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Part of the elite

in Featured/Girls Cross Country by

Photo: The varsity girls make their start at the Eddington Cross Country Invitational on Saturday at Elburn Woods. In center is Victoria Clinton (No. 355), who was the Northern Illinois Big-12 Conference Champion last year as a freshman and placed ninth individually at the state meet. Photos by Ryan Wells

KHS girls XC team proves it belongs among top tier
by Ryan Wells
Kaneland—As hundreds of runners and spectators descended on Elburn Woods Saturday for the annual Kaneland Eddington Invitational, the Kaneland High School Lady Knight cross country team proved it has what it takes to be among the top teams in the state.

Kaneland took fifth as a team in the highly competitive field, with 117 team points. Jacobs earned the top spot as a team, with 73 points. Marengo placed second with 93, followed by Geneva (102) and Crystal Lake Central (109). Kaneland closed out the top five with 117.

“Obviously, we’re pleased with a fifth-place showing in such a tough field of competitors,” KHS head coach Doug Ecker said.

Not only did the team overall demonstrate that it is among the top tier in the state, individuals showed they belong in the lead group as well.

For Aislinn Lodwig, a Kaneland sophomore who battled through an illness and a painful foot, the competitive atmosphere of the large-scale race was a significant motivator.

“With more teams it just makes me feel better about how I did,” Lodwig said. “I know I can stick with more people than the usual (races), where it’s more spaced out during the race. This course is one of the hardest to run with the huge hills, and it really takes a toll on you.”

Lodwig was the sixth Lady Knight to cross the finish line, with a time of 21:08.

Leading Kaneland was sophomore Victoria Clinton, who took third overall and ran as part of the lead pack throughout the entire course.

Like Lodwig, Clinton’s race served as proof that she was able to reach the goals she had set for herself coming into the race. She took third overall with a time of 18:07.

“My goal was to finish in the top three,” Clinton said. “It was a fast race today; good competition was out here.”

Clinton stayed in the front group that included returning Class 2A champ Sami Staples, a sophomore from Crystal Lake Central, and Katie Adams, a senior from Marengo. The trio was three-fourths of the lead pack, and set a hard pace from the start.

“The first part, we went out really fast, and then I felt it in the (middle); we picked up the pace at the end, and I just had a mental goal to be in the top three; and God allowed me to have a good, fun race,” Clinton said.

Freshman Brianna Bower was the second Lady Knight to finish, taking 20th overall with a time of 19:59.

“That’s a very strong time for our tough home course,” Ecker said.

Bower said she was able to push through a bit of nerves, since it was her first time running in such a significant race at home.

“I felt good today; I was nervous at first. It ended up turning out OK,” she said.

Senior Amanda Lesak placed 29th for Kaneland. She led a Kaneland mini-pack, helping push a trio of Lady Knights to a seven-second split in their three-through-five runners. Lesak credited that trio for the team’s solid finish.

“A lot of my teammates really helped me and pushed me,” she said. “We all push each other so we can push the pace a little bit.”

Lesak said that the fast start was anticipated because of the nature of the Elburn Woods course.

“The first mile is always the fastest, because everybody wants to get a good spot,” she said. “Usually people find their pace and find the people they want to run with and settle down a little bit.”

The people Lesak ran with were Kaneland senior Abby Dodis, who finished 31st with a time of 20:30, and senior Maggie Brundige, who took 34th with a time of 20:33.

Sophomore Jessica Kucera paired up with Lodwig to take 52nd overall with a time of 21:10.

“It was great to see Lodwig and Kucera team up on the last portion of the course,” Ecker said.

Each runner faced individual challenges and reached for individual goals, as well as working together to meet the team goal and push each other. Ecker said this is part of the program’s plan as the final stretch run of the season looms ahead.

“This appears to be a deep team—and we need everyone fighting to push forward and get stronger for the conference meet and post-season run,” Ecker said.

Bringing their best

in Boys Cross Country/Featured by

Photo: Kyle Carter (891) dukes it out with DeKalb’s Marc Dubrick at the Eddington Invitational Saturday at Elburn Woods. Photos by Ryan Wells

Boys XC team sets numerous personal records at Eddington
by Ryan Wells
Kaneland—Across the board, the KHS boys cross country team stepped up in a big way for one of the biggest races of the year, the annual Larry Eddington Invitation at Kaneland’s home course at Elburn Woods.

All seven of Kaneland’s runners set some form of personal record on their home course.

“I thought our boys did very well,” KHS head coach Chad Clarey said. “All the guys that competed were either hitting their PR for the season on their home course or their career PR here.”

As a team, the Knights finished sixth with 140 points. Crystal Lake Central pulled away in the second half of the race to score 61 team points, good for the overall victory. Jacobs finished second with 91, followed by West Aurora (109), Benet Academy (128) and DeKalb (129). Mooseheart ran in its first-ever cross country race as a team, taking 15th overall.

Kaneland junior Kyle Carter led the team with a fourth-place finish, with a time of 16:08. He said the atmosphere spurred the Knights to push the pace throughout the course.

“It’s quite an honor to represent Kaneland and Larry Eddington, of course, and … we just wanted to represent Kaneland as best we can,” Carter said.

Because Carter trains at Elburn Woods regularly, he said he knew that being familiar with the difficult, hilly course could give the team an edge. He said he tried to come out of the start at a faster pace than usual.

“I went out a little fast, but I was trying to push the pace because most guys can’t handle the hills as good as us, because we work here all the time,” he said.

He said that after the initial burst, the lead group settled in before hitting the two-mile mark on the three-mile race.

“We just got to the two mile, and then the race really began,” he said. “They really took off and then I just hung on.”

Clarey said Carter ran a 29-second personal record on the home course.

“I think he was pumped up about getting started and he wanted to have a strong time,” Clarey said.

Senior Connor Johnson was the second Knight to cross the finish line, taking 18th overall with a time of 16:41, 24 seconds faster than his previous best time.

“This was a huge race for him,” Clarey said. “As a senior, he really stepped up and led our charge to be our No. 2 runner.”

Senior John Meisenger came into the race with a goal of hitting near 17 minutes, and he accomplished it, finishing 34th overall with a time of 17 minutes flat. That time served as an eight-second personal record.

Meisenger said that the early fast pace was a bit faster than he normally runs, but he anticipated it happening at the Eddington Invite.

“That was a faster mile for me coming into the first mile, but we’re used to setting the first mile faster,” he said.

Junior Ryan Bower was the fourth Knight across the finish line, taking 40th overall with a time of 17:15. That shaved 30 seconds off his career best time.

“Ryan Bower is new to varsity; he’s filling that role we need to have somebody come up and be a four or five guy,” Clarey said.

Junior Brandon Huber made a pre-race decision to run the race at all, as he was facing some soreness in his foot that morning. He finished in 17:23, good for 44th overall, cutting some time off his personal best on the course as well.

“He was a little bit sore this morning in his foot and wasn’t sure if he was going to race or not,” Clarey said. “He decided to jump in and wound up being our fifth man in the race. He did very well, especially with that foot pain.”

Junior Nathaniel Kucera beat his career best by 40 seconds, finishing in 17:38, good for 51st overall.

“He’s an important piece to our puzzle as well,” Clarey said. “We just need to make sure he’s feeling healthy.”

Ryan Paulson stepped in at the last minute to run as the seventh Knight, and used that motivation to set a 45-second PR on the home course. He finished in 18:00, taking 60th overall.

“I think it boosts up the momentum,” Paulson said of running as the host team at a big event like Eddington. “It really tries to push you to do better.”

“He’s another senior that really stepped out; when we needed him he stepped in and did a great job on this home course,” Clarey said.

Kaneland will travel to the ACC Invite on Saturday, Sept. 22.

KHS serves up the usual

in Featured/Football by

Photo: Ryan Lawrence intercepts a pass in the first quarter. Photo by Patti Wilk

Rushing, D just the combination for 41-0 win at Streator
by Mike Slodki
STREATOR, Ill.—You’ll have to excuse the Kaneland Knights’ football squad for being defensive.

After all, that’s what worked on Friday night.

Traveling south on Route 23, the victory tour rested at Streator High School, where KHS was too much for the winless host Bulldogs in a 41-0 decision.

Kaneland set the tone on the ground and saw power rushes from Jesse Balluff (95 yards rushing), Nate Dyer and trackster-like speed from Dylan Nauert on separate touchdown runs, while the defense was physical and opportunistic—exemplified by a Ryan Lawrence interception return for a touchdown.

KHS made tracks with 287 yards rushing, with the Knight swarm allowing just 110 yards against its crossover foe from the Northern Illinois Big XII West division.

For Kaneland, the regular season win streak hit 23, while Streator’s opposite trajectory hit 22 on the loss streak after Friday.

KHS has now won 28 out of its last 30 contests.

Kaneland has not allowed a score since the final seconds of the win over Huntley on Aug. 31.

For the second week in a row, the running clock clicked in with 4:53 remaining in the second quarter, after Lawrence leaped in the air to grab an errant pass and weaved around blockers to convert on a 34-yard interception touchdown.

“I get a lot of practice with carrying the ball during practice,” Lawrence said. “With the mentality, I had to switch over quick from defense, and it wasn’t a hard task to do. With our defense setting up blocks, it made it so much easier.”

On the opening drive, the last six plays were all Jesse Balluff rushes on the 75-yard drive. It came to an end on a 10-yard scoring run with 8:14 left in the first.

When Streator came up empty on the next drive after a Lawrence sack on fourth down, Balluff scored again on a three-yard TD run that capped a 30-yard drive in six plays. The score made it 14-0 with 4:41 to go in the opening frame.

The next drive was pounded home when quarterback Drew David threw his lone TD pass of the night after escaping Bulldog pressure and hitting a diving Zack Martinelli on an 11-yard score. The conversion with :55 left in the first set the score at 21-0.

In the second quarter, Streator’s initial drive resulted in a punt, and Kaneland made them pay when Nauert turned on the afterburners for a 67-yard touchdown run down the Streator sideline for a 28-0 edge with 10:56 left in the first half.

Kaneland’s next drive in the quarter went four running plays, with Dyer powering in from the three, for a 34-0 lead with 6:34 to go. Dyer originally set the score up on a 27-yard carry that busted up several Bulldog tackle attempts.

The score set in motion the Lawrence pick-six on the next drive, which was the first defensive score for KHS since a Taylor Andrews fumble return in 2010 against the visiting Sycamore Spartans.

“On that play, (Ben) Bradford got a nice shot on the quarterback as he threw it, and I knew no one was going to get Ryan,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said.

Fedderly and company prepare for the NIB-12 East slate, beginning with the familiar rival Rochelle Hubs in Ogle County on Friday, Sept. 21.

KHS defeated the Hubs twice in 2011: 35-14 in Maple Park on Sept. 23, 2011, and a 20-14 Class 5A State quarterfinal win in Rochelle on Nov. 12, 2011.

“We’re going to play a really tough Rochelle team that we played in the quarterfinals,” Fedderly said. “It’s going to be like a playoff atmosphere and playoff football.”

Clean sweep: Kaneland trumps Ottawa on court

in Tennis by

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It was a lucky 7 for KHS tennis last week.

On Sept. 12, the Lady Knights took care of the next Northern Illinois Big XII crossover opponent in the form of Ottawa, and left with a 7-0 sweep of their Lady Pirate foes.

Kaneland also defeated Ottawa in Maple Park last season by one match.

With Kaneland’s win over Morris on Tuesday, combined with a partial rain-out of the Lady Knights-vs-Oswego match earlier in the week, Kaneland’s dual mark is now 9-3.

Against Ottawa, No. 1 singles entry Sammie Schrepferman took charge against her opponent Maya Sakakibara, by a 6-1, 6-0 tally.

Moving back into singles action for the dual was No. 2 player Colleen Landers, who won over Carly Haywood 7-6, 6-2. Stephanie Karolewicz won her No. 3 battle over Symone Stewart, 6-1, 6-0.

Over in the doubles crowd, it was the reliable tandem of Madi Jurcenko and Jelly Emmanouil with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Kayla Guenther and Molly Angell.

Jess Woodward and partner Sarah Grams took the No. 2 doubles win with a 6-2, 6-7, 6-3 result over Maria Cavanaugh and Bailey Bradish, and Kaylee Shoaff and Stephanie Zwick won the No. 3 match with a 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 flair.

Also contributing to the cause was the team of Aly and Brooke Harner, who took a 6-3, 7-5 win in the extra match.

“This match was much closer than it looked,” KHS coach Tim Larsen said. “They have some pretty good players. I’m pleased to say that our girls executed the shots we needed today.”

The JV crew also took care of Ottawa in a 4-1 decision.

On Tuesday, Kaneland swept out Morris with a 5-0 victory.

Schrepferman won in a perfect 6-0, 6-0 match. Senior Sarah Grams won at No. 2 singles, 6-2, 6-2. Doubles action saw Jurcenko and Emmanouil win 6-2, 6-2 at the No. 1 spot. Jessica Woodward and Jennifer Bicos battled at No. 2 doubles for a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 win. Colleen Landers and Stephanie Karolewicz teamed up for a 6-2, 6-0 win at No. 3 doubles.

Kaneland varsity tennis gets ready for the Rochelle Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 22, the same meet that saw a first-place nod a year ago.

Soccer nabs first NIB-12 win of ’12

in Boys Soccer by

by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—In Northern Illinois Big XII action, every win is of paramount importance on the soccer field.

That’s why it’s a good thing Kaneland got its first win out of the way.

On Thursday in Grundy County, the Knights broke a scoreless halftime tie with two goals in the second 40 minutes to come away with a 2-1 win over the up-and-coming Redskins.

The Knights improved their season tally to 7-1-2 (2-0-1 NIB-12) including Tuesday’s win over Rochelle.

After Morris got on the board first, it was two Kaneland goals in a relatively quick interval that sent KHS on its victory sprint.

Anthony Parillo got on the board with an unassisted try coming with nine minutes, 35 seconds remaining, and Ben Longston kicked the game winner with 5:32 to go on an assist from Kushstrim Ismaili.

KHS coach Scott Parillo felt his roster dealt with the early adversity quite well.

“At halftime we made some adjustments, made some runs and used the wind to our advantage,” Parillo said. “Anthony made a great steal in the box, made a couple of players and goalie miss and put the ball in the back of the net, and we had the momentum.”

In additional action, an Eli Alvarado goal helped the JV side earn a 1-0 win over Morris.

Tuesday’s 3-2 win over Rochelle saw the go-ahead goal come from Parillo off of an assist from Ismaili with 21:42 to go in the game. Rymarz scored the first Kaneland goal in the first half on a free kick with 4:42 left in the first half.

Biddle scored with 24:20 in the second half, with an assist from Gil.

The varsity Knights travel to Yorkville for a contest on Thursday, Sept. 20.

KHS nabs Morris in dual match

in Golf by

Kaneland—Kaneland defeated visiting Morris on Tuesday at Hughes Creek Golf Course, winning the varsity match 151-169.

The Knights were paced by dual medalist winners Matt Yonkovich and Luke Kreiter, who each put up 37 scores.

Connor Williams finished one stroke off the lead with a 38. Dan Miller was the fourth Knight to contribute to the team tally, finishing just two back off the lead with a score of 39.

Kaneland’s number-four score tied Morris’s number-one score.

In JV action, Kaneland defeated Morris by 23 strokes, 181-204.

Jeremy Faletto earned medalist honors with a 43. Jacob Sheehan finished two back with a 45. Zach Streyve scored 46 and Tori Guyton finished with a 47 to complete the Knight scoring.

Kaneland traveled to Jacobs High School on Wednesday in dual meet action, although results were not available at press time. The Knights travel to the Genoa Kingston Invite on Saturday, Sept. 22.

Lady Barbs victimize Kaneland volleyball

in Featured/Volleyball by

Photo: Kaneland volleyball captain Lauren Banberry (below) goes up against swarming DeKalb jumpers during the home varsity match on Thursday. Kaneland’s Lyndi Scholl (right) picks up a dig during the same match against DeKalb at Kaneland High School. Photos by Patti Wilk

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Over the past several years, Kaneland volleyball has made numerous strides.

But even a program that has amassed back-to-back 19-win seasons will still have its problems with fellow established clubs.

That was the case on Thursday with the Lady Knights ending up on the wrong side of a three-game loss.

DeKalb got the better of Kaneland in a 25-20, 26-28, 25-23 decision, which, when combined with Kaneland’s Tuesday win over Sycamore, brought the KHS tally for 2012 to 11-5, and 1-2 in the Northern Illinois Big XII race.

“We couldn’t close out both matches,” KHS coach Todd Weimer said of the DeKalb match. “We were up and lost in the end against DeKalb. (We) started out slow and lost in the end.”

There is still time to make headway in what Weimer thinks will be a tight NIB-12 group.

“DeKalb is generally pretty good. Sycamore, Morris and Yorkville are also doing very well. It’s a balanced conference this year,” Weimer said.

The Lady Knight effort was supplanted by Ellie Dunn with 10 kills and four blocks. Teammate Jenny Lubic supplied 18 assists on the evening, while Shayna Tucek had nine digs in the loss. KHS veteran Ashley Prost supplied eight kills of her own.

In other KHS-DeKalb volleyball action, the Lady Knight sophomores took home a 25-16, 25-15 win. The freshman “A” team completed a 25-19, 25-19 victory, while their “B” counterparts managed a 25-17, 25-20 win.

The Lady Knights defeated Sycamore in straight games, winning 25-12, 25-21.

The varsity crew faces the visiting Yorkville Lady Foxes on Tuesday, Sept. 25.

Kaneland hosts 43rd Eddington Invite

in Boys Cross Country/Featured/Girls Cross Country by

Eddington Invite race schedule
(All races are 3 miles)

9 a.m. Girls Varsity Race
9:45 a.m. Boys Varsity Race
10:15 a.m.
Frosh-Soph Girls Race
10:45 a.m.
Frosh-Soph Boys Race
11:15 a.m.
Girls Open Race
11:45 a.m. Boys Open

KANELAND—One of Elburn’s oldest sports events, the Eddington Cross Country Invitational, will celebrate its 43rd edition this Saturday, Sept. 15, at Elburn Woods. Hosted by Kaneland High School, the meet commemorates the 25-year teaching and coaching career of Larry Eddington, a long-time Elburn resident who passed away suddenly in 1994.

Still an icon within the Kaneland School District, Eddington chaired the high school’s social studies and English departments and served as president of the Kaneland Education Association, while also coaching boys’ cross country, basketball, and track and field. His teams enjoyed success at the state level, winning the IHSA Class A State Cross Country title in 1987 and countless other awards and championships.

In 1982, Eddington was named “Kane County Educator of the Year.” Over the course of his coaching career, he was honored as “Illinois Cross Country Coach of the Year” three times. He was inducted into the Kaneland School District’s Hall of Fame in 2002 in recognition of his years of hard work and loyalty to Kaneland High School, where the “Larry Eddington Award for Courage, Leadership and Strength” is awarded annually by the school’s Athletic Department.

Eddington was an outstanding cross country runner, and track and field athlete at East Aurora High School and at Western Illinois University, where he prepared to pursue his goal of becoming a high school teacher and coach. His legacy is continued by former Knight runner Chad Clarey, who now coaches the Kaneland boys cross country team, and by former teaching colleague Doug Ecker, who coaches the girls team. Larry’s son Mark is the race director for the annual Elburn Days 5K and Mile Run.

At the 2012 Eddington Cross Country Invitational, the 21-team field includes seven girls teams who won their conference championship last fall and four teams that advanced to the State AA and AAA State Championships. Individually, eight individuals in the varsity girls race had performances on the track last spring that earned them “National Elite” designation by ESPNHS.com. Among the returners are Crystal Lake Central and sophomore Sami Staples, a 4:56/10:46 miler/2-miler on the track last spring, who are the defending Eddington Invitational varsity girls team and individual champions.

The boys’ varsity field includes four teams that advanced to the State AA and AAA Championships last fall, three individuals whose performances on the track last spring earned them “National Elite” designation by ESPN.com, and six others who received “State Elite” designation.

The host Kaneland boys’ team is led by junior Kyle Carter, who had a breakout track season last spring running 4:32 and 2:01 for the mile and 800. He is followed by seniors Conor Johnson, Brandon Huber, John Meisenger, and juniors Ryan Bower and Luis Acosta. The Knights placed 15th last fall in the IHSA AA State Championships and have won their first two triangular meets of the season with ease.

The Kaneland girls’ team is led sophomore Victoria Clinton who was the Northern Illinois Big-12 Conference Champion last year as a freshman and placed ninth individually at the state meet. She is backed by sophomore Aislinn Lodwig, seniors Abby Dodis, Maggie Brundige, Amanda Lesak and Ashley Castellanos, and junior Sydney Strang. The Lady Knights placed eighth last fall in the IHSA AA State Championships and have also notched lop-sided wins in their first two triangular meets of the season.

They are ranked No. 3 in the latest State AA girls team poll by Illinois Prep Harrier, behind Crystal Lake Central and Yorkville.

For Saturday’s Eddington Invitational, Elburn Woods has only enough parking to accommodate participating teams and the meet staff, so spectators are to park at Kaneland High School, where three shuttle buses will ferry them every 10 minutes to the Forest Preserve, which is only about five minutes away.

Demolition Knight

in Featured/Football by

Photo: Running back Jesse Balluff heads for the end zone for a score during the first quarter of Kaneland’s 42-0 home victory against Sterling on Friday. Photo by John DiDonna

Kaneland dominates on both sides of ball in 42-0 rout of Sterling
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland and Sterling’s football programs have had two highly anticipated and dramatic meetings in the last seven seasons.

The battle on Friday in Maple Park was no less anticipated, but maybe less dramatic.

A stifling rush defense and an all-cylinders offense paved the way for a 42-0 win over the visiting and AP-ranked Golden Warriors, raising the Kaneland season mark to 3-0. Sterling fell to 2-1.

KHS saw its regular season win streak extend to 22. The Knights have now won 27 out of their last 29 overall contests.

“Sterling is a playoff-caliber team, and we thought it would be a playoff atmosphere,” KHS coach Tom Fedderly said. “We really wanted to be up and show that we are a good team.”

Quarterback Drew David employed the run at his disposal and was a modest six-of-10 for 133 yards and two touchdowns. Nate Dyer had 70 yards rushing.

Even before they both shared spots in the Northern Illinois Big XII, KHS and Sterling went toe-to-toe in playoff action in recent years.

The Knights and Golden Warriors battled in a 2006 Class 5A quarterfinal playoff game that saw KHS outlast Sterling in overtime, 52-45.

Two years later, Sterling earned a 23-21 win in the first round of the playoffs.

The margin was wider in 2012, and the Knights got into the act early thanks to a 45-yard touchdown strike to Brandon Bishop for his first score of the still-new campaign for a 7-0 lead with 6:11 left in the first frame.

On the next possession, the Knights got mass yardage from Zack Martinelli for a 27-yard gain, and two plays later, running back Jesse Balluff plunged in from the two for a 14-0 lead with 4:11 to go in the first quarter.

The second quarter was more of the same, as a four-play drive from KHS mixed a little of pass and run and ended with a David touchdown run from the three-yard line with 10:16 to go in the second quarter for a 21-0 advantage.

After Sterling’s drive ended in a punt, Balluff, Dyer and David took turns carrying the ball until Dyer punched it in from the four for a 28-0 lead with 4:20 to go in the half.

On a fourth-and-20 from its own 36, a punt snap went awry and was recovered on the 13 by Cole Carlson. Four plays later, Bishop caught a touchdown pass from the seven-yard line on third down to make it 35-0 before halftime with 1:34 remaining.

The third quarter began with a long and sustained drive on the part of KHS. A 14-play drive concluded with a 22-yard TD run by Dyer, who navigated the holes enough to send the game onto a running clock.

It marks the first running clock achieved by Kaneland since a 56-14 win at LaSalle-Peru on Sept. 16, 2011.

It was that kind of day for Sterling football, and it was that kind of day for linebacker Gary Koehring, playing at a high level this year.

It was no different on Friday, as Koehring and the Knights allowed just 78 yards of offense, 45 in the first quarter.

“Our coaches put us in the right spots, and all we’ve got to do is study what they give us on film and hard work; that’s all we’ve got to do,” Koehring said. “I feel that I’m playing better and buying into what the coaches are saying.”

Up ahead for Kaneland is a trip to Streator High School on Friday, Sept. 14, which ends the crossover portion of the 2012 schedule.

Back to the win column

in Featured/Tennis by

Photo: Kaneland’s Stephanie Zwick keeps her eyes on the ball during the varsity girl’s home match against Rochelle on Tuesday. Photo by John DiDonna

Tennis rebounds with wins over Rosary, Rochelle
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—A win over a Sycamore Spartans tennis squad is often a lot to ask.

Such was the case for the Lady Knights tennis crew on Thursday along Route 23.

After managing to exorcise demons left over from an unexpected loss to IMSA earlier last week, the Lady Knights were able to secure a convincing win after a trip to LaSalle-Peru High School for an East-West crossover battle on Sept. 5.

Additional action saw KHS beat Rosary in Aurora by a 5-2 final, while Rochelle was defeated by host KHS on Tuesday in a 6-0 final.

Kaneland’s tally in dual action sits at 7-3.

The Lady Knights were slightly better, at 8-2, after 10 meets in 2011.

On the Sycamore grounds, KHS lost by a score of 3-2. After getting swept on the singles side, doubles victories came via No. 1 team Madi Jurcenko and Jelly Emmanouil in a 6-2, 6-1 encounter, followed by senior leaders Jenna Bicos and Jess Woodward at the No. 2 slots, 7-5, 7-6.

KHS coach Tim Larsen and crew tried to power through the setback.

“We lost to Sycamore and then had a really hard practice and switched the lineup a little bit,” Larsen said. “It was to try to get out of a couple of ruts, but there’s no question at the top of our lineup we’re playing really well.”

The JV troops managed a 4-1 win over their Spartan counterparts.

The day before, L-P was handled in a 5-0 manner. Top singles entry Sammie Schrepferman took a 6-1, 6-1 outing, while Colleen Landers won her No. 2 action with a 7-6, 2-6, 11-9 barn-burner.

Jurcenko/Emmanouil won a straight 6-1, 6-2 meeting. The Bicos/Woodward unit took a three-set win, 6-2, 2-6, 10-4. Capping the wins were Sarah Grams and Aly Harner, winning the No. 3 clash with a 6-1, 6-3 showing.

Meanwhile, the JV entries got the best of their Lady Cav counterparts, 5-0.

Against Rosary, Kaneland sported a rearranged lineup and saw two-set wins from Schrepferman, new No. 2 Stephanie Zwick and a three-set victory from Grams at the No. 3 spot.

Jurceno/Emmanouil and Landers/Stephanie Karolewicz (No. 3) took home wins.

In the Lady Knights-Lady Hubs duel on Tuesday in Maple Park, the home team saw wins from Schrepferman (6-0, 6-0) and Zwick in three sets.

Schrepferman feels that she has stood racket to racket with some formidable competition in 2012.

“I feel like I’m playing a lot better from last year,” Schrepferman said. “When it’s not going well, it’s usually unforced errors on my part.”

On the horizon for Kaneland is a trip to Yorkville on Saturday, Sept. 15.

High-end showing for girls XC

in Girls Cross Country by

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Despite a long drive up Route 47, the Lady Knights girls cross country unit shook off the effects and left all but one roster in its wake on Saturday.

For the 36th annual Wauconda Invite, Kaneland finished second out of 24 teams with 111 team points, second only to Crystal Lake Central’s 86.

Kaneland’s next closest foe was Mundelein High School with 126 points.

“The girls started their ‘invitational season’ on a positive note,” KHS head cross country coach Doug Ecker said.

Lady Knight sophomore Victoria Clinton continued to run well in the first crowded invite of the season, with only 2011 State champ Sami Staples of CLC beating her out.

Clinton ran the course in 18 minutes, 11.58 seconds. Staples won the race in 18:08.12.

Freshman Brianna Bower continues to be a force to be reckoned with early in 2012 with a 21st place finish at 19:34.70.

“Brianna Bower continues to learn and improve with each race,” Ecker said.

Close behind was teammate Abby Dodis in 28th with a time of 19:53.58, as well as fellow Lady Knight Maggie Brundige in 29th, just .02 behind.

Rounding out Kaneland High School’s top five was Amanda Lesak at 19:56.94, good for 31st.

Ecker thought it was a positive start to the slew of weekend invites ahead and pointed out yet more KHS athletes.

“All three seniors had strong races, and sophomore Jessica Kucera ran a PR of over a minute (20.09.69) and she continues to build on her successful track season last year,” Ecker said.

KHS girls cross country heads to very familiar territory: Elburn Woods for the annual Eddington Invite this Saturday, Sept. 15.

Knight runners excel at Peoria

in Boys Cross Country/Featured by

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—One can only hope this past Saturday was a preview for bigger things down the course.

At Peoria High School’s First to the Finish race on Saturday, featuring the best Class 2A has to offer at Detweiller Park, the Knights ran away with a third-place nod.

With 184 team points, the Knights set a new high-water mark for the Peoria meet, after finishing fourth five years ago.

“The boys took advantage of great weather and fast competition to net a third-place finish,” KHS head coach Chad Clarey said. “Our pack split of 56 seconds (one through five) was a major factor in the team’s top five showing.”

Northern Illinois Big XII rival Yorkville’s 88 was tops out of 45 schools, followed by Normal U-High’s 119.

Kyle Carter was the flag-bearer for the Knight roster, finishing 10th overall with a time of 15 minutes, 23 seconds—setting a KHS record for the course, and also beating his own 2011 State race time by 22 seconds.

Next for KHS was Conor Johnson, who finished 30th with a time of 15:51, clipping his own state time by nine seconds.

John Meisinger was 40th with a time of 16:05, followed by Ryan Bower with a time of 16:08 (45th place).

KHS coach Chad Clarey was pleased with the 56 second pack split, and the Knights’ depth.

“John Meisinger and Ryan Bower each looked very strong,” Clarey said. “Another major key to our day was Luis Acosta. (He) ran nearly 30 seconds faster than his 2011 State time, and looks like a seasoned veteran.”

Acosta finished 59th at 16:19.

Ahead for KHS is the storied Eddington Invite at Elburn Woods on Saturday, Sept. 15.

Goal barrage lifts KHS

in Boys Soccer/Featured by

Photo: Ben Longson (14) shoots the ball past the IMSA goalie during Kaneland’s home victory on Thursday afternoon. Photo by Kimberly Anderson

KANELAND—No matter the competition, it looks like Kaneland is getting used to performing at a certain level.

No longer a pushover against teams like Geneva and handling its other current rivals, the Knights continued their season with a 9-1 win against Illinois Math and Science Academy in Maple Park on Thursday before playing to a 0-0 tie against DeKalb on Tuesday.

Kaneland is now 3-1-3 on the season.

Against IMSA, the first 40 minutes could have been called “The Anthony Parillo Show” as the Knight asset garnered four goals in the first 25 minutes of play.

The only goal the KHS crew would need came two minutes, 11 seconds into play on an assist from Arsim Azemi.

Parillo then assisted Tyler Siebert on the second goal 31 seconds later for a 2-0 edge. Parillo was then fed by Siebert for the third goal with 35:26 go play in the first half. A hat trick was then completed on a feed from Alec Koczka with 29:29 left in the half.

Kushstrim Ismaili and Parillo scored the next two times, with Azemi capping the deluge on a free kick with 10:21 left in the half.

Ismaili would complete his own hat trick on two second-half goals: one with 30:41 left on an assist from Ivan Bohorquez and the last with 2:21 remaining.

The JV squad also had a productive day, winning 8-0 over IMSA.

Tuesday’s conference opener against DeKalb concluded with a 0-0 tie. The sophomore unit fell 1-0, and the freshman squad came through for the Knights’ program with a 4-0 victory.

Felipe Speraggi led the way with two goals and an assist. Cameron Pieczynski added a goal and an assist. Alex Mendoza contributed a goal, while additional assists came from Tristan Powell and Tim Watcher.

Northern Illinois Big XII action continues with a trip to the Morris Redskins’ home pitch on Thursday, Sept. 13.

WCC hosts Baseball Alumni Game, clinics

in Waubonsee Sports by

Sugar Grove—Waubonsee Community College will host a baseball alumni game on the Chiefs’ diamond in Sugar Grove on Saturday, Sept. 22.

All former Chiefs’ baseball players are invited to participate. The day’s events will begin at 9 a.m., when the current Waubonsee team will hold an intra-squad scrimmage. Chiefs’ alumni are invited to take batting practice in Waubonsee’s outdoor hitting facility, which features two astro-turfed batting cages and multiple hitting stations, beginning at 11 a.m. The alumni game is set to start around noon, with a post-game social gathering at 3 p.m. For more information or to RSVP, contact Waubonsee head baseball coach Dave Randall at (630) 466-2527.

Baseball Skills Camp
The college will also be the host site for a Coaches/Parents Clinic and Baseball Skills Camp, presented by Perform Everyday on Saturday, Sept. 15.

The hour-long clinic will begin at 8 a.m., with the camp running from 9 to 11:30 a.m. for athletes ages 13 through 18 on the Chiefs’ Sugar Grove campus baseball field.

Coaching strategies, drills, mechanics and more will be covered during the clinic by presenter Joe Yager, owner of Perform Everyday, and former Major League Baseball (MLB) player Lou Collier.

Yager, a former Chiefs’ pitcher, elite level softball player and personal trainer, will conduct the Baseball Skills Camp along with Collier, a former Philadelphia Phillie and nine-year MLB veteran, and University of Illinois Associate Head Coach Eric Snider. Defensive infield and outfield drills, base running, throwing, pitching, and what college and professional scouts are looking for will be covered. Space is limited. Interested individuals should contact Yager at (217) 202-2521 or by email at info@performeveryday.com.

Knights win handily on links vs H-BR

in Featured/Golf by

Photo: Kaneland’s Stephen McCracken watches teammate Josh Kilgore putt during their varsity home match against Sycamore at Hughes Creek on Tuesday. Photo by Kimberly Anderson

by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—Hughes Creek was the site of a handy dual win for Knights golf on Sept. 5.

Facing Little Ten Conference representative Hinckley-Big Rock, the Knights used a consistent scorecard to vanquish the Royals by a final of 161-192 under clear skies.

The Knights also played Tuesday, losing to rival Sycamore 157-166.

Kaneland is now 4-3 in dual action in 2012.

It was last year’s postseason torchbearer junior Matt Yonkovich leading the way last week with a solid 38, followed by Brody Kuhar, Sean Glennon and Connor Williams with tallies of 41.

“It’s a good feeling to be competitive,” KHS coach Mark Meyer said. “It’s against everyone we play against. It’s never fun to lose, but then again, you can only play against the course.”

Golfers like Yonkovich hope to play quite well against every course, and he is encouraged by the level of recent play.

“We’ve been playing really good lately, and I think the way we’ve been playing will get us through the season. My putting has been really good lately, and I’ve been making almost everything,” Yonkovich said.

Tuesday, Sept. 18, sees the golfers host Morris at Hughes Creek.

Movin’ right along

in Volleyball by

Kaneland serves up sweep to Streator
KANELAND—Kaneland High School volleyball can’t play Streator every week, so it was best to make the most of its battle with the Lady Bulldogs on Thursday.

Make the best of it they did, with a sweep of the Northern Illinois Big XII West Division rival, 25-9, 27-25.

The sweep in Streator, in addition to a second-place showing at the usual Bartlett Tournament stop this past Saturday and a win at Morris on Tuesday, sets the Lady Knights’ early-season mark at a proficient 10-4.

Contributions were plenty for Kaneland last Thursday, notable by Ellie Dunn with nine kills, Lyndi Scholl with seven kills and Lauren Banbury with two kills and two blocks.

Teammates Jenny Lubic had 20 assists and two aces, while Ashley Prost and Shayna Tucek combined for 15 digs.

Adding to the sweep-fest were the sophomores that won 25-10, 25-5, the freshman “A” team that won 25-15, 25-12, and the “B” squad in a 25-12, 25-14 win.

In Bartlett, the Lady Knights took four wins on the afternoon, with the only loss coming to the only team better than them on that day: West Chicago.

KHS handed the Fenton Lady Bison a three-game loss by a final of 25-14, 23-25, 15-8, and the hosts a 25-20, 25-9 setback.

The next batch of wins occurred against Dundee-Crown High School in a 25-12, 25-4 turn of events, before the Lady Knights took care of Rockford Lutheran, 25-18, 25-21.

The invite championship went the Wildcats’ way at the end of the line, with the Lady Knights dropping a 25-18, 25-17 matchup.

Noteworthy performances tournament-wide were had in the form of Dunn’s 26 kills and 15 digs, Scholl’s 28 kills and 25 digs, and Prost’s 16 kills and eight aces.

Tuesday saw Kaneland’s return to the win column as they battled through a straight-game victory at Morris 26-24, 25-22.

Lubic led the way with 13 assists and four digs. Shayna Tucek contributed 18 digs. Dunn had seven kills and four blocks, Lyndi Scholl put up five kills and two aces, Lauren Banbury added four kills and two blocks, and Keri Green tallied two kills and four blocks.

The Lady Knights battle the incoming DeKalb Barbs program on Thursday, Sept. 13.

Offense name of the game in Knights win

in Featured/Football by

Photo: Dylan Nauert comes down with the ball from a pass by Drew David in the first quarter. Kaneland went on the road to beat Huntley 52-35. Photo by Patti Wilk

Kaneland improves to 2-0 after enduring furious Huntley rally
by Mike Slodki
HUNTLEY—It’s not one quarter of football, but rather four.

Once again, the Kaneland Knights football team had to endure a string of successful drives by the opposition.

Unlike Week 1, the Knights maintained the lead the entire way and saw their lead grow from a one-score situation in a 52-35 win at Huntley High School on Friday.

While the Red Raiders closed a 35-7 halftime chasm to 35-28 in the third quarter, the Knights’ offensive unit clicked despite three turnovers.

An air assault highlighted by junior quarterback Drew David’s four touchdowns and 348 yards passing, plus three touchdowns by wideout Zack Martinelli, helped withstand the Huntley comeback.

KHS coach Tom Fedderly was eager to see his Knights on the gridiron after their opening game in Chicago the previous Saturday.

“These kids have a lot of pride,” Fedderly said. “We had a great week of practice and tried to correct some things. Obviously, there are things we’ve got to improve on. I’m really happy with our first half.”

That first half started with a bang as David executed a flawless ball fake and ran 40 yards for a touchdown for a 7-0 lead just one minute, 23 seconds into the contest.

David later found Dylan Nauert for a 10-yard scoring strike with 7:18 remaining in the first for a 14-0 edge.

A Huntley drive accented the run with an eight-play, 80-yard drive ending on a four-yard QB keeper by Kam Sallee to make it 14-7 with 3:51 to go in the first.

It took just five plays for KHS to respond, this time in the form of a five-yard touchdown pass to Martinelli with 1:03 to go for a 21-7 lead.

The David-to-Martinelli connection hit paydirt twice more in the second quarter. A 10-yard TD with 6:29 to go made it 28-7, while a 12-yard score with 2:07 closed the first-half scoring and increased the margin to four touchdowns.

Huntley roared out of the gates in the third quarter, capping an opening drive with a 28-yard TD pass to Bryce Beschomer with 9:07 to go to make it 35-14.

The Red Raiders then converted two consecutive drive-killing interceptions to touchdowns on their end. Sallee ran it in from 19 yards to close to within 35-20 with 7:40 remaining, and Jake Lackovic caught a 23-yard pass for a touchdown with 4:45 to go, with the two-point try setting the score at 35-28.

KHS brought the momentum back by finding the end zone thanks to a one-yard plunge by goal-line option Nate Dyer with 9:31 left for a 42-28 lead. Matt Rodriguez’ 24-yard field goal gave KHS a three-score lead at 45-28 with 6:27 remaining.

Dyer’s nine-yard touchdown witha 3:06 to play made it 52-28 before a late Huntley TD set the final tally.

Kaneland’s many heroes included David, who also paced the ground game with 98 yards, Kyle Pollastrini with 120 yards receiving, and Martinelli.

Martinelli was reminded of a previous encounter that involved holding on to a big lead.

“It reminded me of Morris (Week 9 in 2011) where I was like ‘not again,’” Martinelli said. “We played three great quarters, and now we have to bring up that third quarter.”

KHS plays its home opener on Friday, Sept. 7, against Northern Illinois Big XII school Sterling. This will be the first meeting since November 2008, in which Sterling ousted Kaneland in a first-round playoff game.

Lady Knights successfully court win vs. DeKalb

in Tennis by

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—With a lineup firmly in place, there’s no telling what Kaneland’s tennis squad is capable of.

Just ask them, or visiting DeKalb.

The Lady Knights took it to their Northern Illinois Big XII sisters in dual action on Thursday by a final clip of 4-1.

Following Tuesday’s loss to IMSA, Kaneland’s mark is now 4-2 through six head-to-head battles.

Sophomore Sammie Schrepferman continues to impress and handled herself accordingly in a No. 1 singles win, 6-1, 6-0, over DeKalb’s Taylor Volk.

It was the doubles category that gave Kaneland the lengths it needed for victory.

Sophs Madi Jurcenko and Jelly Emmanouil won their match in a 6-0, 6-0 sweep, and seniors Jenna Bicos and Jess Woodward took the No. 2 doubles match in a 6-1, 6-2 affair. Capping the victory was the senior No. 3 duo of Sarah Grams and Aly Harner and their 6-2, 6-2 win.

“I’m proud of all the girls today—every one of them,” KHS coach Tim Larsen said. “(They) all hit great shots and represented Kaneland well today.”

The Lady Knights dropped a 5-2 Tuesday match with IMSA, garnering wins at No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles.

“This is a tough loss,” Larsen said. “We could have won four matches for sure.”

Schrepferman came through with a 6-2, 6-1 win in singles play. Jurcenko and Emmanouil rebounded from a first set to come through 2-6, 6-2, 7-4.

“That No. 1 doubles match was fantastic, with four outstanding players,” Larsen said. “Madi (Jurcenko) and Jelly (Emmanouil) showed some serious resolve in that match.”

The JV unit also fell to IMSA on Tuesday, 6-1. The lone victory came at No. 3 singles with Shreya Jain winning in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4.

Ahead for Kaneland tennis is a NIB-12 trip to rival Sycamore on Thursday, Sept. 6.

Girls XC impresses in Oregon

in Featured/Girls Cross Country by

Photo: Jessica Kucera (left) and Maggie Brundige catch up to the West Chicago runners at the finish of the triangular meet with Wheaton Academy and West Chicago at Elburn Woods Aug. 28. Photo by Patti Wilk

KANELAND—Lady Knights cross country is still getting into the swing of things in 2012, and their best way is to do it in stride.

On a windy Saturday in Oregon, Ill., the Kaneland unit excelled in a wide field on a day when no team scores were kept at the Oregon Invite.

The open race that was 70 runners strong had Kaneland boasting four of the top 10 runners.

While Bureau Valley High School’s Reagan Weidner took the individual mantle with a time of 19 minutes, 30.4 seconds on the three-mile course, Kaneland representation followed soon after.

Sophomore Victoria Clinton paved the way for her colors at 19:34.4 and second place, followed by freshman Brianna Bower at 19:54.1.

“The order is what I thought it might be,” KHS coach Doug Ecker said. “But they will not always finish in the same order in every meet. Victoria will most likely be the number-one runner most of the time, but the order among the others will change, as it should, if all the girls are healthy and running well.”

In fifth place, senior leader Abby Dodis managed a 20:17.3 time.

Fellow senior Amanda Lesak rounded out the immediate Kaneland charge with a time of 20:32 in ninth place.

Tuesday’s meet at home against visiting East Aurora and Yorkville saw the Lady Knights sweep through the competition on their way to a dual meet win, earning a best-possible 15 points. Yorkville placed second in the tri-meet, with 67 points, followed by East Aurora’s 94 points.

Clinton broke away from the pack and took first overall with a time of 20:01. Dodis took second with a time of 21:29, followed by Maggie Brundige (21:44), Brianna Bower (21:59), Lesak (22:42), Jessica Kucera (23:01), Aislinn Lodwig (23:17) and Sydney Strang (24:01), who completed the Kaneland domination.

Ahead for the Lady Knights is a Saturday, Sept. 8, meet at the Wauconda Invite.

Knight XC tops East Aurora, Yorkville

in Boys Cross Country by

Kaneland—For the second week in a row, Kaneland’s pack-running mentality proved successful as the Knights cross country team defeated both East Aurora and Yorkville at Elburn Woods on Tuesday.

“Training through another Tuesday meet, our team finished the day healthy, and to win was a bonus,” KHS head coach Chad Clarey said. “Making the transition from summer training to the real thing has taken its toll on energy levels, and we have plenty of aches—just like every other team in the state.”

Kaneland’s 15 points were earned based on the Knights’ pack taking the top six spots. Led by Kyle Carter, who took first with a time of 16:51, the Knights’ lead group took first through sixth place, as well as ninth through 11th.

East Aurora finished second with 55 points, followed by Yorkville with 150.

Conor Johnson (17:15) came in second place, good for a 23-second personal best for the short season. Clarey said he has begun to emerge as a key leader on the team.

“It’s good to see him taking a lead role for the pack, being aggressive through mile one and maintaining speed the rest of the way,” Clarey said.

Ryan Bower (17:52), Luis Acosta (18:04), John Meisenger (18:12) and Brandon Hueber (18:13) completed the top six sweep.

A pair of East Aurora runners were sandwiched between the Knight runners, followed by the Kaneland trio of Ryan Paulson (18:50), Sean Spaetzel (19:03) and Matthew Rodway (19:05). Clarey pointed to Spaetzel, a freshman, as an example of the younger runners who are already making an impact on the team.

“Another standout performance came from freshman Sean Spaetzel, who ran his first three-mile race and wound up finishing in the top 10,” Clarey said.

The Knights run next at the First to the Finish Invitational at Peoria on Saturday, Sept. 8.

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