydney Strang and Jen Howland.

Strang, the lone Lady Knight to make it from prelims to finals on the weekend, qualified for the final 800 meter run group with a time of two minutes, 19.29 seconds and finished 11th in the state with a finals time of 2:20.12.

Kelsey Cramsey of Effingham won the event with a time of 2:12.54. Rochelle’s Michelle Dobbs took third with a time of 2:14.33.

Other Lady Knight final competition included Howland competing in the 3200m run and finishing 11th at 11:36 in an event won by Kristen Busch of Freeburg at 10:54.74.

Additional KHS competition in the prelims included the 4x800m relay foursome of Amanda Lesak, Jessica Kucera, Maggie Brundige and Strang finishing tenth in its heat at 10:07.04.
Lauren Zick, after earning a finals berth last year, finished sixth in her prelim heat of the 400m dash at 59.36 seconds, and the 4x400m unit of Lesak, Zick, Strang and Kaltrina Ismaili finished its prelim run in 4:05.53, less than two seconds from qualifying for the finals.

Teamwise, Springfield Southeast won the trophy with 63 points, followed by Walther Lutheran’s 46. Chicago’s Lindblom (38), Freeport (29), Freeburg (27) and Marengo (27) rounded out the top six.

Kaneland says goodbye to seniors Ashley Cottier, Caroline Eichelberger, Kelly Evers, Howland, Christina Janes, Nicole Ketza, Carolina Tovar and Shannon Wallace.

Lady Knights track now Charleston crew

Photo: Just a sophomore, Sydney Strang takes part in three events for the Class 2A State meet beginning on Friday. File photo

Lady Knights track qualifies for State in five events after Sterling meet
by Mike Slodki
STERLING, Ill.—Some might shake their head at a fourth-place showing for a girls track meet.

Kaneland will instead keep running to the campus of Eastern Illinois University, due to exemplary performances.

With the needed qualifying scores in five events, Kaneland has a healthy presence for the Class 2A State finals for girls track, scheduled for Friday through Saturday, May 18-19.

Sydney Strang represents KHS in three events: in the 800m run, the 4×800 meter relay and the 4×400 meter relay. Teammate Lauren Zick goes to the elite meet in both the 400m dash after taking the sectional championship, as well as the 4x400m relay.

Jen Howland paced herself toward a State berth in the 3200m run, while Strang was joined by Amanda Lesak, Maggie Brundige and Jessica Kucera for the qualifying 4x800m relay, and joined Zick, Kaltrina Ismaili and Lesak for the 4x400m relay.

Teamwise, the Lady Knights’ 48 point total was four points better than Burlington Central.

The Pretzel group from Freeport amassed 88 points for first place, followed by Dixon at 80 and Rock Falls 61.

The 2012 output toward State beats last year’s effort, when Brooke Patterson’s pole vault, Zick’s 400m dash, Andie Strang’s 1600m run and the 4x800m relay advanced.

The 4x800m relay saw Strang, Lesak, Brundige and Kucera take fifth with a time of nine minutes, 58.23 seconds, beating the qualifying time by seven seconds.

Brundige was happy to exterminate the injury bug, and produce a State-worthy effort.

“My body’s gotten stronger as I’ve gotten older and through all the training, and I’ve avoided injury this year so it’s going pretty well,” Brundige said.

Meanwhile, Strang returned with a fourth-place gallop in the 800m run with a time of 2:21.23.

“I’ve been really excited and it’s been a lot of fun this year,” Strang said. “I was excited for the competition and knew they would push me to my limit.

The senior Howland is on her way to closing out her high school tenure on a high note after garnering third in the 3200m run with a time of 11:45.37.

Howland is ready to put mind with body for a productive weekend.

“It’s more mind than body in the 3200,” Howland said. “If you tell your brain over and over again, you can do it, it’s a matter of getting in your head.”

The 4x400m foursome of Zick, Strang, Ismaili and Lesak finished a second place at 4:06.99, just .71 behind the Rock Falls winners.

“All the other teammates pushed each other, and it was a lot of fun and hard work in the 800 and 400,” Lesak said.

Zick also showed she continues to be a force to be reckoned with not just in the western suburbs, but in the state, with a sectional championship-worthy 58.84 seconds in the 400m dash.

Last year’s Lady Knight class saw the 4×800 of Andie Strang, Kris Bowen, Zick and Sydney Strang take sixth, while Zick took ninth in the 400m run.

Lady Knights’ trip to NIB-12 meet yields 5th

Photo: Maggie Brundige (left) and Lauren Zick (right) are counted on to make an impact at the Sterling Sectional this Friday, May 11. File photo

KANELAND—Lady Knights track used the important meet at Streator High School to have a Northern Illinois Big XII pow-wow, and found they have a final output good for the middle of the pack.

Friday had less-frigid conditions than the previously held Kane County Invite in St. Charles, and with 53 points, the Lady Knights found itself with a fifth-place finish out at the home of the Bulldogs.

In last year’s inaugural NIB-12 clash, Kaneland finished third overall.

Geneseo, with 114 points, took the meet, followed by fellow West Division school Dixon with 94 points. Yorkville was third with a 70-point total, and DeKalb was fourth with 66 points.

After KHS was Sycamore in sixth place at 52, followed by Sterling (47), LaSalle-Peru (24) and Ottawa (17).

Kaneland’s lone conference champ is thrower Elle Tattoni, who boasted a shot put effort of 34 feet, seven inches, which was two inches better than Yorkville’s Mackenzie Lee.

Lauren Zick, continuing her path away from previously hobbling injuries, took a second place in the 400 meter dash race, finishing in 59.59 seconds, 2.18 second behind DeKalb’s Jaylaan Slaughter.

KHS gathered four third-place honors at Streator, beginning with Jen Howland’s 11:45.38 time in the 3200m run.

Teammate Amanda Lesak’s 50.42 second effort was third in the 300m hurdles race, while the Lady Knight’s 4x400m relay squad ran a 4:11.05 for third.

Rounding out the third-place collection was Nicole Ketza’s output in the discus throw at 103-04.

Junior Gabby Aguirre’s five-foot leap was good for fourth place.

Ahead for the Lady Knighs is the Class 2A Sectional in Sterling on Friday, May 11, at 4 p.m.

The fellow teams joining Kaneland from the area and NIB-12 in the 16-team gathering are Burlington Central, Dixon, Hampshire, Rochelle, Sterling and Sycamore.

8th-place finish at Kane County Invite for girls track

Photo: Kaneland girls Lauren Zick and Sydney Strang try to catch a DeKalb runner in the 800 meter during their meet at DeKalb on April 25. Patti Wilk

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—With the regular season in its final weeks, the Kaneland High School girls track squad finds itself homestretching across finish lines.

Despite ending up on the wrong side of a dual on April 25 at DeKalb High School, the Lady Knights finished eighth in a stacked and frigid Kane County Invite out at St. Charles North High School on Friday evening.

In the 91-58 loss to the Lady Barbs, KHS saw several first-place honors, taking the reins in six events.

Nicole Ketza excelled in the field, taking the discus throw with a mark of 91 feet, two inches, while teammate Gabby Aguirre won the high jump event with an effort of 4-06.

Pole vaulter Christine Delach did her part for Kaneland, winning the pole vault at nine feet even.

Long-distance asset Sydney Strang continued her strong sophomore campaign with a two minute, 21.2 second 800 meter run for first place.

Amanda Lesak staked her claim to the 300m low hurdles by conquering it in 49.4 seconds, and Kaltrina Ismaili won the 200m run in 27.7 seconds.

The 2012 edition of the Kane County gathering saw West Aurora (142), St. Charles East (83) and Batavia (58) take the top three. St. Charles North, Burlington Central and Geneva took fourth through sixth, respectively, while Rosary finished just ahead of KHS. The Lady Knight’s 34-point total edged Hampshire’s 32 for eighth place overall.

Noteworthy finishes for the Lady Knights included a runner-up in the 4x800m relay with a time of 10:08.06. Adding to the long-distance favorables was Jen Howland, finishing third in the 3200m run in adverse and windy conditions. The senior ran a 11:56.10 course.

Finalist Ashley Castellanos was part of the elite 100m dash group and took fourth with a time of 13.23 seconds. Castellanos finished fifth in the prelims with a 13.28 second effort.

Strang ran the 1600m run in 5:27.80, good for third.

“Sydney is more consistent this year, and I’m very happy with how Jessica Kucera and Maggie have run,” KHS coach Doug Ecker said.

The 4x400m relay foursome took fourth place with a time of 4:17.76. Freshman Elle Tattoni continued to shore up Kaneland’s throwing ranks with a fourth in the shot put (34-05.75).

Distance-runner Abby Dodis dealt with the windy conditions as best she could.

““I haven’t run in any colder conditions this year,” Dodis said. “We have more girls in distance this year, and it’s fun to run against tougher competition.”

Ahead for Kaneland is the NIB-12 get-together on Friday, May 4, at Streator.

KHS girls track sees firsts in 4×800, 1600m

Photo: Nicole Ketza gears up for a discus throw during recent action. Ketza and the Lady Knights gear up for the Kane County Meet in North Stars country on Friday, April 27. File photo

DIXON—Interstate 88’s corridor wields some talented girls track rosters, and Kaneland’s intent was to join that group after Friday’s Dixon Invite.

When the points were tabulated, KHS emerged in the middle of the pack of a 10-team invite.

With 55 points, the Lady Knights edged NIB-12 rival Sterling by three points.

Additional NIB-12 outfit Geneseo took the meet with 93, followed by Dixon with 81. Harlem scored third with 76 points and Moline finished fourth with 68.

Kaneland’s bar is at a higher setting for several events, and just in time for the prestigious Kane County Meet occurring this Friday, April 27.

The 4x800m relay foursome of Sydney Strang, Jessica Kucera, Jennifer Howland and Amanda Lesak emerged victorious with a time of 10 minutes, 7.35 seconds, over two seconds better than the team from Dixon.

Strang also got into the act by running away from the fellow 1600m run crowd, thanks to a 5:42.50 time.

The frosh/soph group of Kucera, Rachel Steinmiller, Kyla Goodine and Madison Keith did well by finishing third in the 4x400m relay event with a time of 4:27.24.

Field events went well for KHS in the form of Kelly Evers’ third in the high jump (13 feet, eight inches), and with Shannon Wallace’s third in the pole vault (23-06).

Kaneland’s Kane County trip takes them to St. Charles North High School for a 5 p.m. starting gun.

Girls track gets fifth, dual win

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Windy conditions abounded, and whomever emerged from Saturday’s Jenni’s ABC Meet in Maple Park would have to do so by force.

Kaneland girls track would be the fifth-best to do so, behind four capable outfits.

The Ottawa ABC meet on Friday saw KHS earn second place with 190 points, behind Burlington Central’s 225.

With 346.5 points, Huntley took the Jenni’s meet crown.

Kaneland leapfrogged Mercer County, Lemont’s Mt. Assisi Academy and St. Edward to complete the eight-team skirmish.

The Lady Knights saw strong performances, which gave the group encouraging thoughts with the Kane County Invite just two weeks out.

Sydney Strang led the way in the 1600m run “A” race with an effort of five minutes, 25.5 seconds, while Gabby Aguirre took second in the high jump “A” event with a jump of 4-08.

Kaneland had its share of good fortune in other events, thanks to personnel like Elle Tattoni, who threw a 31-05 in the shot put “A” flight for second place to go with an 88-06 discus “C” toss; Jessica Kucera, who ran a 400m dash “B” race in 1:07.9 for second place; and Maggie Brundige, who finished second in the 1600m run “B” flight at 5:44.8.

Lady Knight Shannon Wallace finished second in the pole vault “B” group at 7-06, and Nicole Ketza continued to excel in the field for KHS girls track by winning the shot put “B” group with a heave of 30-10.

Ketza feels she’s having a strong 2012.

“Coach Ecker said to just take one throw at a time and not think about it and not rush,” Ketza said.

Lady Knight Ashley Cottier produced a second-place discus toss with a mark of 84-05. Abby Dodis did well on the track with a 5:50.10, first-place run in the 1600m run “C” race.

In Ottawa, the shot put went well, with Ketza (33-01) and Tattoni (34-06) nabbing firsts in their flights. Wallace took first in her vault with a 7-06 effort, while the foursome of Strang, Jen Howland, Kucera and Amanda Lesak took the reins of the 4x800m relay “A” race at 10:17.90.

Other firsts in Ottawa included Carolina Tovar (14:19.66) and Brundige (12:40.49) in the 3200m run events, along with Rachel Steinmiller in her 100m hurdles try (19.19).

Kaneland took care of Rochelle in dual action on Tuesday, and saw Kaltrina Ismaili (200m dash and 100m dash), Ashley Castellanos (triple jump, long jump) and Ketza (shot, discus) take firsts.

Girls Track sees exceptional totals at Holmes Meet

Photo: Ashley Castellanos (right) put in good work Saturday at the Jill Holmes Invite, including winning this 100 meter dash. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It took barely any time for Lady Knights girls track to get acclimated to the outdoor competition.

With the Jill Holmes Invite on Saturday yielding success, and the dual action going the Lady Knights way on Tuesday against visiting Sycamore, Kaneland sits in a good spot.

On Saturday, Rockton’s Hononegah High School finished first with 98 points, while Kaneland was second at 92.5, and DeKalb third.

Ashley Castellanos took third place in the 200 meter dash on Saturday with a 27-second effort.

Lady Knight Abby Dodis ran a 12:17.40 effort in the 3200m run, with DeKalb standout Kelsey Schrader taking first at 11:42.10.

The Lady Knights’ 4x800m relay group of Amanda Lesak, Sydney Strang, Jennifer Howland and Jessica Kucera finished second with an effort of 10:10.35.

The Lady Knights did well in field events, as well, with Castellanos staking her claim in the long jump and triple jump by finishing second in both.

The junior hit the 15-10 mark in the long jump, and a 33-06 in the triple jump for a productive morning.

Elle Tattoni beat the field and took the reins in the shot put with a 32-11 throw, while fellow Lady Knights Nicole Ketza took first (97-10.5) and Ashley Cottier managed third in the discus (94-09.5).

Against the Lady Spartans, KHS used plenty of great showings for an 86-55 win.

Strang’s 11:54.6 was tops in the 3200m run.

“I’ve been working hard and it’s been going pretty well, “ Strang said. “I’ve been having fun and trying my best with it.”

Howland took the 800m run with a time of 2:32.3, Lesak won the 300m hurdles event with a time of 50.8 seconds, and Kaltrina Ismaili won the 200m run with a time of 28.9 seconds.

Additonal firsts were garnered by the 4x400m relay team (4:09.8), Castellanos in the triple jump (32-10), Tattoni in the shot put (31-06), Ketza in the discus (94-04), Gabby Aguirre in the high jump (five feet) and Sydney Luse in the pole vault (eight feet).

Up ahead for girls track: the Ottawa ABC Invite on Friday, April 13.

Lady Knights track takes 2nd in Oregon meet

OREGON, Ill.—KHS opened its outdoor campaign with an 83-point showing in a meet hosted by Oregon High School on Tuesday afternoon.

Burlington Central took the four-team clash with 96 points, while the hosts had 81 points, and Lena-Winslow High School brought up the rear with 12.

Productivity was highlighted with a slew of first-place efforts in the form of personnel like the 3200 meter relay team of Amanda Lesak, Abby Dodis, Sydney Strang and Jessica Kucera, who ran in 10 minutes, 27.89 seconds. Their teammates of Ashley Castellanos, Katrina Ismaila, Madison Keith and Lauren Zick won the 400m relay at 51.78 seconds. Sydney Luse won the 100m hurdles crowd over with an 18.04-second effort.

Nicole Ketza won the discus with a launch of 97 feet, six inches, and Zick won the long jump at 16-09.75. In other field events, Elle Tattoni took first in the shot put with 33-05.5, and Castellanos won the triple jump (33-01).

Lady Knights track to make most out of depth

Photo: Lauren Zick looks to make her sophomore season more amazing than her freshman campaign in the 400m run. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Numbers are down, and the roster no longer includes assets like Andie Strang, Kris Bowen and Brooke Patterson.

But third-year Lady Knights girls track head coach Doug Ecker is eager and optimistic about what returns.

“We lost good kids, but we picked up some,” Ecker said. “Our numbers are down overall. We have some crossover from a successful cross-country season. So far, so good. We have some kids hurt, but we’ll make the most out of our depth.”

A fifth-place finish at the Kane County Invite and four events with a State seal of approval meant a big finish to 2011.

Still around from the Charleston group are sophomore Sydney Strang, who was in the 4x800m relay, and sophomore Lauren Zick, who finished ninth in the 400m dash.

“Zick is a great athlete and can run anything from a 55 to an 800, with her best race probably the 400, and has improved in the long jump. Sydney did well in the distance events and is getting faster and stronger,” Ecker said.

The indoor track season provided a nice barometer, but slots still need to be figured out.

“It is different, with no discus and no low hurdles, but things still need to get hashed out,” Ecker said.

Going the distance for KHS this season will be personnel like Strang, who has had a nice start in the mile event, as will Amanda Lesak, in events like the 4x800m.

Lesak will also be counted on in the hurdle events, as well.

“She’s someone that we hope will do well in the hurdles and middle distance races,” Ecker said.

Nicole Ketza, Brittany Kemp and freshman Elle Tattoni are getting looks in the field events, with Ketza and Kemp having hours chalked up in the shot put and discus.

“Kemp is someone that did the shot for us as a freshman, and Marina Schaefer is someone we are looking at for big things in the discus once she bounced back from injuries,” Ecker said.

Sydney Luse returns for her junior year, having placed in the hurdles and pole vault.

“We have good kids in these events, but we’d like to shore up our depth because you have to score in a lot of events,” Ecker said.

For sprints, returnee Ashley Castellanos will see time after excelling in the triple jump last year.

“DeKalb and Sycamore have some of the fastest girls in the state, but Ashley is right up there, as well, and will help us,” Ecker said.

A place is being looked at for senior Kelly Evers, who is coming off of injuries the past track season after going to Charleston three years ago in the 4×800 relay.

Other veterans who carry over from last year’s track group and cross-country are juniors like Gabby Aguirre, Maggie Brundige and Abby Dodis.

“Maggie has been injured in the past, but I think she’s gotten past that now and she’s done well for us so far,” Ecker said. “Abby has already run 12-flat for the 2-mile. They would be stars in any other conference, but our conference is so top-heavy with distance runners, it’s unbelievable.”

Kaneland hopes for a strong body of work this season, and a productive homestretch.

“Conference is important. Geneseo, DeKalb are up there and Dixon is getting stronger, not to discount anyone else. We don’t quite have the depth they do, but we’ll be right there with them.

KHS spring sports awards put fitting cap on 2010-11

KANELAND—Coming a little later due to the storybook run of Kaneland baseball, KHS released its spring sports awards for 2010-11, highlighting a successful first step into Northern Illinois Big XII play.

In girls track, Lauren Zick and Andie Strang took home the co-MVP for track, while Brooke Patterson was named MVP on the field end. For most improved, Abby Dodis and Briana Stark took home the honor.

Sydney Bilotta, Strang, Kris Bowen, Jessica Stouffer and Keara Palpant were recognized as captains.

Zick and Patterson were joined by Gabby Aguirre as part of the Northern Illinois Big XII (NIB-12) All-Conference squad. Strang (1600 meter run, 4x800m relay), Bowen (4x800m relay), Patterson (pole vault), Sydney Strang (4x800m relay) and Zick (400m dash, 4x800m relay) were also recognized for their State trip.

For boys track, Taylor Andrews and Tommy Whittaker were named track MVP’s, while teammate Matt Spitzzeri took the field MVP. Curtis Secrest was given the Drendel Award.

Secrest, Trevor Holm, Whittaker, Andrews, Matt Cowans and Spitzzeri were recognized as captains, and Kory Harner took the Ron Probst Award.

The NIB-12 also named Andrews, Spitzzeri, Whittaker, Holm, Brandon Cottier, Mickey Marin and Jesse Balluff as part of the All-Conference squad.

Harner, Marin, Luis Acosta, Clayton Brundige, Balluff, Brandon Bishop, Dylan Nauert, Sean Carter, Holm, Cottier, Whittaker, Andrews and Secrest were all recognized for their State qualifying efforts.

In soccer, Emily Heimerdinger secured an All-State honor, capping her four-year output in style, while also named the NIB-12 MVP. The Class of 2011 member was also named co-MVP for the Lady Knights with teammate Amy Fabrizius.

Conference-wide, Heimerdinger, Fabrizius, Sophia Blank and Sam Wantuch were named to the All-Conference team.

Katie Taylor earned the Lady Knights Award, while Blank took home the Coach’s Award.

Keeper Michelle Ortiz was named Rookie of the Year, while Wantuch was named Most Improved Player for the roster that made it to the regional championship. Blank, Fabrizius, Heimerdinger and Taylor were also recognized as captains.

In softball, McKinzie Mangers and Andrea Potts were recognized as captains, while Allyson O’Herron took home the Lady Knight Award.

Potts was also named the Offensive Player of the Year.

Alexis Villarreal was named Most Improved Player for her efforts on the mound, and teammate Rilee Vest was named Defensive Player of the Year for the Lady Knights softball unit.

Additionally, Potts was a unanimous selection to the NIB-12 All-Conference team as an infielder. Vest and Katy Dudzinski were named as honorable mention candidates.

For the State Champion Knights baseball program, Bobby Thorson was named team Offensive MVP.

Kyle Davidson, Jake Razo and Brian Dixon took the Defensive MVP awards, and Dixon, Razo and Tyler Heinle were named Most Improved Players.

The No. 41 award was given to Sam Komel, Corey Landers and Dixon.

Mr. Kaneland Baseball was given out to the whole of the 2011 Class 3A State winners.

Additionally, Kaneland held the Senior Athletic Banquet Awards in June, giving the Knight Award for three-sport athletes to Stouffer, Strang and Davidson.

Strang was named female athlete of the year, while Andrews was named male athlete of the year. Strang also won the female Birkette Award, while the male Birkette Award went to Curtis Secrest.

‘Grand’ accomplishment


The Kaneland Sports Boosters offer four $1,000 scholarships to graduating seniors each year. The student write an essay with the theme “Lessons learned in victory and defeat”. These scholarships were awarded at the Senior Athletic Banquet sponsored by the boosters and the athletic office on May 25th. The winners this year were: (from left) Curtis Secrest, Andrea Strang, Kristina Bowen and Trevor Holm. Courtesy Photo

4x800m relay, Zick lead good times at State

Photo: Lauren Zick tries to outrun the field in the 400 meter dash prelims on Friday at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Ill. Zick, who ran a 58.58 seconds time in the prelims, was a finalist and finished ninth in the Class 2A State finals. Photo by Ben Draper

CHARLESTON—By the very nature of the State meet, athletes need a certain level of performance to even be part of the collision of talent at Eastern Illinois University.

So Kaneland’s girls track faithful could be confident that the four events featuring the Lady Knights would have the potential for good things.

As it shook out, two events yielded finalists, putting the cap on 2010-2011 girls track.

The 4×800 meter relay squad of seniors Andie Strang and Kris Bowen, and freshmen Sydney Strang and Lauren Zick finished sixth in Class 2A State competition, after a finals effort of 9 minutes, 37.49 seconds.

Meanwhile, Kaneland’s other finals action came courtesy of Zick. The freshman phenom finished ninth in the 400m dash finals with a time of 59.76 seconds.

In team standings, your Class 2A champions are Springfield Southeast with 50 points, one point better than Chicago’s Morgan Park Academy. Springfield was third with 45 points, and Kankakee was fourth with a total of 32. Northern Illinois Big XII rep Rochelle was fifth with 29 points.

The 4×800 crew lost on a tiebreaker for fifth place with Mahomet-Seymour’s team, but edged Hampshire by 1.26 seconds.

Yorkville’s unit took the event with a time of 9:17.32.

In the Friday preliminaries, Kaneland won its heat with a time of 9:41.78, beating Effingham’s crew by 1.69 seconds.

In the 400m dash, Zick was .33 behind Mahomet-Seymour’s Jessica Melchi. Shamier Little of Chicago’s Lindblom High School took the medal with a time of 54.85 seconds. Ottawa’s Alex Ortiz was fourth in 57.40 and Sycamore’s Lake Kwaza was sixth at 59.22.

Zick took third in her preliminary heat with a time of 58.58.

In the pole vault, State qualifier Brooke Patterson vaulted to 10 feet, with the qualifiying mark having to be 10-06. A year ago, Patterson finished 10th overall. Pontiac’s Emily Grove won the event with a 12-06.

Finally, Andie Strang had solo time in the 1600m run, finishing in 5:20.06, 3.1 seconds off the closest qualifying time for finals. Woodstock’s Kayla Beattie’s 4:43.65 was good for the State crown.

With the end of the season, KHS girls track says goodbye to seniors Athina Ajazi, Sydney Bilotta, Bowen, Mackenzie Curran, Ariana Espino, Liz Hylland, Jordan Krawczyk, Keara Palpant, Patterson, Alyson Rehr, Nicole Rymarz, Briana Stark, Jessica Stouffer, Strang and Cara Zagel.

Four-midable outing for Lady Knights track at Sectional

Photo: Brooke Patterson manages to clear the bar during Thursday’s Class 2A Track Sectional in Ottawa, Ill. Patterson helped the Lady Knights qualify for State in four events for this weekend at Eastern Illinois University. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
OTTAWA—KHS girls track followers will have four reasons to visit Charleston, Ill., this May.

With an eighth-place showing at this past Thursday’s Class 2A Sectional at Ottawa Townahip High School, Kaneland girls track saw a State Qualifiying effort in four separate events on Thursday, and will be sending six girls to the IHSA State Final on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.

Senior Brooke Patterson qualified in the pole vault with a third-place finish.

“Brooke has gotten better technique-wise at the pole vault,” KHS coach Doug Ecker said. “She’s been a lot more consistent.”

The 4×800 meter relay unit of senior Kris Bowen, senior Andie Strang, freshman Sydney Strang and Zick finished fourth, good enough for State qualification.

Meanwhile, the elder Strang returns to the State gathering once again after a fourth-place nod in the 1600m run.

Freshman Lauren Zick qualified in the 400 meter dash with a third-place finish.

In the finals, Zick finished in 59.96 seconds, one of four girls to qualify for State.

“I’m excited that it’s going to be tough competition,” Zick said. “I know it’s going to be really hard to do well. If I’m going to do well, I’ll know I’ll have to work really hard at these practices this week.”

Sycamore’s Lake Kwaza won the event at 57.87 seconds, while Ottawa’s Alex Ortiz finished second in 58.62.

Strang’s 5:21.33 time in the 1600m run made her fourth out of seven qualifiers, with Yorkville junior Ali Hester’s 5:13.97 taking the cake.

Patterson continues the long line of noteworthy KHS pole vaulters that includes Sara Wallace, Jordan Pinkston and Michelle Hannemann, among others, after being one of six qualifiers.

The senior vaulted 10 feet, six inches.

“This year I have more experience and I’m not as nervous. My goal is to get top-five,” Patterson said.

Rochelle’s Taylor Jenkins vaulted 11 feet.

Finally, in the lone relay qualifier, Kaneland’s gang of four ran the track in 9:51.49, just .22 seconds behind third-place Yorkville. Seven qualifers in the event are headed to Charleston.

“There was a lot more knowledge and experience going into the meet,” Bowen said. “I knew what to expect. Last year, we were disappointed in not making finals. This year, we wanted to get back there and improve.”

The younger Strang is ready to contribute on the State scale.

“The other girls really helped me a lot and led by example,” Strang said. “I think I’m the same runner as before, just improved a little health-wise.”

Teamwise, Rochelle was tops with 69.5 points, followed by Burlington Central’s 65 points. Sycamore finished third with 59, as did Marengo, and Hampshire rounded out the top five with 58. Yorkville (50) and Sterling (46) edged Kaneland.

One year ago, Kaneland qualified for State in the long jump, pole vault, triple jump, 4x800m relay and 800m run.

Zick, Aguirre, Patterson lift girls track to third in NIB-12

KANELAND—With top-tier finishes on Friday during Kaneland’s venture into the first-ever Northern Illinois Big XII Conference girls track meet, what else could make it a memorable evening?

How about the meet being so big it needed to finish at Sycamore High School?

While the meet actually had to move to SHS due to the Peterson Field lights being unable to turn on at dusk, the final tallies for Kaneland and several other squads were enough to make the night noteworthy.

Kaneland’s 152.5 point total was good enough for third place, while Geneseo’s 247 point total was a clear conference winner. Fellow West Division school Sterling was second at 175.5. Dixon and Rochelle rounded out the top five with 147 and 143 points, respectively.

Ottawa (118.66), Yorkville (101), Sycamore (98), DeKalb (87), Morris (41.33), Streator (41) and LaSalle-Peru (25) filled in the last seven slots.

KHS freshman Lauren Zick’s positive trajectory showed no signs of letting up, as she placed second in the competitive 100 meter dash finals with a time of 12.85 seconds, second only to Sycamore’s Lake Kwaza at 12.22.

Zick also finished fourth in the 200m dash finals with a time of 26.80. Kwaza also took that event with a 24.80 time.

Not finished, the Lady Knight freshman phenom found herself in third place with a 59.90 mark in the 400m dash finals.

In the 4x400m relay encounter, KHS finished third with a time of 4:20.69.

The Lady Knight relay unit of Andie Strang, Kris Bowen, Jess Stouffer and Sydney Strang finished second in the 4x800m race with a result of 9:58.36.

The field categories featured standout performances from high jumper Gabby Aguirre, who left the meet conference champ with a jump of five feet.

Brooke Patterson also took the NIB-12 title in the pole vault with an effort of 10 feet, as well as a third place in the triple jump at 35-01.

Zick was heard from yet again with a third-place long jump mark of 16-11.

Kaneland shall see where its postseason fortunes lay, as it hits the IHSA Class 2A Sectional hosted by Ottawa on Thursday, May 12.

Kaneland girls track takes the fifth at annual Kane County Meet

Photo: Kaneland’s freshman phenom Lauren Zick has applied her craft to almost everything that Kaneland girls track has to offer, including long jump. Photo by Mike Slodki

KANELAND—At Millenium Field in Streamwood, Ill., the Lady Knights used key outings from some familiar names to reach a fifth-place plateau with 50 points.

West Aurora was a runaway winner with 136 points, followed by former Kaneland conference-mate Geneva at 72 points.

St. Charles East had 59 points followed by Burlington Central with 51.5 points in fourth place. Rosary gathered the same amount of points at KHS for fifth, as well.

Hampshire, St. Charles North, Batavia, East Aurora and Dundee-Crown rounded out the 11 teams.

“We could have gotten third if we were healthy, but overall I think we’ve done well at every meet,” KHS coach Doug Ecker said. “All the kids have run well and we’re pretty happy with that, and we’ve moved some things around.”

Noteworthy finishes for the Lady Knights crew included the 4x800m relay team finishing second with a time of 9 minutes, 44.69 seconds.

Freshman phenom Lauren Zick took second in the 400m dash with a time of 59.78 seconds, .96 seconds behind Geneva’s Taylor Wickware.

On the other end of the high school spectrum, Andie Strang took third in her final Kane County Meet 1600m run with an effort of 5:21.24.

Field events for Kaneland saw Gabby Aguirre take fourth in the high jump with a mark of five feet.

In the long jump, fellow sophomore Ashley Castellanos took fourth with a jump of 15-11.

Brooke Patterson’s 35-04.25 triple jump was a quarter-inch better than West Aurora’s Jasmine Ranson and enough to garner the Kane County Meet triple jump championship.

Patterson capped her evening off with a fourth place effort in the pole vault, hitting the 10-foot mark.

“I really want to improve on pole vault,” Patterson said. “I’ve gotten better throughout the season, but I really want to get to 11-06.”

The regular season homestretch for the Lady Knights continues with the first-ever NIB-12 Meet, hosted by Kaneland High School on Friday, May 6, at 4 p.m.

3rd place a charm for Lady Knights at Dixon

Photo: Kaneland’s Sydney Luse does her best to deal with windy conditions on her way to third place during Tuesday’s 76-59 dual win over visiting DeKalb. Photo by Mike Slodki

KANELAND—Lady Knights girls track had themselves a productive Thursday to lead into their Good Friday weekend.

With 68 points amassed as a team, Kaneland finished third in the annual Dixon Relays Invite in Dixon, Ill. Geneseo (79) and Sterling (77) made sure the top three teams were Northern Illinois Big XII-bred. Other NIB-12 schools included Rochelle in a fifth-place tie with the host Duchesses at 53 points, and Ottawa in ninth place with 17 points.

Kaneland followed that up with a 76-59 dual win over visiting DeKalb High School on Tuesday.

Accolades came often for the Lady Knights in the former NCIC territory, just in time with the girls track regular season near its homestretch.

Kaneland’s Brianna Stark had a top-tier Thursday, earning first place in the long jump finals at 46-10.75, and first in the triple jump final at 100-01.75.

KHS also earned a winning nod in the frosh-soph 4x400m relay. Ashley Castellanos, Amanda Lesak, Sydney Strang and Lauren Zick’s effort of 4:20.07 beat Sterling’s foursome by 8.4 seconds.

Kaneland’s varsity unit of Kris Bowen, Jess Stouffer, Andie and Sydney Strang took second in the 4x800m relay with a clip of 9:53.92 minutes.

Bowen also produced in the 1600m run, earning second with a time of 5:53.

Another second-place finish for the Lady Knights came from Sydney Billotta, Castellanos, Rachel Steinmiller and Zick in the 4x200m relay, finishing in 1:49.82.

Kaneland’s 4x100m weights relay event foursome was second thanks to a 58.35 seconds finish from Kelsey Gould, Christina Janes, Nicole Ketza and Keara Palpant.

At Peterson Field under threatening skies, first places abounded. Brooke Patterson’s triple jump was tops at 34-5.5, as well as her pole vault try (10-06). Gabby Aguirre’s five-foot high jump was enough to win. Zick took the 800m run event at 2:28.44, as well as the long jump at 17-02.75, not to mention the 200m event in 26.29 seconds. Nicole Ketza won the shot put with an effort of 29-03.

Amanda Lesak helped the Kaneland cause with a winning 300m low hurdles output of 54.66 seconds.

This Friday, April 29, brings the annual Kane County Meet, taking place this year at Streamwood’s Millenium Field.

Third-place at Jenni’s ABC for KHS

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—For a top-three finish, ideal elements evidently don’t matter.

Kaneland rallied against wind and cold, amassing 288 team points in the annual Jenni’s ABC Meet at Peterson Field in Maple Park.

Huntley took the event with a 363-point total, followed by Rockford Boylan High School at 306. The Lady Knights were ahead of Rosary (250) and Rock Falls (172). Mt. Assisi Academy of Lemont was sixth at 59 points, while Mercer County High School was seventh at 57.

Freshman asset Lauren Zick was tops for the Lady Knights in the 100 meter dash A flight with a time of 12.6 seconds, .2 seconds ahead of Huntley’s Taylor Schau.

In the 200m dash A group, Ashley Castellanos took second with a time of 27.3.

Senior Andie Strang was first in the 800m run A group at 2:28.5, 3.5 seconds ahead of the pack.

Kris Bowen took third in the 1600m A race at 5:53.7, running through winter-like conditions.

“It’s not the greatest weather, but everyone has to run in this. It’s just about seeing who’s the fastest and who’s the toughest,” Bowen said.

Sydney Luse finished second in the 100m hurdles A at 18.10 seconds, while the 4x100m relay team (Sydney Bilotta, Castellanos, Brooke Patterson and Zick) won the A relay at 52.20.

The foursome also finished second in the 4x200m relay A race in 1:50.

Field events saw Gabby Aguirre take second in the high jump A flight at 4 feet, eight inches.

Zick took the long jump A group with a jump of 16-09.

Patterson won the triple jump A event with a final effort of 33-5.25.

In the 800m run B race, Sydney Strang won in 2:31.4, while teammates Ashley Diddell, Luse, Brianna Stark and Rachel Steinmiller took second in the 4x100m relay B race.

4x400m relay B accolades went to KHS with a win by Athina Ajazi, Lisa Jennings, Amanda Lesak and Savanah Miles in 4:42.10.

Castellanos topped the triple jump B category with a jump of 32-2.5.

Ahead for KHS is the usual Dixon Relays stop, but on an unusual day: Thursday, April 21, at 4:30 p.m.

Jill Holmes Invite ‘11 yields third-place finish for Lady Knights

Photo: Kaneland’s Brianna Stark tries to catch up as a 100 meter dash finalist during the Jill Holmes invitational at KHS on Saturday. Photo by John DiDonna

KANELAND—The usual mid-April Jill Holmes Invite saw Kaneland girls track in mid-to-late season stride on Saturday.

Kaneland, with 88 team points, finished third, behind only invite champ West Aurora (148) and Burlington Central (102.5).

Hononegah (80), Sterling (55) and Rosary (53) rounded out the top six.

Northern Illinois Big XII Conference-mates Sycamore (26.5) and DeKalb (13) finished ninth and 12th, respectively.

Top finalists abounded for Kaneland, starting with the 200-meter dash finalist Lauren Zick, who continued her hot start to the season with a third-place, 26.4-seconds finish.

Zick also took second in in the 400m dash at 58.4.

The 1600m run proved quite productive with Andie Strang finished second at 5:26.2, while younger sister Sydney took fourth at 5:27.5.

In relay action, the 4x200m relay foursome of Sydney Bilotta, Ashley Castellanos, Arianna Espino and Brooke Patterson finished fourth with a time of 1:52.8.

Lady Knight Patterson continued her exceptional morning by becoming invite pole vault champ with a 10-feet, six-inch finals effort.

Zick also did well in the field, taking second overall in the long jump with a 16-02 mark.

The triple jump was especially good to Kaneland track with Patterson finishing first at 35 feet, and Castellanos taking fourth at 33-0.5.

Three records were cemented at the 2011 Holmes meet, as Oswego East’s Ariel Michalek set the 1600m run mark at 5:05.4. Additionally, West Aurora’s 4x200m squad ran a record-breaking 1:45.8, and Burlington Central’s 4x800m unit broke the event mark at 9:53.6.

2011 JILL HOLMES INVITE
1. West Aurora 148 points
2. Burlington Central 102.5
3. KANELAND 88
4. Hononegah 80
5. Sterling 55
6. Rosary 53
7. Oswego East 41
8. Belvidere 35
9. Sycamore 26.5
10. Dundee-Crown 24
11. Hyde Park 16
12. DeKalb 13
12. Rockford East 13
14. Rockford Auburn 5
15. Rockford Jefferson 2

Upcoming:
Jenni’s ABC meet
Saturday, April 16
10 a.m.
Peterson Field

Girls track 2nd-place finish keyed by strong performances at BC

by Mike Slodki
BURLINGTON—Looking at indicators for how the Lady Knights track season will end up?
The Tuesday gathering at Burlington Central with the host Rockets and the Oregon Hawks is a positive one.

Kaneland finished second with 66 points behind BC’s 90-point total. Oregon finished third with 31.5 points.

Despite the exceptional showing by BC, Kaneland came up big with a number of first- and second-place finishes.

Kaneland’s 4×800 meter relay foursome took second with a time of 11 minutes, 14.48 seconds.

It was a good outing for sisters Andie and Sydney Strang in the 3200m run. St. Joseph’s College-bound Andie won the event in 12:32.56, while the freshman Strang was right behind in 12:35.24.

Freshman Lauren Zick took first in the 100m dash with a time of 13.02 seconds, a half-second better than the field.

Zick also finished first in the 400m dash at 1:01.68, while teammate Brooke Patterson was second at 1:05.62.

Sophomore Amanda Lesak was second in the 300m hurdles with a time of 55.84 seconds, and Sydney Strang appeared again in the 1600m run with a second-place finish at 6:02.90.

Standout Ashley Castellanos finished second in the 200m dash with a time of 28.43.

Patterson appeared once again in solid fashion for the pole vault event, taking second at 9 feet, 6 inches.

Zick finished her fine showing with a 16-02 effort in the long jump, good for first.

With the growing buzz, Zick is taking things meet-by-meet, and handling the early success the best she can.

“Yeah, it is a little bit overwhelming, because I’m going up against the best girls in the state” Zick said. “It’s tough competition, but it’s fun.”

The freshman doesn’t feel she’s hit her ultimate stride yet in events like the long jump.

“I’m definitely getting better at it. Each meet I’m getting about four or five more inches and today I set a new personal record,” Zick said.

In the triple jump event, Patterson and Castellanos went 1-2, with Patterson finishing at 35-02 and Castellanos at 33-03.

Ahead for girls track is the annual Kaneland-hosted Jill Holmes Invitational on Saturday, April 9, at 10 a.m.

Ecker’s crew has young, old as formula for success

Photo: Andie Strang has established herself as a threat at any distance and looks to finish her Kaneland tenure with a flourish. Photo by Linda Bell

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Here comes Lady Knights track.

If the early practice sessions and indoor season were any indicator, many a girl in KHS garb will be finishing quite well in 2011 races.

Second-year head coach Doug Ecker is eager to see what the large roster can do, with a mostly healthy lineup.

“The indoor season was encouraging,” Ecker said. “The most encouraging thing is all the distance runners are healthy and we’ve been consistent,” Ecker said. “When we get outside, we’ll have to have a little more depth.”

So far, the three big names to pop up are senior Andie Strang in the distance and relay events, senior Brooke Patterson in pole vault and triple jump and freshman Lauren Zick in sprints and long jump.

“We knew Lauren was fast, she has the temperament and she’ll do what the coaches ask her to do. She listens well,” Ecker said.

Sophomore and state qualifier Ashley Castellanos has excelled in the jumps, as well.

Gabby Aguirre returns and looks to make a mark in the jumps.

With a Division II career ahead of her, Strang is ready to go for the distance events, but Ecker believes a challenge lays ahead.

“This conference is going to be brutal for distance. She can run extremely well one meet and get fifth in the mile. You have so many good distance runners,” Ecker said.

Sydney Strang and Kris Bowen also look to add to the distance ranks for Kaneland.

For relays, the 4x800m team could be in store for big finishes. The Strang sisters, Bowen and Castellanos, will all see time in that event along with Jessica Stouffer. The 4x200m has Sydney Bilotta and Ariana Espino ready to go with Patterson.

Kaneland looks to continue the pole vault excellence.

“Brooke is very good and works very hard, and Sydney Luse has worked very hard, and Shannon Wallace will give us some depth, too,” Ecker said.

Junior Nicole Ketza looks to rise in the weight events after a good late-season run.

Kaneland is still looking for young hurdlers to take the reins in that event.

The stronger each event is, the better for the Lady Knights in the new Northern Illinois Big XII scheme.

“Our conference is maybe one of the better conferences in the state. You throw in every event, we are really solid,” Ecker said.

Girls track captures indoor conference crown

KANELAND—If there was one surefire way to gear up for the outdoor season, Kaneland found a way on Saturday in Sterling.

With 79 team points in the Northern Illinois Big XII conference indoor meet, the KHS girls won the gathering and were crowned champs, bringing the indoor season to an end.

Geneseo finished second with a total of 72 points, and Dixon took third with 64 points.

The Lady Knights were rolling in the exceptional finishes, paced by senior Brooke Patterson’s 10 feet, six inch pole vault. Patterson added to her first-place vault with a second-place triple jump effort of 35-05.5.

Teammate Ashley Castellanos took fourth in the triple jump with a jump of 32-06.

Kaneland’s 4×800 meter relay unit finished second with a time of 10 minutes, 22.66 seconds.

Freshman Lauren Zick finished third in the 55 meter dash with a time of 7.56, and also took second in the 400m dash (1:00.15) before winning the 200m dash with a time of 27.07.

Senior constant Andie Strang took the 1600m run mantle with a time of 5:25.85, less than two second better than Geneseo’s Emily Ford.

In additional relay action, the Lady Knights took fourth in the 4×400 meter relay with a time of 4:27.01.

KHS girls track takes fourth at Byron Indoor Preview

BYRON, Ill.—Kaneland girls track fans can only hope the Lady Knights excel this well without a roof on top of their efforts.

On Saturday, Kaneland competed at the Byron Indoor Preview and came away with a fourth place finish.

Kaneland’s 43 point team total edged Hononegah High School’s 38 point total.

Wheaton-Warrenville South (118), Naperville Central (83) and Rochelle (54) rounded out the top three.

In the 1600 meter run , senior leader Andie Strang boasted a second-place time of five minutes, 27.59 seconds, six seconds behind Wheaton-Warrenville South’s Mikayla Kightlinger.

Teammate Abby Dodis took third in the 3200m run with a time of 12:33.26, besting the next fastest entry by 11 seconds.

Kaneland also did well in the 4x400m relay, as the unit of Sydney Bilotta, Ashley Castellanos, Arianna Espino and Brooke Patterson took fourth with a time of 4:25.07.

Lady Knight Patterson also did well in the pole vault, a la last season. Along with being a relay asset, she took second in the pole vault with an effort of 10 feet, six inches.

Patterson was also crowned Indoor Preview champ in the triple jump (33 feet), two and one-half inches better than Rochelle’s Taylor Jenkins.

Right track at Byron

• Andie Strang:
2nd place, 1600m run
• Abby Dodis:
3rd place, 3200m run
• Bilotta, Castellanos,
Espino and Patterson:
4th place, 4x400m relay
• Brooke Patterson:
2nd place, pole vault
• Brooke Patterson:
1st place, triple jump

Lady Knights take third in Rockton

Photo: Ashley Castellanos, shown here in recent indoor action, took home a sixth place in the triple jump at the Hononegah Girls Indoor Classic. File Photo

ROCKTON, Ill.—Here’s a way to measure your early-season progress in girls’ track: Compete at a 24-team Track Classic.

Here’s a way to be happy about your early-season progress: Finish third in said 24-team Track Classic.

The Lady Knights continued on their indoor track slate on Friday in Rockton, Ill., at the Hononegah Girls Indoor Classic.

West Aurora won the meet with 102 points, followed by Downers Grove North at 74.5. Kaneland had 59 points, edging Lake Park with 56, and Vernon Hills rounded out the top five at 52.5.

For Kaneland, Brooke Patterson enjoyed a monopoly on first place in her solo events, the pole vault and triple jump.

The senior vaulted a 10 foot, six inch distance and won the triple jump by two inches with a mark of 33-7.25.

Second-places were gathered by Lauren Zick in the 400 meter dash (1:02.40) and by the 4x800m relay squad of Kris Bowen, Ashley Castellanos, Andie Strang and Sydney Strang, with a time of 10:23.91.

Third-places went to the freshman Zick in the 200m dash with an effort of 27.55 seconds.

In the distance medley, fourth place went to the unit of Bowen, Maggie Brundige, Abby Dodis and Jessica Stouffer, running in 14:15.59.

Fifth place for Kaneland was secured in the 4x400m relay, thanks to a 4:30.76 finish by Sydney Bilotta, Castellanos, Ariana Espino and Patterson.

The Lady Knights also added a couple of sixth places to their early indoor season coffers, in the form of a 55m dash time of 7.76 seconds by Zick.

In a solo effort, Castellanos took sixth in the triple jump at 31-11.25.

Finally, Andie Strang wrangled seventh place in the 1600m run with a time of 5:38.58.

Saturday, March 12, brings the Byron Indoor Invitational on the KHS docket, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Strang to keep running at St. Joseph’s

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Those that compete in college cross-country and track compete at a higher level.

That being the case, Kaneland High School senior Andie Strang has been doing that since 2007.

Strang officially committed to run cross-country and track for Division II St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind.

Housed in the Great Lakes Valley Conference, St. Joseph’s College was home to the Chicago Bears summer training camp from 1944-1974.

Now in the midst of basketball season for the Lady Knights, Strang has an eye on the future, ready to duplicate her success for Puma athletics.

Strang has also zoned in on her future career.

“I want to go into pre-medicine,” said Strang. “They have a tremendous program. The first thing I was looking for was majors, and it was definitely positive with that school.”

Strang has been a reliable entry for Kaneland athletics and has often found herself in the postseason thick of things in the fall and spring.

The senior qualified for the State final in cross-country her freshman year, and has qualified for State in track, competing in the 800 meter run three times and the 4x800m relay twice.

“I love the 800 here, and I think I’m going to have to do something a bit longer, just because I don’t have enough leg speed for 800 to be my specialty. I think I’ll have more success in something a little bit longer,” Strang said.

Strang is well aware that things will be different in Puma-land.

“It’s a whole other level of competition. Being a D-II school, I’m excited to see what it has, and they compete against a lot of smaller schools. I think it’ll be fun, though,” Strang said.

Strang feels St. Joseph’s is a great venue and feels like home.

“I love the coaches, I love the campus, I love the girls on the team. It’s a small school and that all came together.“

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

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

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.

Lady Knights compete at Kane Co. prep for WSC

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—With the final regular season meet on the horizon, Kaneland Lady Knights track is seeing personnel move to the forefront of events; just in time for postseason action.

At the Kane County Meet in Batavia, the Lady Knights managed a ninth-place finish in a wind-marred gathering that caused difficulty in field events like pole vault.

Kaneland’s 15 points just edged Dundee-Crown’s 14 points. West Aurora (127.5), Geneva (108) and St. Charles East (83) rounded out the top three.

Additionally on Tuesday, KHS took it to Sycamore and Yorkville in a home meet with 79 points compared to the Spartans’ 55 and the Foxes’ 46.

The Lady Knights’ standout performances on Friday afternoon began with the triple jump finals, as Brooke Patterson’s 35 foot, 9.25 foot final effort earned her fourth place in the county. Teammate Ashley Castellanos took sixth with an effort of 34-06. West Aurora’s Shanice Andrews’ 38-.075 was good for first.

Patterson jumped into the finals with a 35-01, and Castellanos made her way in with a 34-03.

In the discus final, Lady Knight Nicole Ketza finished third with a distance of 104-11, behind West Aurora’s Chastity Smith by one foot.

Blackhawk teammate Mariah Smith torched the field with a 126-06 throw in the finals. Ketza finished second in prelims with a throw of 104-11.

Relay action had the Lady Knight unit of Lisa Roberson, Jessica Stouffer, Kris Bowen and Andie Strang finish fourth in the 4x800m relay with a time of 10 minutes, 16.10 seconds.

For Strang, the Kane County Meet served as a benchmark for how recovery from a right leg stress fracture is progressing.”

“Times aren’t exactly where I want them to be,” Strang said. “I’m just working on getting back, my leg feels great. It’s frustrating, but you have to keep going.”

Relay-mate Bowen noted the odd elements surrounding the relay event, with wind whipping about.

“You definitely have to run through it, your strategy kind of changes,” Bowen said. “You look to see if there’s draft and I try to get a distance from the next runner, but here you have to run through it.”

On Tuesday, Sara Wallace took first in the 300m low hurdles at 54.17 seconds. Strang won the 800m run at 2:27.01. Hillary Luse was tops in the 100m high hurdles at 17.80 seconds. Gabby Aguirre won the high jump at 4-10. Wallace came back to win the pole vault at 8-6, while Patterson won the triple jump at 34-03.

The Lady Knights gear up for the final edition of the Western Sun Conference meet out at Glenbard South on Friday, May 7.

Photo: Kaneland’s Abby Dodis takes on the field at the Kane County Meet in Batavia on Friday during the 3200m run. Photo by Mike Slodki