Tag Archives: Frankie Furco

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.

Knights boys track visits 93-year old friend

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Knight boys raise roof for 4th at Byron

BYRON, Ill.—Saturday brought some indoor track competition to Byron, Ill., and also brought some fine numbers and totals for Kaneland boys track.

Looking to get the 2010-11 season on the right foot indoors, Kaneland finished tied for fourth out of 12 teams.

Their 43-point total tied with Rockford Jefferson. Rockton’s Hononegah had 97 points, followed by Burlington Central’s 69.5 total and Belvidere North with 47 points. The Knights were the lone representative from the Northern Illinois Big XII conference.

Tommy Whittaker of the Knights took second in the 400 meter dash with an effort of 53.97 seconds, behind Hononegah’s Kassidy Freeman by .9 seconds.

Taylor Andrews ran 7.9 seconds for second place in the 55m hurdles finals event, and was also part of the first place 4x400m relay team with Whittaker, Brandon Cottier and Chad Swieca (3:37.90).

Frankie Furco acclimated himself well in the finals of the high jump, finishing third in the group with a six-foot effort.

Finally, Matt Spitzzeri took second in the triple jump group by completing his turn at 41-4.5.

The boys’ next challenge is the Northern Illinois Big XII indoor meet in Sterling on Saturday, March 19.

Boys XC wish to re-run great ending

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ottawa Invite can’t humble Kaneland boys track

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Knight boys hit outdoor track running

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KHS had a handful of first places.

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

Markuson captured the 300m dash in 40.5 seconds.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Fall sports preview: Knights stride for better things

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—When Kaneland boys cross country finishes eighth in the Class 2A State gathering in 2008, what do they want to do for an encore?

There’s seven more spots to move up.

Despite graduating runners like Ben Brown, Paul Davies and Matt Weaver, the Knights return talented runners and don’t seem to be hurting for depth.

Matt Reusche returns after finishing 14th in the state a year ago, as does Dominic Furco, who finished 37th overall.

“We have six of our top seven back; we had a really good summer with solid consistent training,” head coach Chad Clarey said. “We’re ready to get started.”

Seniors are Joe Levita, Edgar Valle, Jemmar Parrenas, Furco, Nick Sinon, Reusche, Logan Markuson and Tyler Howland.

Juniors are Trevor Holm, Tommy Whittaker, Grant Alef and Cory Gotteau.

Sophomores are Devin Swearingen, Jake Ginther, Kelvin Peterson, Frankie Furco, Clayton Brundige, Stelios Lekkas, John Michek and Nate Rehkopf.

Freshmen are John Meisenger, Nick Messina, Ryan Paulson, Gus Stott, Conor Johnson, Billy Hart and Brad Kigyos.

Developming the competitive mindset with the returnees was hatched in the spring during Knights track, according to Clarey.

“I think from last track season, these kids had some great experiences, both good and bad. Logan won at State, Matt had a good sectional race but didn’t qualify in the 2-mile. So they are more focused than ever, and it makes you hungrier,” Clarey said.

Levita, Brundinge, Ginther and Whittaker were pointed out by Clarey as returning members who could sneak into a higher profile in 2009.

What will determine a successful campaign for the crew always looking to go the distance?

“In the end, if all of our athletes are healthy and have had a full season of training, I anticipate they’d want to set their goals to surpass what they did last fall,” Clarey.

The boys cross country season kicks off on Tuesday, Sept. 1, against West Chicago and Wheaton Academy at Elburn Woods, while the Eddington Invite takes place on Saturday, Sept. 19.

The regular season is scheduled to end at Rochelle for the Western Sun Conference Invite on Saturday, Oct. 17.