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Volleyball goes for Blue & Gold

in Volleyball by

Photo: Junior Ellie Dunn (left) had eight points and 12 kills, but the Lady Knights fell short at Burlington Central Tuesday, falling to 3-3. Photo by Patti Wilk

Wheaton North tourney provides first test of season
KANELAND—A usual stop for Kaneland volleyball to begin the 2013 season would be anything but this time around.

With a roster infused with new personnel and a new coach in Kerri McCastland, the Lady Knights could approach the Wheaton North High School stop as an early barometer. Kaneland ended up with a 3-2 mark and beat Arlington Heights, Ill., outfit St. Viator for the fifth-place honor in the Aug. 28 and Saturday tournament.

“It allows you come you to take an assessment of your team and then come home and work on things before Saturday. Wheaton North’s tournament was well run well and we saw a lot big 4A schools for volleyball. It’s always good to play up and beat some very good programs by the end,” McCastland said.

Jenny Lubic, the Lady Knights senior representative, was named to the All-Tournament team.

Kaneland was placed in Pool C, along with former Suburban Prairie Conference North Division and Western Sun Conference rival Glenbard South and Buffalo Grove on Aug. 28. Kaneland was trumped by GS by a 25-18, 25-21 margin, but came back to solve the Lady Bison 16-25, 25-18, 25-23.

On Saturday, Kaneland began Gold Division play with a loss to Glenbard West in 19-25, 25-14, 25-15 fashion, but came back for a 25-21, 25-19 win over Stagg. KHS fifth-place win over the Lady Lions of St. Viator was by count of 25-18, 25-20.

Montini Catholic beat Glenbard West in the title match, 25-17, 25-18.

On Tuesday at Burlington Central, Kaneland lost to the hosts 25-22, 25-13, 26-24 to fall to .500 on the season. Lubic contributed five points, 18 assists and two kills, while Ellie Dunn had eight points and 12 kills, and Anna Senese contributed 10 points and six kills. Bridget Ransford contributed five points and three kills.

Despite the loss to the Rockets, McCastland seemed pleased with the progress the team is making.

“The score shows a loss for Kanleand,” she said, “This is day 15 here at Kaneland with a new coach, new offense, new defense and a lot of learning. My team saw victory in so many areas tonight. We are better than Saturday when we last played.”

Kaneland’s next challenge takes the form of visitors Aurora Central Catholic on Thursday, Sept. 5.

A running start

in Boys Cross Country by

ELBURN—A short-handed Kaneland boys cross country team fell just short of a season-opening win.

In their first taste of competition for the 2013 season, the Knights harriers were edged by visiting Wheaton Academy 27-30. West Chicago placed third in the four-team meet with 100 points, while Hinckley-Big Rock did not field a full team.

Expected front-runner Kyle Carter wasn’t in the lineup for the Knights.

KHS was led by Nathaniel Kucera and Ryan Bower, as both battled up front with eventual winner Noah Van Dyke of Wheaton Academy over the three-mile course. In the end, Van Dyke opened a 14-second cushion on Kucera, who placed second with a time of 17 minutes, 15 seconds, while Bower was third in 17:21.

“Nathaniel Kucera and Ryan Bower were in the neighborhood of their course records from last year,” head coach Chad Clarey said. “I think they could use the home course to their advantage a little more, and we know how to help them do it.”

Luis Acosta used a fierce kick to place fourth for the Knights in 17:28, but then a wave of Wheaton Academy maroon came across the line to take places 5-9, sealing the win for the Warriors. Junior Adam Lesak placed 10th with a time of 18:04, while senior Phil Cutsinger placed 11th in 18:53.

“We like seeing Lesak less than 45 seconds from our leaders,” Clarey said. “Phil Cutsinger rallied as our No. 5 and capped off our scoring.”

The Knights run next Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. at Elburn Woods in a triangular meet with East Aurora and Yorkville.

Photo: Nathaniel Kucera led the Knights with a 2nd place finish, followed closely by Ryan Bower in 3rd, Tuesday night at Elburn Woods.
Photo by Ben Draper

Kaneland results:
2. Kucera 17:15
3. Bower 17:21
4. Acosta 17:28
10. Lesak 18:04
11. Cutsinger 18:53
13. Robertsen 19:13
14. Reger 19:13
15. Park 19:31
37. Rawers 24:54
38. Pennington 25:02

Bower’s way

in Girls Cross Country by

Photo: Sophomore Brianna Bower earned her first individual cross country victory in Tuesday’s season opener at Elburn Woods. Photo by Ben Draper

Sophomore takes individual win in season opener
ELBURN—Many runners start a cross country race, but only one gets to win.

On an afternoon where runners finally were able to escape the heat that plagued them the previous week, the Lady Knights opened up with their usual four-team meet against Hinckley-Big Rock, West Chicago and Wheaton Academy, led by the sophomore’s individual win.

When the dust settled, Kaneland finished third as a team with 48 points, behind winner West Chicago’s 38 and Wheaton Academy’s 42. H-BR did not field a full team.

Highlighting the afternoon for KHS was Bower’s win, followed by a second-place showing by senior Sydney Strang.

Bower covered the 2.42 mile course in 15 minutes, 14 seconds, 37 seconds ahead of Strang.

A 2013 track all-stater in the 3200m, Bower was happy with how she ran.

“It feels great,” she said. “I just didn’t know what to expect,but I think this year is going to be a good one and I’m really excited to race.”

It was Bower’s first individual win in cross country.

Returning 2A state champion Victoria Clinton was the third Lady Knight to cross the finish line, placing 11th with a time of 16:33. Rounding out the top five were junior Jessica Kucera (16:51) and senior Anna Piazza (17:31).

“Overall they felt good about how they ran, and I was pleased with their performances for the first meet of the season,” said KHS head coach Doug Ecker.

The girls cross country team travels to the Oregon Invitational this Saturday at 9:30 a.m., and then hosts East Aurora and Yorkville at Elburn Woods next Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.

Kaneland results:

1. Bower 15:14
2. Strang 15:51
11. Clinton 16:33
14. Kucera 16:51
20. Piazza 17:31
22. Carlson 18:04
23. Espino 18:10
24. Shaw 18:11
25. Huber 18:25
37. Booton 19:55
38. Dodis 19:55
40. Havlin 20:10
41. Klingensmith 20:10
42. Coyle 20:14
43. Sommerville 20:18
45. Pankala 20:54
47. Batholomew 21:09
48. Garcia 21:09
51. Delach 21:24
52. Hedgren 21:54

Photo Gallery: 2013 Knights Under the Lights

in Boys Cross Country/Boys Soccer/Football/Girls Cross Country/Golf/Kaneland/Tennis/Volleyball by

Photos from Thursday, Aug. 22.

2013 Football Preview: The road black

in Football by

Photo: Senior quarterback Drew David, here taking the field at last Thursday’s Knights Under the Lights scrimmage, will lead the Knights in 2013. The Knights are looking to move past an early second-round playoff exit in 2012. Photo by Patti Wilk

Talented upperclassmen look to remedy second-round exit of 2012 season
Kaneland—Get ready Kaneland football fans, and prepare to retreat Kaneland football opponents.

Nothing may be more dangerous to opponents than a team that has won 28 regular season games in a row and a class that has won 34 of 47, and wants to remedy a second-round Class 5A elimination at the hands of Lincoln-Way West.

“The kids still feel embarrassed how it ended last year,” seventh-year coach Tom Fedderly said. “We’ve looked at the film of our scrimmage and we want to take a big step improving. We’ll look for faster improvement for this week.”

“We’ve looked at the film of our scrimmage and we want to take a big step improving.  We’ll look for faster  improvement for  this week.” KHS football coach  Tom Fedderly
“We’ve looked at the film of our scrimmage and we want to take a big step improving.
We’ll look for faster
improvement for
this week.”
KHS football coach
Tom Fedderly
Leading the way at quarterback is Drew David, a senior who’s guided the team to the postseason two straight years. David suffered a hand injury in a victory over Yorkville in last year’s regular season, even missing the win over Sycamore. A pin was put in his hand, and Fedderly has a healthy quarterback again.

“We at Kaneland have been lucky as anyone for the quarterbacks we’ve had, no doubt,” Fedderly said.

Fellow senior Jesse Balluff once again sees time at the running back position.

“It’s nice to have him and have that balance in a spread offense. You have to prepare for him, and he’s a running threat,” Fedderly said.

Also in the backfield is bruiser and goal-line option Nate Dyer, who may also see some time on the other side of the ball at nose tackle.

The all-important wideouts in the Kaneland offensive package see some departures, but also see returnees like Dylan Nauert and Brandon Bishop.

Adding to the offense at wideout are John Pruett and Connor Fedderly. Tyler Slamans returns after an ACL injury to serve at tight end.

The offensive line features Alex Snyder, who has amassed the most varsity wins for any player in Kaneland football history, having joined the ranks as a freshman.

He’s joined by Joe Komel, in pursuit by college football programs, Shane Jorgensen, and Justin Diddell, with Tom Van Bogaert projected at center.

“We have a lot of big guys there, and average about 260 pounds,” Fedderly said.

On the ball-snatching side of the field, the linebacking corps features Gary Koehring, who had no shortage of key plays and stops in 2012. Sam Bower, Slamans and Dan Hammermeister. The Knights’ crew also has Tyler Carlson and Cole Carlson for linebacking duties, as well.

Kaneland also gets a boost from secondary play. JR Vest returns, and will be joined by Knights like Grant Wooten and Isaac Swithers.

“Isaac is a tough kid; the secondary has to know what the offense is trying to do,” Fedderly said.

Matt Rodriguez returns as the kicking specialist.

“It’s so important to have a kicker who can put it 80 yards downfield for field position,” Fedderly said.

Kaneland’s reputation precedes itself in NIB-12 history, as the only conference champ the group has ever known, but the East division houses threatening teams beginning with Class 5A runner-up Morris.

“Morris is always good, and that’s a really big game down there; Sycamore has a good senior class, and that’ll be interesting to watch against Lincoln-Way West in week one, Rochelle is always tough, we know DeKalb’s coach from having faced Belvidere in the playoffs the last two years, and Yorkville has eight sophomores that saw time last year,” Fedderly said.

KHS hosts Brooks Prep of Chicago on Friday, Aug. 30, and tries to add to the two-game win streak against the Eagles. KHS needed a fourth-quarter comeback for a one-point win in 2012.

2013 Girls CC Preview: Breezing past

in Girls Cross Country by
Girls Cross Country_2013_2

Photo: Tuesday’s high temperatures kept the girls cross country team indoors, but the Lady Knights won’t be cooled off this season. Kaneland is currently ranked 4th in DyestatIL.com’s preseason poll, and still feature returning state champion Victoria Clinton. Photo by Kimberly Anderson

Clinton, young company look to maintain area standing
KANELAND—There is only one way to try and eclipse a third-place sectional finish for Kaneland High School girls cross country.

For the remaining Lady Knights and new charges, it’s go about their business.

Kaneland rose to the occasion at the Belvidere Sectional, and returning junior Victoria Clinton outpaced the entire Class 2A field enroute to becoming State champ as Kaneland earned a sixth-place finish.

The sixth-place total, coupled with conference rival Yorkville’s first-place, showed the depth of talent in the area, and a high standard for KHS to maintain.

“It’ll be  a totally different  kind of team.  They’re going  to be young,  but they’ll be good.  It’ll take time to  figure it out.” KHS girls cross country coach Doug Ecker
“It’ll be
a totally different
kind of team.
They’re going
to be young,
but they’ll be good.
It’ll take time to
figure it out.”
KHS girls cross country coach
Doug Ecker
Gone from the top seven are runners like Amanda Lesak, Maggie Brundige and Abby Dodis. But Kaneland coach Doug Ecker believes in the team’s talent and work ethic to achieve similar heights and negate deficiencies.

“We lost four seniors, but we don’t have as much depth, so we can’t afford to lose anybody,” Ecker said. “It’ll be a totally different kind of team. They’re going to be young, but they’ll be good. It’ll take time to figure it out.”

It could be a case of learning on the job.

“Take someone like Brianna Bower, she ran 34th in the State meet and the traction got her confidence going. She’ll be much stronger,” Ecker said.

Clinton, Bower, Sydney Strang and Aislinn Lodwig are the returnees from the postseason lineup of a year ago.

Girls Cross Country seniors: Erika Carlson, Anna Piazza, Sydney Strang and Christina Delach. Not pictured: Riley Coyle and Kayla Hedgren.
Girls Cross Country seniors:
Erika Carlson, Anna Piazza, Sydney Strang and Christina Delach. Not pictured: Riley Coyle and Kayla Hedgren.
“Last year was an amazing year for Sydney, she was out the first two-thirds of the season with pneumonia. You don’t come back from that and she finished 38th in the State meet. The talent and the attitude is there, it’s just a matter of staying healthy,” Ecker said.

The roster consists of seniors Erika Carlson, Riley Coyle, Christina Delach, Kayla Hedgren, Anna Piazza and Strang. Juniors are Clinton, Grace Drake, Murphy Garcia, Sam Havlin, Jessica Kucera and Lodwig. Sophomores are Carly Bartholomew, Brianna Booton, Bower, Noelle Espino, Lilah Klingensmith, Haley Penkala and Sam Somerville. Freshman are Sarah Daley, Grace Dodis, Abigail Mejia, Cassidy Garland, Katie Huber and Abby Shaw.

“You always want the team to err on the side of caution in high school, and as they get older and stronger they’ll do more. Clinton is like that and the amazing thing is she’s a triathlete first and runner second,” Ecker said.

KHS will need its mix of experience and youth to do battle with the area.

“Yorkville is obviously the favorite and will be strong all the way through, and DeKalb comes back as a 2A school with Kelsey Schrader and Sycamore will be better,” Ecker said.

The girls cross country team hosts their first meet on Tuesday, Sept. 3.

2013 Soccer Preview: Seeking return to Sweet 16

in Boys Soccer by

Photo: After reaching the Sweet 16 in 2012, the Knights soccer program is working hard to repeat and improve on that success in 2013. Photo by Kimberly Anderson

Knights soccer wants to play up to last year’s level
KANELAND—It can be disappointing for a high school soccer squad to reach a sectional championship, only to fall short.

That’s just one way to look at it.

A more productive way is looking at how far talent can take you and what it can mean to the program.

Taking that tack, Kaneland High School soccer looks to accomplish big things in 2013 after a first-ever trip to a sectional title match and a 16-4-2 mark in 2012.

“In previous years, there were a lot of close matches we would have lost,” KHS coach Scott Parillo said. “But then we would win 2-1, instead of lose 2-1. East Moline United is 3A now; hopefully we get that far and that’s one less team we’ll have to worry about.”

Parillo’s crew doesn’t look to overstep the season on its way to similar heights.

“Everyone  is going to play at least  two positions.  The depth  is there. It’s  their time  to shine and take full  advantage  of this.” KHS soccer coach Scott Parillo
is going to play at least
two positions.
The depth
is there. It’s
their time
to shine and take full
of this.”
KHS soccer coach
Scott Parillo
“Of course we’d love to be Sweet 16 again and hopefully go farther. We graduated nine players and have 11 returning, and that’s a good thing,” Parilllo said.

Knight captains are midfielders junior Ivan Bohorquez, Tyler Siebert (four-year varsity) and Anthony Parillo (four-year varsity).

“Anthony is up for All-American honors and is a preseason All-American and All-State selection. That fact that he’s up for All-American is remarkable, you can’t beat that. But, he wants to have fun. The seniors want to have fun and hope it turns out like last year,” Parillo said. “They’re cautiously optimistic the new guys will gel quickly.”

Outside of the steady middle of the pitch, the Kaneland crew has a new goalkeeper, replacing Marshall Farthing.

“JT Karr was the backup last year, and he’s getting his chance to shine this year. He’s got the most experience; he’s going to be the one and we’ll go from there,” Parillo said.

Soccer captains:  Tyler Siebert, Ivan Bohorquez and Anthony Parillo.
Soccer captains:
Tyler Siebert, Ivan Bohorquez and Anthony Parillo.
Jake Bilotta also serves at goal for the Knights. Forwards include Kyle Romas and James Bartholomew, while midfielders include Peter Jefferson, Siebert, Parillo, Adhurim Azemi, Don Seawall, Ignacio Toscano, Arsim Azemi, Drew Franklin, Bohorquez and Michael Meisinger.

Defenders look to be Kolin Limbrick, Ryan Longson, Curtis Thorson, Chris Van Dinther, Matt Vander Sande, Jack Wolf, Esteban Ochoa and Jason Carlquist.

“Everyone is going to play at least two positions. The depth is there. It’s their time to shine and take full advantage of this,” Parillo said.

The Northern Illinois Big XII provides some interesting scenarios for Parillo’s team.

“Yorkville is on the rise, they’re good. Morris is going to surprise some people, and of course DeKalb. Sycamore is one of the great unknowns, and Rochelle is, too,” Parillo said.

Kaneland begins the season on Friday, Aug. 30, in Algonquin Ill., at Jacobs High School.

2013 Tennis Preview: The challenge to duplicate

in Tennis by

Photo: Returning singles state qualifier Sammie Schrepferman (right), here in action against West Chicago Tuesday, is joined by returning state doubles qualifiers Madi Jurcenko and Jelly Emmanouil to lead a strong group for coach Tim Larsen. Photo by Kimberly Anderson

All State entries return for tennis crew
KANELAND—Certain expectations are now in the midst of the Kaneland tennis program.
The hard work put into the matches have paid off for the Lady Knights and sixth-year coach Tim Larsen, with State entries the last three seasons.

A 9-3 dual mark and a top-two finish in the Northern Illinois Big XII landscape the last two seasons have the KHS unit feeling good and productive.

Juniors Madi Jurcenko and Jelly Emmanouil return as State entries in the No. 1 doubles side, while State singles competitor Sammie Schrepferman makes her return as a No. 1 singles entry.

Jurcenko and Emmanouil brought early success and enough of it to solidify their names in KHS tennis lore.

“First girls All-State team for us, it was a breakthrough,” Larsen said. “They’ll go down in history. We’ve had Lindsay Jurcenko, Amelia Napiorkowski and Sammie all make it to State in recent years, and it’s been very exciting for us.”

“We have to be ready.  Morris returns a No. 1  doubles, and Sycamore has  a No. 1 singles that’s  always good, and Yorkville  does, too. We have  to put in a solid effort and  be consistent.” KHS coach Tim Larsen
“We have to be ready.
Morris returns a No. 1
doubles, and Sycamore has
a No. 1 singles that’s
always good, and Yorkville
does, too. We have
to put in a solid effort and
be consistent.”
KHS coach Tim Larsen
The upward mobility of the team brings an edge to the landscape.

“The surrounding team has improved tremendously with their work ethic and speed, and they come with experience,” Larsen said.

Schrepferman was a gamble as a freshman for the top spot two years ago and that has paid off for Larsen and Co.

“She is a warrior, and she knows when she’s playing well and not playing well. She’s in a fight on the court,” Larsen said.

The singles and doubles entries are fluid in the early goings of the season, with juniors Colleen Landers and Stephanie Zwick being penciled in for the singles and fellow junior Stephanie Karolewicz also seeing time. Mallory Dugan and Anna Wendling could be put into spots that solidify as the season goes on.

“They’ve put in solid practices,” Larsen said.

Tennis team captains: Madi Jurcenko, Colleen Landers and Sammie Schrepferman.
Tennis team captains:
Madi Jurcenko, Colleen Landers and Sammie Schrepferman.
The complete roster has seniors Abby Meyer, Kaylee Shoaff joining Zwick. Remaining juniors are Julia Golbeck, Madi Michaels, Jessica Poust, along with sophomores Heather Albrecht, Katelyn Blaszynski, Emily Lutter, Ally McPhee, Marissa Michi, Emily Mirocha, Courtney Pree and Brittany Zablocki. Freshmen are Jessie Bowgren, Mary Collum, Kayla Corirossi, Lauren Karolewicz, Katrina McKnew, Abby Purnell, Marley Schultz, Kristen Siebert and Liz Towell.

The conference set-up has tilted toward the Lady Knights, with Larsen aware of the task at hand.

“We have to be ready. Morris returns a No. 1 doubles, and Sycamore has a No. 1 singles that’s always good, and Yorkville does, too,” Larsen said. “We have to put in a solid effort and be consistent.”

Next up for the team is a trip to Glenbard North tonight at 4:30 p.m., and a tournament Saturday at Plainfield North which begins at 8 a.m.

2013 Golf Preview: Swing for success

in Golf by

Photo: Matt Yonkovich will be a part of the group that looks to return to the state meet, after making the trip as a team in 2012. File Photo

Knight golfers wish to get back to great heights
KANELAND—Knight golf wants to party again like its 1995.

Before last season, that year it was the last instance of Kaneland golf making it to State as a team.

Last year, the roster accomplished that feat, and has the select returnees to make enough of a difference to get back there.

With personnel like Luke Kreiter, Connor Williams, Sean Glennon and Dan Miller off to college, the talented program sees the re-emergence of senior cornerstones like Matt Yonkovich and Brody Kuhar.

Yonkovich and Kuhar, along with senior Stephen Cannell and junior Jesse Denton, are part of a golf team that is familiarizing itself with success after a Northern Illinois Big XII title and regional title to mark 2012.

“A conference title is something we want  to attain, and we’ll focus on those goals.   We know there aren’t  going to be any pushovers  in our conference.” KHS golf coach  Mark Meyer
“A conference title is something we want
to attain, and we’ll focus on those goals.
We know there aren’t
going to be any pushovers
in our conference.”
KHS golf coach
Mark Meyer
“We’ve played three tournaments and a quad, with two being good and two being mediocre,” ninth-year coach Mark Meyer said. “I think the most important thing for our team right now is finding someone for that fifth and sixth spot that can step up.”

Finding those last two slots would help production, as well as solving any questions of depth.

“It’s very hard to rely on the same four people. Law of averages says a couple of the guys will have a bad round, and some will have a good round. We want to go to that next level where we’ll be very competitive heading into conference and regionals,” Meyer said.

Through Geneva- and Plainfield-hosted invites, the four established Knights have accustomed themselves well to area play. Members trying to make their way into the lineup on a consistent basis are: senior Josh Kilgore, juniors Jacob Sheehan, Zach Strayve, Jacob Sanders, CJ Wehrmann and Jeremy Faletto, sophomores Drew Diffendal and Brandon Cruz, and freshmen Jake Head, Brett Glennon, Dan Frank, Jeff VanGemert, Brock Williams, Jake Pearson, Jake Hummel, Joey Brandonisio, Michael Petrick and Luke Calabrese.

The team’s level of success will be in part due to the Yonkovich-Kuhar duo.

“They saw time freshmen year, and were co-MVP’s sophomore year. Both have separated themselves as team leaders and captains. This season, especially, they’ve separated themselves along with Denton and Cannell,” Meyer said.

Conference-wide, the Knights know their plate is full with plenty of NIB-12 threats.

“A conference title is something we want to attain, and we’ll focus on those goals,” Meyer said. “ We know there aren’t going to be any pushovers in our conference.”

2013 Boys CC Preview: Stride right

in Boys Cross Country by

Photo: Head coach Chad Clarey’s Knights look to make some noise at the conference and state levels in 2013. The Knights are currently ranked 11th in DyestatIL.com’s preseason poll. Photo by Kimberly Anderson

Knight harriers hope health and improvement go long way in ‘13
KANELAND—Productive finishes are a funny thing, sometimes.

For KHS boys cross country, the challenge is now to live up to the noteworthy end of 2012, by combatting the graduation losses and a consistent work ethic.

Gone are key elements like Conor Johnson, John Meisinger and Brandon Huber, but potent talent still remains who know what’s expected of them.

Assets like seniors Kyle Carter, Nathaniel Kucera, Luis Acosta and Ryan Bower remain.

All feet will have to be on deck to match and surpass a fifth-place sectional finish and a 13th Class 2A State output.

“We have four of our top seven back, and three of those seven have State championship experience from track,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said. “Ryan Bower is also an accomplished 9:50 two-miler. Those four have us sitting in a good position with senior leadership and experience. They understand the pressures of big meets.”

Those four are a pleasant group to have, but Clarey wishes for a solidifying of the rest of the lineup for conference tussles and Saturday invites.

“What weighs heavily is where do we go when it comes to keeping everyone healthy,’ he said. “When you feel like you’ve been dealt a nice hand, and we’re not anything but one of those teams that tries to qualify out of that sectional, we have to work to stay healthy and we’ve made adjustments to our training.”

“... in my 19th season, I’ve learned you may have an idea what’s going to happen, but you roll with whatever you’re given” KHS boys cross country coach  Chad Clarey
“… in my 19th season, I’ve learned you may have an idea what’s going to happen, but you roll with whatever you’re given”
KHS boys cross country coach
Chad Clarey
Seniors looking to crack into the everyday lineup include Dylan Kuipers, Phil Cutsinger and Brock Robertsen. Juniors include Mitch Reger, Adam Lesak, Brandon Park, James Walker, Connor Pennington and Phil Rawers.

Clarey cites upperclassmen Kuipers, Cutsinger, Lesak and Walker as examples who could see time, along with sophomore Sean Spaetzel.

“Bower and Lesak have really turned things up a notch, which makes it great for us as coaches. But in my 19th season, I’ve learned you may have an idea what’s going to happen, but you roll with whatever you’re given,” Clarey said.

Boys cross country seniors: Phil Cutsinger, Nathaniel Kucera and Kyle Carter (bottom row). Ryan Bower and Dylan Kuipers (middle row) and Luis Acosta.
Boys cross country seniors:
Phil Cutsinger, Nathaniel Kucera and Kyle Carter (bottom row).
Ryan Bower and Dylan Kuipers (middle row) and Luis Acosta.
Additional sophomores include Will Kuipers, Elliott Mejia, Aaron French, Kyle Osborne and Alex Gale.

Freshmen are Noah Duffey, Michael Booton, Anthony Messina, Andrew Kantola, Troy Moss, Cole Rutter and Danny Walker.

Around the Northern Illinois Big XII landscape has a steady group not affected by heavy turnover.

“The only school that might be affected is DeKalb, who had a great team last year and graduated five of their top seven. Dixon will be a top five school. Yorkville, if they’re healthy, will seriously be a factor. Things happen over the course of a season,” Clarey said.

KHS boys cross country heads to the Elburn Woods course for a triangular against West Chicago and Wheaton Academy on Tuesday, Sept. 3.

2013 Volleyball Preview: New faces, new era

in Volleyball by

Photos: Senior captain Jenny Lubic will provide leadership for first-year coach Kerri McCastland’s Lady Knights. Photo by Patti Wilk

McCastland era begins with mission to duplicate success
KANELAND—It’s a different look to the ladies of the court for Kaneland.

There’s a change at the top, with experienced head coach Kerri McCastland taking over the reins left to her by Todd Weimer. KHS also has to offset the vacancy of six seniors from a year ago that helped pave the way to a 23-13 record and sectional appearance.

With a newly structured roster in place and action underway, McCastland is pleased with how the rigorous prep has left the volleyball team.

“It’s been a run out of the gate with excitement,” McCastland said. “The kids are hungry to learn and hungry to get after what they’re coming to do. They’ve bought in at every level, whether it’s the physicality of the game or the skill part of the game, and we’re excited to play.”

“The kids are hungry to learn and hungry to get after what they’re coming to do. They’ve bought in at every level, whether it’s the  physicality of the game  or the skill part of the game, and we’re excited to play.” KHS volleyball coach Kerri McCastland
“The kids are hungry to learn and hungry to get after what they’re coming to do. They’ve bought in at every level, whether it’s the
physicality of the game
or the skill part of the game, and we’re excited to play.”
KHS volleyball coach
Kerri McCastland
Having to turn the page from the only system the program has known since 2005 can be a major adjustment, but the KHS crew looks to be game to learn as quickly as possible and solidify the lineup.

“It’s been hard work, but these are their words, ‘but it’s been good work’. That’s a great testament to the kids,” McCastland said.

McCastland realizes the stakes as a new coach coming into a team that achieved notable heights a year ago.

“It’s both ends of the sword, they graduated an awful lot of seniors from that successful team and left a great legacy. We have a young team, and a new-formatted team, with some freshmen and sophomores, a large majority of juniors and a senior setter who’s going to lead the whole pack,” McCastland said.

Volleyball team captains: Elizabeth Dunn, Jenny Lubic and Riley Hannula.
Volleyball team captains:
Elizabeth Dunn, Jenny Lubic and Riley Hannula.
Senior Jenny Lubic brings a wealth of experience, and experience as a captain, continuing the Lubic production cycle begun by sister Jessica under Weimer.

Juniors include Ellie Dunn, Brittany Grider, Riley Hannula, Rachel Kintz, Regan Prost and Anna Senese. Sophomores are Vanessa Gould, McKenzie McMullan, Kathy Nguyen and Bridget Ransford. Freshman on the squad are Alex Anderson and Hannah Nauert.

“There’s joint passion. Thirteen players are hungry and interested in learning in a hot gym. They want to be great,” McCastland said.

Trying to match a 23-13 record and sectional appearance will happen in large part due to mistakes avoided on the court, as well.

“They need to avoid falling back into old habits. I would love for them to embrace the learning that has occurred and trust in it and be consistent in it,” McCastland said.

With the journey having already begun with a gathering of teams at Wheaton North, Kaneland looks to have its hands full with members of the Northern Illinois Big XII.

“I have great respect for the conference right now,” McCastland said. “As an official in the conference last year, you know a little bit of who graduated. I hear Sycamore’s new coach is very good, and that’s exciting. I think Morris has always generated a good team. I think Yorkville has a fiery and knowledgeable coach, and you can’t underestimate them. DeKalb has a very seasoned club coach who has a lot of leadership. Entering every conference game, we have to prepare for the team we’re going to face.”

Sports recap Aug. 29

in Golf/Tennis by

Varsity Tennis
vs. West Chicago—On Tuesday, the Lady Knights opened their season at home against the visiting West Chicago Wildcats, winning 6-1.

Winners included No. 1 singles Sammie Schrepferman (6-1, 6-0 over Shannon McCarthy) and No. 3 singles Stephanie Karolewicz (6-0, 6-1 over Edith Munoz), and all doubles pairings: No. 1 Doubles Madi Jurcenko/Jelly Emmanouil (6-0, 6-0), No. 2 Stephanie Zwick/Kayee Shoaff (6-1, 6-1), No. 3 Mallory Dugan/ Anna Wendling (6-3, 6-3) and No. 4 Jessica Poust/ Mandi Michaels (6-3, 0-6, 10-8).

JV Tennis
at West Chicago—The JV tennis squad swept a match at at West Chicago Monday 7-0. In singles action, No. 1 Emily Lutter won 6-0, 6-0; No. 2 Brittany Zablocki won 6-1, 6-0; and No. 3 Marley Schultz won 6-0, 6-0. In doubles, No. 1 pair Katie Blaszynski and Emily Mirocha won 6-1, 6-2; No. 2 Heather Albrecht and Ally McPhee won 6-0, 6-2; No. 3 Lauren Karolewicz and Marissa Michi won 6-0, 6-0; and No. 4 Kayla Corirossi and Abby Purnell won 6-0, 6-0.

Varsity Golf
vs. Rochelle—Matt Yonkovich led all golfers with a 38 at the Knights won 161-175 over visiting Rochelle at Hughes Creek Golf Club Tuesday. Stephen Cannell shot a 40 for KHS, while CJ Wehrmann shot a 41 and both Brody Kuhar and Jesse Denton shot 42.

at Geneva Invite—Kaneland traveled to the Geneva Invite Aug. 22, placing 9th out of 21 teams with 318 points. Yonkovich shot a 74, and Denton shot a 79 to lead the Knights.

Results from Saturday’s Limestone Invite were not available by press time.

Fr/So Golf
vs. Rochelle—Freshman Brett Glennon was the top scorer with a 39 as the Knights Fr/So golf squad won easily over visiting Rochelle by a score of 165 to 230. Fellow freshmen Jake Hed shot a 39, and Dan Frank and Jeff VanGemert shot 43 a piece. Sophomore Luke Calabrese and freshman Drew Diffendal contributed 44’s.

Hughes Creek has two hole in ones in one week

in Elburn/Golf by

ELBURN—Hughes Creek Golf Club in Elburn announced a couple rarities—two seperate hole in ones—both in the same week.

On Tuesday, Aug. 13, Justin Abbey of Geneva shot a hole-in-one on the 135 yard, par 3 hole three. Abbey used an 8 iron with a Titleist ProV 1 golf ball.

Not to be outdone, Jim Flood of St. Charles shot a hole-in-one just five days later on Sunday, Aug. 18. Flood’s accomplishment came on the 206 yard, par 3 hole six, while using a driver and a Nike golf ball.

Golf sees strong start to season

in Golf by
Geneva_Golf_Quad 006

Kaneland’s Matt Yonkovich watches his ball after a putt on the second hole during a quad meet of Geneva, Glenbard South, South Elgin and Kaneland at Mill Creek Golf Club Tuesday. Photo by Erik Anderson

KHS golf team takes 2nd place at Geneva, Plainfield
KANELAND—A solid start by the Kaneland High School golf team highlighted the beginning of 2013, and could be one of a handful of highlights to look back on, provided things go their way the rest of the year.

At Mill Creek in Geneva on Tuesday, Kaneland took second in a quad meet that involved the hosts, Glenbard South and South Elgin. Monday had the Knight clubbers going to an invite hosted by Plainfield North High School, also seeing a second-place nod.

At Mill Creek, Geneva’s 300 was good to lead the pack, followed by a 303 for KHS, a 309 for Glenbard South and South Elgin’s 324 score.

While Russell Matos of Glenbard South had the medalist honor with a 70 effort, Kaneland’s top four totals provided a boost. Brody Kuhar shot a 72, followed by Matt Yonkovich’s 75, Jesse Denton’s 76 and Stephen Cannell’s 80.

At the Plainfield North Invite, Kaneland’s team score of 306 was 11 behind top-rated Wheaton North, and three strokes ahead of Lockport. Plainfield North (311) and Yorkville (323) rounded out the top five in the 15-team gathering.

Yonkovich was able to put his skill into action by shooting a 69, second-best out of all the field, with Kuhar’s 77 good for 15th overall. Denton and Cannell each produced an 80.

Kaneland’s Brody Kuhar putts while Geneva’s Nathan Desens watches during the same meet.Photo by Erik Anderson
Kaneland’s Brody Kuhar putts while Geneva’s Nathan Desens watches during the same meet.Photo by Erik Anderson
“Our team is pleased with the first few performances of the season,” KHS head coach Mark Meyer said. “Matt and Brody have already established themselves as leaders at the top of our lineup, and other players like Stephen Cannell and Jesse Denton have made significant improvements in the off season to work their way into the top four. We’re excited about where we can go from here.”

Kaneland faces off against the field at the Geneva Invitational, back at Mill Creek, on Thursday, Aug. 22.

McCastland teaches away from court

in Volleyball by

New KHS volleyball coach well-versed in leadership training, school improvement efforts
PLAINFIELD—Before taking care of volleyball business for Kaneland, Kerri McCastland is directing a group of upperclassmen on a Tuesday morning for her day job at Plainfield North High School.

While it’s taking place in the gym, there’s not a volleyball to be seen.

McCastland, having been certified nationally in programs such as Link Crew and Conflict Resolution, passes on training to the older students in order for the group to help steer the incoming Tiger freshmen in 2013 and beyond. A portion of the morning is exchanging personal stories of dealing with or observing school conflict.

The Geneva resident has developed leadership curriculum for students since being involved with the Plainfield School District.

After the Plainfield North principal and assistant principal became oriented with Link Crew, the decision was made to bring it in locally three years ago, according to McCastland.

“Link Crew is a freshman transition program with 1,000 high schools,” McCastland said. “I was trained to do it for my school as an investment by my principal to get trained nationally and do it for my school. We train top-tier leaders in the school how to run freshman orientation.”

Twelve freshmen are paired with one upperclassman and remain in contact with them for the freshman campaign.

“It builds relationships and gives freshmen a feeling that they can have a place in their school and they already know people,” McCastland said.

The guidance provided by McCastland and colleagues provide a helpful tool for the upperclassmen.

“They are the first problem-solvers and innately taking control of our building. A great school has all those elements in there because they know way before we do when something is wrong,” McCastland said.

A normal training day, three days before the start of school, begins with approximately 70-strong at 7 a.m. Listening and note-taking leads to smaller group activities, paving the way for the leaders to conduct those same activities for freshman orientation the next day.

“They’ll get down to the floor and talk about instances that will probably happen during the school year. How do we do our best to protect kids?,” McCastland said.

Employing leadership skills also paved the way for McCastland and her fellow educators to try something new last year, called Changing Your School in 36 Weeks.

“We sent a video capsule to Ellen (DeGeneres) for her show, and to show we did this and to change the culture for the better. We had three altercations at school last year total, with two remediated by students way before any adult got involved and mostly verbal, which was huge,” McCastland said.

Bringing a pedigree of training and experience, McCastland hopes the incoming Lady Knight volleyball squad can benefit.

“We foster a lot of leadership on the team and we are accountable to each other,” McCastland said. “Like a good teacher, the practice is the homework and the test is the match.”

Light entertainment

in Fall Sports/Sports by

Knights Under the Lights takes the stage next week
KANELAND—While having the summer fade into another school year, KHS athletes, family and fans can attend a reliable reminder of athletic excitement on Thursday, Aug. 22.

Knights Under the Lights hits Peterson Field in the evening, once again serving as a chance to meet the KHS entries of Northern Illinois Big XII competition before most of them take their respective fields for the year.

Introductions are set to begin at 6 p.m., beginning with sophomore and freshman football, followed by JV cheerleaders, cross country, tennis, golf and band.

After the band plays the fight song, the sophomore and freshman football squads take the field for a scrimmage. Volleyball and soccer are scheduled to be introduced at 7 p.m., with varsity cheer and poms next on the stage before the varsity football roster takes the field shortly thereafter.

The evening’s activities wrap up at 8:30 p.m., with team pictures taken on the varsity softball field. No admission is charged.

The Kaneland Sports Boosters are also holding their Dodge Test Drive Event Fundraiser before the event. During the exhibition, participants earn $20 to support the Kaneland Sports Boosters by taking a brief test drive in a new Dodge.

file photo

Knights football drills home summer with 7-on-7’s

in Football by

KANELAND—There’s no rest for KHS football, even in the summer.

With official practices now underway, the Knights got busy in the time off from school by participating with rival area schools in 7-on-7 gatherings that ended July 27.

Stripped down from the usual football get-up, but still wearing helmets and some pads, the Knights took the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of Kaneland football for the upcoming 2013 campaign, making the most of the 25 contact practices allowed during the summer months.

Kaneland, looking to make it a four-peat in the Northern Illinois Big XII conference East division, saw action at Northern Illinois University—where they went 5-1 on a weekend—against Aurora Christian, Metea Valley, Willowbrook and Geneva high schools throughout the summer.

The drill setup, more geared toward offense, provided a change of pace from having to see the same Knight faces.

“I think it’s really fun,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “The kids enjoy it, and it’s an opportunity for them to compete and it’s to see who’s not afraid to make plays. We don’t care if they won or lost, we just want them to play hard.”

Not much tinkering goes into the equation that has led to three consecutive undefeated regular seasons and two State semifinal appearances in the past three campaigns.

“The kids are just getting to learn our system and passing game, so we won’t put a whole lot in there. We want them to learn the basics. With experimentation, we might put kids at different positions to see how they look,” Fedderly said.

As much as a refreshing change of pace it might be for some of the everyday athletes and heavy contributors, it’s also important for those on other tiers of the team, as well.

“We play everyone in the summer, so it’s a really good opportunity for some of the kids that we haven’t seen as much to get some reps and see how they do,” Fedderly said.

An important step of the summer, the 7-on-7 gatherings have more awareness to them throughout the area, according to Fedderly.

“People want to put more tournaments together, and colleges do it because they can take a look at kids, especially at places like Northern and Northwestern,” Fedderly said.

Kaneland’s regular season kickoff takes place on Friday, Aug. 30, against Chicago’s Brooks Prep.

McCastland sees all sides of volleyball

in Volleyball by
Kerri Headshot 2013

New hire inherits program on rise, eager to be involved
KANELAND—Approved for the job two weeks ago, new Kaneland varsity volleyball head coach Kerri McCastland says, “It’s been a great two weeks.”

Followers of Kaneland volleyball, on the upswing with double-digit wins the last five years, hope McCastland can be at the forefront of a great 2013 and beyond.

“I’ve been a head coach and official, and have coached high school and club, and this was the first job opening in awhile that I’ve actively pursued,” McCastland said.

McCastland, who has taught at Plainfield North High School since 2005, and coached from 2005-09, is eager to be in the Kaneland fold after being approved at last month’s board meeting. She continues to teach health, P.E. and drivers’ education at PNHS.

“Todd Weimer left the program in great shape, and I’m happy for him that he can do what he wants to do. I’m excited to be joining Cyndi Violett and Breanne Kahl, who’ve held it together this summer, and Leigh Jaffke, too. It’s going to be a great community to be a part of with great parents,” McCastland said.

McCastland hasn’t coached in four years, after the 2008 birth of her son, Jake, a journey that involved three years and five miscarriages.

“That was going to be my focus, and I had to step away,” McCastland said.

McCastland and her husband, Tim, an educator in the St. Charles School District, live in Geneva with their son.

The veteran of area volleyball coached in Arizona from 1994-99 before returning to Illinois to coach Oak Forest (2000-01), Andrew (2002-03) and Plainfield South (2004) before her latest stop at Plainfield North. McCastland has also had a hand in coaching club outfits like Second City Volleyball and what became Club Fusion in the Batavia area.

Itching to be involved in the game once again, McCastland officiated area volleyball matches, even taking on some assignments at KHS.

“I was impressed with the sportsmanship of the kids on the team and with kids like Ashley (Prost) and Lyndi (Scholl) from last year,” McCastland said. “The team is fun to watch and the program has a lot of depth now, going down to the middle school, which is beautiful.”

McCastland has been involved with most any aspect of the sport one can name, but officiating the area sport has given her a thoughtful perspective and approach.

“It’s giving an understanding that everyone goes in there and, in the heat of the moment, gives it their very best,” McCastland.

The new head coach is excited to be the person the buck stops with, and about the new surroundings in 2013.

“The area is passionate and dedicated to the kids,” McCastland said. “It’s a privilege to be part of that tradition.”

Boys CC hosts baggo tournament fundraiser

in Boys Cross Country by

Sugar Grove—The Kaneland boys cross country team will host its inaugural Baggo Tournament Sunday, Aug. 25, at Kaneland Harter Middle School.

Entry fees for two-person teams are $20 per team for the high school and under division, and $40 per team for the adult (18-and-over, post-high school) division. The high school division begins at noon, and the adult division begins at 1:30 p.m. Entry deadline is Aug. 24. A limited amount of “day of” entries will be available.

Proceeds will help the boys cross country team purchase new meet warmups, and portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Marklund Home for disabled adults in Geneva.

To register or for more information, email kanelandxc@gmail.com.

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