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Kaneland Girls Volleyball Tournament Wheaton No. 8-27-14-9608

Volleyball’s spike OK in first test

Photo: Anna Senese spikes the ball over Raider defenders in action against Glenbard South Aug. 27. Photo by Laura Gampfer

Lady Knights manage comeback win over Romeoville as part of middle-of-pack finish at Wheaton
WHEATON, Ill.—Aug. 27 marked the return of Cyndi Violett to the Kaneland head coaching ranks, and also marked the beginning of the 2014 test for Kaneland volleyball.

After the opening night and Saturday’s conclusion in the Wheaton North tournament, the report card might note Kaneland’s perseverance, with some room to improve in other areas.

KHS managed a sixth-place finish out of 12 squads at the Falcon-hosted tournament, which has marked the unofficial beginning of the Kaneland volleyball campaign in recent seasons.

KHS began with a 25-19, 25-15 loss to former conference foe Glenbard South, and came back in the Aug. 27 nightcap against Romeoville, 23-25, 25-19, 27-26. On Saturday, KHS lost to Wheaton North 25-16, 25-15, beat Tinley Park, Ill. program Andrew 19-25, 25-17, 25-20 and lost to Glenbard West 25-16, 25-13.

Kaneland sits at 2-3 in the early goings of 2014.

Noteworthy performances after the first night of action had Ball State bound Ellie Dunn with 12 kills, two aces and nine digs, Anna Senese with 11 kills, a block and ace, Hannah Nauert with 15 assists and five aces and Sami Burgin with nine kills, eight digs and an ace.

“They finally got mad and let the nerves go away and played how they could play. Romeoville is a good defending team. Against Glenbard South, we had a lot of mistakes,” Violett said.

Against the Spartans of Romeoville, Dunn supplied two blocks to tie the score at 22, before Romeoville scored three of the next four points for the Game 1 win.

Romeoville went ahead 12-5, sending the Lady Knights to a possible defeat before a handful of Dunn kills and Romeoville errors gave KHS a 14-13 lead. Burgin and McKenzie McMullan executed a block to go up 19-15 and send Kaneland on a 7-5 run to end Game 2.

An evenly matched rubber encounter had the two squads tied at 17 and 22 after a Romeoville sideout, before a team block gave Kaneland a one-point edge. After Romeoville tied again, AnneMarie Franz and Senese combined on a block for a 24-23 lead. Romeoville scored twice before a Kaneland kill attempt. A sideout tied it at 26 before a Dunn kill gave the Lady Knights a one-point Game 3 win.

“There were jitters, and it’s a new team, so there was that aspect,” Dunn said. “We realized we lost and it was done with, and we came back and had to prepare for the season. It’s about never giving up. We were hesitant but then we were all-in and were like, ‘let’s win this game.”

Kaneland travels south to Centennial High School in Champaign, Ill., for the Charger Invite on Saturday, Sept. 6.

Kaneland kicks season off up north

KANELAND—Knights soccer headed to its usual Fox Valley stop to kick off the 2014 season, with some success and growing pains.

At the Jacobs Tournament on Friday, Kaneland began with a 2-0 loss to Harvard and a 3-1 loss to Upstate Eight school Streamwood on Saturday, but rebounded with a 4-1 Saturday win over host Jacobs.

Against the Hornets, the Knights surrendered two second-half goals after a scoreless tie.

Facing the Sabres of Streamwood, Felipe Speragi scored the first goal of the season on an unassisted effort with 15:15 left in the first half. All the goals came in the first half for both sides.

Ivan Bohorquez got the part against Jacobs rolling with a goal off an Angel Escontrias feed with 15:32 to go in the first half. Three second-half goals by Kaneland took the form of a Spergi goal with 14:14 left from another Escontrias assist, a Michael Meisinger score with 6:21 left off a Speragi assist, and the clincher just six seconds later by Bohorquez from Escontrias.

KHS coach Scott Parillo found plenty of early-season challenges the squad needs to deal with, in a setting that keeps giving good competition.

“I think the challenge is for them to be confident in their abilities and what they do when they find themselves losing a game. I think they realize that we blew game 1 of the Jacobs tourney—we handed Harvard that game. It was very lopsided, and yet we lost. We keep going to the Jacobs tourney because it is a competitive tournament to be in,” Parillo said.

On Tuesday, the Knights went to Carpentersville, Ill., to face Dundee-Crown, where they dropped the contest 2-0. The Knights are now 1-3 on the young season.

Ahead for the Knights is a Tuesday, Sept. 9, meeting with visiting DeKalb, marking the first Northern Illinois Big XII match of the year.

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Knight golfers trek to West Aurora, Geneva Invite

KANELAND—Knight golfers, fresh off several years of sustained regular season and postseason success, continue to progress through the early part of the 2014 schedule.

On Friday, the Knights managed to beat West Aurora by a final of 165-172.

KHS also finished sixth out of 18 teams in the Geneva Invite last Thursday.

Kaneland is now 2-2 in dual action.

In the slim, seven-shot win over the local Blackhawks foe, top scores were had by Jake Hed with 40, Brett Glennon with 40, Jeff VanGemert with 42 and Jesse Denton with 43.

In Geneva, Kaneland’s 313 was just one behind DeKalb, but one ahead of Geneva’s Blue team. St. Charles East (291), Glenbard South (291), Marmion (309) Burlington Central (309) and DeKalb (312) rounded out the top five.

While the top three individual scores went to St. Charles East’s Gary King (69), Glenbard South’s Michael Wittenberg (69) and teammate Russell Matos (70), Kaneland was paced by ninth-place Denton at 73, 17th-place Glennon at 76 and Hed in 24th with a 78.

KHS coach Mark Meyer still sees the team as a work in progress through the early duals and invites.

“We’ve had our ups and downs in the early portion of this season,” Meyer said. “We were fortunate to start out our conference season with a one-stroke victory over a very good DeKalb team, and we were also very happy with our performance at the Geneva Invitational. However, we’re still searching for some consistency, especially at the back end of our roster.”

Kaneland was set to host Hinckley-Big Rock on Wednesday and go to Yorkville on Friday.

File photo: Senior Jakob Sanders

Kaneland Knight logo challenge

Be part of history and design your best Knight logo
KANELAND—The Kaneland athletic and activities departments want you to submit your best Knight logo.

Entries can be drawn freehand or digitally produced, and must be original work that does not infringe on any copyrighted material. You must be a resident of the Kaneland School District to submit a logo.

Entries are due Friday, Sept. 26, to the athletic office at Kaneland High School.

The top four submissions, chosen by a committee, will then be put to vote during homecoming week, and the winner announced soon after.

Contest forms can be picked up at Kaneland High School. Contact Peter Goff at 11500@kaneland.org with any questions. You can also download it here: LINK >

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Church among Elburn’s best-kept secrets

Photo: Located at 100 E. Shannon Street in Elburn, the Community Congregational Church’s members are “determined to revitalize and continue to focus on the church’s mission in the community.” Photos by Lynn Logan

ELBURN—Members joke that Elburn’s Community Congregational Church is one of the best-kept secrets in town. On the flip side, many are trying to change that.

“We’ve been hearing for years that the church has been closed or is dying,” church member Karen Diesel said.

Located at 100 E. Shannon St., the church during Elburn Days hosted a large rummage sale, face painting, music provided by the Al and Susan Duo of St. Charles, ice cream from Colonial Ice Cream and sloppy joes that people return for year after year.

“It was awesome; we couldn’t have asked for a better turnout,” Diesel said. “The weather really cooperated and we made about $4,500—more than double the $2,000 we usually make.”

Church Pastor Bennett McNeal said it’s not unusual for smaller churches to struggle.

“We’ve had some difficult times in recent years,” McNeal said. “The members are determined to revitalize and continue to focus on the church’s mission in the community.”

Church moderator Mary Royer said a lot of maintenance work that has been on the back burner is now being undertaken, along with the installation of a new elevator to make the church accessible to all. She credits Diesel with doing a lot to make the church more visible during Elburn Days.

“Karen worked very hard,” she said. “We had a lot going on so people could see that we’re still here.”

After celebrating only his second Elburn Days, McNeal said he came to realize the church is an incredible resource in the community.

“We have scouts that meet at the church along with other groups, we plan to provide a caregivers’ support group—all of these things are intended to provide services for the community,” he said. “Of course, we also are continuing our traditional programs of Sunday school for all ages and traditional worship services.”

McNeal said the maintenance projects and the new elevator are ways to make the church more welcoming.

“Our tradition is to be welcoming to everyone, and we mean that with no exceptions,” McNeal said. “These aren’t my words, they come from our denomination: ‘No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you’re welcome here at Community Congregational Church.’”

“We don’t say it as much as we act on it,” Royer said. “We are very much like a family.”

For more information about the church, visit www.elburn-ucc.org or call (630) 365-6544.

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Raising funds for a dog for Alex

Photo: Elburn’s McGarvey family—Ray and Heather, with sons Raymond, Brandon, Jonathon and Alex—is running a Go Fund Me campaign to assist them in the purchase of a trained companion dog for youngest family member, Alex, 9.
Photo by Debbie Behrends

ELBURN—Like many 9-year-old boys, Alex McGarvey of Elburn is excited about getting his first dog. But Alex’s dog will be more than just a pet.

Alex is diabetic, and the new family pet will be his trained companion dog.

Heather McGarvey, Alex’s mom, explained that trained companions are different than service dogs.

“We don’t need a service dog for him out in public that no one else can touch,” Heather said. “We need it primarily for here at home.”

Although Alex was diagnosed when he was just a year old, and he has an insulin pump, Heather said he’s growing so fast, and changes in his blood sugar are frequent.

“We’ve been talking with his doctor awhile, and he’s not eligible to get a sensor that goes in his stomach to help regulate his blood sugars,” Heather said.

Alex said when his blood sugar is very high, he has a pounding headache and he’s very thirsty. When it’s low, he said his legs get wobbly.

“I think it will be nice to have a dog that can smell when my sugar is high or low,” Alex said.

Ray McGarvey, Alex’s father, said Alex’s older brothers, Raymond, Brandon and Jonathon, all know what to do when Alex needs assistance, but often his blood sugar dips dangerously low when he’s sleeping. A dog could smell that situation and wake Alex or anyone else in the house to get him the help he needs.

But dogs with specialized training don’t come cheap. Heather said their research has found dogs ranging from $10,000 to $20,000—and some from for-profit companies that are not so reputable.

The family has determined that the best route is to get a puppy, a female German shepherd. Alex said that the family will take her to a series of obedience classes before she is scent trained. Because they plan to raise the dog, she will bond with the entire family.

Not only is the process an expensive one, it’s a lengthy one. Heather said it will take about a year before the dog is ready for scent training.

But in the end, the family will have a pet and Alex will have a companion that will help keep him healthy as he grows.

A Go Fund Me campaign has been established to help the McGarveys in purchasing Alex’s four-legged assistant. For more of Alex’s story, and to make a donation, visit www.GoFundMe.com/c753tw.

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Fighting cancer with buzz cuts

Photo: Matt Peters gets a buzz cut as part of Cuts for the Cure.
Photos submitted by Julie Allen to cborrowdale@elburnherald.com

Event raises over $1,000 for childhood cancer research
ELBURN—Three generations of Elburn residents recently got their heads shaved at Cuts for the Cure, an event at Dave’s Barbershop that raised over $1,000 for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a childhood cancer research organization.

Joe Schoepke, his son-in-law Matt Peters, and his grandson Maxwell Peters, were just three of the nearly 30 people who came out to get buzz cuts from Dave Rissman, the owner of Dave’s Barbershop, located at 132 N. Main St, Ste. 1. Rissman volunteered to host the event.

“My first reaction was to put a hat on,” Schoepke joked. “If you’d seen how much hair I’d had, you would say (the buzz cut) is really bold. My family said they didn’t even recognize me anymore.”

The event was organized by 10-year-old Nolan Allen, who lost an uncle, Craig Larson of Batavia, to cancer earlier this year. Allen shaved his own head so he could march in the Elburn Days Parade and advertise the event.

“I just know I kicked cancer’s butt hard,” Nolan said. “I did it for my uncle Craig. It’s a really good feeling to see that you raised $1,000 for cancer research. I don’t know if my parents or grandparents could be any prouder.”

Though the Allens were a little disappointed with the turnout—in retrospect, they wish they had planned it for a different day than the Saturday of Elburn Days—they said the experience was a good one.

“It’s hard to get people to come and shave their heads and to come and get haircuts on Elburn Days, but people were really excited that someone Nolan’s age would want to do this kind of charity work,” said Bob Allen, Nolan’s father. “We just came together as a family and tried to help other people, and it was a nice moment for us to take time out of our daily lives and stop thinking of ourselves.”

Rissman has done St. Baldrick’s events in the past, but this was the first one he’d ever hosted in his own shop.

“I was hoping we’d get a line outside the door,” Rissman said. “But I would deem it a success. The bar was set at $1,000, and we reached that.”

For Schoepke, supporting the cause was personal. He’s a cancer survivor—he developed prostate cancer in 2007 and says he’s fortunate to be cured—and said that he got the buzz cut to show solidarity with the Allen family and other families struggling with cancer diagnoses.

“It’s like with the ALS thing, where everybody’s getting ice dumped on them,” Schoepke said. “Anything you can do to raise awareness or help the families or advance the research (into cancer) is important. It’s important to show solidarity.”

Schoepke said he’d known the Allens for a long time and that he was proud of Nolan for taking the initiative to create a fundraiser.

“He’s a very courageous, caring young man with a good heart,” Schoepke said. “To just go out and promote this event as he did, to go through the process and get as many people to get along in the process, for a kid his age, it’s courageous.”

Schoepke got his buzz cut on Wednesday—a few days ahead of the event—and Matt and Maxwell Peters came on Saturday for the event.

“The Allens are family friends of ours, and my father-in-law is a cancer survivor, so that was very persuasive for us, too,” Peters said. “I think it’s a good cause. It was a pretty cool thing for Nolan to put together.”

Though everyone who arrived got buzz cuts, for Nolan, that still wasn’t short enough to show his support for the cause.

“When I saw myself in the mirror, I personally wasn’t really satisfied,” he said. “I thought I was going to be bald-bald, so we almost shaved it with one of those little razor thingies, but mom took the first stroke and said she couldn’t do it. She was afraid she was going to cut my scalp.”

Nolan’s considering repeating the fundraiser next August, though he said he’ll probably schedule it for a weekend other than the weekend of Elburn Days.

The whole event, the Allens say, wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity of Rissman, who offered to host the event at his barbershop and give buzz cuts to anyone who arrived that day. Two other stylists who work in the same building were also on hand to give out cuts.

“I could not have done it without Dave and his generousness to let me use his barbershop,” Nolan said.

His mother, Julie Allen, agreed.

“Dave Rissman was so generous in saying, ‘Let’s do this and you do it here,’ and he helped me organize it so Nolan could get some extra donations,” she said. “It was very generous and selfless of him.”

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Spotty weather no match for Kaneville Fest 2014

KANEVILLE—Pat Hill couldn’t say enough good things about this year’s Kaneville Fest event, even after losing her voice. And that included how the weather seemed to cooperate with all the planned events.

“Everything went according to plan, and it rained between events,” Hill said. “We saw the weather coming in, and the car show guys got the awards in before the downpour.”

Although she said she was concerned about rain on Saturday, she realized there was nothing she could do about it and “put it in God’s hands.”

“We had only about 40 cars because of the threat of rain, but there were some really cool old cars out there,” said Alexa Hill, Pat’s daughter.

Pat said the garage sales went well and the dinner was well attended, with only seven fewer dinners sold this year than last.

Although she didn’t have exact numbers of participants, Pat said about 35 people participated in the ice cream-eating contest and 20 to 25 joined the watermelon-eating contest.

“I did the ice cream-eating contest,” Pat said. “(State Rep.) Bob Pritchard was there rooting me on, but I couldn’t do it; the ice cream kept going up my nose and I couldn’t breathe. It was a riot.”

She said the band Red Woody rocked and had the crowd dancing during the festival, and George Alexander of Batavia provided horse-drawn wagon rides and wouldn’t take payment.

“He donated his payment back to the festival,” Pat said.

Kaneville Fest concluded its Saturday portion with a fireworks bonanza.

“The fireworks were awesome,” Alexa said. “A lot of people came out and had a good time. I think it went pretty well overall.”

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Week 1 Preview: Brooks Prep (0-0) at Kaneland (0-0)

Friday, Aug. 29, 7:15 p.m.

KANELAND—Knights football hopes recent history repeats itself against Brooks Prep in Friday’s season opener.

The KHS gridiron contingent has won every meeting between the two programs since starting the rivalry back in 2011. This encounter was originally scheduled for Gately Stadium before necessitating a move due to Chicago’s Gately Stadium’s unavailability, meaning Kaneland has six home games in 2014 at Peterson Field.

Kaneland, behind two Jesse Balluff touchdowns, bested the Eagles by a final of 27-7 in the 2013 season opener, a change of pace from the 2012 opener in Chicago that saw KHS scurry for an 18-point comeback in a 25-24 win.

Friday marks the debut under center for junior quarterback Jake Marczuk, who takes over for three-year starter Drew David.

Brooks, led by coach Jason Richardson, finished 9-3 in Class 5A, and sees one other suburban school in 2014, Carol Stream’s Glenbard North in week three.

Sugar Grove man killed in crash

See also: Rodger Adhemar Lambert

SUGAR GROVE—Rodger Lambert, 73, of the 300 block of Maple Avenue in a Sugar Grove, was killed Friday when his truck left the roadway and struck a utility pole.

Kane County deputies responded to the area of Densmore south of Hankes Road on Friday, Aug. 22 at approximately 5:15 p.m. Lambert was the sole occupant of a pickup truck driving southbound on Densmore Road when his truck left the roadway for an unknown reason and hit the pole.

The Sugar Grove Fire Department responded and an Emergency Medical Services helicopter was dispatched to the scene, but Lambert was pronounced deceased at the scene. According to Kane County Sheriff Department spokesperson Christopher Collins, there did not appear to be any other vehicles involved in the collision.

As of press time, there was not an official determination on a cause. However, according to Collins, through a process of elimination, investigators said it looks as though Lambert might have suffered a medical event prior to the crash.

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Golfers get on better course

Sophomore Paige Guyton putts on the third green at Hughes Creek.

KANELAND—There’s nothing like getting off to a potential win streak in dual competition. And for KHS golf, there’s nothing like taking it to a Northern Illinois Big XII Conference rival.

Such was the case Tuesday out at Hughes Creek in Elburn, as the Knights handled the DeKalb Barbs by a slim 157-158 margin.

Kaneland sits on its dual slate with a 1-2 record, as it hopes to achieve the level of success it has seen in recent years.

Doing their best to ward off elite scores like Jacob Cook’s 38 and Connor Hoyle’s 39, the Knights countered with exemplary scores from Jake Hed (37), Jesse Denton (39) and Jeremy Faletto (40).

KHS also had crucial efforts from Brett Glennon with a 41, Jakob Sanders at 45 and Jacob Sheehan at 47.

Kaneland heads to the Geneva Invite on Thursday, Aug. 28, and treks to West Aurora on Friday, Aug. 29.

Photos by Mary Paulson

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Here we go

Annual Knights Under the Lights officially kicks off 2014-15 sports season
KANELAND—Thursday’s Knights Under the Lights event had a different type of illumination.

Due to storms, the event was moved to the East Gym of Kaneland High School instead of the usual venue of Peterson Field.

The event still featured introductions of the 2014-15 KHS fall sports teams as they prepare to take on their rivals near and far. Fans and visitors were treated to scrimmages by the KHS volleyball squads as well.

The Brian Bemis test-drive fundraiser, hosted by the Kaneland Sports Boosters, was postponed to Friday, Sept. 26, at 4 p.m.

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2014 Maple Park Fun Fest Schedule

Saturday, Aug. 30
8 a.m. Romp in the Park 5K Run/ Walk
(registration at 7:30 a.m., Race at 8 a.m.
at Maple Park Fire Station)

8 a.m. Men’s Slo-Pitch Softball
(Civic Center Fields)

10 a.m. Crafters and vendors
(Main and Pleasant streets)

10:30 a.m. Third annual Bags Tournament
(North Park)

11 a.m. Food and Beer Garden opens

12:30 p.m. Fun Fest Bike Parade with
Decorating Station on Main Street
(decorating begins at 11:30 a.m.)

1:30 p.m. Tenth annual Toilet Bowl
Challenge (Main Street)

2 p.m. Balloon animal artist
Andrew Noyszewski (free to attend)

6 p.m. Parade on Main Street

Saturday live entertainment
(Main Street)
12 p.m. Just For Kix Dance Group
12:45 p.m. M&M Dance Group
3 p.m. Not By Chance
5 p.m. Chemically Imbalanced
(performing before and after the parade)
9 p.m. Red Woody

Sunday, Aug. 31
7 a.m. American Legion breakfast buffet
8 a.m. Men’s Slo-Pitch Softball Tournament
(Civic Center Fields)
8 a.m. Car Show on Main Street
10 a.m. Craft show (WIllow Street)
11 a.m. Food and beer garden opens
1 p.m. Fire Station Fun
8:30 p.m. Fireworks show

Sunday live entertainment
(Main Street)
2:30 p.m. Party Doctors
4:30 p.m. Shooter Whiskey
7 p.m. Back Country Roads
(performing before and after the fireworks)
8 p.m. Raffle winners announced

Monday, Sept. 1
7 a.m. American Legion breakfast buffet
8 a.m. Men’s Slo-Pitch Softball Tournament
(Civic Center Fields)
8:30 p.m. Fireworks show (rain date)

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Plane makes emergency landing at Aurora Airport

SUGAR GROVE—An airplane traveling from Michigan on Aug. 13 was forced to make an emergency landing at Aurora Municipal Airport, 43W636 Route 30 in Sugar Grove. The plane’s landing gear had malfunctioned and would not deploy.

The plane was originally headed to a residential estate in Naperville, Ill. according to Sugar Grove Police Chief Pat Rollins.

“The pilot did a remarkable job landing the plane,” Rollins said. “Everyone came away unscathed, and there was no damage done to the plane or airport.”

Photos submitted by Walt Zimmer

Sugar Grove approves Route 47 name change

SUGAR GROVE—The Sugar Grove Village Board on Tuesday approved changing the name of the stretch of Route 47 that runs through Sugar Grove to “Sugar Grove Parkway.”

Following discussions at previous meetings, the Village Board stated that it would be in the best interest of the village to change the name of Route 47 in Sugar Grove for reasons such as marketing purposes and “bringing a more familiar name for Sugar Grove.”

The name change was a suggestion from the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) earlier in the year. The cost of the name change will be very low, according to Development Director Walter Magdziarz.

“We haven’t received any emails or phone calls about the name change since it was in the paper,” Village President Sean Michels said. “I think that’s a good sign.”

Residents that currently have a Route 47 address in Sugar Grove will have the option to change their address to include the Sugar Grove Parkway title. To do so, residents will need to notify the Sugar Grove Post Office and indicate their address title preference.

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Mud, set, spike

Roughly 350 muddy individuals and many more spectators took part in the Elburn Herald Mud Volleyball Tournament during Elburn Days on Sunday. Photo by Ben Draper

Mud Volleyball 2014 a hit
ELBURN—Now that the dust—er, mud—has settled for another year, Elburn Herald Mud Volleyball organizer Leslie Flint is pleased with the results.

“It went really well,” Flint said. “We had 48 teams, around 350 players.”

Flint said she believes players and spectators like the tournament because it’s a one-day event.

“It’s a simple tournament. Everyone refs their own games and keeps their own scores. People must like it—they keep coming back,” she said.

This was the sixth year for Mud Volleyball during Elburn Days. Flint said, at the most, 10 people work to coordinate the event, but she credits the Elburn Lions Club for being easy to work with, and DJ Tim Sivesind of Prism Light DJ Services for doing a great job.

“Leslie does a great job and gets great participation,” said Elburn Lion Dave Broz, chairman of Elburn Days 2014. “I think it went well. The weather was great, the crowd was great; it was just fantastic.”

From the perspective of the club, Broz said members always look for ways to give people in the community something to do, and Mud Volleyball on the last day of the festival fits the bill. The addition of a food tent and beer garden near the volleyball courts give participants and spectators alike something more to do, Broz added.

“People are having fun so they stay; that’s good for everybody,” he said.

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2014 Football Preview: Helmet to helmet

Photo: Senior Connor Fedderly will return as receiver and be a leader in the squad. Photos by Patti Wilk

Knights look to replace previous talented class on gridiron
KANELAND—Knight names that had heavy contributions the past three seasons for a squad that advanced to a 5A semifinal and two second-round appearances are many.

Names like David, Balluff, Pruett, Bishop, Carlson, Dyer, Nauert, Koehring, Komel, Diddell and Snyder provided big moments against noteworthy rivals.

New names must be added to the cast in order for this season to be a similar success in Maple Park.

That’s a challenge that is just fine with head coach Tom Fedderly, now in his eighth year.

“It’s the same thing, I’ve been here 23 years, and been through the routine. When Camaliere and Serpa left, people didn’t know what (kind of) year we would have, and who knows. We’re getting them ready,” Fedderly said.

A key for the Knights, coming off a 9-2 season after an opening round win over Hampshire and second-round loss to Joliet Catholic last November, is to copy the intangibles imprinted by the departed crew—the same group that helped launch a 35-game regular season win streak dating back to 2009, stopped by Sycamore in October 2013.

“They’ve gone through the system. We just want these guys to be themselves and play hard. If they do that, things are going to work out,” Fedderly said.

Taking snaps under center for the famed spread offense is junior athlete Jake Marczuk, a new varsity addition.

“He’s a really good athlete and can run, and he’s about the same size of Drew and Joe, so we’ll see how he does,” Fedderly said.

Isaac Swithers, who took a portion of the carries after Balluff went down with a knee injury vs. Sterling, figures to carry the load in 2014.

Catching passes will be Connor Fedderly, Tyler Paulson, Kevin Fuchs and Mitch Groen.

“We’ve got a group of receivers that are pretty good and pretty quick after Connor and Tyler,” Fedderly said. “Connor is a leader, and has been with us for three years and knows the role of a senior leader now.”

Many a game has been won in the trenches, but with a talented group mostly departed, new personnel will get a chance at a starting gig for the Knights.

Danny Hammermeister, Zach Thielk and Jake Gomes help anchor the O-line, with some two-way play forecasted with a rotation. Linebackers include Hammermeister, with Swithers playing secondary along with Kyle Diehl.

With Matt Rodriguez gone, it’s up to Drew Franklin to boom kicks into the stratosphere and at least give Kaneland a leg up on defense and field goals.

“He’s a soccer kid, and he’s kicking well. He has a real strong leg and should be pretty good,” Fedderly said.

With a slightly modified schedule compared to years past, which includes three non-conference games and two crossover games sandwiching the Northern Illinois Big XII East division slate, it’s paramount that the Knights are as solid a unit as possible.

“Turnovers are probably the biggest thing and penalties offensively are so hard to overcome, so that’s what we’re stressing, and hopefully it takes care of itself,” Fedderly said.

Projected to be solid as a conference can be, the new five-team East looks to be tight, with DeKalb, Sycamore and Yorkville all returning from playoff years.

“It’s going to be business as usual with a number of teams having good years, and anyone can beat you,” Fedderly said.

Kaneland kicks off at home against Chicago’s Brooks Prep on Friday, Aug. 29. The season opener last year was postponed 24 hours due to rain.

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2014 Tennis Preview: Bedrock of success on court

Photo: Senior No. 1 singles player Sammie Schrepferman works through drills at last Thursday’s practice at KHS. Photos by Patti Wilk

Lady Knights tennis brings back leaders, battle for conference supremacy
KANELAND—How does a tennis team try and duplicate a 26th-place team finish at State?

Luckily for seventh-year coach Tim Larsen, he can correspond with those very same athletes on how to do that once again for their senior season.

With No. 1 singles Sammie Schrepferman and No. 1 doubles tandem Madi Jurcenko and Jelly Emmanouil all set to return for another crack at State, Larsen and company are pumped to improve on a 12-4 record (21-7 the last two years).

Additional seniors making a return to the court include Colleen Landers and Stephanie Karolewicz, who saw major time along with classmates Mallory Dugan and Anna Wendling.

The returnees, along with a new influx of varsity entries, will have to play up to their usual level in order to repeat as Northern Illinois Big XII champs.

“We have them all, everyone who went to State is back, and there is tons of experience coming back. The middle of my lineup is the same. We had two seniors we lost from the lineup. The junior class is filled with talent. It’s going to be a good year and everyone knows it,” Larsen said.

In his experience, Larsen can tell you that nothing about a good year is automatic.

“The challenge is to make sure there is no letup,” Larsen said. “Some of the strategy of how you play your match, you can’t play flat. The other team might see an opening and get hungrier and play harder,” Larsen said.

Schrepferman comes back for year four, battle-tested and experienced.

“That’s the toughest spot you can play, at No. 1 singles. She sees everybody’s best. There’s not a whole lot that can be thrown at her,” Larsen said. “She plays with a chip on her shoulder.”

Larsen expects a No. 2 slot to be filled with a JV entry from last year.

Jurcenko and Emmanouil come back ready to rock the conference.

“They are a pretty good machine at this point,” Larsen said. “They went to camps again; they really have seen everything. They’ve beaten teams and got beaten by really good teams. When we talk at the fence, any strategy they’ve already thought through.”

Landers/Karolewicz are No. 2 doubles.

“It’s overwhelming; Dugan played No. 3, it’s her spot to lose, but there are probably five juniors playing well enough. It’s going to take a good week to know,” Larsen said. “It might change as we go.”

Heather Albrecht, Katelyn Blaszynski, Emily Lutter are juniors in the mix.

Other returning seniors include Julia Golbeck, Madi Michaels and Jessica Poust.

With the rest of the conference awaiting the Kaneland threat, KHS won’t overlook its rivals.

“Yorkville and Sycamore are schools we have our eye on,” Larsen said. “We know each other and get along pretty well. There’s no coaching tension there. They know what to look for from us. They’ll be right on our heels.”

The season begins on Thursday, Aug. 28, vs. Glenbard North in Maple Park.

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2014 Girls Cross Country Preview: Trail mix

Photo: The girls cross country team started its practice schedule the morning of Aug. 13 at the high school. The last three years have seen the Lady Knights continue their upward trajectory, placing eighth in 2011, sixth in 2012 and fifth last year. Photos by Patti Wilk

Girls XC returns key cogs in victory machine
KANELAND—In recent years, Kaneland High School girls cross country has found itself in the postseason picture, be it individual or State.

Junior Victoria Clinton captured the 2A State race as an individual two years ago, while the collective effort of the Lady Knights group allowed a fifth-place finish at Detweiller Park in Peoria, Ill., for the State gathering in 2013.

While the troops lose steady seniors like Sydney Strang and Erika Carlson, the Lady Knights return a gaggle of their top rotation in 2014.

Junior Brianna Bower, a 37th-place finisher at State, is joined by senior Aislinn Lodwig and Clinton to make a threat, along with sophomore Abby Shaw who came on strong in her inaugural campaign a year ago.

Seniors Jessica Kucera and Murphy Garcia also return, along with sophomore Sarah Daley and junior Carly Bartholomew to be in the running for a competing spot.

“Brianna Bower isn’t out there right now; she’s recovering from a stress fracture, but we’re expecting her back,” 28th-year coach Doug Ecker said. “That happens here more than we’d like, but we’ll be okay, and we return four of the top seven.”

Ecker has more than enough to have Kaneland in the thick of things all season, with a very tough XC area ahead.

“Victoria is healthy, and she’s finished triathlon season. Aislinn is very consistent and gives us what we need, and Abby took that spot at the end nicely and was helped by Erika Carlson’s leadership last year,” Ecker said.

Personnel looking to make an additional impact include sophomore Becca Richtman, senior Grace Drake and freshman Andrea Wells.

“Andrea could be in there and looks solid,” Ecker said “You like to see them run well, and we run stronger depending on how good we are at the four-through-seven slots.”

Ecker’s pack mentality for the crew is one born out of necessity.

“That’s the way it has to be with us in a Class 2A or 1A setting. In 3A, the teams just have sheer numbers,” Ecker said.

The Lady Knights have a landscape that needs talent and results at just the right time, and the black-and-white clad roster look to build up all season.

“We are in the toughest sectional in the State, and sometimes we run okay at regionals, and all we needed in the postseason to go was a fifth place. That’s what we do. Later on in the season, you want to show improvement. Last year, we took second in the conference, and it’s been third or fourth before that. We try to compete with Yorkville, but we don’t have the talent they do. It’s work and effort,” Ecker said.

Tuesday, Sept. 2, sees the season kick off at Sycamore, while the Eddington Invitational is at Kaneland High School this season, on Saturday, Sept. 20.

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2014 Boys Soccer Preview: Soccer hopes for more of the same

Photo: Freshman John McCaffrey works on a ball-handling drill. Photos by Patti Wilk

Parillo’s roster has talent pool to be in postseason picture
KANELAND—Four straight regional final appearances would be satisfactory for any area soccer program.

For Kaneland High School, it’s also resulted in a sectional championship appearance in 2012.

But last year saw an overtime heartbreaker at the hands of Burlington Central in the regional final, off the cleats of a semifinal rout of Sycamore.

Coach Scott Parillo and the Knights hope that their usually positive trajectory in recent regular seasons, which included 10-6-4 in 2013 and a 26-10-6 mark through the last two seasons, keeps rolling along.

“Yes, it was still a success; we reached the Regional Championship for the fourth year in a row. That is always one of our goals for a season,” Parillo said.

A key to duplicating familiar levels of success will be to plug in capable players into holes created by graduation. That’s no small task with personnel like Anthony Parillo, Tyler Siebert and Arsim Azemi.

“There are holes to fill that would be expected after graduating 16 players last year and 12 the previous year,” Parillo said. “The coaching staff believes we have players that can and will fill those holes. We are not asking these players to replace those who have left, but instead be the best players that they can be.”

With positions still to solidify, seniors on the team include Jason Carlquist, returning captain Ivan Bohorquez, Billy Koziol, Eli Alvarado, Omar Aguilar, Jack Wolf, Michael Meisinger, Edson Del Real, Peter Jefferson and Jake Bilotta. Juniors include Andrew Mathys, Jon Turyna, Mark Dhom, Cameron Pieczynski, Sam Wolf, Felipe Speragy, Andy Tovar, Drew Franklin and Alex Mendoza. Sophomores are Trevor Jahns and Angel Escontrias, while Matthew Gombar rounds out the crew as a lone freshman.

Kaneland’s recent success will have to be duplicated with a pitch full of new starters, but the goal, attitude and preparation remain the same.

“The players are already talking about keeping the tradition going and making their mark on Kaneland soccer. We have asked them ‘What do you want your legacy to be when you leave Kaneland?” Parillo said.

The Northern Illinois Big XII, which saw KHS finish 6-2-2 in 10 matches, proves to have KHS in the mix, provided things point up.

“We expect Yorkville and DeKalb to be very good teams. They have excellent coaches, and they will be tough to beat,” Parillo said.

The Jacobs Tournament provides the first competition for Kaneland, beginning on Friday, Aug. 29, and going through Saturday.

Tuesday, Sept. 9, marks the first NIB-12 clash, at home vs. DeKalb.

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2014 Golf Preview: Chipping away at challenges

Photo: Senior Jesse Denton tees off at the 10th hole during Monday’s Plainfield North Invitational. Photo by Mary Paulson

Kaneland Knight golf roster looks different at the top
KANELAND—In the most recent handful of Kaneland High School golf seasons, the caliber of play has yielded individual and team success.

Dual records, including nine dual wins a year ago, coupled with high-caliber athletes like Hayley Guyton, Brody Kuhar, Matt Yonkovich and Stephen Cannell, have made for a fun ride.

With the loss of personnel like fifth-place State finisher Yonkovich and teammate Brody Kuhar, the road back to considerable success could provide a challenge. However it’s something that Mark Meyer, now in his 10th season as head golf coach, has seen before.

“After 10 years, I feel like we’re good,” Meyer said. “It’s remained the same game here, and we’ve played a good game. I feel and think that golf is getting more popular.”

With Yonkovich and Kuhar responsible for so much good fortune on the Knight greens at Hughes Creek in Elburn and beyond, Meyer knows what must happen.

“Matt and Brody leaving has us with big shoes to fill,” Meyer said. “They were our top two players for three years. Last year, I think there was only one meet that we didn’t take their scores.”

Senior Jesse Denton and sophomore Jake Hed return to the varsity ranks and attempt to do damage to visiting lineups in the fall of 2014. Jeremy Faletto also returns, along with seniors Jacob Sheehan and Jacob Sanders. Sophomore Brett Glennon is also expected to see fairway time.

“We look for consistency and low scores. We have a lot of good seniors going for us, and it should be good,” Meyer said.

With the conference a breeding ground for rising teams and talent in the rough, Meyer thinks the KHS contingent can stand up to the rest, but the NIB12 is certainly not without its competitive teams.

“It kind of looks like DeKalb and Yorkville,” Meyer said. “Yorkville was good last season, but Morris also could step up.”

Additionally, Kaneland is projected to have a lineup of girl golfers able to compete at some select tournaments in 2014.

“We’re going to field a team, and it’ll be nice to have this year. We’re going to have Tori Guyton, a senior (medalist at NIB-12 tourament), her sister Paige, who’s a sophomore and comes over from soccer in the spring, Dominique Lee, a senior, and they’re joined by Julia Van Gemert.”

The first girls golf meet will be at the L-P Invite on Friday, Sept. 5, while the boys already teed off on Monday at the Plainfield North Invite and at Geneva on Tuesday. Tuesday, Aug. 26, represents the first NIB12 boys tussle against DeKalb at Hughes Creek.

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2014 Boys Cross Country Preview: Boys XC always in the running

The 2014 Kaneland boys cross country team kicked off their season the morning of Aug. 13 at the Great Western Trail just north of Virgil. The team has qualified for state five out of the last six years, placing eighth in 2008, fifth in 2009, 15th in 2011, 13th in 2012 and 22nd in 2013. Photo by Patti Wilk

Harriers in no hurry to let up in 2014

KANELAND—They know the courses, they know the challenges, they know the drill.

It’s on the Kaneland High School boys cross country team members themselves to make sure every potential rival in the area knows them.

With the Chad Clarey-coached roster well-versed on how to approach and attack each season, 2014 remains no different, especially with such key losses to the varsity group that put together a 13th-place finish in 2012 and a 22nd-place finish last year down in Peoria, Ill.

“We learned a great deal in the past two years with qualifying for the State Finals,” Clarey said. “Actually, we’ve qualified five of the last six years out of arguably the toughest Sectional in Class 2A. We learned a lot about leadership in that 2012 season, and what works well for this program. That team wound up with the fastest team time in school history. Our 2013 team needed a stellar performance to make it out of our deep Sectional once again. They put everything they had into that race and wound up with a 34-second pack split, and qualified as the fourth team out. Our performance at State was not what we expected, and while we feel we had another top 15 team, sometimes things just snowball, and we just didn’t have our best races.”

The losses of such star personnel like Nathaniel Kucera, Kyle Carter, Ryan Bower and Luis Acosta are just part of the gig every season.

“That experience made a big difference for the team’s success,” Clarey said. “For the seniors, that sour note from the ending at the cross country finals became sweet motivation for their track campaign, which ended with a state trophy. Sometimes you need to fail at something to realize how hard you need to work to stay on top. We cannot replace the experience that those runners brought to the team. Not yet.”

A new rotation will have the hope of season-wide progression, but it may take some time. Hoping to solidify the Knight ranks on the Elburn Woods course in 2014 are athletes like Andrew Lesak (who’s still on the road back to 100 percent health from track), Sean Spaetzel, Brandon Park, James Walker and Mitch Reger. Kaneland also benefits from a transfer from Texas, Jared Murri.

“(Murri’s) been right up with the pack through the first week’s worth of work, and we look forward to seeing him in a checkerboard jersey. (Lesak, Spaetzel, Park) figure to be in the top 7 mix through much of the season,” Clarey said.

Members of Kaneland cross country looking to get a real shot at varsity time in 2014 include Will Kuipers, Alex Gale, Aaron French and Kyle Osborne.

Clarey is intrigued by the potential gains made by Walker and Reger, given the chance to shine on the courses.

“Walker was injured for much of last fall and never really got the chance to show what he could do. He’s a tremendous leader on the team this year, and he’s worked so hard this summer for his final season. Mitch is in that same boat. He’s not a real vocal leader, but he absolutely knows what he wants to get out of his running, and he works as hard as any senior we have,” Clarey said.

Dealing with a slightly modified conference in 2014 yields the same goals and wishes, i.e., keep up with Yorkville.

“The Yorkville Foxes continue to crank out big numbers in their program, and will look to repeat as conference champions,” Clarey said. “I doubt there is a team in our league this year that can break up what they have. If we can pull together, stay healthy, get some good experiences and confidence, then I think we could have a shot at finishing in the top 3. We see Dekalb, Sycamore, Sterling and Geneseo as prominent teams vying for that same distinction.”

On Tuesday, Sept. 2, the season begins with a trip to Sycamore. The Eddington Invitational is at Kaneland High School on Saturday, Sept. 20.

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2014 Volleyball Preview: Kaneland volleyball rolls on despite reset button

Seniors Brittany Grider and Elle Dunn (right) work on a blocking drill at last Friday’s practice. Junior Makenzie McMullan (below) taps the ball over the net in other practice action Friday. Photos by Patti Wilk

Violett returns to head coaching spot with consistent talent pool
KANELAND—It’s a similar story in some aspects to begin the 2014-15 season for Kaneland volleyball.

After an exciting postseason, the Lady Knights have to begin battle on the court with a new head coach once again.

Luckily for KHS, it’s one who’s had the exact position before.

Cyndi Violett, originally head coach from 1997-2001 and an assistant under both Todd Weimer and Kerri McCastland, takes over the head spot again after McCastland’s acceptance of a position within DeKalb High School’s administration.
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The transition, due to Violett’s familiarity with the school, program and players, looks to be as seamless as it can get.

“There’s not really much of a learning curve for me. I’m just excited to be back,” Violett said. “I worked under Todd and Kerri and learned a lot from them, but I’m definitely excited.”

A seamless change is beneficial for both parties involved: coach and roster.

“The biggest challenge was not to change too much. We’re going to keep going so there’s not much change for the girls,” Violett said.

KHS comes off an interesting year, which saw one senior, Jenny Lubic, on a squad that took Sycamore to three games only to lose the Sandwich Regional as a No. 1 seed. The Lady Knights ended at 16-16 after a 23-13 mark in 2012 and a sectional appearance.

“We play a lot of bigger schools during the season, so that contributes to some losses, but we’re competing with them. We’re going to still have some of that, and we’re changing some tournaments up,” Violett said. “It’s great competition.”

Taking the mantle this year are seniors like future Ball State player Ellie Dunn and future Greenvile College athlete Riley Hannula, both captains in 2013. Other seniors include Anna Senese, Brittany Grider at DS and Rachel Kintz at right side hitter.

“It’s a good core group of seniors,” Violett said. “I’ll lean on them and others a lot.”

Junior Kathy Nguyen brings quickness and court sense at the libero position again, in the footsteps of Kylie Siebert.

Setters picking up the slack for Lubic include sophomore Hannah Nauert and junior Holly Fedderly.

“They are great and hardworking this offseason, you’re going to be wowed by them,” Violett said.

Looking to do damage in the refurbished Northern Illinois Big XII East division, Kaneland sees the usual suspects for conference supremacy.

“Sycamore and DeKalb will be our tough matches. A lot of our girls play club with DeKalb kids. That’s going to be some good volleyball there,” Violett said.

KHS begins the 2014-15 journey on Wednesday, Aug. 27, at the usual Wheaton North Tournament stop, with the first NIB-12 match on Tuesday, Sept. 16, vs. DeKalb.

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Editorial: A big thank you to the community

Photo: Mike Schramer tried something new with his Bobcat this year. He helped build berms around each court to contain the water that Chief Kelly Callaghan (below, right) provided. Without the continued support of the community and these volunteers, programs and events like the mud volleyball tournament wouldn’t be possible. We thank them for all they do. Photos by Ben Draper

Another Elburn Herald Mud Volleyball Tournament is behind us, and by all accounts, it was our best one yet. We had around 350 players on 48 teams, spanning six courts, playing upwards of six hours.
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Thanks to our players, the Elburn Herald raised enough money to fully support two scholarships for Kaneland students.

While we are grateful that so many came out to play volleyball while digging, bumping and diving in the mud, we are even more grateful to the numerous members of our community who helped make it all happen.

Our biggest thanks goes to the Elburn Lions Club, who lets us come in and dirty the place up on the Sunday of Elburn Days every year. The tournament would have no home if it wasn’t for the Lions, so we owe a huge thank you to everyone on the club.

The ground would be in horrible, unplayable shape if it wasn’t for the effort of Dale Pierson and his son Trent of Kaneville. As soon as the truck and tractor pull ends on the Saturday of Elburn Days, they bring out their disc and tractor to help set the stage for all of the work that follows.

New this year were individually-graded courts. Thanks to Mike Schramer in his bobcat tractor and Kyle Hall with his grade laser, each of the six courts was individually leveled, surrounded by berms. This helped each court retain more of its water, which of course translates into more mud and more fun.

Dale Pierson takes his time to make sure the courts are disc’d up and ready for play.
Dale Pierson takes his time to make sure the courts are disc’d up and ready for play.

Of course, those newly designed courts would only look nice and remain dry if not for the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District. Thank you for all of that water, which transforms those courts into a muddy playland for all of us who can’t resist letting our inner child out to play in the mud with about 350 of our closest friends.

The tournament wouldn’t happen at all if not for the organization and significant efforts of our own Leslie Flint. She has spent countless hours over the years transforming the tournament from a “what if” idea into a reality, then turning that reality into the event it has become. This year was the best yet, and we owe her a thanks for everything she does. She’s always the first one to begin working on the tournament (months in advance), and the last one to finish the clean-up of all the equipment after everyone else has gone home.

In addition to the above, there are a number of people who helped in a wide variety of ways, from making the shirts (thank you, Steve Gliddon at GTP Activewear), to supplying the music all day long (thank you, Tim Sivesind at Prism Light DJs), to helping set up the courts and nets (thank you, Carly Shaw, Ben Draper and Charlie Snow), to helping things move forward on the day of the tournament itself (thank you, Natalie Malczyk, Carly Malczyk, Carly Shaw, Ben Draper and Keith Beebe). And, there were a number of players themselves who helped keep the courts mud-filled as the day wore on; especially Corey Shaw and Dan Ralston, who took time out in between games to do some on-site digging by hand.

Like all successful community events, it requires a large number of people to come together and do their part to make things happen. To each and every one of you who helped, who played, or who just came and watched, thank you for making the 2014 Elburn Herald Mud Volleyball Tournament its best yet. We can’t wait to make the 2015 version even better.

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Kaneville Fest 2014 Schedule

Thursday, Aug. 21
9 a.m. Community garage sales (until 4 p.m.)
5 p.m. Library book presale ($5 at door)
Festival maps available at Hill’s Country Store (Purple Store)

Friday, Aug. 22
9 a.m. Community garage sales (until 4 p.m.)
10 a.m. Library book sale (until 4 p.m.)
11 a.m. Grill-out at Hill’s Country Store
8 p.m. Free movie night at Hill’s Country Store

Saturday, Aug. 23
9 a.m. Car show at Dawn Hill (located across the street from Hill’s Country Store)
9 a.m. Community garage sales
10 a.m. Kids bike parade (meet at Kaneville United Methodist Church parking lot)
10 a.m. Library book sale (until 2 p.m.)
11 a.m. Grill-out and corn on the cob at Hill’s Country Store
3 p.m. Ice-cream-eating contest (sponsored by Hershey’s)
3:30 p.m. Watermelon-eating contest (sponsored by Hill’s Country Store)
5 p.m. 5-B’S catering fundraiser pork chop and chicken dinner
5 p.m. Corn on the cob by Kaneville United Methodist Church
5 p.m. Horse-drawn wagon rides by George Alexander
7 p.m. Red Woody performs in the pavilion
8:30 p.m. (dusk) Kaneville Fest 2014 spectacular fireworks show
Prize raffles, a 50/50 raffle and bake sale will take place throughout the afternoon and evening

Sunday, Aug. 24
9:30 a.m. Community church service at Kaneville United Methodist Church

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Buzz cuts for a cause

Elburn resident, Dave’s Barbershop to hold fundraiser for childhood cancer research
ELBURN—Nolan Allen recently shaved his head, and he’s hoping he’s just the first of many Elburn residents who will shave it all off at “Cuts for the Cure,” a benefit for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which funds research into childhood cancers.
Allen will hold the fundraiser on Saturday, Aug. 16, at Dave’s Barbershop, 132 N. Main St., Ste. 1.

“Cancer is a monster,” Allen said. “We want it to be stopped.”

It’s an emotional subject for Allen, a fifth-grader at Kaneland John Stewart Elementary School. He recently lost his uncle, Craig Larson of Batavia, to lung cancer. And a family friend is also battling brain cancer right now.

“We’ve had cancer affect us in a dramatic way,” said Julie Allen, Nolan’s mother. “His focus is on how we can help people with it. So when he suggested it, we just ran with it.”

He’ll be sporting his shaved head in the Elburn Days Parade on Friday night and passing out flyers and candy to advertise Saturday’s event. He hopes hundreds of people will come out to get their heads shaved or to donate to the cause, he said.

The cuts will be offered by Dave Rissman, the owner of Dave’s Barbershop in downtown Elburn, for a minimum $10 donation to St. Baldrick’s Foundation. People are also welcome to donate to the cause without getting a haircut, and they can do so online or in person, Julie said.

“It’s not going to be regular haircuts with scissors. It’s basically buzz cuts with clippers,” Rissman said.

Nolan hopes that by holding Cuts for the Cure during Elburn Days, many local residents will stop by to support the cause on their way to Lions Park. Many students also need back-to-school haircuts right now, Rissman added.

“On a national level, St. Baldrick’s fundraisers are generally held in September, but we decided to do this one before school starts so that people could bring their kids in for a cut,” Rissman said.

St. Baldrick’s sponsors head-shaving events around the country to raise money for a cure, but the organization also notes that shavees show their support for cancer patients by voluntarily shaving their heads.

Nolan is a member of Elburn’s Cub Scout Pack 107—his den has named itself the “Robot Ninjas”—and he hopes many of his fellow Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts will come out to get a buzz cut.

Nolan’s goal is to raise at least $1,000 for St. Baldrick’s at the event. Though $10 is the minimum donation for a haircut, people are welcome to donate more, he said.

“Whatever somebody donates to St. Baldrick’s will be great,” Nolan said. “Our goal is $1,000. But you know what would be ‘amazeballs’? $3,000 or $4,000. I think I would need about 400 people to raise that much, but I’m not going to get my hopes up, because Elburn is a very small town. But that’s what I’m hoping for.”

Though Rissman anticipates more men than women will participate, he said that if anyone came in with long enough hair, he’d donate it to Locks of Love.

“I do foresee the possibility that some young girl might come in and get her hair shaved off, and I’m not going to let that hit the floor,” Rissman said. “We’ll collect that for Locks of Love and send it off, a two-for-one deal. We might not get any of those people, because it’s got to be at least 8-to-9 inches.”

No matter the length, the buzz cut will be an Instagram-able moment, Rissman said.

“I do a stripe down the center of their head first,” Rissman said. “It makes for a great photo op.”

Julie urged people to come out and support the cause.

“It only takes five minutes to stop in and donate $10,” she said. “People don’t even need to get a haircut. It’s just five minutes out of your day. We’ve got families here in Elburn whose kids are suffering (from cancer). It’s not just supporting Nolan; it’s supporting all those people (with cancer).”

A number of other local residents will be volunteering at the event, including Danielle Stombres, Colleen Bergeson, Amy Mallers, Stacy Ashton, Meghan Nesci and Ocean Ashton.

Though the Allens originally approached Rissman about doing Cuts for the Cure on the sidewalk outside his shop during, he volunteered his shop instead.

“I said, what if it’s a 90 degree day? What if we don’t have enough chairs? And so I donated my shop. You know, me and my big mouth,” Rissman said with a laugh.

Rissman has done a number of similar fundraisers, including one last year for St. Baldrick’s at the Tilted Kilt in Roselle, Ill. He said he’s hoping hundreds of people will come out to support the cause and get a free haircut.

“We’re hoping for many people,” Rissman said. “People are calling in and making reservations for this to be done, and there will be a ton of walk-ins, too. We won’t turn anyone down.”

He doesn’t anticipate long lines because buzz cuts are quick to do, he said.

“For me, I can knock them out in two or three minutes. You gotta remember, I have a couple years of experience,” joked Rissman, who has been a barber in Elburn for 50 years. “Come out and support it, and make it a financially worthwhile event for the cause.”

Appointments are not necessary, but those who would like to make one can call Dave’s Barbershop at (630) 365-6288. To donate to Cuts for the Cure online, visit stbaldricks.org/fundraisers/mypage/586/2014.

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Fund established for Kaneland grad’s cancer battle

ELBURN—Longtime Elburn resident, 2000 Kaneland graduate, football player, husband, brain cancer patient.

All of those things describe Mike Reynertson. All who know him know he’s a fighter. And after 12 long years, six surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments, he’s still fighting Stage 3 brain cancer.

At the age of 33, Reynertson should be enjoying life with his wife, Erin. Instead, he’s worrying about the $480,000 of debt amassed in treating the life-threatening disease.

“That’s why I finally gave in to Breanna (Leuze) when she wanted to set up a Give Forward page for me,” Mike said. “I did it for Erin’s sake. I couldn’t leave my wife with this crushing debt and a mortgage. I just had to bite the bullet.”

Mike’s journey began 12 years ago. He was 21 years old and working toward an associate’s degree and playing football at Harper College. He also was being recruited to play ball in the Big Ten Conference.

After suffering a grand mal seizure so violent he was thrown from his bed, dislocating his shoulder, he learned he had a brain tumor. In May 2003, he underwent surgery and was diagnosed with Stage 3 malignant astrocytoma in his left frontal lobe.

After surgery, he received chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Even more devastating was learning that he would no longer be able to play football. After a second surgery in November 2003 to reduce swelling and remove cysts that had formed around the area of the first surgery, and various other treatments, Reynertson went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in political science at Northern Illinois University.

Five years after his first surgery, in 2008, he celebrated with a “gone into remission party,” inviting family, friends and everyone he knew.

“I have a very large family—my parents are both one of seven,” Reynertson said. “We invited cousins and friends and everyone we knew.”

Two years later, in 2010, the cancer returned. Again, he underwent surgery and chemotherapy. That same year, Reynertson proposed to his girlfriend, and they married and bought a home in Elgin, Ill.

By December 2013, the cancer had returned yet again. Last April, he underwent his sixth surgery.

On his Give Forward page, Leuze writes, “This last round of surgery has scared Mike to his inner core. He is terrified more about leaving his wife and family with debt of over $480,000 in medical bills, and regular bills they have fallen behind on. Mike has not been able to be approved for life insurance. He has also not been able to file for total disability yet.”

Reynertson said he will have to be cancer-free for eight years before he can purchase life insurance.

As of Tuesday, Aug. 11, the Give Forward campaign had raised $2,270 of its $25,000 goal, with 67 days left to give. For more information on the campaign to assist Reynertson, visit www.giveforward.com/fundraiser and search “Reynertson.”

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Major renovation planned for Anderson Animal Shelter

Photo: The current kennels for dogs are small, isolating and confining; new housing will include pens for small dogs and individual rooms for large dogs.
Photo submited by Holly Alcala to SONeill@elburnherald.com

Looking for 100 foster families to care for animals during construction
SOUTH ELGIN, ILL.—The 40-year-old building that houses the Anderson Animal Shelter in South Elgin, Ill., is about to undergo a major renovation, but Executive Director Beth Drake isn’t waiting until then to begin making changes.

When Drake took over the shelter in May of this year, she streamlined the adoption process and reduced the adoption fees for the cats. As cats have been adopted, reducing the cat population in the shelter, a number of the old-fashioned, stainless-steel cages have been removed.

According to Drake, these cages, closed on three sides with solid stainless steel, are cold and reflective, and both sound and light bounce around, assaulting the cats’ senses. This increases their stress level, causing emotional and physical distress and changes in their behavior.

She said that while the shelter’s current configuration was adequate for the time when the shelter opened, recent research has shown better ways to house shelter animals that make it less stressful and more comfortable for them.

Eventually, all of the stainless-steel cages will be removed, and many of the cat population will live in colonies.

“Cats like to climb onto ledges, and hide inside of things,” Drake said. “Our adoptable cats will be housed with other cats in cat colonies, or individually in large ‘kitty condos’ with perching and sleeping ledges, allowing them to feel more at home.”

Drake said it’s a common misconception that cats don’t get along with each other. She said the majority—80 percent—of cats enjoy being with other cats. She said they become more outgoing and friendlier, making them more adoptable, which after all, is the point.

Drake said that the shelter’s current dog kennels also have problems, one of which is that they are too small. With the renovation, there will be fewer, wider kennels. The small dogs will be housed in pens, with the bigger dogs in their own small rooms.

Other modifications to the dog areas will include additional outdoor areas for the dogs to play together, the replacement of chain link fences with landscaping material in the dog runs, the addition of agility jumping poles for more exercise opportunities and additional pea gravel in the play areas.

The $660,000 renovation project, in addition to updating its animal care areas, will expand the parking area and replace the outdated plumbing.

The shelter plans to shut down for the month of September for the construction and renovations. Some of the animals will be moved to a satellite adoption location, where adoptions will continue while the shelter is closed.

Anderson staff is currently looking for foster volunteers willing to care for an adult dog or cat or a litter of puppies or kittens for the transition period.

“We’re looking for as many as 100 foster homes willing to bring a shelter pet into their home for a period of one to two months while the shelter is under construction,” said Jon Koffenberger, the shelter’s Animal Care manager, in a press release. “You don’t need to be an experienced foster volunteer, but we do ask that you have some pet experience.”

The shelter will provide the food and any veterinarian care the animals would need. Shelter staff will also be available to assist if the fosters have behavior concerns about their foster pets.

“All we ask is that you love them and care for them as if they were your own until it’s time for them to come back to the shelter,” Koffenberger said.

Drake said that many of the animals at Anderson have been at the shelter for a long time. They’ve forgotten what it means to be part of a family and will need some help readjusting to that type of life.

“It can be very helpful to engage foster homes and get the animals out of our facility so that they can learn manners and work on potty training and those kinds of things,” Drake said. “Regardless of how wonderful a shelter is, it is an inherently stressful place to be.”

She said that at the end of the six weeks, if the families have fallen in love with their cat(s) or dog(s) and don’t want to bring them back, they would be given first priority for adoption.

“We currently have 120 cats and kittens,” she said. “I would love to adopt out half of them.”

In the meantime, Drake has instituted several new practices with the dogs at the shelter, all with the goal of making them more adoptable.

One such practice she calls “Nothing in life is free.” All of the volunteers now have treats in their pockets, and before a dog is given anything, they require the dog to sit first. They don’t tell them to “sit,” but they will be rewarded with a treat when they do.

“Their default behavior will be butt-on-ground,” she said.

Once they learn that sitting will get them what they want, their behavior will be much more appropriate when they are visiting with a potential adopter, rather than jumping up or panting.

She said that this practice also leads to much more appropriate communication, speeding up the training process and making it a more positive experience.

Drake has also begun play groups with the dogs, in which three to five dogs are allowed to interact with each other off-leash. These groups are a way to reinforce appropriate dog-to-dog interactions, as well as provide a positive outlet for pent-up energy.

“Unless we allow them off-leash, they lose the ability to interact with other dogs,” she said.

Michelle Adams, who volunteers at the shelter on a daily basis, said that these play groups have made a big difference in many of the dogs’ behavior. She said when they are able to play together and get some good exercise, the dogs become calmer and become more enjoyable to be around—again, becoming more adoptable.

Adams said that, through another new program at the shelter, she has begun to work with some of the dogs as part of a behavior intervention team. Each week, Koffenberger creates new objectives for dogs with behaviors that could potentially keep them from being adopted. It could be a dog that’s afraid of other dogs, one who wants to chase everything in sight, or a dog that will too vigorously guard his food.

She has seen progress in several dogs already, as well as some major successes, where dogs with resolved problems have been adopted into loving homes.

Drake said she was brought in to Anderson Animal Shelter because they have some growing to do. Drake had worked at the Anderson shelter from 2000 to 2002 as the director of operations. She left to oversee the creation of the state-of-the-art TAILS Humane Society Shelter in DeKalb.
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“This organization has so much potential,” she said.

Last year, Anderson totaled 700 adoptions, and Drake said this year they are on track for 1,000 adoptions.

“There is no reason we can’t greatly exceed 2,500 adoptions in a year,” she said. “The more adoptions, the more lives we save. There is so much need in the welfare community that we all have to overachieve.”

The challenge
The Anderson Animal Shelter receives no governmental funding. Marco and Patricia Muscarello, on behalf of the Ivar and Ruth Anderson Animal Anti-Cruelty foundation, have donated generously toward the renovation project, but the shelter still needs to raise at least $400,000 to cover the cost.

If you’d like to donate, the shelter is seeking monetary and in-kind donations. Naming and sponsorship opportunities are available for those interested and donations of various items, including portable 6′ x 6′ chain link or panel dog kennels and pea gravel, are being sought.

For questions, a detailed list of options or to discuss areas of interest, contact Holly Alcala at halcala@andersonanimalshelter.org or (847) 697-2880 x33.

Interested
in fostering?

The shelter is looking for as many as 100 foster families that will care for the animals beginning in September for the six weeks that the shelter will be under construction. Food and vet care will be provided. Assistance with any potential behavioral issues or concerns will also be provided, if needed.
You don’t need to be an expert in pet behavior or medical issues, but you should have some pet experience.
Information about fostering cats and dogs is available online at www.andersonanimalshelter.org, by calling Jon Koffenberger, the shelter’s animal care manager, at (847) 697-2880, ext. 23. or emailing jkoffenberger@andersonanimalshelter.org.
An orientation for cat fosters will be held on Saturday, Aug. 23, and one for dog fosters on Saturday, Aug. 30.
Individuals are encouraged to fill out an online application at the shelter’s website, www.andersonanimalshelter.org.

Other ways to help:

Jewelry Faire
Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Sept. 5-7
www.events.org/
2014diggingfortreasure

Gala Dinner & Auction
Saturday, Nov. 8
www.events.org/
2014ANighttoPaws

1.

Close to the finish line

Exclusive group of area drivers stake claim at Speedway

SYCAMORE—Friday and Saturday nights during the summer months bring a lot of action to Sycamore Speedway.

That atmosphere draws familiar and enthusiastic crowds, but only a handful of racers from the Elburn area.

Racers that include husband and wife Frank and Rebecca Stubitsch of Virgil and Anthony Hansford of Virgil have a real passion for hitting the Speedway grounds, with an added benefit of it being as close as you can get.

As a demolition derby and spectator class competitor, Hansford, of Virgil, takes Ford Crown Victorias to smash and Chevy Caprices to excel.

“I just turned 28 last week and I’ve been racing since 2005. I’ve been going to the Speedway forever,” Hansford said.

Hansford enjoys the close proximity, with a locally renowned track providing benefits other tracks cannot.

“I love the fact that it’s close to home,” Hansford said. “I used to drive up from Yorkville and that was still better than travelling out of state for six to 10 races each year.”

Hansford looks toward a future where it’s likely just one night of competition, rather than two, making the Speedway outpost a great option to burn rubber.

“The cost gets up there for fixing your vehicles and then you have to get them up to the truck, so I like that it’s close,” Hansford said.

Drivers from the immediate area and beyond give a sense of camaraderie, no matter their place of origin.

“A lot of my friends are from St. Charles and Sycamore, and they come up and see me race. The other drivers I compete with are like my family. We have our bumps and bruises but we’re a family,” Hansford said.

Hansford looks to get more involved with working on cars for C3 Racing out of Dwight, Ill.

The Stubitsch clan has been able to excel in this activity with success, and it was something that could have a level of participation for both.

“It’s something we started doing five years ago when we moved to Virgil from Elgin, Ill.,” Rebecca said.

In powder puff and spectator classes, Rebecca loves the benefits of racing so close.

“It’s three miles down the road, and it’s great. It takes you a little while to get used to racing on the weekends, but we love it. We checked it out when one of Frank’s friends did it and we tried it; it just snowballed from there,” Rebecca said.

In some of her races, the benefits to her cars are minimal, but the intangibles to the driver are many.

“It’s made me more able to try new things, where I wasn’t willing to before,” Rebecca said. “I want to try the 25-lap races more, because you actually have to try and go somewhere for a time.”

Frank has fixed cars like Chevy Malibus and driven Ford Crown Victorias during his weekend warrior time, and he has noticed changes, as well.

“It’s really nice to go out there as a couple, and I notice I’m calmer, actually, and there are some aggressive drivers out there,” Frank said.

An electrician, Frank finds that racing on the weekends is somewhat of another full-time job, but something he and his wife continue to enjoy—a thread going through most local drivers.

“You need to fix what’s wrong with your cars and haul both of them up to the track. But you pick up stuff and you learn to read the track,” Frank said.

“We’re pretty happy there,” Rebecca said.

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Celebrate the 85th installment of Elburn Days

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Schedule of Events >>

The 85th installment of the Elburn Days festival will take place this weekend, Aug. 15-17, at Elburn Lions Park, 500 Filmore Ave., Elburn. This year’s event will include entertainment, a 5K run, a car raffle, mud volleyball, a carnival, a beer tent, live entertainment, a parade and so much more. And if it’s anything like previous Elburn Days events (and it will be), Elburn is in for quite a good time this weekend.

Ensuring that said good time goes on without a hitch is pretty tedious work, however. Preparing anything at the scale of Elburn Days, which draws an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 visitors, is a logistical challenge. The festival lasts just three days, but the Lions spend an entire year preparing for it. Elburn Days is their largest fundraiser of the year and raises the majority of the organization’s funds for its charity work with the visually impaired.

More than 50 chairpeople plan various events, from the beer garden to the pie-eating contest to the sanitation, attending monthly meetings and sending regular email updates to Dave Broz, this year’s Elburn Days chairperson. Hundreds of people from the Lions Club and the community also volunteer to work the actual festival.

As for the hot dogs and brats—another popular food item available at Elburn Days—they come from Ream’s Meat Market in Elburn, which is making about 2,800 brats and 3,000 hot dogs for this year’s Elburn Days installment.

Ream’s makes hot dogs and brats in batches of 100 pounds each, he said, and the order for Elburn Days is about 1,000 pounds and takes 10 batches. Just making that many takes a couple of mornings, he said, before they go into the smokehouses to cook.

Mainstage entertainment is a big part of Elburn Days, and this year’s lineup includes Back Country Roads on Friday, Arra on Saturday, and Mike and Joe on Sunday afternoon.

Speaking of Sunday, the Elburn Herald’s mud volleyball tournament will take place at noon, with check-in at 11:30 a.m. The event will feature 48 teams on six courts, battling for mud volleyball supremacy. The event is just as fun to watch as it is to actually do, and that’s a good thing, as the event is sold out in terms of participating teams.

A parade, good music and food, a 5K run, a carnival, mud volleyball and countless other activities. What more could a festival goer ask for? We’ll see you this weekend at Elburn Days 2014. Enjoy the event, everyone.

6.

Kuipers enjoys a night under the stars

Photo: Gabee Delficco (from left), Liv Delficco and Erik Rychlewski, all from DeKalb, search for the Perseid meteor shower Tuesday night. Photo by Lynn Logan

MAPLE PARK—Kuipers Family Farm in Maple Park on Tuesday night hosted a stargazing event.

The event featured a presentation by Northern Illinois University’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), and then provided attendees with an opportunity to view the Perseid meteor shower.

About 60 people came out to Kuiper’s Orchard to listen to the presentation and then enjoy the meteor shower show. The Perseid meteor shower is an annual shower that occurs every year during mid-August. Observers get to enjoy the bright displays of the meteor shower each year thanks to the Earth passing through dust and ice from the comet Swift-Tuttle. The meteor shower was visible from the northeast direction, and Saturn, Mars, the moon and the meteors were visible during the evening.

STEM provided a presentation by Daniel Strange, David Hedin, and Sheldon Turner. Strange, manager at Davis Hall Observatory, covered different spacecraft missions to comets that led to the discovery of new information. Dr. Hedin, a Board of Trustees professor, spoke about the possibilities of other planets being habitable like Earth. Dr. Sheldon Turner presented information on why Pluto is no longer considered a planet, and the decision making process behind different subcategories of planets.

Kim Kuipers, wife to Wade Kuipers and owner of Kuipers Family Farm, was present for the event.

“Everything they’re talking about is really interesting,” she said. “I keep telling my kids there will be a test afterward. Everyone seems really excited about what they will see. I’m glad that the weather turned around. I was talking to someone from STEM, and they said its their second-biggest event.”

After the presentation, guests and STEM staff milled outside to view the Perseid meteor show. STEM brought its telescopes for interested guests to use during the meteor shower.

STEM is a group that provides different programs and activities throughout the year, centered around science, technology, engineering and math. Different types of activities for kids are available through STEM, including hands-on and demonstration programs, and other events where visitors get to explore STEM facilities at NIU. Some of the group’s most popular events are the Haunted Physics Laboratory during Halloween, demonstration shows involving chemistry experiments, Frontier Physics Road Shows and Davis Hall Observatory visits.

STEM events are otherwise known as “Cafe.” The next STEM Cafe will be “The Physics of Football” on Wednesday, Sept. 17, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at O’Leary’s Restaurant & Pub, 260 E. Lincoln Highway (Route 38) in DeKalb.

Amanda Malawski

Malawski excels on international track

Time in UK more precious than medals

SUGAR GROVE—Team USA’s youngest athlete, Amanda Malawski, brought home two medals from the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation’s (IWAS) World Junior Games, held in England from Aug. 2-8.

The 13-year-old Sugar Grove resident won a silver medal in the 4x100m relay, with a time of 1:10.45, with her teammates, Jessica Heims, Lauren Gates and Aubrey Headon.

She took home a bronze medal in the long jump, with a distance of 2.28 meters.

Amanda also set personal records in the 400m dash, with a time of 1:27, and in the javelin. She improved her time in the 200m dash from 38.75 at the National Junior Games in July to 36.73 and in the 400m from 1:28.53 to 1:27.72—times that will make her a contender for the 2016 US Paralympic team.

The 2014 IWAS World Junior Games were held at Stoke Mandeville Stadium in Aylesbury, England, and hosted teams from 32 countries. To participate, athletes must first qualify at the regional level, then qualify at the national level.

Amanda qualified at the Great Lakes Regional Games in Lake Forest, Ill., this year, then competed against more than 200 regional champions at the National Junior Games in Ames, Iowa, to earn her spot on Team USA.

“It’s a huge accomplishment, absolutely huge,” said Cindy Housner, the executive director of the Great Lakes Adaptive Sport Association (GLASA). “Amanda is an extremely talented and gifted athlete, and she’s worked really hard. She is competing against others in the same ability level and age group, and she rises to the top.”

In the games, Amanda competes in a class known as T36, for athletes whose disability affects only one side of their body. Amanda, who was born with cerebral palsy, is affected on her right side. Her twin, Alex, is affected on his left side.

Both Amanda and Alex train at the GLASA facility in Lake Forest on a weekly basis, working with specialized coaches. GLASA offers recreational and competitive activities for athletes with physical and visual disabilities throughout northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.

Housner praised Amanda as a particularly hard-working athlete.

“One thing that stands out in my mind is that Amanda is a good athlete, but what makes her really outstanding is her work ethic,” Housner said. “If you came out on a Saturday practice and watched her, she is just tireless. She goes on and on. Not many athletes are doing both track and field. She is just working hard and has a really positive attitude. She’s always looking for feedback, so she’s very coachable.”

The IWAS World Junior Games are a proving ground for the Paralympics, and though Amanda was the youngest member of Team U.S.A., she is already being scouted for the U.S. Paralympic team.

“We’ve talked to the Paralympics coach, and it’s amazing thinking that the Paralympic team is looking at our daughter,” said Lori Malawski, Amanda’s mother. “Never when you have a child with special needs do you think something like this is in their future.”

Amanda hopes to qualify for the IWAS World Junior Games again next year, in Amsterdam, and then be chosen to represent the US in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janerio.

To qualify for the Paralympics, she will need to compete at several events sanctioned by the International Paralympic Committee over the next year. The committee will select 40 men and 40 women to compete in the 2016 games; a number of spots are reserved for injured military veterans.

“If she does get selected, the next big event will be next August in Toronto, and then the one after that is in Qatar,” Matt Malawski, Amanda’s father, said. “The end of next year is when they start selecting athletes to represent the US in Rio.”

Despite Amanda’s achievements, few of her classmates at Harter Middle School realize just how fast she is.

“When I was on the track team for my school, I was considered slow,” she said. “Because I’m affected on one side of my body, I’m slower than able-bodied people because they’re not affected. It was kind of discouraging on my track team because I was always the last.”

That’s partly why competing in GLASA and the IWAS World Junior Games is so important to her, she said.

“There’s not a lot of programs for kids with disabilities,” Amanda said. “We are practicing, but we have to travel far. It’s worth it because we can talk to people with the same disabilities, and it’s a lot of fun.”

She qualified for the World Junior Games last year, but she was too young to participate.

“You have to be 14 the year of the games, so I was underage,” Amanda said. “They sent an email saying that I made the team, and then a week and a half later, I got another email saying that I was too young to participate. It was a little disappointing, but it kind of wasn’t, because it meant that I am faster than people who are 16 or 17.”

Going to the 2014 World Junior Games was a great experience for her.

“I was the youngest on the team, so it was kind of a good experience being with other people who have been competing for awhile and are older than me,” she said. “I just started competing internationally, and I liked competing against people with tons of experience.”

It was also a valuable lesson, she said.

“It taught me not to let my disability get in the way of things. If I did, I wouldn’t be where I am and able to compete,” Amanda said. “The people I made friends with (at the games) don’t let their disability stop them. They are normal when they compete, and that’s how I like it.”

Those interactions were more precious than the medals to her parents.

“It was an amazing week. Yes, she worked really hard, but the interaction with the teammates is what will stay with her forever. It made it all worth it,” Lori said.

Amanda Malawski Photo submitted by Jennifer Drews/GLASA to sports@elburnherald.com