Photo: Senior Brandon Park notched two victories in as many meets, while freshman Matthew Richtman was second at Elburn Woods Tuesday. Photo by Ben Draper
Invite win and flawless run at home round out boys cross country week
KANELAND—Senior Brandon Park can’t complain. It’s been two individual titles to go along with two-straight wins for the Knights cross country crew.
On Saturday, Park was the champion at the inaugural Harvest Fall Classic, hosted by Harvest Christian in Elgin, Ill. His effort of 17 minutes even bolstered a strong showing by the rest of the roster en route to a 47-60 win over runner-up Elk Grove.
“Brandon took over the lead in the first mile of the race,” said KHS coach Chad Clarey. “A pair of Elmwood Park runners, who had beaten him earlier in the week, made it a great race. In the final 400 meters, Park simply wanted it more and put on an impressive surge to the finish.”
Senior Mitch Reger (sixth) and junior Will Kuipers (seventh) cracked the top 10, finishing in 17:46 and 17:49, respectively.
“It was a very competitive day out of that top three,” Clarey added.
Junior Sean Spaetzel (15th, 18:25) and James Walker (18th, 18:48) rounded out the KHS scoring five, while Zach Kurz (21st, 19:36) and Alex Gale (22nd, 19:43) rounded out the top seven.
Also running in the varsity race but not factoring in the scoring were juniors Austin Parks (27th, 20:22), Ben Smith (34th, 21:54) and Brandon Cruz (37th, 22:54).
In the 2 mile junior varsity race, the Knights placed seven runners in the top 11. Freshman Matthew Richtman won in 11:39.
On Tuesday, the likes of East Aurora, IMSA and Yorkville came calling to what would be the only time the Kaneland cross country team will compete at their usual home course of Elburn Woods. Kaneland is scheduled to host an IHSA Sectional Nov. 1 at the high school, and will also run their annual Eddington Invitational at KHS, as well.
The Knights took advantage of their one chance to compete in “The Woods” by sweeping the top six spots and scoring a perfect 15-point victory.
Park again notched an individual victory, crossing the finish line in 17:53. He was followed by Richtman (18:01), Spaetzel (18:07), Reger (18:27) and Kuipers (18:29) before the first non-Knight finished 18 seconds behind in sixth.
Clarey was especially pleased with how his seniors competed in their final go-round at their usual home.
“The seniors took pride in their last run on their ‘least’ favorite course,” Clarey said. “Park took hold early and pushed hard through the finish. Reger battled to stay within reach of the leaders. Walker ran with a great deal of pride to hold off a charging teammate. Josh Kasap also demonstrated the same courage and will to win, out-kicking a teammate.
“All of our seniors have been the perfect fits for leadership of this year’s team, which is filled with youth and new runners. I’m very proud of their effort and dedication,” Clarey said.
The Knights now set their sights on Saturday’s First to the Finish invitational at Peoria’s Detweiller Park, which is also home to the IHSA State Meet. Thirteen of the top 25 teams in DyestatIL.com’s most recent 2A poll be be in attendance. The 2A boys race runs at 11 a.m.