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Aurora Raiders Softball hosts tryouts Aug. 9, 10

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Tryouts for the Aurora Raiders Girls Fastpitch Softball team are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 9 and 10, at the West Aurora High School Varsity Softball Field, 1201 W New York St, Aurora.

On Saturday, the tryout will focus on:
• 11U/12U: All positions and hitting: 9-11 a.m.
• 16U: All positions and hitting: 2-4 p.m.
• 18U: All positions and hitting: 4-6 p.m.

On Sunday, the tryout will focus on:
• 11U/12U: All positions and hitting: 9-11 a.m.
• 16U: All positions and hitting: 2-4 p.m.
• 18U: All positions and hitting: 4-6 p.m.

Players only need to attend one tryout date; please arrive 15 minutes prior to tryout time for on-site registration and warm-ups.

The mission of the Aurora Raiders Girls Fastpitch Softball team is to create a fun environment for athletes to develop fundamental softball skills, engage in competitive sport, learn life-lessons on and off the field, and build long-lasting friendships.

The team consists of players from the Fox Valley area, including Elburn, Sugar Grove, Montgomery, Oswego, Aurora and more.

To learn more about the Aurora Raiders and online registration, visit www.aurorafastpitch.org.

Derks, Palmer win 2014 Corn Boil 5K

in Community Sports/Sports/Sugar Grove by

228 runners test themselves on the streets of Sugar Grove

SUGAR GROVE—Andy Derks made it two-for-two at the 2014 Corn Boil 5K.

After winning the event in 2013 with a time of 16 minutes, 12.1 seconds, the Sugar Grove resident won the event again this year with a time of 16:15.9.

“I moved to Sugar Grove last year, and thought it would be fun to do a race in my new hometown,” said Derks, who is also the cross country coach at Plainfield North High School. “I plan all summer to do it, but I just like to use it as a hard workout and part of my marathon training.”

Derks plans on competing in the 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

Yorkville resident Lena Palmer was the overall female winner. A former all-state runner with the Lady Foxes in cross country and track, the current Aurora University runner was surprised she was the female winner.

“I was pretty shocked that I won because the year that I did run it (2011), there was a lot of competition,” Palmer said. “The race didn’t go as well as I wanted it to, but it was still a pretty good race.“

Overall, 228 runners completed the race, ranging from 4-year-old Tess Muth of Yorkville (219th place; 47:33.6) to 74-year-olds Tyger Johnson of Dakota, Ill., (30th place; 23:04.7) and Phyllis Wells of Aurora (207th place, 43:25.5). The event has averaged over 257 runners per year since 2002, with the fewest running in 2002 (123) and the most in 2009 (355). The 2014 race had the fewest runners since 2010’s 224.

“We were down a little,” said Karen Pritchard, Superintendent of Recreation for the Sugar Grove Park District. “This year we didn’t have our Park District running club in the event.”

The running club brought in approximately 30 more registrations for the event.

“Maybe people thought it was going to rain,” Pritchard said. “I really thought we would have bigger numbers this year.”

Even with the slight dip in numbers, enthusiasm for the event hasn’t diminished in the eyes of Derks.

“I hope to continue to run the Corn Boil 5K every year,” Derks said. “I love the laid back atmosphere. I love the fact that I can roll out of bed and go sign up 30 minutes before the race.”

13U Palatine Champs

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The Wasco 13U All Star Team recently won the Palatine Community Classic. The team was 5-1 at the tournament and outscored its opponents 59-7. Jed Kuefler also won the home run derby at the tournament. The team includes John Tabor (back row, from left), Max Ledone, Vince Miszkiewicz, Joey Lupa, Ryan Dziatkowiec, Dalton Hollis (front row, from left), Ryan Vanderway, Jed Kuefler, Ryan Stangle and Cole Winslow. Athletes not pictured include Ben Chandler, Nick Aiello and Tanay Abichandani. The team is coached by Jeff Hollis, Rich Ledone, Frank Aiello and Bill Chandler.

Photo submitted by Dawn Kuefler to sports@elburnherald.com

KC Xplosion tryouts begin Aug. 4

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MAPLE PARK—The Kane County Xplosion softball will begin hosting tryouts Aug. 4 through Aug. 9.

On Monday, Aug. 4, all age groups can try out at Frontier Park in Naperville, Ill. Check-in begins at 5 p.m. with tryouts starting at 5:30 p.m.

On Tuesday, Aug. 5, 10U, 12U and 14U try outs will take place at Batavia High School, while 16U and 18U will take place at Kaneland High School. Both locations will have a 5 p.m. check-in and tryouts begin at 5:30 p.m.

On Thursday, Aug. 7, 10U, 12U, and 14U tryouts will take place at Kaneland High School, while 16U and 18U will take place at Batavia High School. Both locations will have a 5 p.m. check-in and tryouts begin at 5:30 p.m.

On Saturday, Aug. 9, 16U and 18U tryouts will have an 8:30 a.m. check-in with tryouts starting at 9 a.m. at Batavia High School. The 10U, 12U, and 14U check-in will begin at noon, with the tryouts starting at 12:30 p.m., also at Batavia High School.

For more information, visit KCXplosion.com, or email kcxplosion@gmail.com.

Bringing the heat

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IMG_2856Two Kaneland volleyball players, Jessie Weber (back row, second from right) and Maddie Keifer (back row, third from right) were part of the Kane County Juniors club team that placed third at the Volleyball Festival International Championships in Phoenix June 26-29. Photo submitted by Bob Webber to sports@elburnherald.com

Kane County Juniors finish third in 15-year-old bracket in Phoenix

PHOENIX—Summer is a time for local athletes to showcase themselves in a realm outside the Maple Park fields and courts.

Lady Knight volleyball talents Jessie Weber and Maddie Keifer did so in Phoenix last month as part of the annual Volleyball Festival International Championships June 26-29.

Housed at the Phoenix Convention Center, the festival featured teams from the 12-through-18 age range on the club circuit, and had a majority of teams from Arizona, California and Washington, and teams like Weber and Keifer’s Kane County Juniors 15 Gold squad to complete the 73-team age bracket.

The extravaganza also featured teams from British Columbia and Trinidad and Tobago.

The Gold crew, with head coach KC Johnsen, went 8-2 during the four-day trial and finished in third place.

In the Saturday championship bracket, the Gold side beat Epic 15-Shawn in a 25-20, 25-20 match before beating Legacy 15 Elite in a 25-22, 25-23 affair. The Juniors took a 25-17, 25-21 rematch with Epic 15-Shawn before losing to eventual winner AZ Sky 15 Gold, 23-25, 25-21, 15-3, which stopped the eight-match win streak, and second-place club El Paso Stars 15 Blue, 25-12, 25-13, in the double elimination chance.

Assistant coach Cindy Weber, Jessie’s mother, felt it was a successful tournament gathering.

“For lack of a better term, the other teams were gunning for us,” Weber said. “We didn’t have their height, but we were a quick team out there.”

With teams from all over, the Kane County crew was no stranger to unique settings like Phoenix and a Navy Pier tournament last month, Weber said.

“We were able to get our kills and blocks in, and it was really a fun experience. The Kane County Juniors have been to Arizona, and we were very excited to go again this time,” Weber said.

The 15 Gold contingent improved to 59-13 with the Phoenix performance.

Photos: youth baseball and softball

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Kaneville Skeeters Ellie Peck hits a line drive to center field during a game against the Sugar Grove Tigers Monday at the Kaneville West Softball Field. 
Photo by Mary Paulson

Photos from various community sporting events

Good weekend

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The Kaneland 9U Travel Baseball team finished second at the 2014 Oswego Cobra Summer Classic Tournament, held June 20-22. The team includes coaches Bryan Miller (back row, from left), John Robinson, Jeff Violett, Jim Van Horn and Jim Wituk, and players Elliott Kovacs (middle row, from left), Collin Miller, Johnny Spallasso, Parker Violett, Patrick Collins, Lane Robinson (front row, from left), Alex Panico, Luke Wituk, Jake Gagne and Troyer Carlson. Santino Grano was not pictured. Tryouts for the 2015 season begin in July.

Photo submitted by Jim Wituk to sports@elburnherald.com

Kaneland Youth Soccer fall registration through July 7

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ELBURN—The Kaneland Youth Soccer Organization (KYSO) is taking registrations for its fall recreational soccer season through July 7 at www.kanelandyouthsoccer.com. For registration related questions, contact Mo Gannon at (630) 463-9001, ext. 707, or by email at registrar@kanelandyouthsoccer.com.

The fall recreational season includes eight games running from Sept. 6 through Oct. 18. All games and practices are held at the KYSO fields next to Kaneland High School in Maple Park. Games are played on Saturdays between 9 a.m. and noon. Each team typically practices one evening per week.

Registration is open to boys and girls ages 3 through 17 and special needs players through the TOPSoccer program.

Three- and 4-year-olds play in the Little Knights program. This introduction to soccer program includes eight, one hour skills and games sessions on Saturday mornings. Little Knights is $50 and includes a soccer jersey.

The recreational program for ages 5 through 17 is $110 through July 7. Recreational soccer includes a full uniform including jersey, shorts, socks, volunteer coaches supported by college level players, trainers and certified referees. After July 7, the normal registration rate of $145 is in place. Discounts are available for multiple player families.

KYSO also provides a TOPSoccer program for players with special needs. TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer) is a national soccer program created to train young people with disabilities in a caring coaching environment. The program is generally carried out by volunteers at the local level, with financial support from US Youth Soccer and local youth soccer organization such as KYSO. TOPSoccer is offered free to registered players.

KYSO features small sided games, balanced teams and college level trainers to support player development and provide coach support.

Player assessments for all age groups will be conducted in early August and teams formed immediately after assessments. Practices begin the week of Aug. 18.

KYSO provides Big Rock, Elburn, Hinckley, Kaneville, Maple Park, Sugar Grove, and Virgil youth with recreational soccer opportunities. KYSO has approximately 50 recreational soccer teams for boys and girls ages 4 through 17. KYSO recreational program teaches soccer through the use of smaller teams and fields, maximizing participation by all. The program also allows young players to learn and enjoy soccer in a positive and fun environment, usually in their own community with the same children with whom they go to school.

For the player who is primarily interested in fun, fitness and friendship; KYSO provides a healthy activity through its recreational and small sided games program. This program emphasizes fun and de-emphasizes winning at all costs. Every child is guaranteed playing time (three quarters minimum) and the game is taught in a fun and enjoyable atmosphere.

Registration for 2014 fall fastpitch youth softball starts July 1

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WASCO—Wasco Girls Fastpitch Softball League (WGFSL) registration for the 2014 fall ball season starts July 1. WGFSL is a recreational softball league open to all area girls from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Games are played on Saturdays and Sundays at fields in northwest St. Charles.

Practices start in early August with games starting Aug. 23 and conclude with the Susan G. Komen tournaments mid-October.

WGFSL also offers fall ball training camps., but space is limited.

Players may download a registration form, or register online after July 1 at www.wascofastpitch.com. There are no “out-of-district” fees. WGFSL is celebrating its 26th year.

Kaneland United Soccer Club tryouts begin May 19

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ELBURN—The Kaneland United Soccer Club (KUSC) is holding tryouts for its competitive travel program May 19 through 30.

Players need to pre-register online at www.kanelandunitedsoccerclub.com or contact Brad Simmons at (630) 463-9001, ext. 709.

KUSC fields girls and boys teams in the U8 and above age groups. Boys teams compete in the Northern Illinois Soccer League (NISL) and girls teams compete in the Illinois Women’s Soccer League (IWSL).

Boys tryouts will be held from May 19-23, while girls tryouts will be held from May 27-30. All tryouts will be held at Blackberry Elementary School in Elburn beginning at 5:30 p.m. Arrive 15 minutes early.

The KUSC program provides year round player development, competitive games in the leagues it participates in and tournament play. Teams are led by experienced and licensed coaches, and player development includes working with trainers with significant club and professional backgrounds.

House of Steel

in Community Sports/Elburn/Kaneland/Regional/Winter Sports by
stefanos sioux falls cropped

Lekkas brothers have lived lives on ice
ELBURN—There’s a whole lot of hockey talent in Elburn.

Much of it is courtesy of one household.

The Lekkas brothers of Elburn have long shown an affinity for hockey, having all participated to various degrees. Even when not participating, the chill of the sport was always around.

“Hockey was always on TV in the house, always that instead of MTV,” said Stefanos, who graduated high school in Springfield this past December and has donned the goalie mask for the NAHL’s Springfield Jr. Blues and currently for the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede.

Older brother Stelios, a sophomore in the medical program at University of Illinois-Chicago, also participated in cross country at Kaneland and played hockey before shoulder surgery put his ice career on the backburner. Youngest, but not least, is eighth-grader Evan, who attends Kaneland Harter Middle School and is currently playing “AAA” level with the Chicago Young Americans this spring.

“There was always 110 percent support for each other. Our house was definitely a hockey home,” Stefanos said. “I think it was great my parents (Angelo and Lisa) followed it.”

Angelo, principal of Genoa-Kingston middle school, is able to view the sport as a bonding experience for any family, not just the Lekkas’ of Elburn.

Courtesy photos
Courtesy photos
“Hockey is a very family-oriented sport,” Angelo said. “Due to the long distances and overnight trips, families and players spend many hours together in rink lobbies and hotels. Very strong bonds develop. The relationships they build last a lifetime.

“Each of the boys drove their decision to play and the level to which they take their game,” Angelo said.

Stefanos, who was named team MVP in Springfield at the conclusion of the last season, was called up to Sioux Falls and got thrown into the fire on ice, having to step into goal in the middle of the April 5 regular season finale against the Omaha Lancers. Stopping 12 of 12 shot attempts in the 3-2 loss, the netminder was cognizant of the level of play.

“Every level you move up, the players that move up with you are better,” he said. “You’re playing for an opportunity and trying to go to college for free.”

The Stampede, facing the Waterloo Black Hawks this week in the USHL playoffs first round, led the league in attendance with over 127,000 fans in 2013-14 at the Sioux Falls Arena.

“Springfield is the capital, and it’s a good team, but hockey is big in Sioux Falls. They get a lot of support there and the arena is packed and the whole town rallies,” Stelios said. “I’ll always try to give him a shoutout on Facebook after a game or call him.”

The Tier 1 junior hockey level club has accented the strides Stefanos feels he’s made in the two years since suiting up for the Chicago Mission U16 club in Midget-level hockey.

“I’m just mentally able to handle adversity better and whatever comes along,” Stefanos said. “I just try to go out every day and stick with what works.”

Stelios had to make a decision after shoulder surgery stopped his forward momentum and championship run with the “AA” level Northwest Chargers of Hoffman Estates, Ill., but can still be supportive and offer experience.

“I still wanted to play, and it kind of sucks to stop,” Stelios said. “I talked it over with my parents, who played a big role, and it was tough at the time, but it ended up being the right decision.”

The current UIC Flame student can point at his mask-donning brother as taking the passion to a new level in the family.

“Hockey is definitely our No. 1 sport. I’m not as crazy as my brother about it, he was only hockey. We would watch it all the time on TV, but we still have our stupid shows we watch,” Stelios said.

Now with Evan coming up through the ranks, the elder brothers can relive a bit of what they went through, and even issue perspective.

“Evan’s getting up there now, and it’s cool to see and to see him go through some of the same things I went through,” Stefanos said. “I’ll do anything I can for him.”

“He’s a real hard worker, and it’s going to turn out all right for him,” Stelios said. “He’s very focused.”

With the brothers having spent countless hours in chilly ice arenas, pride for the hockey accomplishments don’t need to thaw.

“I’ve been very fortunate to spend hundreds of hours with each of my kids coaching them on the ice,” Angelo said.

Stefanos and the Stampede began the first round of the Western Conference semifinals in Waterloo, Iowa, on Friday, losing 7-4 to Waterloo. Saturday saw the the Stampede lose 6-3, they now travel back to home ice tonight at 7:05 p.m.

When not picking
up the stick, the brothers are also musically inclined.
Stelios plays piano,
Stefanos plays trumpet
and Evan plays violin.

Cagers are champs

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The seventh-grade boys Cagers basketball team won the league tournament championship over March 15-16. The team includes Sam Weigand (front row, from left), Brett Wallner, John Schaefer, Spencer Brown, Head Coach Hunter Emigh (back row), Declan McDonald, Joe Such, Sheldon Bartmann, Luke Brost and Ben Saloga. Not pictured are Drew Hahn and assistant coach Brian Schaefer.
Photo submitted by Neil Wallner to sports@elburnherald.com

Team Harvell wins KYBL Tournament

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The Kaneland Youth Basketball League title went to Team Harvell during the March 15 tournament that took place at Kaneland Harter Middle School. The team included Aiden Watkiss (front, left to right), Daniel DiChiarro, Caleb Hubbard and Dylan Lederman; coach Bailey Harvell (back), Aaron Glover, Mason Kottmeyer, Owen Branson, Wyatt Harvell, Ryan Rinella and coach Henry Harvell.

Photo submitted by Henry Harvell to the Elburn Herald office

Cagers bring home championship

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Cagers-6thThe Kaneland Cagers won the sixth-grade youth basketball championship over Burlington Central 33-31 this past weekend at Genoa High School. The team includes coach Tom David (back row, from left), Niko Scheibal, Brett David, Aiden Korpela, coach Josh Carlson, Colby Sochia (front row, from left), Trevor Carlson, Colton Doll and Dylan Calabrese.
Photo submitted by Josh Carlson to sports@elburnherald.com

Silverstars are golden

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silverstarsThe fifth-grade Kaneland Silverstars took home the championship trophy at the Grayslake tournament Feb. 23. This was the end of the season for the girls whose record was 24-5 overall. Pictured (from left) are Kelsey Modaff, Chloe Conley, Taylor Carlson, Kylie Holubecki, Nora Crimmins, Delaney Lancaster, Abby Peeler and Mya Saltijeral. The team was coached by Lori Crimmins, Stacy Carlson and Chad Conley. Photo submitted by Lori Crimmins via ElburnHerald.com

Hawks honor two local high school seniors

in Community Sports/Elburn/Hometown/Kaneland/Sugar Grove by

GENEVA—The Fox Valley Hawks honored its seniors Sunday, which included an Elburn and a Sugar Grove resident.

Kaneland senior and Elburn resident Mike Potvin, an assistant captain and left wing, started playing hockey at age four, plans to attend Waubonsee Community College next year.

Mike Hill, a Sugar Grove resident and senior at Aurora Central Catholic High School, has been playing the last four years, and plans to attend the University of Wisconsin/Platteville majoring in Engineering.

The hockey team, consisting of players from Aurora Central Catholic, Batavia, Kaneland, St. Charles East and St. Charles North high schools, plays at Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva.

3-on-3 tournament registration open

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SUGAR GROVE—Registration is open for Kaneland Youth Basketball’s fourth annual President’s Day 3-on-3 tournament.

The tournament is hosted at Harter Middle School from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 17.

Registration is $20 per team.

There are fourth through eighth grade divisions, as well as boys and girls divisions. There will also be A & B divisions, depending on the number of registrations. Medals will be awarded to each division champion.

To register, visit KanelandBasketball.org.

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