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Knights at hub of victory

in Boys Basketball/Featured by

Photo: John Pruett executes a leaping lay-up in the fourth quarter of Kaneland’s 65-62 home win against Rochelle on Thursday. Photo by Patti Wilk

Limbrunner, Pruett combine for 40 in NIB-12 win
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Eight out of 10 isn’t bad.

Outside of two setbacks at last month’s Plano Christmas Classic, the Knights don’t have a blemish on the slate since junior guard Drew David saw his way back into the lineup from injury.

The narrative continued on Thursday evening against the visiting Rochelle Hubs, as the Knights staged a 65-62 comeback win.

The win raises KHS prospects to 9-6 (4-1 Northern Illinois Big XII).

“We still have a long way to go offensively. The nice thing about having Drew back is that we are taking care of the ball better. But our consistency needs to improve,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said.

Helped by a 16-for-24 evening at the line, compared to just four tries for the visitors, Kaneland beat its 2012 regional final opponent from a year ago. Matt Limbrunner had a game-high 23 points, to go with teammate John Pruett’s 17. Dan Miller added nine in the win.

The 65 points marks a team-high for 2012-13 thus far, and held up despite Rochelle’s mind-boggling 14 three-pointers. Grant Prusator had a team-high five treys.

Rochelle led 19-14 after one quarter and 40-29 at the end of the first half. Kaneland closed within 51-45 at the end of the third frame before making a 20-11 run spanning the fourth quarter.

Kaneland hopes the effort shows on the court in this second half of the season.

“The boys are buying into our defensive philosophy. They also work hard on a consistent basis,” Johnson said.

Kaneland travels to conference crossover adversary LaSalle-Peru on Saturday, Jan. 19, at 6:30 p.m.

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Wrestlers take down Morris, host Flott

in Featured/Wrestling by

Photo: Junior Zack Russell won the championship in the 160 pound weight class against a Prairie Central opponent. Photo by Patti Wilk

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Fourth time is a charm for local wrestlers.

For the fourth straight season, KHS wrestling was crowned king of its own mat at the Margarett Flott Memorial Tournament held in Maple Park on Saturday.

The Knights also took down Morris in a slim 40-35 encounter on Thursday, raising their dual mark to 13-12.

The Knights’ improvement in 2012-13 is already tangible, with the Kaneland group eclipsing last season’s dual meet mark of 11-12.

“We’re a better tournament team than a dual team, but we did well and we’re down to an important part of the season,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said.

Kaneland’s total of 227 beat Elgin (156), Prairie Central (141), Ottawa (128.5) and Niles North (105) to round out the top five in the 10-team invite.

Connor Williams captured the 120-pound mantle with a 4:12 pinfall over Ottawa rival Christian Boswell. Williams reached the final with a 14-2 major decision over Elgin’s Daniel Easter.

Esai Ponce conquered the 132-pound group with a 6-2 decision over Bradey Weinrich of BC. Ponce reached the final with a 3:11 pin over Prairie Central’s Nick Kauffman.

Sonny Horn won the 138-pound gathering with a 4-1 win over Marian Catholic’s Nick Remke. Horn made the final via 4-2 decision over PC’s Ben Traub.

Kaneland standout Dan Goress captured the 145-pound title with a 3-1 decision over Evan Bahler of PC, after a 15-1 major decision over Larkin’s Alex Duran.

Zack Russell staked the 160-pound claim by 5:35 pinfall over PC’s Jake Adams. Russell made the final by 6-5 win over Niles North Calvin Rosenburgh.

Zack Theis captured the heavyweight final with victories over Alex Vara of Ottawa (1:20) and Grant Ricketts of PC (1:30). Teammate Justin Diddell had a 9-2 victory over Ottawa’s Sean Taulbee in the same bracket.

113-pound asset Stephen Gust made it to the finals of his bracket by a technical fall over Ottawa’s Alex Brown before dropping a 3:50 fall to Zachery McCullough in the final.

At 126 pounds, Dane Goodenough beat Burlington Central’s Michael Metz in :57 before losing in the final to Larkin’s Duke Bogicevic by 6-2 count.

At 220 pounds, Nick Sharp made it to the finals with a :49 pinfall of PC’s Cody Parks before dropping the final to Ottawa’s cornerstone Cyrano Rayfield in 5:15.

At 106 pounds, Knight Adam Mish defeated Jacob Meyers of Rochelle by 6-5 decision to secure third place.

At 152 pounds, Austin Parks made it to the third-place match with an overtime win over BC’s Brad Roberts before losing to Niles North’s Stephen Heilman by 3:05 pinfall to finish fourth.

Against Morris, Mish won via pin in 1:30, Gust took a 5-0 win over Jake Crowther and Goodenough won a 5-3 decision over AJ Vota.

Kaneland’s David Barnhart won a :24 pin in his 132-pound encounter, and Horn’s 12-2 major decision also helped the KHS effort.

Dan Goress, at 152 pounds, beat Andrew Olson in 1:44, while Parks also managed a 3:35 pinfall over Kyle Abney.

Theis also earned a 2:52 pinfall over Morris’ Dalton Ness in the win for heavyweight supremacy.

On Saturday, Jan. 19, the eyes of the NIB-12 wrestling landscape will be in Sycamore for the conference meet.

“They just have to push themselves,” Jahns said. “We need to focus on every meet and every match like it’s our last.”

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Senior Connor Williams took the championship<br /><figcaption class=in the 120 pound weight class vs Ottawa in the finals of the Margaret Flott
Invitational. Photo by Patti Wilk" width="385" height="580" class="size-full wp-image-27816" /> Senior Connor Williams took the championship
in the 120 pound weight class vs Ottawa in the finals of the Margaret Flott
Invitational. Photo by Patti Wilk

Lady Knights drop pair of matches

in Bowling by

KANELAND—The KHS bowling team dropped a pair of matches this week, both by narrow margins.

Kaneland hosted fellow Northern Illinois Big XII outfit Ottawa in DeKalb, and after Tuesday’s loss at Rochelle on Tuesday, fell to 1-7 on the dual campaign tour.

Against Ottawa, Kaneland suffered through a slim 2,803-2,757 setback on the lanes.

Ottawa’s best individual series was a 603 total. Kaneland was lifted by Angela Charhut at 508. Amanda Strayve added a 487.

Teammate Morgan Wojciechowski added a 484 series of her own.

Charhut had the team-high game effort of 224, while Wojciechowski supplied a 172 for second-best.

In JV action, Ottawa bested KHS by a 2,437-2,102 score. Dominique Lee had a team-best 393 series.

Kaneland came out with a game-one victory at Rochelle on Tuesday, 938-894, before dropping the next two games and the match overall, 2,715-2,688.

Ellissa Eckert notched the Kaneland high game with a 168 in game two. Wojciechowski put up the team’s high series with a 482.

Kaneland’s JV squad posted a victory at Rochelle, 2,059-1,859. The team swept all three games, led by Karizza Sotelo’s high game of 172 and Dominique Lee’s high series of 419.

On Thursday,. Jan. 17, the Lady Knights face host Illinois Math and Science Academy, with a 4:15 p.m. start.

Kaneland Youth Soccer spring registration deadline nears

in Community Sports by

Elburn—The Kaneland Youth Soccer Organization (KYSO) is taking registrations for spring recreational soccer through Wednesday, Jan 30, at www.kanelandyouthsoccer.com.

The spring season includes six games running from April 13 until May 18. All games and practices are held at the KYSO fields, next to Kaneland High School in Maple Park.

Registration is open to boys and girls ages 4-17. Registration fees are $85 for the first child, $65 for each additional child, and include a soccer jersey, shorts, socks, end-of-season trophies and certified referees. A refundable $20 volunteer fee is added to the first child’s registration to help offset league costs. Refunds are available by coaching, participating on the KYSO Board, or helping with various roles during the season. Email volunteer@kanelandyouthsoccer.com for details.

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

About KYSO
KYSO provides Big Rock, Elburn, Hinckley, Kaneville, Maple Park, Sugar Grove and Virgil youth with recreational soccer opportunities. KYSO has approximately 50 recreational soccer teams for boys and girls ages 4-14 (U5-U14). KYSO recreational program teaches soccer through the use of smaller teams and fields, maximizing participation by all. The program also allows young players to learn and enjoy soccer in a positive and fun environment, usually in their own community with the same children with whom they go to school.

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

Nomination deadline for Chiefs’ Athletic Hall of Fame approaches

in Waubonsee Sports by

Sugar Grove—The deadline for nominations to Waubonsee Community College’s Athletic Hall of Fame is quickly approaching. Individuals or groups can be nominated for the 2013 class of inductees until Feb. 1.

Hall of Fame selections will be announced the week of April 8, and inductees will be honored at the school’s year-ending Athletic Banquet on May 9, 2013. Nomination forms are available online at www.waubonsee.edu/athletics or through Waubonsee’s Athletic Office on the college’s Sugar Grove campus.

Inductees will be determined by a selection committee representing Waubonsee’s staff, administration and former Waubonsee student-athletes.

Nominated athletes must be five years removed from competing for Waubonsee. Nominees will fall into one of five categories: administrators, faculty and staff; athletes; coaches; community supporters; and specific teams. Criteria for induction varies based on the category of nominee, but includes involvement in sports, dedication to Waubonsee, athletic successes, years at Waubonsee, and contributions to the community or career accomplishments earned after leaving Waubonsee.

For more information, please contact the Waubonsee Athletic Department at (630) 466-2524.

Back to even

in Featured/Girls Basketball by

Photo: Kaneland’s Brooke Harner played tough defense against Burlington on Saturday at home. Photo by John DiDonna

Comeback win over Rochelle evens KHS conference mark
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Bouncing back from adversity could be the difference in later games this season, and Kaneland girls basketball put it into practice this past Friday and Saturday as the calendar switched to 2013.

Friday saw a laboring battle against visiting Yorkville, and KHS fell 39-26. Kaneland rebounded on Saturday with a 56-53 win over Burlington Central.

Down five late against visiting Rochelle on Tuesday, the Lady Knights went on a 12-0 run spanning the fourth quarter and overtime in a 54-47 overtime win.

Kaneland now sits at 11-6 (3-3 Northern Illinois Big XII).

KHS shot just 10-for-41 against the Lady Foxes and scored just two points in the third quarter of play.

Aly O’Herron and Emma Bradford paced the Lady Knights with six points each, while Corrine Rowe had a game-high 10 points for YHS.

Yorkville was up 11-8 after one quarter and 22-19 after the first half of play before leaving the third quarter with a 31-21 lead. Yorkville outscored Kaneland 8-5 in the final eight minutes to cinch it.

Against BC, Ashley Prost and Bradford had 12 points each, while Sarah Grams added 10.

Despite shooting just 12-of-46 from the field, the Lady Knights converted 31-of-39 foul shots.

The two squads were tied at 8-8 after one, and Kaneland led 23-18 after a half before BC closed within 32-30 after three. BC sent it to an extra period by outscoring Kaneland 14-12 before KHS outscored the Lady Rockets 12-9 in OT.

Against Rochelle, Kaneland was down 24-22 at halftime. The two squads exchanged baskets until Grams hit two straight and O’Herron stole and converted to tie the score at 30.

Rochelle scored with 1:56 to go to take a two-point lead before Brooke Harner’s offensive putback tied the game with 3.8 left in the quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Michelle Dobbs of Rochelle hit a bucket and then hit one-of-two foul shots for a 36-32 edge with 4:33 to play. The Lady Hubs hit four of six free throws down the stretch for a 41-36 lead with 47.6 seconds remaining in the game. O’Herron responded by launching a rainbow perimeter attempt that connected with 40.3 to go, making it 41-39. Prost tied the game at 41-41 with a basket converted off a steal with 20.9 to go, and Rochelle missed on two shot attempts near the end.

In the extra four-minute session, Emma Bradford made good on a lay-up, and O’Herron launched a trey for a 46-41 lead with 2:49 left. Prost nailed a pair of free throws to give KHS a 48-41 lead that completed the 12-0 run.

Dobbs hit a bucket and a pair of free throws to close within 48-45 with a minute to play, but a Prost basket, as well as foul shots from O’Herron and Grams, put the contest away after much tension.

“The key to the game was really our composure,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said following the second consecutive OT win. “We got down early. Dobbs is a dynamic scorer, and we wanted to make her work a little bit harder.”

Kaneland plays in Ottawa on Saturday, Jan. 12, at 2:30 p.m.

Photos by John DiDonna:
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Bowling drops duel with Huntley

in Bowling by

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland bowling is trying to up the competitive fire against good teams, and its opponents are making sure it’s a difficult ride.

Facing familiar adversary Huntley on the road on Monday evening, KHS fell with a 2,978-2,728 loss in the first meet of 2013.

For KHS, Christie Crews had a team-high series total of 545 and a high game of 205 and Morgan Wojchiechowski added a 527 total and high game of 189.

Kaneland played hosts to visiting Sycamore on Tuesday and pulled out a tight 933-925 win in game three, although the team fell overall, 2,923-2,759.

Annie Salerno led the team with a 204 high game, and Angela Charhut paced the Lady Knights with a 519 high series.

Kaneland travels to Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb to battle crossover foe Ottawa on Thursday, Jan. 10.

“On Thursday, we face Ottawa at home, and that match could go just about any way,” KHS coach Jim McKnight said. “They appear to be a bit inconsistent with their scores, just like us. They’ve had some amazingly high games, but they’ve also shown weakness at times, so it should be a good match.”

Grapplers open 2013 with dual win

in Featured/Wrestling by

Photo: Kaneland’s Austin Parks (152 pounds) gets the upper hand on his Rochelle opponent during wrestling Senior Night home match on Jan. 3. Photo by Mary Herra

Wrestlers battle through Sycamore Invite field, stifle Rochelle
KANELAND—Nothing like a tough Sycamore Invite and a Northern Illinois Big XII battle against a familiar foe to measure your team’s progress.

In the usual early-January stop, the Knights finished ninth at the furious Sycamore Invite with 363.5 points.

Kaneland also evened up its dual mark at 12-12 with a 43-15 win over visiting Rochelle on Thursday.

Rockton’s Hononegah High School took first in Sycamore with 679 team points, followed by Grant at 591.5 and the hosts with 567.5.

Noteworthy finishes began with 120-pound asset Connor Williams, who nabbed third place overall with a 5-0 win over Grant’s Troy Parent.

Teammate Esai Ponce did well with a third-place finish, capped with a 2:39 pin over Marian Catholic’s Frank Voltattorni.

Dan Goress continued his trajectory and made it to the 145-pound final before losing to McHenry’s Wade Lardy by 5-2 count.

Against the Hubs, wins were plentiful, including 113-pound rep Stephen Gust winning a 3-1 decision and Williams taking a 5-0 win.

Ponce took a major decision by 8-0 count, and the KHS crew collected two pins from the efforts of Sonny Horn at 138 pounds (2:58) and Goress (1:28).

Austin Parks won an 8-6 OT victory in the 152-pound match, while Nick Sharp added a 1:15 pin.

Kaneland will wrestle at the Flott Invite on Saturday, Jan. 12.

Knights take care of Yorkville, BC

in Boys Basketball/Featured by

Photo: Kaneland’s Tyler Carlson passes as a Burlington player goes down during Kaneland’s home contest on Saturday. The Knights defeated the Rockets 38-30. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—The silver-and-black-clad Knights are making good on committing to excellence in 2013.

After splitting the last competition of 2012 in the 50th running of the Plano Christmas Classic, Kaneland got off to a nice start with the new year.

Kaneland handily solved a visiting Yorkville squad on Friday evening by a final of 51-30 and stifled a lineup from Burlington Central in Maple Park on Saturday by a final of 38-30.

KHS sits at 8-6 (3-1 Northern Illinois Big XII) on the year, having won seven of its last nine.

In NIB-12 action against the Foxes, the Knights were paced by John Pruett’s 14 points, Matt Limbrunner’s 10 and Tyler Carlson’s 10.

After taking a 12-8 lead after the first eight minutes of play, YHS hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to 12-11 23 seconds into the second quarter.

Limbrunner then hit two baskets, including one on a crisp pass down low from guard Drew David, to take a 16-11 lead with 6:10 to go.

Baskets by Dan Miller and Cole Carlson and two foul shots from Tyler Carlson gave KHS a 22-18 edge with two minutes to play in the half, the Foxes’ basket with 1:19 left closed the first-half scoring out at 22-20.

The third quarter saw the scales tip even more in the Knights’ favor as a mid-quarter flurry of baskets from Tyler Carlson, Limbrunner and a three-pointer from Pruett made it 31-22 with 2:28 to go. Yorkville missed six straight shots in the quarter at one point, while Limbrunner converted on two baskets and David hit a shot, giving KHS a 37-28 lead with 1:02 to go that closed out the scoring.

Yorkville hit just one of four shots in the fourth quarter, while Pruett hit the first three baskets of the quarter for KHS to give the hosts a 14-point lead.

“We know they ran their 2-2-1 press, and we were pretty much game planning that all week,” Pruett said. “Yorkville is good at getting pressure and turnovers, and we were just getting the ball down the floor.”

The lead grew to 21 on a three by freshman Dylan Vava with 1:26 to go, while Yorkville scored just two points in the frame.

“(Yorkville) did a good job early on at causing us to make some mistakes and not necessarily take care of the basketball, but it was nice to get a little bit of breathing space in the fourth quarter,” KHS coach Brian Johnson said.

Limbrunner led the Knights with 16 in the comeback win over visiting BC, but the visitors enjoyed an 8-6 lead after one quarter. Kaneland powered through for a 19-16 lead at halftime before BC emerged with a 25-24 lead after three. KHS went on a 14-5 run encompassing the fourth quarter for the win.

Kaneland hosts rival Rochelle on Thursday, Jan. 10.

Photos by John DiDonna:
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KC Cougars, Cubs host ‘Hot Stove’ events in February

in Kane County Cougars by

Geneva—The Kane County Cougars will host a pair of events in February as anticipation for the 2013 season grows and the organization prepares for its first season of affiliation with the Chicago Cubs.

The Cougars will host a “Meet the Cubs” hot stove event on Friday, Feb. 1, and a free coaches clinic on Saturday, Feb. 2. Information on both events is currently available at kccougars.com.

The Meet the Cubs party, to take place inside the Fifth Third Bank Ballpark Super Suite from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 1, will provide fans a proper introduction to Kane County’s affiliation with the Chicago Cubs. Scheduled speakers include Cubs Senior VP of Scouting & Player Development Jason McLeod, Cubs Director of Player Development Brandon Hyde, and Cougars manager Mark Johnson. Johnson was named the 15th manager in Cougars history last month.

Admission is $60 and includes an all-you-can-eat buffet, draft beer and a question-and-answer session with the evening’s guest speakers. A portion of proceeds will be donated to JDRF, in honor of the late Cubs Hall-of-Famer Ron Santo.

Seating will be extremely limited, and fans are encouraged to order their tickets early. Tickets can be purchased by calling (630) 232-8811 or by visiting kccougars.com.

The following morning, the Cougars will hold a free Coaches Clinic that will feature professional instructors from the Cougars and Cubs organizations. The clinic will take place from 9 a.m. until noon inside the Fifth Third Bank Ballpark upper deck level. Attendees are asked to RSVP by calling the Cougars at (630) 232-8811 or by emailing sfreed@kanecountycougars.com. The clinic is provided free-of-charge to participants as a community service from the Cougars and Cubs organizations.

Donuts and coffee will be provided for attendees.

Season tickets, ticket packages, catered event group outings and single-game tickets are on sale for the 2013 season. Opening Night at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark is set for Thursday, April 4, when the Cougars host Quad Cities at 6:30 p.m. Fans can learn more about the 2013 season at kccougars.com.

Dudzinski named Patriot League Player of the Week

in Boys Basketball/Elburn by

WORCESTER, Mass.—Holy Cross junior forward Dave Dudzinski, an Elburn resident and Kaneland High School alum, was named the Patriot League/Anaconda Player of the Week, for competition from Dec. 17-23. This marks the first time Dudzinski has won Patriot League Player of the Week honors during his collegiate career.

In two contests that week, Dudzinski averaged 26.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocked shots per game, while hitting 69.2 percent (18 of 26) of his field goal attempts, 80.0 percent of his three-pointers (four of five) and 92.9 percent (13 of 14) of his free throws. He opened the week with a career-high 31 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in the 73-63 victory at San Francisco on Dec. 18. Dudzinski then totaled 22 points, two assists, two blocks and two steals in the 72-65 loss at Harvard on Dec. 22.

On the year, Dudzinski has averaged a team-best 15.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.0 blocked shots per game. Over the course of his collegiate career, he has totaled 577 points, 336 rebounds and 53 blocked shots, while connecting on 50.2 percent (211 of 421) of his field goals and 80.6 percent (133 of 165) of his free throws.

Top-tier finish in Plano for boys hoops

in Boys Basketball/Featured by

Photo: Kaneland boys varsity beat Newark 54-35 on Dec. 27 at the Plano 50th annual Christmas Classic tournament. No. 22 Dan Miller goes up and over his opponents for a score. Photo by Patti Wilk

by Mike Slodki
PLANO—Kaneland boys basketball is slowly but surely gelling again.

At the 50th running of the Plano Christmas Classic, that reality stood as an ominous warning to some teams and a statement of fact to the teams that bested the Knights.

Kaneland finished in fourth place, one spot worse than in 2011, but still continues to make strides with a healthy lineup and new faces.

Coupled with a win back on Dec. 22 against Sandwich, the Knights returned to action with a handy 47-29 win on Dec. 26, against sixth-seed Lisle. On Thursday, they handed Newark a 54-35 loss before losing to Ottawa on Friday, 60-50. Saturday’s third-place game saw Aurora Christian hand Kaneland a 54-46 loss.

Ottawa, a 10th seed, won the entire tournament with a 55-53 win over top-seed Belvidere on Saturday night.

With the 3-2 showing at the tourney, Kaneland’s record is now 6-6.

Against the Lisle Lions, Kaneland was led by Matt Limbrunner’s 23, Tyler Carlson’s 11 and John Pruett’s 10.

Two Limbrunner hoops gave KHS a 10-5 lead with under a minute left, but a technical foul on the Kaneland bench gave Lisle four foul shot attempts, only to convert on one of the tries. Kaneland led 10-8 at the first-quarter horn.

It was once again the Limbrunner show in the second quarter, with four of the five team baskets.

The senior was able to power down low to make it 19-12 with 3:02 to go in the half. After Lisle’s hoop 19 seconds later, Limbrunner went low for a 21-14 edge with 2:21 to play, closing out the first-half scoring.

KHS then went on a 13-4 run, taking care of the entire third frame. Back-to-back three pointers by Carlson grew the lead to 14 points with 29.1 left, and two Pruett foul shots with 15.8 to go made it 34-18 as the quarter wound down.

Baskets by Pruett and Limbrunner within the fourth quarter’s first minute made the lead 38-18, while free throws from Limbrunner, Dan Miller and Connor Fedderly iced the game.

Limbrunner and crew persevered against a higher seed and an up-tempo style of play for a handy win.

“It was nice; we knew they wanted to play fast,” Limbrunner said. “So we wanted to play our game, slow it down, and it worked out really well.”

KHS coach Brian Johnson was wary of the No. 6 seed in the Classic.

“We wanted to make sure we could control the tempo,” Johnson said. “Lisle is pretty athletic and big, and they want to get out and run.”

In the win over the Norsemen, Carlson paced the Knights with 16. Kaneland was ahead 15-3 after one frame and 26-18 at the halftime buzzer before leading 41-26 after three. KHS shot 17-for-38 in the win and 17-for-22 from the foul line.

In the loss against the eventual champ Pirates, Miller had a team-high 12, while Ottawa’s JD Bryant had 16 of his own.

Kaneland was plagued by a 19-for-53 day from the field. Ottawa was ahead 15-12 after one and 30-18 at the half before the Knights closed to within 39-33 after three.

Miller had a team-high 15 in the loss to the local rival Eagles in the tourney conclusion. Cory Windle had a game-high 16.

Kaneland was plagued by a 19-for-50 night from the field.

AC went up 22-9 after one frame and 36-24 after the first 16 minutes of play before the Knights closed to within 45-36, but a 10-9 fourth in favor of Kaneland wasn’t impactful enough.

Kaneland continues Northern Illinois Big XII action on Friday, Jan. 4, against visiting Yorkville.

KHS earns split at usual Flavin stop

in Featured/Wrestling by

Photo: Kaneland sophomore Adam Mish puts an arm lock on his Burlington rival during the DeKalb Invitational on Saturday. Photo by Patti Wilk

DeKalb gathering lifts KHS; sees dual mark at 10-11
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—A usual late-December stop offered a glimpse as to what caliber the Knight wrestling squad is at right now.

Friday and Saturday marked the familiar Don Flavin Invite, hosted by DeKalb High School.

The event was ultimately won by Hononegah High School over Naperville North, and the Knights went 2-2 in the weekend. Hononegah improved on its second-place finish of a year ago.

Kaneland finished eighth in 2011 and sixth in 2010.

After a 41-30 win over Burlington Central, a 54-24 win over Stagg, a 44-32 loss to 2011 champ Neuqua Valley and a 40-26 loss to Glenbard West—plus a loss to Pewaukee of Wisconsin—the Knights sit at 10-11 in head-to-head competition.

In the win over the rival Rockets along Dresser Road, the Knights saw a 7-0 decision from 106-pounder Adam Mish and a 2-0 decision for 120-pounder Connor Williams. Teammate Dane Goodenough managed a pin in the 126-pound outing in two minutes, 31 seconds.

Kaneland 138-pounder Sonny Horn won a 2:32 pinfall, and 145-pound teammate Dan Goress took a technical fall by 20-4 count.

BC found wins in the 152-through-182 classes, but the twin towers of Nick Sharp and Zach Theis took pins home to secure a win.

Sharp won in 1:27 for 220-pound glory, and Theis managed a 1:53 pin in the heavyweight category.

In the win over the Stagg group, Mish’s 8-5 win paved the way for pins from Williams, Goodenough, 132-pound Esai Ponce, Horn and 152-pound Austin Parks. Goress also nabbed a 24-9 technical fall, as well.

Sharp won his match in 3:53, while Theis scored a 12-2 major decision.

In the 12-point team loss to the Naperville, Ill.-based outfit, Mish (:43) and Williams (2:32) took pins, while Stephen Gust won a 7-6 squeaker.

Horn won a pinfall in 1:36, while Goress won a third technical fall of the competition in 18-3 fashion.

In the 14-point loss to the Hilltoppers, decision wins came by Gust (2-0), Williams (6-3), Ponce (9-8), Horn (6-5) and Sharp (6-1).

Goress earned a fourth technical fall win by 21-6 count, while Sharp took the lone team pinfall by 3:14 time.

KHS head coach Monty Jahns said Goress has served as a spark plug for the team.

“He got the ball rolling and was fun to watch,” KHS coach Monty Jahns said. “As a senior, he sets the tone for us.”

GW’s winning trail through 152-195 country was the difference.

Kaneland gets back into the Northern Illinois Big XII swing of things on Thursday, Jan. 3, against the visiting Rochelle Hubs.

Wasco softball began registration on Tuesday

in Community Sports by

Wasco—Wasco Girls Fastpitch Softball (WGFSL) began registration on Tuesday.

WGFSL is a recreational softball league open to all area girls from kindergarten through 12th grade. Games are played in the evenings and some Saturdays so parents can attend and readily participate.

Practice starts in April, and most games conclude late June/early July. Players may register online at www.wascofastpitch.com, download a mail-in registration form or call (630) 513-1200 for a form.

Registration concludes at the end of February. After that date, players will be put on a wait list.

For more information, visit www.wascofastpitch.com.

Hot start

in Boys Basketball/Featured by

Follow the Plano Tournament at
RockCreekBall.com/Classic12.htm

Kaneland’s Tyler Carlson (10) steals the ball from the Sandwich players during the 50th annual Plano Classic on Saturday. Kaneland handled Sandwich easily in this game, winning 52-31. Photo by Patti Wilk

KHS boys trounce Sandwich in Plano Classic’s first round
KANELAND—It’s a tall order for an 11th seed to find glory in the Plano Christmas Classic, so Kaneland had to take it one step at a time at the tournament setting.

They did so on Saturday against Sandwich with a 52-31 victory during the first afternoon of the 50th edition of the tournament.

Winners of the entire tournament in 2009, KHS played No. 6 seed Lisle at 3:30 p.m., on Wednesday, with results unavailable at press time.

Kaneland (4-4) went 17-for-42 from the field and was paced by Tyler Carlson’s 19 points, John Pruett’s 12 and Matt Limbrunner’s 11.

Liam Crotty had eight for Sandwich.

Key in the winning effort was the Knights going 18-for-21 from the foul line, compared to 5-for-5 for the Indians.

KHS went 10-for-22 from the field in the second half.

Kaneland was up 10-8 after the first quarter, and 18-13 at the half before upping the lead to 30-22 after three. The Knights’ 22-9 run spanning the entire fourth quarter iced the first-round contest.

Knights take 2 of 3 in Woodstock quadrangular

in Wrestling by

KANELAND—Work never seems done for the Kaneland High School wrestling unit.

While the final school bell of 2012 rang the previous day, the wrestlers headed up to Woodstock High School for a quadrangular meet.

After the day’s activities, the Knights came away with a 52-18 win over the hosts, a 37-30 setback at the hands of Mundelein, and a 51-9 win over Richmond-Burton.

Kaneland’s dual mark sits at 8-8.

Against the Streaks of Woodstock, three of the lightest four weights ended in forfeit wins, while 113-pound entry Stephen Gust took a pin in two minutes, 59 seconds.

Teammate Esai Ponce, at 132 pounds, won a 15-0 technical fall, while Sonny Horn won a 9-5 decision at 138.

At 145 pounds, Dan Goress took a 12-4 major decision, and teammate Austin Parks ended up with the same type of win in 11-2 fashion for the 152 bragging rights.

Woodstock took the 160, 170 and 182 wins by two pins and a forfeit, while 195 ended as a double forfeit.

Nick Sharp and Zach Theis had the final two wins in the heavier weights by forfeit.

Against Mundelein, Kaneland fell victim to losses in every class from 152 to 195. Pins in the Knights favor went to Connor Williams at 120 over Jonathan Avela in 3:26, Horn at 3:52 over Joe Lavree and Theis in 1:15 over Ed Olmos. Goress took a major decision over Javeen Dominguez, 20-5, while Sharp won a major decision over Cesar Obespo, 11-0. Ponce won 5-3 for a win over Matt Hvoenson.

Against Richmond-Burton, victories included a 6-0 win by Gust, a 126-pound win for Dane Goodenough in :40 and a :45 pin by Sharp. The remainder of the wins were of the forfeit variety.

The Knights prepare to hit the 14th annual Don Flavin Tournament at DeKalb High School Friday and Saturday, Dec. 28-29.

Girls leave Ottawa with split

in Featured/Girls Basketball by

The Kaneland girl’s varsity basketball team ventured to Ottawa for the Holiday Tournament. They beat Morris 38-29 and lost to Pontiac on Saturday, 43-39. File Photo

Colombe contingent nbeats Morris, takes loss vs. Pontiac
by Mike Slodki
OTTAWA—It’s hard to get accustomed to new digs for the holiday season.

Kaneland girls basketball had spent the previous six seasons hooping it up at Oswego East’s tournament in late December, and made its way to Ottawa’s Holiday tournament in 2013.

After splitting the first two contests a week ago in downtown Ottawa, the Lady Knights once again beat conference rival Morris on Friday afternoon by a final of 38-29, before losing to Pontiac, 43-38, in the seventh-place game on Saturday afternoon.

Kaneland’s eighth-place mark out of 12 teams brings the mark to 9-5 as the 2012 part of the season closes out. The Lady Knights have lost five of seven contests after a solid 7-0 beginning to the season.

Joliet Catholic won the tournament after a 49-26 handling of the host Lady Pirates, while Yorkville beat Geneseo, 39-29, in the third-place encounter.

Ashley Prost had 11 points to lead the Lady Knight attack in the win over the Morris, while Amber Winquist-Bailey had eight points off the bench in key minutes.

“It’s nice to stop the slide,” KHS coach Ernie Colombe said. “We knew it was going to be a different game, and they moved up a freshman to varsity and she’s one of Morris’ best players.They did a real nice job of defense on us, just getting in there battling.”

Kaneland emerged with a 12-11 lead after the first quarter, but fell behind quickly until Prost’s basket put the lead back to 14-13 just 38 seconds into the fourth quarter.

Sarah Grams’ jumper with 4:35 to go made it 16-13, while Winquist-Bailey’s basket 27 seconds later made it 18-15 and marked the final score of the quarter until a Morris foul shot with 38.3 seconds remaining.

Morris tried its best to push through to the lead, but junior center Kelly Wallner’s free throw, Prost’s bucket and Emma Bradford’s shot had KHS at a 23-20 advantage with 4:56 to go in the third. Later, Morris sliced the lead to two, but another Winquist-Bailey basket made it 27-23 with 17.9 remaining, closing out the third frame’s scoring.

Yet another key Winquist-Bailey conversion gave KHS a 29-23 lead with 6:24 to go, and the Lady Knights never looked back. Grams’ shot with 4:48 to go gave KHS a 10-point lead with 4:48 left, and her two foul shots with 52.2 left gave the Lady Knights their largest lead of the night at 37-26. Kaneland was 4-for-5 from the field and hit six of eight from the charity stripe to seal it.

“Amber had a nice spark in the game, and we all just cleared our heads and we focused on what we needed to do,” Prost said.

The Lady Knights’ break continues until Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, when they host rival Yorkville.

Publisher teams up with Beebe to tell story

in Elburn/Football/Kaneland/Regional/Sugar Grove by

by Mike Slodki
AURORA—Aurora Christian football coach Don Beebe has made a career and life out of transitions.

A 1983 graduate of Kaneland High School, he suited up for the Knights and went to school at Western Illinois and Chadron State College in Nebraska.

After working construction and putting up aluminum siding in nearby towns like Montgomery, he moved on for a shot at the NFL Combine and was subsequently drafted by the Buffalo Bills.

After several years and an infamous Super Bowl swat later, Beebe went to the Green Bay Packers, where he earned a championship ring in 1997.

Beebe then moved on to the next phase of his life, operating Don Beebe’s House of Speed, and most recently, head coach of the two-time Class 3A football champion Aurora Christian Eagles.

That’s where Jim Gibson comes in.

Gibson, owner and operator of Big Talk Publishing in Aurora, met with Beebe to put a book together. The result, “Six Rings from Nowhere,” was released at Aurora Christian High School last week.

It wasn’t hard for Gibson, a veteran of the television and movie industry, to get involved and tout the story.

“What’s great is that Don isn’t a blue-chipper, he’s blue collar,” Gibson said. “He’s the guy reading that book.”

Hoopla surrounding the book should continue with the NFL playoffs on the horizon. This season marks the 20th anniversary of the Bills’ historic Wild Card round comeback against the Houston Oilers, as well as the Super Bowl swat to rob Leon Lett of a defensive touchdown.

Gibson said CBS Sports is set to be in the area to interview Beebe and Lett about the play.

“(Beebe’s) so humble about all this. He’s a guy that showed up at the same combine with a pair of old tennis shoes and a duffle bag sharing space with Deion Sanders, Troy Aikman and Barry Sanders,” Gibson said.

The book is available for purchase at houseofspeed.com, sixringsfromnowhere .com, donbeebe.com, or at Aurora Christian High School.

“This book was a no-brainer, and comes after a long process,” Gibson said. “I knew of Don before this, and as I got to know him on a much deeper level, I felt he really needed to explain his story.”

“Six Rings from Nowhere,” co-written with writer Denise Crosby, has an introduction by Beebe’s Bills teammate Jim Kelly, and a forward by his Packers teammate Brett Favre.

Included in the book are tales of Favre giving a game ball to Beebe after their Super Bowl XXXI win over the New England Patriots, and his first catch in the NFL, a touchdown pass against Houston cornerback Cris Dishman.

“(Beebe’s) a guy that was out of college football for three-and-a-half years, and decided ‘I have to get back to football,’ and that’s the beginning,” Gibson said.

Big Talk Publishing’s effort is a story of faith, hope and triumph, plus plenty of anecdotes for the most ardent football fan.

The story of the Kaneland Knight-turned construction worker-turned-wide reciever-turned-championship coach and father of four has something for everyone.

“Working with him and talking about how he got his first ring and the winner of ESPN’s first Play of the Year was great,” Gibson said. “But it’s about a guy who has the heart of a champion.”

Gigantic week for P.J. Fleck

in Featured/Football/Kaneland/Sugar Grove by

Kaneland alum has daughter day before officially becoming WMU head coach
Kalamazoo, Mich.—Kaneland School District Hall of Fame member and Sugar Grove native P.J. Fleck had a whirlwind start to his week.

Preliminary, unconfirmed reporting from various sports media outlets began Monday, stating that Fleck would be officially named the head football coach at Western Michigan University (WMU).

The WMU Athletics Department confirmed the reports during the day Monday, stating that a press conference to officially name Fleck as their football program’s head coach had been set for Tuesday afternoon.

“When talking with people about Coach Fleck, the words used to describe his approach were ‘limitless energy,’ ‘limitless possibility,’ ‘limitless passion,’ ‘limitless enthusiasm,’ ‘limitless drive,’ ‘limitless achievement’ and ‘limitless opportunity,’” posted Mat Kanan, director of athletic media, when announcing the press conference online.

That press conference was put in jeopardy when Fleck’s wife, Tracie, went into labor Monday evening. The couple later welcomed their second child, Paisley, who will now look up to big brother, Carter Joseph (C.J.).

Fleck then made the trip to Kalamazoo, Mich., in time for the press conference.

“It’s great to be back in the MAC,” Fleck said as he reached the podium after being officially announced as the Broncos’ head coach. “I feel like I’ve come home.”

He presented the packed Varsity W Club Room in the Seeyle Center on the WMU campus with his plan as the university’s 15th head coach.

“We will do everything we can to bring success on the field and in the classroom,” he said.

Fleck described his approach to building a collegiate football program, as well as giving some insight into himself as a person.

“I’m an ordinary guy and I’ve surrounded myself with extraordinary people,” he said.

Fleck was a standout wide receiver on the back-to-back undefeated KHS state championship teams in 1998 and 1999. He set state records during his time as a Knight, with 95 catches for 1,548 yards and 16 touchdowns in his senior season. In his KHS career, Fleck caught 199 passes for 3,121 yards and 34 touchdowns, including a string of 40 straight games in which he caught at least one pass.

He then went on to play wide receiver for Northern Illinois University, where he earned first-team All Mid-American Conference honors in 2003. As a senior, he led NIU with 77 catches for 1,028 yards and six touchdowns.

Fleck began his coaching career after two seasons as a member of the San Francisco 49ers. After signing with the 49ers as a free agent in 2004, he spent most of that season on the practice squad before making an appearance versus New England late in the year. He was placed on the injured reserve roster in 2005 before retiring from professional football in June 2006.

Fleck began his coaching career as an offensive graduate assistant at Ohio State University in 2006, working with the Buckeyes’ tight ends and assisting with the special teams units.

Northern Illinois University hired Fleck in 2007 as a wide receivers coach, and he also served as the team’s recruiting coordinator. He then took wide receivers coaching position for Rutgers University in 2010. In early 2012, Fleck was hired as NIU offensive coordinator, but resigned the following day, instead taking a wide receivers coaching position with the Tampa Bay Buccanears in the National Football League.

Now, with his head coaching position at WMU, Fleck is the youngest head coach in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Fleck and his wife annually host the P.J. Fleck “Live Your Dream” Football Camp that benefits the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation (Friends of Carra), Alapecia Foundation (Locks of Love), Coach Kill’s Cancer Fund and the P.J. Fleck Scholarship Fund.

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