Tag Archives: Sydney Strang

Girls Track sees exceptional totals at Holmes Meet

Photo: Ashley Castellanos (right) put in good work Saturday at the Jill Holmes Invite, including winning this 100 meter dash. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It took barely any time for Lady Knights girls track to get acclimated to the outdoor competition.

With the Jill Holmes Invite on Saturday yielding success, and the dual action going the Lady Knights way on Tuesday against visiting Sycamore, Kaneland sits in a good spot.

On Saturday, Rockton’s Hononegah High School finished first with 98 points, while Kaneland was second at 92.5, and DeKalb third.

Ashley Castellanos took third place in the 200 meter dash on Saturday with a 27-second effort.

Lady Knight Abby Dodis ran a 12:17.40 effort in the 3200m run, with DeKalb standout Kelsey Schrader taking first at 11:42.10.

The Lady Knights’ 4x800m relay group of Amanda Lesak, Sydney Strang, Jennifer Howland and Jessica Kucera finished second with an effort of 10:10.35.

The Lady Knights did well in field events, as well, with Castellanos staking her claim in the long jump and triple jump by finishing second in both.

The junior hit the 15-10 mark in the long jump, and a 33-06 in the triple jump for a productive morning.

Elle Tattoni beat the field and took the reins in the shot put with a 32-11 throw, while fellow Lady Knights Nicole Ketza took first (97-10.5) and Ashley Cottier managed third in the discus (94-09.5).

Against the Lady Spartans, KHS used plenty of great showings for an 86-55 win.

Strang’s 11:54.6 was tops in the 3200m run.

“I’ve been working hard and it’s been going pretty well, “ Strang said. “I’ve been having fun and trying my best with it.”

Howland took the 800m run with a time of 2:32.3, Lesak won the 300m hurdles event with a time of 50.8 seconds, and Kaltrina Ismaili won the 200m run with a time of 28.9 seconds.

Additonal firsts were garnered by the 4x400m relay team (4:09.8), Castellanos in the triple jump (32-10), Tattoni in the shot put (31-06), Ketza in the discus (94-04), Gabby Aguirre in the high jump (five feet) and Sydney Luse in the pole vault (eight feet).

Up ahead for girls track: the Ottawa ABC Invite on Friday, April 13.

Lady Knights track takes 2nd in Oregon meet

OREGON, Ill.—KHS opened its outdoor campaign with an 83-point showing in a meet hosted by Oregon High School on Tuesday afternoon.

Burlington Central took the four-team clash with 96 points, while the hosts had 81 points, and Lena-Winslow High School brought up the rear with 12.

Productivity was highlighted with a slew of first-place efforts in the form of personnel like the 3200 meter relay team of Amanda Lesak, Abby Dodis, Sydney Strang and Jessica Kucera, who ran in 10 minutes, 27.89 seconds. Their teammates of Ashley Castellanos, Katrina Ismaila, Madison Keith and Lauren Zick won the 400m relay at 51.78 seconds. Sydney Luse won the 100m hurdles crowd over with an 18.04-second effort.

Nicole Ketza won the discus with a launch of 97 feet, six inches, and Zick won the long jump at 16-09.75. In other field events, Elle Tattoni took first in the shot put with 33-05.5, and Castellanos won the triple jump (33-01).

Kaneland High School Honor Roll

High Honor Roll
Freshman: Omar Aguilar, Megan Bartholet, Anissa Becker, Rabina Beepath, Jacob Brown, Bryan Bulger, Jason Carlquist, Victoria Clinton, Jaemee Cordero, Mallory Dugan, River Dunne, Jarod Erlandson, Gemma Esposito, Connor Fedderly, James Fell, Robert Foy, Murphy Garcia, Andrew Garland, Breanna Geller, Emily Grams, Brittany Grider, Daniel Hammermeister, Riley Hannula, Anna Hayman, Shannon Herra, Kylee Hill, Olivia Hutar, Brooke Jablonski, Madison Jurcenko, Allison Kadampelil, Stephanie Karolewicz, Madison Keith, Ryan Koeppen, Rachel Kowalski, Matthew Krajewski, Kendall Krawczyk, Colleen Landers, Ashley Larsen, Axel Larsen, Julia Lennon, Andrew Lesak, Steven Limbrunner, Kristin Lipinis, Aislinn Lodwig, Alexis Lund, Alejandra Martinez-Aviles, Alyssa McCannon, Nicole McClellan, Michelle McCracken, Brianna McElroy, Rachel Miller, Jonathan Mills, Marissa Mulligan, Alexia Orosco, Samantha Payton, Marisa Peters, Gina Pettenon, Sabrina Pilkington, Cody Pitstick, Regan Prost, Kassidy Reever, Mitchell Reger, Anna Senese, Morgan Sikon, Amber Spaetzel, Michael Stanley, Nicholas Steers, Caitlyn Strasser, Elle Tattoni, Hannah Theis, Kyra Trynoski, Allison Van Bogaert, Emma Wallace, Hannah Wallace, Taylor Washlow, Anna Wendling, Austin Wheatley, Morgan Withey, Sarah Wolfe

Sophomore: Theresa Alef, Mitchell Bateman, Alexander Beck, Steven Becker, Brandon Bishop, Lauren Black, Morgan Buerke, Molly Campbell, Erika Carlson, Melissa Cherry, Hayley Contorno, Riley Coyle, Christine Crews, Andrew David, Kyle DiSandro, Megan Franklin, Spencer Good, Kyla Goodine, Kelsy Goodwin, Tatiana Guerrero, Kayla Hedgren, Caroline Heimerdinger, Madeline Heinzer, Mara Hernandez Gonzalez, Madison Hester, Tyler Hill, Tyler Holan, Michael Howard, Casey Jacobson, Shane Jorgensen, Koehring, Gary Koehring, Nathaniel Kucera, Emily Laudont, Eun Woo Lim, Jennifer Lubic, Kaley Martens, Rachel Mathys, Meredith McCaffrey, Carissa Miller, Abigail Needham, Brittany Olson, Julie Panasik, Mary Piazza, Eileen Ruppel, Alexandria Russell, Katelyn Schmidt, Tyler Slamans, Rachel Steinmiller, Nicholas Stollard, Elizabeth Strang, Delaney Stryczek, Jordan Thelander, Curtis Thorson, Thomas Van Bogaert, Christian VanDinther, Sophie Wallace, Brin Wilk, Azalia Wilkerson, Michael Williams, Amber Winquist-Bailey, Zachary Winthers, Ethan Witt, Lucas Wolski, Lauren Zick, Nathan Zitko

Junior: Gabriella Aguirre, Lauren Banbury, Kami Bauer, Erica Brettman, Myles Chick, Rachael Clinton, Joshua Cohrs, Vanessa Cook, Kelsey Cotton, Robert Debolt, Abigail Dodis, Austin Doyle, Katelyn Dray, Brendan Dunphy, Zachary Eckhardt, Caroline Eichelberger, Christopher Farrell, Sean Flamand, Dominique Galloway, Sarah Grams, Keriann Groen, Nicole Grossman, Emily Gulanczyk, Nicole Hanlon, Alyson Harner, Brooke Harner, David Hernandez, Jenice Heyob, Conor Johnson, Erin Kettelkamp, Alec Koczka, Jessica Kolzow, Alexander Kovach, Taylor Krawczyk, Joseph Kuipers, Brittany Larsen, Cara Lenhardt, Matthew Limbrunner, Benjamin Longson, Stephanie Maras, Jay Markuson, Madeline McMullen, Daniel Miller, Alyssa Nolte, Allyson O’Herron, Beau Ott, Nicholas Philips, Joseph Pollastrini, Ashley Prost, Maxim Reger, Lauren Rusnok, Michael Saucedo, Jessica Smith, Nathaniel Snyder, Karizza Sotelo, Samantha Sparks, Savannah Stasik, Morgan Stewart, Ryan Straughn, Brianne Strobel, Maria Tapia Escobedo, Alexandra Vickery, Abby West, Jessica Woodward

Senior: Lauren Allen, Rebecca Arnold, Lilly Berrend, Madison Bluml, Brianna Brehm, Taylor Buri, Jocelyn Cabral, Lauren Companiott, Ashley Diddell, Katelyn Dudzinski, Brian Edwards, Eric Eichelberger, Kelly Evers, Grace Fabrizius, Ariel Geraghty, Noelle Goodine, Kelsey Gould, Adam Grams, Malory Groen, Elizabeth Howie, Christina Janes, Nicole Ketza, Denitza Koleva, Kaitlyn Kolzow, Benjamin Kovalick, Stelios Lekkas, McKinzie Mangers, Jacob Mazuc, Austin McElderry, Kayley McPhee, Anna Novotny, William Osborne, Athanasios Pesmajoglou, Drew Peters, Jordan Phillips, Alexa Reger, Karyn Ribbens, Josias Rodriguez, Stephanie Rosenwinkel, Maria Rossi, Alejandra Salinas, Connor Sandquist, Melissa Schmidt, Veronica Seawall, Ashley Shearer, Kylie Siebert, Ashlyn Slamans, Molly Speckman, Anthony Sperando, Brandon Stahl, Trevor Storck, Katherine Taylor, Valerie Tockstein, Catherine Tolan, Amber Urich, Marissa Villafuerte, Savannah Webb, Kathleen Werrline, Anders Winquist-Bailey, Elliot Witt, John Wooten

Regular Honor Roll
Freshman: Karina Alcantara-Camargo, Mariah Ausbury, Jacob Bachio, Melanie Bateman, Ivan Bohorquez, Nicholas Boose, Amy Burgholzer, Briel Castellese, Hannah Conley, Amy Croft, Gabriel David, Destiny Diaz, Courtney Diddell, Zachary Douglas, Sarah Dratnol, Alyssa Evans, Jeremy Faletto, Colton Fellows, Elise Fichtel, Sam Ford, Kevin Fuchs, Justin Garcia, Julia Golbeck, Victoria Guyton, McKayla Helm, Zachary Justus, Joshua Kasap, Rachel Keske, Joshua Kohler, Alyson Kowalczyk, Jessica Kucera, Shannon Limbrick, Matthew Lyons, Raymond McGarvey, Caitrin Mills, Lenora Murphy, Meghen Nance, Kayla Norell, Taylor Opperman, Nicole Partipilo, Katrina Paulick, Lauren Pence, Kellsie Pepponi, Noah Perez, Blaine Rivas, Vanessa Saltijeral, Colleen Schrems, Samantha Schrepferman, Deanna Scialabba, Jacob Sheehan, Christine Shelton, Aaron Steenwyk, Evan Thompson, Taylor Tindall, James Tockstein, Rachel Urich, Paige Wagner, Charles Wehrmann, Samantha White, Nicholas Winthers, John Wolf, Joshua Yeggy

Sophomore: Johnathan Bahena Diaz, Jesse Balluff, James Bartholomew, Anna Bateman, Dzenan Bogaljevic, Michelle Bohanek, Ryan Bower, Alexandra Brenwall, Johnathan Briggs, Lanie Callaghan, Gina Campobasso Jarvis, Andrew Carroll, Ryan Caul, Lesly Chavez, Jacob Cinkus, Taylor Corbett, Michael Deja, Christina Delach, Justin Diddell, Dakota Drefke, Emily Eckert, Daniel Evers, Alyssa Faulkner, Angelique Franks, Brittany Giannini, Denise Gombar, Christopher Hernandez, Jessica Jablonski, Matthew Kalinowski, Brittany Kemp, Samuel Kitz, Lydia Krauz, Broderick Kuhar, Sara Laurie, Thung Lee, Stefanos Lekkas, Nicolas Likeum, Ryan Longson, Trevor Malatek, Kellyn McMullan, Mikaela Messick, Shannon O’Shea, Joshua Opp, Andre Palpant, Anthony Parillo, Alexa Parrenas, Mason Pieczynski, Alec Pope, Shannon Ransford, Muhammad Rehman, Taylor Robertson, Paige Robinson, Joshua Rodriguez, Kyle Romas, Teri Ruffolo, Zackery Russell, Kaprice Sanchez, Blake Schultz, Kaleb Schuppner, Alexander Speckman, Allison Steininger, Sydney Strang, Ashlee Tennant, Cameron Thomas, Katelyn Treinen, Alyson Utterback, Matthew Vander Sande, Cynthia Vasquez, John Venneri, Jessica Villafuerte, Noelia Villanueva, Kelly Wallner, Lucas Welz, Nicholas Welz, Zachary Wielgos, Thomas Williams, Grant Wooten

Junior: Julia Angelotti, Olubukola Ayegbusi, Joanna Barragan, Alex Baumgartner, Jennifer Bicos, Jason Biddle, Emma Bradford, Margaret Brundige, Bailey Burns, Romina Carrano, Ashley Castellanos, Jacob Childress, Madeline Cole, Nicholas Crawford, Anna Croft, Austen Davis, Laken Delahanty, Claiborne Denlinger, Hannah Dewar, Natalie Dietrich, Alonzo Dominguez, Miricle Dominguez, Breanna Evola, Marshall Farthing, Kristin Gabrielson, Jordan Ginther, Sean Glennon, Jack Grimes, Stephen Gust, Nikolas Hale, Kory Harner, Tyler Hawbecker, Alexander Held, Kirstin Hinds, Meagan Holloman, Kushtrim Ismaili, Lisa Jennings, Johnson, Bradley Johnson, Brandon Johnson, Nicholas Katsigiannis, Brad Kigyos , Samuel Kilgore, Esther Kong, Luke Kreiter,, Baylee Lancaster,, Tanisha Lee,, Kara Leyden, Katherine Lucarelli, Sydney Luse, Alexandra Lyons, Zachary Martinelli, Jacqueline McClellan, Stephen McCracken, Joshua McHenry, James Merletti, Eric Meuer, Savanah Miles, Brayden Miller, Paige Nachreiner, Alyssa Nahley, Morgan Newhouse, Cory Nordine, Sarah Norman, Adam Poczekaj, Kyle Pollastrini, MacKenzie Powell, Lyndi Scholl, Collin Seidelman, Benjamin Sommers, Manuel Tapia- Zachary Theis, Kalani Tovar, Jack Van Gemert, Taylor Velazquez, Jemma Waldrop, Caitlin Wallace, Kaitlyn Wendling, Abbie Wilhelm, Connor Williams, Alexander Willis, Morgan Wojciechowski, Danielle Wylie

Senior: Kourtni Bingley, Melissa Bohorquez, Zachary Brown, Emily Carr, Colton Carter, Sean Carter, Jacob Chevalier, Acalia Cleaver, Zachary Douglas, Megan Dressel, , Tyler Fabrizius, John Goodrich, Joseph Gorenz, Casey Haffner, Bridget Hankes, Daniel Hansen, Samantha Hansen, David Heine, Austin Henkelman, Phoojywg Her, Heather Hochsprung, Alexandria Hornback, Seleana Isaacs, Sarah Kitz, Kelly Kovacic, Alec Krueger, Troy Krueger, Kathryn Lanute, Kayley Larsen, Cesar Lazcano, Nicholette LeBlanc, Victoria Likeum, Madison Limbrick, Madeline Meredith, Amelia Napiorkowski, Diana Nuno, Konstantin Paraskevov, Jari Ramos-Orbe, Sawyer Rego, Courtney Reiss, Jake Rosko, Margaret Ruppel, Alejandro Salinas, Max Sanko, Demi Schlehofer, Dana Schultz, Matthew Simmons, Grace Snyder, Erica Sorensen, Michael Tattoni, Mackenzie Theisen, Carolina Tovar, Shannon Wallace, Nicholas Wielgos, Joshua Williams, Jordyn Withey, Michael Withey, Maverick Wojciechowski

Kaneland girls drill Bulldogs, Indians

Photo: Ernie Colombe gathers the troops during a timeout in the midst of Kaneland’s 41-27 win over Lemont on Tuesday. The Lady Knights are enjoying a 14-6 record through 20 games. Photo by Patti Wilk

Lady Knights secure first winning record since 05-06
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Looks like the KHS girls basketball crew can get used to this modified schedule.

Much like last week’s snowstorm forced the Lady Knights into an extra day of rest only to come back with a win in Morris, Kaneland’s scheduled contest on Friday was shelved and the action continued on Saturday afternoon vs. Streator.

KHS handed the crossover foe Bulldogs a 60-22 shellacking, and followed that win with a 41-27 win against visiting Lemont, and improved its record to 14-6, and 5-1 in the Northern Illinois Big XII.

With five games remaining in the 2011-12 regular season, the Lady Knights have eclipsed last year’s win total and clinched the program’s first winning record since 2005-06, and the first in coach Ernie Colombe’s six-season tenure.

On Saturday, the defense forced the visiting Lady Bulldogs into 40 turnovers and 27 percent shooting, while 23 steals supplanted the effort, as well. Allyson O’Herron and Brooke Harner led the squad with five each.

Despite shooting 21-of-61 from the field and 14-of-24 from the foul line, Kaneland was the recipient of a supremely balanced scoring attack. Alli Liss had a game-high 14 and Ashley Prost had 10 points and five boards.

Kaneland led 19-8 after a quarter of play and clamped down on the visitors once again to have a comfortable 34-11 lead at the half. The margin was upped to 46-17 after the third quarter.

Meanwhile, the sophomores (14-4) had an easy time against Streator with a 42-6 win. Sydney Strang had 15 points.

Freshmen girls beat Yorkville on Monday, 43-35, and handled DeKalb on Thursday, 33-19, to improve to 16-2 on the year.

On Tuesday, Prost contributed a double-double with 16 points and 10 boards.

Despite the Indians storming to a 7-0 lead, Kaneland closed to within 8-5 by the end of the quarter.

Kaneland’s 10 steals came in handy the rest of the contest, with plenty of breakaway opportunities and crisp passing producing success.

Down 13-11 in the second frame, Kaneland’s Marina Schaefer’s baseline jumper and Aly Harner’s three-pointer in the last 66 seconds gave Kaneland a 16-13 edge at the break.

In the third, Prost and Brooke Harner hit baskets to go up 27-15 with 1:48 to go, but Lemont closed to within 27-19 by the end of the half.

Cutting the lead to 29-23, Lemont had Kanreland reeling until a 9-0 run keyed by an Bradford pass to Prost made it 38-23 with 2:30 to go.

“We all just tried to put a lot of pressure on them,” Bradford said about the effort on both sides of the floor. “We wanted to force turnovers, and we were really getting into their guards’ heads.”

Ahead for the varsity group is a trip to Maple Leaf country to face Geneseo on Saturday, Jan. 28.

KHS fall athletes recognized with awards

KANELAND—Kaneland High School athletics released their slate of Fall Sports Awards, with each sport trumpeting the best it had to offer, with some All-Northern Illinois Big XII honors thrown in for good measure.

In golf, All-NIB-12 went to Troy Krueger and Matt Yonkovich. Co-Varsity MVP’s were Brody Kuhar and Yonkovich. Connor Williams won the varsity most improved player award. On the frosh/soph roster, Stephen Cannell took the MVP, and Jacob Sheehan won the most improved player award.

For volleyball, All-NIB-12 nods went to Katy Dudzinski and conference MVP Kylie Siebert.

Dudzinski was named top offensive player while Siebert was named top defensive player.

Most improved player went to Rachael Clinton, and the Spirit award went to Lauren Banbury. Dudzinski and Siebert took home the team MVP awards.

In Kaneland tennis, Stephanie Rosenwinkel, Amelia Napiorkowski and Kelly Kovacic were recognized as captains. Mallory Dugan and Stephanie Karolewicz were named most improved. Kovacic and Colleen Landers took the team spirit awards. Outstanding achievement awards went to Jelly Emmnouil for a perfect regular season, Madi Jurcenko for a school record 33 wins, and the doubles tandem of Jurcenko and Napiorkowski for a record of 32-3. All-NIB-12 members were Napiorkowski, Jurcenko, Emmanouil and Sammie Schrepferman, and those four were also named team MVP’s.

For girls cross country, Victoria Clinton was honored for All-State totals, as well as being a State qualifier with teammates Maggie Brundige, Abby Dodis, Aislinn Lodwig, Amanda Lesak, Sydney Strang and Ashley Castellanos.

Lesak, Dodis, Lodwig, Brundige and Clinton were named to the All-NIB-12 team. Dodis, Brundige and Carolina Tovar were recognized as captains. Most improved runners were Dodis and Brundige, while Clinton was named as Most Valuable Runner, capping an exceptional freshman campaign.

For boys cross country, Kyle Carter, John Meisinger, Brandon Huber, Miki Marin, Conor Johnson, Luis Acosta, Clayton Brundige and Nate Rehkopf were recognized as State qualifiers, while Huber, Carter and Meisinger made the All-NIB-12 team.

The Golden Knight Awards went to freshman Andrew Lesak, sophomore Nathanie Kucera, junior Meisinger and senior Rehkopf. Rehkopf, Brundige and Marin were recognized as captains. Huber took the most improved runner nod. Brundige won the Larry Eddington Award for Courage, Leadership and Strength. Carter was named most valuable runner.

For the State semifinalist football squad, Quinn Buschbacher was recognized for his IHSCA All-State accomplishment, and Jacob Razo was credited with an IHSCA Honorable Mention. Alex Snyder, Drew David, Blake Bradford and Ben Kovalick were named to the IHSCA Academic All-State team.

Snyder, Nick Sharp, Buschbacher, Sean Carter, David, Ryan Noel, Kovalick, Razo, Kory Harner, Ryan Lawrence and Bradford were named to the All-NIB-12 team.

Special teams MVP was Matt Roriguez, while Buschbacher was offensive MVP and Razo was named defensive MVP.

Most improved player was Brandon Stahl, captains were Kovalick, Noel, Buschbacher, Razo and Carter, while Sean Carter walked away with the MVP award.

For the regional finalist soccer team, Alex Gil and Anthony Parillo were named to the All-Sectional team, while Jordan Escobedo, Gil, Parillo and Alec Koczka made the All-NIB-12 team. Pedro Perez and Tyler Siebert were honorable mention candidates.

Gil was named player of the year, with Escobedo taking the offensive player of the year and Sam Rymarz named the defensive player of the year.

The Coach’s Award went to Siebert, Koczka, Jason Biddle and Chris Van Dinther. Gil, Escobedo and Parillo were recognized as captains.

Rookie of the year went to Arsim Azemi. Thansi Pesmajoglou was named most improved player and Gil and Parillo took the team MVP.

8th in Class 2A for Lady Knights XC

Photos: Freshman Aislinn Lodwig ended her season with a 59th-place finish, passing 25 runners in the last half-mile at Detweiler Park in Peoria, Ill. on Saturday. Photos by Marshall Farthing

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It was an ideal way to wrap up a productive 2011 for Kaneland girls’ cross country.

With six of seven athletes reaching a personal best mark, the Lady Knights unit accumulated a score of 225 at the State race at Detweiler Park in Peoria, Ill., on Saturday, good for eighth place of all Class 2A programs.

Fellow NIB-12 schools Yorkville (74), DeKalb (229) and Dixon (243) finished first, ninth and eleventh, respectively.

It was Sami Staples of Crystal Lake Central taking the individual crown in 17 minutes, seven seconds, but fellow freshman Victoria Clinton nabbed All-State honors with an 11th-place finish at 17:41. The finish includes Clinton as only the fifth girl in KHS history to make an All-State run.

<strong>Victoria Clinton</strong> enjoys her moment after earning All-State honors.

Junior Maggie Brundige ran a PR of 18:29, good for 45th place, 49 seconds better than any previous effort.

Freshman Aislinn Lodwig, who emerged as a talent Kaneland can conceivable count on for three more years, finished 77th at 18:52.

Lodwig passed 25 runners in the last half-mile.

“She had a great finish the last 1,600 meters, and so did all of them,” KHS coach Doug Ecker said. “That was a hard question to answer (on best race), all seven were great.”

“I just tried to run as fast as I can. It was kind of chilly, and it took me awhile to warm up,” Lodwig said.

With the big finish, Lodwig knows there is more work to come to stay in the mix.

“We can still build up our strength, and there is still a lot more to work on, but we have good coaching,” Lodwig said.

Teammate Abby Dodis was immediately behind Lodwig with the same time for 78th place.

Junior Amanda Lesak ran in 18:53 for 80th place. Sydney Strang finished 99th overall at 19:08, while Ashley Castellanos took 120th at 19:21.

LADY KNIGHTS XC:
Maggie Brundige
Ashley Castellanos
Victoria Clinton
Abby Dodis
Jessica Kucera
Amanda Lesak
Aislinn Lodwig
Anna Piazza
Natasha Ring
Sydney Strang
Carolina Tovar
Head Coach Doug Ecker

Peoria next stop for Lady Knights cross-country

Photo: Maggie Brundige was fourth-best for the KHS on Saturday. Kaneland girls and boys are both headed to State for the first time since 1992. Photo by Mike Slodki

by Mike Slodki
BELVIDERE, Ill.—All KHS coach Doug Ecker could have hoped for was a consistent and smart race by his girls cross country team.

That’s what happened, at the very least.

To compound the morning of sunny skies in Belvidere, Ill., at the home of the Bucs of NIC-10 fame, Kaneland’s 130-point, fourth-place total was good to send the entire team down to the State final at Detweiler Park in Peoria, Ill., this Saturday, Nov. 5.

Yorkville, at 67 points, was first, followed by Crystal Lake Central’s 70 and Dixon’s 113. DeKalb was the last team to qualify for Statehood with 140.

“I was really proud of them, and I thought they ran really well,” said Ecker on Saturday, who keyed the last half-mile as being integral to the Lady Knights’ success.

Now, after years of falling short entirely or sending an individual down to Peoria, Kaneland gets ready to load the bus.

A year ago, Jen Howland represented KHS in Peoria. Four years ago, it was Andie Strang qualifying in her freshman year.

CLC representative Sami Staples conquered the course with a time of 17:39.4.

DeKalb sophomore Kelsey Schrader, who was in the thick of things all season, finished second in 17:42.8.

For the Lady Knights’ attack, the charge was fronted by freshman Victoria Clinton’s 18 minute, 28.4 second charge.

Clinton, who took ninth in the crowded field, was always clear on what was needed for a successful race.

“I just knew I had to do the best for my team and be consistent, and I’ve tried to do that all season,” Clinton said.

Next in line was junior constant Abby Dodis, who finished 18th at 18:52.6.

Freshman Aislinn Lodwig took the third-best total for the Lady Knights, running in 19:04.5, 28th overall.

Junior Maggie Brundige was 37th, finishing in 19:18.5.

First-year cross-country entry Amanda Lesak was 41st at 19:24.4, and Ashley Castellanos was 71st at 19:48.8.

In 98th was Sydney Strang at 20:37.

Keeping the pack relatively close, the top four runners for Kaneland were just 50.1 seconds apart.

A year ago in the Class 2A finals, Peoria Notre Dame took the team crown, while Yorkville finished second, and Springfield took third.

Woodstock’s Kayla Beattie was first in 2010, at 16:22.

The girls’ race has a scheduled start time of 11 a.m.

Younger Lady Knights go west

KANELAND—Under sunny skies in Sterling, Ill., a younger KHS girls cross-country lineup was trotted out to deal with the field spreading from Iowa City, Ia., to Schaumburg, Ill.

Kaneland took fifth with the freshman-sophomore group, thanks in large part to Victoria Clinton’s top finish.

Pleasant Valley High School won the F/S meet, but Kaneland’s 131-point total was good for fifth.

Clinton’s second top finish in a row saw her run at 18 minutes, 57 seconds.

Teammate Aislinn Lodwig was fourth overall at 19:34, while Sydney Strang continued to march back from injuries with a time of 20:26 (17th place). Jessica Kucera finished in 21:38, for 48th overall.

Saturday, Oct. 15, brings the litmus test of where KHS varsity fits in the conference scheme, at the Northern Illinois Big XII Conference meet hosted by Geneseo of the West Division.

A year ago, Ashley Castellanos of Kaneland made it to the all-conference team with her showing at Elburn Woods.

Kaneland girls XC runs roughshod over foes

KANELAND—It might be too early to measure Kaneland girls cross country’s progress on the basis of Tuesday’s encounter with East Aurora and the JV squad from Yorkville, but the Lady Knights will take the good fortune where they can find it at this early juncture.

Sweeping the first five spots made for a score of 15, besting the Lady Tomcats’ 87, and the Foxes’ 64.

Sophomore Sydney Strang’s 20 minute, 14.6 second time was tops of the field, followed by Victoria Clinton’s 20:17.1, and Abby Dodis’ 20:23.8. Maggie Brundige also excelled at 20:47.

Rounding out the top five was Aislinn Lodwig’s 21:30.

Ahead for the Lady Knights is a trip up north to the Wauconda Invite at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10.

Girls XC gets by two opponents

KANELAND—A seasonable Tuesday yielded an ideal result for Lady Knights cross-country on Tuesday.

With opponents West Chicago and Wheaton Academy invading Elburn Woods on Tuesday, Kaneland’s 31 points bested West Chicago’s 37 and Wheaton Academy’s 58 points.

Leading the way was sophomore Sydney Strang, whose time of 15 minutes, 22.2 seconds was tops in her field.

In second place was teammate Abby Dodis, who finished the Elburn Woods landscape at 15:32.9. After three opposing runners crossed, Lady Knight Maggie Brundige took sixth at 16:44.9, while fellow KHS counterpart Aislinn Lodwig took seventh at 16:45.1.

Girls cross-country now gears up for the Oregon Invite on Saturday, Sept. 3.

That is followed by a home matchup on Tuesday, Sept. 6, with East Aurora and Yorkville.

Girls XC looks to better health for success

Photo: Abby Dodis looks to provide a spark with her talent for Kaneland girls cross-country. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It’s been ideal running weather in mid-August.

Good enough for KHS coach Doug Ecker and the Lady Knights cross-country team to take advantage of.

“So far we’ve been pretty healthy,” Ecker said. “They’ve worked real hard and done a lot of strengthening. Hopefully we’ll stay away from the injuries and sickness that has plagued some of these girls the last three years.”

With the exception of junior all-conference selection Ashley Castellanos’ stress fracture and junior Abby Dodis’ hip injury, the squad can make up for key departures.

“Abby is looking good so far, and Ashley is a competitor. When the time comes, they’ll be ready to race,” Ecker said.

Former State-qualifier Andie Strang and Kris Bowen depart for the university settings, and last-year’s 51st-best runner in Class 2A, Jen Howland, graduated early.

“Three of our top six runners were out at the end of the year, and we still managed to finish fourth in conference and sixth in Sectionals. When they’re healthy, they’re a pretty formidable group,” Ecker said.

Key returnees include Sydney Strang, a sophomore, who is hot off a productive track campaign in the spring, and recovered from injuries.

The Lady Knights will also be looking toward Maggie Brundige for exceptional times, as well.

Ecker also noted select freshmen who have looked like Lady Knight contributors.

“Victoria Clinton and Aislinn Ludwig have worked hard and are looking good right now,” Ecker said.

Clinton comes off of an exceptional middle school career and also the triathlon circuit.

The lone senior on the squad is returnee Carolina Tovar.

“Even though it seems like we lost a lot, we’ll be fine as far as experience goes,” Ecker said.

The 2011 campaign kicks off on Tuesday, Aug. 30, against West Chicago and Wheaton Academy at Elburn Woods, while the first Northern Illinois Big XII taste happens a week later against the Yorkville Lady Foxes and East Aurora.

“Yorkville is the cream of the crop, Dixon is very talented and Geneseo is very good—all very good programs, and I think without the health issues we’ve faced we’ll do well,” Ecker said.

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.

4x800m relay, Zick lead good times at State

Photo: Lauren Zick tries to outrun the field in the 400 meter dash prelims on Friday at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Ill. Zick, who ran a 58.58 seconds time in the prelims, was a finalist and finished ninth in the Class 2A State finals. Photo by Ben Draper

CHARLESTON—By the very nature of the State meet, athletes need a certain level of performance to even be part of the collision of talent at Eastern Illinois University.

So Kaneland’s girls track faithful could be confident that the four events featuring the Lady Knights would have the potential for good things.

As it shook out, two events yielded finalists, putting the cap on 2010-2011 girls track.

The 4×800 meter relay squad of seniors Andie Strang and Kris Bowen, and freshmen Sydney Strang and Lauren Zick finished sixth in Class 2A State competition, after a finals effort of 9 minutes, 37.49 seconds.

Meanwhile, Kaneland’s other finals action came courtesy of Zick. The freshman phenom finished ninth in the 400m dash finals with a time of 59.76 seconds.

In team standings, your Class 2A champions are Springfield Southeast with 50 points, one point better than Chicago’s Morgan Park Academy. Springfield was third with 45 points, and Kankakee was fourth with a total of 32. Northern Illinois Big XII rep Rochelle was fifth with 29 points.

The 4×800 crew lost on a tiebreaker for fifth place with Mahomet-Seymour’s team, but edged Hampshire by 1.26 seconds.

Yorkville’s unit took the event with a time of 9:17.32.

In the Friday preliminaries, Kaneland won its heat with a time of 9:41.78, beating Effingham’s crew by 1.69 seconds.

In the 400m dash, Zick was .33 behind Mahomet-Seymour’s Jessica Melchi. Shamier Little of Chicago’s Lindblom High School took the medal with a time of 54.85 seconds. Ottawa’s Alex Ortiz was fourth in 57.40 and Sycamore’s Lake Kwaza was sixth at 59.22.

Zick took third in her preliminary heat with a time of 58.58.

In the pole vault, State qualifier Brooke Patterson vaulted to 10 feet, with the qualifiying mark having to be 10-06. A year ago, Patterson finished 10th overall. Pontiac’s Emily Grove won the event with a 12-06.

Finally, Andie Strang had solo time in the 1600m run, finishing in 5:20.06, 3.1 seconds off the closest qualifying time for finals. Woodstock’s Kayla Beattie’s 4:43.65 was good for the State crown.

With the end of the season, KHS girls track says goodbye to seniors Athina Ajazi, Sydney Bilotta, Bowen, Mackenzie Curran, Ariana Espino, Liz Hylland, Jordan Krawczyk, Keara Palpant, Patterson, Alyson Rehr, Nicole Rymarz, Briana Stark, Jessica Stouffer, Strang and Cara Zagel.

Four-midable outing for Lady Knights track at Sectional

Photo: Brooke Patterson manages to clear the bar during Thursday’s Class 2A Track Sectional in Ottawa, Ill. Patterson helped the Lady Knights qualify for State in four events for this weekend at Eastern Illinois University. Photo by Ben Draper

by Mike Slodki
OTTAWA—KHS girls track followers will have four reasons to visit Charleston, Ill., this May.

With an eighth-place showing at this past Thursday’s Class 2A Sectional at Ottawa Townahip High School, Kaneland girls track saw a State Qualifiying effort in four separate events on Thursday, and will be sending six girls to the IHSA State Final on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.

Senior Brooke Patterson qualified in the pole vault with a third-place finish.

“Brooke has gotten better technique-wise at the pole vault,” KHS coach Doug Ecker said. “She’s been a lot more consistent.”

The 4×800 meter relay unit of senior Kris Bowen, senior Andie Strang, freshman Sydney Strang and Zick finished fourth, good enough for State qualification.

Meanwhile, the elder Strang returns to the State gathering once again after a fourth-place nod in the 1600m run.

Freshman Lauren Zick qualified in the 400 meter dash with a third-place finish.

In the finals, Zick finished in 59.96 seconds, one of four girls to qualify for State.

“I’m excited that it’s going to be tough competition,” Zick said. “I know it’s going to be really hard to do well. If I’m going to do well, I’ll know I’ll have to work really hard at these practices this week.”

Sycamore’s Lake Kwaza won the event at 57.87 seconds, while Ottawa’s Alex Ortiz finished second in 58.62.

Strang’s 5:21.33 time in the 1600m run made her fourth out of seven qualifiers, with Yorkville junior Ali Hester’s 5:13.97 taking the cake.

Patterson continues the long line of noteworthy KHS pole vaulters that includes Sara Wallace, Jordan Pinkston and Michelle Hannemann, among others, after being one of six qualifiers.

The senior vaulted 10 feet, six inches.

“This year I have more experience and I’m not as nervous. My goal is to get top-five,” Patterson said.

Rochelle’s Taylor Jenkins vaulted 11 feet.

Finally, in the lone relay qualifier, Kaneland’s gang of four ran the track in 9:51.49, just .22 seconds behind third-place Yorkville. Seven qualifers in the event are headed to Charleston.

“There was a lot more knowledge and experience going into the meet,” Bowen said. “I knew what to expect. Last year, we were disappointed in not making finals. This year, we wanted to get back there and improve.”

The younger Strang is ready to contribute on the State scale.

“The other girls really helped me a lot and led by example,” Strang said. “I think I’m the same runner as before, just improved a little health-wise.”

Teamwise, Rochelle was tops with 69.5 points, followed by Burlington Central’s 65 points. Sycamore finished third with 59, as did Marengo, and Hampshire rounded out the top five with 58. Yorkville (50) and Sterling (46) edged Kaneland.

One year ago, Kaneland qualified for State in the long jump, pole vault, triple jump, 4x800m relay and 800m run.

Zick, Aguirre, Patterson lift girls track to third in NIB-12

KANELAND—With top-tier finishes on Friday during Kaneland’s venture into the first-ever Northern Illinois Big XII Conference girls track meet, what else could make it a memorable evening?

How about the meet being so big it needed to finish at Sycamore High School?

While the meet actually had to move to SHS due to the Peterson Field lights being unable to turn on at dusk, the final tallies for Kaneland and several other squads were enough to make the night noteworthy.

Kaneland’s 152.5 point total was good enough for third place, while Geneseo’s 247 point total was a clear conference winner. Fellow West Division school Sterling was second at 175.5. Dixon and Rochelle rounded out the top five with 147 and 143 points, respectively.

Ottawa (118.66), Yorkville (101), Sycamore (98), DeKalb (87), Morris (41.33), Streator (41) and LaSalle-Peru (25) filled in the last seven slots.

KHS freshman Lauren Zick’s positive trajectory showed no signs of letting up, as she placed second in the competitive 100 meter dash finals with a time of 12.85 seconds, second only to Sycamore’s Lake Kwaza at 12.22.

Zick also finished fourth in the 200m dash finals with a time of 26.80. Kwaza also took that event with a 24.80 time.

Not finished, the Lady Knight freshman phenom found herself in third place with a 59.90 mark in the 400m dash finals.

In the 4x400m relay encounter, KHS finished third with a time of 4:20.69.

The Lady Knight relay unit of Andie Strang, Kris Bowen, Jess Stouffer and Sydney Strang finished second in the 4x800m race with a result of 9:58.36.

The field categories featured standout performances from high jumper Gabby Aguirre, who left the meet conference champ with a jump of five feet.

Brooke Patterson also took the NIB-12 title in the pole vault with an effort of 10 feet, as well as a third place in the triple jump at 35-01.

Zick was heard from yet again with a third-place long jump mark of 16-11.

Kaneland shall see where its postseason fortunes lay, as it hits the IHSA Class 2A Sectional hosted by Ottawa on Thursday, May 12.

3rd place a charm for Lady Knights at Dixon

Photo: Kaneland’s Sydney Luse does her best to deal with windy conditions on her way to third place during Tuesday’s 76-59 dual win over visiting DeKalb. Photo by Mike Slodki

KANELAND—Lady Knights girls track had themselves a productive Thursday to lead into their Good Friday weekend.

With 68 points amassed as a team, Kaneland finished third in the annual Dixon Relays Invite in Dixon, Ill. Geneseo (79) and Sterling (77) made sure the top three teams were Northern Illinois Big XII-bred. Other NIB-12 schools included Rochelle in a fifth-place tie with the host Duchesses at 53 points, and Ottawa in ninth place with 17 points.

Kaneland followed that up with a 76-59 dual win over visiting DeKalb High School on Tuesday.

Accolades came often for the Lady Knights in the former NCIC territory, just in time with the girls track regular season near its homestretch.

Kaneland’s Brianna Stark had a top-tier Thursday, earning first place in the long jump finals at 46-10.75, and first in the triple jump final at 100-01.75.

KHS also earned a winning nod in the frosh-soph 4x400m relay. Ashley Castellanos, Amanda Lesak, Sydney Strang and Lauren Zick’s effort of 4:20.07 beat Sterling’s foursome by 8.4 seconds.

Kaneland’s varsity unit of Kris Bowen, Jess Stouffer, Andie and Sydney Strang took second in the 4x800m relay with a clip of 9:53.92 minutes.

Bowen also produced in the 1600m run, earning second with a time of 5:53.

Another second-place finish for the Lady Knights came from Sydney Billotta, Castellanos, Rachel Steinmiller and Zick in the 4x200m relay, finishing in 1:49.82.

Kaneland’s 4x100m weights relay event foursome was second thanks to a 58.35 seconds finish from Kelsey Gould, Christina Janes, Nicole Ketza and Keara Palpant.

At Peterson Field under threatening skies, first places abounded. Brooke Patterson’s triple jump was tops at 34-5.5, as well as her pole vault try (10-06). Gabby Aguirre’s five-foot high jump was enough to win. Zick took the 800m run event at 2:28.44, as well as the long jump at 17-02.75, not to mention the 200m event in 26.29 seconds. Nicole Ketza won the shot put with an effort of 29-03.

Amanda Lesak helped the Kaneland cause with a winning 300m low hurdles output of 54.66 seconds.

This Friday, April 29, brings the annual Kane County Meet, taking place this year at Streamwood’s Millenium Field.

Third-place at Jenni’s ABC for KHS

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—For a top-three finish, ideal elements evidently don’t matter.

Kaneland rallied against wind and cold, amassing 288 team points in the annual Jenni’s ABC Meet at Peterson Field in Maple Park.

Huntley took the event with a 363-point total, followed by Rockford Boylan High School at 306. The Lady Knights were ahead of Rosary (250) and Rock Falls (172). Mt. Assisi Academy of Lemont was sixth at 59 points, while Mercer County High School was seventh at 57.

Freshman asset Lauren Zick was tops for the Lady Knights in the 100 meter dash A flight with a time of 12.6 seconds, .2 seconds ahead of Huntley’s Taylor Schau.

In the 200m dash A group, Ashley Castellanos took second with a time of 27.3.

Senior Andie Strang was first in the 800m run A group at 2:28.5, 3.5 seconds ahead of the pack.

Kris Bowen took third in the 1600m A race at 5:53.7, running through winter-like conditions.

“It’s not the greatest weather, but everyone has to run in this. It’s just about seeing who’s the fastest and who’s the toughest,” Bowen said.

Sydney Luse finished second in the 100m hurdles A at 18.10 seconds, while the 4x100m relay team (Sydney Bilotta, Castellanos, Brooke Patterson and Zick) won the A relay at 52.20.

The foursome also finished second in the 4x200m relay A race in 1:50.

Field events saw Gabby Aguirre take second in the high jump A flight at 4 feet, eight inches.

Zick took the long jump A group with a jump of 16-09.

Patterson won the triple jump A event with a final effort of 33-5.25.

In the 800m run B race, Sydney Strang won in 2:31.4, while teammates Ashley Diddell, Luse, Brianna Stark and Rachel Steinmiller took second in the 4x100m relay B race.

4x400m relay B accolades went to KHS with a win by Athina Ajazi, Lisa Jennings, Amanda Lesak and Savanah Miles in 4:42.10.

Castellanos topped the triple jump B category with a jump of 32-2.5.

Ahead for KHS is the usual Dixon Relays stop, but on an unusual day: Thursday, April 21, at 4:30 p.m.

Jill Holmes Invite ‘11 yields third-place finish for Lady Knights

Photo: Kaneland’s Brianna Stark tries to catch up as a 100 meter dash finalist during the Jill Holmes invitational at KHS on Saturday. Photo by John DiDonna

KANELAND—The usual mid-April Jill Holmes Invite saw Kaneland girls track in mid-to-late season stride on Saturday.

Kaneland, with 88 team points, finished third, behind only invite champ West Aurora (148) and Burlington Central (102.5).

Hononegah (80), Sterling (55) and Rosary (53) rounded out the top six.

Northern Illinois Big XII Conference-mates Sycamore (26.5) and DeKalb (13) finished ninth and 12th, respectively.

Top finalists abounded for Kaneland, starting with the 200-meter dash finalist Lauren Zick, who continued her hot start to the season with a third-place, 26.4-seconds finish.

Zick also took second in in the 400m dash at 58.4.

The 1600m run proved quite productive with Andie Strang finished second at 5:26.2, while younger sister Sydney took fourth at 5:27.5.

In relay action, the 4x200m relay foursome of Sydney Bilotta, Ashley Castellanos, Arianna Espino and Brooke Patterson finished fourth with a time of 1:52.8.

Lady Knight Patterson continued her exceptional morning by becoming invite pole vault champ with a 10-feet, six-inch finals effort.

Zick also did well in the field, taking second overall in the long jump with a 16-02 mark.

The triple jump was especially good to Kaneland track with Patterson finishing first at 35 feet, and Castellanos taking fourth at 33-0.5.

Three records were cemented at the 2011 Holmes meet, as Oswego East’s Ariel Michalek set the 1600m run mark at 5:05.4. Additionally, West Aurora’s 4x200m squad ran a record-breaking 1:45.8, and Burlington Central’s 4x800m unit broke the event mark at 9:53.6.

2011 JILL HOLMES INVITE
1. West Aurora 148 points
2. Burlington Central 102.5
3. KANELAND 88
4. Hononegah 80
5. Sterling 55
6. Rosary 53
7. Oswego East 41
8. Belvidere 35
9. Sycamore 26.5
10. Dundee-Crown 24
11. Hyde Park 16
12. DeKalb 13
12. Rockford East 13
14. Rockford Auburn 5
15. Rockford Jefferson 2

Upcoming:
Jenni’s ABC meet
Saturday, April 16
10 a.m.
Peterson Field

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.

Girls track 2nd-place finish keyed by strong performances at BC

by Mike Slodki
BURLINGTON—Looking at indicators for how the Lady Knights track season will end up?
The Tuesday gathering at Burlington Central with the host Rockets and the Oregon Hawks is a positive one.

Kaneland finished second with 66 points behind BC’s 90-point total. Oregon finished third with 31.5 points.

Despite the exceptional showing by BC, Kaneland came up big with a number of first- and second-place finishes.

Kaneland’s 4×800 meter relay foursome took second with a time of 11 minutes, 14.48 seconds.

It was a good outing for sisters Andie and Sydney Strang in the 3200m run. St. Joseph’s College-bound Andie won the event in 12:32.56, while the freshman Strang was right behind in 12:35.24.

Freshman Lauren Zick took first in the 100m dash with a time of 13.02 seconds, a half-second better than the field.

Zick also finished first in the 400m dash at 1:01.68, while teammate Brooke Patterson was second at 1:05.62.

Sophomore Amanda Lesak was second in the 300m hurdles with a time of 55.84 seconds, and Sydney Strang appeared again in the 1600m run with a second-place finish at 6:02.90.

Standout Ashley Castellanos finished second in the 200m dash with a time of 28.43.

Patterson appeared once again in solid fashion for the pole vault event, taking second at 9 feet, 6 inches.

Zick finished her fine showing with a 16-02 effort in the long jump, good for first.

With the growing buzz, Zick is taking things meet-by-meet, and handling the early success the best she can.

“Yeah, it is a little bit overwhelming, because I’m going up against the best girls in the state” Zick said. “It’s tough competition, but it’s fun.”

The freshman doesn’t feel she’s hit her ultimate stride yet in events like the long jump.

“I’m definitely getting better at it. Each meet I’m getting about four or five more inches and today I set a new personal record,” Zick said.

In the triple jump event, Patterson and Castellanos went 1-2, with Patterson finishing at 35-02 and Castellanos at 33-03.

Ahead for girls track is the annual Kaneland-hosted Jill Holmes Invitational on Saturday, April 9, at 10 a.m.

Ecker’s crew has young, old as formula for success

Photo: Andie Strang has established herself as a threat at any distance and looks to finish her Kaneland tenure with a flourish. Photo by Linda Bell

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Here comes Lady Knights track.

If the early practice sessions and indoor season were any indicator, many a girl in KHS garb will be finishing quite well in 2011 races.

Second-year head coach Doug Ecker is eager to see what the large roster can do, with a mostly healthy lineup.

“The indoor season was encouraging,” Ecker said. “The most encouraging thing is all the distance runners are healthy and we’ve been consistent,” Ecker said. “When we get outside, we’ll have to have a little more depth.”

So far, the three big names to pop up are senior Andie Strang in the distance and relay events, senior Brooke Patterson in pole vault and triple jump and freshman Lauren Zick in sprints and long jump.

“We knew Lauren was fast, she has the temperament and she’ll do what the coaches ask her to do. She listens well,” Ecker said.

Sophomore and state qualifier Ashley Castellanos has excelled in the jumps, as well.

Gabby Aguirre returns and looks to make a mark in the jumps.

With a Division II career ahead of her, Strang is ready to go for the distance events, but Ecker believes a challenge lays ahead.

“This conference is going to be brutal for distance. She can run extremely well one meet and get fifth in the mile. You have so many good distance runners,” Ecker said.

Sydney Strang and Kris Bowen also look to add to the distance ranks for Kaneland.

For relays, the 4x800m team could be in store for big finishes. The Strang sisters, Bowen and Castellanos, will all see time in that event along with Jessica Stouffer. The 4x200m has Sydney Bilotta and Ariana Espino ready to go with Patterson.

Kaneland looks to continue the pole vault excellence.

“Brooke is very good and works very hard, and Sydney Luse has worked very hard, and Shannon Wallace will give us some depth, too,” Ecker said.

Junior Nicole Ketza looks to rise in the weight events after a good late-season run.

Kaneland is still looking for young hurdlers to take the reins in that event.

The stronger each event is, the better for the Lady Knights in the new Northern Illinois Big XII scheme.

“Our conference is maybe one of the better conferences in the state. You throw in every event, we are really solid,” Ecker said.

Lady Knights take third in Rockton

Photo: Ashley Castellanos, shown here in recent indoor action, took home a sixth place in the triple jump at the Hononegah Girls Indoor Classic. File Photo

ROCKTON, Ill.—Here’s a way to measure your early-season progress in girls’ track: Compete at a 24-team Track Classic.

Here’s a way to be happy about your early-season progress: Finish third in said 24-team Track Classic.

The Lady Knights continued on their indoor track slate on Friday in Rockton, Ill., at the Hononegah Girls Indoor Classic.

West Aurora won the meet with 102 points, followed by Downers Grove North at 74.5. Kaneland had 59 points, edging Lake Park with 56, and Vernon Hills rounded out the top five at 52.5.

For Kaneland, Brooke Patterson enjoyed a monopoly on first place in her solo events, the pole vault and triple jump.

The senior vaulted a 10 foot, six inch distance and won the triple jump by two inches with a mark of 33-7.25.

Second-places were gathered by Lauren Zick in the 400 meter dash (1:02.40) and by the 4x800m relay squad of Kris Bowen, Ashley Castellanos, Andie Strang and Sydney Strang, with a time of 10:23.91.

Third-places went to the freshman Zick in the 200m dash with an effort of 27.55 seconds.

In the distance medley, fourth place went to the unit of Bowen, Maggie Brundige, Abby Dodis and Jessica Stouffer, running in 14:15.59.

Fifth place for Kaneland was secured in the 4x400m relay, thanks to a 4:30.76 finish by Sydney Bilotta, Castellanos, Ariana Espino and Patterson.

The Lady Knights also added a couple of sixth places to their early indoor season coffers, in the form of a 55m dash time of 7.76 seconds by Zick.

In a solo effort, Castellanos took sixth in the triple jump at 31-11.25.

Finally, Andie Strang wrangled seventh place in the 1600m run with a time of 5:38.58.

Saturday, March 12, brings the Byron Indoor Invitational on the KHS docket, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Freshmen Fever!

On Feb. 8, Freshmen girls won the conference tournament championship, beating Rochelle 35-33 in triple overtime en route to a 24-0 season. (Front row) Jennifer Alderman, Rachel Mathys, Lauren Zick, Caroline Heimer-dinger, Jenna Unruh and Jessica Jablonski (Back row) Sydney Strang, Brittany Olson, Coach Matt Harvell, Bryanna Stoiber, Sarah Childers, Katherine Brinkman, Coach Dan Long, Brittany Kemp, Kelly Wallner and Amber Winquist-Bailey
Courtesy Photo

Girls run mid-pack in Sterling race

by Mike Slodki
STERLING—Could it be a perfect storm of sorts for the Lady Knights cross country team?

With senior leader Andie Strang running under 19 minutes for the first time since freshman year at Saturday’s Sterling Invitational, and the return of several key personnel, this could be fun sailing for the rest of the 2010 campaign.

“Very proud of all my girls today,” KHS coach Doug Ecker said. “These are exciting times for us, on a tough week. We’re down a couple runners, but we are not out.”

The Lady Knights finished 12th out of 28 squads with 334 points, edging Sycamore by three points.

The Lady Saxons of Schaumburg High School took the Sterling crown with 49 points followed by Iowa City High School at 86.

Strang’s 18 minute, 51 second effort was good for 22nd place. The next three KHS runners finished in a row in 67th through 69th place.

Ashley Castellanos ran in 20:03, as did Andie’s sister Sydney, running her first race in six weeks. They were joined by Jen Howland, making her return from injuries at 20:06.

The Lady Knights now prepare for the first-ever Northern Illinois Big XII meet at Elburn Woods on Saturday, Oct. 16.

KHS girls XC has productive week

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Through two meets this week, the only thing able to stop the Lady Knights cross-country crew is sickness.

Saturday had the Lady Knights tackle the Oregon Invite, while Tuesday had Kaneland host East Aurora and Yorkville with only one regular varsity competitor to its name.

On Saturday along Route 64, no team scores were kept, but senior Andie Strang powered through the three-mile terrain in windy conditions with a 19 minute, 58 second effort.

Sophomore Abby Dodis finished third overall at 20:43. Freshman Sydney Strang took sixth overall at 20:57, and Ashley Castellanos took eighth at 21 minutes.

On Tuesday, Kaneland won the meet with a 25 score, followed by Yorkville with 45 and East Aurora with 74.

Castellanos won the course with a 22:52 time, and was glad to help the team, despite being hampered by the elements.

“I’m actually struggling with allergies,” Castellanos said. “It’s really tough not having the girls that are out to run with. I’m not used to it.”

Teammate Shaela Collins finished second at 22:59. Carolina Tovar took sixth with a time of 23:59, and Ariana Espino finished seventh at that same time.

Photo: Shaela Collins of KHS girls cross-country takes to the Elburn Woods course during a 22:59 effort on Tuesday against East Aurora and Yorkville. Photo courtesy of Yorkvilletrackandfield.com

Lady Knights XC runs to 1st place

by Mike Slodki
ELBURN—It was anything but lonely at the top for Kaneland High school girls cross country.

With five of the top nine runners, Kaneland powered through for a win over West Chicago and Wheaton Academy at Elburn Woods on Tuesday. The Lady Knights had 19 points, compared to 38 for WC and 85 for WA.

Leading the course was senior Andie Strang at 15 minutes, 59 seconds. Shortly behind her was her sister, freshman Sydney Strang just two seconds behind.

Abby Dodis was third at 16:54.

“I was especially happy with Abby’s race today,” KHS coach Doug Ecker said. “This was a good confidence builder for her.”

The sophomore beat her closest competitor by seven seconds.

“I feel like it’s a good first step. We’ve been working on staying in groups in practice, staying together and pushing each other,” Dodis said.

Kris Bowen finished fifth with a time of 17:12.

Next up for Kaneland is the annual Oregon Invite on Saturday, Sept. 4, at 9:15 a.m.

Photo: Ashley Castellanos finished 8th overall Tuesday. photo by Mike Slodki

Healthy lineup key for Lady Knight runners

Photo: Senior Andie Strang looks to get back to State for the Lady Knights in 2010. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—With a roster that returns several that missed State a year ago, motivation is available aplenty for Lady Knights cross-country in 2010.

The season of 2009 ended at the Class 2A Belvidere Sectional, but with a captain triumvirate of seniors Kris Bowen, Jessica Stouffer and Andie Strang returning, helped out by a talented group, the finish line of courses could come up faster this season.

That’s providing that the overall collective health of the girls is better than a year ago.

“We’re fine this year, so far,” head coach Doug Ecker said. “Obviously, the biggest problem the last two years was not work ethic. Kids were getting hurt and sick, but so far.”

Strang, who ran a 19 minute, 16 second course at last year’s regionals, comes off a State trip for girls track, making a winter stress fracture a distant memory.

“She’s run well for us, three-time all-conference and a very good leader. Her and Kris Bowen have been in the top seven since they were freshmen,” Ecker said.

Shaela Collins, Arianna Espino and Kaitlin Munyon round out the senior corps with Ecker hoping for slots in the Lady Knights top ten.

Sophomore assets Maggie Brundige and Abby Dodis return after dealing with various injuries and illness a year ago that hampered the bottom line. Fellow sophomore Ashley Castellanos (19:17 in regionals) also returns to help the sophomore group.

“If nothing happens, we should be in pretty good shape. Our main goal is to stay healthy,” Ecker said.

Perhaps the most intriguing addition to the squad comes in the form of a familiar face from 2008, junior Jen Howland.

Howland skipped last year for injuries and to compete in the triathalon circuit. Howland is now eligible to star in the 2010 ITU Junior Triathlon World Championship in Budapest, Hungary in September.

“She hasn’t had an opportunity to run for her high school in a while. I think she likes the opportunity to run with the kids she goes to school with,” Ecker said.

Howland joins Carolina Tovar and Alexis Villarreal on the junior side.

Freshmen are Brooke Howland, Anna Piazza and Sydney Strang.

Strang impressed in the middle school ranks.

“Sydney was among the top, if not the top middle school runner in the area last year. She’s got talent and she’s worked hard and if she runs consistently she’ll do well for us.,” Ecker said.

The Lady Knights aren’t going for any drastic leaps and bounds, just taking care what’s in front of them.

“We just stress doing what you’re supposed to do and practicing and the times will come,” Ecker said.

The Lady Knights host West Chicago and Wheaton Academy on Tuesday, Aug. 31 and host the Eddington Invite on Saturday, Sept. 18. The regular season ends with the Northern Illinois Big XII meet on Saturday, Oct. 16.

Silver Stardom

Quickly getting used to the idea of tournament wins, the 8th Grade Kaneland Silver Stars are shown here after conquering the Storm Chasers Classic Tournament at South Elgin High School on Saturday and Sunday. The unblemished tourney champs dusted off feeder teams from Willowbrook, Schaumburg, Palatine and Glenbard West. The Silver Stars also took the championship mantle at the President’s Day Shootout at Elk Grove High School Feb. 13-14. Shown here are: front row, left to right: Amber Winquist-Bailey, Caroline Heimerdinger, Jessica Jablonski, Jennifer Alderman, Sydney Strang. Back row (left to right): Coach Mark Hotwagner, Marina Shaefer, Alyssa Andersen, Brittany Kemp, Sarah Childers, Maddie Hester, Coach Jeff Heimerdinger. Courtesy Photo

Kaneland Middle School Wrapup—Part I

by Mike Slodki

Cross country
Coach Steve Fredrickson’s program continues to see an increase in numbers from year to year, with this past fall season showing about 50 girls and 40 boys.

“It has really been nice to see the numbers grow each year,” Fredrickson said. “We have a lot of good young runners coming back next year and wish all the eighth-graders continued success at the high school level.

The biggest thrill for the middle schoolers was the 14-team Oswego Tiger Trails Invitational. The sixth graders took first, led by individual champion Victoria Clinton. The sixth grade boys took sixth, while the seventh grade girls finished first, thanks to champ Sydney Strang.

The seventh grade boys finished third, while the eighth grade girls finished first. The eighth grade boys also finished fourth. Kaneland, meanwhile, took the overall team championship.

Fredrickson gave a special thanks to the high school coaches and athletes, along with parents for supporting the Middle School cross country program.

Football
The 8th-graders under coach Pat Sheetz and assistant coach Barney Callaghan went 6-5 in the 2008 fall season.

The wins featured a 36-0 game over Yorkville, a 26-16 affair over Geneva South, a 12-6 win over Aurora Herget, a 33-6 triumph over Sycamore, an 8-6 edging of DeKalb Huntley and a 28-0 solving of St. Charles Haines. The win over Haines came after a 36-0 loss to the same school in the early part of the season.

7th Grade Volleyball
Coach Tom Huels kept more girls on than in the past, which “should provide a nice boost to the high school program when they arrive in 2010.”

The A and B levels won a total of 15 matches combined, which is an improvement over past years. Huels pointed at three-game wins over Aurora Jewel, Aurora Herget and Geneva North as highlights, showing the girls could compete with anyone anytime.

8th Grade Girls Basketball
Despite injuries to pivotal players, KMS saw a 13-3 record for the “A” squad and 11-4 on the “B” side. One of the “A” losses came to Geneva North, which was later avenged. The “B” team had an impressive outing at the Yorkville B Invitational and finished second.

“This group of talented athletes will potentially accomplish many things at KHS if they stay together and continue to work hard to improve,” Huels said.

8th Grade volleyball
In the level which adds more offensive and defensive strategies to the game, coach Sadie Stark looked to do more than win every time out.

“We try to transition the girls to the high school game fairly quickly,” Stark said.

The “A” (8-7) and “B” (10-5) levels went a combined 18-12 on the fall season, but Stark was looking for something more from her squads of 20 combined girls.

“I never gage my teams on win-loss records. I gage it by where we started the season and where we ended up. We ended where we needed to and made the progress, and the girls saw that,” Stark said.

Matches vs. Batavia and St. Charles Thompson were mentioned as particular highlights.

Read Part II of the Kaneland Middle School wrapup in the March 26 Elburn Herald.