Tag Archives: John Meisenger

Bringing their best

Photo: Kyle Carter (891) dukes it out with DeKalb’s Marc Dubrick at the Eddington Invitational Saturday at Elburn Woods. Photos by Ryan Wells

Boys XC team sets numerous personal records at Eddington
by Ryan Wells
Kaneland—Across the board, the KHS boys cross country team stepped up in a big way for one of the biggest races of the year, the annual Larry Eddington Invitation at Kaneland’s home course at Elburn Woods.

All seven of Kaneland’s runners set some form of personal record on their home course.

“I thought our boys did very well,” KHS head coach Chad Clarey said. “All the guys that competed were either hitting their PR for the season on their home course or their career PR here.”

As a team, the Knights finished sixth with 140 points. Crystal Lake Central pulled away in the second half of the race to score 61 team points, good for the overall victory. Jacobs finished second with 91, followed by West Aurora (109), Benet Academy (128) and DeKalb (129). Mooseheart ran in its first-ever cross country race as a team, taking 15th overall.

Kaneland junior Kyle Carter led the team with a fourth-place finish, with a time of 16:08. He said the atmosphere spurred the Knights to push the pace throughout the course.

“It’s quite an honor to represent Kaneland and Larry Eddington, of course, and … we just wanted to represent Kaneland as best we can,” Carter said.

Because Carter trains at Elburn Woods regularly, he said he knew that being familiar with the difficult, hilly course could give the team an edge. He said he tried to come out of the start at a faster pace than usual.

“I went out a little fast, but I was trying to push the pace because most guys can’t handle the hills as good as us, because we work here all the time,” he said.

He said that after the initial burst, the lead group settled in before hitting the two-mile mark on the three-mile race.

“We just got to the two mile, and then the race really began,” he said. “They really took off and then I just hung on.”

Clarey said Carter ran a 29-second personal record on the home course.

“I think he was pumped up about getting started and he wanted to have a strong time,” Clarey said.

Senior Connor Johnson was the second Knight to cross the finish line, taking 18th overall with a time of 16:41, 24 seconds faster than his previous best time.

“This was a huge race for him,” Clarey said. “As a senior, he really stepped up and led our charge to be our No. 2 runner.”

Senior John Meisenger came into the race with a goal of hitting near 17 minutes, and he accomplished it, finishing 34th overall with a time of 17 minutes flat. That time served as an eight-second personal record.

Meisenger said that the early fast pace was a bit faster than he normally runs, but he anticipated it happening at the Eddington Invite.

“That was a faster mile for me coming into the first mile, but we’re used to setting the first mile faster,” he said.

Junior Ryan Bower was the fourth Knight across the finish line, taking 40th overall with a time of 17:15. That shaved 30 seconds off his career best time.

“Ryan Bower is new to varsity; he’s filling that role we need to have somebody come up and be a four or five guy,” Clarey said.

Junior Brandon Huber made a pre-race decision to run the race at all, as he was facing some soreness in his foot that morning. He finished in 17:23, good for 44th overall, cutting some time off his personal best on the course as well.

“He was a little bit sore this morning in his foot and wasn’t sure if he was going to race or not,” Clarey said. “He decided to jump in and wound up being our fifth man in the race. He did very well, especially with that foot pain.”

Junior Nathaniel Kucera beat his career best by 40 seconds, finishing in 17:38, good for 51st overall.

“He’s an important piece to our puzzle as well,” Clarey said. “We just need to make sure he’s feeling healthy.”

Ryan Paulson stepped in at the last minute to run as the seventh Knight, and used that motivation to set a 45-second PR on the home course. He finished in 18:00, taking 60th overall.

“I think it boosts up the momentum,” Paulson said of running as the host team at a big event like Eddington. “It really tries to push you to do better.”

“He’s another senior that really stepped out; when we needed him he stepped in and did a great job on this home course,” Clarey said.

Kaneland will travel to the ACC Invite on Saturday, Sept. 22.

Knight XC tops East Aurora, Yorkville

Kaneland—For the second week in a row, Kaneland’s pack-running mentality proved successful as the Knights cross country team defeated both East Aurora and Yorkville at Elburn Woods on Tuesday.

“Training through another Tuesday meet, our team finished the day healthy, and to win was a bonus,” KHS head coach Chad Clarey said. “Making the transition from summer training to the real thing has taken its toll on energy levels, and we have plenty of aches—just like every other team in the state.”

Kaneland’s 15 points were earned based on the Knights’ pack taking the top six spots. Led by Kyle Carter, who took first with a time of 16:51, the Knights’ lead group took first through sixth place, as well as ninth through 11th.

East Aurora finished second with 55 points, followed by Yorkville with 150.

Conor Johnson (17:15) came in second place, good for a 23-second personal best for the short season. Clarey said he has begun to emerge as a key leader on the team.

“It’s good to see him taking a lead role for the pack, being aggressive through mile one and maintaining speed the rest of the way,” Clarey said.

Ryan Bower (17:52), Luis Acosta (18:04), John Meisenger (18:12) and Brandon Hueber (18:13) completed the top six sweep.

A pair of East Aurora runners were sandwiched between the Knight runners, followed by the Kaneland trio of Ryan Paulson (18:50), Sean Spaetzel (19:03) and Matthew Rodway (19:05). Clarey pointed to Spaetzel, a freshman, as an example of the younger runners who are already making an impact on the team.

“Another standout performance came from freshman Sean Spaetzel, who ran his first three-mile race and wound up finishing in the top 10,” Clarey said.

The Knights run next at the First to the Finish Invitational at Peoria on Saturday, Sept. 8.

Boys Cross Country Preview: Making excellence familiar

Photo: Conor Johnson tries to create distance between himself and the field at Detweiler Park in Peoria, Ill. last year during the Class 2A State race. The 15th best boys’ cross country program is slated to return five of seven top runners in 2012. File photo

Cross country team looks to return to top-tier at state
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—One has to be considered a top-tier team in Class 2A after securing 15th place in the boys cross country finals a year ago.

But Kaneland won’t be satisfied.

Yet, while Kaneland looks to aim even higher this year, the program also has to see how to replace important losses.

Gone from the 2011 season’s top seven are Miki Marin and Clayton Brundige, but the remaining top five look to be a force to be reckoned with.

“The very bottom line for us is it’s a 12-week season,” KHS head coach Chad Clarey said. “It’s a long campaign and there’s always a push by many different teams toward the end. We slowly progress our way toward the season.”

Kyle Carter came on strong as his sophomore season went on, and eventually put up top team numbers.

Carter’s 39th place finish could serve him well as a reminder of what’s possible.

“He had a great season last year. He ran a PR for the course at State, and he’s looking for more this year. He wants more out of himself and wants more out of this team,” Clarey said.

Also returning are senior leaders Conor Johnson, John Meisinger, Brandon Huber and junior Luis Acosta, all with pivotal postseason experience.

“Conor and John stand out right away. Both of them are working through some of those aches and pains. They’ve been in the program. This is their fourth year, and that experience makes a huge difference,” Clarey said.

Huber was touted as the most improved runner a year ago by Clarey, having run 16 minutes, 16 seconds at State.

‘We’re going to use our depth, and we’ve got a huge senior class,” Clarey said.

The sense of the moment allowed Kaneland to power through a stacked sectional hosted by Belvidere a year ago, and it will be a challenge to break through that upper class lineup.

The season opens at Elburn Woods on Tuesday, Aug. 28, with a meet against West Chicago and Wheaton Academy.

Varsity roster
Seniors
Nick Albano
Conor Johnson
Bradley Kigyos
Joe Kuipers
John Meisenger
Nicholas Messina
Ryan Paulson
Joseph Pollastrini
Matthew Rodway
Christopher Wido

Juniors
Luis Acosta
Ryan Bower
Kyle Carter
Phillip Cutsinger
Nathaniel Kucera
Dylan Kuipers
Marcus Stott

Sophomores
Andrew Lesak
Brandon Park
Connor Pennington
Philip Rawers
James Walker

Freshmen
Aaron French
Alexander Gale
Joseph Kuchera
William Kuipers
Kyle Osborne
Sean Spaetzel
Ryan Weber

Head coach
Chad Clarey

Varsity Boys Cross Country Schedule
• Tuesday, Aug. 28; 4:30 p.m.
Home vs. W. Acad., W. Chicago
• Tuesday, Sept. 4; 4:30 p.m.
Home vs. E. Aurora, Yorkville
• Saturday, Sept. 8; 11 a.m.
At First to the
Finish Invite—Peoria
• Saturday, Sept. 15; 9 a.m.
Home—Eddington Meet
• Saturday, Sept. 22; 9 a.m.
At ACC Invite
• Saturday, Sept. 29; 9:30 a.m.
At Freeport Pretzel Invite
• Wednesday, Oct. 3; 4:15 p.m.
At Byron Handicap Invite
• Saturday, Oct. 6; 9 a.m.
At Sterling Invite
• Saturday, Oct. 13; 9 a.m.
at LaSalle Peru
NIB XII Conference

Knights take Freeport race

KANELAND—With four of the top seven slots all taken by Kaneland, it was a successful outing over the Pretzels on Saturday morning.

Knights boys cross country’s 34 points was good enough to hoist the Pretzel Invite mantle in Freeport, Ill., solving Rockford Jefferson (56 points), Oregon (86) and Rockford Boylan (86) in the eight-team encounter.

Kaneland sophomore Kyle Carter was second with a time of 15:07.7.

In fourth place, KHS entry Conor Johnson finished in 15:43.0. Teammate John Meisenger took sixth at 15:49.3, and Knight Brandon Huber was seventh in 15:50.1.

KHS hits Sterling on Saturday, Oct. 8.

Knights’ pack disposes of competition

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland boys cross-country might not miss a step for a long while.

With 20 points, compared to West Chicago’s 48 points and Wheaton Academy’s 65, the Knights got off to a productive start, making coach Chad Clarey pleased.

“Our varsity boys got out quickly through the first mile, packed up and raced very well on a perfect night for running. We are encouraged with where we are heading at this early point in the season,” Clarey said.

Racing his first varsity competition, Miroljub Marin aced the field with a time of 17 minutes, 18.7 seconds, edging teammate John Meisenger who finished in 17:19.56.

After Marcus Delatorre of West Chicago took third, Conor Johnson of Kaneland finished fourth at 17:35.2, while teammate Nate Rehkopf took fifth at 17:38.

The next challenge for boys cross-country takes place on Tuesday, Sept. 6, against East Aurora and Yorkville.

Boys XC curbing loss of 3 key parts

Photo: Knights boys cross-country braves the August environment, and key losses from a year ago. Photo by Mike Slodki

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—On a mid-August day with creeping humidity, the Knights boys cross-country pack attacks practice in a business-like manner—like it’s part of the day’s task.

Don’t let the demeanor or method fuel you, as the passion runs deep for Kaneland’s crew.

They’ll need it to nullify the graduation of State-goer Trevor Holm (Western Illinois University), Grant Alef (University of Minnesota) and Tommy Whittaker.

“They see this almost as a part-time job, but the passion is there. A lot of these kids, this is their favorite sport,” 17th-year head coach Chad Clarey said. “For some, it’s track, but for a lot of them, they really enjoy cross-country.”

“A lot of them see the tradition we’ve had in the past, and they aspire to write their own chapter,” Clarey adds.

On the senior side, Clayton Brundige, sectional entry Nate Rehkopf and newcomer Miki Marin provide a fourth-year spark.

“Senior leadership is very important. We’ve graduated great seniors in the past, but they’ve left their mark,” Clarey said.

Other seniors include Austin Paulson, Kelvin Peterson and John Michek, who Clarey finds have been leading by example with their work put in.

Juniors are varsity returnees and top-7 placements John Meisenger and Conor Johnson, allowing with Nick Messina, Ryan Paulson, Gus Stott, Brad Kigyos, Nicholas Albano, Chris Wido, Brandon Huber, Joey Pollastrini, Brayden Miller and Joe Kuipers.

“John and Conor are two names that will be relied upon heavily to make up that top five,” Clarey said.

Spearheading the sophomore movement with a chance at varsity time are Luis Acosta, Ryan Bower, Kyle Carter and Nathaniel Kucera. Additonal sophomores include Garrett Patterson, Dylan Kuipers and Phil Cutsinger.

Freshman on the Knights’ radar include Adam Lesak, Brandon Park, James Walker and Zachary Justus.

Clarey is eager to see improvement meet consistency, especially in a tight Northern Illinois Big XII.

“Yorkville is the clear-cut favorite, and we’d like to be in the top three. I think we have the capabilities of doing that,” Clarey said.

The season’s starting gun fires on Tuesday, Aug. 30, against West Chicago and Wheaton Academy.

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.