Tag Archives: Sean Spaetzel

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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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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

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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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.

Sports recap Sept. 5

Fr/So Golf
vs. Marengo—The boys fr/so golf team defeated visiting Marengo 198 to 219 Thursday, Aug. 29. The Knights were paced by Daniel Frank and Brock Williams, each shooting a 44. Kaneland also got contributions from Joey Branodisio (49), Brandon Cruz (52), Luke Calabrese (53) and Michael Petrick (53).

JV Tennis
vs. Glenbard North—Lady Knights JV Tennis squad defeated Glenbard North 6-1 at home last Thursday. Earning singles wins were No. 2 Brittany Zablocki (0-6, 6-4, 10-7) and No. 3 Kayla Corirossi (6-0, 6-0). All KHS doubles teams won: No. 1 Katie Blaszynski/Emily Mirocha (2-6, 6-3, 10-8), No. 2 Heather Albrecht/Ally McPhee (4-6, 7-5, 10-8), No. 3 Lauren Karolewicz/Marley Schultz (6-3, 6-1), and No. 4 Mary Collum/Kristen Siebert (6-3, 3-6, 10-5).
vs. DeKalb—The Lady Knights won 4-1 over visiting DeKalb Tuesday. Singles winners included Emily Lutter (10-1), Zablocki (10-3) and Marissa Michi (8-1).
Doubles winners were Blaszynski/ Mirocha (10-1) and Karolewicz/Schultz (10-5).

Sophomore Football
vs. Brooks—The Knights won over Brooks Prep 38-8. The game was postponed to Saturday, Aug. 31, due to strong storms Friday night.

Freshman Soccer
@ West Aurora—The Kaneland boys freshman soccer team were handed a season-opening 7-0 loss Wednesday, Aug. 28.
vs. Glenbard North—The Knights fell to 0-2 on the year with a 0-3 loss to the visiting Panthers.

Fr/So Volleyball
@ Burlington Central—The Lady Knights freshman A and B squads had mixed results in Burlington Tuesday. The A squad solved the hosts 25-16, 25-9, while the B squad fell 25-13, 25-23. No individual stats were available at press time.
@ Burlington Central—The sophomore squad fell to the host Rockets 25-7, 25-23. No individual stats were available at press time.

Fr/So Cross Country
Tuesday @ Elburn Woods—The Knights were the only boys team to field a Fr/So team Tuesday, and were led by Sean Spaetzel winning with a time of 14 minutes, 14 seconds over the 2.42 mile course. Following Spaetzel was Michael Booton in 14:40, Will Kuipers in 15:05, Noah Duffey in 15:07, Alex Gale in 15:28, Anthony Messina in 15:56, Aaron French in 16:12, Andrew Kantola in 16:26, Kyle Osborne in 19:05 and Danny Walker in 20:46.

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.

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

Harter dominates middle school track

Photo: Harter athletes make their way in the State parade. Courtesy Photo

KANELAND—Kaneland Harter Middle School tracksters ended their successful season with three noteworthy accomplishments. The first was on May 7 at Plano High School, where they claimed the title of Prairie Conference Champs at both the 7th and 8th grade levels against eight other schools. The next accomplishment came a week later at Sycamore, where 35 athletes qualified for the state meet in East Peoria, Ill. Qualifying athletes were: Tanner Robertson, Tyler Paulson, Andrew Burroughs, Jake Marczuk, Sean Spaetzel, Alec Aurelio, Giovanni, Regalado, Andy Delgado, Brandon Cruz, Jack Saloga, Mitch Groen, Freddy Paulino, Brock Harner, Chris Diehl, Hunter Regelbrugge, Adam Rivas, Seth Howlett, David Farrell, Connor Hoeft, Allison Heinzer, Olivia Galor, Brianna Bower, Gabby Cano, Holly Fedderly, Lexie Guerra, Carly Elliot, Maddie Keifer, Jenna Harvell, Rachel Goress, Nicole Sreenan, Alyson Jesionowski, Nina Rotter, Charity Montalbano, Kristen Siebert, and Erica Eckert.

On May 19, the team headed down to East Peoria to compete against the best athletes in the state. Despite the warm temperatures, all athletes performed well with the following outstanding performances: 7th grader Carley Elliott took 6th in the 400 meter dash with a time of 1:03.22, Brianna Bower took 9th in the 1600 meter run with a time of 5:31.79, and the 8th grade girls 4×400 meter relay took 10th with a time of 4:22.40, which broke the previous school record.

Making strides


Harter Middle School eighth-grader Brianna Bower earned All State honors by placing 23rd out of a field of 260 in the Class 2A girls race with a time of 12 minutes, 16 seconds in the two-mile race. The boy’s team finished the year by placing 26th in the Illinois State Meet. The boys representing Kaneland were Andrew Burroughs, Sean Spaetzel, Sam Wolf, Mark Dhom, Dan Heineman, Michael Booten, Triston Powell, Ryan Weber, Noah Jones and Sam Webster. Courtesy photo