Tag Archives: Kris Bowen

Girls XC looks to better health for success

Photo: Abby Dodis looks to provide a spark with her talent for Kaneland girls cross-country. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It’s been ideal running weather in mid-August.

Good enough for KHS coach Doug Ecker and the Lady Knights cross-country team to take advantage of.

“So far we’ve been pretty healthy,” Ecker said. “They’ve worked real hard and done a lot of strengthening. Hopefully we’ll stay away from the injuries and sickness that has plagued some of these girls the last three years.”

With the exception of junior all-conference selection Ashley Castellanos’ stress fracture and junior Abby Dodis’ hip injury, the squad can make up for key departures.

“Abby is looking good so far, and Ashley is a competitor. When the time comes, they’ll be ready to race,” Ecker said.

Former State-qualifier Andie Strang and Kris Bowen depart for the university settings, and last-year’s 51st-best runner in Class 2A, Jen Howland, graduated early.

“Three of our top six runners were out at the end of the year, and we still managed to finish fourth in conference and sixth in Sectionals. When they’re healthy, they’re a pretty formidable group,” Ecker said.

Key returnees include Sydney Strang, a sophomore, who is hot off a productive track campaign in the spring, and recovered from injuries.

The Lady Knights will also be looking toward Maggie Brundige for exceptional times, as well.

Ecker also noted select freshmen who have looked like Lady Knight contributors.

“Victoria Clinton and Aislinn Ludwig have worked hard and are looking good right now,” Ecker said.

Clinton comes off of an exceptional middle school career and also the triathlon circuit.

The lone senior on the squad is returnee Carolina Tovar.

“Even though it seems like we lost a lot, we’ll be fine as far as experience goes,” Ecker said.

The 2011 campaign kicks off on Tuesday, Aug. 30, against West Chicago and Wheaton Academy at Elburn Woods, while the first Northern Illinois Big XII taste happens a week later against the Yorkville Lady Foxes and East Aurora.

“Yorkville is the cream of the crop, Dixon is very talented and Geneseo is very good—all very good programs, and I think without the health issues we’ve faced we’ll do well,” Ecker said.

KHS spring sports awards put fitting cap on 2010-11

KANELAND—Coming a little later due to the storybook run of Kaneland baseball, KHS released its spring sports awards for 2010-11, highlighting a successful first step into Northern Illinois Big XII play.

In girls track, Lauren Zick and Andie Strang took home the co-MVP for track, while Brooke Patterson was named MVP on the field end. For most improved, Abby Dodis and Briana Stark took home the honor.

Sydney Bilotta, Strang, Kris Bowen, Jessica Stouffer and Keara Palpant were recognized as captains.

Zick and Patterson were joined by Gabby Aguirre as part of the Northern Illinois Big XII (NIB-12) All-Conference squad. Strang (1600 meter run, 4x800m relay), Bowen (4x800m relay), Patterson (pole vault), Sydney Strang (4x800m relay) and Zick (400m dash, 4x800m relay) were also recognized for their State trip.

For boys track, Taylor Andrews and Tommy Whittaker were named track MVP’s, while teammate Matt Spitzzeri took the field MVP. Curtis Secrest was given the Drendel Award.

Secrest, Trevor Holm, Whittaker, Andrews, Matt Cowans and Spitzzeri were recognized as captains, and Kory Harner took the Ron Probst Award.

The NIB-12 also named Andrews, Spitzzeri, Whittaker, Holm, Brandon Cottier, Mickey Marin and Jesse Balluff as part of the All-Conference squad.

Harner, Marin, Luis Acosta, Clayton Brundige, Balluff, Brandon Bishop, Dylan Nauert, Sean Carter, Holm, Cottier, Whittaker, Andrews and Secrest were all recognized for their State qualifying efforts.

In soccer, Emily Heimerdinger secured an All-State honor, capping her four-year output in style, while also named the NIB-12 MVP. The Class of 2011 member was also named co-MVP for the Lady Knights with teammate Amy Fabrizius.

Conference-wide, Heimerdinger, Fabrizius, Sophia Blank and Sam Wantuch were named to the All-Conference team.

Katie Taylor earned the Lady Knights Award, while Blank took home the Coach’s Award.

Keeper Michelle Ortiz was named Rookie of the Year, while Wantuch was named Most Improved Player for the roster that made it to the regional championship. Blank, Fabrizius, Heimerdinger and Taylor were also recognized as captains.

In softball, McKinzie Mangers and Andrea Potts were recognized as captains, while Allyson O’Herron took home the Lady Knight Award.

Potts was also named the Offensive Player of the Year.

Alexis Villarreal was named Most Improved Player for her efforts on the mound, and teammate Rilee Vest was named Defensive Player of the Year for the Lady Knights softball unit.

Additionally, Potts was a unanimous selection to the NIB-12 All-Conference team as an infielder. Vest and Katy Dudzinski were named as honorable mention candidates.

For the State Champion Knights baseball program, Bobby Thorson was named team Offensive MVP.

Kyle Davidson, Jake Razo and Brian Dixon took the Defensive MVP awards, and Dixon, Razo and Tyler Heinle were named Most Improved Players.

The No. 41 award was given to Sam Komel, Corey Landers and Dixon.

Mr. Kaneland Baseball was given out to the whole of the 2011 Class 3A State winners.

Additionally, Kaneland held the Senior Athletic Banquet Awards in June, giving the Knight Award for three-sport athletes to Stouffer, Strang and Davidson.

Strang was named female athlete of the year, while Andrews was named male athlete of the year. Strang also won the female Birkette Award, while the male Birkette Award went to Curtis Secrest.

‘Grand’ accomplishment


The Kaneland Sports Boosters offer four $1,000 scholarships to graduating seniors each year. The student write an essay with the theme “Lessons learned in victory and defeat”. These scholarships were awarded at the Senior Athletic Banquet sponsored by the boosters and the athletic office on May 25th. The winners this year were: (from left) Curtis Secrest, Andrea Strang, Kristina Bowen and Trevor Holm. Courtesy Photo

4x800m relay, Zick lead good times at State

Photo: Lauren Zick tries to outrun the field in the 400 meter dash prelims on Friday at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Ill. Zick, who ran a 58.58 seconds time in the prelims, was a finalist and finished ninth in the Class 2A State finals. Photo by Ben Draper

CHARLESTON—By the very nature of the State meet, athletes need a certain level of performance to even be part of the collision of talent at Eastern Illinois University.

So Kaneland’s girls track faithful could be confident that the four events featuring the Lady Knights would have the potential for good things.

As it shook out, two events yielded finalists, putting the cap on 2010-2011 girls track.

The 4×800 meter relay squad of seniors Andie Strang and Kris Bowen, and freshmen Sydney Strang and Lauren Zick finished sixth in Class 2A State competition, after a finals effort of 9 minutes, 37.49 seconds.

Meanwhile, Kaneland’s other finals action came courtesy of Zick. The freshman phenom finished ninth in the 400m dash finals with a time of 59.76 seconds.

In team standings, your Class 2A champions are Springfield Southeast with 50 points, one point better than Chicago’s Morgan Park Academy. Springfield was third with 45 points, and Kankakee was fourth with a total of 32. Northern Illinois Big XII rep Rochelle was fifth with 29 points.

The 4×800 crew lost on a tiebreaker for fifth place with Mahomet-Seymour’s team, but edged Hampshire by 1.26 seconds.

Yorkville’s unit took the event with a time of 9:17.32.

In the Friday preliminaries, Kaneland won its heat with a time of 9:41.78, beating Effingham’s crew by 1.69 seconds.

In the 400m dash, Zick was .33 behind Mahomet-Seymour’s Jessica Melchi. Shamier Little of Chicago’s Lindblom High School took the medal with a time of 54.85 seconds. Ottawa’s Alex Ortiz was fourth in 57.40 and Sycamore’s Lake Kwaza was sixth at 59.22.

Zick took third in her preliminary heat with a time of 58.58.

In the pole vault, State qualifier Brooke Patterson vaulted to 10 feet, with the qualifiying mark having to be 10-06. A year ago, Patterson finished 10th overall. Pontiac’s Emily Grove won the event with a 12-06.

Finally, Andie Strang had solo time in the 1600m run, finishing in 5:20.06, 3.1 seconds off the closest qualifying time for finals. Woodstock’s Kayla Beattie’s 4:43.65 was good for the State crown.

With the end of the season, KHS girls track says goodbye to seniors Athina Ajazi, Sydney Bilotta, Bowen, Mackenzie Curran, Ariana Espino, Liz Hylland, Jordan Krawczyk, Keara Palpant, Patterson, Alyson Rehr, Nicole Rymarz, Briana Stark, Jessica Stouffer, Strang and Cara Zagel.

Four-midable outing for Lady Knights track at Sectional

Photo: Brooke Patterson manages to clear the bar during Thursday’s Class 2A Track Sectional in Ottawa, Ill. Patterson helped the Lady Knights qualify for State in four events for this weekend at Eastern Illinois University. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
OTTAWA—KHS girls track followers will have four reasons to visit Charleston, Ill., this May.

With an eighth-place showing at this past Thursday’s Class 2A Sectional at Ottawa Townahip High School, Kaneland girls track saw a State Qualifiying effort in four separate events on Thursday, and will be sending six girls to the IHSA State Final on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.

Senior Brooke Patterson qualified in the pole vault with a third-place finish.

“Brooke has gotten better technique-wise at the pole vault,” KHS coach Doug Ecker said. “She’s been a lot more consistent.”

The 4×800 meter relay unit of senior Kris Bowen, senior Andie Strang, freshman Sydney Strang and Zick finished fourth, good enough for State qualification.

Meanwhile, the elder Strang returns to the State gathering once again after a fourth-place nod in the 1600m run.

Freshman Lauren Zick qualified in the 400 meter dash with a third-place finish.

In the finals, Zick finished in 59.96 seconds, one of four girls to qualify for State.

“I’m excited that it’s going to be tough competition,” Zick said. “I know it’s going to be really hard to do well. If I’m going to do well, I’ll know I’ll have to work really hard at these practices this week.”

Sycamore’s Lake Kwaza won the event at 57.87 seconds, while Ottawa’s Alex Ortiz finished second in 58.62.

Strang’s 5:21.33 time in the 1600m run made her fourth out of seven qualifiers, with Yorkville junior Ali Hester’s 5:13.97 taking the cake.

Patterson continues the long line of noteworthy KHS pole vaulters that includes Sara Wallace, Jordan Pinkston and Michelle Hannemann, among others, after being one of six qualifiers.

The senior vaulted 10 feet, six inches.

“This year I have more experience and I’m not as nervous. My goal is to get top-five,” Patterson said.

Rochelle’s Taylor Jenkins vaulted 11 feet.

Finally, in the lone relay qualifier, Kaneland’s gang of four ran the track in 9:51.49, just .22 seconds behind third-place Yorkville. Seven qualifers in the event are headed to Charleston.

“There was a lot more knowledge and experience going into the meet,” Bowen said. “I knew what to expect. Last year, we were disappointed in not making finals. This year, we wanted to get back there and improve.”

The younger Strang is ready to contribute on the State scale.

“The other girls really helped me a lot and led by example,” Strang said. “I think I’m the same runner as before, just improved a little health-wise.”

Teamwise, Rochelle was tops with 69.5 points, followed by Burlington Central’s 65 points. Sycamore finished third with 59, as did Marengo, and Hampshire rounded out the top five with 58. Yorkville (50) and Sterling (46) edged Kaneland.

One year ago, Kaneland qualified for State in the long jump, pole vault, triple jump, 4x800m relay and 800m run.

Zick, Aguirre, Patterson lift girls track to third in NIB-12

KANELAND—With top-tier finishes on Friday during Kaneland’s venture into the first-ever Northern Illinois Big XII Conference girls track meet, what else could make it a memorable evening?

How about the meet being so big it needed to finish at Sycamore High School?

While the meet actually had to move to SHS due to the Peterson Field lights being unable to turn on at dusk, the final tallies for Kaneland and several other squads were enough to make the night noteworthy.

Kaneland’s 152.5 point total was good enough for third place, while Geneseo’s 247 point total was a clear conference winner. Fellow West Division school Sterling was second at 175.5. Dixon and Rochelle rounded out the top five with 147 and 143 points, respectively.

Ottawa (118.66), Yorkville (101), Sycamore (98), DeKalb (87), Morris (41.33), Streator (41) and LaSalle-Peru (25) filled in the last seven slots.

KHS freshman Lauren Zick’s positive trajectory showed no signs of letting up, as she placed second in the competitive 100 meter dash finals with a time of 12.85 seconds, second only to Sycamore’s Lake Kwaza at 12.22.

Zick also finished fourth in the 200m dash finals with a time of 26.80. Kwaza also took that event with a 24.80 time.

Not finished, the Lady Knight freshman phenom found herself in third place with a 59.90 mark in the 400m dash finals.

In the 4x400m relay encounter, KHS finished third with a time of 4:20.69.

The Lady Knight relay unit of Andie Strang, Kris Bowen, Jess Stouffer and Sydney Strang finished second in the 4x800m race with a result of 9:58.36.

The field categories featured standout performances from high jumper Gabby Aguirre, who left the meet conference champ with a jump of five feet.

Brooke Patterson also took the NIB-12 title in the pole vault with an effort of 10 feet, as well as a third place in the triple jump at 35-01.

Zick was heard from yet again with a third-place long jump mark of 16-11.

Kaneland shall see where its postseason fortunes lay, as it hits the IHSA Class 2A Sectional hosted by Ottawa on Thursday, May 12.

3rd place a charm for Lady Knights at Dixon

Photo: Kaneland’s Sydney Luse does her best to deal with windy conditions on her way to third place during Tuesday’s 76-59 dual win over visiting DeKalb. Photo by Mike Slodki

KANELAND—Lady Knights girls track had themselves a productive Thursday to lead into their Good Friday weekend.

With 68 points amassed as a team, Kaneland finished third in the annual Dixon Relays Invite in Dixon, Ill. Geneseo (79) and Sterling (77) made sure the top three teams were Northern Illinois Big XII-bred. Other NIB-12 schools included Rochelle in a fifth-place tie with the host Duchesses at 53 points, and Ottawa in ninth place with 17 points.

Kaneland followed that up with a 76-59 dual win over visiting DeKalb High School on Tuesday.

Accolades came often for the Lady Knights in the former NCIC territory, just in time with the girls track regular season near its homestretch.

Kaneland’s Brianna Stark had a top-tier Thursday, earning first place in the long jump finals at 46-10.75, and first in the triple jump final at 100-01.75.

KHS also earned a winning nod in the frosh-soph 4x400m relay. Ashley Castellanos, Amanda Lesak, Sydney Strang and Lauren Zick’s effort of 4:20.07 beat Sterling’s foursome by 8.4 seconds.

Kaneland’s varsity unit of Kris Bowen, Jess Stouffer, Andie and Sydney Strang took second in the 4x800m relay with a clip of 9:53.92 minutes.

Bowen also produced in the 1600m run, earning second with a time of 5:53.

Another second-place finish for the Lady Knights came from Sydney Billotta, Castellanos, Rachel Steinmiller and Zick in the 4x200m relay, finishing in 1:49.82.

Kaneland’s 4x100m weights relay event foursome was second thanks to a 58.35 seconds finish from Kelsey Gould, Christina Janes, Nicole Ketza and Keara Palpant.

At Peterson Field under threatening skies, first places abounded. Brooke Patterson’s triple jump was tops at 34-5.5, as well as her pole vault try (10-06). Gabby Aguirre’s five-foot high jump was enough to win. Zick took the 800m run event at 2:28.44, as well as the long jump at 17-02.75, not to mention the 200m event in 26.29 seconds. Nicole Ketza won the shot put with an effort of 29-03.

Amanda Lesak helped the Kaneland cause with a winning 300m low hurdles output of 54.66 seconds.

This Friday, April 29, brings the annual Kane County Meet, taking place this year at Streamwood’s Millenium Field.

Third-place at Jenni’s ABC for KHS

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—For a top-three finish, ideal elements evidently don’t matter.

Kaneland rallied against wind and cold, amassing 288 team points in the annual Jenni’s ABC Meet at Peterson Field in Maple Park.

Huntley took the event with a 363-point total, followed by Rockford Boylan High School at 306. The Lady Knights were ahead of Rosary (250) and Rock Falls (172). Mt. Assisi Academy of Lemont was sixth at 59 points, while Mercer County High School was seventh at 57.

Freshman asset Lauren Zick was tops for the Lady Knights in the 100 meter dash A flight with a time of 12.6 seconds, .2 seconds ahead of Huntley’s Taylor Schau.

In the 200m dash A group, Ashley Castellanos took second with a time of 27.3.

Senior Andie Strang was first in the 800m run A group at 2:28.5, 3.5 seconds ahead of the pack.

Kris Bowen took third in the 1600m A race at 5:53.7, running through winter-like conditions.

“It’s not the greatest weather, but everyone has to run in this. It’s just about seeing who’s the fastest and who’s the toughest,” Bowen said.

Sydney Luse finished second in the 100m hurdles A at 18.10 seconds, while the 4x100m relay team (Sydney Bilotta, Castellanos, Brooke Patterson and Zick) won the A relay at 52.20.

The foursome also finished second in the 4x200m relay A race in 1:50.

Field events saw Gabby Aguirre take second in the high jump A flight at 4 feet, eight inches.

Zick took the long jump A group with a jump of 16-09.

Patterson won the triple jump A event with a final effort of 33-5.25.

In the 800m run B race, Sydney Strang won in 2:31.4, while teammates Ashley Diddell, Luse, Brianna Stark and Rachel Steinmiller took second in the 4x100m relay B race.

4x400m relay B accolades went to KHS with a win by Athina Ajazi, Lisa Jennings, Amanda Lesak and Savanah Miles in 4:42.10.

Castellanos topped the triple jump B category with a jump of 32-2.5.

Ahead for KHS is the usual Dixon Relays stop, but on an unusual day: Thursday, April 21, at 4:30 p.m.

Ecker’s crew has young, old as formula for success

Photo: Andie Strang has established herself as a threat at any distance and looks to finish her Kaneland tenure with a flourish. Photo by Linda Bell

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Here comes Lady Knights track.

If the early practice sessions and indoor season were any indicator, many a girl in KHS garb will be finishing quite well in 2011 races.

Second-year head coach Doug Ecker is eager to see what the large roster can do, with a mostly healthy lineup.

“The indoor season was encouraging,” Ecker said. “The most encouraging thing is all the distance runners are healthy and we’ve been consistent,” Ecker said. “When we get outside, we’ll have to have a little more depth.”

So far, the three big names to pop up are senior Andie Strang in the distance and relay events, senior Brooke Patterson in pole vault and triple jump and freshman Lauren Zick in sprints and long jump.

“We knew Lauren was fast, she has the temperament and she’ll do what the coaches ask her to do. She listens well,” Ecker said.

Sophomore and state qualifier Ashley Castellanos has excelled in the jumps, as well.

Gabby Aguirre returns and looks to make a mark in the jumps.

With a Division II career ahead of her, Strang is ready to go for the distance events, but Ecker believes a challenge lays ahead.

“This conference is going to be brutal for distance. She can run extremely well one meet and get fifth in the mile. You have so many good distance runners,” Ecker said.

Sydney Strang and Kris Bowen also look to add to the distance ranks for Kaneland.

For relays, the 4x800m team could be in store for big finishes. The Strang sisters, Bowen and Castellanos, will all see time in that event along with Jessica Stouffer. The 4x200m has Sydney Bilotta and Ariana Espino ready to go with Patterson.

Kaneland looks to continue the pole vault excellence.

“Brooke is very good and works very hard, and Sydney Luse has worked very hard, and Shannon Wallace will give us some depth, too,” Ecker said.

Junior Nicole Ketza looks to rise in the weight events after a good late-season run.

Kaneland is still looking for young hurdlers to take the reins in that event.

The stronger each event is, the better for the Lady Knights in the new Northern Illinois Big XII scheme.

“Our conference is maybe one of the better conferences in the state. You throw in every event, we are really solid,” Ecker said.

Lady Knights take third in Rockton

Photo: Ashley Castellanos, shown here in recent indoor action, took home a sixth place in the triple jump at the Hononegah Girls Indoor Classic. File Photo

ROCKTON, Ill.—Here’s a way to measure your early-season progress in girls’ track: Compete at a 24-team Track Classic.

Here’s a way to be happy about your early-season progress: Finish third in said 24-team Track Classic.

The Lady Knights continued on their indoor track slate on Friday in Rockton, Ill., at the Hononegah Girls Indoor Classic.

West Aurora won the meet with 102 points, followed by Downers Grove North at 74.5. Kaneland had 59 points, edging Lake Park with 56, and Vernon Hills rounded out the top five at 52.5.

For Kaneland, Brooke Patterson enjoyed a monopoly on first place in her solo events, the pole vault and triple jump.

The senior vaulted a 10 foot, six inch distance and won the triple jump by two inches with a mark of 33-7.25.

Second-places were gathered by Lauren Zick in the 400 meter dash (1:02.40) and by the 4x800m relay squad of Kris Bowen, Ashley Castellanos, Andie Strang and Sydney Strang, with a time of 10:23.91.

Third-places went to the freshman Zick in the 200m dash with an effort of 27.55 seconds.

In the distance medley, fourth place went to the unit of Bowen, Maggie Brundige, Abby Dodis and Jessica Stouffer, running in 14:15.59.

Fifth place for Kaneland was secured in the 4x400m relay, thanks to a 4:30.76 finish by Sydney Bilotta, Castellanos, Ariana Espino and Patterson.

The Lady Knights also added a couple of sixth places to their early indoor season coffers, in the form of a 55m dash time of 7.76 seconds by Zick.

In a solo effort, Castellanos took sixth in the triple jump at 31-11.25.

Finally, Andie Strang wrangled seventh place in the 1600m run with a time of 5:38.58.

Saturday, March 12, brings the Byron Indoor Invitational on the KHS docket, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Girls basketball ride stopped by group of Warriors

Photo: Kaneland’s Emma Bradford shows maximum effort toward the hoop during the 30-27 loss to Wheaton Academy on Monday. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—The Lady Knights saw their regular season end on Thursday in Rochelle by a final of 61-52, and then with a 30-27 loss on Monday at St. Francis High School in Wheaton, Ill., saw their playoff quest come to an end.

With the 30-27 loss to Wheaton Academy in the St. Francis Regional, Kaneland’s season ended at 13-16, its best end mark since 2007. Wheaton Academy was set to face Montini Catholic on Wednesday at St. Francis High School as of press time.

But the opportunities seemed to be there for the taking. The problem was finishing those opportunities.

The Lady Knights, who also were eliminated by the Warriors four years ago, were just 10-for-50 from the field, and six-for-25 from the charity stripe.

Notwithstanding, the Lady Knights were still leading the hotly contested game in the fourth quarter, and led as late as two minutes, one second left in regulation.

“We were right there,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “We’ve been shooting like 63 percent on the season for free throws, and we come in and go (six-for-25), it just seemed like the whole team was tense on their shots today. First half, I just thought it’s the jitters and we’ll get over it.”

The Lady Knights’ largest lead in the game was just four points, but took the lead late on an Evers foul shot, 26-25, with 121 ticks left to play.

Wheaton Academy then proceeded to make four consecutive free throws to take a 29-26 lead with 1:27 left. Two attempts at three-pointers went unsuccessful, but Emma Bradford eventually hit the back end of two foul shot attempts with 16.8 seconds left to cut the lead to two.

When Allyson Witt (15 points) hit the first of two shots with 13.1 ticks left to make it 30-27, KHS set the final possession in motion with a chance to tie to no avail.

In the early outset of the contest, Andie Strang’s three-pointer and an Alderman bucket gave Kaneland an early 8-4 lead before Wheaton Academy tied it at 8 before the end of the quarter. Bradford’s offensive putback with 2:49 left in the half gave KHS a 14-13 lead. However, Bradford’s shot would be the only one made out of 21 attempts from the second to third frames. Alderman’s basket with 2:30 left in the third broke the drought and brought KHS to within 17-16. A Strang foul shot tied the score before the end of the third at 19-all. The largest lead for the Lady Knights was 25-21 with 4:43 left, thanks to an Evers free throw.

Against Rochelle, KHS was paced by Kelly Evers’ 15 points and 10 from Emily Heimerdinger.

The sophomores concluded a remarkable campaign with a 48-43 win at Rochelle to finish at 25-1 and 10-0 in NIB-12 play. A balanced attack was led by Sarah Grams’ 10 points.

With the conclusion of the 2010-11 season, the best for KHS girls basketball in five years, the Kaneland program bids adieu to seniors Andie Strang, Kris Bowen, Emily Heimerdinger, Nicki Ott and Trinae Coachman.

“They were outstanding. A lot of kids wouldn’t have put the time in after winning five games a year ago. They not only put time in but they got better and made sure our younger kids did, as well,” Colombe said.

Kaneland High School rises up with fall sports awards

Photo: Kaneland’s Hayley Guyton, was one of the highlighted athletes recognized for her State trip during the fall season for girls’ golf. File Photo

KANELAND—It was time to think warmer thoughts at Kaneland High School, as Friday had the release of the Kaneland High School Fall Sports Awards.

The awards were announced at this late date due to the postseason success of the football squad.

For girls cross-country, the captain trio of Andie Strang, Jessica Stouffer and Kris Bowen were recognized for its service.

Shaela Collins and Kaitlin Munyon took home the most improved runners honor, and Strang was named most valuable runner. Strang, Ashley Castellanos and Jennifer Howland were named to the Northern Illinois Big XII All-Conference squad, and Howland was honored for her State qualifying appearance in Nov.

For the boys cross-country side, Trevor Holm was picked as most valuable runner. and Ryan Paulson took home the most improved runner honor. The Larry Eddington Award for Courage, Leadership and Strength went to Tommy Whittaker. Grant Alef, Holm and Whittaker were recognized as captains.

The Golden Knight award, given to one runner in each grade level, was bestowed upon freshman Dylan Kuipers, sophomore Christopher Wido, junior Clayton Brundige and Tommy Whittaker.

Holm was honored for his standing in the NIB-12 All-Conference group, as well as being a State qualifier.

For football, Joe Camiliere, Jimmy Boyle, Taylor Andrews, Blake Serpa, Tyler Callaghan and Curtis Secrest were recognized as captains. Nick Michels won the most improved player nod, and the MVP honor went five ways with Camiliere, Boyle, Andrews, Serpa and Callaghan earning the honor.

Camiliere was named offensive MVP, while teammate Serpa took the defensive MVP. Quinn Buschbacher won the special teams MVP. A slew of Knights were named to the NIB-12 All-Conference team: Sam Komel, Ben Kovalick, Ryan Noel, Buschabcher, Sean Carter, Camiliere, Boyle, Serpa, Kyle Davidson, Jacob Razo, Callaghan and Andrews.

Concerning Kaneland golf, Anthony Sperando was named most improved player on the varsity level, and Hayley Guyton was named varsity MVP. Matt Yonkovich and Brody Kuhar shared the frosh/soph MVP sward. Sean Glennon was awarded the frosh/soph most improved player award. Team leader Guyton was also lauded for her eighth place finish at the girls’ gold State gathering.

For the Lady Knights volleyball crew, Jessica Lubic took the most valuable player award. Katy Dudzinski was named top offensive player, and Kylie Siebert won top defensive player award. The Spirit Award went to Mackenzie Curran, while most improved player was won by Lauren Banbury.

Lubic and Dudzinski were honored for their spots on the NIB-12 Conference team.

For boys’ soccer, Alex Gil, J.P. Minogue, Thansi Pesmajoglou, Trevor Wolf and Derek White were honored for their captaincy. Alex Weiss and Jordan Escobedo were named co-most improved player, while Minogue and White took home the co-MVP award. Rookie of the Year went to Anthony Parillo. The Coach’s Award was given to Gil, Sam Rymarz, Alec Koczka and Pedro Perez.

All-Northern Illinois Big XII members were announced as White, Minogue, Escobedo, Gil, Chad Swieca and Parillo. Honorable mention members were Perez, Rymarz, Koczka, Wolf, Tyler Siebert, Weiss and Pesmajoglou.

Escobedo was named to the all-Sectional squad, and teammate Gil was an honorable mention.

Howland first girls XC State rep in three years

by Mike Slodki
BELVIDERE—Kaneland girls cross country may not have a large presence in Peoria this coming weekend, but it will be significant.

While the Lady Knights fell short by 68 points and one place in a quest to get the entire roster down to Peoria for the Class 2A State race, junior Jen Howland will represent Kaneland.

Howland, who recently made a return from injuries in time for the State series, finished 12th in the field, finishing the course in 19 minutes, 8 seconds.

“I’m just happy to make the top 25, that was my goal,” Howland said on Tuesday. “I know anything can happen and I just have to try my best and improve my time.”

Senior Andie Strang, who was the last State qualifier in her freshman year, was 24th overall in her final high school race at 19:33.

Sophomore Ashley Castellanos finished her overall consistent campaign with a time of 19:52, good for 37th place. Senior Kris Bowen was next for KHS in her final race, finishing in 20:20.

Meanwhile, Howland spend the prep time this week practicing with the boys team.

“I’m very honored to get down to State, everyone worked real hard this year and pushed themselves,” Howland said.

Kaneland’s 198 points was behind Crystal Lake Central (82), Woodstock (94), Montini Catholic (112) and St. Francis (127).

Kayla Beattie was crowned sectional champ with a 17:03 effort for Woodstock.

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Kaneland’s Jen Howland looks to make the rest of the Class 2A State field eat dust on Saturday.
File Photo

Lady Knights look toward sectional run

by Mike Slodki
MALTA—How can fortunes still be promising with the girls cross-country season in its last throes?

When you run for the Lady Knights.

A solid second-place finish allows Kaneland a berth in the Class 2A Belvidere Sectional this weekend.

Kaneland’s 76-point total was good enough to top Sycamore (88), Rosary (102) and Burlington Central (113) out of the advancing teams. Crystal Lake Central took the regional crown with 34 points and five of the top 10 runners.

Race champion was Cassie Kruse of Hampshire with a time of 18 minutes, 18 seconds.

Kaneland’s Jen Howland was tops for the Maple Park crew with a time of 19 minutes, 20 seconds. Close behind was teammate Andie Strang in 11th place at 19:39. Ashley Castellanos continued her strong season-long trajectory in 12th place at 19:43. Lady Knight Kris Bowen was 22nd with an effort of 20:45.

KHS coach Doug Ecker was pleased and is eager to see what lies in store at Sectionals.

“The girls did a nice job of picking one another up, and advancing to the Sectional. Jen Howland continues to improve with each race, which should build her confidence. Andie Strang raced like a senior captain and looked strong,” Ecker said.

Saturday, Oct. 30, at 10 a.m. brings the Belvidere Sectional. Kaneland will see other Sectional champions like Lakes, Woodstock and St. Francis.

Howland earns all NIB-12 honor at conference

by Mike Slodki
ELBURN—For the majority of the 2010 season, Kaneland girls cross-country has struggled to post a full lineup.

But there have always been encouraging developments. That came to a head at the first-ever Northern Illinois Big XII gathering on Saturday morning at Elburn Woods.

Kaneland finished fourth overall with 97 points, just two behind DeKalb.

Dixon (40) and Yorkville (46) took the top two slots. Geneseo, Sycamore, Rochelle, Sterling, Ottawa and Morris rounded out the top 10.

While Kelsey Schrader of DeKalb took the course with a time of 18 minutes, 42 seconds, Kaneland bore witness to a season-best day from junior Jen Howland, who posted a 19:20 time.

“The beginning of the race was really good ,and I had my teammates right by me,” Howland said. “I felt really strong, and going up the hill my teammates were pushing me, and knowing they were working just as hard as I was really pushed me.”

After Howland’s all-NIB-12 day, KHS saw senior Andie Strang finish in 13th place at 19:48.

“We’ve always been good about staying pretty modest,” Strang said. “People can get hurt so fast in cross-country, and this was a good race to prepare us for next weekend.”

Sophomore Ashley Castellanos took 18th overall with an effort of 20:23. Teammate Kris Bowen also had a productive outing with a time of 20:54.

All four runners ran a personal best on their home course.

Awaiting KHS this Saturday, Oct. 23, is the IHSA Class 2A Regional at Kishwaukee College in Malta.

The meet, hosted by Sycamore, also includes Aurora Central Catholic, Illinois Math and Science Academy, Rosary, Burlington Central, Crystal Lake Central and Hampshire.

Photo: Jen Howland supplied her most productive day of the 2010 season at Elburn Woods on Saturday. Photo by Ashley Leonetti

Girls cross country take third in Freeport

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Looks like the Kaneland girls satisfied some pretzel cravings.

Netting a third-place finish at Saturday’s Pretzel Invitational in Freeport, the Lady Knights produced a nice effort with 71 total points, and will need more of the same effort to see postseason fortune.

Rockford Boylan, with 45 team points, finished first, and host Freeport took second with 68. Rock Falls, with 87 points, finished behind Kaneland.

KHS put forth an average course time of 19 minutes, 52 seconds, thanks in large part to senior runner Andie Strang. Strang completed her best time ever in Freeport, with a time of 18:47. Due to her top-five finish, she also received an oversized pretzel.

Rockford Boylan’s Kayla Droessler won the race in 18:29.

Ashley Castellanos was next for Kaneland and broke the 20 minute barrier at 19:37, good for 12th place.

Kris Bowen was next in 15th place at 20:02. Maggie Brundige continued her positive trajectory and broke into the top 20 with a time of 20:16.

Additionally, Shaela Collins ran in 20:35, good for 22nd place overall.

“Kris Bowen really helped the team to a thirdplace showing,” KHS coach Doug Ecker said.

“Maggie Brundige is gaining confidence with each successful week. Shaela Collins was called on, in a pinch, to complete our fifth scoring place. We are very grateful to Shaela for stepping up.”

In the JV ranks, Kaneland’s Kaitlin Munyon took second with a time of 21:01, and Anna Piazza (21:16) and Carolina Tovar took fourth and fifth (21:25), respectively.

Eddington Invite sees girls place 14th

ELBURN—Armed with six seniors in its arsenal at the Eddington Invite, the Kaneland High School girls cross country roster braved 16 other teams and finished 14th out of 17 varsity teams.

Still working to get a full lineup on race day, the Lady Knights’ 316 point total was better than Larkin’s 370, and behind Rochelle’s 293.

Geneva, with 42 points, took the meet. Crystal Lake Central (66) and Glenbard East (117) rounded out the top three.

Geneva’s Tess Erhardt took the Elburn Woods race, finishing in 18 minutes, 41 seconds. Crystal Lake Central’s Kelly McNeely had a time of 18:49.

KHS was led by Andie Strang, who finished 25th overall with a time of 20:15.

Teammate Kris Bowen finished 57th with a time of 21:42. Shaela Collins ran a personal best of 22:10, and Kaitlin Munyon also ran a career-high in 84th place with a time of 22:37.

Next up for KHS is the usual Rock River Run stop in Sterling on Saturday, Sept. 25.

Photo: Kaneland senior Kris Bowen tries leaving the pack behind during Saturday’s Eddington Invite at Elburn Woods. Photo by Ryan Wells

Lady Knights XC runs to 1st place

by Mike Slodki
ELBURN—It was anything but lonely at the top for Kaneland High school girls cross country.

With five of the top nine runners, Kaneland powered through for a win over West Chicago and Wheaton Academy at Elburn Woods on Tuesday. The Lady Knights had 19 points, compared to 38 for WC and 85 for WA.

Leading the course was senior Andie Strang at 15 minutes, 59 seconds. Shortly behind her was her sister, freshman Sydney Strang just two seconds behind.

Abby Dodis was third at 16:54.

“I was especially happy with Abby’s race today,” KHS coach Doug Ecker said. “This was a good confidence builder for her.”

The sophomore beat her closest competitor by seven seconds.

“I feel like it’s a good first step. We’ve been working on staying in groups in practice, staying together and pushing each other,” Dodis said.

Kris Bowen finished fifth with a time of 17:12.

Next up for Kaneland is the annual Oregon Invite on Saturday, Sept. 4, at 9:15 a.m.

Photo: Ashley Castellanos finished 8th overall Tuesday. photo by Mike Slodki

Healthy lineup key for Lady Knight runners

Photo: Senior Andie Strang looks to get back to State for the Lady Knights in 2010. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—With a roster that returns several that missed State a year ago, motivation is available aplenty for Lady Knights cross-country in 2010.

The season of 2009 ended at the Class 2A Belvidere Sectional, but with a captain triumvirate of seniors Kris Bowen, Jessica Stouffer and Andie Strang returning, helped out by a talented group, the finish line of courses could come up faster this season.

That’s providing that the overall collective health of the girls is better than a year ago.

“We’re fine this year, so far,” head coach Doug Ecker said. “Obviously, the biggest problem the last two years was not work ethic. Kids were getting hurt and sick, but so far.”

Strang, who ran a 19 minute, 16 second course at last year’s regionals, comes off a State trip for girls track, making a winter stress fracture a distant memory.

“She’s run well for us, three-time all-conference and a very good leader. Her and Kris Bowen have been in the top seven since they were freshmen,” Ecker said.

Shaela Collins, Arianna Espino and Kaitlin Munyon round out the senior corps with Ecker hoping for slots in the Lady Knights top ten.

Sophomore assets Maggie Brundige and Abby Dodis return after dealing with various injuries and illness a year ago that hampered the bottom line. Fellow sophomore Ashley Castellanos (19:17 in regionals) also returns to help the sophomore group.

“If nothing happens, we should be in pretty good shape. Our main goal is to stay healthy,” Ecker said.

Perhaps the most intriguing addition to the squad comes in the form of a familiar face from 2008, junior Jen Howland.

Howland skipped last year for injuries and to compete in the triathalon circuit. Howland is now eligible to star in the 2010 ITU Junior Triathlon World Championship in Budapest, Hungary in September.

“She hasn’t had an opportunity to run for her high school in a while. I think she likes the opportunity to run with the kids she goes to school with,” Ecker said.

Howland joins Carolina Tovar and Alexis Villarreal on the junior side.

Freshmen are Brooke Howland, Anna Piazza and Sydney Strang.

Strang impressed in the middle school ranks.

“Sydney was among the top, if not the top middle school runner in the area last year. She’s got talent and she’s worked hard and if she runs consistently she’ll do well for us.,” Ecker said.

The Lady Knights aren’t going for any drastic leaps and bounds, just taking care what’s in front of them.

“We just stress doing what you’re supposed to do and practicing and the times will come,” Ecker said.

The Lady Knights host West Chicago and Wheaton Academy on Tuesday, Aug. 31 and host the Eddington Invite on Saturday, Sept. 18. The regular season ends with the Northern Illinois Big XII meet on Saturday, Oct. 16.

No rest for Lady Knights hoops

Colombe’s crew uses summer to its advantage
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—With a tough exit for the Lady Knights basketball squad nearly five months ago, Kaneland isn’t worrying about what might have been.

Instead, through Summer League girls basketball action at the Vaughan Athletic Center in Aurora, KHS is active at improving its fortunes for the future.

On Tuesday, Kaneland beat Plainfield East by a final of 34-28, which improved its record to 8-1 on the summer season.

Kaneland has both varsity and JV play during the summer, with most games scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The nine-team league also features West Aurora, Plano, Sandwich, Aurora Christian, Hinckley-Big Rock, Oswego East and Rosary, along with Plainfield East.

KHS coach Ernie Colombe continues to work, and is pleased with the Lady Knights’ summer output.

“Emily Heimerdiner and Andie Strang led a balanced attack,” Colombe said. “We have been getting key contributions from several players.”

Colombe singled out Heimerdinger, Strang, Tesa Alderman and Nicki Ott as players leading the way offensively, and returnees Kris Bowen and Katie Taylor as sparkplugs defensively.

“Kelly Evers has really improved and has been progressing throughout the summer. She is leading our team in blocked shots and rebounding. Emma Bradford has also stepped up her game on both ends of the floor and is finishing well for us,” Colombe said.

Kaneland lost only one senior to graduation after 2009-10, that being Mallory Carlson.

The Lady Knights face Hinckley-Big Rock at 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 1, for their next challenge.

All-WSC, team awards handed out at KHS

KANELAND—Kaneland High School dished out end of the year and spring speason sports awards last week.

In Knights boys track and field, Logan Markuson was named the Track MVP, while Nick Sinon, state champ in high jump, was named Field MVP. Edgar Valle, also a state champ as part of the 4×400 relay , was named recipient of the Drendel Award. Markuson, Derek Bus, Joe Levita, Brett Ketza, Justin Choate and Sinon were recognized as captains. Andrew Essex was named winner of the Ron Probst Award. Sinon, Markuson, Taylor Andrews, Valle, Bus, Matt Reusche, Matt Spitzzeri, Sean Paulick, Tommy Whittaker, Dominic Furco, Trevor Holm and Levita were recognized as the final Kaneland representatives for the all-Western Sun Conference team.

Brandon Cottier, Essex, Curtis Secrest, Whittaker, Spitzzeri, Valle, Bus, Taylor Andrews, Markuson, Levita, Holm and Sinon were all lauded for their trip to the Class 2A State Finals in Charleston, Ill.

For girls track, Lisa Roberson and Andie Strang, both State-goers, were named co-Track MVP’s, while Brooke Patterson, fresh off a trip to Charleston, was named field MVP.

Mel Mazuc and Nicole Ketza were part of a group of three named most improved field athletes, along with Briana Stark in long jump. Hurdler Hillary Luse took the most improved track athlete award.

Roberson and Sydney Bilotta were recognized as captains, while Patterson, Ashley Castellanos and Gabby Aguirre were honored for their All-Western Sun Conference performances.

Strang (800 meter run, 4x800m relay), Roberson and Kris Bowen (4x800m), Sara Wallace (pole vault), Jessica Stouffer (4x800m), Patterson (pole vault, triple jump) and Castellanos (long jump) were lauded for their State trip.

For the 20-win softball team, first-year coach Brian Willis gave most outstanding defensive player to Jordan Hester and most outstanding offensive player to Andrea Dimmig-Potts. Samantha Hansen took home the most improved player award, Kristen Stralka and Brittany Davis got in on the Lady Knight Award, while 13-win pitcher Delani Vest was given the most outstanding player award.

In the freshman softball ranks, Elizabeth Eckert and Sarah Grams took the co-MVP honors, while Danielle McCormack won the Kaneland Knight award.

For baseball, Dave Dudzinski and Bobby Thorson were named recipients of the Mr. Kaneland Baseball award.

Jake Tickle, he of the 19-game hit streak during the season, was named offensive MVP, and Steve Colombe was crowned defensive MVP.

The 41 Award, in honor or Jeff Malewig, was given to Tickle and Jake Fiedler.

Thorson, Fiedler, Colombe and Tickle were all recognized for their All-Western Sun Conference honors.

For the 15-win girls soccer team’s history- making season, Megan Gil, Haley Johnson, Shelby Koester, Colleen Gebauer and Emily Heimerdinger were lauded for their captain-ship.

Amy Fabrizius was given the most improved player honor, and freshman goalkeeper Jordan Ginther was named Rookie of the Year.

Sophie Blank, Andie Bruce and Natalie Swieca won the coach’s award. Gebauer and Katie Taylor were co-winners of the Lady Knights Award, while Heimerdinger and Gil took the MVP honors.

For the final awards of the night, the female Birkette award was given to Roberson. Markuson and Bus took home the male Birkette award.

Markuson was honored with the Male Athlete of the Year award, while Roberson was given the Female Athlete of the Year award.

Levita, for his time in cross country, wrestling and track, was honored for his three-sport commitment.

Photo: Lisa Roberson, shown here in relay action in Charleston, Ill., two weeks ago, was awarded Female Athlete of the Year and Female Birkette Award winner at last week’s 2010 Senior Athletic Banquet Awards. File Photo

KHS trackster Patterson vaults to 10th place finish at State finals

CHARLESTON—Brooke Patterson wasn’t a perfect 10 this weekend, but that number put her in a pretty nice place.

With a 10-foot vault in the pole vault event on Saturday at Eastern Illinois University, the first-year track participant finished 10th overall in the Class 2A State girls track finals in Charleston, Ill.

Patterson, who came on the scene from a gymnastics background for coach Doug Ecker’s Lady Knights roster, finished with 10 feet, three inches in the prelims to launch herself into the finals.

Pontiac’s Emily Grove was crowned champion with a 12-06 final effort. Normal University High’s Emily Clay was second with 12 feet. Belvidere North’s Baily Murphy took third with 11-09 and fellow Western Sun Conference competitor Sam Elliott took fourth at 11-09.

Springfield Southeast won the team standings with 57 points.

Patterson turned out to be the only Lady Knight in six events to make it to Saturday’s final.

Patterson’s teammate Sara Wallace, in her final KHS event, made it to nine feet in the prelims of pole vault.

Freshman Ashley Castellanos finished tenth in her long jump flight with a mark of 15-6.25.

Patterson also competed in the triple jump and finished tenth in her flight at 34-11.25.

The 4×800 meter relay foursome of Lisa Roberson, Jessica Stouffer, Kris Bowen and Andie Strang finished eighth in their prelims with a time of 10 minutes, 6.18 seconds.

Strang also finished just .08 off the final qualifying mark in the 800m run with a time of 2:23.36.

With the 2010 campaign now complete, the Lady Knights track program says goodbye to a couple of State qualifiers in Roberson and Wallace, and additional seniors Elicia DiBella, Tara Groen, Hillary Luse, Mel Mazuc, Megan Mendoza and Lexie Pniewski.

Photo: Junior Brooke Patterson vaults over the nine-foot mark in the preliminaries at the Class 2A State Girls Track Finals in Charleston, Ill. Patterson, who also competed in the triple jump, was the only Kaneland finalist in six events.
Photo by Ben Draper

Lady Knights sees 3 attain all-WSC status at Glenbard S.

GLEN ELLYN—In the last tune-up before the postseason begins, the Lady Knights track team participated in the final Western Sun Conference meeting at Glenbard South High School on Friday.

The varsity Lady Knights finished seventh overall with 37 total team points, ahead of Rochelle (28). Geneva (136.5), Batavia (120) and Glenbard South (81.5) rounded out the top three, while Yorkville (57), DeKalb (50) and Sycamore (48) finished in the middle of the pack.

Kaneland’s JV crew, with 62 points, finished in fourth behind Batavia (134), Geneva (126) and Glenbard South (109).

In varsity action, the relay group of Lisa Roberson, Jessica Stouffer, Kris Bowen and Andie Strang finished fourth in the 4x800m relay race with a time of 10 minutes, 9.58 seconds.

The varsity high jump yielded an all-WSC honor for freshman Gabby Aguirre, as she finished second in the event with 4 feet, 11 inches.

Freshman Ashley Castellanos took the next all-WSC mention with a third-place finish in the varsity long jump with an effort of 16-02.

Junior and first-year trackster Brooke Patterson continued her strong season with the team’s third all-conference honor, taking second in the varsity triple jump at 34-08.5.

The JV ranks saw some progress at an important juncture of the season. Lady Knight Sydney Luse took third in the 100m hurdles at 18.29 seconds, and third in the pole vault at 8-06. Teammate Amanda Lesak finished second in the 300m hurdles with a time of 53.38, and second in the high jump at 4-07. Briana Stark showed her skills with a second-place finish in the triple jump at 30-05.

The next stop for the Lady Knights is the most important one, thus far, the Class 2A Rochelle Sectional on Thursday, May 13, at 4 p.m.

Kaneland is one of 16 schools in a field including conference rivals DeKalb, Rochelle, Sycamore and Yorkville, and also includes schools like Burlington Central, Hampshire, Dixon and Ottawa.

Lady Knights compete at Kane Co. prep for WSC

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—With the final regular season meet on the horizon, Kaneland Lady Knights track is seeing personnel move to the forefront of events; just in time for postseason action.

At the Kane County Meet in Batavia, the Lady Knights managed a ninth-place finish in a wind-marred gathering that caused difficulty in field events like pole vault.

Kaneland’s 15 points just edged Dundee-Crown’s 14 points. West Aurora (127.5), Geneva (108) and St. Charles East (83) rounded out the top three.

Additionally on Tuesday, KHS took it to Sycamore and Yorkville in a home meet with 79 points compared to the Spartans’ 55 and the Foxes’ 46.

The Lady Knights’ standout performances on Friday afternoon began with the triple jump finals, as Brooke Patterson’s 35 foot, 9.25 foot final effort earned her fourth place in the county. Teammate Ashley Castellanos took sixth with an effort of 34-06. West Aurora’s Shanice Andrews’ 38-.075 was good for first.

Patterson jumped into the finals with a 35-01, and Castellanos made her way in with a 34-03.

In the discus final, Lady Knight Nicole Ketza finished third with a distance of 104-11, behind West Aurora’s Chastity Smith by one foot.

Blackhawk teammate Mariah Smith torched the field with a 126-06 throw in the finals. Ketza finished second in prelims with a throw of 104-11.

Relay action had the Lady Knight unit of Lisa Roberson, Jessica Stouffer, Kris Bowen and Andie Strang finish fourth in the 4x800m relay with a time of 10 minutes, 16.10 seconds.

For Strang, the Kane County Meet served as a benchmark for how recovery from a right leg stress fracture is progressing.”

“Times aren’t exactly where I want them to be,” Strang said. “I’m just working on getting back, my leg feels great. It’s frustrating, but you have to keep going.”

Relay-mate Bowen noted the odd elements surrounding the relay event, with wind whipping about.

“You definitely have to run through it, your strategy kind of changes,” Bowen said. “You look to see if there’s draft and I try to get a distance from the next runner, but here you have to run through it.”

On Tuesday, Sara Wallace took first in the 300m low hurdles at 54.17 seconds. Strang won the 800m run at 2:27.01. Hillary Luse was tops in the 100m high hurdles at 17.80 seconds. Gabby Aguirre won the high jump at 4-10. Wallace came back to win the pole vault at 8-6, while Patterson won the triple jump at 34-03.

The Lady Knights gear up for the final edition of the Western Sun Conference meet out at Glenbard South on Friday, May 7.

Photo: Kaneland’s Abby Dodis takes on the field at the Kane County Meet in Batavia on Friday during the 3200m run. Photo by Mike Slodki

Lady Knights track travels to Dixon

KANELAND—With Kaneland and Dixon suiting up as Northern Illinois Big 12 conference mates next season, what better way for Lady Knights girls track to get their name out in that territory than at the annual Dixon Relays.

Friday afternoon saw KHS finish seventh in a talented 10-team field by President Ronald Reagan’s boyhood home, with a total of 54.5 points. Kaneland finished 2.5 points behind Dixon and 4.5 points behind Rochelle.

Harlem (118), Geneseo (88) and Sterling (84) took the top three spots.

In the unusual weight events 4x100m relay, Mel Mazuc, Keara Palpant, Nicole Ketza and Briana Stark took a first place with 57.03 seconds.

The pole vault event also went to Kaneland, thanks to the efforts of Brooke Patterson, Hillary Luse and Sara Wallace, who hit 25 feet in the finals.

Patterson, still a rookie to the track ranks, has now become a true asset to KHS girls track in events like the triple jump and vault.

“I think it’s a good start,” Patterson said on Tuesday. “I try to have fun because it’s my first year doing it.”

Patterson is not as far behind the curve as most, with a gymnastics background.

“It definitely helped in pole vault, I knew how to turn upside down when I had to,” Patterson said.

Kaneland also brought home a couple of third-place finishes, as Lisa Roberson, Jessica Stouffer, Kris Bowen and Andie Strang ran 10:05.11 in the varsity 4x800m relay. Harlem won the event with a time of 9:58.

On the frosh/soph end of that event, Maggie Brundige, Abby Dodis, Savanah Miles and Kelly Evers ran a 10:51.90 to clinch third.

Tuesday had some Western Sun Conference action in store for the Lady Knights in DeKalb against the host Lady Barbs and Geneva.

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.

Girls XC stopped by illness, field in Class 2A Sectional

KHS girls cross country had its season come to an end on Saturday in Belvidere.

At the 2A sectional, plagued by a broken roster and illness, Kaneland came up 17 points short for qualification for this weekend’s State race.

With 227 points, the Lady Knights finished behind Woodstock (127), Crystal Lake Central (134), St. Viator (166), St. Francis (172) and Prairie Ridge of Crystal Lake (210).

Finishing at the top of the list were siblings Kayla Beattie (18:34) and Elise Beattie (18:38).

For Kaneland, Andie Strang finished best in 28th place with a time of 20:41, while teammate Ashley Castellanos finished in 29th at 20:46.

Abby Dodis finished 47th at 21:07, followed next by Kris Bowen at 73rd (21:34).

Strang gets top-10 finish in Freeport for girls cross country

Lady Knight runners had a successful outing at the colorfully named Pretzel Invite, hosted by Freeport High School on Saturday.

Coach Doug Ecker’s roster managed a second-place finish with 68 points, falling behind just Winnebago High School, which had 50 points.

The top runner in the race was Winnebago’s Tessa Hoefle at 18 minutes, 52 seconds. The lone top-10 runner for the Lady Knights was junior Andie Strang, who completed the course in 19:51. Teammate Ashley Castellanos was next for KHS at 20:17, good for 11th place. Abby Dodis finished 14th at 20:28, while Lisa Roberson took 18th at 20:51.

“The 60 second split 1-5 was very important,” Ecker said. “Roberson, (Kris) Bowen and (Shelby) Koester really gave us that lift to earn a trophy … I thought it was a good team victory.”

Kaneland’s frosh/soph contingent took third overall with 56 points. Arianna Espino (22:07) and Jessica Stouffer (22:08) took fourth and fifth, respectively.

The girls head out to the Sterling Invite on Saturday, Oct. 10, at 9 a.m.. Kaneland was set for the Byron Handicap Invite on Wednesday.

Girls XC sees good outing at Rock River Run

by Mike Slodki
Lady Knights cross country got a look at some good competition on Saturday during its annual Rock River Run stop and handled itself quite well.

Coach Doug Ecker’s roster took seventh in the varsity group of 16 teams. The 153-point effort was just one behind rival Sycamore and three ahead of Rochelle in a Western Sun Conference sandwich of teams.

Geneva was declared the winner with three of the top four finishers and 29 points. Dixon took second with 111 points.

Tops for the Lady Knights was junior Andie Strang with a time of 19 minutes, 34 seconds.
Geneva’s Kelly Whitley continued her stellar season with a course-best 18:13.

Additionally for Kaneland, freshman Abby Dodis took 24th with a time of 20:02. Kris Bowen was 36th with a time of 20:35, with teammate Lisa Roberson close by at 20:40 for 37th place. Ashley Castellanos was 41st at 20:46.

“I thought for the team we had today, sixth was a very good finish,” Ecker said. “We were happy to get two runners back, and two more soon. Two freshmen continue to improve weekly with experience. Andie Strang is a stabilizing force as a consistent No. 1, and we hope to get more girls up running with her.”

The girls head to the Freeport Invite on Saturday, Oct. 3.

XC runs through Eddington

by Mike Slodki
Boys XC takes the fifth at Eddington
MAPLE PARK—Looks like the annual Eddington Invite brings out the best in teams besides KHS.

Saturday had the Knights finishing fifth out of a tough 16-team field. With 122 points, the Knights finished ahead of Westmont (157). Crystal Lake Central took the Eddington crown with 92 points, followed by Geneva (93) and Dundee-Crown (97). Additional Western Sun Conference rival Sycamore finished fourth.

Trevor Holm of Kaneland provided a nice showing with a 16th place finish (16 minutes, 47 seconds) to be the top Knight runner. Dundee-Crown’s Anthony Manfrin took the race at 15:40. Logan Markuson of Kaneland finished 23rd at 17:06. Next for the Knights was Edgar Valle at 25th with a time of 17:10.

“I think there’s a ton of great competition at meets like this,” Markuson said. “It’s still kind of early in the season. We have some of our top runners out. I think we’re pretty close to what we’ll see later in the season. A lot of people ran well.”

Dominic Furco was 28th at 17:17.

On the F/S side, the Knights won the 12-team mix with 69 points. Clayton Brundige of Kaneland finished seventh at 18:00.

Strang, Dodis key girls XC at Eddington
MAPLE PARK—Kaneland girls had a productive finish at the Eddington Invite at Elburn Woods on Saturday.

But so did at least eight other teams in the annual event hosted by KHS.

While Kaneland nabbed 231 points, ahead of Westmont’s 267 in the 17-team girls battle, Geneva, with four top-10 finishes, earned the prize (27 points), followed by Lisle’s Benet Academy (91) and Glenbard East (145). Western Sun Conference rivals Rochelle (198) and Sycamore (207) finished seventh and eighth, respectively. Lady Viking Kelly Whitley won the Elburn Woods course with a time of 18 minutes, 49 seconds.

For the Lady Knights, Andie Strang finished 17th at 20:23, followed by upstart Abby Dodis at 29th, with a time of 20:48. Lady Knight Kris Bowen was next in the black-and-white at 21:00, good for 36th place. Shaela Collins took 70th at of 22:21.

“We have some top runners out,” KHS runner Andie Strang said. “We’re really not going to know how good we’re going to be until later. This race was OK, I wish I ran a little bit faster.”

The frosh-soph girls race was won by Geneva with 47 points, followed by Benet Academy at 67.

Lady Knights finish 11th in Wauconda

Having to deal with the hilly Lakewood Forest Preserve course as well as tough competition from rivals to the north, Kaneland Lady Knights cross country applied itself quite well on Saturday.

Finishing with 310 points, the Lady Knights finished 11th.

Crystal Lake South took first with 131, followed by Glenbard East with 140, Lake Zurich with 168 and Cary-Grove with 169.

Crystal Lake South’s Marianne Collard won the course with a time of 18 minutes, 27 seconds, followed by Johnsburg’s Kelly McNeely at 18:49.

Topping the Lady Knights was Andie Strang, who finished 20th with a time of 20:03. Fellow Lady Knight Kris Bowen was the second-highest finisher on the roster with a time of 21:03, good enough for 53rd. Lisa Roberson was 74th with a time of 21:42. Shaela Collins took 87th with a time of 22:03.

Cross country complete double-win at home

Lady Knights run over W. Chicago, W. Academy

ELBURN—Kaneland girls cross country found a surefire way to get some of those opening-race jitters out of the way.

Just win.

At Elburn Woods on Tuesday, the Lady Knights’ 31-point total out-performed West Chicago (34) and Wheaton Academy (77).

While West Chicago’s Kelsey Sauner won the course with a 15 minute, 25 second effort, Lady Knight Andie Strang finished second at 16:12. Teammate Kris Bowen finished fourth at 16:36, while Maggie Brundige was fifth at 16:43.

Abby Dodis of KHS finished eighth at 17:03, while Shelby Koester took 12th at 17:29. Ashley Castellanos rounded out the top six for Kaneland with a time of 18:35.

Upcoming challenges for the Lady Knights include the Oregon Invite on Saturday, Sept. 5, and a trip back to Elburn Woods on Tuesday, Sept. 8, against East Aurora.

Photo: Lady Knight Kris Bowen (16:36) provided support for the winning effort on Tuesday against West Chicago and Wheaton Academy.
Photo by Ben Draper

Boys XC handles visiting rosters

ELBURN—Ask Matt Reusche what kind of day he had on Tuesday at Elburn Woods.

Better yet, ask West Chicago and Wheaton Academy.

Reusche’s course-winning effort was key for Kaneland’s victory at the boys cross country race hosted by Kaneland on Tuesday.

Reusche’s 16 minute, 42 second effort was paramount in helping Kaneland (27) beat the Wildcats (34) and the Warriors (77) and get the season off to a favorable start.

Following Reusche for KHS was Logan Markuson, who took third with a time of 17:06. In sixth place was Edgar Valle at 17:27.

Joe Levita finished eighth at 17:46, and teammate Grant Alef took ninth at 18:22.

Tyler Howland rounded out the top six Knights finishers with a 18:59 effort, good for 13th overall.

The frosh-soph troops beat West Chicago on Tuesday, as well, by a 15-68 score.

The top three finishers were Clayton Brundige (14:15), Nate Rehkopf (14:22) and Jake Ginther (14:31).

Coming up for the cross country crew is a home matchup with East Aurora on Tuesday, Sept. 8.