Tag Archives: Luis Acosta

KHS adds to luck in Quad Cities

Boys track hits the usual outdoor opener in East Moline, Ill.
KANELAND—It doesn’t seem as if the learning curve for the Knights boys track roster will be that steep, if the East Moline United High School Boys Kiwanis Invitational held at the East Moline Soule Bowl is any indication.

KHS, with a total of 113 points, was a runaway winner in group “A” over the likes of Rock Island (94.5), Pleasant Valley (80.5) and T.F. North (79).

Galesburg (78.5), the hosts (78) and Sterling (67.5) were fifth through seventh, respectively, while Geneseo (60), Rock Island Alleman (44) and Sherrard (39) rounded out the top 10. Moline (26) and Freeport (8) completed the “A’ 12.

Kaneland’s 58-point total was good for fourth in the “B” group, while it gathered 31 points in the “C” group.

The meet could have gone even better by Kaneland’s perspective, according to head coach Eric Baron.

“The meet went well for the most part, but it was a meet we could have won if everyone was healthy and in the lineup,” Baron said. “I was really pleased with how several of our younger athletes stepped in and did great jobs for us, but in general it wasn’t what we had hoped for.”

The “A” accolades came often for the Knight group, beginning with Brandon Bishop blazing a 11.99 second trail for fifth place in the 100-meter dash. Teammate Isaac Swithers took fourth in the 200m dash at 24.61. Nathaniel Kucera managed a first-place in the 800m run by navigating a 1:56.94. Kyle Carter continued the distance success with a time of 4:31.60 in the 1,600m run, for second place. Ryan Bower took fifth for Kaneland with a 10:22.64 in the 3,200m run. Brock Robertson took third in the 110m hurdles with a time of 15.95, and added to his Saturday by nabbing second in the 300m hurdles with a 41.57.

Relay action in “A’ had KHS taking fifth with a time of 44.28, thanks to the efforts of Robertson, Ben Barnes, Bishop and Swithers. The 4x200m relay foursome of John Delach, Bishop, Brandon Cruz and Swithers took fifth at 1:34.33. The 4x400m relay foursome of Robertson, Bishop, Carter and Kucera took the race with a time of 3:27.41.

The field events in “A” saw highlights like Dylan Kuipers’ meet-winning pole vault effort at 14 feet and Barnes’ 20’ 11.25” first place in the long jump. Nate Dyer took the shot put with a 52’ 1” and finished second in the discus at 153’ 7”.

“B” highlights for the Knights group came courtesy of personnel like Luis Acosta’s 4:41.47 first place in the 1,600m run and Tanner Robertson’s 42.82 first in the 300m hurdles. Kaneland’s 4x400m relay foursome also won at 3:40.01. The “B” field saw a 12’ pole vault by Dan Evers for first place.

In the “C” landscape, the 100m dash saw a second by Cruz with a time of 11.74 and a 4:45.94 by Ryan Bower for second in the 1,600m run.

In the field landscape, the Knights’ Mitch Groen took first in the vault with a 12’ effort. Thrower Alex Snyder managed a first-place 44’ heave in the shot put, while Shane Jorgensen took second in the discus with a 127’1”.

A meet with DeKalb and Sycamore in Maple Park set for Tuesday was rescheduled for Thursday.

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Knights qualify 23 to Top Times meet

Kaneland High School will be well-represented at this Saturday’s Illinois Top Times track meet at Illinois Wesleyan’s Shirt Center in Bloomington, Ill.

The meet kicks off at 9 a.m. Saturday morning, and will reportedly be broadcast at www.usportstv.net.

For more information on the meet, visit www.illinoistoptimes.com. For the meet program with seeds, click here.

Below is a list of the KHS qualifiers, plus where they rank in their events heading into the meet.

Boys Qualifiers Girls Qualifiers
• Long JumpBen Barnes 4th

Dalvell Triplett 7th

• Pole Vault

Dylan Kuipers 4th

Dan Evers 7th

• Shot Put

Nate Dyer 1st

Shane Jorgensen 11th

• Triple Jump

Dalvell Triplett 5th

• 3200m Run

Ryan Bower 18th

• 60m Hurdles

Dylan Nauert 13th

Brock Robertson 17th

• 4x800m Relay

Lesak, Acosta,

Carter, Kucera 2nd

• 4x200m Relay

Robertson, Bishop,

Cruz, Swithers 5th

• 4x400m Relay

Robertson, Acosta,

Carter, Kucera 2nd

• Long JumpLauren Zick 5th

• High Jump

Maddie Keifer 13th

• Pole Vault

Christina Delach 4th

• 3200m Run

Brianna Bower 6th

• 60m Dash

Lauren Zick 6th

Nicole Sreenan 10th

• 200m Dash

Lauren Zick 3rd

• 800m Run

Sydney Strang 11th

• 4x200m Relay

Galor, Sreenan,

Zick, Elliott 9th

• 4x400m Relay

Galor, Sreenan,

Richtman, Strang 6th

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2014 Boys Track & Field Preview: Sprint toward success

Photo: Relay, distance and sprint runners resort to running laps through school halls due to poor weather so far this season. Photo by Patti Wilk

Sixth-place finishers from a year ago, Knight boys track takes charge
KANELAND—It looks to be more of the same for Kaneland High School boys track in 2014.
That’s the last thing area rivals need or want.

Despite the loss of state qualifying anchors like Brandon Cottier, Conor Johnson, Marshall Farthing and Tanner Andrews, ninth-year coach Eric Baron and company have their sights trained on exemplary, yet attainable, goals in 2014.

The Knights crew took the Northern Illinois Big XII by storm, taking both indoor and outdoor conference titles on their way to a sixth-place State finish for Class 2A.

“We should contend for the championship of every invite we compete in,” Baron said.

Among the important cogs returning for the Kaneland victory machine are Kyle Carter, future Southern Illinois Saluki, and Nathaniel Kucera, future Stanford Cardinal. Carter and Kucera, along with graduate Johnson and Luis Acosta, won the 4x800m relay event at State a year ago with a 7:50.26 time. Kucera also managed ninth in the 400m dash at 50.76 on the Eastern Illinois University track. Carter, Kucera and Acosta shore up the middle distance area, while ninth-place shot put State-goer Nate Dyer returns in the field category with outstanding prospects, and is joined in the throws by Shane Jorgensen.

Other returning field personnel primed for a big year include Ben Barnes for jumps, and Dylan Kuipers (11th in State) and Dan Evers in the pole vault.

Hurdles features State warrior Dylan Nauert, along with Brock Robertson. Brandon Bishop (returning medalist) and Isaac Swithers take care of the sprint category. Ryan Bower returns to take care of the distance matters, as well.

Newcomers to the varsity ranks expecting to contribute are sprinter Brandon Cruz, mid-distance athletes Austin Kintz, Drew Franklin, Sean Spaetzel and Andrew Franklin.

The mix between upper-and-lower classmen usually provides positive output on the track, the earlier the better.

“Getting individuals off to a good start is important. Our older athletes help make sure they understand training is structured to make our athletes peak in May,” Baron said.

With talent coalescing around experienced coaching and a tradition that speaks for itself, the Knights look to ward off challenges throughout the season, including the Kane County Meet on May 9 at Millennium Field in Streamwood, Ill., and the NIB-12 meet in Maple Park.

Baron knows if the conference meet is a reflection of the talent, KHS will be right up there.

“It will be an outstanding meet with a high level of competition. Expect teams from Yorkville, Dixon, DeKalb, Sycamore, Sterling, Geneseo and Ottawa to contend with us for the title,” Baron said.

KHS gets set for the first outdoor challenge of the year hosted by East Moline United on Saturday, April 12, with conference action beginning on Tuesday, April 15, against Sycamore.

The Peterson Prep, hosted by the Knights, is on Saturday, April 26.

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Knights 3rd at Batavia

Photo: Senior Dalvell Triplett was second in the Long Jump and third in the Triple Jump at Batavia Friday. Photo by Patti Wilk

BATAVIA—Coach Eric Baron’s crew went just east to find some stout competition.

But the Knights held their own against 3A powerhouse Lake Park’s 128 points and Batavia’s 108 with 83 of their own at the Coach DiDomenico Indoor Invitational in Batavia. Burlington Central was fourth with 64 points, while West Aurora (42) and Bartlett (3) rounded out the field.

Dylan Kuipers achieved the lone Knight individual win with a 14-foot pole vault, while the 4x400m Relay team of Brock Robertson, Dylan Nauert, Kyle Carter and Nathaniel Kucera won with a time of 3 minutes, 31.72 seconds.

In the shot put, Nate Dyer was second with a 53’4” effort, while Shane Jorgensen was fifth with a 48’ 6.5” throw.

Dalvell Triplett placed second in the long jump with a jump of 21’ 8.5” and followed that up with a 42’ 3.25” triple jump, which was good for third.

Dan Evers also contributed field event points with his 12’ leap in the pole vault, which was good for fourth place.

Kaneland faired well in the other relays, with the 4x200m comprised of Brandon Bishop, Brock Robertson, Dylan Nauert and Issac Swithers placed third with a 1:36.24, while the 4x800m of Andrew Lesak, Luis Acosta, Austin Kintz and Sean Spatzel was fourth in 8:46.34.

In the 55m Hurdles, Nauert was second in 8.15 seconds, while Roberson was sixt in 8.35.

In the sprints, Spaetzel ran a 55.76 in the 400m Dash, placing fifth.

In the distance events, Nathanial Kucera ran a 2:00.86 to place second in the 800m, while Kyle Carter was third in the 1600m with a 4:37.83.

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Knight boys show tough State of mind

Photo: Senior Nathaniel Kucera crosses the finish line at Saturday’s State meet as Kaneland’s third finisher in 15:54. Photo by Mary Paulson

Tough field meets solid resolve for 22nd place finish
PEORIA, ILL.—Without fail, every time you head down to Detweiller Park in Peoria, Ill., you’re dealing with the best Class 2A boys cross country has to offer.

It was the same in 2013 for the Kaneland roster, which finished 22nd overall as a team on Saturday, thanks to a 493-point output, beating next competitor East Peoria by 42 points. The Knights also yielded a :47 pack. Kaneland finished 15th overall in 2012.

“We are very proud of our boys nonetheless,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said. “Hundreds of teams did not have this opportunity.”

Overall, Yorkville took the Class 2A crown, thanks to a point total of 119, 15 points better than Lansing, Ill., outfit Illiana Christian. Vernon Hills finished third at 136 points.

Kaneland had a charge led by team juggernauts like Nathaniel Kucera, Andrew Lesak and Sean Spaetzel. Kucera finished 67th to lead the team with a time of 15:54, while Lesak finished 114th overall at 16:17, and Spaetzel crossed the line to end his sophomore campaign in 140th place with a time of 16:31.

“Nathaniel Kucera improved 36 places from his 2012 performance at State,” Clarey said. “He was a runner who brought a lot of humor to our season. Andrew Lesak’s first run at State was a success with a 16:16 time. He will be a leader next fall, and with good reason. He is a very unflappable, balanced and dependable runner. Sean Spaetzel pushed up to finish as our third man today. He was 20 seconds faster than on the course a year ago.”

Shoring up the KHS line were Ryan Bower at 141st with a time of 16:31, and Kyle Carter in 164th at 16:41, doing his best to fight off a stress fracture from the season’s early goings.

“No matter how hard you fight, you have days like this,” Clarey said.

Brandon Park (176th) and Luis Acosta (188th) brought up the back of the State-goers from KHS, with times of 16:50, and 17:00, respectively.

“Sometimes a team struggles, and today it happened to ours. The experiences we had will become positive reference points going forward, as the seniors prepare for an outstanding track season where all seven of them can and will once again be impact runners at the State level,” Clarey said.

Kaneland said goodbye to seniors Acosta, Bower, Dylan Kuipers, Phil Cutsinger, Carter, Kucera and Brock Robertsen.


Photos by Mary Paulson

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32 Knights earn NIB-12 honors

KANELAND—Kaneland High School announced its fall all-conference athletic honorees Tuesday. In all, 32 Knight athletes were honored by the Northern Illinois Big XII.

• Cross Country
Boys: Luis Acosta, Kyle Carter, Nathaniel Kucera and Andrew Lesak
Girls: Brianna Bower, Erika Carlson, Victoria Clinton, Aislinn Lodwig and Sydney Strang

• Golf: Matt Yonkovich and Brody Kuhar

• Football: Brandon Bishop, Drew David, Cole Carlson, Justin Diddell, Gary Koehring, Joe Komel, Dylan Nauert, Jaumaureo Phillips, John Pruett and Alex Snyder

• Soccer: Arsim Azemi, Anthony Parillo, Tyler Siebert and Chris VanDinther

• Tennis: Jelly Emmanouil, Madi Jurcenko, Stephanie Karolewicz, Colleen Landers and Sammie Schrepferman

• Volleyball: Ellie Dunn and Jenny Lubic

Seniors lead way to Sectional

BURLINGTON, ILL—In the race for state, the Kaneland boys cross country team is heading in the right direction.

With a trio of seniors leading the way, a return trip to the state meet might be in the cards at Saturday’s Belvidere sectional.

Led by senior Kyle Carter’s 10th place in 16 minutes, 9.9 seconds, and a 14th place by senior Nathaniel Kucera (16:19), the Knights placed third in the Burlington Central Regional last Saturday. Vernon Hills was crowned team champion, while Crystal Lake Central placed second. CLC’s Ryan Pitner’s 15:26 was the best time of the day individually.

Behind his fellow seniors Carter and Kucera, Ryan Bower was the Knights third runner, placing 26th with a time of 16:47. Junior Andrew Lesak (28th, 16:47), sophomore Sean Spaetzel (31st, 17:00), and seniors Luis Acosta (34th, 17:04) and Phil Cutsinger (42nd, 17:25) rounded out the Knights.

Although the Knights advanced to the sectional, veteran coach Chad Clarey knows adjustments still need to be made for the Knights to advance.

“The split between our two and three (runners) will need to get tightened up,” Clarey said. “28 seconds is too much.”

However, it’s not the first time the battle-tested seniors have been entered in the historically tough sectional.

“Given the course we’re heading to, we’re confident that the seniors of this team will use their experiences to help tighten things up even more,” Clarey said.

The sectional is just as tough in 2013, with six of the top 25 teams in Class 2A represented in the field. No. 3 Vernon Hills is the favorite, but might be challenged by No. 6 Crystal Lake Central and No. 7 Dixon. No. 12 Sterling, No. 19 Belvidere North and No. 25 Kaneland will battle for the final two spots. The Knights defeated Sterling as recently as two weeks ago at the NIB-12 conference meet.

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Taking on the field

Photo: Junior Brandon Park was the Knights sixth man on Saturday at the NIB-12 championships, placing 26th with a time of 16:16.8. Kaneland placed third in the meet. Photo by Ben Draper

Third-place Knight boys cross take on field at Morris for NIB-12
MORRIS—Kaneland boys cross country personnel has never needed prodding when it’s time to get serious.

That was helpful when dealing with the talented stock at the Northern Illinois Big XII meet at Morris on Saturday.

With 36 points, the Yorkville High School outfit took the conference mantle, followed by Dixon’s 48-point total, but Kaneland made a decent third-place showing with 78 points. In fourth place was Sterling with 92, and Sycamore in fifth at 111.

Yorkville’s twin tandem of juniors Jake and Luke Hoffert took the top two spots in the race with times of 14:40.1 and 14:45.2, respectively.

The Knights’s top finishers were all-conference reps Kyle Carter, senior, with a time of 15:35.8, and classmate Nathaniel Kucera in 10th place at 15:39.3. Junior Adam Lesak was 16th at 15:52.9, and senior Luis Acosta placed 21st. Both Lesak and Acosta earned all conference as well.

“Starting off, the course is right into the wind. Usually running into the wind slows you down, but we had the beginning energy to push us through that. You just have to move your legs at the end, and it carries you through,” Lesak said.

Senior Ryan Bower finished in 23rd at 16:05.5 to close out the KHS scoring.

On tap for the boys is the Class 2A Burlington Central Regional on Saturday, Oct. 26, at 11 a.m., with the exemplary teams making it to the Belvidere Sectional.

Boys XC battles health, competition

FREEPORT, Ill.—Being shorthanded may be a problem for other squads, but not the Knights boys cross country team.

Competing Saturday at the Freeport Pretzel Invitational without their top two runners this season in Nathaniel Kucera and Ryan Bower, the Knights still placed second in the 10-team field.

Winnebago ran tough, placing their scoring five all in the top 13 of the race to run away with the team title with 45 points. Kaneland was next with 78, followed by Rock Falls’ 108, Boylan’s 111 and Jefferson’s 123.

For coach Chad Clarey, it’s all about the packs for his group, and for a second week in a row, the Knights were running together throughout the field.

“Our team continues to do a nice job of packing up, finishing in groups,” Clarey said. “Our top three raced within 10 seconds of each other, and our fifth through seventh also split seven seconds between one another.”

Kyle Carter, who has been progressing since he began running again a little over two weeks ago, led KHS with a 10th place finish with a time of 16 minutes, 2 seconds. Carter was the top Knight a year ago.

“He is battling and taking small victories on this road to full strength,” Clarey said of Carter.

Luis Acosta had a break through race, finishing 11th, and just five seconds behind Carter. Andrew Lesak was the third Knight to finish, placing 15th in 16:12.

Brandon Park ran aggressive, placing 20th overall with a time of 16:46.

Then another KHS pack of Brock Robertson (25th, 17:03), Phil Cutsinger (27th, 17:06) and Mitch Reger (28th, 17:10) finished in a cluster.

Clarey was pleased with Robertson, a senior in his first year on the cross country team, performed.

“(He) finished as our No. 5 today, and he really pushed himself hard through the first 1.5 miles to establish that position,” Clarey said. “He has shown strong improvement these past four weeks.”

Dylan Kuipers (42nd, 17:42), Jimmy Walker (48th, 18:08), Phil Rawers (86th, 21:23) and Connor Pennington (88th, 21:40) also competed for the Knights.

With conference looming, the Knight harriers headed to the Byron Invitational Wednesday (results not available before press time) before the head west to their annual stop at the Sterling Invitational Saturday.

“We will hopefully be back at full strength and depth at conference (Oct. 19 at Morris),” Clarey said. “In the meantime, we work to get healthy, freshen up, and keep pushing that pack further toward the front of the field.”

Clarey is optimistic about his team as they head into the home stretch of the season.

“It’s tough to be patient, but we feel good about where we are headed with such a tight-knit pack,” he said.

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Come together

Boys CC packs it up at ACC
AURORA—A change of format at the Charger Classic, hosted by Aurora Central Catholic at Oakhurst Forest Preserve in Aurora, saw the Kaneland boys cross country team in the gold, larger-schools division of the annual event. The gold division not only included four ranked teams in 2A or 3A in Dyestat’s weekly poll, but a strong Trinity team from Kentucky and Linn-Marr from Ohio.

Kaneland placed 11th with 251 points, just seven behind neighbor Burlington Central. Trinity won the meet with a scant 63 points, followed by Linn-Marr’s 81 and local Batavia’s 101.

Although finishing in the middle of the field, KHS head coach Chad Clarey was pleased with his group’s efforts.

“Our team continues to build some momentum, this week with a very solid pack split of just 24 seconds (from first to fifth runners),” he said. “Brandon Park capped a 40-second pack split from 1-7.”

Leading the way with a tremendous final kick to the finish, Nathaniel Kucera ran a 15:52 to place 40th overall. He was followed closely by Ryan Bower’s 15:54, which was good for 44th.

Luis Acosta (57th, 16:12) led the next three Knights, who were separated by only four seconds, which included Andrew Lesak (59th, 16:15) and a recuperating Kyle Carter (60th, 16:16).

“There’s a big ‘up’ side to this team,” Clarey said. “The way they feed off of one another within the race bodes well for our future in the post season.”

Phil Cutsinger and Park were neck-and-neck with each other, placing 73rd and 74th with times of 16:31 and 16:32, respectively.

The Knights also had three more competitors in the varsity race, with Mitch Reger (91st, 17:04), Brock Robertsen (94th, 17:13) and Dylan Kuipers (108th, 17:33) all contributing.

“We had a great team day, and look forward to getting healthier, faster and stronger team results as the season winds down and we head to October,” Clarey said.

Courtesy photo by Andrew Franklin: Andrew Lesak

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KHS boys secure 6th at Eddington

Photo: The start of the 44th annual Eddington Invitational boys varsity race. The Knights took sixth place overall. Ryan Bower (left to right), Nathaniel Kucera, Luis Acosta and Andrew Lesak get things going. Photo by Mary Paulson

Bower, Kucera, Lesak elevate Knight totals
ELBURN—Under sunny skies at Elburn Woods, the Kaneland boys cross country saw a talented field try and stake claim to their turf.

Kaneland managed a sixth-place finish at the annual Eddington Invite on Saturday morning, carving out enough of a path to see positive developments.

The Knights were strong enough to finish sixth with 160 team points, just two points behind local rival West Aurora. Crystal Lake Central’s 41, Glenbard West’s 53, Jacobs’ 74 and Benet Academy’s 152 rounded out the top four. Burlington Central (207), Geneva (226), Sycamore (249) and DeKalb (256) filled in the rest of the top 10. Larkin, Dundee-Crown and Marengo rounded out the 12-team field.

Crystal Lake Central’s senior asset Ryan Pitner, with a time of 15 minutes, 51.1 seconds, claimed the Elburn course. Jacobs entry Matthew Johnson was next with a time of 16:02.8.

For KHS, the field was headed by senior Ryan Bower, who finished 21st at 16:48.2. Bower was followed quickly by teammate Nathaniel Kucera, who finished 22nd at 16:51.4. Andrew Lesak, a junior, took 32nd at 17:06.2. Senior Luis Acosta was fourth-best for KHS and finished 42nd and 17:23.3, while junior teammate Brandon Park was 43rd at 17:24. Senior Kyle Carter, working his way back from illness, finished 60th overall at 18:00.1. The Kaneland pack was within 72 seconds of each other, from one through six.

“It’s nice, with this being their last meet on their home course, that it means something to them,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said. “Running at the Woods is special, and trying to PR is a big part of what they want to accomplish. For the most part, we really did a good job with that. Ryan Bower had a 27-second PR and a career-best on the home course. Kucera also had a PR and a good day, and a big surprise for us was Lesak.”

Kucera thought it was a good race for a relatively healthy KHS to show what it could do in a talent-heavy field, at an important juncture of the 2013 campaign.

“I was feeling a little sick today and congested, so it was a little rough, but I’m happy with my time,” Kucera said. “I mean, we had good competition.”

Freshman Jacob Oury of Hampshire was tops of the frosh-soph competition at 17:01.9. KHS sophomore Sean Spaetzel was sixth at 17:37.8. Senior Brock Robertsen was the top entry for Kaneland in the open race with a time of 18:24.6, good for 14th.

Saturday, Sept. 28, sees the boys travel to the Aurora Central Catholic Invitational.

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Knights solid at First to the Finish

Photo: Ryan Bower led the Knights in Peoria, running a personal-best 15:55 effort over the 3-mile course. Photo by Ben Draper

Boys place 11th in strong field
PEORIA, Ill.—When you have 13 of the top 25 ranked teams, it could be easy to get lost in the crowd.

But coach Chad Clarey’s boys cross country squad rose to the challenge, finishing 11th in the highly competitive 52-team First to the Finish Invitational at Peoria’s Detweiller Park Saturday.

The Knights tallied 405 points, seven behind 10th-place Champaign Central.

No. 1-ranked Illiana Christian won the meet with 121 points.

“It felt good to get back to Detweiller and run a faster course against some top-tier teams,” Clarey said. “We feel like we have a lot of room for growth, and we realize that we have about five weeks to put our pieces in place, ahead of the conference meet.”

Nine other Northern Illinois Big 12 conference schools were at the meet, including Yorkville (2nd, 136 points), Dixon (5th, 274), Sycamore (9th, 348), Sterling (13th, 414), Geneseo (20th, 562), DeKalb (34th, 870), Ottawa (35th, 901), Rochelle (45th, 1244) and Streator (52nd, 1684).

Individually, the Knights were led by a strong effort by Ryan Bower, running a personal best time of 15 minutes, 55 seconds over the 3 mile course.

Luis Acosta was the next Knight to cross the finish line, placing 71st with a time of 16:21. Nathaniel Kucera (92nd, 16:37), Andrew Lesak (94th, 16:38) and Sean Spaetzel (106th, 16:47) rounded out the Knight scorers.

Clarey was happy with his team’s ability to run as a pack in the 735-runner field.

“Using a 52-second pack split, and 55 (seconds) between our first six, we now have a baseline to work with,” he said.

Brandon Park was Kaneland’s sixth man, placing 116th in 16:50.

Rounding out the Knight runners were Phil Cutsinger (179th, 17:20), Michael Booton (191st, 17:26), Brock Robertsen (233rd, 17:42), Dylan Kuipers (277th, 17:59), Noah Duffey (315th, 18:15), Mitch Reger (316th, 18:15), Alex Gale (255th, 18:31), Will Kuipers (361st, 18:33), Aaron French (369th, 18:39), James Walker (371st, 18:40), Andrew Kantola (431st, 19:11), Danny Walker (565th, 20:38), Kyle Osborne (628th, 21:38) and Phil Rawers (629th, 21:39).

Although running in the varsity race, Clarey was happy with how his freshmen and sophomores competed.

“We have a terrific group of frosh soph runners who were eager to compete,” Clarey said. “For their first time out on a three-mile course, we notched many races in the 18:00’s, including a two-minute drop from Will Kuipers, Alex Gale and Aaron French.

It will be fun to see how this group continues to gel, and to follow their leaders,” he added.

Next up for the Knights is the 44th installment of the Eddington Invitational at Elburn Woods Saturday. The boys varsity runs at 9:45 a.m., boys fr/so at 10:45 a.m., and boys open at 11:15 a.m.

Parking for the meet will be at Kaneland High School, with regular shuttles going to and from the Elburn Woods course every 10 minutes.

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A running start

ELBURN—A short-handed Kaneland boys cross country team fell just short of a season-opening win.

In their first taste of competition for the 2013 season, the Knights harriers were edged by visiting Wheaton Academy 27-30. West Chicago placed third in the four-team meet with 100 points, while Hinckley-Big Rock did not field a full team.

Expected front-runner Kyle Carter wasn’t in the lineup for the Knights.

KHS was led by Nathaniel Kucera and Ryan Bower, as both battled up front with eventual winner Noah Van Dyke of Wheaton Academy over the three-mile course. In the end, Van Dyke opened a 14-second cushion on Kucera, who placed second with a time of 17 minutes, 15 seconds, while Bower was third in 17:21.

“Nathaniel Kucera and Ryan Bower were in the neighborhood of their course records from last year,” head coach Chad Clarey said. “I think they could use the home course to their advantage a little more, and we know how to help them do it.”

Luis Acosta used a fierce kick to place fourth for the Knights in 17:28, but then a wave of Wheaton Academy maroon came across the line to take places 5-9, sealing the win for the Warriors. Junior Adam Lesak placed 10th with a time of 18:04, while senior Phil Cutsinger placed 11th in 18:53.

“We like seeing Lesak less than 45 seconds from our leaders,” Clarey said. “Phil Cutsinger rallied as our No. 5 and capped off our scoring.”

The Knights run next Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. at Elburn Woods in a triangular meet with East Aurora and Yorkville.
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Photo: Nathaniel Kucera led the Knights with a 2nd place finish, followed closely by Ryan Bower in 3rd, Tuesday night at Elburn Woods.
Photo by Ben Draper

Kaneland results:
2. Kucera 17:15
3. Bower 17:21
4. Acosta 17:28
10. Lesak 18:04
11. Cutsinger 18:53
13. Robertsen 19:13
14. Reger 19:13
15. Park 19:31
37. Rawers 24:54
38. Pennington 25:02

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2013 Boys CC Preview: Stride right

Photo: Head coach Chad Clarey’s Knights look to make some noise at the conference and state levels in 2013. The Knights are currently ranked 11th in DyestatIL.com’s preseason poll. Photo by Kimberly Anderson

Knight harriers hope health and improvement go long way in ‘13
KANELAND—Productive finishes are a funny thing, sometimes.

For KHS boys cross country, the challenge is now to live up to the noteworthy end of 2012, by combatting the graduation losses and a consistent work ethic.

Gone are key elements like Conor Johnson, John Meisinger and Brandon Huber, but potent talent still remains who know what’s expected of them.

Assets like seniors Kyle Carter, Nathaniel Kucera, Luis Acosta and Ryan Bower remain.

All feet will have to be on deck to match and surpass a fifth-place sectional finish and a 13th Class 2A State output.

“We have four of our top seven back, and three of those seven have State championship experience from track,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said. “Ryan Bower is also an accomplished 9:50 two-miler. Those four have us sitting in a good position with senior leadership and experience. They understand the pressures of big meets.”

Those four are a pleasant group to have, but Clarey wishes for a solidifying of the rest of the lineup for conference tussles and Saturday invites.

“What weighs heavily is where do we go when it comes to keeping everyone healthy,’ he said. “When you feel like you’ve been dealt a nice hand, and we’re not anything but one of those teams that tries to qualify out of that sectional, we have to work to stay healthy and we’ve made adjustments to our training.”

“... in my 19th season, I’ve learned you may have an idea what’s going to happen, but you roll with whatever you’re given” KHS boys cross country coach  Chad Clarey
“… in my 19th season, I’ve learned you may have an idea what’s going to happen, but you roll with whatever you’re given”
KHS boys cross country coach
Chad Clarey

Seniors looking to crack into the everyday lineup include Dylan Kuipers, Phil Cutsinger and Brock Robertsen. Juniors include Mitch Reger, Adam Lesak, Brandon Park, James Walker, Connor Pennington and Phil Rawers.

Clarey cites upperclassmen Kuipers, Cutsinger, Lesak and Walker as examples who could see time, along with sophomore Sean Spaetzel.

“Bower and Lesak have really turned things up a notch, which makes it great for us as coaches. But in my 19th season, I’ve learned you may have an idea what’s going to happen, but you roll with whatever you’re given,” Clarey said.

Boys cross country seniors: Phil Cutsinger, Nathaniel Kucera and Kyle Carter (bottom row). Ryan Bower and Dylan Kuipers (middle row) and Luis Acosta.
Boys cross country seniors:
Phil Cutsinger, Nathaniel Kucera and Kyle Carter (bottom row).
Ryan Bower and Dylan Kuipers (middle row) and Luis Acosta.

Additional sophomores include Will Kuipers, Elliott Mejia, Aaron French, Kyle Osborne and Alex Gale.

Freshmen are Noah Duffey, Michael Booton, Anthony Messina, Andrew Kantola, Troy Moss, Cole Rutter and Danny Walker.

Around the Northern Illinois Big XII landscape has a steady group not affected by heavy turnover.

“The only school that might be affected is DeKalb, who had a great team last year and graduated five of their top seven. Dixon will be a top five school. Yorkville, if they’re healthy, will seriously be a factor. Things happen over the course of a season,” Clarey said.

KHS boys cross country heads to the Elburn Woods course for a triangular against West Chicago and Wheaton Academy on Tuesday, Sept. 3.

Sterling is gold for KHS boys

Knights rule NIB-12 indoor track at Sterling
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—The Kaneland’s boys track squad amassed 107 points by the end of Saturday’s Northern Illinois Big XII Indoor conference meet housed by Sterling High School’s Westwood track.

The remaining field would have to be competing a fairly long time to match that total.

Geneseo’s 67, DeKalb’s 62 and Yorkville’s 55 rounded out the top four. Sycamore (52), Dixon (44), LaSalle-Peru (23), Ottawa (22), Sterling (17) and Rochelle (16).

The field event accolades began with senior stalwart Marshall Farthing, who took third at six feet, three inches. Teammate Dylan Kuipers’ 12-09 effort in the pole vault was good for third.

The long jump was accented by KHS duo Tanner Andrews in third at 20-07, and Ben Barnes in fourth at 20-05.5.

The triple jump featured Knight Andrews in second at 41-02.25 and teammate Dalvell Triplett in fourth at 40-08.25.

Junior Nate Dyer’s 49-06 in the shot put was good for second place to round out the field festivities.

Kaneland’s winning edge increased thanks to personnel like Brandon Bishop, who’s second-place time in the 60 meter dash came as a result of of a 7.15 second time.

Knight Dylan Nauert’s 8.78 in his 60m hurdles event took first, while the Kaneland 4x200m relay effort of 1:37.25 was third overall.

The 800m run had two noteworthy finishes thanks to Kyle Carter’s second (2:03.65) and Luis Acosta’s fourth (2:06.53).

Nathaniel Kucera of Kaneland conquered the 400m dash field at 52.99.

Topping the afternoon was the KHS 4x400m relay squad’s first place time of 3:33.80.

“We scored well and placed in many events but didn’t get very many personal best,” KHS coach Eric Baron said. “We are struggling with the weather this spring, and our lack of adequate indoor facilities is starting to show in our performances. We are getting many injuries due to the training surfaces we have to use in the hallways and gym floors, as opposed to rubberized field house tracks. I am hoping that weather breaks soon.”

The outdoor campaign’s is scheduled to begin on Saturday, April 6, at the East Moline United Invite.

KHS fall sports announce awards

Kaneland—The Kaneland High School fall sports programs recently concluded their respective awards nights.

Cross Country—Boys
• Most Valuable Runner: Kyle Carter, Conor Johnson
• Most Improved Runner: Nathaniel Kucera
• Larry Eddington Award for Courage, Leadership and Strength—Nick Messina
• Captains—Kyle Carter, Conor Johnson, Brad Kigyos
• Golden Knight Award—Freshman: Kyle Osborne; Sophomore: Andrew Lesak; Junior: Ryan Bower; Senior: Gus Stott
• State Qualifiers—Kyle Carter, Conor Johnson, Nathaniel Kucera, John Meisinger, Ryan Bower, Brandon Huber, Ryan Paulson, Luis Acosta
• All Conference—Kyle Carter

Cross Country—Girls
• Captains—Abby Dodis, Maggie Brundige, Ashley Castellanos
• Most Improved Runner—Jessica Kucera, Sydney Strang
• Most Valuable Runner—Victoria Clinton
• All Conference—Victoria Clinton, Brianna Bower, Abby Dodis, Sydney Strang, Amanda Lesak
• State Qualifiers—Victoria Clinton, Aislinn Lodwig, Sydney Strang, Abby Dodis, Ashley Castellanos, Maggie Brundige, Amanda Lesak, Brianna Bower
• All State, State Champion—Victoria Clinton

Football
• Captains—Blake Bradford, Ryan Lawrence, Dan Goress, Kory Harner, Nick Sharp
• Most Improved Player—Bradley Johnson
• Most Valuable Player—Blake Bradford
• Offensive MVP—Zach Martinelli
• Defensive MVP—Gary Koehring
• Special Teams MVP—Matt Rodriguez
• NIB XII All Conference—Zach Theis, Nick Sharpe, Alex Snyder, Zach Martinelli, Jesse Balluff, Drew David, Justin Diddell, Jaumaureo Phillips, Blake Bradford, Kory Harner, Gary Koehring, Ryan Lawrence, Matt Rodriguez

Golf
• Varsity Most Improved Player—Jessy Denton
• Varsity MVP—Matt Yonkovich
• Fresh/Soph MVP—Jeremy Faletto
• Fresh/Soph Most Improved Player—Tori Guyton, C.J. Wehrmann
• All Conference—Matt Yonkovich, Connor Williams, Brody Kuhar, Luke Kreiter
• State Qualifiers—Connor Williams, Luke Kreiter, Matt Yonkovick, Brody Kuhar, Dan Miller, Sean Glennon

Soccer
• Captains—Alex Gil, Anthony Parillo, Marshall Farthing, Sam Rymarz, Alec Koczka, Ivan Bohorquez
• Most Improved Player—Jason Biddle, Marshall Farthing
• Most Valuable Player—Alex Gil, Anthony Parillo
• Rookie of the Year—Ivan Bohorquez
• Coach’s Award—Tyler Siebert, Alec Koczka, Chris Van Dinther, J.T. Karr
• Offensive Player of the Year—Anthony Parillo
• Defensive Player of the Year—Sam Rymarz
• Player of the Year—Anthony Parillo
• All Conference—Marshall Farthing, Alex Gil, Anthony Parillo, Alec Koczka, Sam Rymarz
• All Conference-Honorable Mention—Arsim Azemi
• All Sectional-Honorable Mention—Arsim Azemi
• All Sectional—Alex Gil, Marshall Farthing
• All State—Anthony Parillo

Tennis
• Team Spirit Awards—Varsity: Jess Woodward; JV: Katelyn Blaszynski
• Most Improved Awards—Varsity: Colleen Landers; JV: Mallory Dugan
• MVP—Sarah Grams, Stephanie Zwick
• Outstanding Achievement Awards—School Record: 38 wins—Madison Jurcenko, Angelica Emmanouil; 1st Singles player to qualify for the State Tournament—Samantha Schrepferman
• State Qualifiers—Madison Jurcenko, Angelica Emmanouil, Samantha Schrepferman
• All Conference—Madison Jurcenko, Angelica Emmanouil, Samantha Schrepferman, Sarah Grams

Volleyball
• Most Improved Player—Emily Laudont, Keri Groen
• Spirit Award—Rachael Clinton
• MVP—Jenny Lubic
• Top Offensive Player—Ellie Dunn
• Top Defensive Player—Shayna Tucek
• All Conference—Ellie Dunn, Lauren Banbury

Power in Peoria

Photo: Kaneland junior Kyle Carter (1296) and senior Conor Johnson (1298) battle a Yorkville runner shortly after the 2-mile mark at Saturday’s IHSA State Cross Country meet at Detweiller Park in Peoria. Johnson finished a team-best 15 minutes, 18 seconds, good enough for 36th place, while Carter was just behind in 15:22 (48th place). The Knights placed 13th in the meet. Photo by Justin Vacha

Knights’ 13th-best program in State after Detweiller Park run
by Mike Slodki
Peoria, Ill.—The Kaneland High School boys cross country team set a number of personal and team records at the State Finals in Peoria on Saturday.

The Knights finished 13th overall, improving upon last year’s 15th place finish at State.

Yet, even more important than inching up the team final totals, the Knights set an all-time school record for team time of scoring runners, 78:34. Kaneland’s previous best mark of 78:43 was set by the 1987 State Championship team.

KHS head coach Chad Clarey said the team came to Peoria with a gameplan consisting of a list of goals, both on a personal and team level.

“The team executed our race plan flawlessly, in the deepest and fastest (Class) 2A field ever,” Clarey said. “We averaged 15:42 for our scoring runners, and even that wasn’t fast enough to make the top 10 of this class.”

Keyed by top-40 finishes from leaders Conor Johnson and Kyle Carter, Kaneland finished 13th overall with a team score of 351 points, 20 better than in 2011.

With an 85-point total, Chicago’s Jones High School took the top team trophy, followed by Belvidere North at 126 and Knight conference rival Yorkville at 129.

Former conference-mate Glenbard South was fifth overall at 190, while fellow Northern Illinois Big XII outfit Dixon was 10th.

Kaneland finished 10 points behind East Moline United, and ahead of Fenton’s 376.

“The team has worked so hard through summer heat, cold ice baths, intense intervals and exhausting races,” Clarey said. “We are so proud, and even more blessed to have had this opportunity come and then be answered by seven courageous young men and their teammates.”

John Wold of Glenbard South ran the course in 14 minutes, 16 seconds for the individual title, followed by Crystal Lake Central’s Alex Baker at 14:21, and Riley McInerney of Charleston rounded out the top three at 14:33.

The top-seven of the Knights proved itself formidable in chilly conditions, with the senior Johnson running his final high school race at a 36th-place clip of 15:18, good for a 5:06 pace, shaving 42 seconds off his state run the year prior.

“His (Johnson) senior leadership has been a major reason why we made it this far,” Clarey said. “We are very proud of his character, as well as his running talents.”

Carter was next for the KHS lineup at 15:22, completing his junior season in 48th place in the state. Carter’s time shaved 23 seconds off last year’s appearance at the State Finals.

“We are so proud of Kyle, and all he has managed these past four weeks with an IT band injury,” Clarey said. “He’s overcome a lot, and certainly been a leader on the course and in practices.”

Junior Nathaniel Kucera was 103rd overall at 15:51.

“Nathaniel Kucera didn’t even make our state roster last fall. He turned that disappointment into fuel for a fire that allowed him to post an incredible 15:51 PR,” Clarey said. “His story from 2011 to 2012 will be long remembered, and cherished.”

Senior teammate John Meisinger took 111th at 15:53.

“Seeing seniors like Meisinger leave the course smiling and fulfilled is probably the best part of our day, as coaches,” Clarey said.

Junior Luis Acosta was fifth-best on the team and 139th overall with an effort of 16:12. Kaneland senior Brandon Huber was 157th overall at 16:22, while junior Ryan Bower finished the State lineup at 16:32 for 165th place.

“There isn’t a trophy for what this team achieved, but there’s great satisfaction in knowing that their group set the new standard over another that was Coach Eddington’s greatest cross country team,” Clarey said. “Granted, we are twice the size of a school now than when Larry’s crew won in ‘87.”

Good enough

Boys XC punches Sectional ticket with 2nd-place finish
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—If it weren’t for Crystal Lake Central, Kaneland High School boys cross country would have even more to celebrate.

As it stands, celebrating a berth at the Belvidere Sectional is cause enough.

With a pack separated by 46 seconds, the Knight lineup took second at the Class 2A Kaneland Regional on Saturday, thanks to a 69 point total.

Crystal Lake finished with 31 points, while Sycamore had 96 points to be the third and last unit to travel to the Sectional. The Spartans edged Prairie Ridge by one point.

Burlington Central, Woodstock, Hampshire and Rochelle rounded out the eight-team field.

“The team had a better overall performance than the conference meet,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said. “We have some mental hurdles to clear, but this group can respond quickly with great senior leadership.”

Crystal Lake senior Alex Baker was the first of three straight teammates to top the race, and finished with a leading time of 15 minutes, 37.1 seconds.

Kaneland’s top runner was senior leader Conor Johnson, who finished sixth with a time of 16:36.9.

Following closely was junior teammate Kyle Carter, who finished with a time of 16:37.2.

In 13th place was Knight junior Nathaniel Kucera, who finished with an effort of 16:56.5.

Junior Luis Acosta was fourth-best for the Kaneland lineup in 20th place overall at 17:14.4, and Brandon Huber was 23rd with a time of 17:24.0.

“We know the rigors of our home course, and we needed to get a solid race in and finish the day healthy,” Clarey said.

The boys race begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27, with successful teams from the Antioch and Belvidere North Regionals.

Knight boys run circles around Freeport

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—There’s nothing like a victory pretzel.

You can ask the Kaneland High School boys cross-country team.

This past Saturday brought the 36th annual Freeport Pretzel Invite, and it was won by Kaneland.

The Knights’ total of 31 was due to five Knights placing in the top 12 runners in the entire field.

Second place was owned by Rockford Jefferson with 60, followed by Winnebago in third at 74, and Rock Falls at 110.

A key to the Kaneland harrier success was the team’s pack split, which KHS coach Chad Clarey always stresses as being a key to success.

“One of our best pack runs of the season today, with a 1-7 split of just 63 seconds,” he said.

Junior asset Kyle Carter overtook the field after the mile mark and won the course in 15:23.55. Next for KHS was Conor Johnson who ran an impressive time of 15:34.01 after a late push.

John Meisinger finished sixth with a time of 15:57.83.

“His 15:57 was one of his best performances of the season, and a key to the team win,” Clarey said.

Teammate Ryan Bower took ninth at 16:15.38, continuing his first-year varsity trajectory. Luis Acosta was the fifth Knight runner to finish, in 12th at 16:20.22.

“We need to rest, recover and push hard to maintain the great start we’ve built for ourselves,” Clarey said. “This is a special group, with outstanding senior leadership. We hope to continue this, bringing all 31 boys to the finish.”

The boys battle competition at the Sterling Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 6.

Knight runners excel at Peoria

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—One can only hope this past Saturday was a preview for bigger things down the course.

At Peoria High School’s First to the Finish race on Saturday, featuring the best Class 2A has to offer at Detweiller Park, the Knights ran away with a third-place nod.

With 184 team points, the Knights set a new high-water mark for the Peoria meet, after finishing fourth five years ago.

“The boys took advantage of great weather and fast competition to net a third-place finish,” KHS head coach Chad Clarey said. “Our pack split of 56 seconds (one through five) was a major factor in the team’s top five showing.”

Northern Illinois Big XII rival Yorkville’s 88 was tops out of 45 schools, followed by Normal U-High’s 119.

Kyle Carter was the flag-bearer for the Knight roster, finishing 10th overall with a time of 15 minutes, 23 seconds—setting a KHS record for the course, and also beating his own 2011 State race time by 22 seconds.

Next for KHS was Conor Johnson, who finished 30th with a time of 15:51, clipping his own state time by nine seconds.

John Meisinger was 40th with a time of 16:05, followed by Ryan Bower with a time of 16:08 (45th place).

KHS coach Chad Clarey was pleased with the 56 second pack split, and the Knights’ depth.

“John Meisinger and Ryan Bower each looked very strong,” Clarey said. “Another major key to our day was Luis Acosta. (He) ran nearly 30 seconds faster than his 2011 State time, and looks like a seasoned veteran.”

Acosta finished 59th at 16:19.

Ahead for KHS is the storied Eddington Invite at Elburn Woods on Saturday, Sept. 15.

Knight XC tops East Aurora, Yorkville

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boys Cross Country Preview: Making excellence familiar

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

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

But Kaneland won’t be satisfied.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sophomores
Andrew Lesak
Brandon Park
Connor Pennington
Philip Rawers
James Walker

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

Head coach
Chad Clarey

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

Spring kind to Kaneland athletics in awards season

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

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

Awards were released on June 3.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Knight boys lay down exceptional efforts

Photo: Brandon Bishop begins a relay in the rain during the Boys and Girls visit to DeKalb on April 25. Photo by Patti Wilk

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Your Kaneland High School boys track outfit is getting hot at the right time.

On April 25, the Knight boys took care of DeKalb’s team in convincing fashion in a 110-36 dual.

They followed that with a second-place finish at their usual Crystal Lake Central Invite on Friday, dealing with other schools with a distinct numbers advantage.

Against the host Barbs, the Knights saw another stellar afternoon from Nate Dyer, who grabbed two firsts.

The sophomore threw a 48 foot, 7-and- a-half inch shot put, and also took the discus with a 140-10 throw.

Teammate Eric Dillon won the high jump with a 6-foot launch, while teammate Marshall Farthing won the triple jump with a 38-7.5 try. Dan Evers nabbed a first in the pole vault with an 11-06 vaulting, as well.

In relay activity, the Knights saw firsts in the 3200 meter relay with a time of 8:45.5 and a 400m relay run of 44 seconds.

Dylan Nauert continued a positive trajectory by taking the 110m high hurdles in 16.3 seconds, while Sean Carter won the 100m dash in 11.3 seconds.

Nauert continues to impress coach Eric Baron.

“Dylan is a very strong hurdler,” Baron said. “His technique is getting better all the time, but his strength carries him through right now.”

Knight Luis Acosta brought home the 800m run title with a 2:05.7 try, and Brandon Stahl won the 400m run with a 55.4 clip.

Carter also bested the field in the 200m run at 22.4 seconds, while the 1600m relay unit finished first with a time of 3:36.8.

In the 10-team Crystal Lake Central Invite held on Friday, the Knights also received enough good effort and fortune to take second up north.

With Belvidere North’s team taking first at 114 points, Kaneland’s second-place, 99-point total was good enough to outlast Harlem (93), the hosts (81) and Burlington Central (74).

Dyer’s 50-07.75 was good for second in the shot put, while Dillon reached fourth place in the high jump at 5-09.

Ben Barnes took third in the long jump at 19-05.

Kaneland’s 3200m relay team took second, with Nate Kucera, Conor Johnson, Clayton Brundige and Kyle Carter running a 8:21.18 track, and the crew of Brandon Bishop, Brandon Cottier, Nauert and Sean Carter were crowned champs of the 400m relay with a time of 43.84 seconds.

Nauert took the invite mantle in the 110m hurdles with a time of 15.96.

Ahead for the boys is the Kane County Invite, held at West Aurora High School on Friday, May 3, at 4:30 p.m.

Boys track talent factory hopes to pay dividends

Photo: Kory Harner is one of the many cogs in the victory machine for Kaneland boys track. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Knights boys track has a storied history and a lot to live up to.

In the last couple seasons, the outfit has not disappointed.

With 2010’s second-place team finish in Class 2A, and 2011’s third straight sectional championship, the final obstacle of the season saw a State crown for departed senior Taylor Andrews in the hurdles, as well as qualification in 10 events.

Seventh-year Coach Eric Baron takes solace in the fact that even with personnel like Andrews, Trevor Holm and Tommy Whittaker not wearing Knights garb, they return athletes that learned quite a bit and excelled often.

“We’re missing that experience this year, I’ll be honest,” Baron said. “Brandon Cottier has the most State meet experience now, and we have guys that ran at State like Sean Carter in the 4×200 and Brandon Bishop and Luis Acosta. We have a lot of young talent, but not a lot of big meet experience.”

Clayton Brundinge returns for events like the 4x800m relay, and the Knights will enjoy the talents of Miki Marin and Carter.

“Carter is a great leader and it was just his first year, and you’d never know it by talking with him and being around him,” Baron said.

Baron has a pleasant problem when it comes to distance.

“What I have right now is more depth than I’ve ever had before and can run fresh athletes in almost every distance race,” Baron said.

Kyle Carter, coming off a huge cross-country season, employs his endurance for the 4×800 and the 4×400.

Conor Johnson will also be counted on for distance events, along with Clayton Brundige, John Meisinger, Nate Rehkopf and Brandon Huber.

For sprints, Cottier returns to once again make a mark as a two-time Charleston qualifier, while Bishop returns off a NIB-12 best campaign in the 100m dash.

Dylan Pennington contributes to the spring side in the 4×100 and 4×200.

For the field events, Baron shows optimism.

“It’s going to be eye-opening how much we’ve improved on field events. Nate Dyer is on pace to blow away school records in discus, and Shane Jorgensen has thrown over 44 feet already,” Baron said.

Alex Snyder and Jaumaureo Phillips take care of the throwing events as well.

Perhaps the most questions center around the long jump, with basketball talent Marcel Neil making the transition to the track and hoping to answer some of them.

“Once we figure out what to do with him, he’s going to impress a lot of people in the long jump,” Baron said.

Tanner Andrews returns after having his sophomore campaign wiped out due to injury, and heads to the triple jump with teammates Marshall Farthing and Frankie Furco.

Kory Harner and Dylan Nauert look to return to rarified air in the pole vault and hurdles, respectively.

The Knights try to move on from a productive indoor campaign and head outdoors to the East Moline United Invite on Saturday, April 7. The Kane County Invite takes place at West Aurora on Friday, May 4.

KHS fall athletes recognized with awards

KANELAND—Kaneland High School athletics released their slate of Fall Sports Awards, with each sport trumpeting the best it had to offer, with some All-Northern Illinois Big XII honors thrown in for good measure.

In golf, All-NIB-12 went to Troy Krueger and Matt Yonkovich. Co-Varsity MVP’s were Brody Kuhar and Yonkovich. Connor Williams won the varsity most improved player award. On the frosh/soph roster, Stephen Cannell took the MVP, and Jacob Sheehan won the most improved player award.

For volleyball, All-NIB-12 nods went to Katy Dudzinski and conference MVP Kylie Siebert.

Dudzinski was named top offensive player while Siebert was named top defensive player.

Most improved player went to Rachael Clinton, and the Spirit award went to Lauren Banbury. Dudzinski and Siebert took home the team MVP awards.

In Kaneland tennis, Stephanie Rosenwinkel, Amelia Napiorkowski and Kelly Kovacic were recognized as captains. Mallory Dugan and Stephanie Karolewicz were named most improved. Kovacic and Colleen Landers took the team spirit awards. Outstanding achievement awards went to Jelly Emmnouil for a perfect regular season, Madi Jurcenko for a school record 33 wins, and the doubles tandem of Jurcenko and Napiorkowski for a record of 32-3. All-NIB-12 members were Napiorkowski, Jurcenko, Emmanouil and Sammie Schrepferman, and those four were also named team MVP’s.

For girls cross country, Victoria Clinton was honored for All-State totals, as well as being a State qualifier with teammates Maggie Brundige, Abby Dodis, Aislinn Lodwig, Amanda Lesak, Sydney Strang and Ashley Castellanos.

Lesak, Dodis, Lodwig, Brundige and Clinton were named to the All-NIB-12 team. Dodis, Brundige and Carolina Tovar were recognized as captains. Most improved runners were Dodis and Brundige, while Clinton was named as Most Valuable Runner, capping an exceptional freshman campaign.

For boys cross country, Kyle Carter, John Meisinger, Brandon Huber, Miki Marin, Conor Johnson, Luis Acosta, Clayton Brundige and Nate Rehkopf were recognized as State qualifiers, while Huber, Carter and Meisinger made the All-NIB-12 team.

The Golden Knight Awards went to freshman Andrew Lesak, sophomore Nathanie Kucera, junior Meisinger and senior Rehkopf. Rehkopf, Brundige and Marin were recognized as captains. Huber took the most improved runner nod. Brundige won the Larry Eddington Award for Courage, Leadership and Strength. Carter was named most valuable runner.

For the State semifinalist football squad, Quinn Buschbacher was recognized for his IHSCA All-State accomplishment, and Jacob Razo was credited with an IHSCA Honorable Mention. Alex Snyder, Drew David, Blake Bradford and Ben Kovalick were named to the IHSCA Academic All-State team.

Snyder, Nick Sharp, Buschbacher, Sean Carter, David, Ryan Noel, Kovalick, Razo, Kory Harner, Ryan Lawrence and Bradford were named to the All-NIB-12 team.

Special teams MVP was Matt Roriguez, while Buschbacher was offensive MVP and Razo was named defensive MVP.

Most improved player was Brandon Stahl, captains were Kovalick, Noel, Buschbacher, Razo and Carter, while Sean Carter walked away with the MVP award.

For the regional finalist soccer team, Alex Gil and Anthony Parillo were named to the All-Sectional team, while Jordan Escobedo, Gil, Parillo and Alec Koczka made the All-NIB-12 team. Pedro Perez and Tyler Siebert were honorable mention candidates.

Gil was named player of the year, with Escobedo taking the offensive player of the year and Sam Rymarz named the defensive player of the year.

The Coach’s Award went to Siebert, Koczka, Jason Biddle and Chris Van Dinther. Gil, Escobedo and Parillo were recognized as captains.

Rookie of the year went to Arsim Azemi. Thansi Pesmajoglou was named most improved player and Gil and Parillo took the team MVP.

Top-15 finish at State for KHS boys

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

by Mike Slodki
PEORIA—Kaneland’s boys cross country lineup went after the finish line all season long, with the burden of sizable turnover from last year.

Even with factors like that, as well as nagging injuries to key personnel, the Knight harriers made the most of their 15th trip to the State race in 25 years.

With a team total of 371 points, KHS took 15th in all of Class 2A after Saturday’s Detweiler Park gathering in Peoria, Ill.

The seven-deep Knight lineup ran the course with an average time of 16 minutes, 8.1 seconds, and had a pack discrepancy of 57 seconds.

Tops in Class 2A was the always dangerous Belvidere North, with 110 points and four athletes in the top 15. Former Western Sun Conference rival Glenbard South was second at 128, followed by Normal U-High at 173.

NIB-12 mate Yorkville was sixth overall with 209 points. Local outfit Marmion Academy took ninth at 258 points.

Decatur MacArthur’s Michael Clevenger’s 14:26 effort was good for first place, followed by Belvidere North’s Tyler Yunk at 14:32 and Charleston entry Riley McInerney at 14:40.

For Kaneland, the conclusion to 2011 gets it on par with the outstanding fifth-place finish two years ago. In 2010, KHS sent Trevor Holm to State, where he finished 37th.

As he’s done quite often during his sophomore season, Kyle Carter had the top total for the Knights, finishing with the 38th best time of 15:45.

Junior Conor Johnson took 59th with a time of 16 minutes flat, followed by teammate John Meisinger in 60th, one second behind.

Meisinger was impressed at the team’s fortunes.

“This was a big year, we had good team unity and wanted to see what we could do after Trevor left. With all the races, even if you don’t know, you are always improving,” Meisinger said.

Brandon Huber finished 85th at 16:16, while Miroljub Marin took 129th at 16:41. Luis Acosta was 139th overall at 16:48, and Clayton Brundige was 155th at at 17:04.

KNIGHTS XC
Luis Acosta Nick Albano
Ryan Bower Clayton Brundige
Kyle Carter Brandon Huber
Conor Johnson Brad Kigyos
Miroljub Marin John Meisinger
Ryan Paulson Nate Rehkopf
Head Coach Chad Clarey

‘One solid group’ gets to a better State

Photo: Kyle Carter (right) strides on Saturday, as he has done all season, as part of the State-bound Knight boys cross country squad. Photo by Mike Slodki

Fourth-place means 15th trip to State in 25 years
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—In a loaded Class 2A sectional hosted by Belvidere High School, Knight boys cross country had quite the challenge ahead of it and quite the trail to conquer.

If qualifying for the State race in Peoria this weekend is any indication, Kaneland went above and beyond, qualifying as a team.

KHS finished Saturday with 208 team points, two points ahead of final qualifying team Grayslake Central.

Belvidere North, with junior star Tyler Yunk, was first with 60 points, and Yorkville was second with 89 points.

Crystal Lake Central was third with 129 points.

The productive showing marks an improvement over a year ago, with one Knight, Trevor Holm, qualifying in 2010. The entire team qualified in 2009 and finished fifth.

“To take a busload of boys and girls to State for this meet hasn’t happened since 1992,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said. “To share this special day with them is great. We look forward to the chance to represent our community well in Peoria.”

Using a solid, 40-second pack split, something that Clarey has stressed the utmost importance of in 2011, the Knights’ Kyle Carter was the top finisher for his group in 19th place at 15 minutes, 59.9 seconds.

“What a great breakout sophomore season for him. Him and Brandon Huber are probably our most improved runners,” Clarey said.

Following close behind was 33rd-place John Meisinger at 16:18.8.

Teammate Huber was 49th and next for KHS at 16:34.7.

The fourth-best runner for the Knights was integral to the bottom line: Miki Marin, hobbled by a bum hamstring.

“He started passing, and didn’t stop for the last two miles. He ran a perfect race and did everything we asked of him. These boys came together as one solid group,” Clarey said.

Conor Johnson finished fifth for KHS with a time of 16:39, good for 56th.

Also in the mix on Saturday was Luis Acosta, at 17:03 (88th place). Senior Clayton Brundige was 109th at 17:24, and now a three-year member of the Kaneland State caravan, having gone in ‘08 and ‘09.

The boys’ race is set to begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5.

Knight boys XC takes to Sterling, Byron

KANELAND—At Byron, Kaneland’s 31 points was tops for the meet, above Byron’s 62. Richmond-Burton’s 68-point total was good for third.

With groups shooting out of the gate at 20 second intervals, Kaneland’s Gus Stott took the top spot for the Knights, followed by Nick Albano in fourth.

In Saturday’s Sterling Invite, the freshman-sophomore roster ran to a fourth-place finish with 121 points. Sophomore Kyle Carter’s 16 minute, seven second time was good for second, followed by teammate Luis Acosta, who finished seventh at 16:53.

The varsity group heads off to the second annual Northern Illinois Big XII meet, hosted by Geneseo High School, on Saturday, Oct. 15.

A year ago at Elburn Woods, Kaneland finished seventh out of 12 teams, with the Yorkville Foxes taking the mantle.

Boys XC curbing loss of 3 key parts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Taylor-made: Senior is Class 2A 110m hurdle champ

Photo: Senior Taylor Andrews (left), here running the 4x400m Relay in Friday’s prelims, set a state record in the 110m High Hurdles Friday, only to break it again Saturday during the IHSA State Track and Field Finals. Andrews won the event in 14.27 seconds, .10 seconds ahead of second place. Photo by Marshall Farthing

CHARLESTON—West Point wants the best and brightest.

It’s a good thing, because Knights senior Taylor Andrews showed he not only has those traits, but it also among the fastest.

Andrews set the Illinois boys track 2A State record with a 110 meter hurdles time of 14.27 seconds, .10 seconds ahead of Peoria Richwood’s Clayton Glasper.

Andrews also won his preliminary heat with 14.34 seconds worth of speed, also a record.

Andrews runs on the heels of 2010 State champs Nick Sinon in the high jump and the 4x400m relay.

A year ago, coach Eric Baron’s crew finished second in Class 2A. In 2011, it finished tied for 16th with 18 points, deadlocked with Mahomet-Seymour and Springfield’s Lanphier High School.

Cahokia (62 points), Glenwood (44) and Glenbard South (40) rounded out the top three.

Other finalists at Eastern Illinois University for the Knights was the 4x100m relay team of Jessee Balluff, Brandon Cottier, Andrews and Tommy Whittaker, as they finished sixth at 42.59 seconds.

The foursome won its preliminary heat at 43:03 seconds.

Additionally, Whittaker found himself sixth in the state in the 400m dash event, after racing in 50.21 seconds, capping his senior campaign. Whittaker finished third in his preliminary heat with a time of 50.13.

Fellow senior standout Trevor Holm finished 10th in the finals in the 1600m run, at 4:24.51. Holm was sixth in the preliminaries at 4:23.22.

Fellow state qualifiers included personnel like Kory Harner, whose pole vault effort was 13 feet.

The 4x800m relay team of Mickey Marin, Luis Acosta, Clayton Brundige and Holm was fifth in its heat at 8:18.84.

Whittaker ran a 11.18 in the 100m dash prelims. Curtis Secrest, Sean Carter, Brandon Bishop and Cottier ran a 1:31.46 in the 4x200m relay prelims.

Knight Dylan Nauert, who qualified at Sectionals by .01 seconds, finished the 300m hurdles in 40.67 seconds.

Cottier, Secrest, Andrews and Whittaker finished the 4x400m prelims at 3:23.36.

Kaneland boys track now says goodbye to Andrews, Doug Bade, Holm, Trevor Schramer, Secrest, Matt Spitzzeri and Whittaker due to graduation.