Category Archives: Spring Sports

Boys track win 3rd straight sectional

by Mike Slodki
ROCHELLE—Call ‘em champs.

With 90 team points, Kaneland pulled off the sectional three-peat. Sterling was second, tied with Burlington Central at 78 points.

Knights boys track began the State bus with the 4×800 meter relay unit as it placed fourth with a time of 8 minutes, 8.72 seconds.

Kaneland managed an event title in the 4x100m relay with a time of 42.76.

Taylor Andrews looks to finish his KHS tenure on a skyrocketing trajectory with a 14.35 championship in the 110m high hurdles, edging rival Tre Llanes of Burlington Central by .43 seconds.

With a 1:31.11 in the 4x200m relay, Kaneland finished fourth and qualified for Charleston, Ill.

“It’s been a focus from the beginning,” KHS coach Eric Baron said. “The program is at a point where we believe we can be successful year in and year out.”

400m dash qualifying glory went to Tommy Whittaker, whose 50.15 time was good for third in the finals.

Freshman Knight Dylan Nauert is going to EIU after qualifying in the 300m hurdles by .01 seconds (40.43, third place).

“I just ran scared,” Nauert said. “I just tried my best and wanted to qualify. I needed to be quicker and work on my steps, and I hopefully make it to Saturday.”

Standout Trevor Holm goes in the 1600m run after finishing third with a time of 4:26.19, and is involed in the 4x800m relay.

“For relays, I go into it not wanting to let my team down,” Holm said. “My mind’s a little different than an individual event for that one.”

KHS finished first in the 4x400m relay with a time of 3:20.96.

Knight Kory Harner, with a pole vault of 13 feet, 3 inches, met the qualifying mark in that event.

photo courtesy of

Swing away

Photo: Rilee Vest and Andrea Potts enjoy the occasion on Thursday after recognition for their continuing softball careers in college. Photo by Mike Slodki

Bad news: Rilee Vest and Andrea Potts of Lady Knights softball will no longer be suiting up for Northern Illinois Big XII Conference action after the season concludes.

Good news: The two sluggers are bringing their bats to college programs where their skills will be appreciated.

Potts, who has supplied offense at the first base position for the Lady Knights, has made a verbal commitment to Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

The Lady Cougars are 28-30 in 2011 and play in the Division II Ohio Valley Conference.

Potts is excited for the next stage of her softball life.

“I think my hitting is the strongest part of my game, and the mental part of my game and having more confidence has been more consistent,” Potts said.

The Cougars program is also home for former Lady Knight softball standout, senior infielder Laurie Siebert.

SIUE has been coached by Sandy Montgomery since 1989, and had a streak of 14 straight 30-win seasons from 1996-2009. SIUE won the National Championship in 2007.

Vest, who has manned the catching post for coach Brian Willis’ crew, heads to Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, after a verbal commitment.

“The coach really wanted me for the team and that made an impression on me,” Vest said.

Cornell, part of the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, gets a slugger who feels like her best softball days could be ahead.

“I was recruited as a catcher, and that’s the part of my game I’ve really worked hard to improve,” Vest said.

Lady Knights get last swings before playoffs

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—At the very least, Lady Knights softball can be encouraged by the offense going into an uncertain playoff campaign.

KHS lit up the Saturday scoreboard with a doubleheader sweep of Rosary, 9-8 and 14-4 in five innings, after dropping a 5-2 decision to Marengo on Thursday.

The Lady Knights finished the regular season at 14-17.

In the first game on Saturday, Rosary took a 7-5 lead afrer two in the top of the fourth. After going ahead 8-5 in the top of the sixth, KHS rallied with a four-run barrage in the bottom of the sixth, and retired the Royals in the seventh for the win.

Rilee Vest went 2-for-3 with two RBI, while Katy Dudzinski went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI.

The second game went well for Kaneland, as they put up runs in every inning of play, and went out to an 8-1 lead after two. The Lady Knights won it with one run in the bottom of the fifth, putting a cap on a 17-hit outing.

Andrea Potts went 2-for-4 with two HR’s and six driven in, while Vest went 3-for-4 with and RBI. Teammate Sam Hansen went 2-for-2 with three runs.

Dudzinski suffered the loss against the visiting Indians on Thursday.

In underclass action on Thursday, the JV team put up 14 runs in the first inning en route to a 29-2 win over Rockford East.

The sophomores swept host Rosary, 5-3 and 11-10.

Scheduled for Thursday, May 26, was Kaneland’s first regional test as the No.3 seed in the Kaneland Regional against second-seeded Sycamore. The winner of the Sycamore-Kaneland matchup was slated to face either No. 1 Burlington Central or No. 4 Rochelle for the regional title on Saturday, May 28, at 11 a.m.

The Kaneland Regional winner moves on against potential opponents like Sterling or Geneseo in the Rochelle Sectional on Thursday, June 2.

Baseball finish last regular week with flourish, now 19-10

KANELAND—Four wins compared to no losses for Knights baseball? Consider that a decent week for the black-clad boys.

With wins in Wheaton, Geneva, and a couple at home, Kaneland is charging into postseason action with a 19-10 mark (10-5 Northern Illinois Big XII Conference)

Kaneland traveled to Wheaton to face St. Francis High School and came away with a 5-2 win thanks in large part to four runs in the sixth to break a 1-all tie.

North Central College-bound Drew French’s performance on the mound was consistent enough for a win. French went 5.1 innings and struck out six.

Cory Landers went 2-for-4 with a double, while French also helped his cause at the plate with a 2-for-3 day including a triple and two RBI.

Kaneland then traveled to Class A jewel Elfstrom Stadium in Geneva to hold a joint senior night with Batavia on Thursday, and staked out a 3-1 victory.

Bobby Thorson (5-3) went the distance and allowed just one unearned run on three hits, striking out five Bulldogs.

Kyle Davidson went 1-for-3 with a double and two RBI, coming through in the sixth inning.

The game was also home to a benefit for David Helm, who is battling leukemia. David is the younger brother of freshman athletic standout Daniel Helm.

Returning to Maple Park, the Knights tussled with visiting West Aurora and put up seven runs in the first two frames enroute to an 8-3 win on Saturday morning.

Drew Peters earned the win, while Jordan Jones pitched two scoreless innings for the save. Sam Komel torched Blackhawk pitching with five RBI.

Trevor Storck’s five inning effort for six K’s was key in the 9-2 win over the Sandwich Indians on Monday afternoon. Jacob Razo went 2-for-3 with an RBI.

With an eye on IHSA Class 3A playoff action, the No. 2 Knights were scheduled to travel to the Sycamore Regional on Thursday, May 26, and face No. 3 Illinois Math & Science Academy at 4 p.m.

The winner of that contest was set to face either No. 1 Sycamore or No. 4 Aurora Central Catholic in the regional final on Saturday, May 28, at 11 a.m.

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.

Boys track stakes claim to NIB-12 title

OTTAWA—The venue name of Friday’s Northern Illinois Big XII Conference meet was appropriate—King Field.

Because that’s the level of performance put forth by Kaneland boys track.

With 122 points, Kaneland was far and away the winner of the meet, followed by host Ottawa (80) and Sterling (80). Yorkville and Dixon, both with 65 team points, rounded out the top five.

For field events, senior Matt Spitzzeri finished second in the triple jump with an effort of 41 feet, nine inches.

On the track side, the KHS group of Taylor Andrews, Jesse Balluf, Brandon Cottier and Tommy Whittaker won the 4x100m relay in 44.23 seconds.

Senior standout Trevor Holm was conference champ in the 3200m run with a time of 9:49.42.

Andrews added to his belt notches with a 14.45 second effort in the 110m hurdles, winning the race.

Whittaker’s time of 11.07 in the 100m dash was good enough for the NIB-12 win. Teammate Mickey Marin won the 800m run with a time of 2:03.66.

In the 4x200m relay, Kaneland’s crew of Balluf, Sean Carter, Cottier and Curtis Secrest took second with a time of 1:33.80.

Andrews also blazed by the field in the 300m low hurdles with a time of 39.90 seconds, beating Dixon’s Ricky Laskowski by .32.

The 4x400m relay saw KHS runners Andrews, Cottier, Secrest and Whittaker finish second at 3:28.22.

The Knights’ next challenge is on Thursday, May 19, at 4 p.m. for the Class 2A Rochelle Sectional.

Kaneland baseball lineup clinches share of NIB-12

KANELAND—Rosters change from year to year, so do conference alignments, but success doesn’t have to.

After a 7-1 win over Morris on Thursday, Kaneland cinched a tie for the Northern Illinois Big XII Conference East Division title with the Redskins.

Additionally, after an 8-3 win on Tuesday over visiting Wheaton Academy, the Knights found themselves at 15-10 overall with a 10-5 mark in NIB-12 play.

Sycamore had a chance to make it a three-way tie for the conference, but lost on Thursday.

This marks the second straight conference crown for the Knights, who last year captured the Western Sun Conference outright.

Kaneland’s Kyle Davidson produced a win after a complete-game effort of three hits allowed and seven strikeouts.

Bobby Thorson showed his penchant for the long-ball with a three-run homer in the fifth inning, while Cory Landers also hit a homer with two runs scored.

Sophomore action had Kaneland beat Morris by an 11-7 final. Zach Martinelli went 4-for-4 and Matt Limbrunner got the win. KHS sophomore baseball saw its record improve to 20-4 (13-2 NIB-12) en route to a conference title.

Against the Warriors, the Knights were behind 3-2 in the sixth before a prolific six-run rally in the bottom of the inning.

Davidson, bound for Millikin University in Decatur, Ill., this fall, had yet another iron-man type outing with seven innings thrown and four K’s, while giving up just two earned runs on seven hits.

Thorson went 2-for-3 with 3 RBI and a homer, while Drew French went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a double.

Senior Night For a Cause
Thursday, May 19, at Elfstrom Stadium in Geneva,
Kaneland and Batavia High School baseball teams hold their Senior Nights. The sophomore game starts at 4:30 p.m., with varsity at 6:45 p.m.

The two schools will celebrate their seniors, along with raising funds for David Helm, 4-year-old brother of KHS two-sport standout Daniel Helm. David has been diagnosed with leukemia and is undergoing treatment.

David plans to throw the ceremonial first pitch to brother Daniel before the start of the varsity game.

For how you can help and to monitor David’s progress, check:

Feeling Big Blue
Kaneland senior Kyle Davidson plans to attend Millikin University in Decatur, Ill., for the next step in his baseball life.

Millikin, part of the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin, was also the college home of KHS head coach Brian Aversa.

“Kyle can expect to work his butt off for a starting position. I’m sure there are guys on the team in front of him, but the good thing about college is if you perform you will play, no matter what year you are in school,” Aversa said.

Davidson, who has pitched and played shortstop this season, was also a standout football player and wrestler for Kaneland. The senior is 5-0 on the mound in 2011.

“Kyle’s mound presence and glove on defense are both solid and his bat has been great this year as well. Taking his skills to Millikin will do wonders for them, and I’m sure that he will excel himself,” Aversa said.

Softball suffers setbacks to Minooka, Yorkville

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—There’s still a little bit of time to make Maple Park feel like home-field advantage, but not much.

With three regular season contests left, the Lady Knights are trying to put three losses behind them.

On Thursday, the Lady Knights were defeated by host Yorkville in the bottom of the eighth inning, 6-4, and were swept by Minooka on Saturday, 7-1 and 11-5.

Kaneland now sits at 12-17 with a 3-7 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII Conference play.

Against the Lady Foxes, the hitting was supplied by Andrea Potts, who went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI. Delani Vest scattered six runs on nine hits while pitching all eight innings.

The lone run in game one on Saturday was supplied by a steal of home from Lanie Callaghan.

Alexis Villarreal fanned three and gave up seven runs on nine hits, but has shown a tendency to put a losing effort behind her.

“She threw the ball well today, it’s those one or two bad innings that we have,” KHS coach Brian Willis said. “We executed, had the right defense out there. We missed a couple clutch hits, but you’re playing a quality team out there.”

In game two, KHS was up 5-1 before allowing 10 runs in the sixth inning.

Kaneland hosts Marengo on Thursday, May 19, at 4:30 p.m.

Lady Knights soccer in playoff quest

The winner of (No. 2) Kaneland vs. (No. 3) Illinois Math & Science Academy match from Wednesday faces (No. 1) Rosary on Saturday, May 21, in IHSA Class 2A Rosary Regional Championship at 11 a.m.

In earlier regional action. Rosary beat Aurora Central Catholic 1-0 on Tuesday, after ACC beat Yorkville 1-0 on Friday.

Hall of Fame at KHS

Sophomore Danielle McCormack receives her award from Principal Fantozzi during the 2011 Academic Achievement and Hall of Fame Awards on May 2 at the high school auditorium.
Photos by John DiDonna

Rich Born (left) presents ten members of the 1976 Kaneland boy's track team with the Hall of Fame Award for Teamwork during the Academic Achievement and Hall of Fame awards on Monday, May 2 at the high school. Kaneland won the district track meet in 1976 with 72 points and qualified twelve men for state competition. Photo by John DiDonna

James C. Hannon, Ph.D., CSCS (right) receives the Kaneland 2011 Hall of Fame Award for Personal Achievement from Cross Country Coach Chad Clarey (center) and Superintendent Dr. Jeff Schuler (left) during the Academic Achievement Awards and Hall of Fame Induction ceremony on Monday, May 2 at the High School. Dr. Hannon is a tenured Associate Professor at the University of Utah and a 1988 Kaneland High School graduate.

Ronald J. Ackerman gives a speech after accepting the award for Extra-Curricular at the Kaneland Hall of Fame awards on Monday, May 2. Mr. Ackerman attended Kaneland High School, graduating in 1975. He played football, basketball and ran track all four years. He was the state champion in the 880 yd. dash and a member of the state champion mile relay team. In 2002, Ron was appointed Chief of the West Chicago Fire Department.

Softball grabs two victories after tough May stretch

Photo: McKinzie Mangers seems to be safe at home but was called out in the sixth inning of Kaneland’s 3-2 home win against Rochelle on Tuesday. Both Kaneland and Rochelle brandished pink items on their uniforms for a “Pink Out” raising awareness of breast cancer. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Welcome to the dog days of May.

After losses to Morris, Sycamore, Yorkville and non-conference Elk Grove High School, the Lady Knights managed wins against Oswego East and Rochelle, situating themselves at 12-14 (3-6 NIB-12).

The most recent wins were welcome, as the Lady Knights have now suffered 13 losses in their last 18 contests.

Against the visiting Lady Redskins of Morris, Kaneland fell behind early and often in a 13-9 setback on May 4.

Morris plated four runs in the first, followed by two in the third and two in the fourth for an 8-0 lead. Kaneland’s attack finally woke up in the fifth with seven runs, cutting the deficit to 8-7. Morris came back with four in the top of the sixth to go up 12-7 before KHS closed to within 12-9 with two more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Morris then clinched the deal with another run in the top of the seventh inning.

Kaneland was also plagued by five runs in the loss, and Brittney Miller was the losing pitcher.

Traveling to Sycamore, and down 1-0 in the top of the second inning, right fielder Sarah Kitz’ two-out RBI single scored Rilee Vest to tie the game. Vest had led off matters with a double.

Unfortunately, the Lady Spartans plated one in the bottom of the third, and got a two-run shot by Brittany Huber in the bottom of the fourth to go up 4-1. Kaneland’s Miller surrendered two more runs in the fifth before surrendering a grand slam to Huber to make it 10-1.

“We’re setting those innings up for them by making errors and not making the little plays,” KHS coach Brian Willis said. “(Sycamore) came through, credit to them, but if we make the plays before the home run, she doesn’t even get a chance to bat.”

Kitz drove home the second KHS run on a single with the bases loaded.

In the top of the seventh, freshman Lanie Callaghan belted a two-run shot to make the final 10-4 margin.

On Friday in Maple Park, Yorkville bested Kaneland in a 14-inning marathon by an 8-7 margin. Andrea Potts went 3-for-6 with three doubles. Alexis Villarreal pitched the first two innings, followed by a returning Delani Vest who went eight innings.

In Saturday’s doubleheader at the home of the elite Lady Grenadiers, the Lady Knights lost 10-0 in five innings, and 11-1 in five innings.

Monday saw Kaneland solve the host pack of Wolves by a 9-2 final. Kaneland put up four runs in the second, three in the sixth and two in the seventh to clinch.

Against Rochelle on Tuesday, Villarreal’s complete-game effort, in which she surrendered just two runs on seven hits with six K’s was key in the 3-2 victory.

The win also took place during the Lady Knights’ “Pink Out” to raise awareness of breast cancer.

In underclass action, the sophomores lost 5-1 to Yorkville despite Elyssa Eckert’s triple.

Meanwhile, Allie Miller earned the win on the mound and doubled at the plate, as the sophomores used a 13-run fourth inning en route to a 17-4 win over YHS.

The varsity lineup travels to Yorkville High School for a Thursday, May 12, encounter.

Knights boys track visits 93-year old friend

by Mike Slodki
STREAMWOOD, Ill.—Millenium Field housed some Kaneland boys track performances to take notice of on Friday.

Perhaps the most pleasant conditions for a boys track meet this season was as good a reason as any for people to enjoy the 93rd annual Kane County Boys Track and Field Meet.

“I was worried the kids might fall over without wind or rain in their face today,” KHS coach Eric Baron said. “The tradition and pagaentry of the Kane County Meet, it’s one of the best meets, if not the best in the entire state.”

Hosted by Elgin High School at the Streamwood, Ill. locale, West Aurora ran away with the meet points count at 109.5 points. Batavia finished second at 82.5 points, followed by St. Charles North at 62 and the Knights at 57 points, good for fourth.

St. Charles East (49), Burlington Central (45.5) and Geneva (41) rounded out the top seven.

The lone Kane County Meet champion brandishing the 1970s retro orange track get-up on Friday was senior stalwart Taylor Andrews, who captured the 110 meter hurdles crown with a 14.38 second time in the finals. Andrews, who bested Batavia’s Rob Mohr by .14 seconds, also aced the prelims with a time of 14.69.

Kaneland’s 4x100m relay finished in second with a time of 43.36, and its 4x400m relay took second with a time of 3:24.98.

Third places went to the 4x800m relay foursome that ran in 8:08.37.

Senior anchor Tommy Whittaker was third in the 100m dash finals at 11.28 seconds. Whittaker also used his speed to take third in the 400m dash with an effort of 50.12 seconds.

Andrews also gathered a fourth place in the 300m hurdles in 39.48 seconds.

Teammate Trevor Holm also brought his name into the conversation with a fourth-place, 4:31.23 finish in the 1600m run.

Junior Frankie Furco represented Kaneland in the field events quite well with a fourth in the high jump (5 feet, 11 inches).

With a good showing against powerful Kane County-arrea squads, KHS coach Eric Baron likes where his team is situated with the regular season clock counting down to zero.

“I pulled my seniors aside and told them they had to get it going, and Tommy Whittaker just dominated his heat in the prelim. We know what were going to get out of our seniors, and the young guys will just catch on,” Baron said.

Field asset Matt Spitzzeri finished sixth in the triple jump with a tally of 42-07.75.

“I’ve been focusing on it more this year,” Spitzzeri said. “We’re doing pretty well, and when the seniors do good, it can give the young guys more confidence.”

Kaneland battles familiar competition in the first-ever Northern Illinois Big XII Conference meet in Ottawa, Ill., on Friday, May 13, at 5 p.m.

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.

Soccer finishes second at KHS Classic, brandishes 11 wins

Photo: How productive was your week? Sophie Blank scored seven goals and contributed two assists in a packed stretch for Lady Knights soccer. Photo by John DiDonna

KANELAND—Despite weather that could generously be described as “dumpy,” Kaneland High School soccer’s fortunes are heating up.

Kaneland routed Hinckley-Big Rock (H-BR) on May 4, and followed that match with a busy KHS Klassic, featuring a Friday win over Streamwood, a tie vs. Woodstock on Saturday and a shutout loss to Burlington Central. The Lady Knights continued their latest tour with a Monday tie vs. Morris and a 7-0 rout of Rochelle. The latest action sees Kaneland end the regular season with an 11-8-3 mark in season play (6-3-1 Northern Illinois Big XII).

In the 7-0 win over the Lady Royals of H-BR, Emily Heimerdinger, Brittany Olson and Sophie Blank found the net in the first half, while second-half goals were supplied by Heimerdinger and Blank in alternating order.

In the win over the Sabres at the Klassic, Delaney Stryczek’s goal 12 minutes in kept KHS in a 1-1 tie at the break before goals by Heimerdinger and Katie Taylor within 52 seconds of each other iced the match.

Against Woodstock, Abby Bend scored with 25:54 to go in the first half, and Blank scored with 12:28 to go, leading into the scoreless second half for both sides.

After the 3-0 shutout loss to the Lady Rockets sent Kaneland to a second-place slot at its own tournament, the Lady Knights battled Morris in a make-up match.

The lone goal for host KHS against the Lady Redskins was a Heimerdinger goal with 15:36 to go in the first half, on an assist from Taylor.

On Tuesday in Ogle County, the Lady Knights lit up the scoreboard with six first-half goals.

Heimerdinger scored just 2:24 into the contest, and Blank followed up with a score 20 minutes later. Heimerdinger scored her second goal to give KHS a 3-0 edge just 48 seconds later.

Bend followed up with back-to-back goals before Blank capped the scoring barrage.

Blank’s goal with 34:28 to go was the lone second-half goal.

Meanwhile, the JV team coached by Travis Berth and Janet Barry ended the regular season at 11-7-4 (7-5-1 conference) with a win over Rochelle.

With the regular season now in the books, Kaneland now gears up for the IHSA Class 2A Regional at Rosary High School in Aurora. The second-seeded Lady Knights are set to clash with (3) Illinois Math and Science Academy coached by Sal Tamayo on Wednesday, May 18, at 4:30 p.m. The Lady Titans are 11-7-1.

The winner of that match faces either top-seeded Rosary, No. 4 Aurora Central Catholic or No. 5 Yorkville in the regional title match on Saturday, May 21, at 11 a.m.

Last year, the Lady Knights defeated Aurora Central Catholic before losing to Rosary in the regional final.

Baseball beats Sycamore, falls behind Morris in NIB-12

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Knights baseball (13-10, 9-5 Northern Illinois Big XII) saw itself making the most of its hits, in both wins and losses this week.

On Thursday, Kaneland scored six runs on five hits en route to a 6-4 win over the visiting Sycamore Spartans, while getting one run on one hit in a close 2-1 loss to the visiting Oswego East Wolves on Saturday.

Kaneland fell behind 4-2 in the sixth before putting up a four-spot in the bottom of the frame to come away with the win.

Kyle Davidson earned the win after his six-inning effort on the mound. Bobby Thorson colleged his first save with a perfect seventh inning.

Davidson also went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI, while Brian Dixon and Trever Heinle also supplied two RBI each.

Kaneland scored one run in the fourth inning and allowed two runs to OEHS in the top of the sixth. Just four hits combined were tallied in the game, including Joe Camiliere’s single.

The Knights’ two-game skid at the hands of Morris on Monday and Tuesday effectively sent KHS out of the running for conference crown, with Morris now clinching a tie.

In Maple Park on Monday, Morris added to a 3-2 lead in the top of the seventh with three more runs to cinch a 6-3 win, despite Kaneland pounding out 12 hits.

Corey Landers went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, while Camiliere went 3-for-4 with a double and RBI. Drew Peters suffered the loss.

On Tuesday in Grundy County, things got off to a better start. Davidson’s RBI single was followed by a two-run double by Drew French for a 3-0 lead, before Ryan Bernickus came back with a three-run homer in the bottom of the inning.

Bobby Thorson, who gave up the homer, allowed just two earned runs and the effort was not lost on KHS coach Brian Aversa.

“Bobby, he’s our top dog,” Aversa said. “Gives up two earned runs the whole game and we gave up two big errors today. We have to put better defense behind him.”

Morris rallied with one run in the third, one in the fourth and two in the fifth for a 7-3 lead. The Knights came back in the sixth with a French RBI double to close within 7-4, but could get no closer.

“Defense and pitching are what will win you ball games. We keep the unearned runs off the board, we’re going to do a great job. We’ll put up some runs ourselves,” Aversa said.

Varsity baseball continues its swing through May by completing its series against Morris, in Maple Park in Thursday May 12, and heads to LaSalle-Peru for a Saturday twinbill on May 14.

Baseball battles Foxes, Spartans

Photo: Kaneland’s Drew French looks the part on the Class A ballfield at Elfstrom Stadium during Thursday’s win over the Yorkville Foxes. Photo by Ben Draper

KANELAND—Knights baseball had its hands full with conference rivals Yorkville and Sycamore and had fortunes both good and bad.

KHS saw itself with a 12-7 record and an above-average 8-3 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII play after Tuesday’s action.

Kaneland used its Elfstrom Stadium digs to its full advantage on Thiursday, beating the Yorkville Foxes by a 10-6 final.

Future North Central College weapon Drew French continued his good fortune on the mound, improving to 4-0 after a dicey 3.2-innings outing. French struck out three and gave up six runs on eight hits.

Kyle Davidson earned his fourth save of the year, striking out four as his reliability as a back-of-the-bullpen option was proven again.

Davidson also represented himself well at the plate with a 3-for-4 day, with a run and an RBI. Bobby Thorson went 3-for-4 with a double and RBI.

In the Friday 8-5 loss to the Foxes in Maple Park, Sam Komel was tagged with the loss in 5.1 innings.

French was 1-for-3 with 2 RBI.

Yorkville’s offense started with two runs in the second and two in the third. After plating four runs to go up 8-0 in the top of the sixth, Kaneland came back with four in the bottom of the sixth and one in the seventh but could get no further.

Monday yielded a 5-4 loss in Sycamore. In the bottom of the fourth, Kaneland broke a 2-2 tie with a two-spot , but Sycamore came back with two in the fifth and one in the sixth to go ahead permanently.

Thorson was tagged with the loss in 5.2 innings of work. The hurler had five strikeouts, as well. Thorson also went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI.

The Knights fell victim to six runs from the host Spartans in the first and six more in the fifth for a 13-3 loss that took five innings.

The May slate of games roll on with a Thursday, May 3, encounter against Sycamore at 4:30 p.m., followed by a matchup with Oswego East High School on Saturday, May 7.

Lady Knights see offense open up

Photo: Michelle Ortiz fields a shot as keeper during Thursday’s 6-2 win in Northern Illinois Big XII Conference action in Yorkville. The Lady Knights prepare for their next challenge: the KHS Classic on Friday, May 6, and
Saturday, May 7. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It was a familiar setting for Kaneland soccer on Thursday, with chilly tempuratures and steady to heavy rains.

It’s been so familiar, in fact, that KHS coach Scott Parillo mentioned that the nicest conditions for Kaneland soccer occurred back on March 19, opening day in Geneseo.

However, with a 6-2 win in Yorkville and a 7-0 win against visiting Sterling on Tuesday, the fortunes of Lady Knights soccer look a little bit more sunny.

Kaneland’s mark is 8-7-1 with a 4-3 record in Northern Illinois Big XII conference play.

In Yorkville, Sophie Blank had a hat trick, while Emily Heimerdinger added two goals and an assist. Delaney Stryzek scored on a header and had an assist, while Brittany Olson also had an assist.

Breaking a 2-2 halftime tie, Blank hit a shot at close range just two minutes, 55 seconds into the second half. Stryzek’s header near the box with 29:02 left made it 4-2.

Blank completed her hat trick with 17:46 to go on a tricky shot, and felt like the offense’s recent output makes the struggles like the first half a bit easier to bear.

“I don’t know what it is, maybe because we are young,” Blank said. “Our offense is very confident, we just have to remember what to do.”

Heimerdinger’s final goal came with 8:50 remaining.

“We wanted to actually execute a gameplan, which we didn’t do in the first half,” KHS coach Scott Parillo said. “The coaching staff let them know they weren’t happy. We played much better in the second half. It’s better to have some of the underclassmen scoring lately, because Sophie’s a senior and Emily’s a senior.”

Against Sterling, Heimerdinger scored twice and had three assists while goals were also scored by Olson, Katie Taylor and Taylor White.

The Lady Knights brave the KHS Classic on Friday May 6, and Saturday, May 7.

KHS boys track invades CLC

KANELAND—Kaneland High School boys track had some business to take care of in Crystal Lake, but wasn’t planning on camping.

It planned to stay just long enough to make waves on Friday at the Crystal Lake Central Invite.

The Knights placed third with 81 points, falling just behind the host school (112) and Belvidere North (85). Harlem had 65 points and Burlington Central had 60.5 to round out the top five. Bartlett (59), Round Lake (36), Vernon Hills (26), Glenbard North (19) and Antioch rounded out the team scoring.

Knight honors began rushing in with sophomores Kory Harner (12-03) and Alex Gil (11-09) nabbing third-and-fourth place in the pole vault event.

In the 4×100 meter relay event, the group of Jesse Balluff, Brandon Cottier, Taylor Andrews and Tommy Whittaker took first with a time of 43.91 seconds.

Andrews also ran the 110m hurdles in 14.49 seconds, good for second place in the finals.

Whittaker also made the final of the 100m dash and finished second with a time of 11.32, just .01 behind Harlem’s Jamie Dainty.

In the 4x200m relay, Balluff, Curtis Secrest, Andrew Essex and Cottier were meet champs after running in 1:33.48.

The 400m dash final had Whittaker finishing fourth in 51.96, after finishing fourth in his prelim heat.

In the 300m intermediate hurdles event, Andrews’ 40.54 time was good for fourth in the final.

Whittaker also included himself in the meet elite for the 200m dash, finishing second at 23.28 seconds.

Kaneland’s 1600m relay squad finished in 3:31.59 seconds.

Coming up for the boys track roster is the annual Kane County Meet, eminating from Streamwood High School’s Millenium Field on Friday, May 6. Last year at West Aurora, Kaneland took second in the annual affair.

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.

Lady Knights swing bats valiantly in two losses

KANELAND—On Monday, Kaneland dealt with a makeup game against the visiting Lady Bulldogs of Streator. The Lady Knights might wish that game stayed shelved.

The Lady Knights folllowed that matchup with a 9-7 loss in DeKalb on Tuesday.

As of Wednesday, the Lady Knights softball squad is 10-9 with a 2-3 record in NIB-12 conference play.

Two innings of five runs each were key, as were 14 hits off of Kaneland pitching in a 14-0 rout at the hands of Streator.

KHS could manage only one hit, and made five errors in the field.

After Kaneland put up two runs in the top of the first, DeKalb countered with one in the first, one in the second and two in the fourth for a 4-2 lead.

Kaneland tied it with two in the fifth, but the Lady Barbs came back with four in the bottom of the fifth. After plating one more in the sixth for a 9-4 lead.

DeKalb deflected a three-run rally in the seventh to hand KHS the loss.

Ahead for Kaneland is a trip to Sycamore on Thursday, May 5.

Kaneland announces Hall of Fame induction ceremony

KANELAND—Kaneland’s Hall of Fame is to honor and recognize former Kaneland students, staff members, organizations and supporters who have demonstrated excellence and commitment. The following Kaneland alumni will be inducted into Kaneland’s Hall of Fame on Monday, May 2, at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium.

• James C. Hannon, Ph.D., CSCS (1988)—Personal Achievement
• Ronald J. Ackerman (1975)—Extra-Curricular
• 1976 Boys’ Track Team—Teamwork.

This celebration is part of the annual Academic Achievement Awards program honoring current Kaneland High School students with a cumulative GPA of 4.5 out of 5.0.

Community members are invited to a dessert reception at 6 p.m. in the high school cafeteria to visit with and celebrate the achievements of Dr. Hannon, Ron Ackerman and the 1976 Boys’ Track Team.

This event is sponsored by the Hall of Fame Committee.

2nd place at Peterson Prep shows Kaneland’s talent

Photo: Taylor Andrews looks like he could hurdle all the way to West Point during action on Tuesday.The senior also made sure the 110m high hurdles honor stayed in Maple Park with a first-place showing of 14.66 seconds. Andrews was also part of the winning 4x100m relay foursome with Jesse Balluf, Brandon Cottier and Tommy Whittaker. Photo by
Mike Slodki

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Out of 14 teams, Kaneland boys track was second to one.

The Knights’ 98 points were filled with great performances during Saturday’s annual Peterson Prep boys track outing, but West Aurora, with 133 points, was even better.

Mount Carmel finished third at 93 points. Fellow NIB-12 schools included Yorkville in sixth at 44 points, DeKalb in eighth at 16 points and Sycamore in ninth at 15 points.

Tommy Whittaker got things started with a second-place finish in the 200m dash with a time of 22.50 seconds, and also took second in the 400m dash with a time of 51.33.

Teammate Trevor Holm took third in the 800m run at 2:01.38, and a second in the 1600m run at 4:39.71.

Taylor Andrews was champion of the 110m high hurdles at 14.66.

At this point of the season, Andrews is far from done working on his craft.

“It’s going pretty good, I’m just trying to work every day with the coaches,” Andrews said. “We’ve got a good team, and the young guys are really stepping up.”

Despite the productive season, Andrews feels a couple of events can get even better.

“The 300m, definitely. That’s always a race I kind of struggle with,” Andrews said during Tuesday’s 103-21 dual win in Maple Park over DeKalb.

In the 4x100m relay, Jesse Balluf, Brandon Cottier, Andrews and Whittaker were tops at 44.57 seconds, while Andrew Essex, Cottier, Balluf and Curtis Secrest took the 4x200m event at 1:34.51.

Pole vault activity included Kory Harner’s third-pace finish at 11-06.

Matt Spitzzeri continued his positive trajectory this year in the triple jump, taking the crown at 41-05.

The Knights face varied competition at the Crystal Lake Central Invite on Friday, April 29, at 5 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.

Thorson brings lumber, Knights bring the hurt to DeKalb, YHS

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—If only Bobby Thorson wasn’t able to throw a complete game and hit a grand slam on April 20, the Knights-Barbs clash on the diamond would have been much closer.

But the Knights were OK with not playing “what if,” instead it was “look what we can do” in a 10-2 handling of the visiting Class 3A runners-up DeKalb.

After a three-game solving of the Barbs, followed by a Tuesday win at Yorkville, the Knights were 11-4 with a 7-0 record in Northern Illinois Big XII conference play.

Thorson’s day on the mound was key to the winning formula in Maple Park, as he improved to 4-1 with eight strikeouts and no walks, while scattering six hits.

Thorson’s second inning grand slam as part of an eight-run inning highlighted a 3-for-3, six-RBI day. Thorson also had two doubles to his credit.

Kyle Davidson also went 2-for-3 with a double and 2 RBI. Cory Landers went 2-for-4.

Thorson clearly wasn’t done with his offensive good times, exhibited in Thursday’s 8-6 comeback win in Barb-land.

The Knights plated one run in the top of the second inning, thanks to a Quinn Buschbacher sacrifice fly. DeKalb came back with five runs off of North Central College-bound pitcher Drew French, and things held firm until the Barbs scored in the bottom of the six for a 6-1 lead.

The Knights showed a “never say die” attitude and put it into practice in the seventh.

Brian Dixon hit an RBI single to close within 6-4 after Sam Komel, French and Buschbacher had all scored.

Davidson single and Landers hit into a fielder’s choice. Joe Camiliere walked to load the bases and set the stage for Thorson’s left-centerfield bomb.

“I don’t even remember it,” Thorson said. “I hit the ball and all the emotion in the game just went through me. I think the end of the game shows what kind of team we really are.”

“We knew their pitcher was getting up in the pitch count. We were just waiting and waiting and waiting trying to make things happen,” coach Brian Aversa said.

Brian Van Bogaert picked up the win (1-0) with .2 innings of relief. Cody Varga of DeKalb pitched a complete game in the loss, at one point retiring 12 batters in a row.

Davidson shut the Barbs down in the seventh for his third save.

Saturday’s win over the Barbs featured three runs in the first, two in the second and six in the third to cap the five-inning win.

Komel improved to 3-1 and allowed only an unearned run. Landers went 2-for-3 with a double and two driven in, while Thorson’s three RBI gave him a prolific 13 for the series.

In the Tuesday win that took place in Kendall County, Thorson didn’t allow a hit after the first inning to the Foxes and fanned 11 hitters. He also led off the seventh inning and broke a 0-0 deadlock with a solo homer. Buschbacher also had an RBI double in the effort.

The Knights try to keep it at Elfstrom Stadium vs. Yorkville on Thursday, April 28.

Soccer regains footing against NIB-12 West

KANELAND—At a point where Kaneland soccer was looking for something, anything to get back in the win column, Thursday and Saturday, the Lady Knights found it.

On Saturday, Kaneland took a 4-2 matchup with Northern Illinois Big XII crossover opponent Dixon, and also dominated a 7-0 meeting with visiting Streator on Thursday.

Tuesday found the Lady Knights dropping a close 3-2 affair in DeKalb.

The win streak and the Tuesday loss improved Kaneland’s season mark to 6-7-1 (3-3 NIB-12).

Facing the Duchesses in Maple Park, KHS went out to a 2-1 advantage after the first 40 minutes thanks to an Emily Heimerdinger goal on an assist from Katie Taylor just 58 seconds into play, and a Sophie Blank goal from Jessica Coia with 17:57 remaining in the half.

In the second half, Heimerdinger found the net again, thanks to a feed from Amber Winquist-Bailey with 38:26 left. The scoring was capped on a goal by Blank on a pass from Taylor White with 33:44 to go.

In the match against Streator, the floodgates opened with first-half goals from Delaney Stryzek, Heimerdinger and Blank, and then saw four second-half goals thanks to Blank, Heimerdinger, Taylor and Coia.

Heimerdinger came up with a goal in each half against DeKalb, with 1:30 remaining in the first half and 4:17 to go in regulation.

JV action had Kaneland improve to 6-5-4 with a 1-0 win over DeKalb, thanks to a Maddie Hanzer goal.

The Lady Knights battle host Yorkville in a conference tilt on Thursday, April 28, at 4:30 p.m.

Lady Knights sweep Dixon

KANELAND—Only one way to make any headway on spring cleaning.

If you’re KHS softball, get out the brooms. That’s exactly what the Lady Knights did in a pair of doubleheader wins over host Dixon High School on Saturday.

The fortunate 8-0 and 6-1 doubleheader wins came on the heels of an 8-5 loss to the host Ottawa Lady Pirates on Thursday.

Kaneland’s current mark is 10-7 (2-2 Northern Illinois Big XII), and looked to steady itself after the loss to Ottawa had them in a six losses-in-seven games quagmire.

In the first game on Saturday, Kaneland posted a six-spot in the top of the first inning and two more in the second.

Alexis Villarreal scattered just four hits and fanned three on the way to victory in the pitcher’s circle.

At the plate, Allyson O’Herron was 2-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored. Andrea Potts went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI, while teammate Lanie Callaghan went 2-for-3 with a triple and two driven in.

Game two was won by Brittney Miller at the pitching post, as she went six innings with seven K’s and seven hits surrendered. Callaghan went 2-for-3, and Potts hit her second homer of the twinbill, a three-run dinger in the top of the first.

Against Ottawa, Kaneland led 3-2 in the fourth until Ottawa plated three in the fourth to put the Lady Knights behind 5-3. After scoring once in the top of the fifth, Ottawa came back with two more in the fifth to hold off Kaneland’s one-run rally in the top of the seventh.

Kaneland’s Rilee Vest went 2-for-3 with an RBI in the losing effort.

In underclass action, the sophomore Lady Knights executed a 7-1 and 8-6 doubleheader victory over Dixon. Elyssa Eckert struck out 10 and doubled for KHS, while Sarah Grams tripled and homered in a two-RBI effort. In game two, Maddy Hester went 3-for-4 with a triple.

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.

Knights baseball (7-4) a perfect “10” against Rochelle lineup

KANELAND—Kaneland baseball came back from an early deficit in spades against the host Hubs.

On April 13, KHS used a four-run third and a three-run seventh inning to overtake Rochelle by a 10-6 clip.

The Knights’s current mark is 7-4 with a 3-0 record in the Northern Illinois Big XII conference.

Saturday’s scheduled outing against Oswego was cancelled due to inclement weather.

Against the Hubs on Wednesday, Rochelle took a 3-1 lead after two innings before Kaneland put up four in the third and two more in the fourth for a 7-3 lead. Rochelle came back with two in the bottom of the inning and one in the fifth to cut it to 7-6 before the three-run outburst by the Knights.

Starting pitcher Sam Komel improved to 3-0 with two strikeouts to his name, and Kyle Davidson earned his second save.

Outfielder Joe Camiliere went 3-for-3 with two doubles and three RBI, while Davidson went 2-for-4 at the plate with a double.

In sophomore action, Matt Limbrunner got his first win of the season on the mound, and also went 2-for-3 with two RBI at the plate in a 10-3 win over Rochelle on April 13.

The varsity contingent was scheduled to head to DeKalb for a rain makeup contest on Wednesday, and will also host the Barbs on Thursday, April 21, at 4:30 p.m.

Softball stops skid vs. Hubs

KANELAND—Kaneland used a solid pitching performance from junior Alexis Villarreal and two downright offensive innings at the plate for a 9-1 win in Rochelle on April 13.

Softball stopped a five-game losing skid with the triumph and improved to 8-6 with a 2-2 record in Northern Illinois Big XII Conference play.

Kaneland used five runs in the top of the third inning, coupled with a four-spot in the top of the sixth to cinch the win.

With the bats, Andrea Potts went 3-for-4, while teammate Katy Dudzinski went 2-for-4 with a double, home run and 5 RBI.

In the sophomore tilt, Kaneland took Rochelle to an 8-4 loss. Elyssa Eckert earned the win with eight strikeouts to her name, and Aly Harner went 2-for-3. Sarah Grams contributed a triple.

The Lady Knights take a trek to Ottawa Township High School for a meeting with the host Pirates on Thursday, April 21.

When Kaneland softball finds itself on the winning end of things, these three
Lady Knights have a good afternoon.
• Andrea Potts—
.500 AVG., 5 HR,
25 RBI
• Katy Dudzinski—
.436 AVG., 5 HR,
16 RBI
• Allyson O’Herron—
.354 AVG., .483 OBP.,
12 RBI

Soccer deadlocks with E. Aurora, falls to Marengo

Photo: Kaneland’s Brittany Olson battles at the midfield position during the 3-1 loss to Marengo on Monday. The Lady Knights try to right the ship against visiting Streator on Thursday, April 21. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—There would be no West Aurora Blackhawk Tournament championship like in 2010, but there would be no tournament-ending loss for Lady Knights soccer.

Because on April 13, Kaneland rallied to tie the Tomcats of East Aurora in the second half en route to a 2-2 tie.

The Lady Knights also dropped a 3-1 matchup with visiting Marengo on Monday.

Kaneland’s record is now 4-6-1 with a 1-2 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII conference action.

East Aurora began with a 1-0 lead until 4:52 left in the first half. That’s when Brittany Olson beat the Tomcat goalie after a pass from Jessica Coia, knotting matters at 1.

Emily Heimerdinger’s shot attempt with 1:39 to go in the half just went over the goalpost, and the teams went into halftime tied.

East Aurora consistently cut the field in half, making life difficult for any Lady Knight offensive momentum.

Kaneland did get their chances, but with 21 minutes remaining, East Aurora scored and went up 2-1.

However, KHS rallied to tie on a pass from Katie Taylor to Heimerdinger in the box. Heimerdinger blasted the ball in with 15:40 to go, tying the game, after which there were no scoring opportunities close or capitalized upon.

Coach Scott Parillo is looking for his group to kick into another gear.

“I think both teams escaped with a tie. Certainly not the prettiest soccer to look at. We’ll play a good game and then we’ll play a lousy game again. It’s hard to figure out; there really is talent here,” Parillo said.

Kaneland’s lone goal against the Lady Indians came on a penalty kick from Heimerdinger with 3:49 left in the match.

Kaneland faces NIB-12 crossover opponent Streator on Thursday, April 21, at 4:30 p.m. and fellow crossover school, the visiting Dixon Duchesses on Saturday, April 23.

Triple your fun—Peterson Prep this Saturday

Triple jumper Matt Spitzzeri will be among the Knights carving out a niche in the field events at Saturday’s 42nd annual Peterson Prep at Kaneland High School. Spitzerri is also riding a wave of long jump momentum, having jumped 18 feet, nine inches at Sycamore two weeks ago. The Knights took their second consecutive Prep crown a year ago, with 100 points, over Geneva and West Aurora. Photo by John DiDonna

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.

1. West Aurora 148 points
2. Burlington Central 102.5
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

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