Tag Archives: Megan Mendoza

Kaneland Youth Competitive Cheer team concludes 1st season


Photo: The Kaneland Youth Competitive Cheer team gather after a first-place finish earlier in their season. The team concluded the year on Nov. 10. This year’s team included Asst. Coach Val Massa (back, left to right), Gianna Carbonara, Sarah Ball, Emma Zukauski, Brooke Bastone, Anna Massa, Alyssa Lech and Asst. Coach Meredith Haring; Emily Savarese (front), Kristin Layne, Kailey Krajewski, Niki Kull, (directly behind Niki) Regan Franzen, Maddy Wheatley, Anna Massa and Julianna Klecka. Not pictured are team alternate Brooke Johnson, Asst. Coach Megan Mendoza, Asst. Coach Theresa Miller and Coach Andrea Williams. Courtesy Photo

Kaneland—The Kaneland Youth Competitive Cheer team concluded its first season on Nov. 10 with a third-place finish at the Conant Spirit Challenge.

The team was organized by Andrea Williams last spring. After working with the KYBL cheerleading program for the past few season, Williams said she saw a desire for something more from the girls as they were reaching middle school. A former Kaneland cheerleader herself, Williams said there is currently no school-sponsored cheerleading program at the middle school level.

Even though many of the girls participate in the cheer programs offered by both KYFL and KYBL, the competitive arena is entirely different. Williams said the hope is that this competitive program will teach participants the skills they need and become a feeder program for the Kaneland High School team. Although there are other competitive teams in the area, high cost can be a factor for some families. Williams said she did her best to keep costs at a manageable level for participants, but noted that community support is what keeps programs like this running.

This season, the team consisted of 14 members and one team alternate between sixth and eighth grade. They practiced over the summer to learn a routine approximately 3 minutes in length including dance, cheer, tumbling and advanced stunting skills. Williams said she could not have gotten through the season without the help of her assistant coaches—Emily Haring, Meredith Haring, Valerie Massa, Megan Mendoza and Theresa Miller.

The Knights participated in three area competitions and earned first-, second-, and third-place finishes, respectively. The final competition on Nov. 10 was a qualifying event for the IRCA (Illinois Recreational Cheer Association) state competition in December. Williams said she was proud of the third-place finish—noting that the girls missed a state bid by 1.6 points.

You can find out more information about KYBL including the competitive cheer program and fundraising efforts by visiting their website at: www.kanelandcheer.org.

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

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

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

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

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

Springfield Southeast won the team standings with 57 points.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ecker steps in for girls track

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

Wait and see.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Business Competition Day winners announced

More than 200 students from 14 area high schools competed at Waubonsee Community College’s 30th Annual Business Competition Day on April 29. The event, which took place at the college’s Sugar Grove Campus, was hosted by Waubonsee’s Business and Information Systems Division.

The top three finishers in each of the day’s 13 subject area contests received Waubonsee scholarships totaling more than $60,000. West Aurora High School turned in the best overall performance at Business Competition Day and so received one full Waubonsee scholarship to be given to the student of their choice.

First-place winners included Danish Ghazali, Batavia High School; Kyle Nusbaum, Yorkville High School; Kiersten Stokes and Mark White, West Aurora High School; Ivan Flores, Waubonsie Valley High School; Megan Mendoza, Kaneland High School; and Shane O’Neil, Yorkville High School.

Second-place finishers included Nikki Mandl and Sean Lyons, Waubonsie Valley High School; Cody Johnston, Oswego High School; Jacob Roberts, Plano High School; Stephen Ford, Serena High School; Ben Jacobson, Fox Valley Career Center; and Alexis Staley, West Aurora High School.

Third-place finishers included Kevin Cargo, Oswego High School; Matt Schuman, Fox Valley Career Center; Kelissa Peterson, Serena High School; Aaron Bryant, West Aurora High School; Cody Rios, Yorkville High School; Jorge Garcia, East Aurora High School; and Amanda Ingraham, Kaneland High School.