Tag Archives: Kelli Patterson

Ecker steps in for girls track

Photo: Girls track coach Doug Ecker gives pointers on the triple jump at Friday’s practice. Photo by Mike Slodki
by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—After a ninth-place finish in State a year ago, how do you repeat such a fine performance?

Wait and see.

A large part of the stellar finish at 2A State for the Kaneland Lady Knights girls track squad was due in part to Lindsay Gierke, gone off to the University of Northern Iowa. One of the most celebrated girls track athletes in KHS history, Gierke managed a second place in the 100m hurdles, fourth in the 100m dash, third in the 300m hurdles and was a four-year State qualifier.

“We’ve had some great athletes in the past and we’ll miss her points, but a lot of great athletes from last year are gone now, and it’s part of high school,” said KHS coach Doug Ecker.

Also gone from the group is pole vaulter Jordan Pinkston, who finished fifth at State and is competing at Southern Illinois University.

The good news is that 2009-10 allows new faces to step up and take the mantle of postseason success, and not all State qualifiers have left for the college ranks just yet.

One new face is right at the top, as girls cross-country coach Ecker moves up to take the head position, switching places with Pat Sheetz, who moves aside after four decades as head coach.

“There’s really no change,” Ecker said. “Sheetz and I have worked for 23 years; everything’s pretty much the same.”

Ecker has had head track experience in the college ranks and high-school boys track.

Junior Andie Strang looks to go back to Charleston, Ill. for a third go-around after finishing 10th in the 800m run and was part of the 4x800m relay, along with returning teammates Kris Bowen, Kelly Evers and Lisa Roberson. Strang is on the road back from a stress fracture suffered during girls basketball season.

“We’ll see how it is when outdoor season comes. If it’s healed it’s healed, and if it’s not its not. Hopefully she’s back at full strength and we’ll have to see what happens.”

Sara Wallace, a senior, also qualified for State in pole vault and looks to shore up that event.

Ecker stressed a lot of new faces, with accompanying talent to go with them on the roster numbering 50-strong.

“We don’t have any superstars, but we have kids with potential,” Ecker said.

Trying to break into the Lady Knight ranks in the jumping categories is junior Brooke Patterson, fresh off being familiar in the gymnastics realm and the younger sister of graduated trackster Kelli Patterson.

The junior has excelled in the indoor triple jump with a 32 feet mark.

Freshman Ashley Castellanos has done well in the triple and long jump in the initial stages of the season.

“Every team lost superstars, so you’ll have above average girls trying to take spots in the area,” Ecker said, who also said sprinters and vaulters could be crowded headed into the outdoor season.

The 4x800m relay looks to improve on their first go-around to state, but could see an influx of challengers. Ecker mentioned Castellanos and junior Jessica Stouffer having run well, joining a pool of seven or eight additional runners.

Hurdles will see freshmen and sophomores jockey one of Gierke’s specialty events.

Sprinters could put up some decent speed, thanks to representatives like sophomore Jordyn Lawrence.

“We have more depth at sprinters than we’ve had in a while; we just have to remain healthy,” Ecker said.

Senior Hillary Luse will have a chance at pole vault. The shot put and discus has younger lady tracksters looking to make a name for themselves before the outdoor season takes off.

Any Lady Knight that could take fellow athletes by surprise? Ecker mentioned junior Ariana Espino, who is looking for a relay spot, and fellow junior Sydney Billotta.

“They’re healthy and doing better leading up to the season, and both ran cross-country,” Ecker said.

In this, the final campaign for the Western Sun Conference, Ecker mentions Geneva and Batavia rising up despite losing personnel, along with Rochelle.

Freshmen joining the Kaneland girls track roster for 2010 are Gabby Aguirre, Jenna Bicos, Maggie Brundige, Angalia Carbonara, Brianne Claypool, Laken Delahanty, Abby Dodis, Brooke Harner, Lisa Jennings, Amanda Lesak, Sydney Luse, Emily Maki, Kelly McCarthy, Emma Moon, Grace Mozdren, Alyssa Nolte, Katie Ogboukiri and Jessica Woodward.

Sophomores are Tesa Alderman, Ashley Diddell, Kelsey Gould, Nicole Ketza, Savanah Miles, April Smith, Grace Snyder, Meggen Southern, Carolina Tovar and Shannon Wallace.

Juniors are Athina Ajazi, Elizabeth Hylland, Lordan Krawczyk, Keara Palpant, Alyson Rehr, Nicole Rymarz, Briana Stark and Cara Zagel.

Seniors are Elicia DiBella, Tara Groen, Mel Mazuc, Megan Mendoza and Lexie Pniewski.

For the girls, the outdoor season kicks off on Tuesday, April 6, against Burlington Central and Oregon.

The Kane County Meet is at Batavia on Friday, April 30, followed by the final Western Sun Conference meet on Friday, May 7, at Glenbard South.

Fall sports preview: Girls XC sees return of talent

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—With the Lady Knight girls cross country roster getting stopped after a sixth-place finish at the Class 2A Belvidere Sectional a year ago, the group wishes to hold off offseason plans a little later, in to November.

For head coach Doug Ecker and crew, the work for postseason glory begins now, with a return of many of their top runners.

“We return the top five from sectionals, plus Haley Johnson, so it’s six of the top eight, and we have talented freshmen coming in,” Ecker said. “You never know what they’re going to do, but they’ll at least add depth.”

Junior Andie Strang returns, as does sophomores Kelly Evers and Kris Bowen, seniors Lisa Roberson and Shelby Koester.

“The other teams return good people. Our girls can compete and have worked pretty hard and have been consistent this summer,” Ecker said.

Junior Sam Collins and senior Johnson also come back.

Sophomore Jen Howland is not returning in exchange for a go on the national triathalon circuit, and Ali Olson, Laney Deligianis, Chassidy Mangers and Kelli Patterson are gone due to graduation.

Krissy Chapman also makes up the senior side.

Sydney Bilotta, Shaela Collins, Arianna Espino, Liz Hylland, Jessica Stouffer and Bethany Swartz are the juniors.

Sophomores include Ashley Diddell, Jordyn Lawrence, April Smith and Carolina Tovar, while the freshmen are Maggie Brundige, Ashley Castellanos, Abby Dodis and Mikayla Ness.

With depth now on their side, Ecker will try and swat away all challenges, including the injury bug.

“You always get people hurt. Injuries can pop up anytime, and it happens to all teams,” Ecker said.

All that’s left is practice until the starting gun goes off for real.

“Right now, the top five are in good shape. Evers had a good track season and could be considerably better, and Strang is probably our top runner going in,” Ecker said.

The Lady Knights hit Elburn Woods to host West Chicago and Wheaton Academy on Tuesday, Sept. 1. The girls host the Eddington Invite on Saturday, Sept. 19, and the regular season ends with the Western Sun Conference Invite at Rochelle on Saturday, Oct. 17.

KHS hands out year-end awards for athletes

Rose, three others highlight senior banquet
MAPLE PARK—The end of the year awards and spring awards were handed out on June 9, recognizing the year-long effort of Knight athletes.

At the Senior Athletic Banquet awards, Knight awards were handed out to the five three-sport athletes from the class of 2009: Katie Hatch for tennis, basketball and track, Chassidy Mangers for cross country, basketball and softball, Curtis Lubic for golf, basketball and baseball, Chris Ott for football, soccer and basketball and Matt Weaver for cross country, wrestling and track.

The female Birkette award went to Mangers, while the male Birkette award found its way to Lubic.

Sara Rose was named the female athlete of the year at KHS, while Mike Pritchard was named male athlete of the year.

For boys track and field, Logan Markuson took the Track MVP, while Nick Sinon won the Field MVP.

Weaver took the Drendel Award home, and seven captains were recognized in the form of Lucas Ross, Weaver, Brendan McCarthy, Colin Zagel, Hayden Johnson, Paul Davies and Joshua Bloome.

Taylor Andrews won the Ron Probst Award.

The boys track had a glut of Western Sun All-Conference reps in the form of Derek Bus, Johnson, Edgar Valle, Markuson, Andrews, Sinon, Bloome and Matt Reusche.

Markuson, Johnson, Valley, Davies, Sinon, Bloome, Bus, Sean Paulick, Andrews and Tommy Whittaker were also highlighted for qualifying for the State gathering at Eastern Illinois University.

For the soccer squad that earned a berth to the regional title match at Burlington Central, Megan Gil, Sarah Goodrich, Paige Rogers and Bridget Crosby were recognized as captains. Crosby was also named most improved player. Savannah Webb took home the rookie of the year. Shelby Koester and Haley Johnson took the coach’s award, while Colleen Gebauer and Gil won the Lady Knights awards. Emily Heimerdinger was named team MVP. Girls soccer had three members named to the All-WSC roster in the form of Gil, Koester and Heimerdinger.

In the freshman soccer ranks, Haley Garcia was awarded Team Leader, Tatiana Brown took home the most improved honor, while Maggie Ruppel won the team spirit award.

In softball, the best offensive player award went to Jessica Lubic and Andrea Potts.

Brianna Hurst was given the best defensive player award. Rose took home the team MVP award, while Jordan Herra took home the most improved honors after her showing at the plate and in the field.

Erin Heyob, Hurst, Mallory Huml, Rose, Mangers and Herra were honored as captains.

Huml, Rose, Potts, Delani Vest and Lubic also brought home All-WSC honors.

For baseball, Curtis Lubic earned the Mr. Kaneland Baseball award, while Pritchard and Joe Gura took the Offensive MVP awards. Jeff Smith won the Defensive MVP award. Joe Spitzzeri took the 41 award, in honor of late teammate Jeff Malewig. Pritchard, Gura and Smith were named to the All-WSC team.

For girls track, Lindsay Gierke, Lisa Roberson and Andie Strang were given the track MVP award, while Kelli Patterson and Jordan Pinkston were named field MVP’s.

Patterson was honored with the Most Improved award.

Laney Deliginais, Alyssa Galvan, Gierke, Patterson, Roberson, Katie Weiss and Lauren Whittaker took home nods for captain.

Named to the all-conference group for the WSC were Whittaker, Gierke, Patterson and Pinkston.

Gierke, Pinkston, Strang, Roberson, Kris Bowen, Sara Wallace and Kelly Evers were also recognized for their State-going effort.

Girls track gearing up for postseason glory

by Mike Slodki
Friday’s third annual Western Sun Conference girls track meet served as a benchmark for Kaneland before the upcoming postseason sectionals.

At the end of the litmus test, the Lady Knights looked at a third-place tie (70 points), along with Yorkville and Sycamore. Geneva (164.5) took the crown, followed by Batavia (75.5).

Glenbard South took sixth with 47 points, followed by Rochelle at 36 and DeKalb at 25.

The Lady Knights also had a sectional tuneup in Oregon on Tuesday, coming away with several high finishes.

At Geneva, senior Lindsay Gierke saw plenty of action in the finals of several races. The Lady Knight took a second place in the 100 meter dash finals with an effort of 12.43 seconds, just .06 behind Sycamore’s Lake Kwaza. Gierke also finished second in the 100m hurdles at 15.25 seconds. Batavia’s Melissa Norville’s 15.19 took the honors.

Gierke became 200m dash champ with a finals run of 26.0 seconds.

“I felt really good coming out of the 100m today in the prelims.,” Gierke said. “I’ve been working on the 300, but the 100, I feel pretty comfortable.”

The junior varsity side earned a little recognition with a second-place nod for the 4×800 meter relay foursome (11:13.21).

JV entry Jessica Stouffer finished second in the 400m dash with a time of 1:06.93.

Pole vaulter Jordan Pinkston worked on her postseason trajectory by nailing a second place finish with a 9 foot, six inch entry.

Kaneland’s Nicole Ketza won the JV discus throw with a mark of 90-1, more than three feet better than Glenbard South’s Marcy Rudins.

KHS teammate Katie Bergman finished second in the JV pole vault at eight feet.

Gierke schooled the rest of the field at the 12-team Oregon meet with a 15.44 second time in the 100m hurdles, good for first place.

Gierke also won first in the 300m low hurdles at 48.67.

The 3200m relay contingent of Laney Deligianis, Stouffer, Andie Strang and Lisa Roberson won first with a final time of 10:35.81.

Freshman Kelly Evers won second in the 800m run at 2:38.09.

Kelli Patterson took third in the long jump at 14-2.5.

Pinkston finished second in the pole vault at nine feet, while Sara Wallace finished third.

Alyssa Galvan was third in the shot put with a mark of 30-6.5.

Patterson also became triple jump winner with a 32-6 effort, but says she wishes to up the ante in all of her field events.

“I kind of hit a slump in the high jump for a couple weeks, and I fixed everything and ironed some stuff out; and same thing with my triple jumping,” Patterson said on Friday.

The Sectional challenge for the Lady Knights lies in Sterling at the home of the Golden Warriors on Friday, May 15, at 4 p.m.

The 2A gathering also features teams like Burlington Central, Dixon, Hampshire, LaSalle-Peru, Ottawa, Rochelle, Sandwich, Sycamore and Yorkville.

Photo: Senior Jordan Pinkston readies for liftoff during Friday’s Western Sun Conference meet at Geneva High School. Pinkston finished second overall with a 9-6 in the finals. Photo by Ben Draper

Kaneland’s Gierke snatches two firsts at Sycamore

Looks like the mini-layoff for KHS girls track got out of its system in a hurry.

With the annual Kane County Meet shelved in Batavia due to the closing of the school, thanks to H1N1 virus prevention, the girls’ track squad hadn’t seen competition since May 5.

With a meet at Yorkville vs. the Lady Foxes and Sycamore, the Lady Knights continued to tune up for a competitive Sterling Sectional in a little over a week with a close second-place finish in Kendall County on Tuesday. Kaneland had 73 points, compared to Sycamore’s 74 and Yorkville’s 35.

Garnering first places were senior Lindsay Gierke in the 300 meter intermediate hurdles (48.39 seconds) and the 110m high hurdles (15.54) and the 4x400m relay foursome, who hit the finish line in 4:29.71.

Lady Knight Andie Strang also picked up a first-place nod in the 800m run thanks to a time of 2:25.51, and the 4x100m relay team’s 54.31 time took the top crown on Tuesday.

Sara Wallace’s 8 feet, six inches effort in the pole vault brought home a first for Kaneland in the pole vault, and Kelli Patterson guarded her triple jump turf with a first, thanks to a 32-10.5 jump.

The Lady Knights also got several second places like Brianna Stark in the triple jump (30-10.5), Alyssa Galvan in the shot put (32-4), Lauren Whittaker in the discus (98-9), Grace Snyder in the 110m high hurdles (21.17), Lisa Roberson in the 800m run (2:26.69) and the 4×200 contingent (1:59.03).

Coming up
The Lady Knights program heads to the usual Western Sun Conference meet stop at Geneva High School on Friday, May 8, followed by a Pre-Sectional Invite taking place at Big Northern Conference stalwart Oregon High School on Tuesday, May 12.

Photo: Sophomores Ashley Diddell (left) and Grace Synder run the 100m hurdles at Tuesday’s triangular at Sycamore with Yorkville. Kaneland placed second with 73 points, one behind Sycamore’s 74. Yorkville placed third with 35 points. Photo by Ben Draper

KHS shows talent at Dixon, Glenbard S.

by Mike Slodki
With the temperature finally rising in the area, Kaneland High School girls track seems to be taking that as a cue.

The first-place honors are becoming more frequent, and the Lady Knights have a bit of momentum entering the prestigious Kane County Meet on Friday in Batavia.

Last Wednesday had the Lady Knights edged by just one point in a 72-71 loss to Glenbard South.

Friday saw Kaneland compete at its usual late-April stop, the Dixon Relays.

Against the host Raiders, Lauren Whittaker’s discus effort of 97 feet was good enough for first.

Teammate Kelli Patterson enjoyed three firsts on the day. The senior hit a 4-8 in the high jump, a 15-3 in the long jump and a 33-3.5 in the triple jump.

Jordan Pinkston was tops in the pole vault thanks to a 9-6 effort.

The Lady Knights also took first in the 4×800 relay thanks to a 11 minute, 5.7 seconds effort from their foursome.

s 15.4 second 100m high hurdles time was good for first place, as was her 48.7 second 300m intermediate hurdles time.

Kelly Evers, who ran a 5:53 1600m run, won the event.

In the 10-team Dixon Relays, the Lady Knights were fourth-best on the evening with 64 points. Machesney Park’s Harlem High School was first with 86, followed by Western Sun Conference mainstay Rochelle (73) and Moline (65).

First places by Kaneland were achieved in the pole vault, thanks to the efforts of Pinkston, Sara Wallace and Katie Bergman, and the varsity 3200m relay.

The vaulters hit a combined 27 feet, while the long-distance foursome of Lisa Roberson, Andie Strang, Laney Deligianis and Evers finished in 10:11.

Kaneland’s frosh/soph 400m relay took third in 54.04 seconds, and the F/S 3200m relay finished in 10:49, good for second.

“As of today this was the first time I didn’t hit 9 feet on my first attempt this season, so that kind of upset me, but I was hoping for a top finish because some of the girls here went to indoor State,” Pinkson said.

KHS coach Pat Sheetz saw the 3200m first-place finish in the works already, which happened as Strang pulled away in the anchor leg.

“They were posting great times, their best of the year, and it was a matter of continuing to work,” Sheetz said. “They’ll get better and better as we head toward Sectionals.”

“I just go out and try to get a lead for the rest of my team; if need be they have the lead to fall back on,” Roberson said.

Strang felt no added pressure being the last hope for the Lady Knights in the event.

“I don’t think I had any more pressure than any of the other girls; we ran what we needed to,” Strang said. “I just did what I had to do to catch up to the Geneseo girl.”

In the mile team race, Kaneland finished second with a cumulative time of 20 minutes.

In the unique throwers relay, Kaneland’s 58.66 time was enough for second place.

After the Kane County meet this Friday, the girls travel along with Yorkville to Sycamore on Tuesday, May 5.

Girls track shows talent at Jenni’s ABC

Kaneland High School girls track spent its Saturday winning.

The Lady Knights squad hit a stride in a well-spent showing in its own Jenni’s ABC Invite in Maple Park. The meet returned after a one-year layoff due to less-than-favorable conditions in 2009.

KHS had a 354 point total to take the invite crown while Huntley took second with 319 points. Rockford Boylan finished third in the seven-team group at 306 points.

Team anchor Lindsay Gierke took home four first places, beginning with her 100 meter dash “A” heat showing. The senior blazed to a 13.16 seconds finish, and followed that up with a 200m dash “B” first of 26.5 seconds. Gierke then won the 300m intermediate hurdles “A” race at 48.83 seconds, and also won the 100m intermediate hurdles challenge at 15.77 seconds.

Teammate Lisa Roberson continued her strong season with a first in the 800m run “A” (2:26.89) and a first place in the 1600m run “B” (5:45.61).

Andie Strang nabbed herself a first-place showing in the 800m run “B” with a time of 2:29.17 and took a second in the 1600m “A” at 5:35.17.

Kelly Evers’ effort consisted of a first in the 3200m run “A” at 12:24.84 and a first in the high jump “A” with a mark of four feet, four inches.

Kelli Patterson finished second in the high jump “B” with an effort of 4-6 and in the triple jump “A” at 31-10.5.

Brianna Stark took home a second place in the long jump “B” grouping with an effort of 14-1, and also won second in the triple jump “B” at 30-6.

Athina Ajazi had a second-place effort in the 400m dash “C” with a time of 1:10.96. The discus was supported by Kathleen Kuhar in “B” at 74-9, good for first, and second-place Katie Weiss in “C” at 72-9.

Kris Bowen won first in the 800m run “C” with a run of 2:37.11. In the pole vault event, asset Jordan Pinkson vaulted to a 9-6 and a first in “A” and Sara Wallace managed an 8-0 and a first in the “B” group.

Lindsay Douglas won first in the long jump “C” heat with a 14-0 jump. In the 300 intermediate hurdles “B”, Ashley Augusty took second at 55.11 seconds. The 4x400m relay “B” team won second at 4:38.87 and Kelsey Gould threw a 27-6 in the shot put “C”.

The Kaneland girls track roster is set to participate in the Dixon Relays on Friday, April 24.

Photo: Lady Knight Lindsay Douglas competes in the Long Jump at Saturday’s Jenni’s ABC Meet at Kaneland High School. Kaneland won the meet with 354 points, outdistancing Huntley (319) and Boylan (306). Photo by Ben Draper

Spring Sports Preview: Lady Knights track off to running start

by Mike Slodki
For the 2009 season, Kaneland girls track has a slew of returning athletes, some whom have seen State action.

That’s good news for the Lady Knights program, and downright scary for opposing teams.

Pat Sheetz, in his 32nd year of heading the girls program, has 45 athletes that have worked out the kinks in the indoor season and are ready to tackle the outdoor campaign head on.

“We have a pretty good idea where people fit, and in other spots, people will separate themselves and we’ll see what our lineup is as the season goes on,” Sheetz said.

Any discussion of the Kaneland track program needs to start with University of Northern Iowa-signee and three-time State qualifier Lindsay Gierke. Gierke qualified in the 200m hurdles and 100m hurdles.

“I think she’ll be way better than last year,” Sheetz said. “She can do the job and she’ll have no problem hitting the times she wants to hit.”

Sophomore Andie Strang returns after having qualified for the 800m run a year ago.

“The talent is there, and the toughness is there in how she approaches things,” Sheetz said about Strang.

Looking to make things happen in the distance ranks for the Lady Knights are personnel like Lisa Roberson, who’s “doing real well so far, and we’re expecting even more out of her,” Sheetz said. Kris Bowen also looks to make an impact in the distance events, allowing with freshman Kelly Evers, Laney Deligianis, Carolina Tovar, Jessica Stouffer, Brianna Stark and Jordan Krawczyk.

Maggie Dawe and Sydney Billotta will also get their chances at distance and sprints, if needed. Gierke, Krissy Chapman, Mackenzie Curran and Bilotta work the sprints, while new personnel like Tesa Alderman, Arianna Espino and freshman Jordyn Lawrence also look to get their shot in that category.

The relays are up for grabs. “We’re playing around with options, we have seven kids that could be thrown in there, just a matter of how they progress,” Sheetz said.

Strang and Roberson were among those who saw time last year in the relays.

The field events see girls like Jordan Pinkston in the pole vault. Pinkston, who has reached 9 feet, 9 inches in the pole vault in the indoor season, qualified for the indoor State meet in Bloomington. Sara Wallace, Katie Bergman, Taylor Olson and Shannon Wallace also look to make a mark in the vault.

Newcomer Lindsay Douglas, Kelli Patterson and Stark could see time at the triple jump, with Patterson trying her hand the high and long jump.

Fifteen throwers fill the Lady Knights roster including returnee Alyssa Galvan. Lauren Whittaker and Katie Weiss also bring needed experience to the shot and discus. Newcomers to the event are senior Kathleen Kuhar, Mel Mazuc, Keara Palpant and Nicole Ketza. Kelsey Gould, Elicia Dibella, Deva Shamely and Erin Hanold will get their shot at various events, as well. Other members looking for their shot are Athina Ajazi, Ashley Augusty, Amelia Napiorkowski, Lexie Pniewski, Grace Snyder, Meggen Southern, and Julia Wittbrodt.

Improvement will bring about team-wide success.

“I can see us really improving in all events. We’re just putting everything together and putting people in the right events, and it’ll take care of themselves.