Category Archives: Spring Sports

Lady Knights track travels to Dixon

KANELAND—With Kaneland and Dixon suiting up as Northern Illinois Big 12 conference mates next season, what better way for Lady Knights girls track to get their name out in that territory than at the annual Dixon Relays.

Friday afternoon saw KHS finish seventh in a talented 10-team field by President Ronald Reagan’s boyhood home, with a total of 54.5 points. Kaneland finished 2.5 points behind Dixon and 4.5 points behind Rochelle.

Harlem (118), Geneseo (88) and Sterling (84) took the top three spots.

In the unusual weight events 4x100m relay, Mel Mazuc, Keara Palpant, Nicole Ketza and Briana Stark took a first place with 57.03 seconds.

The pole vault event also went to Kaneland, thanks to the efforts of Brooke Patterson, Hillary Luse and Sara Wallace, who hit 25 feet in the finals.

Patterson, still a rookie to the track ranks, has now become a true asset to KHS girls track in events like the triple jump and vault.

“I think it’s a good start,” Patterson said on Tuesday. “I try to have fun because it’s my first year doing it.”

Patterson is not as far behind the curve as most, with a gymnastics background.

“It definitely helped in pole vault, I knew how to turn upside down when I had to,” Patterson said.

Kaneland also brought home a couple of third-place finishes, as Lisa Roberson, Jessica Stouffer, Kris Bowen and Andie Strang ran 10:05.11 in the varsity 4x800m relay. Harlem won the event with a time of 9:58.

On the frosh/soph end of that event, Maggie Brundige, Abby Dodis, Savanah Miles and Kelly Evers ran a 10:51.90 to clinch third.

Tuesday had some Western Sun Conference action in store for the Lady Knights in DeKalb against the host Lady Barbs and Geneva.

Kristen’s crusin’

Kristen Heckert (Kaneland Class of ‘05) is one of the UIC Flames women’s track members gearing up for the Horizon League Championships in Lisle on Friday, April 30. A transfer in 2008 from Murray State University, Heckert won the steeplechase at the Eagle Invite in Lisle on April 17 at 11:47.8. Courtesy of UIC Sports Info

Ottawa Invite can’t humble Kaneland boys track

KANELAND—What better way to let a future conference rival know who’s king of the track than to show them a year early.

Thanks to strong individual performances, the Kaneland High School boys track team was tops overall at the Ottawa Invite on Saturday afternoon, racking up 193 team points.

Moline was close by with 190 points, and Peoria Richwoods rounded out the top three with 134 points.

On Tuesday, the Knights took care of host Glenbard South by a 74-20 clip.

The exceptional finishes in Ottawa began with senior Jemmar Parrenas, who vaulted to 11 feet, six inches in pole vault grouping B for second place. Teammate Logan Markuson took the honors in pole vault A at 14 feet.

In the high jump event, sophomore Frankie Furco entered the mix with a second-place showing in the B group at 5-08, while Nick Sinon took first in the A group at 6-02.

For the long jump C category, Matt Spitzzeri finished second at 18-10.5.

In triple jump B, freshman Marshall Farthing finished second at 38-08.5.

In the 4x800m relay A race, the senior foursome of Derek Bus, Dominic Furco, Joe Levita and Edgar Valle beat out the competition at 8:15.53, beating Lincoln-Way East’s unit by 6.41 seconds.

In the 110m hurdles C group, freshman Chad Swieca finished second at 18.12, while Taylor Andrews took second with a time of 15.87 seconds in 110m hurdles B.

Dominic Furco finished second in the 800m run C with a time of 2:08.71. Teammate Clayton Brundige, with a run of 2:07.13, finished second in the 800m run C group.

Swieca won the 300m hurdles C race at 45.19 seconds, while Andrews finished second in 300m hurdles B.

Markuson won the 300m hurdles A race at 40.50. Matt Reusche was tops in the 1600m run C with a time of 4:47.86.

Kaneland’s foursome of Tommy Whittaker, Bus, Andrews and Markuson took the top spot in the 4x400m relay A with a time of 3:25.90.

Against the Raiders, Sinon won the long jump at 20-7.75, and the high jump at 6-4. Markuson took the pole vault at 13-6.

Kaneland’s 4×800 relay won at 9:21.1, and the 4×400 finished first at 3:29.3.

Dominic Furco took the 3200m run at 10:43.4.

Andrews finished first in the 110 hurdles at 15.4 seconds, and also first in the 300m hurdles at 40.7.

Trevor Holm won the 1600m run at 4:39.3, while Sean Paulick won the 800m run at 2:11.3.

The Knights host the annual Peterson Prep on Saturday, April 24 at 10 a.m.

Photo: Curtis Secrest and Andrew Essex participate in a sprint relay down at the Ottawa Invite on Saturday. Courtesy Photo

Lady Knights host Jenni’s ABC, GS

KANELAND—Lady Knights track saw some members continue in a nice groove this week.

Kaneland’s annual hosting of Jenni’s ABC Meet in Maple Park led to a third-place nod with 250 points. Huntley High School was crowned queen of the meet with 418 points, and Rockford Boylan took second with 322 points. Kaneland outlasted Rosary by one point, while Rock Falls finished fifth at 245 in the seven-team outing.

On Tuesday, KHS lost by just one point to visiting Glenbard South, 71.5-70.5.

KHS snagged a number of first-places on Saturday, beginning with Lisa Roberson’s 2 minute, 28.46 time in the 800 meter A grouping.

Brooke Patterson continued her first-year rise through the ranks, securing first in the pole vault A category with an effort of nine feet, nine inches. The junior also took first in the long jump A category at 14-11.

Junior Andie Strang was first in the 800m run B group with a time of 2:32.88, and Roberson came back with a first in the 1600m run B at 5:55.33.

Teammate Brianna Stark, with a 15-foot effort in long jump B, took the crown in that event, while Sydney Luse won pole vault C at seven feet.

Strang also took second place in the 1600m run A with a time of 5:47.28.

Hillary Luse took second in the 100m hurdles A at 18.34, while Patterson added to her productive day with a second in the triple jump A group (34-03).

Sydney Luse finished second in the 100m hurdles B at 18.94. Hillary Luse took second in the pole vault B event with a seven-foot vault. Keara Palpant, with a 77-06 throw, took second in the discus throw B event, while Mel Mazuc finished second in discus C at 72-09.

Against the Lady Raiders, Patterson won first places in the long jump (15-5), triple jump (34-4) and pole vault (10-0).

Teammate Nicole Ketza won discus at 93-8. Roberson took the 800m run crown at 2:29.9, while teammate Arianna Espino won the 400m dash at 1:06.1. Amanda Lesak was first in the 300m hurdles at 54.68. Strang finished an impressive 5:35.99 in the 1600m run, while the Lady Knight foursome won the 4x400m relay at 4:31.5.

Laying ahead for Kaneland girls track is the annual Dixon Relays on Friday, April 23, at 4 p.m.

Photo: Freshman Amanda Lesak goes skyward for the high jump at Jenni’s ABC meet at KHS on Saturday. Photo by Ben Draper

Softball takes wins from Maine West, Oswego, Sycamore, now 7-5

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Lady Knights softball rallied this week to finish a busy slate winning three of five. Thursday saw an unfortunate shutout to visiting Yorkville 2-0, but the team split a doubleheader with visiting Maine West on Saturday, winning 4-1 and losing 8-6. On Monday, the Lady Knights made Oswego wish their makeup game was still on the shelf with a 10-3 win in Maple Park, and more Western Sun action on Tuesday saw KHS pound host Sycamore 10-0 in six innings.

At this juncture, the Lady Knights are 7-5 with a 2-3 WSC mark.

Pitching ace Delani Vest (3 K’s) allowed just two runs in the third vs. the Lady Foxes, but aside from Brittany Davis’ two hits, nothing came across the plate.

Vest came back against the Warriors on Saturday and fanned 11 in a complete game effort, allowing one run on five hits.

Vest also helped her cause with a 3-for-3 effort at the plate with a run scored, while sister Rilee went 2-for-3 with an RBI.

After allowing a first inning run, Kaneland had a prolific third inning with 10 batters at the plate that gave them four runs.

Designated player Katy Dudzinski singled, and two batters later, Delani Vest also singled. SS Allyson O’Herron hit a fly to the rightfielder that was carried by the wind over the rightfielder’s head for a game-tying double.

“I was like, ‘oh man, she’s going to catch it again’, but then I saw Delani going and Katy going, and then we just kept running,” O’Herron said.

Andrea Dimmig-Potts then hit a run-scoring single for the lead, followed by an RBI single by Davis and an RBI double by Rilee Vest.

‘We played well (in game one),” KHS coach Brian Willis said. “We executed defensively and hit the ball harder and didn’t get some runs across until that big inning.”

Maine West got some revenge in game two, scoring three in the top of the sixth to break a 5-all tie. Dudzinski went 2-for-4 with a run, three RBI and a homer. Alexis Villarreal was tagged with the loss, but fanned six.

Against the visiting Panthers in a makeup game from April 3, KHS scored in every inning but the fifth. Rilee Vest went deep on a 3-for-4 afternoon, and Kristen Stralka went 3-for-3 with three driven in. Dudzinski earned the win in relief, striking out six and allowing just one hit in four innings.

Delani Vest struck out 10 in the clash with the Spartans on Tuesday, scattering four hits, while Rilee Vest went 3-for-4 with a double, homer and 4 RBI.

Awaiting the Lady Knights is a home battle with Rochelle on Thursday, April 22.

Soccer takes Blackhawk title

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—For Kaneland girls soccer, it’s quite alright to party like its 2005.

For the 2010 version of the Lady Knights is easily the best since the version five years ago, evidenced by KHS taking the Blackhawk Invite title at West Aurora on April 14.

The 3-0 win over Rochelle cinched the deal, and continued Kaneland girls soccer’s best start in school history.

On Saturday, KHS managed a 1-1 tie vs. Burlington Central, stopping a seven-match win streak, but continuing an unbeaten streak.

On Monday, Kaneland finished off host Marengo by a 6-1 count.

Tuesday had Kaneland battle host DeKalb to a 1-1 draw.

The Lady Knights now sit at 8-0-2.

Against the Western Sun Conference rival Hubs, scoring threat Emily Heimerdinger had a shot stopped five minutes in, while Katie Taylor’s opportunity seven minutes later was also stymied.

Kaneland finally hit the net when Heimerdinger received a centered pass from Taylor in the box and scored with 21:03 remaining in the first half.

With a chance to do more damage, Heimerdinger rocketed a shot from just outside the box to give KHS a 2-0 lead with four ticks left in the half.

“(Asst. coach Travis) Bickley said to me, watch and we’ll score with less than a minute left, and sure enough we did. They’re talented enough and they believe in themselves enough that even when they’re lackluster, they’re going to win,” KHS coach Scott Parillo said.

“2-0 is a good lead, I guess, but it’s not where we wanted to be,” Heimerdinger said. “They were still in it.”

Freshman goalkeeper Jordan Ginther, who’s allowed just three attempts to get past her through eight matches, continued her strong play in the second half.

Heimerdinger attributes the above-average play in the net as one of the perks of a fantastic start.

“The shutouts are the biggest thing; Jordan has been playing great and our defense is stopping everything,” Heimerdinger said.

The scoring column was closed with 22 seconds remaining in the contest, thanks to a Shelby Koester goal that occured despite two Rochelle defenders hanging with her every step.

Against the host Indians, KHS went out to a 4-1 lead at the half before tacking on two more.

Heimerdinger scored twice and had two assists, while Colleen Gebauer had two of her own. Sophie Blank had a goal and assist while Sam Wantuch scored her first goal of the 2010 campaign.

Heimerdinger scored goal No. 14 on the year in the first half against DHS, but the Lady Barbs rallied in the second half to tie.

KHS faces Yorkville on Thursday, April 22.

Lady Knights Soccer:
Alive and Kicking
EMILY HEIMERDINGER—14 goals
SHELBY KOESTER—6 goals
THALIA GARCIA—3 goals
COLLEEN GEBAUER—3 goals
ANDIE BRUCE—3 goals
KATIE TAYLOR—2 goals
SOPHIE BLANK—2 goals
SAM WANTUCH—1 goal
Kaneland has outscored its opponents 34-5 in 2010.

Knights come back vs. Hampshire, solve Rochelle

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Knights baseball won any which way it could in a week that saw three of four games in the “W” column.

April 14 had Kaneland produce one hit in a 1-0 loss in Maple Park, but followed that up with an 11-4 win in Glen Ellyn against those same Raiders.

On Saturday, the Knights came back from a 10-1 deficit in the second inning against visiting Hampshire to pull off a 16-15 thriller, and Tuesday saw the Knights hammer the host Rochelle Hubs 10-1.

KHS is now 10-8 and 3-4 in Western Sun Conference play.

Bobby Thorson earned the loss against GS in a complete-game effort with four K’s. The lone Knights hit was Jake Tickle’s double.

Tickle showed his worth on the mound on Thursday and improved to 4-0, thanks to a nine-K outing. KHS, powered by three runs in the third and four in the fourth, got a homer by Tickle and three RBI, while Drew French went 2-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI.

In the comeback against the Whip-purs, Sam Komel earned the win with 4.2 innings of relief (2-0), while striking out eight.

Down 10-1 after two, KHS came back with seven in the third. After Hampshire scored five in the top of the sixth, Kaneland scored eight in the bottom of the frame to secure the wild victory.

Dave Dudzinski went 2-for-4 with a homer and five RBI. Ty Hamer went 2-for-3 with a run scored, two doubles and RBI, while Komel also helped his cause at the plate with a 2-for-3 morning with a double and two RBI.

Hamer mowed down the Hubs on Tuesday. Plagued by eight errors in the field, the Hubs were also mired by Hamer’s (2-2) masterful pitching, which saw 6 K’s in seven innings.

“I really wanted to establish my fastball early and then keep them off guard with a good curveball; I thought the curveball was getting in the zone well,” Hamer said.

Kyle Davidson hit a two-run HR in a three-run third inning, and Tyler Callaghan went yard for a two-run shot in a three-run sixth.

The Knights visit Rochelle again on Thursday, April 22.

Knight boys hit outdoor track running

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland got its outdoor track season off to a suitable start, finishing fifth in the East Moline United Township Boys Kiwanis Invite on Saturday.

Kaneland (152 points) finished behind the hosts (268), Plainfield South, Rock Island, and Moline, and finished ahead of future Northern Illinois Big 12 rival Geneseo (110.5).

In the 4×400 meter relay A grouping, KHS foursome Derek Bus, Taylor Andrews, Edgar Valle and Logan Markuson finished second at 3 minutes, 28.22 seconds.

In discus throw group C, Brock Dyer took home the crown with an effort of 126 feet, seven inches, obliterating the next farthest total of 115-04.

Frankie Furco finished second in the high jump B group at 5-08, while Nick Sinon used a 6-06 jump to win the high jump A category.

Teammate Jemmar Parrenas finished second in the pole vault B category at 12-06.

Logan Markuson finished second with a vault of 13-06 in the pole vault A group.

In the 4×800 meter relay A, Matt Reusche, Dominic Furco, Sean Paulick and Clayton Brundige took second with a time of 8:26.13.

In the 3200m run, Trevor Holm finished second at 9:52.11, while Andrews was at it again in the 110m hurdles B with a time of 15.46 seconds, good enough for second.

The Knights also put forth a couple of second places in the 800m run, with Bus running a 2:00.48 in B and Valle running a 1:58.80 in the A group.

Additional action this week took place on Tuesday, as the Knights scored 91.5 points to hold Batavia (68.5) and Rochelle (22) at bay.

KHS had a handful of first places.

The 3200m relay team ran in 8:23.9. Holm won the 3200m run in 10:19.9. Valle won the 800m run in 2:05.9. Sinon took the triple jump in 39-8 3/4.

Markuson captured the 300m dash in 40.5 seconds.

Taylor Andrews picked up a second place in that event, and feels like running alongside the celebrated Markuson only serves him positively in the long run.

“That’s all we do in practice,” Andrews said. “His job is to stop me, my job is to catch him. We work at it and we push each other.”

The Knight 800m relay foursome ran in 1:38.2, while Reusche took home the 1600m crown in 4:50.5.

Sinon won the 200m dash in 24.8 seconds, the 1600m relay unit won the event in 3:28.9, and Markuson also won the pole vault.

The Knights now gear up for the annual Ottawa Invite on Saturday, April 17, at noon.

Lady Knights get boost at DeKalb, Marengo

KANELAND—Lady Knights softball knew of a way to smile after some tough losses.

Break out the bats in Barb-land.

Tuesday had the Lady Knights recover nicely after three straight losses with a 12-4 win at Western Sun Conference rival Dekalb.

The win improved the Lady Knights’ mark to 4-3 with a 1-2 WSC record.

Kaneland had lost three of four dating back to April 6.

On Saturday, the Lady Knights lost a 4-1 encounter at Marengo but came back to beat their rivals to the north 9-7 in game 2, and on Thursday dropped a conference battle to rival Geneva by a 7-2 final.

KHS now sits at 4-3 with a 1-2 record in the conference.

Right-hander Delani Vest earned the win over the Lady Barbs with six innings thrown and seven strikeouts. KHS went out to a 5-0 lead after two and lead 9-4 after four innings before capping the scoring with two in the fifth.

Brittany Davis smacked a homer and went 2-for-5 with a double and four RBI. Andrea Dimmig-Potts went 3-for-3 with a walk and 3 RBI.

Against Marengo, Vest was tagged with the loss after giving up the runs, all earned.

Beth Smith earned the win in the second game, while Dimmig-Potts went 3-for-4 with 2 RBI.

Facing the visiting Vikings, the Lady Knights could not add anything to Dimmig-Potts and Rilee Vest’s RBI. Alexis Villarreal (0-1) was tagged with the loss.

The Lady Knights are set to defend their diamond against Yorkville on Thursday, April 15, and Maine West on Saturday, April 17.

Girls track sees progress

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—With a middle of the pack finish at Saturday’s annual Jill Holmes Invitational, Kaneland High School saw some nice individual finishes with room to improve this month.

KHS finished with 45 points, good for eighth place in windy conditions and sunny skies.

West Aurora, with 168.5 points, took its first ever Holmes Invite title.

Lockport and Geneva, both not present this year, combines to win the last six championships.

The Lady Blackhawks’ win marks the first for a DuPage Valley Conference outfit since Wheaton-Warrenville South in 2002.

West Aurora was followed by Oswego East (107), Burlington Central (80) and DeKalb (52.5), rounding out the top four.

The Lady Knights finished ahead of Dundee-Crown (28) in the 14-team field.

Capturing fourth place for Kaneland in the 4×800 meter relay run was the unit of Lisa Roberson, Jess Stouffer, Ashley Castellanos and Andie Strang, who finished with a time of 10 minutes, 20.09 seconds; 1.67 seconds ahead of West Aurora.

KHS representative Gabby Aguirre found herself contributing thanks to a fourth-place finish in the high jump. Aguirre jumped four feet, eight inches.

Lady Knight Sara Wallace continued her quest for a repeat trip to State with a second place finish in the pole vault at 9-03, three inches off the first-place finisher, Burlington Central’s Autumn Conn.

KHS stocked the triple jump with assets Brooke Patterson and Castellanos, both of whom finished well on Saturday. Patterson, a first-year girls track member, took third at 34-10, while Castellanos was sixth at 33-03.

Junior weapon Strang also took home a third place in the 800m run with a time of 2:35.13. Dundee-Crown’s Jade Franz was first with a time of 2:32.02 and West Aurora’s Alexis Anthony was second, defeating Strang by .59 seconds.

In the 3200m run, Abby Dodis managed a fourth-place finish thanks to a time of 12:16.12.

In the 100m hurdles, Hillary Luse took seventh in the finals (17.08) after finishing eighth in prelims.

“I saw (Oswego East’s Shontica Anderson) way ahead of me,” Luse said about the prelims. “Another girl was neck and neck with me toward the end and I just needed a little more energy to push through and thought, ‘no one’s passing me’ and that drove me until the end.”

Kaneland also competed at Batavia on Tuesday, finishing third with 15.5 points compated to Batavia’s 91 and Rochelle’s 74.5.

The lone first place was garnered by Patterson, who jumped 34 feet in the triple jump.

Teammate Nicole Ketza had a second place effort in the shot put with 30 1/2 feet.

Next up for the Lady Knights track squad is the annual Jenni’s ABC Meet at Kaneland on Saturday, April 17, followed by a home matchup with Glenbard South on Tuesday, April 20.

Callaghan HR caps comeback at Geneva

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Looks like Kaneland’s plan on the drawing board worked to perfection in order to stop a losing streak to Geneva.

Use a Tyler Callaghan two-run homer in the top of the seventh in order to come back from a 6-1 deficit, and put out a rally in the last of the inning, thanks to a gutsy mound performance by Steve Colombe.

All in a day’s work in an 8-6 win at Geneva on Tuesday to improve to 7-6 (1-2 Western Sun Conference). The Knights also swept host Marengo in a Saturday doubleheader, 5-4 and 12-3. The three-game win streak started after dropping a 12-11 result vs. Geneva on Thursday in Maple Park.

In the seventh inning of a 6-6 tie on Tuesday, Jake Tickle hit a one-out single. After the second out, catcher Callaghan blasted a pitch to left-center field to give KHS an 8-6 lead.

Things got dicey in the bottom of the seventh as the first two runners for Geneva reached base and slugger Michael Monaghan came up to bat. But Colombe (1-2) forced a flyout to right field and then coaxed a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.

Callaghan knew he had to come through in order to give Kaneland the upper hand going into the bottom of the inning.

“They like to go out there and attack with curveballs,” Callaghan said. “We’ve faced these pitchers before and I just got a good pitch to hit.”

Colombe struck out three and gave up five earned runs on nine hits for his first win of the season.

Jake Fielder went 3-for-4 with an RBI while Callaghan went 3-for-4 with three runs scored.

Down 5-0 in the third, KHS got its first run when Bobby Thorson’s groundout to first scored Ty Hamer who had lead off with a single.

Hamer hit a two-run shot in the fourth to make 6-3. Down 6-4 in the sixth, Callaghan reached on an error, and Colombe’s grounder moved him to third after a misplayed ball. Hamer walked and Fielder drove home Callaghan on a single. Joe Camaliere followed with a sac fly RBI to tie the score and set the stage for late-inning heroics.

Against the host Indians, Drew French (1-0) earned the win in game 1 with 1.2 innings of relief and three K’s. Hamer picked up the save getting the final strikeout.

Down 4-1 after four innings of the first game, Kaneland scored one in the fifth and sixth while putting up two in the seventh.

Fielder went 2-for-4 with a run, while Kyle Davidson went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI.

In game two, Tickle improved to 3-0 and allowed only one run on three hits.

Dave Dudzinski went 4-for-4 with three RBI.

Down 1-0 in the second, Kaneland began a streak of five straight innings in the scoring column, including six in the third and two in the fourth.

In last week’s loss to the Vikings, Davidson went 2-for-4 with a double, RBI and run scored while Thorson went 2-for-3 with a double.

The Knights went out to a 4-0 lead after two before Geneva scored five in the third. The Knights led 6-5 in the fourth leading to the Vikings scoring three in the bottom frame to go ahead 8-6. With a three-spot in the fifth, the Knights led 9-8 before the two squads exchanged two-run innings in the sixth. The Vikings tagged Dudzinski for two runs in the bottom of the seventh for the win.

Awaiting KHS is a road trip to Glenbard South on Thursday, April 15.

Photo: Shortstop Kyle Davidson does his part for a fifth-inning double play in Monday’s 8-6 win at Geneva. Photo by Mike Slodki

Lady Knights 6-0 on pitch

Kaneland’s start on the pitch shows no signs of slowing down.

Even if the Lady Knights have given up a whopping two goals after three straight shutouts to open 2010.

The girls soccer squad has its best start in team history and are 6-0.

So far this week, the Lady Knights took care of visiting Class A team Indian Creek in Maple Park by a final of 7-0 under cold conditions on April 7.

In the opening of the 2010 Blackhawk Soccer Tournament on Thursday, Kaneland executed a 3-2 win over host West Aurora. Kaneland followed that gem with a 4-0 shutout against Plainfield East in the second game of the gathering on Saturday. Finally, the Lady Knights put forth a Tuesday shutout against the Lady Sabres of Streamwood by a 4-0 clip.

Against the Lady T-Wolves, Emily Heimerdinger scored twice, while additional goals were scored by Andie Bruce, Katie Taylor, Shelby Koester, Thalia Garcia and Colleen Gebauer.

Against West Aurora, KHS and the hosts were deadlocked at two after the first 40 minutes until Kaneland scored again.

Heimerdinger, Koester and Gebauer found the net.

Heimerdinger managed a hat trick against the Bengals and Garcia also added one. Haley Johnson tallied an assit.

Against Streamwood, Heimerdinger, Koester, Sophie Blank and Andie Bruce found the net.

Lady Knights track sees early progress

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—Kaneland girls track’s first outdoor competition of the 2010 season saw some warm-for-April temperatures and some decent individual scores, but a third place finish as a team.

Kaneland, with 51 total points, finished behind Burlington Central’s 96 and Oregon’s 55.

Four first-place finishes came down the Lady Knights’ way thanks to personnel Sara Wallace in the 300 meter low hurdles with a time of 54.33 seconds.

Wallace also took second in the pole vault.

“On a day like today, I just have to keep my mind clear,” Wallace said. “Try not to think about it and drink a lot of water, and keep stretching throughout the whole meet, even if you don’t have a lot to do.”

Nicole Ketza won the discus with an effort of 87 feet, 10 inches. First-year track entry Brooke Patterson finished first in the triple jump (33-6) and the long jump (16-5).

Other second-place finishers were Arianna Espino in the 200m dash, Andie Strang in the 800m run, Hillary Luse in the 100m high hurdles, Keara Palpant in the shot put and Ashley Castellanos in the triple jump.

Coach Doug Ecker was realistic on the team’s fortunes on Tuesday, in the larger scale of the season.

“This first outdoor meet gives them a chance to compete,” Ecker said. “You don’t want anyone to get hurt. It was nice to see Andie come back from her stress fracture and Lisa do well, and we’re starting to get our distance runners back, and our jumpers did real well today.”

Waiting in the wings for KHS is the annual Jill Holmes Invite on Saturday, April 10, at 10 a.m. and a meet at Batavia on Tuesday, April 13.

Top photo: Kaneland’s Brooke Patterson, a gymnast by trade, works toward a first-place finish in the triple jump during Tuesday’s clash with BC and Oregon.
Photo by Ben Draper

Softball consumes Sandwich in rout; loses to GS

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—Kaneland softball’s season opener 15 days ago featured an ending that was quite thrilling.

On Monday against the Interstate Eight Conference representative Sandwich Lady Indians, the game was once again thrilling, but only for the KHS offense in an 8-0 win.

In Glen Ellyn on Tuesday, KHS (2-1, 0-1 Western Sun Conference) suffered its first setback with a 5-1 Western Sun conference loss.

Delani Vest (2-1), adjusting well to the mound relocation and to the Sandwich lineup, pitched five innings of no-hit ball for the Lady Knights and struck out eight, and Alexis Villarreal sealed the deal with two relief innings.

“Some of my pitches are slower, but they’ve become more effective,” Vest said. “It’s turning a negative into a postive.”

Vest also scored twice and had an RBI single. Centerfielder Jordan Hester had an RBI triple, and Villarreal also scored twice.

KHS first threatened in the bottom of the second with runners at first and third but failed to convert.

Finally, in the third inning, Villarreal walked and stole second. Vest walked, and both runners executed a double steal.

Second baseman Brittany Davis hit an RBI single and took second on the throw, and Taylor Velazquez reached an an error by the shortstop, allowing Davis to come home.

In the fourth inning, the Lady Knights put up another three spot in the fourth inning. With runners at first and third, Vest hit a two-run double, and Davis hit a fielder’s choice that left her safe and allowed Vest to score.

Hester drove home the seventh run in the fifth inning with a triple and came home on a wild pitch.

Coach Brian Willis can make some conjectures about his team, though it’s still early in the season.

“For this early in the year, I’m pleased with our execution,” Willis said. “It’s a long season, and what mistakes we’re making now, hopefully we’ll learn from them.”

Against the Raiders, Vest pitched four innings in the loss. Davis had two hits while Hester had a double.

Freshmen action during the week had Kaneland beating Sandwich 12-1 on Monday thanks to Elissa Eckert’s seven strikeout outing and a triple by Sarah Grams.

The Lady Knights host Geneva on Thursday, April 8, at 4:30 p.m. and travel to Marengo for a doubleheader on Saturday, April 10.

Photo: Pitcher Delani Vest dishes from her repertoire in a Saturday contest against Oswego that was postponed by rain. KHS-Oswego is set to be made up on Monday, April 19. The sophomore fanned eight vs. Sandwich. Photo by Ben Draper

Spitzzeri stars for Valparaiso

The Valparaiso men’s track team competed at the DePauw Invitational in Greencastle, Ind., and took seventh place with 57 team points on Saturday.

2009 Kaneland graduate Joe Spitzzeri added to the Crusader team score with a sixth-place showing in the javelin throw, registering a toss of 143’4”.

Crosby hits Lakeland as a Flying Tiger

Kaneland Class of 2007 member Casey Crosby will start the 2010 campaign in Class A Lakeland for the Flying Tigers in Detroit’s farm system.

The Flying Tigers, considered high-A, play at Joker Marchant Stadium, also the spring training home to the big club.

Crosby was ranked the second-best prospect in the Tigers’ system by Baseball America and the top prospect in the Sporting News’ baseball preview.

Baseball sits at 4-5; hits Ky.

KANELAND—Geneva gave Kaneland baseball a rude enough awakening at the beginning of Western Sun Conference play that made staying in Kentucky look like a better option.

Following an annual road trip during spring break, the Knights (4-5, 0-1 Western Sun Conference) were felled by Geneva on Tuesday, 23-9.

The game, originally marked for Maple Park, was switched to the Vikings’ turf due to unplayable fields at KHS.

Ty Hamer earned the loss, giving up 12 runs on 15 hits, but struck out seven in five innings.

Geneva’s Chris Hipchen had a huge day, going 4-for-4 with five runs scored and three home runs with 4 RBI. Michael Monaghan went 3-for-6 with 2 HR and 4 RBI.

For Kaneland, Dave Dudzinski went 3-for-4 with a double and 2 RBI. Tyler Callaghan went 2-for-3 with a homer and 3 RBI.

On March 31, the Knights began their trip down south and repelled Grayson County by a final of 3-2 on the strength of single runs in the first three innings.

The hosts put up a two-spot in the fourth for the remainder of the scoring.

University of Illinois-bound Hamer (1-2) went six innings on the hill and gave up just one earned run on four hits while striking out nine.

Murray State-bound Tyler Saltsman took the loss. Dudzinski nabbed the save for KHS, scattering one hit.

Knight Bobby Thorson went 2-for-3 with a walk, while Dudzinski helped his cause at the plate with a homer and two runs batted in. Jake Fiedler went 1-for-4 with a double, stolen base and run scored.

On Thursday, the Knights solved the sixth-ranked team in Kentucky, Apollo High School, by a final of 2-1. After Apollo scored one in the second, the Knights got one in the third and one in the fifth. Bobby Thorson (1-0) went the distance and struck out cleanup hitter Nick Laster with the bases loaded to end the game. Thorson fanned seven in the effort. Fielder went 2-for-3 with an RBI, while catcher Aaron Hayman went 1-for-2 with two runs scored.

On Friday against Hancock County, Kaneland fell victim to a 9-7 loss.

Down 5-0 after three innings, Kaneland scored one in the fourth before the hosts put up three in the bottom of the fifth to make it 8-1.

Kaneland scored five in the top of the sixth to make it 8-6 before the two teams exchanged single runs for the remainder of the scoring.

Outfielder Joe Camaliere scored three runs and was hit twice in the batter’s box.

Steve Colombe (0-2) surrendered five runs on four hits to get tagged with the loss.

Against McClean County on Friday, Kaneland put up three runs each in the fourth, fifth and sixth to buoy their fortunes in a 10-5 win. Jake Tickle (2-0) went three innings and struck out five.

Fiedler went 2-for-4, Thorson went 2-for-3 with two runs scored along with a double, triple and 4 RBI. Teammate Dudzinski went 2-for-4 with a run and RBI.

The varsity troops try to improve their mark on Thursday, April 8, vs. Geneva and at Marengo on Saturday, April 10, with a doubleheader.

Photo: Junior Tyler Callaghan, shown in earlier action, had a homer and three RBI at Geneva on Tuesday.
File Photo

Soccer defeats Rosary

AURORA—Kaneland High School girls soccer can get used to this.

Using an Emily Heimerdinger goal on a Thalia Garcia assist with 15 minutes remaining in regulation, the Lady Knights came away with a 1-0 triumph over nearby rival Rosary last Wednesday.

Kaneland, following a season-opening win against IMSA, now improves to 2-0.

Freshman goalkeeper Jordan Ginter has yet to allow a goal in her two matches.

In JV action, Rosary defeated KHS by a 6-0 final.

Kaneland has an extended break before picking up the non-conference action on Wednesday, April 7, against visiting Indian Creek.

KHS baseball drops 3 of first 4

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—A quarter is nice to have every once in a while, but not when it’s referring to victories in a season.

So far in the early outset, Kaneland has been plagued by big opposing offenses and not being able to drive runners home at critical points.

The initial stage of the season has led to a 1-3 record after losing at Plainfield North on March 24 in a 6-0 no-hitter, 14-3 in five innings on Thursday at Burlington Central, a 7-6 last at-bat win vs. Marmion Academy on Saturday and a 4-3 loss at Harlem on Monday.

Against host Plainfield North, the Knights surrendered one run in the first, one in the third and four in the fourth. PN’s Ben Gorgan struck out 12 batters in five innings.

Facing the Rockets, Jake Fiedler went 2-for-3 with a run, while teammate Tyler Callaghan went 1-for-2 with a double and run scored. Ty Hamer got the loss on the mound after giving up eight runs on four hits. BC scored three in the bottom of the first, but Kaneland put up one in the second and one in the third before the Rockets put up an 11-spot in the bottom of the fourth. The Knights also scored one run in the fifth.

Jake Tickle earned the win in relief against the visiting Cadets, while Callaghan went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI.

Marmion put runs on the board first with three in the top of the second, while Kaneland came back with two in the bottom of the frame. The Knights tied the score in the bottom of the fourth with a run and scored three in the sixth for a 6-3 advantage. With Marmion tying the score with three in the top of the seventh, KHS pulled it out with one in the last of the seventh. Both teams committed three errors apiece.

Near Rockford in Machesney Park, Kaneland used its spring break to tackle the NIC-10’s Harlem Huskies. Gray of the Huskies hit a three-run homer in the first inning to put the Knights behind early. Fiedler doubled and scored on a wild pitch, but after a Joe Camaliere walk and a Bobby Thorson single, the Knights couldn’t push any more home. Harlem then came back with a run in the fourth inning to go up 4-1.

In the seventh, Kyle Davidson singled. With one out, Thorson doubled home Davidson and went to third on an error to make it 4-2. Callaghan hit an RBI single to close within one. Hamer singled to put two runners on, but the Knights could get no further.

“We left a lot of runners on base in the second and third,” KHS coach Brian Aversa said. “We had the bases loaded in the sixth, and couldn’t score. We can’t do that.”

Despite the result and the three of four losses, Aversa is still expecting things to turn in Kaneland’s favor.

“We’re facing some good competition right now. These teams are making us work. We’ll turn it around,” he said.

Lower-class action featured the sophomores losing to Plainfield North 5-3 and beating Burlington Central 7-3, thanks to a 14 K performance by Drew Peters.

The Knights take on Owensboro High School on Thursday, April 1, as part of their three-day Kentucky road trip.

Photos: Reliever Sam Komel launches a ball in the fifth inning during Monday’s 4-3 setback at Harlem High School in Machesney Park, Ill.. Photo by Mike Slodki

Lady Knights stage comeback

Frosh 3B hits game-winning single
by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—Maybe this is a truly new beginning for Kaneland softball.

Decked out in black-on-black uniforms and facing the team that ousted them in the 2009 regionals, the Kaneland Lady Knights and first-year coach Brian Willis used a single by freshman Taylor Velasquez to drive home two runs in the sixth inning. The lead held for a dramatic 3-2 win on opening day.

“I don’t even know what to say at this point,” Willis said. “I’m so proud of the girls the way they came back. They easily could have laid down after the big bomb we gave up (two-run HR in third). They kept fighting and scratching, and I think that’s what we’re going to be about.”

Sophomore Delani Vest fanned seven batters for the win.

In the top of the third, Lady Rocket Emily Bell hit a two-run shot to left field for a 2-0 lead. In the bottom of the frame, leftfielder Sam Hansen hit a single for the first hit of the afternoon for KHS. Vest reached on an error, and shortstop Allyson O’Herron drove her home with a hit-and-run single.

In the bottom of the sixth, second baseman Brittany Davis walked and went to third after McKinzie Mangers’ bunt was mishandled.

With two runners on, pinch runner Alexis Villarreal stole second. 3B Velasquez hit a single to right-center allowing Davis to come home and Villarreal to slide under the tag.

“That at-bat was a little nerve-wracking at first,” Velasquez said. “But I knew the pitcher was getting a little tired and hit it to right field, and the girls were so supportive.”

In lower-level action, the sophomores lost in the bottom of the eight against BC, 8-7, despite two homers by Katy Dudzinski and 10 K’s on the mound from her.

The freshmen won over BC 18-12 thanks to 14 K’s from Ellissa Eckert and a 3-for-5 day for Kara Leyden.

The varsity roster plays visiting Oswego in a doubleheader on Saturday, April 3.

Photo: LF Sam Hansen maneuvers in the batters box during the Lady Knights’ dramatic 3-2 win over visiting Burlington Central. Hansen walked and eventually scored the first Lady Knight run in the third inning. Photo by Mike Slodki

KHS spring training baseball camp March 27, 30

Kaneland Knights baseball is holding a Spring Training Baseball Camp on Saturday, March 27 and Tuesday, March 30. The camp, held in the East Gym, is for anyone grades 3-8. Both Sessions are included and walk-ins are welcome.

Session I is on Saturday and goes from 8-9:30 a.m., while Session II goes from 9-10:30 a.m. for grades 3-5 and 10:30-a.m.-12 p.m. for grades 6-8.

The cost of the camp is $40, with checks payable to KHS (put baseball camp in memo). Instruction from KHS coaches and players with a camp T-shirt will be provided to all players.

Bring necessary gym clothes, shoes and a baseball glove (weather permitting). Players can bring their own equipment. Equipment will otherwise be provided.

For more information, contact Brian Aversa at KHS at (630) 365-5100 ext. 379, by e-mail at Brian.Aversa@kaneland.org.

Send check to:
KHS Baseball Camp,
Attn:Brian Aversa
47W326 Keslinger Road
Maple Park, IL 60151.

Lady Knights kick off with 4-0 win

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—Ideal conditions met the Kaneland High School girls soccer team on Tuesday afternoon, as did an ideal result.

Using four first-half goals and enough defense to do the trick, the Lady Knights came away with a 4-0 win over IMSA to begin the season 1-0.

Captain Shelby Koester found the net 5 minutes, 48 seconds into the contest off an assist by Emily Heimerdinger.

Koester struck again with 27:29 left in the first half after putting in a blocked shot attempt that rebounded her way.

Midfielder Thalia Garcia rocketed a ball in the net 2:07 later, and midfielder Taylor White put in a shot thanks to a Katie Taylor assist with 10:42 to go in the half.

“We stepped it up,” KHS coach Scott Parillo said. “We started out a little sluggish, but once we got the first goal it seemed we got another one every few minutes. We had other people besides Emily (Heimerdinger) score goals, so that’s huge.”

Earning her first shutout, freshman Jordan Ginther appreciated the opportunity.

“I was pretty nervous,” Ginther said. “It was my first game in high school, but the girls are great.”

The Lady Knights take on host Rosary on Thursday, March 25, at 4:30 p.m.

Gruenke enjoying collegiate success

Carroll University sophomore Lindsay Gruenke wasted no time in having a productive spring track season.

The 2008 Kaneland graduate won five indoor events at the Midwest Conference championships in Galesburg, Ill., on Feb. 27 with top performances in the 55 meter dash, 200 meter dash (school record of 26.05 seconds), 400m dash, and being part of the 4×200 meter relay and the 4×400 meter relay.

By excelling in the 400m dash in the Last Chance Meet on March 5, Gruenke secured a trip to Nationals on March 12-13 in Greencastle, Ind. Gruenke qualified for the 400 meter dash finals after posting a school record time of 57.28 in the preliminaries. She finished seventh in the finals with a time of 57.73. cementing All-American status.

Baseball fills void with new talent

Photo: Catcher Austin Conard prepares to block Brian Evers at homeplate during last week’s baseball practice. Photo by Mike Slodki

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—Kaneland High School baseball seems to raise the bar every year, and this season hopes to be no different.

Finishing a school record 23-13 a year ago, the Knights nonetheless finished with a 6-5 regional championship heartbreaker at the hands of Burlington Central.

“That regional game is kind of motivating us and pushing us this year,” fourth-year coach Brian Aversa said. “We’re going to try and top 23 wins this year.”

Gone from the ranks are players like Mike Pritchard, Joe Gura, Jeff Smith and Jay Levita.

“Guys like that are hard to replace, they were something special,” Aversa said.

With arms like Smith gone, it’s up to personnel like senior Steve Colombe to get more mound time.

Pritchard yields way to backstop Aaron Hayman, a senior.

“Aaron learned a lot from Mike and is ready for the rigors of the backstop in general,” Aversa said.

The outfield is projected to have junior Corey Landers in leftfield, and Joe Camaliere returns for his junior year in centerfield, with rightfield an open derby.

Third base will depend on the opposing pitcher, with juniors Drew French and Bobby Thorson hoping for a look, along with fellow junior infielder Sam Komel.

Kyle Davidson and Jake Tickle highlight the shortstop ranks, while Jake Fiedler mans second base.

Dave Dudzinski, Thorson and Komel will guard first base.

‘We have some pretty nice competitions going around that’ll come down to the last couple practices,” Aversa said.

Hayman and Tyler Callaghan, a junior, will see time at the catcher’s spot.

In the pitching rotation, senior Ty Hamer ( a University of Illinois signee), Thorson and Colombe hurl the ball.

“We’ll ride those guys, and they can give us a lot of innings. There’s not an ace, it’s our top three,” Aversa said. “Ty and those guys bring a presence on the mound, and it’s going to be hard getting a hit off them, and it helps the defense.”

Komel and junior Austin Conard also look to be employed in pressure situations.

Other Knights shoring up the varsity ranks are P/1B John Kintz, OF/C Josh Kuefler, P/OF Trevor Wolf, INF Brian Dixon and OF Brian Evers.

The regular season was scheduled to begin on Wednesday at Plainfield North with Western Sun Conference play beginning on Tuesday, April 5, vs. Geneva. The regular season ends at DeKalb on Thursday, May 20.

Boys track looks to top themselves

Photo: Preparation continues for members of the Kaneland boys track squad that finished 13th in Class 2A a year ago. Photo by Mike Slodki
by Mike Slodki
Maple Park—Can the Kaneland High School boys track roster top last year’s exceptional finish?

Seven separate events saw Kaneland representation at the Class 2A State meet in Charleston, and the team finished 13th overall.

Senior Logan Markuson was crowned State champ in the 300 meter intermediate hurdles.

Graduate Josh Bloome and Markuson both medalled in the pole vault, and senior Nick Sinon took third in the high jump.

It sounds daunting on paper, but with a roster eclipsing the 70-person mark and with a glut of talent familiar with success, it’s possible for huge things to happen for KHS boys track.

“I would say we’re pretty excited,” KHS coach Eric Baron said. “We started with a lot of ambition and excitement about what we think we can accomplish. Winning the indoor invite this week was a first step.”

Markuson, now quickly climbing up the record books for Knights track, is appreciated by Baron for what he brings.

“He’s just a great person,” Baron said. “ It’s about more than just athletic ability. He hasn’t missed one day of school ever. Every meet, he’ll go out and do what you ask him to do.”

Markuson will look to make a mark in the hurdles, pole vault and 4×400 relay once again.

Sinon returns to the ranks after some offseason experience and has already cleared 6-8 in the indoor long jump.

“He’s looking at big things this year and is a real student of the sport,” Baron said. “We’ll be strong in all of our jumps, and this is going to be a big year for him.”

Helping the KHS cause was a Western Sun Conference indoor championship last week.

Also back on the sprint side is Taylor Andrews, who qualified in the 110m high hurdles and benefited from racing alongside Markuson.

Much will have to be done to absolve the loss of Lucas Ross, Colin Zagel and Brendan McCarthy.

“We’re looking for Tommy Whittaker to have a nice year and Serpa ran well for us, and then there’s some young guys like Curtis Secrest and Andrew Essex, who are working super hard,” Baron said.

On the relay side, Whittaker, Edgar Valle and Markuson return from the 4x400m.

Valle, who Baron marked as an unsung contributor to track during his tenure, also qualified for the 4x800m relay, along with Derek Bus, Sean Paulick and graduated Hayden Johnson.

“Bus qualified for State last year and has come out this year so far and made a statement,” Baron said.

“(Edgar) doesn’t get a lot of limelight, but he’s been a relay guy for us every meet,” Baron said.

The freshmen class comes in with personnel like Brandon Cottier, Alex Gil and Chad Swieca, who are primed for action.

“Cottier looks like a special athlete, and we’re figuring out what his best event is,” Baron said.

On the field side of things, it’s open season.

“Alex Mollohan and Brett Ketza are throwing for us and they look ready to step up,” Baron said.

Baron added Ben Kovalick to the throwing list.

For vault, Markuson and Jemmar Parrenas take the reins. Parrenas has gone over 12 feet in indoor competition.

For now, Baron mentions only a couple of nagging injury issues to Blake Serpa and Whittaker.

“A big thing right now is taking it easy on people when we can,” Baron said.

Seniors looking to contribute are Justin Choate, Brock Dyer, Dominic Furco, Kevin Hodge, Carlos Hufshlag, Joe Levita, Lukas Liebich, Justin Phillips, Matt Swift and Kyle Wagner.

Juniors looking to get in the mix are Cody McGinnis and Matt Spitzzeri.

Baron cited Matt Reusche on the senior side and juniors Matt Cowans and Trevor Holm as athletes that are capable of big things.

Sophomores are Chase Borneman, Clayton Brundige, Tom Chidester, Joe Cozzi, Mitch Dienst, Evan Dukes, Andrew Essex, Frankie Furco, Jake Ginther, Thomas King, Jimmy Lagness, Mickey Marin, John Michek, Thanasi Pesmajoglou, Kelvin Peterson, Nate Rehkopf, Brandon Stahl, Devin Swearingen and Nicholas Wieglos.

Freshmen are Trevor Anderson, Tanner Andrews, David Barnhart, Ryan Euting, Marshall Farthing, Dan Goress, Kory Harner, Billy Hart, Brandon Huber, Conor Johnson, Brad Kigyos, Jay Markuson, John Meisenger, Jimmy Merletti, Nick Messina, Liam Mulloy, Ben Nelson, Ryan Paulson, Dylan Pennington, Nick Sharp, Ben Sommers, Gus Stott, Chad Swieca, Zach Theis, Chris Wido and George WIlson.

The outdoor season for Kaneland boys track begins on Saturday, April 10, at East Moline United with conference action against visiting Batavia and Rochelle on Tuesday, April 13.

The Kane County Meet is on Friday, May 7, at West Aurora, with the final Western Sun Conference meet on Friday, May 14, at Geneva.

5 captains, new goalie for soccer

Photo: Midfielder Sophie Blank participates in pre-season drills for Lady Knights soccer. Photo by Mike Slodki
by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—What happens when most of the Lady Knights soccer squad that scored a sizable upset over Hampshire in regional action returns?

You’ll have optimism and talent on a squad that tied its mark for most wins in club history.

“We got the lead against Hampshire and held on to it,” KHS coach Scott Parillo said. “You go back a few months and we lose a 3-0 lead at West Aurora. So that win was a ‘get over the hump’ moment for us.”

Leading the charge are the five captains. Midfielder Colleen Gebauer, defenseman Megan Gil, forward Emily Heimerdinger, midfielder Haley Johnson and midfielder Shelby Koester bring talent, experience and a solid core familiar with big late-season victories.

“They bring knowledge of the game and played big schools and small schools. Megan is a four-year varsity player, Emily’s a scoring machine, and Shelby, Colleen and Haley are all three-year varsity players. They’ve all been in pressure-filled games,” Parillo said.

Returnee Sophie Blank, pivotal to the regional semifinal win, moves out of goal to midfield, her more natural position.

In goal is freshman Jordan Ginther, who has already managed a shutout this year.

One might ask why there’s a wealth of experience in the field and a freshman in goal.

“You’ve got to watch her play. Her club team is nationally ranked. She will blow people’s minds,” Parillo said.

Joining Gil on the defense is teammate Natalie Swieca, back for a third year.

Savannah Webb returns as well on defense, for a unit looking to recover from graduation losses.

Amy Fabrizius is set for forward, midfield and maybe a bit of defense.

“We have enough players that can play multiple positions; we should be OK,” Parillo.

Katie Taylor shores up the forward ranks along with Andi Bruce and Abby Bend. Melissa Bohorquez can play forward and midfield, as can Sam Wantuch.

Also back for more is midfielder Thalia Garcia, who has already found the net this season. Anna Heinrichs plays defense and midfield, while Valerie Tockstein and Taylor White help out the midfield and forward ranks.

Soccer plays its usual West Aurora Tournament stop beginning on Thursday, April 8, and hosts the Burlington Central Tournament beginning on Friday, May 7. The regular season ends on Tuesday, May 11, at Batavia.

Willis joins many new softball faces

Photo: Sophomore pitcher Delani Vest will be counted on for a repeat performance. File Photo
by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—Despite finishing 27-9 in 2009, the Kaneland High School girls softball squad faces quite a number of challenges.

There’s recovering from the heartbreaking extra-inning regional championship loss to Burlington Central, the third straight year of getting eliminated by the Rockets.

There’s the acclimation of seven new faces to the varsity ranks, with just six upperclassmen on the team.

There’s also the item of new and eager head coach Brian Willis, who also served time as an assistant after former coach Dennis Hansen was suspended.

Willis says not much has changed in his coaching style from being a lower-level coach in various Kaneland sports.

“Right now, it’s all excitement and anticipation,” Willis said. “We’re trying to get the girls ready. I look at this as no different than the last eight years, except I talk to reporters now.”

Willis is ready for the season-ending loss to be put in the rearview mirror.

“From that regional championship loss, there’s only two girls starting (Wednesday) that started that game. In a sense, that anxiety is there for girls like Delani (Vest) because she was the pitcher, but we have several freshmen and sophomores that weren’t around,” Willis said.

Notably, Vest returns after posting a 17-6 record as a freshman inside the pitcher’s circle, which itself is being moved back.

“That’s going to make a difference, and we’ll get to see how Delani will react to that. With her leadership and competitiveness, she knows what it takes to get back to that championship game,” Willis said.

The jury is still out on Delani’s sister and battery mate Rilee, who is battling nagging injuries.

Junior catcher Andrea Dimmig-Potts returns as someone who saw her share of playing time and was capable of doing damage with one giant swing.

Seniors on the squad are outfielder Jordan Hester, and infielders Brittany Davis and Kristen Stralka.

“We’re moving forward. These returning girls are excited to get a fair shot, and they feel like it’s their time,” Willis said.

Joining Vest as fellow hurlers look to be sophomore Alexis Villarreal and sophomore Katy Dudzinski, who saw spot starts in the varsity ranks a year ago, and sophomore Brittney Miller.

“It’s a new coaching staff (Willis, Christine Bouffard and Joe Spittzeri), and we evaluated everyone equally at the start. Delani put herself in the top spot, and some of these other girls aren’t too far behind,” Willis said.

Sophomore McKinzie Mangers will serve as catcher in case the other two possibilities are beset by injuries.

“We’ll be tested early behind the plate,” Willis said.

The infield will look younger on the left side and senior-laden on the right. Allyson O’Herron, a freshman, looks to contribute at shortstop.

“(O’Herron) is very solid defensively and will make some freshman mistakes, but she’s also solid with the bat,” Willis said.

Fellow freshman Taylor Velazquez will get a look at third base.

Davis will be looked at around second base to serve as a cornerstone of the infield. Spots remain in a fight for outfield.

In terms of players who will see more sizable time this season and could surprise onlookers is Davis.

“She’s going to get out there every day and put up solid numbers and be a good player,” Willis said.

On the new arrivals, Willis pointed to O’Herron having a productive career at short for the next four years.

Other Lady Knights looking to contribute to the squad are sophomore infielder Sarah Kitz, sophomore outfielder Samantha Hansen and junior infielder Beth Smith.

“If we finish in the middle of the conference and continue to get better every week and regionals come around and we’re ready to roll, that’ll make me happy,” Willis said.

The regular season kicked off yesterday against BC, and WSC play begins on Tuesday, April 6, at Glenbard South. The regular season finale is Saturday, May 22, at Rosary.

Ecker steps in for girls track

Photo: Girls track coach Doug Ecker gives pointers on the triple jump at Friday’s practice. Photo by Mike Slodki
by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—After a ninth-place finish in State a year ago, how do you repeat such a fine performance?

Wait and see.

A large part of the stellar finish at 2A State for the Kaneland Lady Knights girls track squad was due in part to Lindsay Gierke, gone off to the University of Northern Iowa. One of the most celebrated girls track athletes in KHS history, Gierke managed a second place in the 100m hurdles, fourth in the 100m dash, third in the 300m hurdles and was a four-year State qualifier.

“We’ve had some great athletes in the past and we’ll miss her points, but a lot of great athletes from last year are gone now, and it’s part of high school,” said KHS coach Doug Ecker.

Also gone from the group is pole vaulter Jordan Pinkston, who finished fifth at State and is competing at Southern Illinois University.

The good news is that 2009-10 allows new faces to step up and take the mantle of postseason success, and not all State qualifiers have left for the college ranks just yet.

One new face is right at the top, as girls cross-country coach Ecker moves up to take the head position, switching places with Pat Sheetz, who moves aside after four decades as head coach.

“There’s really no change,” Ecker said. “Sheetz and I have worked for 23 years; everything’s pretty much the same.”

Ecker has had head track experience in the college ranks and high-school boys track.

Junior Andie Strang looks to go back to Charleston, Ill. for a third go-around after finishing 10th in the 800m run and was part of the 4x800m relay, along with returning teammates Kris Bowen, Kelly Evers and Lisa Roberson. Strang is on the road back from a stress fracture suffered during girls basketball season.

“We’ll see how it is when outdoor season comes. If it’s healed it’s healed, and if it’s not its not. Hopefully she’s back at full strength and we’ll have to see what happens.”

Sara Wallace, a senior, also qualified for State in pole vault and looks to shore up that event.

Ecker stressed a lot of new faces, with accompanying talent to go with them on the roster numbering 50-strong.

“We don’t have any superstars, but we have kids with potential,” Ecker said.

Trying to break into the Lady Knight ranks in the jumping categories is junior Brooke Patterson, fresh off being familiar in the gymnastics realm and the younger sister of graduated trackster Kelli Patterson.

The junior has excelled in the indoor triple jump with a 32 feet mark.

Freshman Ashley Castellanos has done well in the triple and long jump in the initial stages of the season.

“Every team lost superstars, so you’ll have above average girls trying to take spots in the area,” Ecker said, who also said sprinters and vaulters could be crowded headed into the outdoor season.

The 4x800m relay looks to improve on their first go-around to state, but could see an influx of challengers. Ecker mentioned Castellanos and junior Jessica Stouffer having run well, joining a pool of seven or eight additional runners.

Hurdles will see freshmen and sophomores jockey one of Gierke’s specialty events.

Sprinters could put up some decent speed, thanks to representatives like sophomore Jordyn Lawrence.

“We have more depth at sprinters than we’ve had in a while; we just have to remain healthy,” Ecker said.

Senior Hillary Luse will have a chance at pole vault. The shot put and discus has younger lady tracksters looking to make a name for themselves before the outdoor season takes off.

Any Lady Knight that could take fellow athletes by surprise? Ecker mentioned junior Ariana Espino, who is looking for a relay spot, and fellow junior Sydney Billotta.

“They’re healthy and doing better leading up to the season, and both ran cross-country,” Ecker said.

In this, the final campaign for the Western Sun Conference, Ecker mentions Geneva and Batavia rising up despite losing personnel, along with Rochelle.

Freshmen joining the Kaneland girls track roster for 2010 are Gabby Aguirre, Jenna Bicos, Maggie Brundige, Angalia Carbonara, Brianne Claypool, Laken Delahanty, Abby Dodis, Brooke Harner, Lisa Jennings, Amanda Lesak, Sydney Luse, Emily Maki, Kelly McCarthy, Emma Moon, Grace Mozdren, Alyssa Nolte, Katie Ogboukiri and Jessica Woodward.

Sophomores are Tesa Alderman, Ashley Diddell, Kelsey Gould, Nicole Ketza, Savanah Miles, April Smith, Grace Snyder, Meggen Southern, Carolina Tovar and Shannon Wallace.

Juniors are Athina Ajazi, Elizabeth Hylland, Lordan Krawczyk, Keara Palpant, Alyson Rehr, Nicole Rymarz, Briana Stark and Cara Zagel.

Seniors are Elicia DiBella, Tara Groen, Mel Mazuc, Megan Mendoza and Lexie Pniewski.

For the girls, the outdoor season kicks off on Tuesday, April 6, against Burlington Central and Oregon.

The Kane County Meet is at Batavia on Friday, April 30, followed by the final Western Sun Conference meet on Friday, May 7, at Glenbard South.

KHS boys track sets team mark at Byron

Kaneland boys track had itself a productive indoor meet in Byron on Saturday.

The outing produced 101 points, a Kaneland team indoor record at that particular meet.

The Knights were just five points behind Hononegah for first place in the 15-team event.

Rockford Jefferson (79), Freeport (46) and Burlington Central (37) rounded out the top five.

Kaneland’s Nick Sinon had himself a stellar afternoon, finishing first in both the triple jump with a mark of 41 feet, zero inches, and the high jump with a 6’8” tally.

Teammate Jemmar Parrenas finished second in the pole vault with a result of 12 feet even, half a foot behind Freeport’s Elliot Hollis.

Wading through preliminaries and semifinals, Logan Markuson and Taylor Andrews finished 1-2 in the 55 meter hurdles.

Markuson ran 7.75 seconds in the final, followed by Andrews’ 7.86.

On the distance side of things, Knight Matt Reusche finished third in the 3200 meter run with a a time of 10:21.10.

Kaneland’s relay foursome of Sean Paulick, Dominic Furco, Clayton Brundige and Jake Ginther took fifth in the 4×800 race with a time of 8:53.26.

In the 400m dash, Markuson and Andrews once again excelled, with Markuson winning the event at 52.56 and Andrews following in fifth at 55.66.

KHS representatives Derek Bus (2:02.10) and Edgar Valle (2:02.66) finished first and third, respectively, in the 800m run.

The Knights also did well in the 1600m run, with Trevor Holm taking third at 4:40.44 and teammate Joe Levita finishing fifth at 4:42.24.

Brandon Cottier of Kaneland took sixth in the 200m dash with a time of 25:02, and the Knight contingent of Bus, Tommy Whittaker, Valle and Markuson won the 4×400 relay.

KHS Varsity Boys Track All-time Top Point Leaders
• 4) Logan Markuson—499.25
• 37) Nick Sinon—242
• 152) Taylor Andrews—114.75
• 172) Edgar Valle—104
• 277) Matt Reusche—59.5

Crosby named Detroit Tigers’ top prospect

The 2010 Sporting News Baseball Preview magazine, available at newsstands everywhere, lists Kaneland High School alum Casey Crosby as the Detroit Tigers’ top prospect.

“Slowed by Tommy John surgery shortly after being drafted in the fifth round in 2007 and eventually signing with the Tigers, Crosby started showing why he was so highly regarded last season,” the magazine said.

Crosby, who went 10-4 with a 2.41 ERA for Class A West Michigan in 2008 was also listed as being part of a possible trade for slugger Matt Holliday, then of Oakland, last year.

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 www.kccougars.com, 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.

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.