Tag Archives: Mitch Reger

Stopping by Byron

Early Oct. stop provides Knights look at themselves, field
BYRON, Ill.—Byron Forest Preserve in Byron, Ill., holds a unique October challenge for the Knight boys cross country roster.

The setup and field might be out of the ordinary, but provides opportunity to take stock of what a team has in a critical juncture of the season, just before conference.

Kaneland took care of business with the staggered field and managed five of the top six runners en route to a 16-point afternoon and first place finish. Bureau Valley was second at 76 points and Rock Falls was third at 77.

The race was structured so teams’ runners thought to be tenth fastest would start the race, followed by a 20-second interval before the ninth-fastest runners would go, on through the fastest.

“The best part about the race format is it celebrates the depth if your team, and it is something that we point our fingers toward all the summer running they do,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said “Not all programs work like that in the summer, and those who do are often more prepared when the gun goes off.”

Dylan Kuipers won the 2.87-mile setup at 17 minutes, 29 seconds, followed by two-three-four runners Jimmy Walker (17:54), Mitch Reger (17:55) and Kyle Carter (17:57). Teammate Brock Robertsen, at 18:07, was sixth.

“(It’s a) challenging course, unique format, and sometimes poses as a feel good meet for some of the seniors that we get into the varsity line up who sometimes do not have the chance to shine at other invitationals,” Clarey said.

On Saturday, Oct. 19, the KHS crew heads to Grundy County to face off against host Morris and the rest of the capable Northern Illinois Big XII field, with races beginning at 9 a.m.

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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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.

BXC

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.