Tag Archives: Grace Drake

In the right direction

Girls CC looks for October improvements
STERLING, ILL.—As the calendar turns to October, it’s time for cross country teams to start coming together and jelling.

The Kaneland girls cross country squad decided to start a little early, with a solid effort in their annual late September stop at Saturday’s Rock River Run, hosted by Sterling High School.

The Lady Knights were third out of the 15 teams with 134 points, behind only Belvidere North (117) and champion Geneva (49). Northern Illinois Big XII conference-mate Dixon actually tied KHS with 134 points, but Kaneland’s sixth runner, Anna Piazza, broke the tie by placing 49th—Dixon’s sixth runner placed 69th.

Kaneland was led by the 1-2 tandem of sophomore Brianna Bower and junior Victoria Clinton. Bower cracked the top 10, placing eighth with a time of 18 minutes, 58 seconds. Clinton was nearby, placing 13th in 19:19.

“Brianna Bower and Victoria Clinton once again ran solid races to lead the varsity,” head coach Doug Ecker said. “Both are looking to make some dramatic improvement in the next few weeks.”

Senior Erika Carlson was the next Lady Knight to finish, placing 35th in 20:23. Junior Jessica Kucera placed 42nd in 20:35, and freshman Abby Shaw closed out the KHS scoring by placing 48th in personal-best 20:57.

“Erika Carlson continues to impress each week with her consistent effort and improvement,” Ecker said.

Also competing for the varsity race were Piazza (55th, 21:12), Noelle Espino (62nd, 21:29), Sydney Strang (64th, 21:32), Aislinn Lodwig (68th, 21:42), Murphy Garcia (135th, 24:34), Grace Drake (146th, 25:27) Christina Delach (147th, 25:31) and Kayla Hedgren (155th, 26:35).

The freshman/sophomore team also placed fourth in the meet, led by top 15 efforts by Katie Huber (7th, 22:29) and Carly Barholomew (15th, 23:02).

Next up, the girls cross country team heads north to the home of the Pretzels for the Freeport Invitational Saturday at 9 a.m.

GXC_File

Oregon trail

Photo: Kaneland senior Sydney Strang continued her solid start to the season, earning a fourth-place finish in Oregon, Ill., Saturday. File Photo

Lady Harriers run strong Saturday
OREGON, Ill.—The Lady Knights trekked to Oregon High School Saturday, and left with numerous individual accolades.

In a meet where no team score was kept, Kaneland placed six girls in the top 30 in the varsity race.

Brianna Bower again led the way with a time of 20 minutes, 32 seconds, which was good for third place overall. She was followed closely by Sydney Strang in fourth place, with a time of 20:42. Jessica Kucera also cracked the top ten, placing ninth with a time of 21:26.

“The three mile hilly Oregon High School course is very challenging on a good day to run,” head coach Doug Ecker said. “Today with the hot, humid, sunny conditions, all the girls did a very good job.”

Rounding out the Lady Knights varsity was Anna Piazza (15th, 22:00), Erika Carlson (17th, 22:14) and Noelle Espino (29th, 22:56).

The good times continued in the girls open race, as KHS placed three freshmen in the top five, led by Abby Shaw’s individual win in a time of 22:12.1. Katie Huber (3rd, 23:19) and Grace Dodis (4th, 23:48) were solid as well.

“The three freshmen running their first three mile high school race under today’s conditions were impressive,” Ecker said.

Rounding out the KHS open runners were Brianna Booton (11th, 24:27), Lilah Klingersmith (12th, 24:47), Sarah Daily (16th, 25:27), Carly Bartholomew (23rd, 26:09), Haley Penkala (27th, 26:21), Samantha Sommerville (31st, 26:59), Grace Drake (32nd, 27:08), Christina Delach (33rd, 27:09), Murphy Garcia (38th, 27:29) and Kayla Hedgren (46th, 28:45).

Kaneland canceled a triangular meet Tuesday at Elburn Woods against East Aurora and Yorkville due to hot conditions.

The Lady Knights next travel north to the Wauconda Invitational Saturday at 8:30 a.m.

Girls Cross Country_2013_2

2013 Girls CC Preview: Breezing past

Photo: Tuesday’s high temperatures kept the girls cross country team indoors, but the Lady Knights won’t be cooled off this season. Kaneland is currently ranked 4th in DyestatIL.com’s preseason poll, and still feature returning state champion Victoria Clinton. Photo by Kimberly Anderson

Clinton, young company look to maintain area standing
KANELAND—There is only one way to try and eclipse a third-place sectional finish for Kaneland High School girls cross country.

For the remaining Lady Knights and new charges, it’s go about their business.

Kaneland rose to the occasion at the Belvidere Sectional, and returning junior Victoria Clinton outpaced the entire Class 2A field enroute to becoming State champ as Kaneland earned a sixth-place finish.

The sixth-place total, coupled with conference rival Yorkville’s first-place, showed the depth of talent in the area, and a high standard for KHS to maintain.

“It’ll be  a totally different  kind of team.  They’re going  to be young,  but they’ll be good.  It’ll take time to  figure it out.” KHS girls cross country coach Doug Ecker
“It’ll be
a totally different
kind of team.
They’re going
to be young,
but they’ll be good.
It’ll take time to
figure it out.”
KHS girls cross country coach
Doug Ecker

Gone from the top seven are runners like Amanda Lesak, Maggie Brundige and Abby Dodis. But Kaneland coach Doug Ecker believes in the team’s talent and work ethic to achieve similar heights and negate deficiencies.

“We lost four seniors, but we don’t have as much depth, so we can’t afford to lose anybody,” Ecker said. “It’ll be a totally different kind of team. They’re going to be young, but they’ll be good. It’ll take time to figure it out.”

It could be a case of learning on the job.

“Take someone like Brianna Bower, she ran 34th in the State meet and the traction got her confidence going. She’ll be much stronger,” Ecker said.

Clinton, Bower, Sydney Strang and Aislinn Lodwig are the returnees from the postseason lineup of a year ago.

Girls Cross Country seniors: Erika Carlson, Anna Piazza, Sydney Strang and Christina Delach. Not pictured: Riley Coyle and Kayla Hedgren.
Girls Cross Country seniors:
Erika Carlson, Anna Piazza, Sydney Strang and Christina Delach. Not pictured: Riley Coyle and Kayla Hedgren.

“Last year was an amazing year for Sydney, she was out the first two-thirds of the season with pneumonia. You don’t come back from that and she finished 38th in the State meet. The talent and the attitude is there, it’s just a matter of staying healthy,” Ecker said.

The roster consists of seniors Erika Carlson, Riley Coyle, Christina Delach, Kayla Hedgren, Anna Piazza and Strang. Juniors are Clinton, Grace Drake, Murphy Garcia, Sam Havlin, Jessica Kucera and Lodwig. Sophomores are Carly Bartholomew, Brianna Booton, Bower, Noelle Espino, Lilah Klingensmith, Haley Penkala and Sam Somerville. Freshman are Sarah Daley, Grace Dodis, Abigail Mejia, Cassidy Garland, Katie Huber and Abby Shaw.

“You always want the team to err on the side of caution in high school, and as they get older and stronger they’ll do more. Clinton is like that and the amazing thing is she’s a triathlete first and runner second,” Ecker said.

KHS will need its mix of experience and youth to do battle with the area.

“Yorkville is obviously the favorite and will be strong all the way through, and DeKalb comes back as a 2A school with Kelsey Schrader and Sycamore will be better,” Ecker said.

The girls cross country team hosts their first meet on Tuesday, Sept. 3.