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The Sugar Grove Park District youth Red Sox baseball team on
Saturday met at Mallard Park for a practice game ending with water wars and popsicles. The team included assistant coach Gordon Olp (above, back row, from left), head coach Tom Scales and team helper Jack Scales, Evan Ross (front row), Austin Preuss, Jack Schneider, Graycin Slou, Bryan Scales, Bryce Welch, Jacob Whittington, Noah Logan and Evan Olp.
Photo: The Kaneland Knights softball team poses with its 2015 Sectional Championship plaque. They added a Super-Sectional plaque two days later with a 4-0 win over Nazareth Academy, earning a trip to State. Photo by Stephanie Vanik
Knights earn Sectional, Super-Sectional championships; on to State tournament
KANELAND—The Knights softball team will continue its historic run Friday at the State Semifinal, thanks to an impressive run through the Sectional and Super-Sectional.
Now sitting at 24-8, the Knights dispatched St. Francis 12-0 on Saturday for the Sectional title, and then shut out Nazareth Academy 4-0 to earn the Super-Sectional Championship. The wins put the Knights in the top four in Class 3A, and have guaranteed coach Peter Goff’s crew of a State trophy this season.
The Knights have benefited not only from outstanding pitching by senior Angie Morrow, but an explosion of offense—outscoring their opponents 40-5 since they started their run through the postseason. In fact, all five runs scored by Kaneland opponents occurred in the Sectional Semifinal against Montini, who was ranked No. 2 in Class 3A before the postseason began.
After dispatching the Sectional’s top-seed, Montini, earlier last week, the Knights were set to face St. Francis for the Sectional Championship June 6.
It only took them five innings to mercy-rule the Spartans, thanks to 11 strikeouts by Morrow and a nine-run explosion in the top of the fifth. Rachel Goress went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs, while Mary Clausen went 3-for-3 with two RBIs, two runs and a walk. Goress and Morgan Weber each hit doubles, while Kuefler hit a home run for the Knights.
Kaneland got ahead early, as Goress singled and Aly Jesionowski walked. Kuefler made the most of a ground out, scoring Goress for her first of three RBIs. Meg Cohrs then knocked in Jesionowski on a ground out to put the Knights up 2-0.
The only adversity Morrow faced on the mound came in the bottom of the first, when she walked the leadoff hitter and gave up a bunt single one batter later, placing Spartans on first and second. A fielder’s choice to center and a strikeout ended the early St. Francis threat.
In the fourth, Clausen led off with a walk and was eventually driven in by Goress later in the inning to put the Knights ahead 3-0.
Finally, in the fifth inning, the floodgates opened for the Knights. After loading the bases with no outs, Clausen singled to right field, scoring Cohrs and making it 4-0. A double play didn’t dampen the Knights’ offense, as Goress hit a two-RBI double scoring Morgan Sikon and Clausen to make it 6-0. After Hannah Theobald scored from third on a wild pitch, making it 7-0, Kuefler cracked a three-run home run to center to make it 10-0 Knights. Not done, Cohrs got back on base after being hit by a pitch, and then Weber hit a double to bring Cohrs home. The Knights’ final RBI came when Weber scored on a Clausen single. Morrow struck out the first Spartan in the bottom of the fifth before back-to-back errors had St. Francis runners at first and second base. But Morrow tallied strikeouts No. 10 and 11 to clinch the Sectional Championship for the Knights.
On Monday against Nazareth Academy in Rosemont, Ill., Morrow was yet again masterful, striking out 10 and giving up only three hits. Kuefler went 3-for-4 with two runs, while Cohrs was 2-for-2 with two RBIs and a run.
The Knights took the lead in the second inning when Jesionowski scored on a Cohrs single to right field. In the third, Kuefler scored when Sikon reached on an error at second base by Nazareth. Cohrs later scored on a passed ball to make it 3-0. Kuefler led off with a triple in the bottom of the fifth inning, and scored on the next pitch when Cohrs singled.
Morrow closed out the game by striking out the side in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The Knights now move on to face Marengo, a 3-2 winner over Wauconda Tuesday, at the Eastside Centre in East Peoria, Ill., at 10 a.m. Friday. If the Knights win that game, they will face either Washington or Springfield’s Sacred Heart-Griffin for the State Championship game at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. If they lose Friday, they will play in the third-place game at 10 a.m. Saturday.
“We’re really blessed and fortunate,” Goff said. “(The girls) are greedy, but in a good way. They like the fact we’ve made State, but they want that top spot.”
AURORA—Kaneland’s Brian Johnson on Tuesday was named the recommended candidate for the physical education teacher and head boys basketball coach vacancies at West Aurora High School, pending School Board approval on Monday, June 15.
Johnson has been the head varsity boys basketball coach at Kaneland High School since 2009, with an overall record of 99-68. Under his leadership, his teams have won three Conference championships and two Regional championships. Johnson is also a physical education teacher at Kaneland.
Prior to Johnson’s time at Kaneland, he served as a varsity boys basketball assistant head coach and physical education teacher at West Aurora High School. He also served as a varsity boys basketball coach, sophomore boys basketball coach and physical education teacher at Dundee-Crown High School.
Johnson obtained his Master’s Degree in teaching from Rockford College. Johnson has a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Judson University.
Both Johnson and Kaneland Athletic Director Peter Goff declined to comment when contacted by the Elburn Herald.
Knights lose in Sectional Semifinal
SYCAMORE—There was a flurry of runs in the late innings against Belvidere North June 3—nine of the 11 total runs were scored from the fifth inning on. But it was the Blue Thunder that plated just one more than Kaneland, to defeat the Knights 6-5.
The 2015 Knights baseball season ended with a 22-13 overall record, and a 9-3 record in the Northern Illinois Big XII.
In the Sectional rounds for the second year in a row, the Knights just couldn’t stop Belvidere North’s Jared Cantu, who went 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI, and Levon Smith, who went 3-for-4 with four RBIs and two doubles. Smith also pitched a complete game for the Blue Thunder, striking out five while giving up 10 hits and five runs, all earned.
Kaneland’s Ryan David pitched five innings, giving up three runs on seven hits while striking out three. Steven Limbrunner pitched an inning of relief for the Knights, giving up two runs on four hits, while Colton Fellows also pitched in relief, giving up one run on one hit.
The Knights never led in the game, but tied the game two times. The Blue Thunder scored first when Smith singled in Cantu with two outs in the top of the third. But Kaneland answered in the bottom half of the inning when Austin Wheatley stole home with two outs.
In the top of the fifth, a two-RBI double by Belvidere North’s Smith made it 3-1 Blue Thunder. The Knights’ Joe Panico hit a sacrifice fly to score River Dunne to get Kaneland back within one in the bottom half of the fifth inning.
Cantu extended the Belvidere North led in the top of the sixth inning when he hit a two-RBI single with two outs. But Knight Jacob Violett tied the game in the bottom of the sixth with a line drive single to center field that scored Jacob Bachio and Matt Rosko.
In the top of the seventh, Belvidere North led off with a single. Another Smith double made it 5-4 Blue Thunder. But an error with two outs helped them score one more run before it was Kaneland’s last chance. Panico got things going with a leadoff single he scored one batter later when Nick Stratman hit a single to center, making it 6-5, but that was as close as the Knights would get. Stratman was called out trying to get to second, but Bachio was able to reach on an error by the Belvidere North third baseman. A final flyout by Rosko sealed Kaneland’s fate.
Panico went 2-for-3 with a run, while Bachio went 2-for-4 with a run and Violett 2-for-3 with two RBIs in the loss.
Belvidere then faced St. Francis, who defeated them Saturday 14-0. St. Francis defeated Metamora 3-0 in the Super-Sectional to advance to the State tournament, which will begin Friday.
GENEVA—The Kane County Cougars will host a special day of promotions for their Father’s Day game on Sunday, June 21, against the Peoria Chiefs. Tickets for the 1 p.m. game are available by calling (630) 232-8811 or ordering online at kccougars.com. Table spaces are also available for a pair of Father’s Day picnic buffets that the Cougars will offer that afternoon.
Beginning at noon when gates open, all fans will be allowed onto the field to play catch. This long-standing Cougars Father’s Day tradition allows fans to play catch on the field until approximately 12:20 p.m. Fans must bring their own gloves and baseballs.
Also before the game and following catch on the field, fans can participate in a pre-game autograph session with Cougars players.
That afternoon is also a Sunday Funday, presented by Dave and Buster’s, with free kid-friendly entertainment inside the ballpark. Unlimited use wristbands for the Cougars’ new KidZone area are just $5 that day, and all children age 3-10 will receive a voucher for a free hot dog and small soda inside the ballpark gates.
Fans will also be treated to live music by famed ballpark organist Nancy Faust. Presented by Fifth Third Bank, fans will receive a model of Roush Fenway’s No. 17 race car.
Following the game, fans may return to the field and run the bases.
In addition to the above promotions, the Cougars will host a pair of special Father’s Day picnic buffets, one taking place on the Pepsi rooftop party deck and another inside the Cougars’ Super Suite. The Super Suite buffet features appetizing foods such as prime rib, grilled chicken marsala, potatoes, vegetables, salads and assorted desserts along with Pepsi products and bottled water. Pricing is $50 for adults and $30 for children age 3-10 (2 and under are free) and includes a game ticket inside the Super Suite, which has indoor and outdoor seating, along with the buffet. The rooftop picnic ($35 for adults, $20 for children age 3-10 with children 2 and under free) features grilled chicken breasts, hot dogs, hamburgers, salads and assorted desserts along with Pepsi products and bottled water.
Both buffets begin at noon. Food service takes place through the third inning, with beverage service through the sixth inning. A cash bar featuring beer and wine will be available with both buffets.
Space is extremely limited and fans can make their reservations by calling (630) 232-8811 or ordering online at kccougars.com.
Photo submitted by Shawn Tourney to firstname.lastname@example.org
Knights finish 6th in Class 2A
CHARLESTON, Ill.—At the State track meet, it’s all about making the finals. Advancing out of Friday’s preliminary rounds is what positions you to be a medalist—and thereby gain All State recognition—and scores points for your team on Saturday.
That was the goal for the seven individuals and three relay teams that the Kaneland boys’ team sent to the big dance in Charleston, Ill., after a great meet at the IHSA Sterling Sectional Championships.
Unfortunately, Friday was not kind to the Knights. On the track, it began with a 4x800m relay team of juniors Drew Franklin and Sean Spaetzel, senior Jim Walker, and junior Matt Kainrath, placing 10th and not advancing from their heat in 8:37.01. Next, in heat two of the 4x100m relay, the Knights’ third-place finish in 43.10 missed advancing to the finals by the smallest of margins—eight hundredths of a second—with a team of seniors Ben Barnes and Issac Swithers and juniors Tanner Robertson and Brandon Cruz.
It was ditto in the 4x200m relay, as Barnes, Swithers, junior John Delach and Cruz finished fourth in their heat, and out of the finals, in 1:31.15.
A black cloud continued to hover over the Knights in the 300m hurdles, where Robertson finished third in the second of four heats in 40.87—just four tenths away from the ninth and final qualifying spot. But the sun shone over the 1600m where, in heat one, Matt Richtman capped a stellar 2015 freshman season by finishing fourth in 4:34.21. Then, in heat two, junior Austin Kintz looked great in winning by two seconds in 4:26.05 to give the Knights their only Saturday finalist on the track.
Meanwhile, things were going better for Kaneland in the field events. While senior three-sport star Zach Thielk did not make the finals in the shot put (45 feet, 4.5 inches), sophomore Danny Walker cleared the 13-06 qualifying height for the finals in the pole vault. In the long jump, Ben Barnes advanced to the finals from flight three with a jump of 21-08.25. Then Barnes uncorked a personal-record jump of 45-09.75 in his flight of the triple jump to claim a place in the finals on Saturday.
Saturday dawned overcast, warm and muggy, with rain predicted for the afternoon. But that didn’t deter Walker from pulling off one of the biggest surprises of the meet by winning the state title in the pole vault with a personal-record height of 14-09. In doing so, he became the fourth State champion in the history of Kaneland’s vaunted pole vault program. Heading into the meet, Walker said his goal was to match or break the sophomore school record of 14-06 set by Sam Kranz in 2005. Instead, after clinching the State title, he had two good attempts in rarified air at 15-0.
In the long jump, Barnes placed sixth, with his 21-08.5 mark in the prelims. The meet was then suspended for two hours around noon because of lightning in the area, and the remaining field event finals in the pole vault, triple jump, and high jump were moved indoors to the Eastern Illinois University fieldhouse. There, Barnes’ 45-09.75 mark from the prelims held up for eighth place in the triple jump.
When the track events resumed outdoors, Kintz broke the 28-year old Kaneland 1600m record, running 4:19.21 en route to fifth place. That gave the Knights 21 team points for the meet and a tie for sixth place with Illiana Christian.
“We are very excited about Danny Walker winning the State pole vault title and Austin Kintz setting a new school record in the 1600m,” head coach Eric Baron said. “Ben Barnes didn’t have a great meet, but still won All State honors in both the long jump and triple jump. He finished his career as our best long jumper ever and a four-time All State performer. He has done so many things for our team in the past four years, and will be missed.
“Overall, I was very pleased with our State meet performances. On Friday, most of our non-qualifiers did well, but not well enough to make finals. They all gained valuable experience for next year. Team-wise, our sixth-place finish was an outstanding performance for us,” Baron said.
Knights’ season ends at Super-Sectional
by Doug Oleson
KANELAND—Knights junior Kiandra Powell was jogging off the field at DeKalb High School Tuesday night when she paused, a big smile on her face, to give teammate Courtney Diddell an appreciative hug.
“Great job,” she told the senior forward, who had just played her final game for the Kaneland girls soccer team. The Knights (19-4) had just lost to Peoria Notre Dame 4-1 in their Super-Sectional match, thus ending their remarkable, record-setting season.
In addition to setting a school record for the most wins in a single season, the Kaneland girls soccer team advanced to the Super-Sectional for the first time in school history, winning both a Regional and Sectional title that had eluded them in the past. They came just one win short of going to the State tournament for the first time in school history.
“I couldn’t be prouder of these girls,” Kaneland head coach Scott Parillo said, adding that they did better than anyone expected, including themselves.
“We accomplished so much more than we thought we could,” senior Madison Jurcenko said. “Everything after the Regional (title) was just a bonus. It was a great season.”
“I never thought we’d go this far,” senior Taylor Opperman said. “It’s hard coming out of a non-competitive conference and doing what we did.”
Opperman added that it wasn’t until the Knights won the Rochelle Regional two weeks ago that the team began thinking it could go all the way to State.
The Super-Sectional loss was preceeded by a 1-0 win over Freeport to secure the Sectional Championship May 29, and a 2-1 win over Prairie Ridge May 26.
In an uncharacteristically slow start, the Knights—who usually jumped out to big leads early—fell behind PND (20-4-4) early, giving up a pair of goals within the first 10 minutes. The first score came just 1:05 into the game when senior midfielder Kristen Slomba took a perfect cross from Macy Martin, which she drilled past a diving Emily Chapman.
“I don’t know what happened,” Parillo said. “All of a sudden, the nerves hit us.”
Jokingly, the veteran coach said he had done everything he was supposed to do, including having the same meal, dressing the same way, even using the same bus driver he did on other days when they had won, but this time nothing seemed to work.
Kaneland’s only score came at the 16:59 mark of the first half on what was one of its finest goals of the whole season. Battling to simply keep the ball in that half of the field, junior forward Ashley Crowley, wedged between two Irish defenders trying to take the ball away from her, somehow managed to get off a shot past keeper Jenna Ashley, settling into the lower right-hand corner of the net.
For the rest of the half, the goal seemed to reinvigorate the Knights who played their best offense of the game.
A pair of PND goals halfway through the second half sealed Kaneland’s fate.
“I thought it was meant to be,” Parillo said. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t.”
The outcome didn’t diminish anyone’s feelings about the season overall.
“I’m really proud of the way we played. We fought to the end,” senior Colleen Landers said. “I couldn’t have asked for better teammates. We have a great team.”
Fellow senior Heather Ortiz also shared her thoughts on Kaneland’s most-recent campaign.
“It’s the best season I’ve ever had,” she said. “I’m proud to be a part of it.”
With tears in her eyes, Ortiz had to pause a moment to compose herself.
“I’m going to miss these girls,” she said.
On a positive note, Parillo noted that he’ll have 15 girls returning for next season.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to take it to State next year,” he said.
leading to Sectional Championship
KANELAND—It’s hard to handle a team that scores 24 runs over its last three games, but when you add stellar pitching, it’s almost unfair.
That must be how opponents have felt lately, as anyone who has tried to tackle the Kaneland Knights’ softball team has seen their season end.
Coach Peter Goff’s squad has stormed through the postseason, earning a 10-0 win over Elmwood Park in the Regional Semifinal May 27, then shutting out Lemont 3-0 on the Indian’s home field for the Regional title May 29. The team then defeated top-seeded Montini—on the Bronco’s home field—in the Sectional Semifinal Tuesday 11-5, earning a spot in the Sectional Championship game Saturday morning in Lombard, Ill.
The team sits at 22-8 on the season and will now play the winner of the Glenbard South/St. Francis Sectional Semifinal game, which was to be played Wednesday evening (results unavailable as of press time).
Paige Kuefler got things going for the Knights against Elmwood Park, scoring on an error in the first inning, which would prove to be the winning run. The Knights tacked on three more runs in the second, thanks to a lead-off home run by Morgan Weber and a two-RBI double by Aly Jesionowski. In the third, Weber led of with a triple and promptly scored when Morgan Sikon singled to left. Kuefler hit a two-out single in the bottom of the fourth, and Meg Cohrs tripled to earn the RBI.
The Knights ended the game early with a four-run sixth inning, where Rachel Goress led off with a double and moved to third when Courtney Davis singled. Kuefler singled to center, scoring Goress, while Davis advanced to third. Cohrs reached on an error in center, which allowed Davis to score. Sikon ended the game with a single to left, scoring Sara Lascola (running for Kuefler) and Cohrs, making it 10-0.
Angie Morrow kept the Tigers on the bench, striking out 14 and only allowing one hit and one walk in a dominating performance on the mound. She only faced 20 total batters.
In the Regional Final game against Lemont, both teams were held to only five hits, but Kaneland took advantage of what was given to them early. Kuefler doubled to center field in the first inning, and scored on an fielding error, while Cohrs got to third. Weber then hit her second home run in as many games, scoring Cohrs. It was all the offense Kaneland needed, as Morrow again pitched a shutout, striking out six while walking one.
On Tuesday in Lombard, the Knights erupted for 16 hits against the top-seeded Montini Broncos. Kaneland again got out to an early lead, this time on back-to-back first-inning home runs by Kuefler and Cohrs. In the third inning, Cohrs hit an RBI double to drive in Kuefler, and Weber followed with a single that scored Jesinowski. Sikon singled to score Weber, making it 6-0. Montini scored twice in the third—the first runs allowed by Morrow in 15 innings—before Kaneland got them right back in the fourth on a Kuefler RBI single and Jesinowski’s steal of home plate.
In the top of the seventh and leading 8-3, Mary Clausen hit a three-run home run to put the exclamation point on the afternoon. Montini hit two home runs in the bottom of the seventh, but the game ended with an 11-5 Knights win.
The Sectional Championship game will be played at Montini High School on Saturday, June 6, at 11 a.m. If the Knights win, they will move on to the Rosemont Super-Sectional Monday at 4:30 p.m.
Knights win Regional
KANELAND—It’s crunch time—win or go home. So you know coach Brian Aversa’s Knights are ready to go.
Facing the daunting task of opposing the top-seeded team in the Regional, Burlington Central, the unranked Knights on May 27 kept their composure, even after the Rockets got out to an early 1-0 lead after one inning.
Following a Jacob Bachio single and a Matt Rosko double, Danny Hammermeister cracked a two-run single to give the Knights the lead. The Knights got a third run when Hammermeister scored on an error. In the fourth, Jacob Violett hit into a double play that allowed Rosko to score, making it 4-1.
The Rockets tied the score in the bottom of the inning, but Kaneland got the lead back again in the fifth. Austin Wheatley hit a lead-off double to left, and Nick Stratman hit a two-out single to drive him in.
Burlington was not done, as they tied the game at 5 in the bottom of the sixth. Wheatley again got on base with a lead-off single, and stole second. Stratman reached base on an error, which scored Wheatley, and Stratman moved all the way to third. Bachio singled to left to score Stratman to get the the final tally of 7-5. Pitcher Colton Fellows allowed a lead-off walk, but then struck out the next batter. After the Rocket’s baserunner was caught stealing, a fly-out ended the game. Fellows went the distance, allowing five runs on five hits while striking out five and walking four.
Against conference rival Sycamore for the Regional Championship, Matt O’Sullivan went six innings, allowing seven hits but only two runs. Sycamore took an early 2-0 lead lead, but O’Sullivan shut them down after that. The Knights tied the game in the second on a Hammermeister ground out that scored Bachio, and a Violett single right after that scored Rosko. The Knights got the lead for good on a Wheatley double that scored River Dunne in the fifth inning. They tacked on one more in the sixth, when Tyler Paulson scored on a Violett sacrifice fly. Steven Limbrunner earned the save that clinched the Regional Championship for the Knights.
Wednesday saw the Knights play Belvidere North in the Sectional Semifinal for a chance to advance to the Sycamore Sectional Championshop. Wednesday’s results were unavailable as of press time. If the Knights win, they play the winner of the Rock Falls/St. Francis game on Saturday, June 6, at 11 a.m. at Sycamore High School.
PLATTEVILLE, WISC.—The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Pioneer football team announced its 2015 recruiting class, including Connor Fedderly from Kaneland High School.
Fedderly plans on pursuing a career in accounting at UW-Platteville and will play wide receiver. While performing all four years on varsity level at Kaneland, Fedderly earned first team All State, First Team All Conference, First Team All Area, Academic All State, Academic All Conference, and the school record for receiving yards in a game. In his senior year alone, Fedderly caught 62 passes for 967 yards and 13 touchdowns.
He also played basketball for Kaneland, where he received All Conference honorable mention. Fedderly chose UW-Platteville to play football and because of his accounting major. Connor is the son of Tom and Kathy Fedderly and will join the Pioneer family as a true freshman this fall.
Over the past four years, the UW-Platteville football team has earned an overall record of 32-10 and a Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference record of 21-7. In 2013, the Pioneers accumulated a 10-1 record and reached the NCAA III playoffs for the first time in program history. The Pioneers are coached by 16-year veteran Mike Emendorfer and play in the Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium, with a capacity of 10,000.
Knights get No. 5 seed in Montini Sectional
KANELAND—Behind a seven-inning, complete game shutout pitched by Angie Morrow, the Kaneland High School varsity softball team defeated the Genoa-Kingston Cogs 4-0 May 21 on Senior Day. The Knights also defeated Rosary 14-3 on May 23, improving its overall record to 19-8.
Catcher Paige Kuefler got things going for the Knights’ offense in the bottom of the first inning with a double to right field. Infielder Meg Cohrs followed with an RBI triple to center field to give Kaneland a 1-0 lead.
The Knights didn’t score again until the bottom of the fourth inning when Cohrs again tripled, this time to right field. She later scored when outfielder Samantha Payton reached first on an error to give Kaneland a 2-0 advantage.
The top of the fifth saw Morrow escape two baserunners to keep the shutout alive. Morrow finished the game with 13 strikeouts while giving up only three hits and one walk. The bottom of the inning featured Morrow hitting a pinch-hit double to center field and scoring on infielder/outfielder Rachel Urich’s RBI double to right field to increase the Knights’ lead to 3-0.
The sixth inning began with Cohrs reaching base on a Cogs error. After infielder Morgan Sikon’s bunt single and a walk by Payton, infielder/outfielder Shannon Herra hit an RBI flyout to center field as Cohrs scored the Knights’ final run of the game. Morrow finished the top of the seventh with back-to-back strikeouts to end the contest.
“The thing that we’ve had today was timely hitting, and we haven’t had that in awhile,” head coach Peter Goff said. “The junior girls have done a great job to really make this a special night for our seniors. Tonight our seniors got up and did a really good job getting hits.”
In the win against Rosary, infielder Meg Cohrs belted three home runs to emphatically lead the Knights’ offense.
Kaneland, the No. 5 seed, was scheduled to play Elmwood Park (No. 12) in the opening round of the Lemont IHSA Regional on Wednesday (at 5:30 p.m., with results not available before press time). The winner of that game would then face either Lemont (No. 4) or the Chicago Bulls College Prep (No. 13) team for the Regional title Saturday at 5:30 p.m., again at Lemont H.S. Montini, the Sectional host, earned the No. 1 seed.
Knights girls soccer wins first Regional crown
by Doug Oleson
ROCHELLE, Ill.—You pretty much knew it was coming; it was mainly a question of when.
The KHS girls soccer team entered the Rochelle Regional last Wednesday against IMSA, a team they had already beaten 10-0 this season. Missing their first six shots, the Knights erupted for five quick tallies in five minutes, leaving little doubt as to the outcome of the game. Adding a half-dozen more, they rolled to an easy 11-0 win, propelling them into the title game against Rosary on Friday.
The Knights followed up the opening-round blowout with a 4-2 Regional Championship win over Rosary.
The wins gave the Knights a record of 17-3, tying the school record for the most wins in a single season by a soccer team, boys or girls.
“I’m so proud of this team,” senior co-captain Taylor Opperman said. “We definitely deserve this. We’ve worked hard all season.”
“It’s pretty awesome,” freshman Lindsay Penkala said about setting a record in her first year on the varsity against IMSA.
“It’s better than last year,” sophomore Lauren Ortiz added. “It sets something for us (to break) next year.”
Both girls said the record wasn’t something they aimed for at the beginning of the season but once it got closer, they all focused their attention on getting it.
Both girls also contributed to the scoring with at least one goal each. Kiandra Powell, Abby Taylor and Holy Collingbourne each scored a pair of goals for Kaneland, while Madison Jurcenko, Kaylee Bilotta, Courtney Diddell and Ashley Crottea scored once. Heather Ortiz, a senior, assisted on three of the scores.
The Kaneland attack against IMSA was so overwhelming, head coach Scott Parillo—emptying his bench early—instructed his team not to score. At one point, he even told the referees his team was offside to thwart a scoring drive.
Although it’s not easy to deliberately prevent yourself from scoring, Lauren Ortiz said it allowed the team to work on its weaker areas, such as cross passing and ball control.
“It’s hard, but if we have a breakaway, we want to finish,” Opperman said.
“It’s important, but not the most important thing,” Parillo said of the record. “We’ve had some good teams here, but they didn’t get the one thing.”
Meaning a Regional title.
However, KHS got just that on Friday.
Heather Ortiz raced towards the Kaneland bench, arms outstretched, a big grin on her face.
“The goal isn’t mine, but I got it,” she called out.
The senior forward had just scored the Knights’ final goal in their 4-2 win against Rosary to claim the Rochelle Regional title. Rosary (8-8-1), whom Kaneland had beaten during the regular season, had eliminated the Knights in five of the past seven regionals.
Although Ortiz didn’t think she had scored, a picture showed the ball bouncing off her shoulder, past Rosary keeper Mary Dant and into the net.
“I was on her in the middle and I couldn’t tell,” Ortiz said with a grin after the game. “But I want it.”
The title is the first girls’ soccer Regional title for Parillo in his 16 years at the helm, propelling the team into this week’s Rockford Boylan Sectional (they were scheduled to play Prairie Ridge Tuesday night). The win also gave the Knights a record of 17-3, tying the school record for the most wins in a single season by a soccer team, boys or girls. They set the girls’ record with their 11-0 win over IMSA two nights earlier.
“We wanted this for our coach,” Kaneland senior Emily Grams said.
“This is awesome,” Parillo said. “The girls worked hard all year for this, and they deserve it. I’m just happy for all the girls, not only on this team but all the girls (who ever played for Kaneland).”
All of Parillo’s players shared his sentiment.
“This means the world to us seniors,” Heather Ortiz said. “We’ve gone all four years without getting this. I can’t explain the feeling in words.”
“Being our senior year and the last day of school, it’s like it doesn’t seem real,” senior Courtney Diddell said.
Diddell scored one of her team’s goals when she tapped in a perfectly timed pass from Powell. Colingbourne, who also had a goal, outraced two Rosary defenders before feeding Paige Guyton, setting her up with a one-on-one breakaway for Kaneland’s first goal at the 26.24 mark of the first half.
“This is a great group of girls to play with,” Taylor said, noting that the Regional title—especially coming in her first year on the varsity—means more to her than the record. “That’s what we’ve been working for all year.”
“This is a record-setting night,” Grams said, noting that it didn’t matter who the win came against. Still, she admitted that the victory was sweet revenge.
Since Rosary is the Knights’ rival, sophomore Lauren Ortiz added that it’s fun to play them for the title.
Following Heather Ortiz’s goal, Kaneland was up 4-0 when two quick second-half goals by Rosary’s Quincey Kellett and Elizabeth Kelley cut the deficit in half. Although there was no more scoring, the final few minutes saw a frenetic effort by both teams.
If anything, the Knights agreed the two goals were almost a good thing.
Admitting she was a little surprised, Diddell said the team was getting tired and needed the shock to help them refocus.
“It helped us realize they’re still in the game,” Heather Ortiz said.
“It wouldn’t have been an exciting Rosary game if they hadn’t gotten those two goals,” Parillo said.
KHS earns medals in six events
CHARLESTON, Ill.—At the State track meet, it’s all about making the finals. No matter how well you run, jump or throw in Friday’s preliminaries, it doesn’t get you anything but style points and hardy handshakes. If you fail to advance to the finals, the State meet ends with you being in the stands on Saturday, rather than on the track, runways or throwing circles. So the door to winning medals, titles and team championships is opened by advancing from the prelims to the finals.
Last Friday, the Kaneland girls threw that door wide open by advancing sophomore pole vaulter Lexie Guerra, a 4x800m relay team of junior Carly Bartholomew, junior Noelle Espino, sophomore Sarah Daley and senior Aislinn Lodwig, a 4x100m team of freshman Shanya Hurston, junior Allie Heinzer, freshman Jamie Martens and sophomore Carly Elliott, Espino in the 800m, Heinzer in the 400m, junior Brianna Bower in the 1600m (with a school record 5 minutes, 9.45 seconds), and a 4x400m relay team of Bartholomew, Heinzer, junior Olivia Galor and Martens, to the big dance on Saturday.
Five individual event finalists (including Bower in the 3200m, which is a two-section final), plus three relays had the Knights heading into Saturday with the potential to score in eight of the meet’s 18 events.
On Saturday, the meet began with field event competition, where Guerra tied for seventh in the pole vault at 10 feet, 6 inches. On the track, the Knights were out of the scoring in the 4x800m relay, placing 10th in 9:48.43. But in the next event, the 4x100m relay, they placed fourth in a season-best 48.96. In the 3200m, Bower added six more fourth-place points, finishing in 11:15.53. In the 800m final, Espino finished eighth in 2:20.19 in a blanket finish where just 0.8 second separated second and eighth places. Next, in the 400m final, Heinzer placed third in 57.13. In the 1600m final, Bower was unable to score, doubling back from the 3200m. But in the final event of the meet, the 4x400m relay, the Knights finished with a flurry with a second-place finish—their highest placing of the day—in a school record time of 3:59.65 to place fifth in the final team standings—just one point away from a third-place trophy—among 67 scoring teams.
It was a fitting finish to an excellent 2015 season. But as great a campaign as it was, the best news is that everyone on the State meet team, with the exception of Aislinn Lodwig, will be back for an encore in 2016.
“We came a long way with this young team to do this well at the State meet. But we always run our best at the end of the season. Part of it is the schedule; we run against some really good 2A teams and 3A powerhouses,” head coach Doug Ecker said. “And one of the reasons we do so well in the relays is because we spend so much time practicing our baton exchanges. I’m really proud of the progress runners like Carly Bartholomex, Noelle Espino and Allie Heinzer made. They all left with All-State honors, and it was a privilege to have the opportunity to work with them.
“We have a bright future, but you never know what can happen a year from now. So we’ll just continue to work hard to get kids to join our program every year, coach them well and be sure they have fun. We may not always be this good, but it can always be this fun.”
Senior Ben Barnes will get a chance to defend his State title this weekend in Charleston, Ill. Photo by Laura Gampfer
Knights qualify nine events to IHSA State Meet
STERLING, Ill.—A year after placing second at the 2014 2A State Track Championships, the Kaneland boys team went to the IHSA Sectional Championships with a bunch of underclassmen, plenty of confidence and a lot of determination to punch its ticket to the State meet. The top-two finishers in each event, plus anyone who met the automatic qualifying standard in that event, would advance to the Illinois State Championships the following weekend on the big blue track at Eastern Illinois University.
On the track, the meet started with the Knights qualifying for State with a sixth-place finish in the 4x800m relay with a time of 8 minutes, 13.74 seconds, under the 8:15.24 qualifying standard. Juniors Drew Franklin and Sean Spaetzel, and freshman Matt Richtman (2:02.3 PR), were on the carries, with junior Austin Kintz anchoring in 1:57.5. That was immediately followed by a second-place finish in the 4x100m relay in a season-best time of 42.99 by a team of seniors Ben Barnes and Issac Swithers, and juniors Tanner Robertson and Brandon Cruz.
In the 110m hurdle finals, junior Tanner Robertson placed eighth, but ran a personal record (PR) 15.64 to put him on the “watch list” for 2016 in the event. The Knights went through the 100m finals and 800m without a qualifier, but then filled more seats on their State meet bus with a second-place finish—in a season-best 1:30.83—in the 4x200m relay by a team of Barnes, Swithers, junior John Delach and Cruz. Next, Robertson punched his ticket to State with a fifth-place finish in the 300m hurdles in a PR 40.41—just under the 40.44 qualifying standard—despite crashing the second hurdle and almost falling.
In one of the most exciting races of the day, Kintz won the 1600m in 4:26.10, and Richtman bettered the qualifying standard with a fourth-place finish in a PR 4:29.62. Kaneland’s final tally on the track was three individual State qualifiers and three relay team qualifiers.
In the field, Barnes, the defending State long jump champion, first won his specialty with a season best 22 feet 6 inches—once again, on the last jump of the competition. Later, he came back to win the triple jump with a best of 44-011, and all his jumps measuring over 44 feet. In the pole vault, sophomore Danny Walker won with a jump of 13-09, and senior Zach Thielk in the shot put placed second to earn a trip to State with a PR toss of 47-09. Deserving honorable mention was senior Tristan Kinder placing fourth in the discus, but not advancing, with a PR throw of 140-0. With four State qualifiers in the field events, the Knights are sending a total of seven individuals and three relay teams to the big dance in Charleston, Ill.
In the team competition, Kaneland placed second in the 16-team field with 74 points behind 87 for Burlington Central, which won its first 2A Sectional title and will head to Charleston with senior Lucas Ege favored to win both the 110m and 300m hurdles.
“Once again, Ben Barnes nearly gave us a heart attack in the long jump. Going into the last jump, he had had a couple close scratches that were over 24 feet. But he was sitting in third place without the qualifying standard when he went 22-06 to win on his last jump,” head coach Eric Baron said. “This was a really strong Sectional field, and as a team, we exceeded our expectations in advancing so many to the State meet.
“Last year, we went to Charleston as a contender to win the team title. This year, there will be no such expectation, and no pressure, so we’re going to make it a fun weekend and try to come back with as many All-State performers as possible.”
IHSA Sectional Championships
5-22-15 at Sterling High School
1. Burlington Central 87
2. Kaneland 74
3. Freeport 68
4. Sycamore 61
5. Rochelle 47
6. Dixon 36
7. Winnebago 35
8. Erie-Prophetsville 27
9. Galena 24
10. Sterling 23
11. Rockford Christian 22
12. Genoa-Kingston 18
13. Belvidere 14
14. Stillman Valley 9
15. Rock Falls 8
16. Rockford Boylan 5
The Kaneland 12U Travel Baseball team were crowned champions of the Geneva Cougar Classic, Green Division, which took place May 22-24. The team went 5-1 during the tournament, and were recognized at the Kane County Cougars game on Sunday. The team included coaches Mike DeFranze (back, from left), Kevin Gomes and Bryan Williams, and players Colby Metcalf (middle, from left), Grant Williams, Carter Askew, Ethan Hampton, Ethan Dobbins and Tyler Conklin (front, from left), Sam Gomes, Jake Nied, Kobe DeFranze, Sam Jackson and Ryan Mueller.
Photo submitted by Michelle Conklin
Knights hit 20 wins with triumph over Wheaton Academy
KANELAND—Sitting at a 20-12 record, the Knights experienced a rarity last weekend: back-to-back losses. But they got the win in the game they really needed on Monday.
The varsity baseball team dropped a pair of tough road losses—the first to St. Charles North 6-5 on May 22, and the second a 6-1 defeat at the hands of St. Charles East on May 23—before defeating the Wheaton Academy Warriors in a 9-8 slugfest on Monday in the opening round of the IHSA Regional.
Against the North Stars, Kaneland relief pitcher Jordan Bock took the loss, going 3.2 innings and giving up two runs on four hits with a walk and a strikeout. Infielder Danny Hammermeister led the Knights with three RBIs and a run scored, going 4-5 at the plate.
Against the Saints, the Knights were deadlocked with the hosts before St. Charles East exploded for five runs in the bottom of the fifth. The Knights clawed back single runs in both the sixth and seventh innings, but it was not enough. Jacob Violett took the loss, while Joe Laudont went 2-for-3 with a run scored.
In the win against Wheaton Academy—a team that came into the Regional with a 28-6 record—at the IHSA Regional hosted by Hampshire H.S., Knights’ starting pitcher Matt O’ Sullivan tossed five innings, giving up four runs on six hits, three walks and striking out five. Jordan Bock picked up the save for Kaneland, pitching a third of an inning with only two walks and giving up zero hits or runs. Infielder Joe Panico led the Knights’ offense, going 1-3 with a double, an RBI and three runs scored.
Kaneland was scheduled to play at Hampshire again on Wednesday, taking on No. 1-seeded Burlington Central in the Regional Semifinal, but results were not available before press time. The winner of that game will play for the Regional Championship against either Hampshire or Sycamore on Saturday with a noon first pitch.
NORMAL, Ill.—Waubonsee Community College’s women’s basketball head coach Jim Sury was recently honored at the 43rd Annual Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) Hall of Fame Banquet at Illinois State University’s Bone Center. Sury was named the Junior College Women’s Coach of the Year after leading his undersized squad to the program’s first ever Region IV Championship and first-ever berth in the NJCAA Division II National Tournament. In his first season at the helm, Sury guided unranked Waubonsee (21-14) to an 11th-place finish in the nation.
A resident of St. Charles, Sury was the women’s assistant coach the previous three seasons at Waubonsee. Prior to that he served as an assistant to Waubonsee’s men’s program for three years, helping direct the Chiefs to two Region IV titles and a pair of NJCAA Division II National Tournament appearances. Sury has also spent time as a boys’ varsity assistant coach of both basketball and baseball at Marmion Academy, where he serves on the Cadets’ Alumni Board.
A sell-out crowd of over 1,200 attended the IBCA’s gala event, which included several big name players and coaches with ties to Illinois basketball. In addition to recognizing the Coaches of the Year for junior high, high school and college levels, other events included the presentation of the state’s Mr. and Ms. Basketball award, as well as Hall of Fame inductions for players, coaches, media, and Friends of Basketball.
Among those honorees was long-time Comcast announcer and current Waubonsee play-by-play broadcaster Mark Krueger. The North Central College graduate and Aurora resident has broadcast prep and collegiate sports in Chicagoland for the last 25 years, including Chiefs’ basketball on Waubonsee’s Educational Television station.
May 22-23, 2015 @ Eastside Centre, East Peoria, Ill.
* denotes school record
21) Donatela Sommesi, 28.06
18) Cassidy Motyka, 1:04.45; 34) Lesley Viveros, 1:06.02
7) Lesley Viveros, 2:28.28
5) Rachel Richtman, 5:23.98*
6) Avery Smith, Donatella Sommesi, Holly Brown, Emma Stoker, 53.29*
20) Bailey Prichard, Keely Noel, Grace Vranicar, Cassidy Motyka, 1:57.43*
20) Grave Vranicar, Keely Noel, Rachel Richtman, Cassidy Motyka, 4:32.73*
44) Grace Purcell, 2:35.76
NH) Linsey Turner (school record set in Sectionals, 7-06)
24) Linsey Turner, Miranda Hansen, Taylor Moss, Maddy Wheatley, 53.88
38) Lizzie Laudont, Erin Ball, Emma Ball, Grace Purcell, 4:34.12
8) Daniel Occhipinti, 5:02.33*
t9) Andrew Saloga, 8-06
35) Colton Doll, Ian Diehl, Guy Sreenan, Andrew Saloga, 52.12
8) Austin Adams, Daniel Occhipinti, Colton Doll, Andrew Saloga, 4:05.08*
Long Jump: t30) Ian Diehl, 16-00.5
28) David Delarme, 55.91
35) Carter Hayes, Sheldon Bartmann, Ben Saloga, David Delarme, 49.54
28) Ben Saloga, David Delarme, Justin Lin, Keegan Urbanik, 3:57.12
AURORA—Elburn resident and Marmion Academy junior Andrew Burroughs qualified for the IHSA State Finals in the 3200m run at the Class 3A West Aurora Sectional May 21.
Teammate Brady Bobbitt won the event in 9 minutes, 35.41 seconds, but Burroughs was only .14 behind for runner-up honors in 9:35.55. The State-qualifiyng mark in the event is 9:29.04, but the top two finishers in each event earn automatic bids to the State meet.
The 3200m is run as a two-heat final at the State Meet, meaning Burroughs will automatically advance to Saturday’s State Final. He will likely compete, along with Bobbitt, in the first heat of the 3200m, which is scheduled to take place at 10 a.m.