by Mike Slodki
MAPLE PARKâ€”When Kaneland boys cross country finishes eighth in the Class 2A State gathering in 2008, what do they want to do for an encore?
Thereâ€™s seven more spots to move up.
Despite graduating runners like Ben Brown, Paul Davies and Matt Weaver, the Knights return talented runners and donâ€™t seem to be hurting for depth.
Matt Reusche returns after finishing 14th in the state a year ago, as does Dominic Furco, who finished 37th overall.
â€œWe have six of our top seven back; we had a really good summer with solid consistent training,â€ head coach Chad Clarey said. â€œWeâ€™re ready to get started.â€
Seniors are Joe Levita, Edgar Valle, Jemmar Parrenas, Furco, Nick Sinon, Reusche, Logan Markuson and Tyler Howland.
Juniors are Trevor Holm, Tommy Whittaker, Grant Alef and Cory Gotteau.
Sophomores are Devin Swearingen, Jake Ginther, Kelvin Peterson, Frankie Furco, Clayton Brundige, Stelios Lekkas, John Michek and Nate Rehkopf.
Freshmen are John Meisenger, Nick Messina, Ryan Paulson, Gus Stott, Conor Johnson, Billy Hart and Brad Kigyos.
Developming the competitive mindset with the returnees was hatched in the spring during Knights track, according to Clarey.
â€œI think from last track season, these kids had some great experiences, both good and bad. Logan won at State, Matt had a good sectional race but didnâ€™t qualify in the 2-mile. So they are more focused than ever, and it makes you hungrier,â€ Clarey said.
Levita, Brundinge, Ginther and Whittaker were pointed out by Clarey as returning members who could sneak into a higher profile in 2009.
What will determine a successful campaign for the crew always looking to go the distance?
â€œIn the end, if all of our athletes are healthy and have had a full season of training, I anticipate theyâ€™d want to set their goals to surpass what they did last fall,â€ Clarey.
The boys cross country season kicks off on Tuesday, Sept. 1, against West Chicago and Wheaton Academy at Elburn Woods, while the Eddington Invite takes place on Saturday, Sept. 19.
The regular season is scheduled to end at Rochelle for the Western Sun Conference Invite on Saturday, Oct. 17.