Tag Archives: Kaltrina Ismaili

Junior Lauren Zick placed second in the long jump at the Jill Holmes Invitational Saturday with a leap of 16 feet, 9.5 inches. Photo by Patti Wilk

Big win, small margin

KHS earns slim team win at home meet
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—There’s nothing like seeing what you’re made of on your home track.

Kaneland girls track has a lot of substance and talent, based on the first-place output at the annual Jill Holmes Invite on Saturday.

The 160.5-point output from the Lady Knights beat Northern Illinois Big XII rival DeKalb by one.

Hononegah, Oswego East and Rosary rounded out the top five with 120.5, 118.5 and 108, respectively.

Rival Sycamore took sixth with 77 points, while Burlington Central was seventh with 63. Familiar foe to the north Belvidere took 11th with 21 points.

Capable senior Ashley Castellanos left the 200 meter dash field in her wake with a first-place finals effort of 27.49 seconds, .2 seconds better than Belvidere’s Kelsey Stone, while junior Lauren Zick’s 59.80 time in the 400m dash earned a first as well.

Junior Sydney Strang took fourth in the 800m run finals with a time of 2:27.75, and teammates Victoria Clinton (5:29.40) and Brianna Bower (5:34.66) acclimated themselves well in the 1600m run, taking second and third, respectively.

Bower came back to finish second in the finals of the 3200m run, thanks to a finish of 11:53.04, while senior Abby Dodis took fourth at 12:41.27.

Lady Knight Amanda Lesak battled through the 300m low hurdles final field to take fourth with an effort of 51.52.

In the 4x100m relay race, Kaneland’s foursome of Kaltrina Ismaili, Allie Heinzer, Olivia Galor and Zick won the field with a time of 51.34 in the finals.

Ismaili, Lesak, Strang and Heinzer managed a fourth for the 4x400m relay finals, thanks to a 4:23.17 time, while Lesak, Jessica Kucera, Clinton and Strang won the 4x800m relay race at 10:17.5

Junior Christina Delach’s second place in the pole vault was due to an effort of eight feet, six inches, while Zick’s 16-9.5 was second in the long jump finals.

Castellanos put in productive field time with a second-place 35-6.25 in the triple jump.

The throwing events were handled quite well by sophomore Elle Tattoni.

The KHS talent took fourth in the shot put at 29-11.25, and claimed the discus mantle at 101-04.

Tattoni was glad to get outdoors for track competition and is seeing what works with plenty of time left in the season.

“I was a little shaky on that first Tuesday meet,” Tattoni said. “Now it’s early in the season and the weather’s warming up, so we should be good. I’m seeing what works and trying some new things.”

The Lady Knights also did battle with host Sycamore on Tuesday and returned home on the wrong end of a 73-63 result.

The Lady Knights head to Ottawa for the ABC Invitational on Friday, April 12, followed by Jenni’s ABC Meet on Saturday, April 13, in Maple Park.

Spring kind to Kaneland athletics in awards season

Photo: Delani Vest capped a stellar senior season for Lady Knights softball by nabbing the NIB-12 MVP honor. File photo

KANELAND—A highly successful 2011-12 spring season was recognized with team awards dished out earlier this week, as well as honors from the end-of-year senior athletic banquet.

Awards were released on June 3.

Leading the charge was sectional semifinalist softball, which boasted the Northern Illinois Big XII MVP in pitcher Delani Vest. Joining the senior on the all-conference list was Paige Kuefler, Hayley Contorno, Allyson O’Herron and McKinzie Mangers, with teammate Lexi Roach an honorable mention.

Vest, Mangers, O’Herron and Sam Hansen were recognized as captains. O’Herron was named defensive player of the year, while Roach was named most improved player. Kuefler and Lanie Callaghan were named co-offensive players of the year, while Contorno and Kristen Gabrielson took home the Lady Knight award.

The senior athletic banquet awards recognized University of Wisconsin-Whitewater bound Sean Carter as Male Athlete of the Year, Kelly Evers as Female Athlete of the Year, Clayton Brundige as the Male Birkette award winner for dedication, and both Evers and Katy Dudzinski as the Female Birkette award for dedication recipient.

For boys track, Carter was named the Track MVP, while Nate Dyer took home the Field MVP honors. Brundige and Brandon Stahl were co-winners of the Drendel Award. Brundige, Carter, Miki Marin, Stahl, Nate Rehkopf, Kelvin Peterson and Mitch Dienst were recognized as captains. Dylan Nauert was named the winner of the Ron Probst award.

Finally, Kaneland’s boys track group of Luis Acosta, Brandon Bishop, Kyle Carter, Sean Carter, Dyer, Shane Jorgensen, Nate Kucera, Nauert, Tanner Andrews, Brandon Cottier, Marshall Farthing, Kory Harner, Conor Johnson, Dylan Pennington, Brundige and Marin were recognized as All NIB-12.

Meanwhile, the 11 State qualifiers were also lauded for their trip to Eastern Illinois University.

For Knights baseball, Tom Fox, Drew Peters, John Hopkins, Trevor Storck, Jake Razo and Tyler Heinle were named to the All NIB-12 team, with Bryan VanBogaert an honorable mention.

VanBogaert, Storck and Ray Barry took home the most improved player nods, and Trever Heinle was the recipient of the 41 Award in memory of Jeff Malewig. Fox was named the offensive MVP and Tyler Heinle was named defensive MVP, with Razo nabbed Mr. Kaneland Baseball for 2012.

The girls track season yielded quite the prestigious awards, with Amanda Lesak, Jessica Kucera, Maggie Brundige, Sydney Strang, Jen Howland, Lauren Zick and Kaltrina Ismaili being recognized as state qualifiers.

Christina Delach, Nicole Ketza, Elle Tattoni, Lesak, Gabby Aguirre, Strang, Zick, Ismaili and Howland also secured Northern Illinois Big XII honors.

Carolina Tovar and Ketza were recognized for their work as captains. Lesak took home the team’s most improved trophy.

The Track MVP honor was given to Strang, while the Field MVP honor went to Tattoni.

Kaneland soccer congratulated Jess Coia, Jordan Ginther, Delaney Stryczek and Katie Taylor for making All NIB-12, while Brittany Olson made the honorable mention list.

Melissa Bohorquez, Ginther, Taylor and Taylor White were recognized as captains, while Brooke Harner was named Most Improved Player for the Lady Knights.

Courtney Diddell and Madi Jurcenko capped impressive campaigns by garnering Rookie of the Year honors.

Taylor Opperman, Heather Ortiz and Stryczek were named winners of the Coach’s Award.

Michelle Ortiz and Olson were named winners of the Lady Knights Award, while the co-MVPs were revealed as Taylor and Ginther.

Girls track sees 2 finalists at 2A State meet

Photo: Sydney Strang was part of Lady Knight relay action during the Class 2A State meet in Charleston, Ill. Courtesy Photo

KANELAND—While it wasn’t on the scale of the final finish in 2011, the Lady Knights track outfit still came out of the weekend at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Ill. with elite totals in terms of the rest of the state.

When the dust settled from the Friday and Saturday meet, the top finishers brandishing Kaneland duds were Sydney Strang and Jen Howland.

Strang, the lone Lady Knight to make it from prelims to finals on the weekend, qualified for the final 800 meter run group with a time of two minutes, 19.29 seconds and finished 11th in the state with a finals time of 2:20.12.

Kelsey Cramsey of Effingham won the event with a time of 2:12.54. Rochelle’s Michelle Dobbs took third with a time of 2:14.33.

Other Lady Knight final competition included Howland competing in the 3200m run and finishing 11th at 11:36 in an event won by Kristen Busch of Freeburg at 10:54.74.

Additional KHS competition in the prelims included the 4x800m relay foursome of Amanda Lesak, Jessica Kucera, Maggie Brundige and Strang finishing tenth in its heat at 10:07.04.
Lauren Zick, after earning a finals berth last year, finished sixth in her prelim heat of the 400m dash at 59.36 seconds, and the 4x400m unit of Lesak, Zick, Strang and Kaltrina Ismaili finished its prelim run in 4:05.53, less than two seconds from qualifying for the finals.

Teamwise, Springfield Southeast won the trophy with 63 points, followed by Walther Lutheran’s 46. Chicago’s Lindblom (38), Freeport (29), Freeburg (27) and Marengo (27) rounded out the top six.

Kaneland says goodbye to seniors Ashley Cottier, Caroline Eichelberger, Kelly Evers, Howland, Christina Janes, Nicole Ketza, Carolina Tovar and Shannon Wallace.

Lady Knights track now Charleston crew

Photo: Just a sophomore, Sydney Strang takes part in three events for the Class 2A State meet beginning on Friday. File photo

Lady Knights track qualifies for State in five events after Sterling meet
by Mike Slodki
STERLING, Ill.—Some might shake their head at a fourth-place showing for a girls track meet.

Kaneland will instead keep running to the campus of Eastern Illinois University, due to exemplary performances.

With the needed qualifying scores in five events, Kaneland has a healthy presence for the Class 2A State finals for girls track, scheduled for Friday through Saturday, May 18-19.

Sydney Strang represents KHS in three events: in the 800m run, the 4×800 meter relay and the 4×400 meter relay. Teammate Lauren Zick goes to the elite meet in both the 400m dash after taking the sectional championship, as well as the 4x400m relay.

Jen Howland paced herself toward a State berth in the 3200m run, while Strang was joined by Amanda Lesak, Maggie Brundige and Jessica Kucera for the qualifying 4x800m relay, and joined Zick, Kaltrina Ismaili and Lesak for the 4x400m relay.

Teamwise, the Lady Knights’ 48 point total was four points better than Burlington Central.

The Pretzel group from Freeport amassed 88 points for first place, followed by Dixon at 80 and Rock Falls 61.

The 2012 output toward State beats last year’s effort, when Brooke Patterson’s pole vault, Zick’s 400m dash, Andie Strang’s 1600m run and the 4x800m relay advanced.

The 4x800m relay saw Strang, Lesak, Brundige and Kucera take fifth with a time of nine minutes, 58.23 seconds, beating the qualifying time by seven seconds.

Brundige was happy to exterminate the injury bug, and produce a State-worthy effort.

“My body’s gotten stronger as I’ve gotten older and through all the training, and I’ve avoided injury this year so it’s going pretty well,” Brundige said.

Meanwhile, Strang returned with a fourth-place gallop in the 800m run with a time of 2:21.23.

“I’ve been really excited and it’s been a lot of fun this year,” Strang said. “I was excited for the competition and knew they would push me to my limit.

The senior Howland is on her way to closing out her high school tenure on a high note after garnering third in the 3200m run with a time of 11:45.37.

Howland is ready to put mind with body for a productive weekend.

“It’s more mind than body in the 3200,” Howland said. “If you tell your brain over and over again, you can do it, it’s a matter of getting in your head.”

The 4x400m foursome of Zick, Strang, Ismaili and Lesak finished a second place at 4:06.99, just .71 behind the Rock Falls winners.

“All the other teammates pushed each other, and it was a lot of fun and hard work in the 800 and 400,” Lesak said.

Zick also showed she continues to be a force to be reckoned with not just in the western suburbs, but in the state, with a sectional championship-worthy 58.84 seconds in the 400m dash.

Last year’s Lady Knight class saw the 4×800 of Andie Strang, Kris Bowen, Zick and Sydney Strang take sixth, while Zick took ninth in the 400m run.

Girls track gets fifth, dual win

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Windy conditions abounded, and whomever emerged from Saturday’s Jenni’s ABC Meet in Maple Park would have to do so by force.

Kaneland girls track would be the fifth-best to do so, behind four capable outfits.

The Ottawa ABC meet on Friday saw KHS earn second place with 190 points, behind Burlington Central’s 225.

With 346.5 points, Huntley took the Jenni’s meet crown.

Kaneland leapfrogged Mercer County, Lemont’s Mt. Assisi Academy and St. Edward to complete the eight-team skirmish.

The Lady Knights saw strong performances, which gave the group encouraging thoughts with the Kane County Invite just two weeks out.

Sydney Strang led the way in the 1600m run “A” race with an effort of five minutes, 25.5 seconds, while Gabby Aguirre took second in the high jump “A” event with a jump of 4-08.

Kaneland had its share of good fortune in other events, thanks to personnel like Elle Tattoni, who threw a 31-05 in the shot put “A” flight for second place to go with an 88-06 discus “C” toss; Jessica Kucera, who ran a 400m dash “B” race in 1:07.9 for second place; and Maggie Brundige, who finished second in the 1600m run “B” flight at 5:44.8.

Lady Knight Shannon Wallace finished second in the pole vault “B” group at 7-06, and Nicole Ketza continued to excel in the field for KHS girls track by winning the shot put “B” group with a heave of 30-10.

Ketza feels she’s having a strong 2012.

“Coach Ecker said to just take one throw at a time and not think about it and not rush,” Ketza said.

Lady Knight Ashley Cottier produced a second-place discus toss with a mark of 84-05. Abby Dodis did well on the track with a 5:50.10, first-place run in the 1600m run “C” race.

In Ottawa, the shot put went well, with Ketza (33-01) and Tattoni (34-06) nabbing firsts in their flights. Wallace took first in her vault with a 7-06 effort, while the foursome of Strang, Jen Howland, Kucera and Amanda Lesak took the reins of the 4x800m relay “A” race at 10:17.90.

Other firsts in Ottawa included Carolina Tovar (14:19.66) and Brundige (12:40.49) in the 3200m run events, along with Rachel Steinmiller in her 100m hurdles try (19.19).

Kaneland took care of Rochelle in dual action on Tuesday, and saw Kaltrina Ismaili (200m dash and 100m dash), Ashley Castellanos (triple jump, long jump) and Ketza (shot, discus) take firsts.