Tag Archives: Dylan Pennington

East Moline momentum

First-ever win at traditional outdoor opener for boys track
By Mike Slodki
Kaneland—For the talent pool near the Quad Cities, to take the unofficial opener of the 2013 outdoor season is a big deal for the Knights track roster.

The 12-team gathering saw Kaneland score 260 team points on Saturday in the UTHS Boys Kiwanis Invitational, hosted by East Moline United.

The hosts were second overall with a total of 220.5, and Northern Illinois Big XII crossover foe Geneseo was third overall with 204 points.

Rock Island (184), Iowa’s Pleasant Valley (169) and T.F. South (135) rounded out the top half of the standings. Sterling, with 88 points, took ninth.

The meet was structured in flights of “A,” “B” and “C,” and had Kaneland running to daylight in plenty of events.

John Meisinger’s 3200 meter run “B” resulted in a second-place effort (10:41.54), while the “B” 4x800m relay team for Kaneland took second with a time of 8:59.28.

Kaneland’s 4x100m “B” team won the event with a time of 45.83 seconds, while the “A” foursome of Brandon Bishop, Brandon Cottier, Dylan Nauert and Ben Barnes won its challenge with a time of 43.85.

Nauert struck again in the “A” 110m hurdles event that saw him nab second with a time of 16:07, while Stephen McCracken of Kaneland managed a second in the “C” running of the 800m run (2:09.41).

In the 800m run “A” battle, reliable Knight Conor Johnson won the event with a time of 2:02.58, while the 4x200m relay “B” crew took first with a time of 1:38.83.

Kaneland’s 4x200m relay group of Bishop, Barnes, Dylan Pennington and Cottier took second in the “A” group with a time of 1:32.67.

Knight speedster Kyle Carter worked through the 400m dash “B” flight for a win in 51.28, while “A” counterpart Nathaniel Kucera won his race with a time of 51.05.

Kaneland made more of a hurdle presence in the 300m hurdles “B,” thanks to Brock Robertson’s second at 42.71 and Nauert’s “A” first-place at 40.68.

The field events saw a nice dose of Kaneland power, especially in the shot put, with “B” champ Shane Jorgensen’s 47 feet, 7.5 inches, and “A” king Nate Dyer’s 52-04.

The pole vault saw “C” glory thanks to JR Vest’s first (12-06), Kory Harner’s second in “B” (11-06) and Dylan Kuipers’ “A” reign (13 feet).

Considering the opposing talent level and the mix of experienced and new, KHS coach Eric Baron feels it was a job well done out west.

“They did fine, they had lots of excitement about this first meet,” Baron said. “They really performed well. It was the first time we won this meet and that is saying a lot considering the legendary track programs we competed against.”

Kaneland also had a dual meet at Sycamore on Tuesday and dominated Sycamore and Hiawatha. Kaneland tallied 111 points, well out in front of Sycamore’s 34 and Hiawatha’s 1.

The Knight crew heads to the Ottawa Invitational set for Saturday, April 13.

Spring kind to Kaneland athletics in awards season

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

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

Awards were released on June 3.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kaneland’s 11: Boys track performs at high level

Two Kaneland HS relay teams earned all-state honors last weekend.
Photos by Marshall Farthing

Knights’ 2A trip to
EIU sees five All-State
efforts, three records

by Mike Slodki
CHARLESTON, Ill.—When you send as many Class 2A State finalists for boys track as Kaneland High School did, you’ll push some entries to the finals by sheer force and numbers.

Or in the case of this past weekend, by speed.

With five finalists, the Knights program achieved All-State medal honors in those events.

A year ago, Taylor Andrews won the 110m high hurdles in Class 2A, while Nick Sinon claimed the high jump in the 2010 try that featured the Knights taking second in the entire state.

This season, with 19 points, Kaneland finished an exceptional 11th.

Cahokia High School was crowned champ with 67 points, while former KHS conference rival Glenbard South took second with 56. The other local school to finish near Kaneland was Burlington Central with 22 points for 10th.

“Our program gained a great deal of experience this past weekend as we look towards next year,” KHS coach Eric Baron.

For KHS, the top finish was the 4×200 meter really unit of Dylan Pennington, Brandon Bishop, Brandon Cottier and Sean Carter, who took third with a time of 1:29.89 in the finals, a school record. Glenbard South’s team won the race with just .31 faster of a time.

Other exceptional relay action featured the 4x100m relay foursome of Bishop, Cottier, Dylan Nauert and Carter, which finished sixth in the finals at 42.70 seconds, marking another school record.

Individually, Nauert added a sixth-place finish to his mantle with a 39.34 second time on the 300m low hurdles event.

In the 200m dash event, Carter took seventh in the finals at 22.80 seconds.

Finally, the 4x800m school relay group of Conor Johnson, Nate Kucera, Clayton Brundige and Kyle Carter finished ninth overall with a clip of 8:02.68. A 7:59.87 time in prelims was good for a school record, as well.

Other State qualifiers that were in crowded fields included Kory Harner, who vaulted 13 feet in the pole vault.

Nate Dyer ended his season with a 50 feet, 1.5 inch toss in the shot put prelims.

Cottier’s effort in the 100m dash prelims was a 11.46 time.

With the season ended, the Knights say goodbye to Brundige, Sean Carter, Mitch Dienst, Andrew Essex, Miki Marin, Marcel Neil, Kelvin Peterson, Nate Rehkopf and Brandon Stahl.

KHS boys one point short of NIB-12 bragging rights

Photo: Kaneland’s Nate Dyer is about to throw the discus a conference-best 148 feet, nine inches, at the NIB-12 Conference track meet on Friday at DeKalb High School. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland boys track had many competitors contributing to a winning effort during Friday’s second-ever Northern Illinois Big XII meet out at DeKalb’s Dresser Road digs.

Too bad Dixon had more of a winning effort, just one point more.
It’s fuel that will go toward motivation for a winning night at the Rochelle Sectional on Thursday, May 17.

Kaneland’s 97 points were second only to Dixon’s 98.

Sterling (78), Sycamore (75) and Rochelle (50) rounded out the top five with Yorkville, Geneseo, LaSalle-Peru, DeKalb and Ottawa completing the top 10.

Kaneland’s frosh-soph outfit took fourth.

The Knights’ relay personnel are as fast as ever, judging by the work in Barb-land.

Kyle Carter, Nate Kucera, Clayton Brundige and Conor Johnson took care of the 4x800m relay field with a time of eight minutes, 8.94 seconds, while 4x100m relay speedsters Brandon Bishop, Brandon Cottier, Dylan Nauert and Sean Carter won their race at 43.24 seconds.

In the 4x200m relay event, Dylan Pennington, Bishop, Cottier and Sean Carter won with a time of 1:29.88.

Hurdling went Nauert’s way when he ran a 40.20 second race, while Sean Carter finished second in the 200m dash with a time of 22.59, just .01 behind Dixon’s Scott Good.

Cottier, Nauert, Kucera and Sean Carter ran the 4x400m relay with a first-place time of 3:25.53.

Sophomore Nate Dyer continued his impressive campaign with a 148 foot, nine inch, first-place discus throw.

Tanner Andrews also served the KHS cause well with a 41-08.5 triple jump for second place.

The Knights hope to continue the momentum of great scores in Rochelle, with the team being served by athletes who have already been to Charleston.

But KHS coach Eric Baron’s coachin style will not change regardless of the previous May travels one has had.

“We have physically prepared our team to the best of our ability. This week is all about mental preparation. We will be ready to perform at our best on Thursday. Our focus is on getting as many athletes into the state meet as possible and getting personal best. Titles and points will come with a large number of personal best and qualifiers,” he said.

Feels like the 1st place for boys track

Photo: Nate Rehkopf, decked out in retro Knights track uniforms, took his heat of the 3200m run during Friday’s Kane County Invite out at West Aurora High School. Photo by Mike Slodki

Knight boys tie Geneva for first at prestigious KC meet
by Mike Slodki
AURORA—Team numbers don’t matter to Kaneland boys track. Neither do past accolades.

All that matters is that Kaneland put up an impressive 74 points in an 18-team Kane County Invite on Friday at West Aurora High School.

Coming off of a Peterson Prep first place and a second-place honor in Crystal Lake, the Knights’ total matched Geneva for first place at the historic Kane County grouping.

A year ago, Kaneland finished fourth with 57 points out at Millennium Field in Streamwood, Ill.

West Aurora finished third with 65 points at its home field, followed by Batavia and St. Charles North tying for fourth with 56 points.

Burlington Central took sixth with a total of 52.

South Elgin’s 41 was seventh best, while Aurora outfits Marmion Academy and Aurora Central Catholic tied for eighth with 37 points. St. Charles East rounded out the top 10 with 32 points.

KHS coach Eric Baron was eager to see what the KC happenings springboard to.

“We’ve had PRs for a lot of kids, like Nate Rehkopf in the 3200m prelims and Eric Dillon in the high jump,” Baron said. “This is the first of a line of big meets, and this is the granddaddy of them all. It’s been here for 92 years.”

Runners like Rehkopf still wanted to make an impact, even without a finals trip.

“The other teams might have bigger numbers but we have great depth, which I think puts us at an advantage,” Rehkopf said.

Kaneland can boast several area titleholders after the 2012 version of the Kane County excursion. Nate Dyer continued his astounding season with a shot put title after a finals throw of 50 feet. Fellow sophomore Dylan Nauert captured the 300 meter low hurdles title after a finals try of 40.19 seconds.

KHS also had several second-place finishers under its employ, beginning with Dyer in the discus with an effort of 151-01. Shane Jorgensen earned a second-place spotlight with a 48-10.5 in the shot put.

Third-place nods included Miki Marin in the 800m run with a tab of 1:58.40, Sean Carter in the 200m dash finals with a time of 22.46, and the 200m relay team of Dylan Pennington, Brandon Bishop, Brandon Cottier and Carter at 1:30.40.

The Knight fourth-place finishers included Eric Dillon in the high jump at 6-03 and Kory Harner in the pole vault at 12-09. Marshall Farthing took fifth in the long jump at 6-01, while Nauert found double-duty success with a fifth in the 110m high hurdles at 15.99.

Laying ahead for the Knight crew is the second-ever Northern Illinois Big XII meet in DeKalb on Friday, May 11.

Peterson Prep goes Kaneland’s way in 2012

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—After the 2011 results of the annual Peterson Prep boys track meet at Kaneland, the Knights’ fortunes could only get so much better.

Fortunately for Kaneland, the result of doing only so much better meant first place.

Falling short of West Aurora’s first-place, a year ago, the Knights’ clutch performances in many events meant 84 points, and the Peterson Prep crown.

KHS defeated Geneva (75 points), Burlington Central (64), West Aurora (50) and Yorkville (41) to reign over the Saturday field.

The exceptional outputs were highlighted by Knights like Nate Dyer, who beat the field in both the shot put and discus events.

A sophomore, Dyer threw 48 feet, two inches in the shot, and 153-09 in the discus.

Dyer, who competed in State events as a middle school athlete and earned some valuable experience a year ago, feels this group of throwers can provide point cushions that coach Eric Baron has been looking for the past several seasons.

“It’s been a pretty good meet, and I’ve been feeling good this season and after my throws today. All three of the top throwers here can make big throws,” Dyer said.

Field personnel like Marshall Farthing also had a productive morning, as the junior achieved a personal record in the high jump at 6 feet, 3 inches for third place.

KHS’ effort was apparent in events like the 100 meter dash finals in which senior Sean Carter took fourth with a time of 11.65 seconds.

Junior Dylan Pennington took fifth in the 200m dash finals thanks to a 24.02 time.

“I tried to keep as close as I could to the lead and it worked out,” Pennington said.

Pennington won his preliminary heat with a time of 23.75 seconds, and hopes the production in all his events continues.

“I hope in the 4×200 we can beat the school record. I feel I could be better,” Pennington said.

Dylan Nauert was crowned king of the 300m hurdles with a time of 40.68 seconds.

Meanwhile, in relay clashes, the Knights’ 4x100m foursome took first with a time of 43.78, the 4x200m unit took first with a time of 1:31.31 and the 4x400m relay squad took second at 3:26.62.

Ahead for the Knights’ boys track crew is a trip to the Crystal Lake Central Invite on Friday, April 27, before hosting both Morris and Yorkville on Tuesday, May 1.

Boys track feels outdoorsy at E. Moline

Photo: Alex Snyder throws the discus a huge 112 feet, 11 inches during Kaneland’s home meet against Sycamore on April 10. Photo by John DiDonna

Knights also earn dual win vs. Spartans
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—How do you deal with boys track giants from the Quad Cities area along with other very talented outfits?

You show your talent is as big and capable as theirs.

Kaneland boys track put up third-place numbers at the annual East Moline United Kiwanis Invitational at the Soule Bowl in East Moline, Ill., on Saturday with 233.5 points.

Rock Island won the meet crown with 260 points, while the hosts put up 250 points of their own.

Pleasant Valley of Iowa was in fourth with 196 points, and Galesburg was fifth at 195.

Two fellow Northern Illinois Big XII schools competed on Saturday, with Sterling finishing seventh in the 12-team meet (152 points), and Geneseo scoring 141.5 points for eighth.

With the events placed in A, B and C flights, Kaneland found plenty of competitors of their own with top finishes.

Knights standout Kyle Carter was the premiere runner in the 800 meter run “A”, thanks to a two minute, 2.96 effort, .72 seconds better than Beau Salsman of Galesburg.

Teammate Dylan Nauert’s third place in the 300m hurdles “A’ group fit well in the team’s success, thanks to a 41.40-second finish.

Nauert was at it again as part of the 4x100m relay team along with Brandon Bishop, Brandon Cottier and Sean Carter, as the foursome finished second with a time of 43.84.

In the 4x400m relay “A” flight, Bishop, Nathan Kucera, Kyle Carter and Nauert finished second with a 3:30.48 effort.

Kaneland also found encouraging developments in the field events, with JR Vest taking third in the pole vault with a height of 12 feet even.

Nate Dyer continued his positive trajectory from last year by throwing 45-10 in the shot put. Dyer also took second in the discus throw for coach Eric Baron’s crew, heaving a 144-10 disc.

Bishop found himself in the thick of things again by finishing third in the 100m dash “B” with a time of 11.9.

Kaneland’s Miki Marin emerged first in the 800m run “B” thanks to a 2:05.11, 1.25 seconds faster than Pleasant Valley’s Joe Schuler.

Eric Dillion finished third in the high jump “B” action with a leap of 5-10.

The Knights’ 4x400m relay group finished second in the “B” category with a time of 3:45.01.

In the pole vault “B” event, Knight Dylan Kuipers finished second with a height of 11 feet.

Sean Carter finished a scant .17 seconds behind Rock Island’s Brandon Richardson at 11.82.

Kucera took first in the 400m dash “C” with a time of 52.46, while teammate Clayton Brundige was king of the 800m run “C’ at 2:07.97.

KHS representative Brock Robertson finished second with a time of 43.74 seconds in the 300m hurdles “C”.

Another pole vaulter doing well for KHS was Dan Evers, who finished first in the “C” group with a vault of 10-06.

Kaneland’s Ben Barnes held his own in the “C” long jump grouping by finishing second with a distance of 18-09.5.

In a Tuesday meet against Sycamore, Kaneland won 96-50, thanks to first places from personnel like Nauert in the 300m hurdles (41.3) and Dyer in the shot put (45-11) and discus (140-05).

Conor Johnson also nabbed first in the 3200m run at 10:04.6. Dylan Pennington took first in the 200m dash with an effort of 24.9.

Vest excelled in the pole vault with an 11-foot launch.

Saturday, April 14, brings the latest test for boys track in the form of the Ottawa Invitational.

Boys track talent factory hopes to pay dividends

Photo: Kory Harner is one of the many cogs in the victory machine for Kaneland boys track. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Knights boys track has a storied history and a lot to live up to.

In the last couple seasons, the outfit has not disappointed.

With 2010’s second-place team finish in Class 2A, and 2011’s third straight sectional championship, the final obstacle of the season saw a State crown for departed senior Taylor Andrews in the hurdles, as well as qualification in 10 events.

Seventh-year Coach Eric Baron takes solace in the fact that even with personnel like Andrews, Trevor Holm and Tommy Whittaker not wearing Knights garb, they return athletes that learned quite a bit and excelled often.

“We’re missing that experience this year, I’ll be honest,” Baron said. “Brandon Cottier has the most State meet experience now, and we have guys that ran at State like Sean Carter in the 4×200 and Brandon Bishop and Luis Acosta. We have a lot of young talent, but not a lot of big meet experience.”

Clayton Brundinge returns for events like the 4x800m relay, and the Knights will enjoy the talents of Miki Marin and Carter.

“Carter is a great leader and it was just his first year, and you’d never know it by talking with him and being around him,” Baron said.

Baron has a pleasant problem when it comes to distance.

“What I have right now is more depth than I’ve ever had before and can run fresh athletes in almost every distance race,” Baron said.

Kyle Carter, coming off a huge cross-country season, employs his endurance for the 4×800 and the 4×400.

Conor Johnson will also be counted on for distance events, along with Clayton Brundige, John Meisinger, Nate Rehkopf and Brandon Huber.

For sprints, Cottier returns to once again make a mark as a two-time Charleston qualifier, while Bishop returns off a NIB-12 best campaign in the 100m dash.

Dylan Pennington contributes to the spring side in the 4×100 and 4×200.

For the field events, Baron shows optimism.

“It’s going to be eye-opening how much we’ve improved on field events. Nate Dyer is on pace to blow away school records in discus, and Shane Jorgensen has thrown over 44 feet already,” Baron said.

Alex Snyder and Jaumaureo Phillips take care of the throwing events as well.

Perhaps the most questions center around the long jump, with basketball talent Marcel Neil making the transition to the track and hoping to answer some of them.

“Once we figure out what to do with him, he’s going to impress a lot of people in the long jump,” Baron said.

Tanner Andrews returns after having his sophomore campaign wiped out due to injury, and heads to the triple jump with teammates Marshall Farthing and Frankie Furco.

Kory Harner and Dylan Nauert look to return to rarified air in the pole vault and hurdles, respectively.

The Knights try to move on from a productive indoor campaign and head outdoors to the East Moline United Invite on Saturday, April 7. The Kane County Invite takes place at West Aurora on Friday, May 4.

Talent, effort goes the distance for Knights

Photo: Trevor Holm remains a key component of the Kaneland High School boys track success the last several years, especially in the 1600m run. Photo by Linda Bell

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It was a high ceiling for Kaneland High School boys track in 2010, and by the end of the season in Charleston, Ill., it turned into a celebration.

A second-place finish in the Class 2A State meet and a State championship in two events were reason to party, and Kaneland hopes to extend it.

But, it’ll have to come with a lot of preparation, which fifth-year coach Eric Baron has already started on.

“It started at track camp in June, and we took a look at what we have coming back,” Baron said. “We looked at areas we need to strengthen. It’s a reloading program. We lost a lot of good seniors. I think the group of freshmen that’s coming in might be better than the group that just left, talent-wise.”

In terms of sprints, Tommy Whittaker’s name will come up early and often.

“Tommy is not only going to win a lot of races, he is just a tremendous leader,” Baron said. “It’s a senior class of seven. Their leadership is outstanding.”

Whittaker, Taylor Andrews, Matt Spitzzeri and Trevor Holm will be counted on to give that frosh-soph class some leadership.

“It’s gone on since before I was coach. You listen to the upperclassmen because they’ve been through the wringer,” Baron said.

Sprints and hurdlers will see an Andrews presence, who competed side-by-side with new Golden Gopher Logan Marcusson.

The entire 4×100 and 4×200 meter relays return to give KHS an added boost, fresh off a Charleston trip last year.

Brandon Cottier, Andrew Essex, Curtis Secrest and Quinn Buschbacher also look to contribute. Sophomore Dylan Pennington is also expected to make the most of his time on the track.

Holm takes care of the distance question.

“Trevor could be an All-Stater in pretty much any event we decide to go with,” Baron said.

Baron touted freshmen Luis Acosta and Kyle Carter as pleasant surprises in the early goings, especially in relays.

In the field, Frankie Furco has high jumped over six feet in indoor competition.

A young jumper looking to help the Knights is Marshall Farthing, also excelling in indoor action.

Spitzzeri in triple jump looks to make the State meet after missing by 1.5 inches last year.

“Matt Cowans is coming in in great shape off of basketball and is jumping real well,” Baron said.

Kaneland remains quite young in the throws and looks to several underclassmen to step in to spots previously held by personnel like Phil Christensen.

“There’s the potential for several Phil Christensens in our throwing crew right now, like Alex Snyder and Nate Dyer and Tom King,” Baron said.

On Saturday, April 9, the Knights begin the outdoor season at East Moline United. The Peterson Prep is hosted at KHS on Saturday, April 23.

Andrews, Markuson, Sinon finish WSC boys track action with flourish

by Mike Slodki
GENEVA—Kaneland boys track ended its Western Sun Conference tenure on a nice note this past Friday in Geneva.

The exceptional finishes might pave the way for a prolific Class 2A sectional in Sterling on Friday afternoon.

Thanks to a handful of first-place finishes, the Knights garnered 120 points, enough for second place. Geneva, at 143 points, finished atop the standings.

Glenbard South (82), DeKalb (60) and Batavia (55) rounded out the top five, while Yorkville (42), Sycamore (30.5) and Rochelle (24.5) finished in the bottom third.

The first-place party began with Taylor Andrews in the 110 meter high hurdles, when he ran the stretch in 14.69 seconds. Andrews finished fifth in preliminaries.

The 4x400m relay foursome won its event with a time of 3:23.44.

Logan Markuson became the last-ever WSC champ in the 300m hurdles with a time of 39.30, winning by .22 seconds over Geneva’s Ryan Ahern.

Markuson also won the pole vault with a mark of 13 feet, nine inches.

Nick Sinon, with an effort of 42-10, won the triple jump, while also taking the high jump at 6-09.

For the frosh-soph roster that finished fourth with 78 points, several exceptional finishes came Kaneland’s way.

Dylan Pennington finished third in the 200m dash with a time of 24.81. Teammate Clayton Brundige, with a run of 2:08.26, finished second in the 800m run.

Knight Chad Swieca took the conference title in the 300m hurdles with a time of 43.43 seconds.

Successful finishes for relay units included a second place in the 4x400m at 3:44.30 and a 4x800m first place nod with a time of 8:43.16.

Knight Marshall Farthing took a third in the high jump at 5-05 and a third in the triple jump at 37-10.5

The Knights now gear up for the Class 2A Sterling Sectional on Friday, May 21.

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.