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Sports - page 55

KHS seeing shine on softball diamond

in Softball by

KANELAND—Kaneland softball is sticking with what works.

It’s what’s produced not only a six-game win streak, but now 21 wins in its last 23 contests.

The KHS softball ranks continue to impress after a 4-2 handling of the host Lady Redskins of Morris on Thursday, and a 6-4 comeback win over the visiting Lady Pirates of Ottawa on April 25.

Kaneland (22-5, 6-0 Northern Illinois Big XII) was lifted once again by the pitching of Delani Vest, who threw all seven innings and allowed just two earned runs on four hits. Vest also fanned four batters in the win.

Against Ottawa, it was the Paige Kuefler show, as the freshman went 3-for-3 with a triple, home run and four RBI to go along with two runs scored.

Nursing a 2-1 lead after four innings, the Lady Knights surrendered a three-spot to Ottawa in the top of the fifth before answering with four runs in the bottom of the inning.

Alexis Villarreal’s six innings of four-run, nine-hit ball (5 K’s) was good for the win, with Vest picking up the save.

KHS hosts Sycamore on Thursday, May 3.

Lady Chiefs’ softball earns conference diamond

in Waubonsee Sports by

SUGAR GROVE—Waubonsee Community College captured the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) softball title for the second year in a row. The Lady Chiefs (37-21) clinched the title by sweeping their ISCC doubleheader on Tuesday with Moraine Valley Community College, winning 10-2 in just five innings and 12-4 also in five innings. The Lady Chiefs finished with a 13-1 record in conference play, one game ahead of the College of Lake County. It is Waubonsee’s third league softball crown in the last six years.

In the opener the visiting Cyclones, 6-6 in ISCC play, were looking to play spoiler role. Eyeing a potential upset bid, Moraine Valley led 2-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth. The Lady Chiefs then erupted for eight runs in the bottom of the frame and never looked back. Brooke Nelson pitched and hit Waubonsee to the victory. Devin Turner and Kristen Stralka both went 2-for-3 at the dish.

In game two, Waubonsee gradually pulled away to secure their grip on the trophy for the second straight year. Turner finished the game 4-for-4 with a double and run batted in. Nelson continued to stay hot at the plate by going 3-for-4 with four runs driven in. Becky Randall went 3 for 3, and Tara Pfeiffer smacked a double in support of winning pitcher Alyssa Reimers, who picked up her 12th win of the season.

Peterson Prep goes Kaneland’s way in 2012

in Boys Track by

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—After the 2011 results of the annual Peterson Prep boys track meet at Kaneland, the Knights’ fortunes could only get so much better.

Fortunately for Kaneland, the result of doing only so much better meant first place.

Falling short of West Aurora’s first-place, a year ago, the Knights’ clutch performances in many events meant 84 points, and the Peterson Prep crown.

KHS defeated Geneva (75 points), Burlington Central (64), West Aurora (50) and Yorkville (41) to reign over the Saturday field.

The exceptional outputs were highlighted by Knights like Nate Dyer, who beat the field in both the shot put and discus events.

A sophomore, Dyer threw 48 feet, two inches in the shot, and 153-09 in the discus.

Dyer, who competed in State events as a middle school athlete and earned some valuable experience a year ago, feels this group of throwers can provide point cushions that coach Eric Baron has been looking for the past several seasons.

“It’s been a pretty good meet, and I’ve been feeling good this season and after my throws today. All three of the top throwers here can make big throws,” Dyer said.

Field personnel like Marshall Farthing also had a productive morning, as the junior achieved a personal record in the high jump at 6 feet, 3 inches for third place.

KHS’ effort was apparent in events like the 100 meter dash finals in which senior Sean Carter took fourth with a time of 11.65 seconds.

Junior Dylan Pennington took fifth in the 200m dash finals thanks to a 24.02 time.

“I tried to keep as close as I could to the lead and it worked out,” Pennington said.

Pennington won his preliminary heat with a time of 23.75 seconds, and hopes the production in all his events continues.

“I hope in the 4×200 we can beat the school record. I feel I could be better,” Pennington said.

Dylan Nauert was crowned king of the 300m hurdles with a time of 40.68 seconds.

Meanwhile, in relay clashes, the Knights’ 4x100m foursome took first with a time of 43.78, the 4x200m unit took first with a time of 1:31.31 and the 4x400m relay squad took second at 3:26.62.

Ahead for the Knights’ boys track crew is a trip to the Crystal Lake Central Invite on Friday, April 27, before hosting both Morris and Yorkville on Tuesday, May 1.

Baseball holds own in NIB-12 conference play

in Baseball/Featured by

Photo: Second baseman Joe Pollastrini tries to turn a double play in the fourth inning, but the ball was just a little late getting to first baseman Jordan Jones during Kaneland’s home game against Yorkville on Monday. Photo by John DiDonna

KANELAND—Much like last year, the Knight nine are taking care of business as the calendar turns pages on the season.

Wins over Yorkville, Wheaton Academy and DeKalb have the first-place KHS baseball crew feeling quite good.

Kaneland’s (14-7, 7-1 Northern Illinois Big XII) steady pitching went well with just enough hitting on Thursday in DeKalb.

The 2-1 victory was earned with a single run in the second and fifth innings, and Matt Limbrunner (1-0) took the win in a starting assignment. The tall right-hander went 6.2 innings and allowed no earned runs on four hits.

Ray Barry swiped three bases and scored both runs, while Jordan Jones produced an RBI.

In a 6-0 Saturday shutout of Wheaton Academy, the Knights got help on the mound from Jones, who went five innings and allowed four hits. Barry went 2-for-4 and swiped three more bases, along with his double and two RBI, while Tyler Heinle went 2-for-3 with an RBI and run.

On Monday, the Knights engineered an 8-6 win against the Yorkville Foxes. Down 3-1 in the third, KHS scored two in the third and four in the fourth for a lead before YHS tied matters with runs in the fifth and sixth. Kaneland’s two-run sixth gave the the hosts the edge.

Bryan VanBogaert improved to 2-1 with a win in relief, while Jordan Jones earned the save in a perfect seventh inning.

Tom Fox was 3-for-4 at the plate with a triple and three RBI, while Joe Pollastrini was 2-for-2 with two doubles and a walk.

In Kendall County, the Knights erased a 2-1 deficit with two runs in the top of the seventh to subdue the Foxes.

Trevor Storck improved to 4-0 on the year with a six hitter, in which he allowed just two earned runs.

Tyler Heinle went 1-for-3 with a run scored, as did brother Trever Heinle.

The Knights are at Yorkville on Thursday, April 26.

KHS softball reaches 20-win plateau

in Featured/Softball by

Photo: Paige Kuefler gets the runner out trying to steal third base in the fourth inning of Kaneland’s 15-1 home victory over Dixon on Saturday. Photo by John DiDonna

KANELAND—Lady Knights softball continues to hit, which may give groans to opponents that see the Kaneland lineup on its upcoming schedule.

In a twinbill with Northern Illinois Big XII West division school Dixon in Maple Park on Saturday, Kaneland brought the aluminum with a 15-1 win in game one and an 11-2 win in game two.

That accompanied a 9-3 win in Streator, Ill., against the Lady Bulldogs on Tuesday afternoon.

The Lady Knights are now 20-5 (5-0 NIB-12, and have now emerged victorious in 19 of their last 21 contests—a sharp contrast from the previous immediate stretch in which the KHS crew lost 21 of 28 games.

The Lady Knights were helped by Ellissa Eckert’s five-inning, complete game effort, in which she allowed just an earned run on four hits.

On the hitting side of the spectrum, Paige Kuefler (2-for-2, two BB, two RBI) supplied the hitting charge.

Game two had the Lady Knights put up an eight-spot in the second, two in the third and one in the fifth for all the offense needed.

The winning pitcher line took the form of Alexis Villarreal’s complete-game four hitter with 10 strikeouts to boot.

Vest took care of business on the mound at Streator, with a three-run, three-hit effort in the circle.

Catcher McKinzie Mangers’ 2-for-2 day with two walks helped the winning effort, while Allyson O’Herron went 2-for-3 with and RBI and a run scored.

Soccer slams West division’s Ottawa

in Girls Soccer by

by Mike Slodki
OTTAWA—In the case of Lady Knights soccer, the mix of old and new is gelling enough to make anyone happy.

In a jaunt to LaSalle County on Thursday, Kaneland improved to 6-3-1 and 2-1-1 in Northern Illinois Big XII Conference action with a 4-0 shutout of host Ottawa.

With an early goal by Jessica Coia, and three second half goals, the Lady Knights continue to thrive as of late, with underclass totals in double figures and trying to exterminate the injury bug.

Coia’s rocket of a shot was helped by an assist from Courtney Diddell and Madi Jurcenko just six minutes, 52 seconds in.

The second half was highlighted by a Brittany Olson goal (assist from Diddell) with 24:44 to go in the game, and two Abby Bend goals assisted by Katie Taylor. The scores happened with 22:11 and 19:23 remaining.

The recent good fortune is at the hands, or feet of players like Diddell.

“Courtney is an amazing athlete in general. She make the game look effortless, she does not look like she is going fast, but she is, she has long legs and a long stride that is deceiving. She also has played club ball with a quality club-Campton United,” KHS coach Scott Parillo said.

In frosh/soph kicks, the Lady Knights used three Holly Brasfield goals and two Aislinn Lodwig scores to down Ottawa 6-0.

The varsity soccer crew hosts rival Rochelle on Thursday, April 26.

KHS girls track sees firsts in 4×800, 1600m

in Featured/Girls Track by

Photo: Nicole Ketza gears up for a discus throw during recent action. Ketza and the Lady Knights gear up for the Kane County Meet in North Stars country on Friday, April 27. File photo

DIXON—Interstate 88’s corridor wields some talented girls track rosters, and Kaneland’s intent was to join that group after Friday’s Dixon Invite.

When the points were tabulated, KHS emerged in the middle of the pack of a 10-team invite.

With 55 points, the Lady Knights edged NIB-12 rival Sterling by three points.

Additional NIB-12 outfit Geneseo took the meet with 93, followed by Dixon with 81. Harlem scored third with 76 points and Moline finished fourth with 68.

Kaneland’s bar is at a higher setting for several events, and just in time for the prestigious Kane County Meet occurring this Friday, April 27.

The 4x800m relay foursome of Sydney Strang, Jessica Kucera, Jennifer Howland and Amanda Lesak emerged victorious with a time of 10 minutes, 7.35 seconds, over two seconds better than the team from Dixon.

Strang also got into the act by running away from the fellow 1600m run crowd, thanks to a 5:42.50 time.

The frosh/soph group of Kucera, Rachel Steinmiller, Kyla Goodine and Madison Keith did well by finishing third in the 4x400m relay event with a time of 4:27.24.

Field events went well for KHS in the form of Kelly Evers’ third in the high jump (13 feet, eight inches), and with Shannon Wallace’s third in the pole vault (23-06).

Kaneland’s Kane County trip takes them to St. Charles North High School for a 5 p.m. starting gun.

Rockford now Outlaw country

in Community Sports by


The Maple Park Outlaws won the Rockford Riverhawks tournament at the Road Ranger Stadium in Rockford on April 7. Maple Park beat the Rockhounds 16-5 in game one, Lake Zurich 7-6 in game two and Wheaton 20-4 in game three to take home the first-place prize in the Round Robin Series. Jeff Violett (front, left to right), Sean O’Shea, Will Ring, Jack Coyle, Tyler Jarka, Matt O’Sullivan and bat boys Brendan O’Shea and Parker Violett. Coach Tom O’Shea (back, left to right), Jake Marczuk, Joe Laudont, Ryan David, Jason Edwards, Tanner Van Horn, Jacob Violett, Coach Jim Van Horn and Coach Tim Laudont.

Courtesy Photo

Pitcher Stahl tosses gem for KHS sophs

in Baseball by

KANELAND—Nick Stahl of the Kaneland sophomore baseball team tossed a no-hitter on Tuesday, as the Knights took care of Yorkville, 4-0. The sophomores improved to 11-6.

Sweatt, Wolves still alive in Calder Cup chase

in Miscellaneous/Sports by

ROSEMONT, Ill.—Elburn native Bill Sweatt contributed an assist as the Chicago Wolves defeated the San Antonio Rampage on Tuesday night, 3-2, at Allstate Arena in the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs.

San Antonio had won the first two games of the series and had not been beaten by the Wolves in six meetings this season.

The Wolves hoped to even the series on Wednesday.

MP baseball hosts Parents Night Out

in Community Sports by

MAPLE PARK—Maple Park Baseball will host its 4th annual Parents Night Out Raffle on Saturday, May 12, at 7 p.m. Come to the Maple Park Pub and win meats, sports apparel, golf passes and many other prizes donated by local businesses. There will also be a “stock the bar” and a 50/50 raffle at the end of the evening. Enjoy an evening out and help raise money for the Maple Park Baseball, Softball and T-ball Association.

Anyone interested in donating raffle prizes, please contact Amy at amyj@mapleparkbaseball.net.

Third annual golf outing a charm for Knight boys hoops

in Boys Basketball by

KANELAND—Foursomes and sponsorships are going fast, but there is still time to join the Kaneland boys basketball program in a day of fun at the third annual golf outing on Saturday, June 9, held at Bliss Creek Golf Course in Sugar Grove.

The golf outing has been developed to bring together the Kaneland community, athletes, parents, alumni and community businesses.

This fundraiser will raise money for uniforms, equipment and fees for summer leagues and shootouts. Thanks to the support of local businesses and donations, a variety of prizes will be available in the raffle. There will also be a silent auction with exciting prizes. The golf outing will be a scramble and costs $400 for a foursome, or $35 if you’d just like to attend the dinner.

If you are interested in the event, would like to be a sponsor, or make a donation, contact Brian Johnson at (630) 365-5100, ext. 347, or brian.johnson@kaneland.org.

Head rush

in Featured/Girls Soccer by

Photo: Kaneland soccer defeated East Aurora, 3-0, on April 11 at the West Aurora Blackhawk Invitational, won by the host school. Here, Madi Jurcenko executes a backward head pass. Photo by Patti Wilk

Kaneland soccer enjoying unbeaten stretch
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—In spite of injuries, Kaneland soccer is remaining a tough team to battle.

Needing to rely on underclassmen more than ever with the injury bug infesting the roster, the Lady Knights still suited up and bested East Aurora on April 11, tied Dixon on Saturday and trounced Marengo on Monday.

That accompanied a 1-0 win over the visiting Lady Barbs on Tuesday.

The current stretch leaves KHS at 5-3-1 (2-1 Northern Illinois Big XII).

Kaneland traveled to the Blackhawk Invitational stomping grounds of West Aurora High School to finish the tournament. West Aurora’s plaque went Kaneland’s way two seasons ago, and sent the Lady Tomcats reeling with a Madi Jurcenko goal just three minutes, 29 seconds into the contest.

“It’s very crucial, because it puts you ahead of the game,” Jurcenko said. “When you have that one step ahead in the beginning, it helps you play better.”

With a younger lineup of which Jurcenko is involved, winning seems to be the cure to any jitters.

“It definitely helps when we win because we’re such a young team and we haven’t played together that much, scoring really helps our confidence.”

Melissa Bohorquez found the net on an assist from Katie Taylor with 13:51 to go in the half for a 2-0 lead.

Finally, Emily Eckert put a cap on the afternoon with a goal due in part to a Nicole Hanlon assist with just 2:19 remaining in the contest.

Despite West Aurora winning the tournament for a second consecutive year, KHS coach Scott Parillo saw encouraging developments, almost by necessity.

“That first goal was huge,” Parillo said. “That doesn’t always happen, and it kind of set the tone. I was real happy. Fifteen of these players are freshmen and sophomores, and that’s pretty impressive.”

In NIB-12 crossover action, the Lady Knights benefitted from a goal from Brittany Olson on a Courtney Diddell assist 14 minutes, 19 seconds into the match, but surrendered a second-half goal to the Duchesses—one of three shots on goal to deadlock matters.

Against the Lady Indians on Monday, Katie Taylor broke through with two goals with 27:17 and 10:40 left in the first half, and set up the final goal by Taylor Opperman with 5:30 to go in the half.

The lone goal against DHS was an Olson goal with a Jurcenko assist with 31:43 left in the contest.

Frosh/soph action included the Lady Knights improving to 4-3-1 with a 1-1 mark in conference play. They have a 5-1 win over Marengo to thank for that, with Emily Grams finding the net four times, and Eckert scoring once.

Kaneland was set to partake in more crossover action, this time on Thursday, April 19, in Ottawa.

KHS Boys track visits Ottawa for a second

in Boys Basketball by

KANELAND—Anytime and anywhere, Kaneland boys track serves to be a threat against area competition.

With depth and talent serving the Knights well, they continue to be near the top on days of action.

Such was the case during Saturday afternoon’s Ottawa ABC Invite in which the Knights put together a 221-point performance, compared to 236.5 from champ Metamora. Bolingbrook was third with 202 points. Lincoln-Way East took fourth with 146 points. Host Ottawa was 11th of 12 with 55 points.

The boys also solved Rochelle in Maple Park by a 104-51 final.

Separated to A, B and C flights in Ottawa, the Knights saw their share of hefty first-and-second place finishes.

Dylan Kuipers took second in his pole vault group with a mark of 12 feet. Eric Dillion, at 5-10, finished second in his high jump flight, and Tanner Andrews lept 18-06.25 in the long jump for a second place.

Firsts came the way of Seth Weiss in the 110m high hurdles with a time of 16.91, and Brandon Cottier at 12.11 ticks in the 100m dash.

Andrews came back with a second in the 300m low hurdles with a mark of 46.84 seconds, and Brock Robertsen took a second in his 300m low hurdles group at 42.68. Teammate Dylan Nauert’s 40.51 time was good for king of 300m hurdles “A” competitors.

Against the Hubs, multiple firsts were garnered by Cottier in the 100m dash (11.3) and 200m dash (23.3). Additionally, Marshall Farthing took firsts in the triple jump (39-7.5) and high jump (5-10). Nate Dyer went ballistic in the shot put (47-03) and discus (145-3.5).

Coming next for boys track is a familiar event: the Peterson Prep on Saturday, April 21, at 10 a.m.

Girls track gets fifth, dual win

in Girls Track by

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Windy conditions abounded, and whomever emerged from Saturday’s Jenni’s ABC Meet in Maple Park would have to do so by force.

Kaneland girls track would be the fifth-best to do so, behind four capable outfits.

The Ottawa ABC meet on Friday saw KHS earn second place with 190 points, behind Burlington Central’s 225.

With 346.5 points, Huntley took the Jenni’s meet crown.

Kaneland leapfrogged Mercer County, Lemont’s Mt. Assisi Academy and St. Edward to complete the eight-team skirmish.

The Lady Knights saw strong performances, which gave the group encouraging thoughts with the Kane County Invite just two weeks out.

Sydney Strang led the way in the 1600m run “A” race with an effort of five minutes, 25.5 seconds, while Gabby Aguirre took second in the high jump “A” event with a jump of 4-08.

Kaneland had its share of good fortune in other events, thanks to personnel like Elle Tattoni, who threw a 31-05 in the shot put “A” flight for second place to go with an 88-06 discus “C” toss; Jessica Kucera, who ran a 400m dash “B” race in 1:07.9 for second place; and Maggie Brundige, who finished second in the 1600m run “B” flight at 5:44.8.

Lady Knight Shannon Wallace finished second in the pole vault “B” group at 7-06, and Nicole Ketza continued to excel in the field for KHS girls track by winning the shot put “B” group with a heave of 30-10.

Ketza feels she’s having a strong 2012.

“Coach Ecker said to just take one throw at a time and not think about it and not rush,” Ketza said.

Lady Knight Ashley Cottier produced a second-place discus toss with a mark of 84-05. Abby Dodis did well on the track with a 5:50.10, first-place run in the 1600m run “C” race.

In Ottawa, the shot put went well, with Ketza (33-01) and Tattoni (34-06) nabbing firsts in their flights. Wallace took first in her vault with a 7-06 effort, while the foursome of Strang, Jen Howland, Kucera and Amanda Lesak took the reins of the 4x800m relay “A” race at 10:17.90.

Other firsts in Ottawa included Carolina Tovar (14:19.66) and Brundige (12:40.49) in the 3200m run events, along with Rachel Steinmiller in her 100m hurdles try (19.19).

Kaneland took care of Rochelle in dual action on Tuesday, and saw Kaltrina Ismaili (200m dash and 100m dash), Ashley Castellanos (triple jump, long jump) and Ketza (shot, discus) take firsts.

Sluggers trounce Rochelle, vanquish DeKalb

in Baseball/Featured by

Photo: Mike Tattoni makes the turn at second base in recent action. File photo

More action for State champs includes two setbacks
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—If only the Kaneland Knights could put up double-figure run totals in every contest.

While they enjoyed wins over conference rivals, the Knights could have used them in two losses this past week.

A week with split fortunes saw a 17-0 win over the Hubs on Thursday, followed by a trip to Woodstock, Ill., and a close 6-5 loss to Marian Central Catholic on Saturday. Northern Illinois Big XII action continued on with a 6-2 win in Barb-land on Monday and a 4-3, 12-inning marathon loss to DeKalb on Tuesday in Maple Park.

Kaneland now sits at 10-7 (4-1 NIB-12).

In the five-inning rout of the Hubs, Trevor Storck (5 IP, 1 H, 2 K) earned the win, while John Hopkins had a double and three RBI in the effort. Tyler Heinle joined the party with two doubles and three RBI. Kaneland’s 10-run second inning made it 11-0 after two innings.

Against the Hurricanes, Kaneland’s 3-1 lead went by the wayside as MCC scored three in the bottom of the fifth. KHS tied it in the sixth before the hosts’ two-run sixth sealed the result.

Joe Pollastrini took the loss in relief, while Tom Fox went 3-for-3 with a triple and two RBI.

In DeKalb, the Knights’ four-run second and two-run fifth buoyed the visitors.

Hopkins took the win with a complete-game, six-hitter. Quinn Buschbacher jacked a grand slam, and Heinle went 2-for-3 with a triple and walk.

On Tuesday, DeKalb scored three in the fourth, with Kaneland’s three-run sixth tying the game until the Barbs’ one run in the 12th.

The loss went to Bryan VanBogaert, who went 7.2 innings in relief, while Fox went 3-for-6 with two doubles.

The Knights finish the series with DeKalb in a road contest on Thursday, April 19, before hosting old rival Geneva on Friday, April 20.

Softball, now 17-5, continues to impress

in Softball by

KANELAND—With just one hiccup notwithstanding, Lady Knights softball continues to enjoy the feast of victory on what has become a productive 2012 regular season.

Kaneland improved to 17-5 (5-0 Northern Illinois Big XII) after a Saturday twinbill split against Maine West of Des Plaines, Ill., a handy six-inning win over host Rochelle on Thursday and an 8-3 win in Yorkville on Tuesday.

Game one on Saturday against the Lady Warriors went Kaneland’s way by a 5-3 count, with Delani Vest earning the win. Vest went the distance, allowing three runs on eight hits, while striking out five.

First baseman Hayley Contorno went 3-for-3 with a double and RBI for hitting support. Kaneland broke a 2-2 tie with a single run in the bottom of the fourth and two more in the bottom of the fifth, while Maine West could manage just one more run in the top of the sixth.

In game two, Maine West scored three runs in the top of the seventh to pull away, despite the best efforts of pitcher Alexis Villarreal (7 inn, 8 hits, three ER) and Morgan Newhouse (2-for-4).

Younger softball happenings against Maine West saw Kaneland score 13 runs in the sixth inning of game one of a twinbill, resulting in a 14-2 win. Annissa Becker took the win on the mound, along with a triple at the plate. Sam Payton went 4-for-4 with a homer and a double to her name.

Game two saw a 16-6 loss to MW.

Against Rochelle, the Lady Knights put up crooked numbers in every inning with three runs apiece in the first, third, fifth and sixth.

Vest and Villarreal combined for the win on the pitching end, while Paige Kuefler’s 3-for-4 and Contorno’s 3-for-4, triple and two RBI afternoon sealed the deal.

Against the Lady Foxes, the Lady Knights got a win on the pitching end from Vest (CG, 6 H, 3 ER, 6K), with Kuefler going 3-for-4.

The Lady Knights host Dixon in doubleheader action on Saturday, April 21.

IHSA reviews opportunities for student-athletes with disabilities

in Health & Wellness/Sports by

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.—At their regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors were briefed on Monday’s first meeting of the association’s Ad-Hoc Committee studying participation opportunities for student-athletes with disabilities.

For decades, the IHSA has embraced the inclusion of student-athletes with disabilities in a wide array of competitive sports and events. It now looks to further enhancements by providing more opportunities.

“We want to ensure Illinois is a leader in providing opportunities for student-athletes with disabilities,” said Dan Klett, a principal from Wauconda High School, member of the IHSA Board of Directors and chairman of the new IHSA committee. “Our goal is to facilitate a thoughtful and inclusive discussion about participation opportunities while providing a meaningful experience for our student-athlete competitors.”

The newly formed IHSA committee is reviewing current opportunities available in Illinois for student-athletes with disabilities, evaluating the need to expand those opportunities, and will prepare recommendations to the IHSA Board to explore opportunities to incorporate student-athletes with disabilities at the state championship level. The committee will also survey member schools, stakeholders and other agencies to gather additional insight and information regarding potential participation levels.

The committee’s recommendations would build on measures the IHSA has already taken over the years to accommodate athletes with prosthetic limbs, athletes in wheelchairs, visually impaired and hearing impaired athletes, and athletes with paralysis to compete in sports like basketball, gymnastics, golf, bowling, swimming, track and field, and cross country.

One such athlete, Matthew Juskie, a student at Lincoln-Way North High School in Frankfort, Ill., is a non-sighted golfer who has been permitted a spotter to accompany him at IHSA golf competitions.

“Playing golf on my team with my teammates is a huge part of my high school experience that I will never forget,” said Juskie. “I am thankful to my coach, my school and teammates for giving me the opportunity to compete.”

The committee members represent each of the IHSA’s seven board divisions. They are Marty Bee, athletic director at Naperville (Central) High School; Mike Curtin, associate athletic director at Oak Park (Fenwick) High School; Judy Fitzgerald, principal at Moweaqua (Central A&M) High School; Kathy J. Hasson, principal at Taylor Ridge (Rockridge) High School; Bill Hook, principal at Chicago (Agricultural Science) High School; Bill Lamkey, principal at Riverton High School; and Steve Smith, principal from Marion (H.S.).

“Right now there are more than 300,000 student-athletes from our nearly 800 member schools who participate in IHSA sports and activities,” said Klett. “We’re listening to a diverse group of voices and are exploring a wide range of implementation considerations including policy, procedure and even having a census of student-athletes with disabilities.”

The committee is expected to report back to the IHSA Board of Directors by its June 11 meeting.

Girls Track sees exceptional totals at Holmes Meet

in Featured/Girls Track by

Photo: Ashley Castellanos (right) put in good work Saturday at the Jill Holmes Invite, including winning this 100 meter dash. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—It took barely any time for Lady Knights girls track to get acclimated to the outdoor competition.

With the Jill Holmes Invite on Saturday yielding success, and the dual action going the Lady Knights way on Tuesday against visiting Sycamore, Kaneland sits in a good spot.

On Saturday, Rockton’s Hononegah High School finished first with 98 points, while Kaneland was second at 92.5, and DeKalb third.

Ashley Castellanos took third place in the 200 meter dash on Saturday with a 27-second effort.

Lady Knight Abby Dodis ran a 12:17.40 effort in the 3200m run, with DeKalb standout Kelsey Schrader taking first at 11:42.10.

The Lady Knights’ 4x800m relay group of Amanda Lesak, Sydney Strang, Jennifer Howland and Jessica Kucera finished second with an effort of 10:10.35.

The Lady Knights did well in field events, as well, with Castellanos staking her claim in the long jump and triple jump by finishing second in both.

The junior hit the 15-10 mark in the long jump, and a 33-06 in the triple jump for a productive morning.

Elle Tattoni beat the field and took the reins in the shot put with a 32-11 throw, while fellow Lady Knights Nicole Ketza took first (97-10.5) and Ashley Cottier managed third in the discus (94-09.5).

Against the Lady Spartans, KHS used plenty of great showings for an 86-55 win.

Strang’s 11:54.6 was tops in the 3200m run.

“I’ve been working hard and it’s been going pretty well, “ Strang said. “I’ve been having fun and trying my best with it.”

Howland took the 800m run with a time of 2:32.3, Lesak won the 300m hurdles event with a time of 50.8 seconds, and Kaltrina Ismaili won the 200m run with a time of 28.9 seconds.

Additonal firsts were garnered by the 4x400m relay team (4:09.8), Castellanos in the triple jump (32-10), Tattoni in the shot put (31-06), Ketza in the discus (94-04), Gabby Aguirre in the high jump (five feet) and Sydney Luse in the pole vault (eight feet).

Up ahead for girls track: the Ottawa ABC Invite on Friday, April 13.

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