Lions 2015-16

Elburn Herald | Sugar Grove Herald

Ream’s through May 2015
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Featured - page 9

‘Art by Joseph’ comes to Elburn

in Elburn/Featured by

Photo: Joe Gagnepain adjusts a metal pterodactyl at his gallery in Elburn. Photo by John DiDonna

by Amanda Niemi
ELBURN—If you’ve crossed Route 38 and Route 47 in Elburn recently, you may have noticed something strange near the McDonald’s.

The diminutive giraffe sculpture precociously eating out of the tree is the work of local artist Joseph Gagnepain. The found-art piece just happens to be in front of his new studio and gallery location, aptly named “Art by Joseph.”

The gallery, which is tentatively scheduled to open at the end of October, is a collaboration between Joeseph and his partner Edward Pineda. In addition to opening a gallery space for their own work, they hope to make it open and welcoming to the public and other collaborations.

“We wanted to do more of an event space. A place to enjoy some art, hors d’oeuvres, the gallery and wine. It’d be nice to get a bunch of people involved, anybody in the area,” Pineda said. “We want to bring people together. Some galleries are by committee or by vote. We’re not like that.”

Gagnepain, who hails from Campton Hills, is a veteran artist with over 12 years of professional experience painting, murals, woodworking, found-art and snow sculpture, just to name a few.

Pineda, from West Chicago, Ill., has a style that is more technical, incorporating graffiti style into his graphic design for marketing and airbrush work.

“We both have two different styles, so together we can create something different,” Gagnepain said. “We really enjoy each other’s work. That’s what’s great about working in a space with other artists.”

“I think a lot of people who come in here will learn from our failures and our success,” Pineda said.

The artist statement on Joe’s website states, “Joe believes that his art should serve the interests of his community by offering accessibility of his work for all to enjoy. To Joe, inspiration comes from many places, and interaction with the public is an important part of his artistic process.”

His clients include City of Geneva, Graham’s 318, and Camel Tobacco.

“I’ve been painting since I was young. A lot of people recognized it and pushed me. It was a real blessing” Joe said. “Everyone has some skill, or are trying to find it.”

Joe hopes to inspire that passion by opening up his space to other local artists, and offering art classes to kids in the area.

The partners noted that they haven’t done much in the way of marketing, and say people just seem to “find them.”

In addition to opening another gallery and attending Burning Man, Joe has one more long-term hope for his career.

“A worldwide tour,” he said.

For more information about “Art by Joseph,” visit or call (630) 456-6626.

Champions—Twice As Nice

in Featured/Golf by

Brody Kuhar led KHS with a score of 73 at the Northern Illinois Big XII meet in LaSalle, Ill. File Photo

Golfers win NIB-12, then regional, in 5-day stretch
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—Much like the ball off a drive, the Knights’ golf team’s fortunes keep going up and forward.

With a considerably better showing this year compared to the 2011 postseason that saw just one individual advance to Sectionals, the Kaneland lineup was crowned Sycamore Regional champion after play on Monday.

Kaneland’s score was a meet-best 302, followed by fellow advancing teams Wheaton Academy (319) and Burlington Central (322).

“We’re starting to get hot at the right time,” KHS coach Mark Meyer said. “Several guys struggled on the front nine, but came back on the back nine, and we have some people at the bottom of the scorecard playing better and stepping up.”

Junior Matt Yonkovich, the lone sectional golfer from KHS a year ago, led the way with a 72. He was followed by senior Luke Kreiter with a 75.

Kreiter was cited by Meyer as the lone golfer who didn’t struggle on the front nine.

“I just went out there and hit good drives,” Kreiter said. “I took that to the hole. I hit a speed bump on hole eight, but came back.”

Brody Kuhar shot a 76, followed by Sean Glennon’s 79, Dan Miller’s 81 and Connor Williams’ 87.

Kreiter feels that the team is playing at a high level compared to a year ago.

“I think we came into last year’s regional a little nervous, but this year we knew if we play our best, we’ll pull through,” Kreiter said.

The good fortune for the week began at the Sept. 26 Northern Illinois Big XII meet hosted by LaSalle-Peru.

Kaneland captured the East bracket with a 310 clip, followed by Yorkville’s 325 and Sycamore’s 333. Morris (347), Rochelle (348) and DeKalb (349) rounded out the six. Ottawa’s 318 was tops for the West.

Brody Kuhar’s 73 was tops for the entire field, followed by Ottawa’s Lane Barbier (75).

Yonkovich (76) and Kreiter (80) also provided firepower for the NIB-12 gathering.

Ahead for Kaneland is the sectional hosted by Belvidere North on Monday, Oct. 8, at Timberpointe Golf Course in Poplar Grove, Ill., featuring the advancing teams from the Vernon Hills Regional and the Dixon Regional.

Tennis bests Senior Night with flourish

in Featured/Tennis by

Photo: Kaneland’s Jessica Woodward watches her return shot during the varsity girls match against Mendota on Monday. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—If only every week could be as successful as this one for Kaneland High School tennis.

The Lady Knights battled non-conference opponent Mendota while hosting Senior Night and came away with a 6-1 dual win to improve to 11-3 on the season.

Kaneland also battled five other teams in the Geneva Quad and garnered a second place.

Against the Lady Trojans, it was the top two singles entries with victories in the form of sophomore Sammie Schrepferman and senior Sarah Grams.

Schrepferman won her match in 8-1 fashion, while Grams won her bout by an 8-0 score.

On a Senior Night where the group of four-year players were celebrated with gifts and speeches, Grams got down to business as best she could.

“I just try to keep the ball in play,” Grams said. “Moving it back and forth with my backhand and forehand, and if I had to chance to move up to the net, that’s what I’d try to do.”

No. 1 doubles unit Madi Jurcenko and Jelly Emmanouil won their match by an 8-1 tally, and No. 2 doubles team Jenna Bicos and Jess Woodward did their part to celebrate their own Senior Night with an 8-4 win.

Brooke Harner and Aly Harner won their No. 3 doubles duel, as did Danielle McCormack and Abby Meyer in the extra match.

Kaneland did quite well for itself at the Geneva Quad, finishing second behind only St. Charles East.

Kaneland outlasted Geneva, Wheaton Academy, St. Charles North and Bartlett.

Kaneland finishes a suspended dual meet at Oswego on Thursday, Oct. 4.

Rout(e) 66

in Featured/Football by

Photo by Patti Wilk
Kaneland scores on 1st 6 possessions in NIB-12 tilt with DeKalb
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Fellow Northern Illinois Big XII (NIB-12) schools must be shaking their collective heads when it comes to the prospect of facing Kaneland football.

Meanwhile, the Knights continue to raise their fists in triumph.

The latest example was this past Friday, in which the Knights rolled the DeKalb Barbs by a final of 66-23 at Peterson Field in Maple Park.

Kaneland improved to 6-0, with a 2-0 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII East Division play. The Knights have yet to lose a conference game since the inception of the NIB-12.

Additionally, Kaneland has won 25 regular season contests in a row, and 27 of its last 29 overall.

With the latest home victory, Kaneland has not lost at home since an overtime loss at the hands of Geneva in 2009.

KHS has now defeated DeKalb seven times in a row, although that streak was in jeopardy a year ago when the Barbs enjoyed a 17-point third quarter lead before a gargantuan KHS comeback.

“We’re trying to prove every week that we want to be a good team,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “We’ve got to be able to beat a team like this to do what we want to do.”

There would be no early lead for DeKalb, with the Knights rattling off 38 straight points after an initial 7-7 tie.

Knight quarterback Drew David was 7-of-14 for 209 yards, while Kaneland also employed two 100-yard rushers due to bullish running. Jesse Balluff had 162 yards on 11 carries, while teammate and usual goal-line option Nate Dyer had 11 carries for 111 yards.

Dylan Nauert had four catches for 128 yards to lead the receiver corps.

The scoring festivities started with a 20-yard touchdown throw from David to Martinelli two-and-a-half minutes into the game for a 7-0 lead.

DeKalb had its brief celebratory moment on an 88-yard Dylan Hottsmith kickoff return for a touchdown that tied the score 14 seconds later.

KHS responded three plays later on a 60-yard TD pass to Nauert over the middle to make it 14-7 with 8:07 left in the first.

After a Barb punt snap went awry, the Knights took over at DeKalb’s 15-yard line and punched it in with Dyer two plays later on a 4-yard score with 7:29 to go, making it 21-7.

DeKalb came up empty on its next drive, and Balluff ran to the endzone from the 14-yard line with 3:50 to go in the first for a 28-7 lead.

In the second frame, the Knights’ David ran it on the next drive with 9:45 to go for a 35-7 lead. DeKalb was picked off by Kory Harner, setting up shop at the Barbs’ 20. Nauert caught a 19-yard TD pass on the third play of the drive to make it 42-7 with 7:50 to go in the half.

KHS’ Martinelli returned a 50-yard punt return for a touchdown, which would have set the Knights’ third running clock of the season into effect, but it was called back on a holding penalty, and David threw a pick near the goal line to end the drive.

Matt Rodriguez hit a 43-yard field goal on the next drive for a 45-7 lead with 1:51 to go in the half.

A punt by DeKalb was swarmed by Kaneland special teams, giving the ball to KHS at the 18 of the Barbs.

Nauert caught a TD pass that was negated by a holding penalty, which led to Rodriguez missing a 28-yard field goal attempt at the end of the half.

The third-quarter scoring began on a DeKalb touchdown throw with 6:25 to go, which made it 45-14. Balluff’s 80-yard touchdown run 21 seconds later brought the margin to 52-15.

Martinelli caught a four-yard score on the next drive to kick in the running clock with 3:13 to go in the third for a 59-14 edge.

Dyer closed the scoring out in the fourth quarter with 8:35 to play on a touchdown run.

Massive touchdown runs on Friday had the offensive line to thank.

“On both sides, the line is playing at a very high level,” lineman Jamaureo Phillips said. “We have ups and downs, but we are consistent and we’re working on it.”

Kaneland heads to Kendall County to visit the Yorkville Foxes on Friday, Oct. 5. Yorkville comes off a 44-41 loss to visiting Rochelle this past Friday, and sits at 3-3 with an 0-2 mark in NIB-12 play.

Soccer takes it on the foot vs. DeKalb

in Boys Soccer/Featured by

Photo by John DiDonna
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It’s a given that any Northern Illinois Big XII matchup on the soccer pitch is the furthest thing from a guarantee, regardless of record.

Knight soccer learned that last week with Yorkville, and on Thursday in DeKalb.

Despite an Anthony Parillo goal with 21:17 to go in the first half, the Knights fell victim to the DeKalb attack, losing by a final of 3-1.

Against Morris on Tuesday, the Knights recovered from their previous loss with a 1-0 victory at home.

The Knights sit at 9-3-2, and 4-2-1 in the NIB-12 East. KHS was 8-4-1 through 13 contests in 2011.

Coach Scott Parillo would like to see a couple of extra scoring options for his lineup.

“We have scored 29 goals and Anthony has 14, Kushstrim (Ismaili) has six and we have a couple with one or two goals,” Parillo said. “We need more finishes from other players.”

The KHS freshman handed DeKalb a 6-2 loss on Thursday in additional action, while the sophomores won by a final of 1-0.

KHS prepares for the host Rochelle Hubs on Thursday, Oct. 4.

Kaneland also found out its Class 2A Regional assignment this past week, as the No. 1 seed Knights play the winner of Illinois Math and Science Academy/Sycamore on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at 5 p.m. on the grounds of Burlington Central High School.

The last remaining of those three schools takes on either (2) Burlington Central or (3) Hampshire in the title match on Saturday, Oct. 20, at 11 a.m.

Kids help out

in Featured/Kaneland by

Mia, Katherine, Sarah, Matthew, Josh and Ty (left to right) are students at Kaneland John Stewart Elementary School. They are helping to promote the annual John Stewart Fall and Winter Clothing and Toy Sale. The sale will take place at the school on Friday, Oct. 5, 6 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 6, 8 a.m. to noon. Photo by John DiDonna

Big Top times in Elburn

in Elburn/Featured by

Carlee and Charlie (Sherri and David Shepard) are award-winning clowns who are married and have been clowning together since 1995. Last week, they traveled the town promoting the circus in their clown car, “Otto” (right). The circus event was one day only, Sept. 19, and sponsored by the Elburn Leos Club.

The Delara Duo of the The Kelly Miller Circus performed their aerial magic show. The circus was a one-day-only event at Elburn Lions Park on Sept. 19 and was sponsored by the Elburn Leos Club.

Animal trainer Mike Rice puts some camels and a zebra through their paces for the crowd during the Kelly Miller Circus at Elburn Lions Park Sept. 19.

Clowns Copeland & Combs amuse the crowd during the circus.

Photos by Kimberly Anderson and John DiDonna

Editorial: Time for a change

in Featured/From the Editor's Desk by

As of Monday, Oct. 1, the Elburn Herald/Kaneland Publications Inc. will have a new home: the Elburn and Countryside Community Center.

Our new address will be 525 N. Main St., Suite 2, Elburn, IL 60119.

It is bittersweet to leave our home in the middle of downtown Elburn. We have been here since the 1950s—longer than most of us have been alive, and far longer than any of us have been a member of the Elburn Herald/Kaneland Publications family.

Over the decades, those of us who have worked from our soon-to-be former location have had a first-hand view of the many changes that have gone on, in and around Elburn. From the front window looking out over the center of downtown Elburn, we’ve been witness to all the joys, heartaches, successes and struggles of a community growing its way through the years.

Like the community around us, we have evolved over the years, as well. It is due to our desire to continue to grow into a stronger, local community newspaper and general media company that led to the need to move into our new location inside the community center.

This gives us room to grow and creates a partnership with a cornerstone of the community. The Elburn and Countryside Community Center is a nonprofit organization that presents a perfect fit for a company like us, whose mission is to serve our community through everything we do.

Our new location gives us more space, more flexibility, and more potential to forge partnerships with more groups and local businesses.

So, while we are sad to leave our longtime home in the center of downtown Elburn, we look forward to the new friendships and opportunities that await us just a few blocks to the north.

We hope you stop by and check us out at the Elburn and Countryside Community Center, and while you’re there, you might want to see who else calls the community center home, as well.

Kaneland community comes together for teacher

in Featured/Health & Wellness/Kaneland by

Photo: Kaneland High School teacher Bridget Sweeney, her husband Matt, daughter Lilly and son Jack. Courtesy Photo

by Susan O’Neill
KANELAND—Kaneland High School teacher Bridget Sweeney had gotten used to dealing with cancer.

Twenty years ago, when she was a high school senior, she was diagnosed with a malignant soft tissue sarcoma in her right arm. At the time, the doctors removed her tumor and she underwent radiation treatments. A year later, the cancer came back and spread to her lungs. Again, she had surgery to remove it.

In September 2011, Sweeney had just given birth to her second child and was set to come back to work around Thanksgiving when the cancer came back for a third time in her arm. Although she has had several recurrences of the cancer and multiple arm and lung surgeries, this time her doctors suggested that she have her arm amputated.

She opted instead for an aggressive arm surgery in which the doctors removed her soft tissue and replaced it with rods and skin and tissue grafts from her leg.

She had another round of radiation treatments and additional surgeries to rebuild her arm, as well as therapy to strengthen her arm and leg.

“It’s been a watch game for 20 years,” Sweeney said. “You get used to it.”

What she wasn’t used to was the outpouring of love and support from the Kaneland High School community.

English teacher Brooke Simon, a friend of Sweeney’s who lives near her, said multiple people and organizations at the high school came together to help Sweeney and her family through her recovery.

Fellow teacher Jenny O’Hara created a website where people could sign up to cook meals, as well as donate time and money.

While Sweeney was in the hospital, her husband had to pay $20 for parking every time he came to visit her. With the mounting medical and hospital bills, child care for their baby and 5-year-old son Jack, as well as other expenses, the donations came in handy.

When she came home, it was still a long time before her arm would heal and regain its strength. She was unable to hold her three-month-old daughter Lilly, so cooking was definitely out of the question.

Simon would bring the meals to her a couple of times a week on her way home. Often, people would put together an entire meal, complete with a salad and side dishes. Simon would also often bring messages and cards with good wishes from faculty, students and parents. People gave gift cards for groceries, meals out at restaurants, and a gift certificate for Merry Maids to clean her house.

“She was dealing with all of this and trying to be a mom at the same time,” Simon said. “We could empathize. We did anything and everything that we could to help her.”

Graphics teacher Nikki Larson said the website made it easy to coordinate the meals and donations.

“You could see what others were making so you didn’t overlap with them,” she said.

Larson said that Sweeney is such a positive person, everyone wanted to pitch in to help.

“We were happy to provide small moments of some sort of normalcy for them,” Larson said.

Sweeney said that this was the first time that she has shared her battle with cancer so widely.

Not many of the students were initially aware of Sweeney’s situation. That changed when Kaneland baseball coach Brian Aversa asked the seniors on the team if they wanted to raise money to help Sweeney and her family.

Each year, the seniors decide which individual, charity or organization will receive the proceeds of a Senior Night game the team plays with Batavia High School at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva. Aversa said the students were overwhelmingly in favor of donating the money to Sweeney.

The team raised $5,000 for Sweeney during its “Pack the Park” game at the stadium in May.

Sweeney came back to Kaneland at the beginning of this school year. Simon said she is doing very well.

“It’s great to see her teaching again,” she said. “She’s a great teacher. The kids love her.”

Sweeney takes her cancer in stride. She said she knows that for some people, it’s a death sentence.

“For me, it’s a chronic illness,” she said. “It’s a condition that is manageable.”

She said that her cancer is not something that she dwells on. While it has been a long and challenging road, she said she has never allowed cancer to get in the way of her life.

“I have a loving husband, supportive family and two beautiful children,” she said. “I have a wonderful career teaching with a generous community of coworkers and amazing students,” she said.

She is still amazed by all that people have done for her and her family.

“It was a huge outpouring of support that was so unexpected and humbling,” she said. “I have never been in a community that has gone to such lengths to help. What was especially touching is that the students chose to offer their fundraising and giving opportunity to help us out.”

Roast of Rochelle

in Featured/Football by

Photo: Dylan Nauert (20) supplies a good block for running back Jesse Balluff (30). Kaneland went to Rochelle Friday and came away with a solid 34-6 victory. Photo by Patti Wilk

Knights’ passing attack works with defense in 34-6 win at Rochelle
by Mike Slodki
ROCHELLE—Knights football is making road quests feel like home.

That’s how good they’ve been playing.

Coming to the end of the 2012 opening stretch in which they’ve played four of their first five games on the road, the Knights invaded their first Northern Illinois Big XII East division test: Rochelle.

The Knights held Rochelle’s vaunted wing-T offense in check, subdued the Hubs’ determination after losing to KHS in the Class 5A quarterfinals 10 months ago, and came away with a 34-6 win. That is the sixth consecutive win over Rochelle, a span that started following the Knights’ loss that launched the Hubs’ new football facility in 2007.

The Knights’ staunch defense allowed just 140 yards to the running game of Rochelle, and has allowed just six points in the last three games.

Junior QB Drew David was 11-for-19 for 262 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions, while receiver Dylan Nauert hauled in five passes for 135 yards and two scores.

“Our line’s been blocking really well. When they give me lots of time and I’m able to get it to those guys, they’re able to make guys miss and can take it all the way at any time,” David said.

After a scoreless tie marked the first quarter of play, the Knights converted points on their fourth drive.

Nauert hauled in a pass, emerged from an attempted tackle, and went down the KHS sideline for an 86-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead with 6:49 remaining in the first half.

“I knew I had to run the hitch and I ran it. I saw the opening and ran as fast as I could,” Nauert said.

David threw a pick on the next drive, but after forcing Rochelle to punt, Jesse Balluff caught a pass in stride and raced 58 yards for another score at a 14-0 lead with 1:40 to go before halftime.

Rochelle’s Tony Walsh, the Hubs’ leading rusher on the night, capped an eight-play drive with a four-yard score with 2:41 to go in the third frame, but the extra-point attempt missed to put the score at 14-6.

Whatever good feeling the Hubs had was quickly erased as runs by David, Balluff and Nate Dyer advanced the ball, along with a pass to Zack Martinelli.

Balluff plunged in from the two-yard line to make the score 21-6 with 1:23 to go in the third quarter.

Kaneland’s two scoring drives in the final 12-minute set happened with a Dyer touchdown run with 10:26 to play, and when Nauert caught a 32-yard touchdown pass with 6:27 remaining.

“They’re just getting better and better,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “We found out what they’re good at and they’re making improvements. Everything we do starts with the guys up front.”

For the third straight year, Kaneland opened its season 5-0 (1-0 in the NIB-12 East).

The Knights have yet to lose a conference game since the inception of the new school formation in 2010. Their regular season win streak sits at 24, with wins in 26 of its last 28 contests, and they have not lost a road game since losing in Geneva in week eight of 2008.

The Knights host DeKalb on Friday, Sept. 28, with the 1-4 Barbs coming off a win against Streator.

Taking care of business

in Featured/Tennis by

Colleen Landers prepares to serve against Yorkville during the varsity home match on Tuesday. Photo by John DiDonna

KHS racketeers sweep the Rochelle Quad field
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Once the end of the school week hits, many a student would just like to take a breather.

Kaneland High School tennis would just rather take opponents’ breath away.

Just seven days removed from trouncing the field at the Yorkville Quad, the Lady Knights, under coach Tim Larsen, did the same to four other teams at another Northern Illinois Big XII hangout in the Rochelle Quad on Saturday.

The Lady Knights swept the rankings, achieving first place in both singles and all three doubles categories, getting the full-tilt 25 points.

Freeport went second overall with 16 points, while DeKalb went third with 13 points. The host Lady Hubs took fourth with 12 points, and Sterling Newman went fifth with nine points.

With a 6-4, 6-4 win over Freeport’s Nikki Church, Lady Knight sophomore Sammie Schrepferman took first overall in the No.1 singles category.

Kaneland’s Sarah Grams nabbed the spotlight on the No. 2 singles court and won the day with a 6-2, 6-2 decision over Rochelle’s Brittany Sanderson.

The three Lady Knight doubles teams owned the day, going a combined 12-0.

Jelly Emmanouil and Madi Jurcenko were tops in the No. 1 doubles, while teammates Jenna Bicos and Jess Woodward secured the No. 2 doubles crown, and the Colleen Landers/ Stephanie Karolewicz tandem broke through in the No. 3 set.

“It was windy, cold and wet when we got there,” Larsen said. “(A) rough day to be out in the elements, but not so bad when you win that many matches.”

Tuesday’s action saw Kaneland send visiting Yorkville High School home with a 4-1 loss. Kaneland posted wins in all doubles action, as well as the No. 1 singles bracket.

Schrepferman battled her opponent at the top singles spot after breezing through the first set 6-0. She dropped the second set 6-4, before flipping the scores to win set three 6-4, securing the victory.

Jurcenko and Emmanouil took their No. 1 doubles match in straight sets, 6-1, 6-0. Bicos and Woodward followed with a 6-1, 6-3 win at No. 2 doubles. Landers and Karol completed the doubles’ sweep with a 6-3, 6-1 win.

“(This was) another good conference win,” Larsen said.

The JV team fell to Yorkville, 3-2.

The Lady Knights meet up at old familiar stomping grounds for the Geneva Quad on Saturday, Sept. 29.

Lady Knights stump Hub rivals

in Featured/Volleyball by

Casey Jacobson (8) makes a dig with support from Shayna Tucek (5) on Tuesday. Yorkville traveled to Kaneland to take on the varsity girls. Photo by Patti Wilk

by Mike Slodki
ROCHELLE—That’s how you get back on an even keel.

The Lady Knight volleyball outfit needed a way to solidify its Northern Illinois Big XII standing at the early outset of the conference slate.

After last week’s loss to DeKalb, the Lady Knights figured the best way to even up their NIB-12 record was a convincing two-game win in Ogle County, 25-15, 25-19, over Rochelle.

Kaneland’s overall record is 12-6 following Tuesday’s loss to Yorkville.

Ellie Dunn had 13 kills, plus two aces by the net for the Lady Knights, and Lyndi Scholl had nine kills and 10 digs in the winning effort. Ashley Prost had 32 assists and eight digs.

Shayna Tucek had 22 digs.

KHS maintained a lead from wire-to-wire, with the exception of a 14-14 tie in game two.

Consistent front-line play and execution allowed Kaneland to enjoy a lead as wide as 17-9 in game one before Rochelle cut it to 18-15.

The Lady Knights went on a seven-point game-ending tear, thanks to sloppy play by Rochelle and a couple of digs by Scholl.

Scholl’s kill gave Kaneland a 10-point edge and a game one win.

In game two, Kaneland enjoyed a 9-1 lead early before Rochelle closed within 10-9.

After Rochelle’s serving ace, Dunn and Scholl took charge and aggressively pursued the ball to success with tips and kills. Their flurry made it 23-16. With the score 24-19, Dunn hit the ball for a point, and Scholl killed it on the next exchange to cinch victory.

“I think it helped that we had a variety of everyone up there,” Scholl said. “Ashley and Ellie really stepped it up, and everything played out where it needed to be.”

Tucek saved many a ball that made it past the front line, and helped dig the Lady Knights to victory.

“I think it was really important that we stepped it up on defense, and serve-receive was important, too,” Tucek said.

KHS coach Todd Weimer was happy with the conference win and the level of play.

“I think we were trying to find the matchups and reading blocks. We’re going to continue to work on that, and it helps us in the long run,” Weimer said. “We really did a nice job the whole match tonight, and it was nice to see that.”

Yorkville visited Kaneland and defeated the Lady Knights in a back-and-forth three-game match. Kaneland’s 22-25, 25-22, 17-25 loss put the Lady Knights below .500 in conference play, as their NIB-12 record fell to 2-3.

Dunn led the way with 10 kills, one ace and five blocks. Scholl added eight kills and five digs. Emily Loudant contributed six kills, six digs and one ace, and Prost spread out 25 assists to go along with her six digs.

The sophomore squad easily handled game one in their match with Yorkville, 25-7, and then battled through a tough game two to win 26-24. Both the Freshman A and Freshman B teams also added wins over their Lady Foxes opponents.

KHS attempts to handle the visiting Ottawa Lady Pirates on Thursday, Sept. 27, in NIB-12 crossover action.

Knight soccer leveled by Yorkville

in Boys Soccer/Featured by

Tyler Siebert gets tripped up near the goal. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
YORKVILLE—It wasn’t a good time for the first Northern Illinois Big XII loss of the 2012 campaign, nor was it to the expected team.

Unable to get out of a two-goal rut at halftime, the Knights soccer team fell to the host Yorkville Foxes at Campbell Field on Thursday by a final of 3-0.

They turned that game around with a Tuesday shutout victory over Sycamore, 2-0.

Kaneland had hit a mid-season stride, and the Knights’ record currently stands at 8-2-2 on the season, with a 3-1-1 mark in conference play.

The last time Kaneland had lost a match was back on Aug. 24 against the hosts of the Jacobs Tournament, an unbeaten streak of seven matches.

Yorkville goal-scoring record holder Artan Emini struck first on a goal with 24:02 remaining in the first half for a 1-0 lead. Alex Gil’s shot was stopped at point-blank range 11 minutes later, and Yorkville found the scoreboard again with a rocket into the net with 1:32 left in the first half past goalkeeper Marshall Farthing.

Yorkville scored a goal that was nullified eight minutes into the second half, but the call proved negated with a third goal that counted with 10:23 to go, icing the match.

The Knights hoped the Thursday setback was an outlier, to say the least.

“The last few practices haven’t been so hot,” KHS coach Scott Parillo said. “Credit (Yorkville), they came ready to play. They’re a good team; I don’t know why everybody thinks they’re not a good team. I guess we’ll find out how we play next time if things change.”

That next game came against rival Sycamore at home on Tuesday. Kaneland turned around its fortunes with a shutout performance against the visitors. Anthony Parillo broke through the scoreless tie with a goal off of a Jason Biddle feed with 21:30 left to play. Gil added an insurance goal, with an assist from Sam Rymarz, with 14:52 remaining in the game.

The sophomore Knights also shutout Sycamore, earning a 4-0 win to put their overall record at 9-2 on the season.

Thursday, Sept. 27, marks the next test for Kaneland, a match in DeKalb.

FitMama comes to Elburn

in Elburn/Featured by

Photo: There was a large turnout for the FitMama grand opening (above) on Saturday to celebrate its new location in Elburn. The new modern fitness facility is located at 707 Herra St. in Elburn. Photos by Kimberly Anderson

by Joe Spitzzeri
ELBURN—To say that Elburn resident Erin Schaefer has quickly moved up the ranks of health club ownership would be an understatement.

Schaefer’s gym celebrated its grand opening on Saturday morning. Located at 707 Herra St. in Elburn, FitMama is the culmination of an idea Schaefer got from her former personal trainer.

“I lost a lot of weight, but then my trainer told me that he was moving away, so I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do,” she said. “He told me that I myself should become a trainer since I already had a lot of knowledge on exercise routines, eating healthy and other ways to keep in shape.”

Schaefer started a little “boot camp” with six of her friends in May 2011. By that point, she had already been a certified trainer for one year. “The six of us started it out in a park, and we hired a babysitter to watch the kids so the other mothers could just have a break and concentrate on themselves while their kids got good exercise, as well,” Schaefer said.

More and more friends joined in with Schaefer. One of them asked about doing evening sessions, so Schaefer started doing a night workout, as well as her daytime routine.

Schaefer thought the workout sessions were just a summertime gig, so she was surprised when her friends wanted to continue the program through the winter.

“I rented out a pretty small place in Wasco, (and taught) about 42 ladies at that point in time. As time went on, (session turnout) started to grow much faster than I anticipated,” Schaefer said. “Ninety percent of the members were joining from word of mouth, and the other 10 percent were joining just from driving by. Now we are in this great new place in Elburn with over 120 members.”

Schaefer opened a FitMama location in LaFox last winter.

Meagan Provencher, an original member of the boot camp, said the difference between Schaefer’s gym and other gyms is that FitMama members are friends with each other.

“We are not just about getting results. It gives you a major social aspect in meeting a ton of great new people … you actually cannot wait to go work out with friends, rather than a gym where its mostly younger people, and you might feel awkward,” she said. “For these women, the friendship aspect has been one of the most important parts of all. Many of us ladies have started doing things we would have never dreamed, like joining 5ks to marathons, and even all the way up to triathlons together, just because of the camaraderie we share.”

As inspiration, Schaefer keeps one of her old pre-weight-loss belts on the wall for everyone to see how much work she has put in. She uses the belt as a reminder that “anyone can lose weight, especially with the help of over 120 friends that are there to support you 100 percent of the way.”

The membership doesn’t stop when people leave the gym, either. When a member’s husband had a major surgery, the women got together and made an array of meals for the family. Little acts of kindness like these show the bond these women have made with each other outside of their workout routines.

Schaefer also hosts two different 5k runs a year through FitMama. One race takes place Mother’s Day weekend, and the other takes place Thanksgiving morning. FitMama members also get together to collect food for the Elburn Food Pantry during the races.

“FitMama has changed my life,” member Diann Saylors said. “I hated everything about exercise, and now I can actually stick with this, because it’s friends and other women you get to meet from the community with the same goal.”

Diann was one of the original members of Schafer’s workout group, when it was just six friends working out in a park.

“Erin has an amazing story; she’s a great inspiration to all of us, helping hundreds of people,” she said. “We love this place and will definitely be a part of this gym for as long as its here. It’s all about friends and getting it done together, almost like being a family.

“With all your friends, it’s really funny how open you become to trying all sorts of new things and exercises you never would have thought you would do before.”

WWII Navy veterans gather to share memories, friendship

in Elburn/Featured by

Photo: Cletus Terveer (left), Loyd Miller (center) and Howard Ritchie tell a story during their WWII Navy reunion on Saturday in Elburn. The reunion was held at the home of Marshall and Debora Hilmes. Debora is Loyd’s daughter. Friends and relatives gathered to celebrate the three veterans and present them with gifts and letters of appreciation. Photo by John DiDonna

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Three men came together with their families on Saturday to mark a day they shared 68 years ago. The three World War II U.S. Navy veterans, stationed in the Phillippine Islands during the war, had stormed the island of Peleliu on Sept. 15, 1944.

Elburn resident Loyd Miller hosted the gathering with Cletus Terveer from Rock Falls, Ill., and Howard Ritchie from Parkersburg, Ill., the remaining men still alive and well enough to travel from the World War II U.S. Naval Unit SLCU 32.

Members of the navy unit began their annual reunions 23 years ago in 1989. Starting out with nearly 40 veterans, the group has gathered in Oklahoma, Washington, Missouri, Louisiana, Minnesota and Florida, as well as Elburn. Last year, there were five; since then, one of the men passed away in early 2012, and another is currently too ill to travel.

Loyd W. Miller Sr. as a young Navy seaman.
There were about 30 people who enjoyed the day together, including the families of the men who made the trip with them. Although there were short silences when one of them brought up a fellow veteran who has since passed away, the occasion was mainly marked by good-natured ribbing, laughter and camaraderie.

Walking up the steps to Miller’s house, the guests encountered Miller’s Navy uniform from the war hanging by the door. On one shoulder of the uniform perched a stuffed toy monkey representing Josie, the pet monkey Miller had adopted during the war. Peleliu Island was so named after the many monkeys that inhabited the island.

Stories of Josie, her antics and their officer’s reaction to her were a source of amusement all afternoon for the men. Terveer recalled the time that Josie bit his finger, and they passed around pictures of her sitting on young Miller’s arm.

The stories about Josie were humorous; the stories about their battle to take Peleliu Island were anything but. The Naval unit arrived with the first Marine Division. Miller and his fellow Navy fighters escorted the Marines from ship to shore in small boats, and kept them supplied during the battle.

What their superiors initially estimated would take three days stretched into more than a month of intense fighting, with the Japanese soldiers dug into 500 coral caverns around the island. The caves gave the Japanese soldiers cover and a place from which to take the Americans by surprise when they attacked.

When U.S. troops finally did take over the island, there were more than 1,500 American casualties and 10,000 Japanese dead.

The memories of that battle must have been haunting, but the men did not dwell on them. They basked in the attention showered on them by their families, and enjoyed the companionship of the men with whom they had shared so much.

Terveer’s son Mark, who first became involved in the reunions last year when Terveer hosted the group, said that everyone already feels like family.

Miller’s daughter Debora Hilmes, who works at Scott Air Force base near St. Louis, came up for the weekend to help her mom Lee cook and organize the gathering. She gave a short presentation and handed out baskets of shirts and hats and other presents to the men.

“If anything is ticking, you’ll have to dismantle it,” said Dwayne Miller, the youngest of Loyd’s 10 children.

“Thank you for everything you have done for all of us,” Hilmes said to each man as she presented them with their basket of souvenirs.

World War II has long been over, but these men continue to share a bond that is like no other.

Part of the elite

in Featured/Girls Cross Country by

Photo: The varsity girls make their start at the Eddington Cross Country Invitational on Saturday at Elburn Woods. In center is Victoria Clinton (No. 355), who was the Northern Illinois Big-12 Conference Champion last year as a freshman and placed ninth individually at the state meet. Photos by Ryan Wells

KHS girls XC team proves it belongs among top tier
by Ryan Wells
Kaneland—As hundreds of runners and spectators descended on Elburn Woods Saturday for the annual Kaneland Eddington Invitational, the Kaneland High School Lady Knight cross country team proved it has what it takes to be among the top teams in the state.

Kaneland took fifth as a team in the highly competitive field, with 117 team points. Jacobs earned the top spot as a team, with 73 points. Marengo placed second with 93, followed by Geneva (102) and Crystal Lake Central (109). Kaneland closed out the top five with 117.

“Obviously, we’re pleased with a fifth-place showing in such a tough field of competitors,” KHS head coach Doug Ecker said.

Not only did the team overall demonstrate that it is among the top tier in the state, individuals showed they belong in the lead group as well.

For Aislinn Lodwig, a Kaneland sophomore who battled through an illness and a painful foot, the competitive atmosphere of the large-scale race was a significant motivator.

“With more teams it just makes me feel better about how I did,” Lodwig said. “I know I can stick with more people than the usual (races), where it’s more spaced out during the race. This course is one of the hardest to run with the huge hills, and it really takes a toll on you.”

Lodwig was the sixth Lady Knight to cross the finish line, with a time of 21:08.

Leading Kaneland was sophomore Victoria Clinton, who took third overall and ran as part of the lead pack throughout the entire course.

Like Lodwig, Clinton’s race served as proof that she was able to reach the goals she had set for herself coming into the race. She took third overall with a time of 18:07.

“My goal was to finish in the top three,” Clinton said. “It was a fast race today; good competition was out here.”

Clinton stayed in the front group that included returning Class 2A champ Sami Staples, a sophomore from Crystal Lake Central, and Katie Adams, a senior from Marengo. The trio was three-fourths of the lead pack, and set a hard pace from the start.

“The first part, we went out really fast, and then I felt it in the (middle); we picked up the pace at the end, and I just had a mental goal to be in the top three; and God allowed me to have a good, fun race,” Clinton said.

Freshman Brianna Bower was the second Lady Knight to finish, taking 20th overall with a time of 19:59.

“That’s a very strong time for our tough home course,” Ecker said.

Bower said she was able to push through a bit of nerves, since it was her first time running in such a significant race at home.

“I felt good today; I was nervous at first. It ended up turning out OK,” she said.

Senior Amanda Lesak placed 29th for Kaneland. She led a Kaneland mini-pack, helping push a trio of Lady Knights to a seven-second split in their three-through-five runners. Lesak credited that trio for the team’s solid finish.

“A lot of my teammates really helped me and pushed me,” she said. “We all push each other so we can push the pace a little bit.”

Lesak said that the fast start was anticipated because of the nature of the Elburn Woods course.

“The first mile is always the fastest, because everybody wants to get a good spot,” she said. “Usually people find their pace and find the people they want to run with and settle down a little bit.”

The people Lesak ran with were Kaneland senior Abby Dodis, who finished 31st with a time of 20:30, and senior Maggie Brundige, who took 34th with a time of 20:33.

Sophomore Jessica Kucera paired up with Lodwig to take 52nd overall with a time of 21:10.

“It was great to see Lodwig and Kucera team up on the last portion of the course,” Ecker said.

Each runner faced individual challenges and reached for individual goals, as well as working together to meet the team goal and push each other. Ecker said this is part of the program’s plan as the final stretch run of the season looms ahead.

“This appears to be a deep team—and we need everyone fighting to push forward and get stronger for the conference meet and post-season run,” Ecker said.

Bringing their best

in Boys Cross Country/Featured by

Photo: Kyle Carter (891) dukes it out with DeKalb’s Marc Dubrick at the Eddington Invitational Saturday at Elburn Woods. Photos by Ryan Wells

Boys XC team sets numerous personal records at Eddington
by Ryan Wells
Kaneland—Across the board, the KHS boys cross country team stepped up in a big way for one of the biggest races of the year, the annual Larry Eddington Invitation at Kaneland’s home course at Elburn Woods.

All seven of Kaneland’s runners set some form of personal record on their home course.

“I thought our boys did very well,” KHS head coach Chad Clarey said. “All the guys that competed were either hitting their PR for the season on their home course or their career PR here.”

As a team, the Knights finished sixth with 140 points. Crystal Lake Central pulled away in the second half of the race to score 61 team points, good for the overall victory. Jacobs finished second with 91, followed by West Aurora (109), Benet Academy (128) and DeKalb (129). Mooseheart ran in its first-ever cross country race as a team, taking 15th overall.

Kaneland junior Kyle Carter led the team with a fourth-place finish, with a time of 16:08. He said the atmosphere spurred the Knights to push the pace throughout the course.

“It’s quite an honor to represent Kaneland and Larry Eddington, of course, and … we just wanted to represent Kaneland as best we can,” Carter said.

Because Carter trains at Elburn Woods regularly, he said he knew that being familiar with the difficult, hilly course could give the team an edge. He said he tried to come out of the start at a faster pace than usual.

“I went out a little fast, but I was trying to push the pace because most guys can’t handle the hills as good as us, because we work here all the time,” he said.

He said that after the initial burst, the lead group settled in before hitting the two-mile mark on the three-mile race.

“We just got to the two mile, and then the race really began,” he said. “They really took off and then I just hung on.”

Clarey said Carter ran a 29-second personal record on the home course.

“I think he was pumped up about getting started and he wanted to have a strong time,” Clarey said.

Senior Connor Johnson was the second Knight to cross the finish line, taking 18th overall with a time of 16:41, 24 seconds faster than his previous best time.

“This was a huge race for him,” Clarey said. “As a senior, he really stepped up and led our charge to be our No. 2 runner.”

Senior John Meisenger came into the race with a goal of hitting near 17 minutes, and he accomplished it, finishing 34th overall with a time of 17 minutes flat. That time served as an eight-second personal record.

Meisenger said that the early fast pace was a bit faster than he normally runs, but he anticipated it happening at the Eddington Invite.

“That was a faster mile for me coming into the first mile, but we’re used to setting the first mile faster,” he said.

Junior Ryan Bower was the fourth Knight across the finish line, taking 40th overall with a time of 17:15. That shaved 30 seconds off his career best time.

“Ryan Bower is new to varsity; he’s filling that role we need to have somebody come up and be a four or five guy,” Clarey said.

Junior Brandon Huber made a pre-race decision to run the race at all, as he was facing some soreness in his foot that morning. He finished in 17:23, good for 44th overall, cutting some time off his personal best on the course as well.

“He was a little bit sore this morning in his foot and wasn’t sure if he was going to race or not,” Clarey said. “He decided to jump in and wound up being our fifth man in the race. He did very well, especially with that foot pain.”

Junior Nathaniel Kucera beat his career best by 40 seconds, finishing in 17:38, good for 51st overall.

“He’s an important piece to our puzzle as well,” Clarey said. “We just need to make sure he’s feeling healthy.”

Ryan Paulson stepped in at the last minute to run as the seventh Knight, and used that motivation to set a 45-second PR on the home course. He finished in 18:00, taking 60th overall.

“I think it boosts up the momentum,” Paulson said of running as the host team at a big event like Eddington. “It really tries to push you to do better.”

“He’s another senior that really stepped out; when we needed him he stepped in and did a great job on this home course,” Clarey said.

Kaneland will travel to the ACC Invite on Saturday, Sept. 22.

KHS serves up the usual

in Featured/Football by

Photo: Ryan Lawrence intercepts a pass in the first quarter. Photo by Patti Wilk

Rushing, D just the combination for 41-0 win at Streator
by Mike Slodki
STREATOR, Ill.—You’ll have to excuse the Kaneland Knights’ football squad for being defensive.

After all, that’s what worked on Friday night.

Traveling south on Route 23, the victory tour rested at Streator High School, where KHS was too much for the winless host Bulldogs in a 41-0 decision.

Kaneland set the tone on the ground and saw power rushes from Jesse Balluff (95 yards rushing), Nate Dyer and trackster-like speed from Dylan Nauert on separate touchdown runs, while the defense was physical and opportunistic—exemplified by a Ryan Lawrence interception return for a touchdown.

KHS made tracks with 287 yards rushing, with the Knight swarm allowing just 110 yards against its crossover foe from the Northern Illinois Big XII West division.

For Kaneland, the regular season win streak hit 23, while Streator’s opposite trajectory hit 22 on the loss streak after Friday.

KHS has now won 28 out of its last 30 contests.

Kaneland has not allowed a score since the final seconds of the win over Huntley on Aug. 31.

For the second week in a row, the running clock clicked in with 4:53 remaining in the second quarter, after Lawrence leaped in the air to grab an errant pass and weaved around blockers to convert on a 34-yard interception touchdown.

“I get a lot of practice with carrying the ball during practice,” Lawrence said. “With the mentality, I had to switch over quick from defense, and it wasn’t a hard task to do. With our defense setting up blocks, it made it so much easier.”

On the opening drive, the last six plays were all Jesse Balluff rushes on the 75-yard drive. It came to an end on a 10-yard scoring run with 8:14 left in the first.

When Streator came up empty on the next drive after a Lawrence sack on fourth down, Balluff scored again on a three-yard TD run that capped a 30-yard drive in six plays. The score made it 14-0 with 4:41 to go in the opening frame.

The next drive was pounded home when quarterback Drew David threw his lone TD pass of the night after escaping Bulldog pressure and hitting a diving Zack Martinelli on an 11-yard score. The conversion with :55 left in the first set the score at 21-0.

In the second quarter, Streator’s initial drive resulted in a punt, and Kaneland made them pay when Nauert turned on the afterburners for a 67-yard touchdown run down the Streator sideline for a 28-0 edge with 10:56 left in the first half.

Kaneland’s next drive in the quarter went four running plays, with Dyer powering in from the three, for a 34-0 lead with 6:34 to go. Dyer originally set the score up on a 27-yard carry that busted up several Bulldog tackle attempts.

The score set in motion the Lawrence pick-six on the next drive, which was the first defensive score for KHS since a Taylor Andrews fumble return in 2010 against the visiting Sycamore Spartans.

“On that play, (Ben) Bradford got a nice shot on the quarterback as he threw it, and I knew no one was going to get Ryan,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said.

Fedderly and company prepare for the NIB-12 East slate, beginning with the familiar rival Rochelle Hubs in Ogle County on Friday, Sept. 21.

KHS defeated the Hubs twice in 2011: 35-14 in Maple Park on Sept. 23, 2011, and a 20-14 Class 5A State quarterfinal win in Rochelle on Nov. 12, 2011.

“We’re going to play a really tough Rochelle team that we played in the quarterfinals,” Fedderly said. “It’s going to be like a playoff atmosphere and playoff football.”

Lady Barbs victimize Kaneland volleyball

in Featured/Volleyball by

Photo: Kaneland volleyball captain Lauren Banberry (below) goes up against swarming DeKalb jumpers during the home varsity match on Thursday. Kaneland’s Lyndi Scholl (right) picks up a dig during the same match against DeKalb at Kaneland High School. Photos by Patti Wilk

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Over the past several years, Kaneland volleyball has made numerous strides.

But even a program that has amassed back-to-back 19-win seasons will still have its problems with fellow established clubs.

That was the case on Thursday with the Lady Knights ending up on the wrong side of a three-game loss.

DeKalb got the better of Kaneland in a 25-20, 26-28, 25-23 decision, which, when combined with Kaneland’s Tuesday win over Sycamore, brought the KHS tally for 2012 to 11-5, and 1-2 in the Northern Illinois Big XII race.

“We couldn’t close out both matches,” KHS coach Todd Weimer said of the DeKalb match. “We were up and lost in the end against DeKalb. (We) started out slow and lost in the end.”

There is still time to make headway in what Weimer thinks will be a tight NIB-12 group.

“DeKalb is generally pretty good. Sycamore, Morris and Yorkville are also doing very well. It’s a balanced conference this year,” Weimer said.

The Lady Knight effort was supplanted by Ellie Dunn with 10 kills and four blocks. Teammate Jenny Lubic supplied 18 assists on the evening, while Shayna Tucek had nine digs in the loss. KHS veteran Ashley Prost supplied eight kills of her own.

In other KHS-DeKalb volleyball action, the Lady Knight sophomores took home a 25-16, 25-15 win. The freshman “A” team completed a 25-19, 25-19 victory, while their “B” counterparts managed a 25-17, 25-20 win.

The Lady Knights defeated Sycamore in straight games, winning 25-12, 25-21.

The varsity crew faces the visiting Yorkville Lady Foxes on Tuesday, Sept. 25.

Elburn Lions fundraiser supports ‘Jason’s Journey’

in Elburn/Featured by

Jason’s Journey Benefit
Saturday, Sept. 22
1 to 11 p.m.
Elburn Lion’s Park
500 Filmore St., Elburn
$10 admission ticket includes
dinner and entertainment
Bags tournament, live entertainment
and children’s activities
Silent and live auctions and raffles
Cash bar
Pig roast from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
For more information,
visit the website at

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—Jason Cornell is a fighter.

Some people, like Jason’s wife and his best friends, would say he’s stubborn, but it seems to have served him well. Multiple Sclerosis and cancer are formidable foes, and he needs all the fight he can muster.

Jason and his family grew up in Elburn. According to his mom, Deb Cornell, he played baseball as a boy, earning the name “Slugger.” He participated in wrestling through the Kaneland Knight’s Kids’ Club, and was on the football team at Kaneland High School. He graduated from Kaneland in 1999.

He was 22 years old and working on a five-year apprenticeship with the Illinois Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) when he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Although the apprenticeship was not an easy task, Jason said he tried not to let his disease get him down. He acknowledged that there were some tough times, but he successfully completed the apprenticeship and began his career as a union electrician.

He met and married Jaclyn almost six years ago, and the two began a family soon after. They have three boys, Noah, 4, Caleb, 3, and Liam, who is 10 months old.

Due to his MS, Jason was getting MRI scans every six months. Five years ago, his doctors found a brain tumor they diagnosed as benign.

Jason said that Noah was born between the time of his biopsy and the surgery to remove his tumor. Noah is currently in his second year of pre-school.

According to Jason, Caleb is a learner, absorbing everything around him. Liam, just beginning to move around, keeps his parents on their toes.

When Jason went in for his scan in March of this year, the tumor from five years ago had returned. He underwent surgery to remove it, but this time the tumor was malignant. The doctors told him it was a Glioblastoma Multiforme, a powerful, fast-acting and cancerous tumor.

Jason in April began a six-week round of chemotherapy and radiation as soon as he recovered from the surgery. He is about to begin his third round of chemo, and will continue with additional cycles for the next year.

“Without the scans, we wouldn’t have known,” Jason said.

“If he didn’t have MS, they wouldn’t have found the tumor so early,” Jaclyn said.
These statements are reflective of how Jason and Jaclyn are handling the situation. If there is a silver lining, they will find it.

“Attitude is so much of it,” Jaclyn said. “You have to live your life and just do your best every day. He doesn’t sit and dwell on it. I’m really proud of how he’s handling things, especially for his age.”

Jason, who turned 32 in February, said that he just keeps picking himself up every day.

“You never know how long you have. You just take it day to day,” he said.

Jason has a lot of family and friends in the area. His graduating class was fairly small, and he is still friends with many of his classmates.

“There’s about 15 or 20 people who see each other regularly,” former classmate Eric Rogers said.

Eric and Jason have been friends since they were in second or third grade.

“He has always been there for people,” Eric said. “He’s always been someone you could count on and go to for anything.”

Eric’s wife Kelli met Jaclyn when they were students at NIU. Jaclyn and Jason played matchmaker with Eric and Kelli, and the two couples share a close friendship.

Eric has taken Jason to some of his treatments at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital in Chicago, and Kelli has been a big source of support for Jaclyn.

Eric said that Jason has been unable to work since his surgery in March and subsequent chemo treatments. Eric and Kelli and a couple of their friends came up with the idea of a fundraiser to help out with Jason’s medical expenses and his family’s everyday expenses.

“We wanted to take some of the burden and stress off of them,” Eric said. “It really was a no-brainer.”

The Elburn Lions Club is partnering with them on the fundraiser, set for Saturday, Sept. 22, at Lions Park. Jason’s parents, Deb and Brad Cornell, are long-time Lions Club members. Kelli is the chairperson for what they have named “Jason’s Journey.”

Kelli and Jaclyn approached Jason awhile ago about sharing his story on Facebook. Although at first he wasn’t sure that he wanted to, he ended up agreeing to it. The website includes Jason’s story, a place for him to provide updates and for people to leave messages, as well as to donate.

Jason said he was amazed by the number of people who responded, as well as the positive messages they sent him.

“It’s really humbling to know how much support there is out there for you,” he said. “There are people on there I couldn’t even tell you who they are, as well as family and friends.”

Jaclyn is also amazed by how much people have done for them. Some have sent cards and notes, others have donated their time to babysit with the children, run errands or bring them meals.

She said that since Jason has been diagnosed, people have been dropping things off about twice a week. From toilet paper and paper towels to meals, Jaclyn said that people have no idea how much these things have meant to them both.

“The little things mean so much,” she said. “They’ve lightened the load of our everyday life, and we can spend more quality time with each other, rather than having to spend our time running errands. I hope that, at some point, I can do the same for them.”

The outpouring of support has meant a lot to his mom and dad, as well.

“It is quite overwhelming,” Deb Cornell said. “We are most grateful and appreciative.”

“Jason has such a big heart,” she said. “He has always put others before himself. My husband and I look up to him. He never complains. He is the greatest person to be able to go through all of this and end up with a smile on his face.”

Although the outcome for Jason is far from certain, he continues to fight. Balancing the treatment for his MS with the chemo treatment for his cancer has proven a challenge, but he maintains a positive outlook.

“His response is always, ‘What’s the plan? What do we do next?’” Jaclyn said.

For more information about the Elburn Lions fundraiser, visit the website at

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