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.