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Can’t avoid the rush

Photo: Senior Isaac Swithers was back in action Friday night, scoring two touchdowns and rushing for 44 yards. Photo by Ben Draper

Yorkville’s Kurtz rushes for 303 yards, 4 TDs, hands KHS 41-25 loss
YORKVILLE—Local observers of football have eyed a Yorkville football program on the rise.
On Friday, at Campbell Field, the Kaneland Knights were set up for a fall.

Behind 303 yards and four touchdowns for Foxes running back Mike Kurtz, the Knights’ three-quarter-long comeback—and a lead lasting all of 12 seconds—was negated by a furious rally in a 41-25 defeat.

Kaneland falls to 2-2, and 0-1 in the Northern Illinois Big XII. Yorkville improved to 4-0, and 1-0 in the NIB-12.

The victory for Yorkville marks the first win over Kaneland’s program since Oct. 5, 2002, in what was a 34-13 decision at Yorkville’s homecoming. Kaneland’s win streak over Yorkville, over head coaches Jim Still and Karl Hoinkes, stopped at 11 encounters.

KHS has now lost two games in a row for the first time since dropping games to Batavia and Glenbard South in the 2008 season, a campaign that saw the Knights go 5-4 in regular season play. In Kaneland’s last nine combined regular season and playoff games dating back to last year, KHS is now 5-4.

“A credit to them, (Yorkville executed). We’ll look back on this and we’ll try to look at the positives,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said.

Kaneland actually outgained the Foxes 371-368, with Yorkville failing to complete a pass in six attempts.

Knights QB Jake Marczuk was 20-for-36 for 252 yards, with one touchdown and three interceptions, eventually resulting in three Yorkville touchdown drives. Marczuk was also the leading rusher for KHS with 68 yards, and a returning Isaac Swithers had 44 yards on the ground and two TDs.

On the pass-catching front, Tanner Robertsen caught six balls and Connor Fedderly caught seven, both for 83 yards.

“(Tanner) had a good game, he was a positive; Swizz (Isaac Swithers) was one and Connor was, too. We made some plays. We have playmakers; we just have to take a look at our mistakes,” Fedderly said.

A Brody Sharp interception concluded Kaneland’s first offensive possession, while Kurtz made them pay with a seven-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead with 8:06 to go in the first. Kaneland answered with an 11-play, 60-yard drive that concluded with a 25-yard field goal from Drew Franklin for a 7-3 score with 3:18 to go in the first.

Yorkville would next strike in the second quarter on QB Nathan Scott’s bootleg from the one 54 seconds into the frame for a 14-3 lead. Kaneland’s Franklin would bring the visitors closer with his boot from 23 yards out to make it 14-6 with 6:47 to go.

Another long drive for Kaneland that began on Isaiah Berenklau’s pick ended in a one-yard TD run for Swithers with 1:04 to play in the half to make it 14-13.

In the third quarter, after a nine-yard run by Tyler Paulson, Swithers busted through to the end zone with 5:52 to go to give the Knights their first lead at 19-14. Kurtz would scamper for a 65-yard touchdown run to give Yorkville the lead for good at 21-19.

Sharp would pick off another Kaneland pass, which would lead to a fourth-down bootleg by Scott for an 11-yard touchdown run with 3:31 to play the frame for a 28-19 lead. After a Knight punt, Yorkville’s Kurtz would convert on yet another 65-yard TD run for a 35-19 lead with 1:23 to go in the quarter.

Fourth-quarter scoring consisted of Kurtz’ 20-yard run with 9:06 to go, and a 33-yard bomb from Marczuk to Robertsen with 6:51 to go for the final 16-point margin.

Kaneland now plays visiting DeKalb, which comes in at 4-0 and is the top team on the IHSA Playoff Outlook for Class 6A. Kickoff is slated for Friday, Sept. 26, at 7:15 p.m.

Photos by Ben Draper


Kaneland soccer splits Yorkville, DeKalb in conference rush

Photo: Senior Ivan Bohorquez tries to keep the ball against two Yorkville players Tuesday. Photo by Tiffany Kufer

KANELAND—Kaneland soccer knows it will have difficulties here and there, but would rather not have them against programs it has traditionally handled.

As it stood, the Yorkville Foxes earned its first win on the grounds of Kaneland this past Tuesday in a 3-0 whitewash.

Additionally, the troops traveled to Dresser Road and handed the host DeKalb Barbs a 2-0 defeat back on Sept. 17.

Knight boys soccer is 4-5-1, and 2-2-1 Northern Illinois Big XII.

Against Yorkville’s onslaught, the Knights were subject to two first-half goals, sending the hosts in an early hole.

With 19:31 to go in regulation, Yorkville scored its clincher goal on a point-blank rebound off keeper Andrew Mathys. A free kick try by Kaneland’s Jack Wolf couldn’t find the net for the last best chance on the KHS front. Mathys made another key save with roughly 12 minutes left, as well.

KHS coach Scott Parillo hoped it was just an outlier.

“It was a good old-fashioned butt-whipping,” Parillo said. “We just didn’t come to play. Our minds must be somewhere else. You just hope it doesn’t happen on gameday, and it did. The only thing you take away from this is that it doesn’t happen again. If we do, we’re going to struggle. It’s unfortunate.”

Against DeKalb, Kaneland’s go-ahead goal came with 7:43 remaining in the first half of play, thanks to a Cameron Pieczynski unassisted effort. Drew Franklin took a successful opportunity with 10:35 remaining to give the KHS crew a 2-0 lead to stay.

Kaneland hosts Sterling on Thursday, Sept. 25.


Boys XC tries to make own trail in Eddington crowd

Photo: The Knights boys varsity team accelerates out of the box during Saturday morning’s Eddington Invitational at KHS. Over 1,300 runners took to the course during the six contested races. Photo by Mary Paulson

KANELAND—It was a different setting, but the same Kaneland pride on display.

On Saturday, the Eddington Invitational was housed on the Kaneland High School grounds, switched from the classic Elburn Woods home, and was the largest athletic event held at KHS, with 1,300 athletes, according to head coach Chad Clarey.

“The meet itself was a huge success due in large part to the effort of many facets of Kaneland schools. From administration to maintenance, coaches to athletes and their families and KHS boosters, this would not have been possible,” Clarey said.

The Knight pack itself finished in 14th place out of 19 teams, but all members ran personal bests during the 65-degree conditions.

KHS, with a 334 point total, was 18 ahead of next-closest school Sycamore, but behind Johnsburg by 30.

Comprising the top five were Glenbard West (70), Crystal Lake Central (114), East Aurora (115) Benet Academy (120) and Grayslake Central (171). Kaneland’s average time was a 17:19.6 effort, compared to the Hilltoppers’ 16:03.8.

West Aurora’s Connor McCue outran the entire field with a time of 15:27.1, 6.5 seconds better than Belvidere North’s Eryk Yunk.

The Knight effort was led by 48th-place senior Brandon Park, who ran a 16:52.6, followed soon after by classmate Mitch Reger at 17:04.1, good for 60th. Knight Sean Spaetzel, at 17:05.9, finished 62nd overall. Will Kuipers ran 17:47.7 for 84th place, and fellow Knight James Walker took 85 at 17:47.9. Aaron French (94th, 18:04.6) and Zach Kurz (117th, 19:01.7) rounded out the varsity group.

“We feel that this meet’s quality for talent is among the best in Illinois on this particular weekend,” Clarey said. “(I’m) very pleased with the strong races from our varsity, who all set personal bests on the well-groomed course.”

Saturday, Sept. 27, sees the Aurora Central Catholic Invitational as the next Knight challenge.

Photos by Mary Paulson


Girls XC produces eight-best in top-flight Eddington field

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Photo: Junior Carly Bartholomew placed 72nd at the Eddington Invitational Saturday. Over 1,300 athletes competed at the Kaneland High School campus—one of the largest athletic events ever held there. Photo by Mary Paulson

KANELAND—Kaneland’s Eddington Invitational, held on Saturday, is always a highlight once late September rolls around.

However, its fixed place on the girls cross country schedule can also highlight a team’s strengths and areas it needs to build up before the high-intensity postseason.

Before the quest to Peoria gets rolling, 17 local teams got to gather a head of steam at Kaneland’s Eddington—the 2014 version of which was conducted on the Kaneland High School grounds.

Geneva’s 40-point total, including four of the top 12 finishers, was better than runner-up Belvidere North by 43 points. Crystal Lake Central (115), Benet Academy (116) and Marengo (125) took over the top five spots. Kaneland’s 206, including three of the top 35, was good for eighth, six points ahead of Grayslake Central.

Also finishing ahead of KHS were Glenbard East at 167 and Rosary at 189.

Belvidere North’s Jenna Lutzow’s 18:04.1 effort was a full six ticks better than Marengo entry Kitty Allen on Saturday, while Lady Knight senior Victoria Clinton was the premiere finisher on her roster with a 19:29.5, an 18th-place finish.

Steadily rising Aislinn Lodwig shored up the Kaneland total with a 30th-place finish, thanks to a 19:55.5, and junior teammate Brianna Bower took 35th overall at 20:01.9.

KHS representative Jessica Kucera managed a 53rd-place finish at 20:49.2, while fellow Lady Knight Carly Bartholomew made a case for a postseason spot with a 21:59.9, for 70th place. Additionally, senior Grace Drake hit the 77th spot at 22:45.2 and Murphy Garcia was 108th in 24:26.7.

Next up for the Lady Knights is the usual Rock River Run stop in Sterling, Ill., on Saturday, Sept. 27. In 2013, Brianna Bower finished an exceptional eighth with a time of 18:58.[/vc_column_text][vc_text_separator title=”Photos by Mary Paulson” title_align=”separator_align_center” color=”grey”][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


Tennis outlasts Oswego opponent

Photo: Senior Stephanie Karloewicz and her partner at No. 2 doubles, senior Colleen Landers, defeated their Oswego counterparts Tuesday 6-3, 3-6, 10-7.
Photo by Tiffany Kufer

Also blanks L-P 5-0
KANELAND—With a much-needed win against the host Oswego Panthers, Kaneland crept further away from the .500 line.

The 4-3 win over the Southwest Prairie Conference program featured strength on the doubles side on Monday, leading into a Northern Illinois Big XII crossover showdown with host LaSalle-Peru on Tuesday, where the Lady Knights dispatched host LaSalle-Peru 5-0.

Kaneland is now 5-2 in head-to-head skirmishes.

The lone singles win for Kaneland on Monday came from No. 1 anchor Sammie Schrepferman, who dominated with a 6-0, 6-0 outing. Kaneland’s three doubles wins came from No. 1 team Madi Jurcenko and Jelly Emmanouil, 6-0, 6-2, No. 2 unit Colleen Landers and Stephanie Karolewicz 6-3, 3-6, 10-7, and a forfeit win from extra doubles team Anna Wendling and Heather Albrecht.

KHS coach Tim Larsen knows Kaneland braved a tight encounter.

“(It was) a close match,” Larsen said. “They didn’t play their best, but pulled together enough points for the win.”

Against the Illinois Valley-housed Cavaliers on Tuesday, Schrepferman won 6-0, 6-0, while No. 2 singles Brittany Zablocki won 6-4, 6-1. The doubles group of Jurcenko/ Emmanouil won 6-0, 6-1, while Landers/ Karolewicz won 6-0, 6-2 and No. 3 doubles Mallory Dugan and Anna Wendling won 6-2, 6-0.

Upcoming challenges for the Lady Knights include a Thursday, Sept. 25, trip to Ottawa, and the Lady Hub Tennis Invite in Rochelle, Ill., on Saturday, Sept. 27.


Serving notice to Sycamore Spartans

Photo: Kaneland High School girls varsity volleyball team celebrates after a two-game sweep against Sycamore Sept. 18. Photo by Mary Paulson

KANELAND—Kaneland volleyball has always had its hands full with the Sycamore Spartans. After struggling for years against the usually top-flight program, the Lady Knights would finally get licks in two years ago during Kaneland’s regional plaque quest.

Last year, Sycamore got revenge, but Kaneland made inroads on tempering that sinking feeling from the 2013 regional, but striking at Sycamore with a 25-16, 25-20 sweep in Maple Park.

Kaneland (13-6, 3-0 Northern Illinois Big XII) also faced host Morris on Tuesday and won 25-22, 25-17. The team has now won five matches in a row.

Against Sycamore, Ellie Dunn had two service points, 11 kills a block and eight digs. Teammate Anna Senese added eight kills. Riley Hannula contributed six service points, four kills, three blocks and four digs. Lady Knight Hannah Nauert had four kills, two blocks and 14 assists.

“The team has really come together and jelled as a team,” KHS coach Cyndi Violett said. “It helps playing in three tournaments, including an overnight, before our first conference game. Teams that we come up against are so focused on Ellie that they don’t realize the other outstanding hitters we have, such as Riley and Anna.“

On Tuesday against Morris, Dunn had 11 kills to go with five service points, two aces and six digs. Hannula provided four kills and three service points, and Senese eight kills and one service point. Additionally, Kathy Nguyen had nine digs, Nauert had 9 assists and six service points, and Holley Fedderly 11 assists and six service points.

Ahead for the Lady Knights is a match with visiting Aurora Christian on Thursday.

Photos by Mary Paulson


In the company of family, friends

Community rallies around Hughes
SUGAR GROVE—Everyone’s life ends at some point, but hearing a doctor say it is hard to handle, said Beverly Holmes Hughes, Sugar Grove’s former library director.

Hughes has been diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme—an aggressive brain tumor with a dire prognosis. It’s especially hard for Hughes to handle because she is the sole support for seven people: her husband, Chuck, who has congestive heart failure; her sister, Janet, who has diabetes; and several special-needs children the three have adopted and co-parented—four of whom are still minors living at home.

That’s why several of Hughes’ friends—and after more than two decades of service to Sugar Grove, she has a lot of them—have banded together to host a fundraiser for her and her family, called “Beverly’s Battle Against Brain Cancer.”

“She is just a huge part of this community, and to have her be stricken with this terrible kind of cancer all of a sudden has really hit a lot of us very hard,” said Louise Coffman, Sugar Grove Library Board Treasurer. “She really has been the person in her family who has supported everybody all these years. She and her sister co-parented dozens of foster kids, and she supports her sister and her adopted special-needs kids. These people are giving back to society in manifold ways, and it just seems right that we would help her.”

Organizers have set up an account at Castle Bank at 36 E. Galena Blvd. in Sugar Grove, and they are asking area families to drop off checks made out to the Beverly Holmes Hughes Fund. Donations can also be dropped off at a number of locations throughout Sugar Grove.

“It’s an ongoing fundraiser, so donations don’t have to be one large amount at one time. If someone can do $10 a week, that would be wonderful,” said Pat Graceffa, a Sugar Grove Library trustee and longtime friend of Hughes.

“Beverly would always be the first one there to help them if they were in need,” she said. “She worked in our community for 19 years, and she was involved in everything—the library, the Corn Boil, the Chamber of Commerce, the Farmer’s Market. She did all of those things so that people would know that the library was the living room of the community—someplace where you could come (visit); someplace that would bring the community together.”

Hughes’ work in the community has been so extensive that she was named Sugar Grove’s Citizen of the Year in 2010, even though she lives in North Aurora.

Hughes discovered she had a brain tumor following a spring break trip last May, when she started having trouble with her right leg and fell.

When she wound up in the emergency room, doctors told her that her leg was not the problem and that she had a Stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive cancer that sends tentacles throughout the brain. Though she’s had brain surgery to remove the bulk of the tumor, it’s impossible to remove it all without removing parts of Hughes’ brain.

“With brain surgery, the margin of safety is that they have to leave a little of it,” Hughes said.

Chemotherapy and radiation can hold the cancer cells in check for awhile, but not forever. Glioblastoma patients have a median survival time of 14.6 months, a statistic that is difficult for Hughes to face.

“It’s stopped us in our tracks and made us think about a bitter reality that it’s not easy to think about,” Hughes said. “There are times I’ve said to the kids that everybody comes through it in a different way. And they say, ‘But you’re going to die.’ And I say, ‘Yes, but there’s so much we can do in the meantime.’”

It doesn’t surprise Hughes’ friends that she would try to stay positive even about cancer. Graceffa said that Hughes is truly selfless.

“Her whole life has never been about her,” Graceffa said. “She’s truly a remarkable person. I’ve just never met anyone like her in my whole life.”

Hughes and her sister, Janet Holmes, lived together when they were young and began taking in dozens of foster children in their home in North Aurora.

“They always took children who were the least adoptable,” Graceffa said. “Children born to moms addicted to cocaine, children who couldn’t hear—and so (Beverly and Janet) needed to learn sign language—and children who had physical or mental challenges.”

Some of those children eventually returned to their biological families, but Holmes adopted seven of the foster children, and “Aunt Beverly” lived with them and helped raise them. When Hughes married, her husband Chuck agreed to join the family and help raise those children, as well. Though three of the children are now grown and living independently, four teenagers remain at home.

Since Hughes is the only one in the family with a job that provides health insurance, she must continue working, even though the tumor is affecting her ability to walk and the chemo has sapped her strength, Coffman said. Hughes is working as the director of library services for DeVry University in Addison, Ill., and though the library has allowed her to do some of that work from home, she must still go in regularly.

“She’s working 30 hours a week now in order to maintain her health insurance and benefits, and I can’t imagine anything harder than basically having a terminal illness where you have to slog through a regular workweek and not have the luxury of being ill (and just resting and recovering),” Coffman said.

The goal of the fundraiser, Coffman said, is to take some of the burden off of Hughes. Though raising money to help pay Hughes’ mounting medical bills and household bills is the main goal, organizers are also seeking other kinds of donations, including gas cards to help pay for frequent trips to the hospital and to visit Ed, the family’s 14-year-old son who lives at a school for the deaf on weekdays, and Lydia, an older daughter who lives independently.

Grocery cards and easy meals would also be helpful, Coffman said, since it is a large family, and back-to-school supplies and clothes for the four children—twins Hannah and Elizabeth, age 13; Ed; and George, age 17—would be welcome. Since Hughes’ immune system has been compromised by the chemotherapy, donations of paper towels, liquid soap, Lysol wipes, trash bags and hand sanitizer are also being accepted.

Hughes’ tumor is affecting her ability to walk and drive, and so volunteers willing to transport her to and from her job in Addison are also needed. Chuck had heart surgery earlier this week and is currently not well enough to drive her.

Gifts of fun family activities are also welcome, as Hughes is trying to spend quality time with the children while she can.

“We want the kids to have as normal and carefree a childhood as possible,” Hughes said.”

Sugar Grove trustee Mari Johnson, who is also sponsoring the fundraiser, is hoping that the citizens of Sugar Grove—all the families who brought their children into library storytime over the years; all the students who needed research assistance; all the adults who just wanted a good book—will donate to help Hughes in her hour of need.

The two met when Johnson brought her son, who was then 2 years old, into the library for storytime. Her son is now 26, and Hughes and Johnson have been friends for more than two decades.

“When I think of how many families brought their children for storytime over those 20 years, if each one of those families donated just a small amount, it could make such a difference in her life,” Johnson said. “I think it’s just really important that people are aware. Some of the reasons that we’re here and we do these sorts of things is that we’re still a small town, and people care about each other. One way to show that you care is to donate, even if it’s just as little as $1.”

There won’t be any fancy fundraising events for Hughes, either. Instead of holding a $40 dinner where $30 of that goes to pay for the food, venue and entertainment, the community is instead planning a simpler fundraiser where every single dollar donated goes straight to help Hughes.

Coffman, who helps plan the Corn Boil and a number of other community events, said they thought something simple might be best.

“It was a matter of, ‘Is the community kind of tapped out in terms of partying?’ Okay, you don’t have to stand in a buffet line or buy raffle tickets. Every dollar you give goes straight to that family,” Coffman said.

Though they’ve been publicizing the fundraiser with flyers, organizers haven’t had the response they hope for yet.

“We’ve had some response so far, but not as much as I would have hoped,” Coffman said. “We’d like to get more. We have a Facebook page with 400 followers. If 400 people actually sent in $10, that would be awesome and that would really, really help. That kind of bulk contribution—you can’t really have 400 people at a banquet hall and get that kind of money to go to the person in need.”

Coffman said that she understands times are tough for many families, but that most people can afford to send something.

“We’re asking for a little bit of help from a lot of people,” she said. “I know that Beverly is loved by this community from the outpouring of support she got from the library. I know we can do this. If a lot of us gave even a little, that would be the best outcome.”

The effort has to be ongoing, Coffman emphasized.

“The problem with this kind of cancer, and I am not sure that people are really aware of it, but this is not a curable disease. Beverly will be receiving chemo treatments for the rest of her life, until the chemo doesn’t work anymore. This has to be an ongoing effort, because she’s going to need our help. Someone needs to make sure people understand this,” Coffman said.

Monetary donations can be made to
the Beverly Holmes Hughes Fund
at any Castle Bank, or mailed to the Sugar Grove location,
36 E. Galena Blvd.,
Sugar Grove, IL 60554.

Donations of money, gas cards, grocery cards, disinfecting supplies, clothes, school supplies and other items can be dropped off at the following locations:

Downtown Sugar Grove
• 201 Calkins Dr., Sugar Grove

• Sugar Grove Chamber of
Commerce Office, Sugar Grove
Community House on Main
Street, Tuesdays and Thursdays,
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• Advanced Realty Consultants,
91 Sugar Lane, Unit 2, weekdays,
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Windsor Point subdivision
• 287 E. Park Ave., Sugar Grove

Dugan Woods subdivision
• 1916 Annettes Circle,
Sugar Grove

Lakes of Bliss Woods subdivision
• 923 Spruce St., Sugar Grove

Walnut Woods subdivision
• Debbie DeBoer,
865 Boyce Road, Sugar Grove

Hannaford Farm subdivision
• Rachel Rockwell,
1731 Hannaford Drive,
Sugar Grove

B. Sweeney

Popular Kaneland teacher dies

ST. CHARLES—One didn’t have to know Bridget Sweeney long to feel the positive influence she provided for her students and colleagues alike, according to Kaneland High School principal Jill Maras.

A teacher of consumer education and career classes at Kaneland since 2009, Sweeney, 40, of St. Charles, succumbed to cancer on Sept. 8 while at home, surrounded by her family. She is survived by her husband, Matthew, and children, Jack and Lillian. She was preceded in death by an infant daughter, Nora.

While mourning Sweeney’s passing, her colleagues and students are remembering the care, encouragement and support she provided to all she contacted.

“She was such a talented, well-rounded individual,” said feather Nikki Larsen. “And she always had time for her students; she took care of them like they were her own.

“She was just one of those people that was always easy to talk to, that you connected with instantly.”

KHS senior Jessica Poust took one of Sweeney’s foods classes as a freshman, and remembers her as being well-liked by everyone.

“She was a young teacher, so she was really relatable for her students,” Poust said. “She was easy to talk to, and she cared about everybody.

Although she didn’t teach at the Fox Valley Career Center, FVCC Director Rick Burchell said he never saw her without a smile on her face.

“She was just a very positive person,” he said.

Maras said Kaneland Cares, which grew out of the staff’s “sunshine committee,” has plans to remember Sweeney.

“From funds raised by the organization, a donation will be made in Bridget’s name to the organization of the family’s choice,” Maras said.

Sweeney’s family has requested donations be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

Closer to home, the group is planning to install a memorial marker in the pond area of the KHS courtyard and establish a memorial scholarship.

“We’re working on determining the criteria now so we can publish the information in the spring,” Maras said.

The first scholarship will be awarded to a 2015 graduate. Maras said the scholarship is funded for the next five years, and she hopes it will continue beyond that time.

“Building relationships was one of her strengths, with students and staff,” Maras said.

photo 2

Living history

We want to hear from you!
Tell us who you think is Kaneland’s biggest rival
Kaneland athletics have many rivals, but who is No. 1 in your eyes?
[formlightbox_call title=”Submit Rivals Survey” class=”10″]Button_submit_news[/formlightbox_call][formlightbox_obj id=”10″ style=”” onload=”false”][gravityform id=”10″ ajax=”true”][/formlightbox_obj]Results from this survey will be compiled for publication in the Sept. 25 edition
of the Elburn Herald.

KHS has had its share of rivals from another time
KANELAND—Kaneland’s athletic battles with local schools Sycamore, Yorkville and Burlington Central, and off-and-on conference foes like Geneva and Batavia, continue to rage on, so it makes sense to look at how KHS got to its current group of noteworthy rivals.

It helps to look back at a previous era, which included schools still achieving success on many fields, and would often battle with Kaneland. The high school enrollments were different, and regular battles may not happen as much in 2014, but they can still trigger memories and fun.

Longtime Kaneland Athletics Director Bob Peterson remembers the glory days of the Little Seven Conference, which had eight decades of play total, with Kaneland joining up in 1963 after coming from the Little Eight.

Peterson is still a fixture at football and basketball games featuring the Knights, and no stranger to intense rivalries between Fox Valley area programs.

“Certainly in basketball, Oswego and Plainfield were big rivals of ours,” Peterson said. “Oswego and Plainfield always had good talent, and we liked to try and beat them, being one of the smaller schools.”

With schools in the 1970s like Cary-Grove, Morris and West Chicago moving in and out of the in flux-Little Seven, Peterson knew what wins on any field would mean.

“You always liked the idea of being able to beat a bigger school, that was nice when you could do that and also beat Sycamore,” Peterson said.

District 302 educator and former KHS volleyball coach and graduate Kris Weiss had her preferences of rivals that don’t cross Kaneland’s path much anymore.

“They’re non-conference now, but back in the ‘80s, Oswego was such a big rival,” Weiss said. “Waubonsie Valley and Plainfield were big rivals, before Plainfield was four schools. At the time, because the Little 7 was 10 schools, we played everybody twice. DeKalb and St. Charles were probably our biggest non-conference foes.”

The Fox Valley area had smaller enrollments, with athletes from schools in the widespread area reaching out and crossing paths.

“If you talk to people that played in the mid-’80s before big club sports and AAU and travel baseball and softball, a lot of us would play in Oswego where we knew people, and that would help the rivalries once we got back into school,” Weiss said.

Dana Wagner, Waubonsee Community College assistant athletic manager and former Kaneland hoops great, had her share of Little Seven skirmishes, along with her preferences.

“For me in basketball, it was always Morris, and it seemed as though every game came down to the wire. For some reason, there was no love lost between us,” Wagner said.

Like Peterson, Wagner feels some rivalries were heightend due to the school sizes.

“I would have to say (I liked playing) Geneva, Batavia and Waubonsie Valley. We were always so much smaller than them, so beating them was extra rewarding,” Wagner said.

The Elburn Herald Sports department heard takes about rivalries old and new, with your turn on favorite foes still to come.


Soccer brings winning logic vs. IMSA

Photo: Peter Jefferson controls the ball Saturday in Kaneland’s 7-0 win over IMSA.
Photo by Tiffany Kufer

Matches against Sycamore, Morris cap week
KANELAND—No matter the opponent, it’s always nice to see offense on the pitch.

After taking a little while to get going, the goals eventually came early and often in a busy week for KHS soccer. Last Thursday against invading Sycamore, the Knights battled the Spartans to a 1-1 tie. Saturday saw IMSA on the wrong end of a 7-0 rout. On Tuesday in Morris, KHS won 3-2.

Kaneland is now 3-4-1 (1-1-1 Northern Illinois Big XII).

Facing the rival Spartans, the lone goal came after a scoreless first half, thanks to Ivan Bohorquez’ try with 18:34 remaining.

In the offenseive explosion against the Titans, six goals within a 27:24 span in the first half put the match on ice.

Goals were managed by Drew Franklin, Angel Escontrias, Mark Dhom, Felippe Speraggi in back-to-back conversions and Escontrias again. Escontrias completed his hat trick with four minutes gone by in the second half of play.

Tuesday saw Escontrias supply a goal and an assist, while Speraggi and Cameron Pieczynski also found the back of the net. Ivan Bohorquez and Matthew Gombar supplied assists.

Kaneland was set to travel to DeKalb on Wednesday and host Yorkville on Tuesday, Sept. 23.


Volleyball dominates vs. IMSA, takes on Pontiac Invite

Photo: Junior McKenzie McMullan spikes the volleyball over an IMSA defender last Thursday. Photo by Mary Paulson

KANELAND—Volleyball got itself on a roll this past week, with a win over Montini Catholic a week and a half ago carrying over to a win over Aurora’s visiting IMSA program on Thursday, and a 3-1 finish, third-place nod against the likes of Streator, LaSalle-Peru, Putnam County and Morris out at the Pontiac Volleyball Invite on Saturday. Meanwhile, against visiting DeKalb, the Lady Knights got a conference win over the visiting Barbs.

Kaneland sits at 11-6 at the current juncture of the 2014 campaign, thus far a two-match improvement over last year.

Against the visiting Titans, the Lady Knights excelled in a 25-13, 25-10 sweep. Future Ball State Cardinal Ellie Dunn had 10 kills, four service points, two digs and two blocks. Riley Hannula had seven service points, and teammate Sammi Burgin added four service points, an ace and two kills.

Anna Senese also had two aces and a kill, while Hannah Nauert supplied 10 service points, two aces and 11 assists.

In Pontiac against opening opponent Streator, the Lady Knights swept the Bulldogs 25-12, 25-20, followed by a 25-20, 25-16 setback against LaSalle-Peru. After the Northern Illinois Big XII crossover double-dip, Kaneland handled Granville, Ill.-outpost Putnam County 25-21, 25-13, and East divison rival Morris in a 25-20, 25-20 decision.

On Tuesday, Senese supplied 14 service points, an ace, six kills a block and three digs. Dunn had four service points, eight kills, three blocks and two digs. Hannula had six kills and four blocks, while Hollie Fedderly had 10 digs, eight assists and five service points. Nauert had six service points, 12 assists, three digs and an ace.

Kaneland hosts Sycamore—the program that ended the Lady Knights’ 2013 season—on Thursday, Sept. 18.


Kaneland tennis nipped by Rosary, Sycamore

Photo: Junior Emily Lutter plays No. 2 singles against IMSA last week. File Photo

KANELAND—Not every week will be a winner for Kaneland High School tennis.

Such was the case this past week, featuring two setbacks to worthy opponents.

Kaneland traveled to Morris and won 5-0 on Tuesday. Monday saw a 4-4 tiebreaker loss to host Rosary in Aurora, and last Thursday witnessed a 3-2 loss to rival Sycamore.

Kaneland is now 3-2 in dual action.

Against Rosary, which was awarded the tiebreaker due to more games won, Kaneland was moved along by a 6-1, 6-1 win by No. 1 singles entry Sammie Schrepferman. No. 1 doubles unit Madi Jurcenko and Jelly Emmanouil took a 6-0, 6-0 matchup. At No. 2 doubles, Colleen Landers and Stephanie Karolewicz won a 6-1, 1-6, 10-6 encounter. No. 3 doubles unit Mallory Dugan and Anna Wendling won a 7-6, 7-5 challenge.

Tussling with the Spartans, Kaneland’s lone victories came on the doubles edge, with Jurcenko/Emmanouil winning 6-0, 6-1, and Landers/Karolewicz also taking a win.

Despite the close setbacks, KHS coach Tim Larsen is confident and eager about the team’s competitiveness.

“We have fantastic talent with the first six girls in the lineup,” Larsen said. “We also have girls that are developing into really good tennis players. But, we’ve run into a couple of consistency issues with the development of the other girls, and it’s cost us a match or two. Otherwise, I could see us being without a loss. We’ve been very competitive in every match, and I think we will be all season long.”

Facing Morris, Schrepferman won 6-1, 6-0, while junior Brittany Zablocki won 7-5, 6-4 at No. 2 singles. The doubles teams rolled, as Jurcenko/Emmanouil won 6-0, 6-2; Larnders/Karolewicz 6-3, 6-3; and Dugan/Wendling won 4-6, 6-2, 6-0.

On Saturday, the Lady Knights hit the usual late September Yorkville Doubles Tournament, folowed by a Monday, Sept. 22, trip to Oswego, and a Tuesday, Sept. 23, jaunt to LaSalle-Peru.


That’s Rich

First regular-season home loss since 2009 sees KHS fall to 2-1
MAPLE PARK—As the saying goes, “You can’t win them all”— but it’s been a quite a run for the Kaneland Knights football team.

An impressive home winning streak was snapped by the visiting Rich Central last Friday, as the Olympians edged the Knights 14-13.

You’d have to look to Week 8 of the 2009 season to find the last time KHS lost on Peterson Field—a 27-24 overtime loss to Geneva. The 2009 season-opener against Huntley marked the last time a non-conference opponent won at Kaneland.

“Our defense played very well,” said Knights head coach Tom Fedderly. “We played a good team and our kids had to play a four-quarter game. There were a lot of positives.”

The stat lines on Friday saw the Knights dominate in almost all facets of the game, out-gaining the Olympians 322 to 185 yards, and dominating the time of possession 30:22 to 17:38. The only key stat that RC led was passing, out-gaining the Knights 212-109. The Knights defense held RC to -27 yards rushing and forced two turnovers.

The Knights got on the board first, with a 24-yard field goal by junior Drew Franklin. Rich Central scored almost immediately after on a spectacular 86-yard catch-and-run by Olympian DeQuan Dudley. The Knights blocked the point after attempt to keep the score 6-3.

In the second quarter it was Franklin again, this time with a 30-yard field goal to lock the score up at 6 all. Senior Danny Hammermeister (eight tackles, two for a loss) came up with three big tackles for the Knights late in the second quarter, forcing a punt. With only :20 to go in the quarter, the Knights couldn’t find the endzone.

After penalties pushed RC to a 3rd and 20 in their own zone, senior Brandon Kigyos intercepted DaQuan Richie. Shortly after, junior Tyler Paulson stiff-armed and fought his way 20 yards for the Knights’, touchdown. After a Franklin PAT, the Knights lead was 13-6.

But with 2:14 to go in the third, it was the speedy Dudley again, catching a pass from Richie for 57 yards and a RC touchdown. A two-point conversion attempt was good via Jordan Fuqua, making it 14-13 heading into the fourth quarter.

The final quarter was a seesaw battle of possession. With 1:49 left, Kaneland forced RC to punt on 4th and 25, eventually getting the ball back on RC’s 34 yard line. Kaneland converted on a 4th and 3 with :29 seconds to go. After taking a couple chances to the endzone, it was Franklin’s turn to try to win the game with a field goal with 7.7 seconds left from the Kaneland 18. The junior’s kick missed and RC squeaked away with a hard-fought road victory.

“I was happy how we competed right down to the last play,” Fedderly said. “We made some big plays in the last drive to give us a chance to win. Unfortunately it didn’t work out for us.”

Friday sees the Knights take to the road for the first time in 2014, visiting the 3-0 Yorkville Foxes at Campbell Field. The Foxes have outscored their opponents 119-37 this season, including a 38-24 win at home over Rochelle last week. Last year, head coach Karl Hoinkes led the team to their first playoff berth since 2002. Between his time at Oswego (26 seasons) and Yorkville (4th season), Hoinkes has 205 wins and 103 losses, including two state championships with Oswego. The last time Yorkville defeated the Knights was a 34-13 homecoming win at YHS on Oct. 5, 2002.


Kaneland boys cross plays in Peoria

Photo: Freshman Matt Richtman ran the course at Detweiller Park in Peoria, Ill., in 16:01, earning a top 50 medal for his efforts.Photo submitted by Patti Wilk to Photos@elburnherald.com

First to the Finish gathering tests KHS mettle
PEORIA, Ill.—Peoria Central High School hosts the First to the Finish Invitational every year around this time.

It was Kaneland boys cross country’s responsibility to act appropriately as the guest.

With a crowded field of 2A elite competitiors, the Knight-littered race was won by Northern Illinois Big 12 foe Yorkville’s Jake Hoffert at 14:32.8, with twin brother Luke taking second at 14:38.3.

KHS ended up in 14th place overall in the 51-team field.

For the Knight pack, the top time was Matthew Richtman’s 47th place-16:01.8 time, followed by teammate Brandon Park’s PR 66th place effort of 16:16.

Knight Sean Spaetzel’s 81st place was due to a 16:23.9 time, another PR. Mitch Reger was 98th best with a time of 16:33.6.

“Mitch poured everything he had in that 16:34 time,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said,

Will Kuipers was 145th with a time of 17:02, in a field featuring an astounding 735 runners.

“Glad to have had such a promising day, particularly with the youth moving forward,” Clarey said.

On Saturday, Sept. 20, the Eddington Invitational once again hits the area, with the location switching to Kaneland High School, rather than the Elburn Forest Preserve.


Saying goodbye to Conley Farm

For over 15 years, the Conley family, Conley Funeral Home and Conley Outreach Community Services have partnered to purchase, develop and maintain the Conley Farm in Kaneville. The farm has seen countless visitors to its Children’s Prayer Garden, grief events, weddings and family celebrations. It has been a place of healing, hope and celebration.

As the Kaneland community transitions from summer to fall, the Conley Farm is also in transition, as Conley finds it has become necessary to sell the property.

This was an extremely difficult, but necessary business decision, and one that was not made lightly. The farm is privately owned by the Conley family, who has graciously given Conley Outreach a license agreement to use the property at no cost since its purchase. While the sale of the farm may impact some of Conley’s grief events, Conley Outreach’s support groups and all of its community-based programs and the West Towns offices will not be affected.

Conley Outreach will invite the public to one last event at the Conley Farm—a “Farewell to the Farm”—on Sunday, Sept. 28, from 3 to 6 p.m. If you have been one of Conley Farm’s dedicated volunteers, have attended an event or wedding here, or have always meant to visit, Conley would love to see you that day. Come walk the gardens and grounds, enjoy a bonfire, make s’mores and spend a little time on the bridge to give thanks for all the ways this farm has blessed the local community.

For more information about the Farm Farewell or Conley Outreach’s programs, call (630) 365-2880.


Lauzen addresses Elburn Chamber

Photo: Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen (right) and Elburn
Village President Dave Anderson share a laugh prior to Lauzen’s State of the
County address on Sept. 4. Photo by Susan O’Neill

Kane County Chairman issues State of the County address
ELBURN—Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen took an opportunity at the Sept. 4 Elburn Chamber of Commerce meeting to tell chamber members about his accomplishments during his first two years as chairman.

Lauzen, who had been the 25th district state senator before his successful run for the board chairmanship, began his state of the county address by saying that his position with the county is “so much better” than his tenure as an Illinois state senator.

“You can actually do something here,” he said. “And if there’s something wrong, it’s not somebody else’s fault. If there’s something wrong, it’s my fault and I need to fix it.”

Lauzen began his list of accomplishments for his first two years by pointing out that Kane County’s property tax levy has been frozen since 2011, and although this has been a tough year, he hopes to continue that practice. Acknowledging that people would prefer to have their taxes go down, he said his goal for the county is to “just don’t make it worse.”

He said that the county recently created Kane County Connects, an online social media initiative that is meant to inform people within the county about issues and events of interest to them. Lauzen said that former newspaper reporter and editor Rick Nagel has taken this initiative from an audience of zero six months ago to a reach of 13,200. He encouraged the audience members to make use of it to get the word out about various events.

Also on the list of accomplishments was the groundbreaking this year for a new shooting range for the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, which Lauzen said was an important tool for deputies to keep up their skills.

“If there’s a problem, you want them to shoot straight, and to do that, you’ve got to practice,” he said.

Lauzen said that other law enforcement departments in the area are welcome to use the range, as well.

He also mentioned the Longmeadow Parkway, a $120 million transportation project in the north of the county, and said that the county was able to bring $45 million of state money here to help pay for the project.

Lauzen had some ideas for pension reform at the state level, including capping the abuses, raising the retirement age from 55 to 62 years, and scaling back the cost of living increases (COLA), which are currently at a rate of 3 percent every year.

However, he said that fixing the problem takes political will, and it takes at least a two-party system. He encouraged the business leaders in the audience to get out and vote in November, as well as using their influence to get others to do the same.

“We’re smart enough to understand that it’s time for a change,” he said. “Spread your influence; get your neighbors out to vote.”


Kaneland, local residents accept ALS challenge

Photo: The Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters were challenged by KHS and KHMS administration to participate in the ALS ice bucket challenge on Thursday evening outside of the Kaneland High School. They will also be making a donation to the ALS foundation and to Kaneland Cares. Taking the challenge were Matt Gale (from left), Sara Mitchinson, Michelle Klecka, Denise Blaszynski, Heidi Kintz , Sheila Albano, Karen Heinicke and Joe Blaszynski (Elburn). Dumping the water was Brian Kemp (back row, from left), Jillian Mitchinson, Allison Mitchinson, Katelyn Blaszynski, Rachel Keske, Tyler Nance and Ari Rabiola. Photo by Lynn Logan

KANELAND—When Nick Albano dumped a bucket of ice water over his head for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, he decided he wanted an audience.

So the Elburn native and DePaul University sophomore headed over to the center of campus and doused himself with ice water at the feet of the university’s Father Egan statue, drawing a small crowd of onlookers.

“What was cool about doing the challenge was that people saw us walking around with our ice buckets and complimented us for participating,” Albano said. “Anyone with a Facebook account knows about the challenge at this point.”

As Albano and a classmate walked across campus carrying their buckets, people stopped and commented, he said.

“(They’d say), ‘Is that bucket for the challenge?’ A man on a motorcycle saw us videotaping and decided to rev his engine. You could just tell by the looks on people’s faces that they knew what we were up to,” he said.

The challenge, which went viral on social media last month, encourages participants to either douse themselves with ice water or donate $100 to The ALS Association, a non-profit that raises funds for research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Participants get challenged by a friend and have 24 hours to complete the challenge and post the video online, and then they get to challenge three more people.

More than three million people have donated to the ALS Association since the challenge went viral, the ALSA reports, raising more than $100 million during the month of August, compared to $2.8 million in donations during the same period last year.

“People have responded with such generosity. It is truly remarkable and we couldn’t be more appreciative,” said Barbara Newhouse, President of the ALSA. “These donations will truly help fuel our fight against ALS in ways that were never before possible.”

More than $9 million was being donated per day by the end of August, Newhouse said.

The momentum is such that even a former president has participated—George W. Bush, who was doused by his wife, Laura, challenged Bill Clinton. Jimmy Kimmel accepted the challenge on “The Tonight Show.” Bill Gates built a machine to douse him, Leonardo DiCaprio donated more than $100,000, and celebrities as diverse as Martha Stewart and Kim Kardashian have participated.

Paige Rolle, an eighth-grader at Harter Middle School, said that at least 50 percent of her friends have completed the challenge, and several have done it twice.

Her sister Skylar Rolle, a sophomore at Kaneland High School, agreed.

“Because social media is such a part of our lives now, (the challenge) spread like a virus,” Rolle said. “Everyone put it on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter. I think there’s kind of a pressure to do it, because it looks kind of weird to get nominated and then not do it.”

Both Rolle girls completed the challenge and said they plan to donate, as well.

“It was freezing, but I actually did want to do it and get the word out about ALS,” Skylar said. “I got a lot of comments from family members saying, ‘Oh, you handled that well,’ and from friends making fun of my scream and how loud it was.”

Sugar Grove resident Joyce Carlson said that both she and her four children had participated.

“I had a cousin who challenged my kids, and my kids doused the dogs, they doused themselves, they doused me,” she said. “Who can pass up a bucket of water on your head? Most people laughed when they saw the video and said, ‘awesome!’ I think everyone who I have seen get challenged has done it, except for one.”

Calson said she had donated to the ALSA in the past, since she had a friend whose mother-in-law suffered from ALS, but the family again donated to the cause.

The challenge has made the rounds throughout the Kaneland School District, as well, with Kaneland Blackberry Creek Principal Martne McCoy challenging teachers at her school to take the challenge. Those teachers accepted and then challenged other buildings in the district.

“The staffs at both (Kaneland John) Shields and McDole decided to participate in the challenge because it was an opportunity to bring the community together to raise funds for a disease that has hit close to home for a growing number of people in the Kaneland family,” said Patrick Raleigh, assistant principal at Kaneland McDole Elementary.

All six schools, as well as the district administration, the district office staff, the Fine Arts Boosters, and a number of student groups, have completed the challenge and raised over $2,400 for the ALS Association.

Principal Jill Maras, who was among those who completed the challenge at Kaneland High School, said that in addition to donating to the ALSA, the staff there also raised money for Kaneland Cares in honor of Bridget Sweeney, a teacher who was battling cancer and died on Sept. 8.

The Kaneland Madrigals also did the challenge and donated to the Kaneland Cares fund in honor of Sweeney, and challenged choirs at three other schools.

But the Kaneland Girls Varsity Volleyball team perhaps had the most dramatic challenge, with all the varsity players gathering under the bucket of a backhoe, which dumped hundreds of gallons of ice water on them. They posted the video to YouTube and challenged the Kaneland Varsity Football team, as well as their rivals, the Sycamore and DeKalb Varsity volleyball teams.

The public nature of the challenges is part of the fun for many.

Geneva resident Eric Andersen, an exhibitor at the Sugar Grove Farmer’s Market, did the challenge in front of an audience at the Aurora Farmer’s Market last week.

“There were people cheering and taking videos and they were all watching,” said Krista Andersen, his wife. “We had a French exchange student visiting, and she went home (to France) and did it, and now all her friends over there are doing it.”

Not everyone has wanted to participate in the challenge, however. Terri Czepiel, who works at the Java Plus Cafe in the Sugar Grove Library, said that she would rather donate the money than get ice water poured on her.

“My 10-year-old daughter challenged me, and she really pressured me to do it,” Czepiel said. “But she challenged her older siblings instead, and they did it.”

Critics of the challenge have said that it’s better to simply donate than participate. Others have said that it wastes water and clogs their social media feeds, but Albano dismissed those complaints.

“No other social media challenge has gotten billionaires, celebrities and past presidents to participate, so I don’t think it’s dumb,” Albano said. “If anything, it’s inspiring that dumping cold water over your head can unite so many different people.”

It’s also dramatically raised the profile of ALS, a disease that has gotten relatively little attention.

Paige said that she had never heard of ALS before the challenge began circulating.

“I didn’t know anything about it, really,” she said. “But now I know that a person’s muscles get weak and they die, and researchers are trying to find a cure.”

Albano said he knew about ALS because of Lou Gehrig, the legendary New York Yankee who retired from baseball after being diagnosed with the disease in 1939.

“The challenge didn’t make me more aware of the disease, but I know for a fact that it has made anyone with a Facebook account more knowledgeable about this disease,” he said. “I think this sudden rise in awareness is such a cool thing to witness because it doesn’t happen very often.”


Kaneland Rivals Project: Team of Rivals

Editors note: This is part one of a three-part series about Kaneland’s rivals—both current and historical. Part one focuses on more contemporary rivals, part two will feature a look at historical rivals, while part three will focus on our survey results. We encourage you to take our survey.
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Community gives take on favorite storied programs that have crossed Kaneland’s path
KANELAND—Since forming in the late 1950s, Kaneland athletic travels have taken many athletes to Illinois sports meccas.

Countless Knights and Lady Knights have done well enough to join sports showcases in Peoria, Normal and Joliet.

Those stops usually preceded athletic glory given to the black and silver (and sometimes orange).

But there’s just something about the more local programs Kaneland has faced throughout its time that brings a little more fervor and intensity. Contests for State glory in places like Detweiler Park in Peoria, or Silver Cross Field in Joliet are memorable, in part, because of the stakes involved at the end of a particular season.

However, there remains other times where it doesn’t matter the month or the standings— it’s just two rival schools trying to best one another on the pitch, gridiron or court.

Kaneland has dealt with and continues to deal with storied schools to this day, since entering conference play in groups like the Little Eight, Little Seven, Suburban Prairie and Western Sun before hooking up with the Northern Illinois Big XII.

Schools like Genoa-Kingston and Hiawatha would give way to sustained conference rivals like Sycamore and Yorkville, while the Knights kept touch with Burlington Central and Geneva with or without a conference rival at stake.

In future issues, the Elburn Herald looks to get opinions and thoughts from a variety of people associated with Kaneland athletics. They coached and played under the Kaneland Knight banner, and have their own thoughts on who the biggest rival is, favorite rival to beat, and who they would have liked to face more often. You’ll also read about historical rivals that don’t cross Kaneland’s path much anymore, and readers will have a chance to mark their own opinion with a survey.

Andy Drendel, former cross country and track asset, and now a member of the KHS coaching staff for multiple sports, thinks the most noteworthy rivals were the more conventional ones—Sycamore and Yorkville.

“(Kaneland’s) been in the same conference since the Little Seven days; they are bordering schools with similar enrollment size,” Drendel says.

KHS girls basketball coach Ernie Colombe always gets geared up for Sycamore, as well.

“They’re similar size, and both schools have athletes who compete hard every contest. The two schools have been in the same conference for awhile, which helps build rivalries,” Colombe said. “I really enjoy playing all of our conference schools, but if I had to pick one, it would be Sycamore.”

David Dudzinski, who’s seen two children pass through Kaneland elite athletic history thus far, has a similar perspective on rival No. 1, taking over from another school in the recent past.

“When we were coming into this 15 to 20 years ago, it was always Sycamore. (It was) maybe proximity, but when I spoke to the people that went to school there in the ‘80s, that was it,” Dudzinski said. ”It seemed like Batavia, more than most schools east. It was always a heated battle, football or basketball. They had their chants, and it made for an electric atmosphere, especially when they were in the same conference.”

Former volleyball coach Todd Weimer had his favorites to beat while manning the court sidelines.

“When I was coaching, it was always Geneva and DeKalb,” Weimer said. “The girls knew almost all the players from Geneva. And as far as DeKalb goes, the coaches knew each other, and the rivalry was intense on the court and in the stands at both places. We got after Sycamore as well in the last three years when I was at Kaneland, as well, so it was fun to get them after all the years they beat us.”

Head boys cross country coach Chad Clarey feels one can enjoy the local competition in addition to having the drive to win.

“I enjoy running with Sycamore and Burlington Central,” Clarey said. “Both schools are very well coached in cross country, and they cultivate State-caliber runners on an annual basis. Our portion of the state is a hotbed for cross country talent. There’s been a history of strong track programs at BC and Kaneland. When a team does a victory lap on your home track and sings, it leaves a bit of a bitter taste that one can’t shake. Something like that can add to the rivalry, I guess.”


Kaneland 49ers

Photo: Junior Jake Marczuk (left) had a big second game under center for the Knights, throwing for 221 yards and four touchdowns. Photos by Mary Paulson

Knights have solid non-conference win vs. visiting Marshall
KANELAND—Friday’s matchup between Kaneland and Chicago’s Marshall on the football field had fewer weather hazards, but the same positive result for KHS.

The 49-6 win for Kaneland had area fans thinking T.G.I.F. at the end of the night.

Containing a physical Commandos team on both sides of the ball, the Knights had a smoother beginning than last week’s win over Brooks Prep of Chicago, and scored touchdowns on four of its first five possessions.

“We had a bunch of fundamental mistakes last week that we focused on in practice, and we wanted to get it right, right away,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said.

Kaneland begins 2-0 for the fifth consecutive season, and hasn’t lost a non-conference matchup since a Week Two loss against Huntley in 2009.

QB Jake Marczuk went 20-for-26 on the often rainy night for 221 yards and four touchdown throws. Wideout Connor Fedderly had 123 yards and a TD on 10 catches.

“Last year, I didn’t have a huge role, and I knew my role. This year, the team is counting on me. We’re really happy to get a win today,” Fedderly said.

Through two weeks, the senior captain is getting some idea of what the Knights offer week in and week out.

“The team’s really hard working. Everyone’s really tough and really starting to come together. This is one of the hardest-working seasons we’ve had,” Fedderly said.

Additionally, Mitch Groen had 59 yards receiving on six catches, while target Tyler Paulson also had 59 yards on four catches and a touchdown.

KHS won the total yards battle handily, 356-92.

The first drive for Kaneland went six plays and 44 yards, as Paulson caught a bullet pass from 15 yards out for the touchdown, and Marczuk rescued a botched point-after by tossing to Isaiah Baerenklau for an 8-0 edge with 9:12 left in the first quarter.

Kevin Fuchs ended the second scoring drive with a 3-yard touchdown catch with 5:05 to go that made it 15-0. Marshall scored its lone touchdown on the first play of the second quarter on a 24-yard touchdown pass to close within 15-6 with just six ticks gone in the frame.

Kaneland’s next scoring drive ended on a Marczuk 4-yard scramble to make it 22-6 with 4:46 to go in the half, while the Knights’ next drive went 50 yards on seven plays, ending in Fedderly’s 32-yard snag in the end zone on fourth down. The score made it 29-6 with 1:08 before halftime.

The third-quarter flurry ended any chance of a Commando comeback once and for all, beginning with Kaneland’s special teams swarming Marshall’s punt attempt, and then scoring on a Groen catch from 6 yards out three minutes into second-half play for a 36-6 edge.

After a Kyle Diehl interception, Alec Aureilo converted two plays later on a three-yard scamper with 6:31 to go in the third for a 43-6 margin. The scoring closed with 9:50 remaining in the contest on a 16-yard run by Giovanni Regalado to make it 49-6.

Coach Fedderly feels good about what the gelling Knights are capable of with seven games to go.

“What I know is that these guys are going to play hard. There’s no egos on the team, they just want to play football. Marshall had a lot of talent over there (tonight), and the coach did a really good job,” Fedderly said.

On Friday, Sept. 12, the Knights play Olympia Fields outpost Rich Central. The Olympians come into Maple Park at 1-1, including a 36-20 loss to Plainfield East and a 48-0 shutout of Chicago’s Kenwood Academy.


Kaneland tabs Goier as interim superintendent

KANELAND—The search for a new interim Kaneland superintendent has concluded.

The Kaneland School Board on Tuesday unanimously agreed to hire Dr. Renee Goier of Sugar Grove as interim superintendent. Board member Pedro Rivas was absent from the meeting.

The School Board on Tuesday also agreed to accept the resignation of former interim superintendent Dr. Ken Sorrick, who stepped down from the position just one day after the School Board approved his hire on Aug. 25.

Goier will work up to 100 days and receive a salary of $80,000.

“The board selected Dr. Goier based on her extensive, professional leadership and student-centered decision making,” said School Board President Cheryl Krauspe during the meeting.

Goier, a retiree, was a superintendent for Deerfield Public Schools District 109, and has experience as a teacher, gifted coordinator, elementary and middle school principal and assistant superintendent.

Krauspe talked after the meeting about what made Goier a standout selection.

“She was the strongest in terms of her overall perspective and experience throughout a K-12 career,” Krauspe said. “She has worked at every level from pre-school to college, so I think she has an expertise in every grade level.”

Krauspe also reflected on how it felt to get a second interim superintendent.

“I couldn’t be more delighted that she is as excited as she is,” Krauspe said. “That’s a relief. She is ready to hit the ground running.”

School Board Vice President Teresa Witt said Goier has a strong Kaneland connection with family and grandchildren who attend District 302.

“I think that’s a positive,” Witt said. “She’s also very professional and certainly has the resume to back that up. And I think she’s going to be a good choice.”


Photos: Putting the ‘fun’ in Fun Fest

The annual Maple Park Fun Fest took place Saturday through Monday in Maple Park. This year’s event saw sumo wrestling, a car show, parade, pancake breakfast, softball tournament, toilet bowl race, fireworks as well as several other family-friendly activities. Sumo wrestlers Michael Thorton (above), 12, and Robby Erickson, 12, of Hinckley, match one another Saturday afternoon at County Line Customs and Collision, Inc.

Photos by Lynn Logan


Knight football wins 10th-straight opener

Photo: Senior Connor Fedderly had six catches for 67 yards and two touchdowns for the Knights on Saturday. Photo by Mary Paulson

24-hour delay, tough beginning leads to 30-8 win over Brooks
KANELAND—Kaneland faithful and fans of decent weather probably hope Kaneland stops meeting Brooks Prep of Chicago like this.

For the second consecutive year, the Knights and Eagles were delayed due to stormy weather, postponing football’s season opener by 24 hours. After a leg injury to running back Isaac Swithers on his first carry, and three fumbles on Kaneland’s first three drives, the defense came up with key stops. After QB Jake Marczuk’s initial TD pass to Tyler Paulson in the first quarter, things settled down en route to a 30-8 win.

KHS has won 10 consecutive season openers, and four straight against the Eagles. The delay was the third such occurrence in eight seasons for KHS football, also happening before the 2007 season opener. It marked the third straight Saturday meeting between Kaneland and Brooks.

Kaneland has gone undefeated in regular season home encounters since an overtime loss to Geneva in Week 8 of 2009. The last home loss at Peterson Field was on Oct. 31, 2009, in a first-round loss to Sycamore.

Marczuk went 11-for-22 for 176 yards and four touchdowns in his first varsity action. Connor Fedderly caught six passes for 67 yards, while Paulson caught two passes, both TD’s for 65 yards. Kaneland was actually outgained by Brooks in total yards, 265-228.

“They had some really good kids rushing the passer, and we had to make our adjustments up front,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “But, we have kids that can make plays and we used the spread offense, where one play looks bad and then the next is a 70-yard touchdown.”

On Kaneland’s second play from scrimmage after Brooks botched a field goal attempt, Swithers coughed up the ball and sustained an injury, only to return to action in the fourth quarter. Brooks went four-and-out, leading to Kaneland’s Alec Aurelio fumbling on Kaneland’s next drive. After Brooks couldn’t convert on fourth down, Marczuk would cough up the ball on the third play of the next drive.

Brooks was forced to punt, and an errant snap was corralled by the punter, only to be swarmed by Mitch Groen. With KHS setting up shop at the 12-yard line, Marczuk found Paulson in the end zone for a TD pass with 4:16 remaining in the first quarter.

After a Brandon Kigyos pick, Kaneland’s drive ended in a three-yard scoring pass to Fedderly for a 13-0 edge with 9:49 remaining in the second quarter.

Austin Vickery pounced on a fumble giving possession back to Kaneland, and Marczuk found Fedderly on a fade for a 10-yard touchdown pass just 23 seconds after the last score for a 20-0 edge.

Eric Matthews called his own number for Brooks for an eight-yard touchdown run, followed by a two-point try to make it 20-8 with 6:05 remaining in the second quarter.

Later, Drew Franklin’s first varsity field goal try from 25 yards out was good with 1:38 left in the half for a 23-8 lead before the break.

After a scoreless third frame, the Knights cinched Saturday night on a bomb to Paulsen for a 53-yard scoring strike as he outran the Brooks secondary to make it 30-8 just 20 seconds into fourth quarter play.

Paulson was glad to leave Peterson Field with a victory which he contributed heavily.

“Being my first varsity game, I was pretty nervous to hit the field, but after I caught a couple balls I felt pretty good,” Paulson said. “After the fumbles, we needed to change our mindset, and we knew what we had to do to continue to succeed.”

Kaneland hosts Chicago’s Marshall High School for the two schools’ first-ever meeting on Friday, Sept. 5, at 7 p.m.. KHS hosted IC Catholic in the second game of 2013.

Kaneland Girls Volleyball Tournament Wheaton No. 8-27-14-9608

Volleyball’s spike OK in first test

Photo: Anna Senese spikes the ball over Raider defenders in action against Glenbard South Aug. 27. Photo by Laura Gampfer

Lady Knights manage comeback win over Romeoville as part of middle-of-pack finish at Wheaton
WHEATON, Ill.—Aug. 27 marked the return of Cyndi Violett to the Kaneland head coaching ranks, and also marked the beginning of the 2014 test for Kaneland volleyball.

After the opening night and Saturday’s conclusion in the Wheaton North tournament, the report card might note Kaneland’s perseverance, with some room to improve in other areas.

KHS managed a sixth-place finish out of 12 squads at the Falcon-hosted tournament, which has marked the unofficial beginning of the Kaneland volleyball campaign in recent seasons.

KHS began with a 25-19, 25-15 loss to former conference foe Glenbard South, and came back in the Aug. 27 nightcap against Romeoville, 23-25, 25-19, 27-26. On Saturday, KHS lost to Wheaton North 25-16, 25-15, beat Tinley Park, Ill. program Andrew 19-25, 25-17, 25-20 and lost to Glenbard West 25-16, 25-13.

Kaneland sits at 2-3 in the early goings of 2014.

Noteworthy performances after the first night of action had Ball State bound Ellie Dunn with 12 kills, two aces and nine digs, Anna Senese with 11 kills, a block and ace, Hannah Nauert with 15 assists and five aces and Sami Burgin with nine kills, eight digs and an ace.

“They finally got mad and let the nerves go away and played how they could play. Romeoville is a good defending team. Against Glenbard South, we had a lot of mistakes,” Violett said.

Against the Spartans of Romeoville, Dunn supplied two blocks to tie the score at 22, before Romeoville scored three of the next four points for the Game 1 win.

Romeoville went ahead 12-5, sending the Lady Knights to a possible defeat before a handful of Dunn kills and Romeoville errors gave KHS a 14-13 lead. Burgin and McKenzie McMullan executed a block to go up 19-15 and send Kaneland on a 7-5 run to end Game 2.

An evenly matched rubber encounter had the two squads tied at 17 and 22 after a Romeoville sideout, before a team block gave Kaneland a one-point edge. After Romeoville tied again, AnneMarie Franz and Senese combined on a block for a 24-23 lead. Romeoville scored twice before a Kaneland kill attempt. A sideout tied it at 26 before a Dunn kill gave the Lady Knights a one-point Game 3 win.

“There were jitters, and it’s a new team, so there was that aspect,” Dunn said. “We realized we lost and it was done with, and we came back and had to prepare for the season. It’s about never giving up. We were hesitant but then we were all-in and were like, ‘let’s win this game.”

Kaneland travels south to Centennial High School in Champaign, Ill., for the Charger Invite on Saturday, Sept. 6.


Knight golfers trek to West Aurora, Geneva Invite

KANELAND—Knight golfers, fresh off several years of sustained regular season and postseason success, continue to progress through the early part of the 2014 schedule.

On Friday, the Knights managed to beat West Aurora by a final of 165-172.

KHS also finished sixth out of 18 teams in the Geneva Invite last Thursday.

Kaneland is now 2-2 in dual action.

In the slim, seven-shot win over the local Blackhawks foe, top scores were had by Jake Hed with 40, Brett Glennon with 40, Jeff VanGemert with 42 and Jesse Denton with 43.

In Geneva, Kaneland’s 313 was just one behind DeKalb, but one ahead of Geneva’s Blue team. St. Charles East (291), Glenbard South (291), Marmion (309) Burlington Central (309) and DeKalb (312) rounded out the top five.

While the top three individual scores went to St. Charles East’s Gary King (69), Glenbard South’s Michael Wittenberg (69) and teammate Russell Matos (70), Kaneland was paced by ninth-place Denton at 73, 17th-place Glennon at 76 and Hed in 24th with a 78.

KHS coach Mark Meyer still sees the team as a work in progress through the early duals and invites.

“We’ve had our ups and downs in the early portion of this season,” Meyer said. “We were fortunate to start out our conference season with a one-stroke victory over a very good DeKalb team, and we were also very happy with our performance at the Geneva Invitational. However, we’re still searching for some consistency, especially at the back end of our roster.”

Kaneland was set to host Hinckley-Big Rock on Wednesday and go to Yorkville on Friday.

File photo: Senior Jakob Sanders


Lady Knights tennis gets to work

Photo: Junior Brittany Zablocki defeated Sam Myers-Miller of DeKalb 6-1, 6-4 Tuesday at No. 2 singles.
Photo by Tiffany Kufer

Win over Glenbard N., first at Plainfield North Invite key fast start
KANELAND—Finally swinging into action, Lady Knights tennis got off to the start most in the area believed they could.

On Thursday, 2014 action had its first volley with a 4-1 rain-shortened win over visiting Glenbard North. Kaneland was also able to nab a win at the usual late August stop Plainfield North Invite on Saturday.

Kaneland also battled visiting DeKalb on Tuesday, with a 5-0 victory the result.

Kaneland is now 2-0.

The lone win in the singles set for the Lady Knights came from senior No. 1 entry Sammie Schrepferman, with a 6-0. 6-3 win. Doubles was a sweep for KHS, with No. 1 team Madi Jurcenko/Jelly Emmanouil winning 6-0, 6-0, No. 2 team Colleen Landers/Stephanie Karolewicz winning 6-1, 6-1, and No. 3 unit Mallory Dugan/Anna Wendling winning 6-4, 6-2.

At Plainfield North, the team win was buoyed by the three doubles combos taking first places in their brackets.

The Lady Knights get a week off before a home matchup with IMSA on Tuesday, Sept. 9.


New look Knights

Photo: Junior Will Kuipers was the Knight’s third man at Sycamore Tuesday, running the 3-mile course in 18:00.9 and placing 43rd. Photo by Mary Paulson

Top 10 finish for Knights at Sycamore
SYCAMORE—Losing quite a few runners to graduation in May has thrust more Knights into the varsity fray for the Kaneland boys cross country squad. Despite that, the Knights kicked off the 2014 campaign with a seventh-place team finish at the annual Sycamore Invitational at Afton Forest Preserve in DeKalb Tuesday.

“Looking at the powerful lineup of teams that field this invitational, we were very interested in seeing how our team faced off,” head coach Chad Clarey said. “Coming away with seventh was a very nice start for our team. Some programs have had a few races under their belts, so we like the opening results.”

Leading the way for the Knights were seniors Brandon Park and Mitch Reger. Park finished 36th in 17 minutes, 48 seconds, while Reger was .1 second behind in 37th.

“Reger was a nice surprise to be our No. 2 tonight,” Clarey said.

Following the seniors were a pair of juniors—Will Kuipers (43rd, 18:00.9) and Sean Spaetzel (45th, 18:04.3)—that completed a 16-second 1-4 split for the Knights.

“16 seconds between our top four scoring runners is pretty sweet,” Clarey said.

Junior Aaron French, in his first varsity race, finished 63rd overall in 18:47.7 to complete the scoring five—and a 59-second split. Senior James Walker (72nd, 19:07.9) and junior Zach Kurz (103rd, 20:14.9) rounded out the top seven Knights.

Another bright spot for the Knights was a freshman/sophomore race victory for freshman Matthew Ritchman. The rookie completed the 2.42 mile course in 13:31.3, 10 seconds ahead of Stephen Poorten of Sycamore. The freshman/sophomore team placed third as a unit in the 13-team field.

“We certainly have room to grow, but there are a lot of great things we saw tonight, and from such an inexperienced group,” Clarey said. “Losing a lot of depth to graduation hurt us; however, we see this as a fresh start with a new group of hard-working athletes. They pack up well, understand our same approach to racing, and leave everything out on the course.”

The Knights travel to the Harvest Christian Invitational at 9 a.m. Saturday.


Youth movement

Photo: Senior Aislinn Lodwig led the Lady Knights at Sycamore on Tuesday, placing 20th overall with a time of 20:53.
Photo by Mary Paulson

Lady Knights open season at Sycamore
SYCAMORE—It was a subdued start to the 2014 season, but that was the plan.

With only four girls toeing the line at Afton Forest Preserve in DeKalb for head coach Doug Ecker’s varsity lineup, the Lady Knights cross country team didn’t factor into the team scoring for the annual Sycamore Invitational, Tuesday. But the four that ran took full advantage of the opportunity.

“It was a good start to the season,” Ecker said. “Even though this was an invitational, we tried to downplay it and just find a starting point to begin the season.”

Senior Aislinn Lodwig led the way with a 20th overall performance, with a time of 20 minutes, 53 seconds.

“Lodwig had her best race to start off the season. Aislinn has really embraced the leadership role as a senior, with the departure of the senior captains, and it has had a positive impact not only on her teammates but her as well,” Ecker said.

Ecker was also pleased with sophomore Sarah Daley’s performance, thinking she can make an impact for the varsity squad as the season progresses. Daley’s time of 22:12 was good enough for 41st overall.
Senior Jessica Kucera was 54th in 22:32.6, while junior Carly Bartholomew finished 77th with a time of 23:47.2.

The youth movement occurred over the 2.4 mile JV race, where freshman Andrea Wells was second overall with a time of 16:50.1 to lead Kaneland to a third-place team finish. Sophomore Becca Ritchman was seventh overall with a time of 17:39.4, while Grace Dodis also cracked the top 10 with her 10th-place finish in 17:58.8. It was the first race for both Wells and Ritchman, according to Ecker.

“Dodis ran very well and is much improved over last year,” Ecker said. “It was nice to see senior Grace Drake (24th, 18:45.8), in only her second year out for cross country, pick up a medal in the JV race.”

The girls cross country team heads to the Oregon Invitational Saturday at 9:30 a.m.


Church among Elburn’s best-kept secrets

Photo: Located at 100 E. Shannon Street in Elburn, the Community Congregational Church’s members are “determined to revitalize and continue to focus on the church’s mission in the community.” Photos by Lynn Logan

ELBURN—Members joke that Elburn’s Community Congregational Church is one of the best-kept secrets in town. On the flip side, many are trying to change that.

“We’ve been hearing for years that the church has been closed or is dying,” church member Karen Diesel said.

Located at 100 E. Shannon St., the church during Elburn Days hosted a large rummage sale, face painting, music provided by the Al and Susan Duo of St. Charles, ice cream from Colonial Ice Cream and sloppy joes that people return for year after year.

“It was awesome; we couldn’t have asked for a better turnout,” Diesel said. “The weather really cooperated and we made about $4,500—more than double the $2,000 we usually make.”

Church Pastor Bennett McNeal said it’s not unusual for smaller churches to struggle.

“We’ve had some difficult times in recent years,” McNeal said. “The members are determined to revitalize and continue to focus on the church’s mission in the community.”

Church moderator Mary Royer said a lot of maintenance work that has been on the back burner is now being undertaken, along with the installation of a new elevator to make the church accessible to all. She credits Diesel with doing a lot to make the church more visible during Elburn Days.

“Karen worked very hard,” she said. “We had a lot going on so people could see that we’re still here.”

After celebrating only his second Elburn Days, McNeal said he came to realize the church is an incredible resource in the community.

“We have scouts that meet at the church along with other groups, we plan to provide a caregivers’ support group—all of these things are intended to provide services for the community,” he said. “Of course, we also are continuing our traditional programs of Sunday school for all ages and traditional worship services.”

McNeal said the maintenance projects and the new elevator are ways to make the church more welcoming.

“Our tradition is to be welcoming to everyone, and we mean that with no exceptions,” McNeal said. “These aren’t my words, they come from our denomination: ‘No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you’re welcome here at Community Congregational Church.’”

“We don’t say it as much as we act on it,” Royer said. “We are very much like a family.”

For more information about the church, visit www.elburn-ucc.org or call (630) 365-6544.


Raising funds for a dog for Alex

Photo: Elburn’s McGarvey family—Ray and Heather, with sons Raymond, Brandon, Jonathon and Alex—is running a Go Fund Me campaign to assist them in the purchase of a trained companion dog for youngest family member, Alex, 9.
Photo by Debbie Behrends

ELBURN—Like many 9-year-old boys, Alex McGarvey of Elburn is excited about getting his first dog. But Alex’s dog will be more than just a pet.

Alex is diabetic, and the new family pet will be his trained companion dog.

Heather McGarvey, Alex’s mom, explained that trained companions are different than service dogs.

“We don’t need a service dog for him out in public that no one else can touch,” Heather said. “We need it primarily for here at home.”

Although Alex was diagnosed when he was just a year old, and he has an insulin pump, Heather said he’s growing so fast, and changes in his blood sugar are frequent.

“We’ve been talking with his doctor awhile, and he’s not eligible to get a sensor that goes in his stomach to help regulate his blood sugars,” Heather said.

Alex said when his blood sugar is very high, he has a pounding headache and he’s very thirsty. When it’s low, he said his legs get wobbly.

“I think it will be nice to have a dog that can smell when my sugar is high or low,” Alex said.

Ray McGarvey, Alex’s father, said Alex’s older brothers, Raymond, Brandon and Jonathon, all know what to do when Alex needs assistance, but often his blood sugar dips dangerously low when he’s sleeping. A dog could smell that situation and wake Alex or anyone else in the house to get him the help he needs.

But dogs with specialized training don’t come cheap. Heather said their research has found dogs ranging from $10,000 to $20,000—and some from for-profit companies that are not so reputable.

The family has determined that the best route is to get a puppy, a female German shepherd. Alex said that the family will take her to a series of obedience classes before she is scent trained. Because they plan to raise the dog, she will bond with the entire family.

Not only is the process an expensive one, it’s a lengthy one. Heather said it will take about a year before the dog is ready for scent training.

But in the end, the family will have a pet and Alex will have a companion that will help keep him healthy as he grows.

A Go Fund Me campaign has been established to help the McGarveys in purchasing Alex’s four-legged assistant. For more of Alex’s story, and to make a donation, visit www.GoFundMe.com/c753tw.

photo 2

Fighting cancer with buzz cuts

Photo: Matt Peters gets a buzz cut as part of Cuts for the Cure.
Photos submitted by Julie Allen to cborrowdale@elburnherald.com

Event raises over $1,000 for childhood cancer research
ELBURN—Three generations of Elburn residents recently got their heads shaved at Cuts for the Cure, an event at Dave’s Barbershop that raised over $1,000 for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a childhood cancer research organization.

Joe Schoepke, his son-in-law Matt Peters, and his grandson Maxwell Peters, were just three of the nearly 30 people who came out to get buzz cuts from Dave Rissman, the owner of Dave’s Barbershop, located at 132 N. Main St, Ste. 1. Rissman volunteered to host the event.

“My first reaction was to put a hat on,” Schoepke joked. “If you’d seen how much hair I’d had, you would say (the buzz cut) is really bold. My family said they didn’t even recognize me anymore.”

The event was organized by 10-year-old Nolan Allen, who lost an uncle, Craig Larson of Batavia, to cancer earlier this year. Allen shaved his own head so he could march in the Elburn Days Parade and advertise the event.

“I just know I kicked cancer’s butt hard,” Nolan said. “I did it for my uncle Craig. It’s a really good feeling to see that you raised $1,000 for cancer research. I don’t know if my parents or grandparents could be any prouder.”

Though the Allens were a little disappointed with the turnout—in retrospect, they wish they had planned it for a different day than the Saturday of Elburn Days—they said the experience was a good one.

“It’s hard to get people to come and shave their heads and to come and get haircuts on Elburn Days, but people were really excited that someone Nolan’s age would want to do this kind of charity work,” said Bob Allen, Nolan’s father. “We just came together as a family and tried to help other people, and it was a nice moment for us to take time out of our daily lives and stop thinking of ourselves.”

Rissman has done St. Baldrick’s events in the past, but this was the first one he’d ever hosted in his own shop.

“I was hoping we’d get a line outside the door,” Rissman said. “But I would deem it a success. The bar was set at $1,000, and we reached that.”

For Schoepke, supporting the cause was personal. He’s a cancer survivor—he developed prostate cancer in 2007 and says he’s fortunate to be cured—and said that he got the buzz cut to show solidarity with the Allen family and other families struggling with cancer diagnoses.

“It’s like with the ALS thing, where everybody’s getting ice dumped on them,” Schoepke said. “Anything you can do to raise awareness or help the families or advance the research (into cancer) is important. It’s important to show solidarity.”

Schoepke said he’d known the Allens for a long time and that he was proud of Nolan for taking the initiative to create a fundraiser.

“He’s a very courageous, caring young man with a good heart,” Schoepke said. “To just go out and promote this event as he did, to go through the process and get as many people to get along in the process, for a kid his age, it’s courageous.”

Schoepke got his buzz cut on Wednesday—a few days ahead of the event—and Matt and Maxwell Peters came on Saturday for the event.

“The Allens are family friends of ours, and my father-in-law is a cancer survivor, so that was very persuasive for us, too,” Peters said. “I think it’s a good cause. It was a pretty cool thing for Nolan to put together.”

Though everyone who arrived got buzz cuts, for Nolan, that still wasn’t short enough to show his support for the cause.

“When I saw myself in the mirror, I personally wasn’t really satisfied,” he said. “I thought I was going to be bald-bald, so we almost shaved it with one of those little razor thingies, but mom took the first stroke and said she couldn’t do it. She was afraid she was going to cut my scalp.”

Nolan’s considering repeating the fundraiser next August, though he said he’ll probably schedule it for a weekend other than the weekend of Elburn Days.

The whole event, the Allens say, wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of Rissman, who offered to host the event at his barbershop and give buzz cuts to anyone who arrived that day. Two other stylists who work in the same building were also on hand to give out cuts.

“I could not have done it without Dave and his generousness to let me use his barbershop,” Nolan said.

His mother, Julie Allen, agreed.

“Dave Rissman was so generous in saying, ‘Let’s do this and you do it here,’ and he helped me organize it so Nolan could get some extra donations,” she said. “It was very generous and selfless of him.”


Spotty weather no match for Kaneville Fest 2014

KANEVILLE—Pat Hill couldn’t say enough good things about this year’s Kaneville Fest event, even after losing her voice. And that included how the weather seemed to cooperate with all the planned events.

“Everything went according to plan, and it rained between events,” Hill said. “We saw the weather coming in, and the car show guys got the awards in before the downpour.”

Although she said she was concerned about rain on Saturday, she realized there was nothing she could do about it and “put it in God’s hands.”

“We had only about 40 cars because of the threat of rain, but there were some really cool old cars out there,” said Alexa Hill, Pat’s daughter.

Pat said the garage sales went well and the dinner was well attended, with only seven fewer dinners sold this year than last.

Although she didn’t have exact numbers of participants, Pat said about 35 people participated in the ice cream-eating contest and 20 to 25 joined the watermelon-eating contest.

“I did the ice cream-eating contest,” Pat said. “(State Rep.) Bob Pritchard was there rooting me on, but I couldn’t do it; the ice cream kept going up my nose and I couldn’t breathe. It was a riot.”

She said the band Red Woody rocked and had the crowd dancing during the festival, and George Alexander of Batavia provided horse-drawn wagon rides and wouldn’t take payment.

“He donated his payment back to the festival,” Pat said.

Kaneville Fest concluded its Saturday portion with a fireworks bonanza.

“The fireworks were awesome,” Alexa said. “A lot of people came out and had a good time. I think it went pretty well overall.”


Here we go

Annual Knights Under the Lights officially kicks off 2014-15 sports season
KANELAND—Thursday’s Knights Under the Lights event had a different type of illumination.

Due to storms, the event was moved to the East Gym of Kaneland High School instead of the usual venue of Peterson Field.

The event still featured introductions of the 2014-15 KHS fall sports teams as they prepare to take on their rivals near and far. Fans and visitors were treated to scrimmages by the KHS volleyball squads as well.

The Brian Bemis test-drive fundraiser, hosted by the Kaneland Sports Boosters, was postponed to Friday, Sept. 26, at 4 p.m.