Tag Archives: Matt Cowans

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.

Winter sports awards, NIB-12 honors dished out

KANELAND—For boys basketball, captains Matt Cowans, Tyler Callaghan and Chaon Denlinger were recognized. Most Improved Player nods went to Zach Ringhouse and Trever Heinle. Denlinger also took home the Most Valuable Player. Callghan was awarded Defensive Player of the Year, and freshman teammate Daniel Helm was named Offensive Player of the Year. Kory Harner was named the winner of the Mr. Husle Award, and the All-Northern Ilinois Big XII entries were Denlinger and Helm.

For girls basketball, Defensive Player of the Year honor went to senior Andie Strang and teammate Emily Heimerdinger.

Kelly Evers was named MVP of the varsity squad, while teammate Emma Bradford took home the Most Improved Player award.

Heimerdinger was also award Ms. Kaneland Basketball and made honorable mention for the Northern Illinois Big XII, while Evers added to her awards with a Northern lllinois Big XII all-conference mention.

For sophomore girls basketball, Ashley Prost was named MVP. Brooke Harner was given the Defensive Player of the Year award, followed by Ashley Castellanos and Morgan Newhouse combining on the Most Improved Player awards.

Ms. Kaneland Basketball for the sophomore unit went to Sarah Grams.

Additionally, Alli Liss was named the winner of the Sophomore Hustle Chart Winner.

For the freshman level, Lauren Zick was named MVP and Sydney Strang was awarded Defensive Player of the Year. Most Improved Player was shared by Kelly Wallner and Katie Brinkman. Ms. Basketball went to Amber Winquist-Bailey, while Strang and Caroline Heimerdinger shared captains honors.

Knights wrestling issued a handful of awards, beginning with Kyle Davidson and Jimmy Boyle taking the Most Valuable Wrestler honors.

Zach Theis was named MVW of the JV ranks. Stephen Gust took home the Most Improved Wrestler award. The JV Most Improved Wrestler nod went to David Barnhart.

Andrew Essex was named the Bob Domena Memorial Award Hardest Worker.

Ben Kovalick was given the Dave Osman Memorial Award Most Dedicated Wrestler honor. The Russell Anderson Memorial Award was given to Dan Goress.

Davidson and Boyle were recognized as team captains, and Zach Ganz took home the Heart and Soul Award.

Finally, Boyle, Kovalick, Goress, Davidson and Keagan Mattes were honored for their inclusion on the All-Northern Illinois Big XII team.

For Kaneland Lady Knights bowling, Holly Thomas took home recognition for high series, high game, high average and captainship.

Morgan Wojciechowski was named Most Improved Bowler, and Seleana Isaacs was named Most Improved, as well. Isaacs also was given the coach’s award.

Talent, effort goes the distance for Knights

Photo: Trevor Holm remains a key component of the Kaneland High School boys track success the last several years, especially in the 1600m run. Photo by Linda Bell

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It was a high ceiling for Kaneland High School boys track in 2010, and by the end of the season in Charleston, Ill., it turned into a celebration.

A second-place finish in the Class 2A State meet and a State championship in two events were reason to party, and Kaneland hopes to extend it.

But, it’ll have to come with a lot of preparation, which fifth-year coach Eric Baron has already started on.

“It started at track camp in June, and we took a look at what we have coming back,” Baron said. “We looked at areas we need to strengthen. It’s a reloading program. We lost a lot of good seniors. I think the group of freshmen that’s coming in might be better than the group that just left, talent-wise.”

In terms of sprints, Tommy Whittaker’s name will come up early and often.

“Tommy is not only going to win a lot of races, he is just a tremendous leader,” Baron said. “It’s a senior class of seven. Their leadership is outstanding.”

Whittaker, Taylor Andrews, Matt Spitzzeri and Trevor Holm will be counted on to give that frosh-soph class some leadership.

“It’s gone on since before I was coach. You listen to the upperclassmen because they’ve been through the wringer,” Baron said.

Sprints and hurdlers will see an Andrews presence, who competed side-by-side with new Golden Gopher Logan Marcusson.

The entire 4×100 and 4×200 meter relays return to give KHS an added boost, fresh off a Charleston trip last year.

Brandon Cottier, Andrew Essex, Curtis Secrest and Quinn Buschbacher also look to contribute. Sophomore Dylan Pennington is also expected to make the most of his time on the track.

Holm takes care of the distance question.

“Trevor could be an All-Stater in pretty much any event we decide to go with,” Baron said.

Baron touted freshmen Luis Acosta and Kyle Carter as pleasant surprises in the early goings, especially in relays.

In the field, Frankie Furco has high jumped over six feet in indoor competition.

A young jumper looking to help the Knights is Marshall Farthing, also excelling in indoor action.

Spitzzeri in triple jump looks to make the State meet after missing by 1.5 inches last year.

“Matt Cowans is coming in in great shape off of basketball and is jumping real well,” Baron said.

Kaneland remains quite young in the throws and looks to several underclassmen to step in to spots previously held by personnel like Phil Christensen.

“There’s the potential for several Phil Christensens in our throwing crew right now, like Alex Snyder and Nate Dyer and Tom King,” Baron said.

On Saturday, April 9, the Knights begin the outdoor season at East Moline United. The Peterson Prep is hosted at KHS on Saturday, April 23.

Negative charge: ACC ousts Kaneland boys

Photo: Kaneland’s Zach Ringhouse drives toward the basket for two of his nine points in the 63-53 season-ending loss to Aurora Central Catholic on March 2. Ringhouse is among six seniors departing due to graduation. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
SYCAMORE—Turns out, the 26th contest of the year for Knights boys hoops for 2010-11 was its last.

A season that had area faithful wondering how second-year coach Brian Johnson’s roster could adjust with losses like Dave Dudzinski and Ryley Bailey, ended with a 17-9 record after a 63-53 loss to third-seeded Aurora Central Catholic on March 2.

The Sycamore Regional loss meant the end of a wild season for the second-seeded Knights.

Aurora Central Catholic (15-13) would go on to defeat the top-seeded Rochelle Hubs in the Sycamore Regional final on Friday, 56-51, and was scheduled to face Marian Central Catholic on Wednesday in the Woodstock North Sectional.

“They’re a good team,” Johnson said. “They played some really strong programs, and got that nice lead in the second quarter.”

For Kaneland, Chaon Denlinger had a team-high 17 points, followed by 12 from Daniel Helm. Ryan Harreld had a game-high 22 points which included four three-pointers.

Using proficiency down low and with an outside touch, ACC went out to a 20-12 lead in the first quarter. Trever Heinle’s bucket closed within 20-14 with 53.0 second left. After a basket put the Chargers up 22-14, Heinle’s two foul shots with 25.2 left made it 22-16 before a trifecta at the buzzer gave ACC a 25-16 lead after the first eight minutes.

Two long-range threes by the Chargers gave ACC a chance to see its lead bloom to 36-25 with 3:05 to go, but a Denlinger trifecta with 1:17 to go cut the lead to eight. The Knights trailed 36-28 going into halftime.

A Tyler Callaghan bucket 32 seconds into the second half brought KHS to its closest margin of the quarter at 36-30. A late flurry by the Chargers, which included three baskets and a foul shot, extended the lead to 50-38 by the end of the third frame.

The fourth quarter started in an encouraging fashion for Kaneland as Denlinger’s offensive putback and a three-point play by Zach Ringhouse brought the deficit to 50-43 with 5:39 to go. However, ACC had its own three-point play and an additional free throw got the lead back up to 11. Kaneland would close it to 54-46 with 3:28 to go but could get no closer.

With the season-ending loss, the Knights say goodbye to Ringhouse, Andrew O’Herron, Callaghan, Matt Spitzzeri, Matt Cowans and Denlinger.

“Yeah, it was the first game of the regional and we lost, but the kids in there did some amazing things. People were telling me ‘you’re going to win eight games, it’s a rebuilding year, you’re going to have some hard times.’ They go out and win 17 games and go out as conference champions,” Johnson said.

Boys beat Morris, lose to GS

KANELAND—Once close rivals, Kaneland (3-2, 1-0 NIB-12) and Glenbard South were separated by more than conference bylaws on Tuesday evening in Glen Ellyn.

Having trouble with a physical Raiders squad, the Knights fell, 62-46.

That came on the heels of KHS adding to its win category with a pivotal conference game in Redskin-ville, 54-49.

Against GS, KHS had an early 5-4 lead before the Raiders went to the foul line four times and went ahead 17-7 before KHS coach Brian Johnson called a time-out. Glenbard South had a 21-10 lead after the first frame.

In the second quarter, despite long-range jumpers by Trevor Heinle and Matt Cowans, Kaneland made just four of 11 foul shots. Chaon Denlinger’s basket at the buzzer gave the Knights a fighting chance at the halftime break, behind 32-22.

Drew David cut the deficit to 32-24 just one minute into the third quarter, but Glenbard South expanded its lead to 47-30 with 2:32 remaining. The Knights trailed at the end of three, 49-33.

With 4:07 left in the fourth quarter, the Raiders took their biggest lead at 58-35.

The battle between the Knights and Raiders yielded much time at the foul line for both teams, with Kaneland going 10-for-21 and GS hitting 18-of-31 from the charity stripe.

Coach Johnson thought his crew ran into a formidable opponent on Tuesday night.

“They were real physical and we didn’t match their physicality, and they were really intense,” Johnson said. “Offensively, they were able do whatever they wanted to do and we didn’t get stops, and we need to get stops.”

Daniel Helm paved the way with a 21-point evening on Saturday, including 9-for-10 from the line. Drew David added 13 points and Chaon Denlinger hit on 10 points. Key to the effort was a 16-for-20 night from the foul line.

The Redskins had a 13-9 lead after the first eight minutes, but KHS rallied to take a 27-26 lead at the half.

After increasing the margin to 40-37 at the end of the third, Kaneland remained firm in the final eight minutes for the win.

Kaneland travels to Sycamore for a Saturday, Dec. 11 contest.

Winter sports preview: KHS ready to begin A.D. (after Dave) in 2010-11

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Not only do the Knights of Kaneland boys basketball want to deal with the ghosts of last year’s regional heartbreaker against the DeKalb Barbs, they also have to deal with the six-foot-10 gap in the middle of their lineup that finished 17-10 in 2010.

Dave Dudzinski takes his impressive skills to Holy Cross this fall, still leaving coach Brian Johnson a talented roster.

“It’s something that’s going to be really different for the boys,” the second-year coach said on Tuesday. “We relied heavily on Dave. He was our best player and one of the best players in the state of Illinois. The guys are going to have to have an adjustment period where they deal with trying to figure themselves out.”

Seniors include forwards Chaon Denlinger, Tyler Callaghan and Matt Spitzzeri and guards Matt Cowans, Andrew O’Herron and Zach Ringhouse.

Juniors are forwards Sean Carter and Bryan VanBogaert and guards Trever Heinle, Tyler Heinle and Jacob Razo. Sophomores are Kory Harner and Dan Miller at guard, along with Kyle Pollastrini at forward.

Three frosh are along for the ride in the form of guards Drew David and Thomas Williams and forward Daniel Helm.

“We’re going to lean on Chaon and push him to be a complete player both offensively and defensively as a 2 or 3, and he’s got a deadly shot,” Johnson said.

The team is eagerly awaiting a full-strength roster after football season concludes, and to write a new chapter after the disappointing end.

“I know the guys here from last year definitely had a bad taste in their mouths, but want to get back and have that feeling of playing in a game like that. I think about it a lot and what I could have done differently,” Johnson said about the 50-47 regional title loss.

As usual, Kaneland begins things at the Strombom Tournament in Sycamore on Tuesday, Nov. 23, against Chicago’s Hope Academy.

Boys track looks to top themselves

Photo: Preparation continues for members of the Kaneland boys track squad that finished 13th in Class 2A a year ago. Photo by Mike Slodki
by Mike Slodki
Maple Park—Can the Kaneland High School boys track roster top last year’s exceptional finish?

Seven separate events saw Kaneland representation at the Class 2A State meet in Charleston, and the team finished 13th overall.

Senior Logan Markuson was crowned State champ in the 300 meter intermediate hurdles.

Graduate Josh Bloome and Markuson both medalled in the pole vault, and senior Nick Sinon took third in the high jump.

It sounds daunting on paper, but with a roster eclipsing the 70-person mark and with a glut of talent familiar with success, it’s possible for huge things to happen for KHS boys track.

“I would say we’re pretty excited,” KHS coach Eric Baron said. “We started with a lot of ambition and excitement about what we think we can accomplish. Winning the indoor invite this week was a first step.”

Markuson, now quickly climbing up the record books for Knights track, is appreciated by Baron for what he brings.

“He’s just a great person,” Baron said. “ It’s about more than just athletic ability. He hasn’t missed one day of school ever. Every meet, he’ll go out and do what you ask him to do.”

Markuson will look to make a mark in the hurdles, pole vault and 4×400 relay once again.

Sinon returns to the ranks after some offseason experience and has already cleared 6-8 in the indoor long jump.

“He’s looking at big things this year and is a real student of the sport,” Baron said. “We’ll be strong in all of our jumps, and this is going to be a big year for him.”

Helping the KHS cause was a Western Sun Conference indoor championship last week.

Also back on the sprint side is Taylor Andrews, who qualified in the 110m high hurdles and benefited from racing alongside Markuson.

Much will have to be done to absolve the loss of Lucas Ross, Colin Zagel and Brendan McCarthy.

“We’re looking for Tommy Whittaker to have a nice year and Serpa ran well for us, and then there’s some young guys like Curtis Secrest and Andrew Essex, who are working super hard,” Baron said.

On the relay side, Whittaker, Edgar Valle and Markuson return from the 4x400m.

Valle, who Baron marked as an unsung contributor to track during his tenure, also qualified for the 4x800m relay, along with Derek Bus, Sean Paulick and graduated Hayden Johnson.

“Bus qualified for State last year and has come out this year so far and made a statement,” Baron said.

“(Edgar) doesn’t get a lot of limelight, but he’s been a relay guy for us every meet,” Baron said.

The freshmen class comes in with personnel like Brandon Cottier, Alex Gil and Chad Swieca, who are primed for action.

“Cottier looks like a special athlete, and we’re figuring out what his best event is,” Baron said.

On the field side of things, it’s open season.

“Alex Mollohan and Brett Ketza are throwing for us and they look ready to step up,” Baron said.

Baron added Ben Kovalick to the throwing list.

For vault, Markuson and Jemmar Parrenas take the reins. Parrenas has gone over 12 feet in indoor competition.

For now, Baron mentions only a couple of nagging injury issues to Blake Serpa and Whittaker.

“A big thing right now is taking it easy on people when we can,” Baron said.

Seniors looking to contribute are Justin Choate, Brock Dyer, Dominic Furco, Kevin Hodge, Carlos Hufshlag, Joe Levita, Lukas Liebich, Justin Phillips, Matt Swift and Kyle Wagner.

Juniors looking to get in the mix are Cody McGinnis and Matt Spitzzeri.

Baron cited Matt Reusche on the senior side and juniors Matt Cowans and Trevor Holm as athletes that are capable of big things.

Sophomores are Chase Borneman, Clayton Brundige, Tom Chidester, Joe Cozzi, Mitch Dienst, Evan Dukes, Andrew Essex, Frankie Furco, Jake Ginther, Thomas King, Jimmy Lagness, Mickey Marin, John Michek, Thanasi Pesmajoglou, Kelvin Peterson, Nate Rehkopf, Brandon Stahl, Devin Swearingen and Nicholas Wieglos.

Freshmen are Trevor Anderson, Tanner Andrews, David Barnhart, Ryan Euting, Marshall Farthing, Dan Goress, Kory Harner, Billy Hart, Brandon Huber, Conor Johnson, Brad Kigyos, Jay Markuson, John Meisenger, Jimmy Merletti, Nick Messina, Liam Mulloy, Ben Nelson, Ryan Paulson, Dylan Pennington, Nick Sharp, Ben Sommers, Gus Stott, Chad Swieca, Zach Theis, Chris Wido and George WIlson.

The outdoor season for Kaneland boys track begins on Saturday, April 10, at East Moline United with conference action against visiting Batavia and Rochelle on Tuesday, April 13.

The Kane County Meet is on Friday, May 7, at West Aurora, with the final Western Sun Conference meet on Friday, May 14, at Geneva.

Brian Johnson era begins for boys basketball

by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARK—West Aurora’s loss is Kaneand’s gain.

Brian Johnson, an assistant to Gordie Kerkbaum at West Aurora High School a year ago, makes his coaching debut next week in Sycamore.

With a first-year coaching gig on the way, and the challenge of trying to improve a team that went 13-13 (5-9 Western Sun Conferernce) on the way, the task can seem overwhelming.

“I still have a lot to learn,” Johnson said. “I’m learning how to handle the kids energy.”

But the former Judson College player has a built-in ace up his sleeve.

“It starts with Dave, who’s a very good player,” Johnson said.

College of the Holy Cross-signee Dudzinski returns for his senior campaign, having averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds per game last year. The senior was also nominated for a McDonald’s All-American honor this week.

Johnson also likes what he has with other players going into the 2009-10 season.

“We have guys that are tough—that are looking to get to the next level,” Johnson said.

Returnees include senior guard Ryley Bailey, forward Steve Colombe, who has a flair for the perimeter game, forward Sean Paulick, guard Donovan Williams, forward Chaon Denlinger and forward Pat Fleming.

“Ryley has had a real nice couple of weeks. He’ll be a really strong player for us. Denlinger has gotten a lot better defensively,” Johnson said.

New to the varsity ranks are forward Danilo Bruno, guard Zach Ringhouse, guard Andrew O’Herron, forward Matt Spitzzeri, guard Matt Cowans, forward Taylor Andrews and forward Tyler Callaghan.

“The guys will get used to playing with each other and learning their role and we’re still trying to see where guys will fit in for us, but guys like Taylor, Tyler and Sean are unsung guys who will do the little things,” Johnson said.

The Knights hit the Strombom tournament in Sycamore for Thanksgiving week, beginning with Aurora Christian on Tuesday, Nov. 24.