Tag Archives: Chad Clarey

Holm secures KHS record at State race

by Keith Beebe
Peoria—“Bittersweet” would be an accurate term to describe Kaneland senior Trevor Holm’s performance at the IHSA boys cross country 2A State Finals on Saturday at Detweiller Park in Peoria.

Holm finished in 37th place with a time of 15:25, failing to earn an All-State medal. However, his time was both a personal best and the fastest ever for a Kaneland Knight at Detweiller Park, eclipsing the previous record of 15:26 set by Jim Probst in 1987.

“I thought Trevor was a little disappointed after the race that he wasn’t able to repeat as an All-State athlete even though he ran 10 seconds faster this year,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said. “We’re very proud of him, though. He gutted it out and left everything he had out on the track.”

Holm was slightly less enthusiastic about his performance despite the record-setting time.

“It wasn’t my best race. I peaked way too early into the season and it was just downhill from there,” he said. “I could’ve run a way lower time. I ran 15:09 in the beginning of October, and it was by myself. I felt great then, but I just peaked too early.”

Clarey said this was Holm’s first completely healthy, 12-week season since his freshman year.

“In past years, he’s had to get himself prepared and ready on a shortened timetable because of illnesses at the start of his season, but he did a great job all season long this year,” he said. “And Trevor’s basically been going at maximum speed with training and everything since the end of last season.”

Clarey also pointed out the significance of Holm breaking the Kaneland record in his final high school race.
“The fact that Trevor ran a personal-best race at the end of his career is something special, even if it didn’t net an All-State medal this year. And he went out by setting the fastest time on that course,” he said.

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Photo: Kaneland’s Trevor Holm was unable to repeat as an all-state athlete, even after running the fastest time in Knight history at the state meet. Holm finished 37th at the IHSA State Meet with a time of 15:25.
File Photo

Holm representing KHS boys at State

by Mike Slodki
BELVIDERE—According to KHS coach Chad Clarey, Knight runner Trevor Holm ran his race strategy to perfection.

Based on Saturday’s perforance at the IHSA 2A Belvidere Sectional, Holm will finish his senior year in style.

One of the productive Knight anchors throughout the year, Holm finished 10th overall with a 16 minute clip.

Holm feels, despite the accolades, it was not his best race of 2010.

“No, I felt tired and I really had to push myself at the end. I was getting over being sick, but I was getting confidence toward the end,” Holm said.

Meanwhile, Kaneland as a whole unit fell short of State by one place and 28 points.

With 231 team points, Kaneland was behind Belvidere North (30), Crystal Lake Central (87), Marmion Academy (96), Glenbard South (183) and Woodstock (203).

“We wanted our 2-5 to be less than 30 seconds. Today they were 25 seconds. It was good enough to beat nearly all off the teams battling for the last qualifying spot. We just couldn’t counterbalance the 1-2 punch of Woodstock.

After Holm, teammate Nate Rehkopf was 44th overall with a time of 16:54. Close behind was Grant Alef in 45th place just one second behind Rehkopf.

In 58th, Conor Johnson finished in 17:05, while John Meisinger was 74th at 17:19.

Holm wishes the entire team was represented at State, but is glad to be down there as a lone Knight.

“It was a goal of mind, and it’s great that one of us gets to go down there instead of no one. We deserve recognition,” Holm said.

About last year…
IHSA 2A State Finals
Kaneland finished in 5th place (192 points)
Trevor Holm – 18th place (15:35)
Dominic Furco – 34th place (15:56)
Edgar Valle – 45th place (16:08)
Matt Reusche -47th place (16:11)
File Photo

Boys XC produces third-place at regional

by Mike Slodki
MALTA—While the boys cross-country season is soon to come to an end, the Knights aren’t quite ready to pack up.

Instead, they continue to run forward.

With a third-place team finish of 91, KHS moves on to Sectionals, hosted by Belvidere High School.

Marmion Academy finished first with a 36 point total after getting three of the top six runners.

Crystal Lake Central took second with 43 points, and Kaneland beat out Burlington Central (91) for the tiebreaker. Aurora Central Catholic took fifth and was the last team to make it out of Kishwaukee College intact.

Chris Alvarez of CLC was regional champion after a 16 minute, five second race.

For Kaneland, Trevor Holm was tops with a seventh place finish of 16:35. Grant Alef was next in line for KHS with a 17:01 finish, good for 17th place. Third for the Knights was Conor Johnson in 20th place with a 17:08 effort. The sophomore actually had to run the last 2 and 3/4 miles of the course with just one shoe after losing it in the race.

Teammate Nate Rehkopf finished in 22nd with a time of 17:12 to round out the top four.

“Advancing is the most important aspect of our day,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said. “We closed the gap on some teams ahead of us earlier in the year. Holm gave us the single-digit we seek from him, racing some elite 2A teams and runners.”

Other teams joining the Knights and fellow Sycamore Regional teams on Saturday, Oct. 30, at 11 a.m. will be Grayslake North, Grayslake Central, Lakes, Richmond-Burton, Wauconda, Belvidere North, Woodstock, Marengo, Marian Central Catholic, Rochelle, Glenbard South, St. Francis, Fenton, Vernon Hills and Wheaton Academy.

Boys XC finishes seventh at NIB-12

by Mike Slodki
ELBURN—In a tough group of teams, Kaneland had several standouts at the first-ever gathering of the Northern Illinois Big XII conference.

The meet at Elburn Woods saw the Yorkville Foxes take the crown with 46 points, compared to Dixon’s 75.

The Knights’ 138-point total was good for seventh, ahead of Rochelle (183) and behind Sterling (135).

Sterling’s Jacob Landis, at 16 minutes, nine seconds, took the course crown by nine seconds over Dixon’s Simon Thorpe.

Next up was Knight Trevor Holm, who has been at or near the top for much of this season.

Holm, who ran his Elburn Woods-best at 16:24, had a good run at this late regular season juncture, according to KHS coach Chad Clarey.

“Our goal today was to try and hit some personal records on this course, because it’s far different from the rest that we compete on,” Clarey said. “Trevor had a great race and he’s still coming back from being sick last week. He’s in a good spot. He might be disappointed that he didn’t win on his home course, but you can’t always pick your best races.”

“Although he may not have been satisfied with the outcome, he will continue to feel fresher and faster with the taper,” Clarey said.

Junior Nate Rehkopf was 23rd at 17:24, and also set a new PR for himself.

“I’m pretty pleased how we’re doing as a team and how I’m doing personally,” Rehkopf said. “Trevor’s been good leading the guys, and it’s usually been me, Clayton Brundige and Grant Alef backing him up. We have a good team on all levels.”

Tommy Whittaker, running his last Elburn Woods course, ran in 17:49 and set a new PR, as well.

Additionally, junior Jake Ginther finished 33rd with a time of 18:07.

Photo: Tommy Whittaker runs his way to a 17:49 finish during Saturday’s Northern Illinois Big XII meet at Elburn Woods. Photo by Ashley Leonetti

Knight boys hit Sterling Invite, finish in 14th

by Mike Slodki
STERLING—The annual Sterling Invitational usually provides tough competition for the visiting Kanenald boys cross country crew.

On Saturday, it was again more of the usual.

With Trevor Holm’s 15 minute, 47 second effort good enough for 22nd place, the Knights as a whole finished in 14th place with 371 points out of 28 teams. Kaneland finished behind Bettendorf, Iowa High School’s 367.

Mid-Suburban League outfit Schaumburg took the meet with 73 points, followed by Minooka’s 73. The Saxons held the tiebreaker edge.

“We were pretty flat today, as a whole team,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said. “We anticipated this happening at some point. Where some programs may take a weekend off during the season, we run straight through. We liked seeing the boys pack up a little better.”

After Holm, the next Kaneland athlete to cross the line was Nate Rehkopf in 82nd place at 17:02. Teammate Clayton Brundige was in 86th at 17:09, while Grant Alef was right behind at 17:11.

The frosh/soph side finished fourth in their grouping.

The homestretch begins for KHS as Clarey’s crew takes on the field at the first-ever Northern Illinois Big XII meet at Elburn Woods on Saturday, Oct. 16.

Holm, youngsters take care of Pretzel Invite business

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—You’ll have to excuse the KHS boys cross country roster for being full.

They feasted on the Pretzel Invitational on Saturday.

Keyed by a first-place effort from senior star Trevor Holm, the Knights’ 45-point total beat out Rock Falls (57) and Rockford Boylan (57). It’s their third Pretzel title.

Holm’s 15 minute, nine second time was 21 seconds better than Boylan’s Matt Melloch.

The Knights had a big boost from sophomore call ups Conor Johnson and John Meisinger. Johnson finished in eighth place with a time of 16:16, while Meisinger took tenth at 16:22.

“Our biggest keys to success, and the championship, came from sophomore call ups,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said. “Each were able to garner top-10 places, racing with some tough, top runners of the other schools.”

Junior Nate Rehkopf took 14th at 16:29.

The JV ranks saw KHS take second place with 36 points, behind Rockford Jefferson’s 25.

Ryan Paulson finished fifth with a time of 17:23 and Ryan Bowen took eighth at 17:36.

Kaneland’s next challenge is the Sterling Invite on Saturday, Oct. 9.

Boys XC takes seventh at Eddington

ELBURN—Kaneland boys cross country had to wade not only through 18 other full varsity teams, but also the weather at the annual Eddington Invite.

During intermittent storms, the Knights amassed 212 points, which was good for seventh place.

Crystal Lake Central (78), Jacobs (92) and Dundee-Crown (93) hit the top three.

“We finished strong, and we packed up well. We liked the way the boys responded to the delay in start due to lightning and soggy conditions. We’re making improvements that can’t always be seen in the race results,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said.

Kaneland cornerstone Trevor Holm led the Knights with a 15 second PR on his home course with a time of 16 minutes, 26 seconds, good for eighth place overall. Next for the Knights was Clayton Brundige in 39th place with a time of 17:34 and Nate Rehkopf in 40th place at that time. Both Knights improved their best time by 25 seconds each.

Grant Alef (18:14), Jake Ginther (18:15) and Tommy Whittaker (18:19) took up 62nd through 64th place.

Ahead for the Knights is their usual late-September trip to the Rock River Run hosted by Sterling on Saturday, Sept. 25, at 8:30 a.m.

Holm, juniors spur Kaneland boys XC

PEORIA—Whatever the fortunes of the Kaneland High School boys cross country team this season, the Knights have a gelling core that will give those fortunes a fighting chance.

At cross-country hub Detweiler Park in Peoria, Kaneland finished eighth out of 36 teams at the Woodruff Invite.

With 321 points, KHS outlasted Aurora Central Catholic, which had 341 points. Just ahead of KHS was Woodstock at 313 points.

The top three squads were Normal U-High at 64 points, Burlington High School of Iowa at 151 points, and Yorkville at 163.

Kaneland anchor Trevor Holm showed what he was capable of with an eighth-place finish at 15 minutes, 30 seconds, just five seconds shy of a school record.

In 58th place was Clayton Brundige at 16:29, a personal best by 30 seconds. Teammate Nate Rehkopf took 74th with a time of 16:42.

With a 16:49 effort, Grant Alef took 81st place.

More PR times came Kaneland’s way thanks to Jake Ginther in 108th place (17:16), Tommy Whittaker in 130th (17:35) and Devin Swearingen in 137th (17:40).

“We are a slow starting team looking to build some momentum these next 3-4 weeks,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said. “It’s going to be a very formidable challenge, battling in the new NIB-12, and through the State series. We have confidence in or boys and the direction we’re heading.”

The direction the Knights are headed is toward Saturday, Sept. 18, and the annual Eddington Invite event at Elburn Woods.

Boys Cross Country outpaces rivals

ELBURN—On Tuesday, the Knights cross-country team built a nice block toward eventual success this season.

They built it on the strength of their feet.

Hosting Yorkville and East Aurora at Elburn Woods, the Knights’ 24 points outdid the efforts of the Foxes (58) and East Aurora (78).

“It’s very early in our campaign, but we like what we see, and hopefully our depth will begin to shine as the calendar switches to October,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said.

The charge was led by Trevor Holm with a 16 minute, 43 second time. Teammate Clayton Brundige finished third at 17:49. Nate Rehkopf, with a 17:51 mark, finished fifth and Kaneland’s John Meisinger took seventh at 18:20.

Kaneland travels to Peoria Woodruff for an invite on Saturday, Sept. 11.

Photo: It may have been close in pockets of the race, but Kaneland’s Nate Rehkopf flew to a 34-point margin of victory against Yorkville and a 54-point gap over East Aurora on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Yorkvilletrackandfield.com

Boys XC takes care of area foes

by Mike Slodki
ELBURN—Tuesday’s opening meet for the Kaneland boys cross-country roster seemed to serve two purposes.

The muggy afternoon skirmish with visiting Wheaton Academy and West Chicago provided a winning experience, as well as a learning experience.

The varsity rankings had KHS win with 27 points, compared to the Wildcats’ 37 and the Warriors’ 70.

However, toward the final leg of the three-mile race, Knight asset Trevor Holm was outpaced by West Chicago’s Gunnar Sterne, who beat Holm by seven seconds at 16 minutes, 46 seconds.

“Holm ran a good race, just outkicked by a better runner at this point. Lessons should be learned every week. He’ll be tougher for it,” Kaneland coach Chad Clarey said.

The next four KHS finishers were separated by 44 seconds. Clayton Brundige finished fourth at 18:11, Grant Alef finished sixth at 18:31, Nate Rehkopf finished seventh at 18:51. Jake Ginther took eighth at 18:55.

Alef was pleased as far as first meets go.

“I think it was a pretty good meet overall,” Alef said. “We definitely still have work to do and have a lot of room for improvement.”

On the JV side, Kaneland beat West Chicago, 15-72.

The race was highlighted by John Meisinger’s 14:34 on the 2.4-mile course, and Luis Acosta’s 15:05.

Future action for the Knights include a home matchup at Elburn Woods with East Aurora and Yorkville on Tuesday, Sept. 7, at 4:30 p.m.

Photo: It’s a pack of Knights at Tuesday’s Elburn Woods encounter with West Chicago and Wheaton Academy.
Photo by Mike Slodki

Boys XC wish to re-run great ending

Photo: Trent Holm (left) will serve in a senior leadership role for the Kaneland boys cross-country squad. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—How does a team that finished fifth in the Class 2A boys cross country race a year ago repeat the appealing end?

With the same preparation and attack, and new personnel to replace the graduates.

“For the most part, everyone is healthy, but we are resting and repairing some pieces to our team,” coach Chad Clarey said.

Out of the 14 to go to State, nine return.

Clarey has some holes to fill, but the senior leadership of Grant Alef, Trevor Holm and Tommy Whittaker provide stability to a team that lost five of its top seven places.

“We return three seniors and each one of them is an All-State athlete in cross-country, track or swimming in 2009.

Holm finished 23rd in State and Clarey likes his trajectory.

“He has had a good summer. He’ll see where the best runners in the state are and compare himself to that,” Clarey said.

Alef was often the fifth runner for the Knights a year ago and was second and fourth in two events for swimming Junior Nationals recently.

“He’s finally on dry land now and ready to run. I think I’ll be a quicker transition for him. He worked his way up through the lineup last year,” Clarey said.

Whittaker, a sprinter by nature, “has groomed himself to be a nice distance runner and had an excellent offseason,” Clarey said.

The junior circuit includes Austin Paulson, Jake Ginther, Kelvin Peterson, Frankie Furco, Clayton Brundige, Stelios Lekkas, John Michek and Nate Rehkopf.

“We’ve got solid juniors and eventually we look for the frosh/soph runners to make their push during the season. Kids that might be in that mix are (sophs) Conor Johnson, Billy Hart, John Meisinger,” Clarey said.

Other sophomores include Nick Messina, Ryan Paulson, Gus Stott, Brad Kigyos, Nicholas Albano, Chris Wido, Brandon Huber and Justin Pollastrini.

Freshmen are Luis Acosta, Ryan Bower, Garrett Patterson, Dylan Kuipers, Phil Cutsinger and Kyle Carter.

A new opportunity for getting back to the postseason promised land also brings a new opportunity for fresh conference foes in the Northern Illinois Big XII.

“When we ran in the old Western Sun Conference, we only finished in the top four one time. It was that talented and Sycamore who was a State champ didn’t even win the conference. Geneseo has a nice nucleus, DeKalb is getting better. I think Yorkville would be the team to beat going into all this,” Clarey said.

The regular season begins on Tuesday, Aug. 31 against West Chicago and Wheaton Academy, while the Eddington Invite takes place on Saturday, Sept. 18. Conference is on Saturday, Oct. 16.

Kaneland Boys Cross Country 5th in state

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

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

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

Clarey was pleased with how his team faired overall.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

file photo

Boys XC heads off to State

by Mike Slodki
Watch out, Peoria.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boys XC hit stride at regional

by Mike Slodki
It wasn’t quite the top spot, but Kaneland boys cross country will take it.

They’ll take it all the way to sectionals.

Thanks to a 15-second edge by Marmion Academy’ sixth runner, the Cadets took the Aurora Central Catholic Class 2A regional competition on Saturday at Oakhurst Forest Preserve in Aurora. Kaneland matched Marmion’s total of 66 points, however.

Crystal Lake Central finished third with 70, and won a tiebreaker with Prairie Ridge, while Burlington Central took fifth with 152 points.

Marmion and Kaneland advance to next Saturday’s 2A sectional in Belvidere.

“It’s such a loaded field there that anything can happen,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said. “We need to stay healthy, focus on our pack split, and go to Belvidere ready to run.”

Crystal Lake Central’s Ryan Alvarez won the course with a time of 15 minutes, 17 seconds. The top Kaneland runner was junior Trevor Holm, who continued his exceptional pace this season with a 15:28 effort on Saturday.

“He’s a leader and a racer in every sense of each word,” Clarey said about the leading Knight from Saturday.

Matt Reusche of Kaneland finished eighth overall at 15:42.

Dominic Furco of Kaneland finished third- best for the Knights at 17th overall at 16:05. Teammate Logan Markuson was 18th at 16:12.

Boys XC rocks Pretzel Invite

Kaneland High School boys cross country snacked on their competitors at the Pretzel Invite on Saturday.

The annual event, hosted by Freeport High school, yielded a productive outing, with six of the top 10 varsity finishers representing the Knights in a first-place team finish.

With 26 points as a team, KHS beat Rock Falls (79) and Rockford Boylan (93) out of the top three.

Junior Trevor Holm won the course with a time of 16 minutes, 19 seconds, followed by Boylan’s Matthew Melloch at 16:20. Following him was Knight Dominic Furco in third at 16:30. Joe Levita finished sixth at 16:45, while Logan Markuson took seventh at 16:45.

Edgar Valle finished ninth with an effort of 16:49, while Matt Reusche finished 10th at 16:51.

The Knights’ younger crew also found victory with a 22-point, first-place effort in the frosh/soph race, beating Freeport (62) in the five-team gathering. Nate Rehkopf, Conor Johnson and Clayton Brundige finished 2-3-4.

Overall, KHS coach Chad Clarey had much to be pleased with.

“We continue to have our work cut out for us,” Clarey said. “To see them carry out the plan for each race was exciting. A day like today was not possible without the full summer’s worth of training.”

With a full lineup, the Knights could be a force to be reckoned with come postseason.

“Trevor Holm won his first varsity race, and dominated from the start. He’s taken some nice initiative this fall, and is clearly becoming an important piece of our puzzle,” Clarey said.

Boys XC handles visiting rosters

by Mike Slodki
PEORIA—Kaneland boys cross country hopes to get more familiar with Detweiler Park in Peoria.

The site of the Class 2A State meet come the fall was also the site of the Peoria Woodruff Invite on Saturday, with the Knights finishing sixth in a field of 38 schools.

The 277 point total was ahead of rival Glenbard South (286) and Galesburg (292). Burlington High School of Iowa was king with 68 points, followed by Normal University at 196.

For KHS, Logan Markuson was tops with a time of 16 minutes, 17 seconds, good for 37th overall. Teammate Edgar Valle finished with the same time in 38th place.

Trevor Holm finished in 41st with a time of 16:18, and Joe Levita took 72nd with a time of 16:42.

“We were very pleased to finish sixth today. The talented field brought out the best in our team. Trevor Holm helped us to a faster start and his teammates responded,” Kaneland coach Chad Clarey.

Next on the schedule for boys cross country is the annual Eddington Invite at Elburn Woods, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 19.

Boys XC beats EA, Yorkville

What did you do with your Tuesday?

KHS boys cross country spent it getting the upper hand over East Aurora (23-38) and Yorkville (15-50) at Elburn Woods.

Matt Reusche took the course with a 16 minute, 44 second time.

“I felt we did great as a whole,” Reusche said. “I felt I did pretty good. We’ve been training a lot harder this year, and the frosh/soph guys are really stepping it up.”

Trevor Holm was next for Kaneland in fourth with 17:44, followed by Joe Levita (17:50) and Logan Markuson at 17:58, good for sixth.

“We were seeing what our pack split looks like and wanted to make it through the meet healthy. It was a race for us and a good workout and helped us build our week. The boys were excited,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said.

Drendel gets due; KHS mainstay inducted into coaches’ hall of fame

by Mike Slodki

When asked to reflect on the recent honor bestowed upon him, former Kaneland track coach Ralph Drendel simply said, “I’ve got a lot of Kaneland in my system.”

It might be that all-encompassing take on his career that inducted Drendel into the Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame on Jan. 10 in a ceremony at Oak-Park River Forest High School.

Drendel was accompanied to the ceremony by coaches Eric Baron, Joe Thorgesen, Matt Smith, Barney Callaghan, Randy Olesen, Robby Bieritz and Chad Clarey, along with the rest of the Drendel family.

“I’ve never had a more passionate coach,” Clarey said. “He stressed working hard and putting on the best home meets possible.”

A KHS teacher from 1978-2005, Drendel coached track and field athletes to over 60 State medals and two State trophies (90-99), and was coach of the year on three occasions (90-91-99).

Fellow former Kaneland coach Bruce Peterson is also a member of the Hall of Fame. Current Kaneland assistant coach Randy Olesen was also honored with the Dave Pasquinini Award for Assistant Coach of the Year. Current boys track coach Eric Baron was given the award in 2001 for cross country.

Other honorees at the hall-of-fame gathering were OPRF coach Glenn Cothern, Springfield Lanphier’s Mike Garcia, John Lemke of Rolling Meadows, Barrington’s Debbie Revolta, OPRF coach Josa Sosa and Champaign Central’s Dike Stirrett.

Drendel, who’s resume includes being the point man for home track invites and doing P.A. for athletic events, was humbled by his peers joining him in the hall, and about those who already reside there.

“You sit there and watch all these great coaches and these guys are really good. You can’t believe you get to join them,” Drendel said. “I just wanted to do a good job at being in charge of the events.”

Drendel joins the the elite brethen, but not without remembering what it took to get there, and with whom.

“Eddington, Bob Pederson, Bruce Peterson, Joe Thorgesen, these are pretty important people in my life. I learned from guys like them,” Drendel said.

Upon learning of the honor, Clarey asked Drendel to be at KHS to give a talk to the cross-country team before the WSC meet, where Peterson and Drendel’s family joined in announcing the honor.

“It was after practice, and I was so excited and proud that they would choose my dad,” said current sophomore volleyball coach Kelsey Drendel, Ralph’s daughter. “I most want to emulate his ability to motivate his athletes to always give their best effort and to reach for something higher than they could even imagine.

The hall-of-fame member of the Drendel clan summed up his continuing Kaneland story.

“I went to Kaneland, my kids went here and it’s a good place to have your kids grow up. At the end of the day you did this for the kids and tried to do the best you could.”