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Boys Track - page 4

Fundraiser set to help send Dyer to Australian track-and-field meet

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Maple Park—Kaneland High School student-athlete Nathan Dyer was selected by “Down Under Sports” to represent the state of Illinois and compete in a track-and-field competition next June in Australia.

To help raise funds for his trip, there will be an all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 20, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the American Legion Post No. 312, 203 Main St., Maple Park. Tickets cost $7 at the door.

For information, call Penny Dyer at (630) 742-6388.

Knight Dyer takes his shot in Baltimore

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KANELAND—Kaneland High School track standout Nate Dyer may not have won a first this past weekend in Baltimore, but he can still consider himself part of the upper-upper echelon.

The lineman and thrower traveled to Morgan State University to compete in the 2012 USATF National Junior Olympics this past Thursday through Saturday, and did his part in three events.

Dyer placed 11th overall in the hammer throw out of 27 participants, beating his personal best by 16 feet. Dyer had previously set the state record at the State Junior Olympics in Kankakee, Ill., by 19 feet.

Dyer placed 12th in the discus out of 32 athletes, and placed 11th in the shot put out of 50 kids.

This was the second occasion that Dyer went to the National stage, having last been there in 2010.

Dyer was able to qualify for the Morgan State gathering with his output at the Regional Junior Olympics in Franklin, Ind., in early July. The junior achieved first places in both the hammer throw and shot put, and second places in the discus and javelin.

Wielding the hammer: Dyer goes National

in Boys Track/Featured by

Photo: Kaneland junior Nate Dyer brandishes the medals from recent competition under the USA Track and Field banner. Dyer is bringing talent in four events to the National Junior Olympics in Baltimore. Courtesy Photo

State and Regional totals pay off for junior Olympic-bound athlete
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—One would think that a summer full of footballs and pads would be enough for an ordinary student.

With incoming KHS junior Nate Dyer, there are qualifying factors, however.

Dyer is also dealing in hammers, javelins, shots and discs, and he’s putting up an effort that is extraordinary.

Dyer, who as an impressive aside, qualified for the IHSA Class 2A Track and Field meet in shot and discus, is set to compete at the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympics at Hughes Stadium on the campus of Morgan State University in Baltimore, Md.

The week-long fest occurs from Tuesday, July 23, through Monday, July 29.

Dyer’s showing at Franklin University’s Regional Junior Olympics in Franklin, Ind., (July 7-8), that included first places in both the hammer throw and shot put, and second places in the discus and javelin, allowed him to make plans to travel with his family to the athletic showcase on the east coast.

Dyer won’t be intimidated.

“Once you get there, it’s more doing what you’re comfortable with,” Dyer said. “You don’t want to try and change up stuff.”

Dyer, who first qualified for the National stage in 2010, made headway in the State Junior Olympics held in Kankakee, Ill., back on June 22-24.

All he did there was take first in the javelin and shot put, plus set the state record in the hammer throw by 19 feet.

That high trajectory of performance is not just sheer talent, as Dyer knows the value of taking mentors advice to heart.

“I listen to all the coaches in every sport and what they tell me,” Dyer said. “A big influence is usually my dad, and he researches a lot. He never played, what I played but he’s organized and looks into details, and that helps. I never have to worry.”

Dyer’s numbers in regionals took place against other elite athletes from Illinois and Indiana in Region 7. He was sponsored by DeKalb Huskies track.

The Knight athlete can expect big things against competitors from the other 49 states if he can duplicate a similar outcome in an event like the shot put, which saw him ace the grouping by three-and-a-half feet.

“There is kind of a lot of pressure. The first year that I did this, I didn’t really know much about it, but I ended up throwing almost 160 with the little disc and placed third two years ago, and we have expectations,” Dyer said.

Next year’s USATF elite national gathering is set for Greensboro, NC, on the campus of North Carolina A&T University, but Dyer elects to attack what’s in front of him at the moment.

For now, that’s javelin marks, followed by Northern Illinois Big XII ball-carriers.

“Once I get through State and Regionals, there’s more competition,” Dyer said. “I just try to qualify and get the job done.”

Spring kind to Kaneland athletics in awards season

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Photo: Delani Vest capped a stellar senior season for Lady Knights softball by nabbing the NIB-12 MVP honor. File photo

KANELAND—A highly successful 2011-12 spring season was recognized with team awards dished out earlier this week, as well as honors from the end-of-year senior athletic banquet.

Awards were released on June 3.

Leading the charge was sectional semifinalist softball, which boasted the Northern Illinois Big XII MVP in pitcher Delani Vest. Joining the senior on the all-conference list was Paige Kuefler, Hayley Contorno, Allyson O’Herron and McKinzie Mangers, with teammate Lexi Roach an honorable mention.

Vest, Mangers, O’Herron and Sam Hansen were recognized as captains. O’Herron was named defensive player of the year, while Roach was named most improved player. Kuefler and Lanie Callaghan were named co-offensive players of the year, while Contorno and Kristen Gabrielson took home the Lady Knight award.

The senior athletic banquet awards recognized University of Wisconsin-Whitewater bound Sean Carter as Male Athlete of the Year, Kelly Evers as Female Athlete of the Year, Clayton Brundige as the Male Birkette award winner for dedication, and both Evers and Katy Dudzinski as the Female Birkette award for dedication recipient.

For boys track, Carter was named the Track MVP, while Nate Dyer took home the Field MVP honors. Brundige and Brandon Stahl were co-winners of the Drendel Award. Brundige, Carter, Miki Marin, Stahl, Nate Rehkopf, Kelvin Peterson and Mitch Dienst were recognized as captains. Dylan Nauert was named the winner of the Ron Probst award.

Finally, Kaneland’s boys track group of Luis Acosta, Brandon Bishop, Kyle Carter, Sean Carter, Dyer, Shane Jorgensen, Nate Kucera, Nauert, Tanner Andrews, Brandon Cottier, Marshall Farthing, Kory Harner, Conor Johnson, Dylan Pennington, Brundige and Marin were recognized as All NIB-12.

Meanwhile, the 11 State qualifiers were also lauded for their trip to Eastern Illinois University.

For Knights baseball, Tom Fox, Drew Peters, John Hopkins, Trevor Storck, Jake Razo and Tyler Heinle were named to the All NIB-12 team, with Bryan VanBogaert an honorable mention.

VanBogaert, Storck and Ray Barry took home the most improved player nods, and Trever Heinle was the recipient of the 41 Award in memory of Jeff Malewig. Fox was named the offensive MVP and Tyler Heinle was named defensive MVP, with Razo nabbed Mr. Kaneland Baseball for 2012.

The girls track season yielded quite the prestigious awards, with Amanda Lesak, Jessica Kucera, Maggie Brundige, Sydney Strang, Jen Howland, Lauren Zick and Kaltrina Ismaili being recognized as state qualifiers.

Christina Delach, Nicole Ketza, Elle Tattoni, Lesak, Gabby Aguirre, Strang, Zick, Ismaili and Howland also secured Northern Illinois Big XII honors.

Carolina Tovar and Ketza were recognized for their work as captains. Lesak took home the team’s most improved trophy.

The Track MVP honor was given to Strang, while the Field MVP honor went to Tattoni.

Kaneland soccer congratulated Jess Coia, Jordan Ginther, Delaney Stryczek and Katie Taylor for making All NIB-12, while Brittany Olson made the honorable mention list.

Melissa Bohorquez, Ginther, Taylor and Taylor White were recognized as captains, while Brooke Harner was named Most Improved Player for the Lady Knights.

Courtney Diddell and Madi Jurcenko capped impressive campaigns by garnering Rookie of the Year honors.

Taylor Opperman, Heather Ortiz and Stryczek were named winners of the Coach’s Award.

Michelle Ortiz and Olson were named winners of the Lady Knights Award, while the co-MVPs were revealed as Taylor and Ginther.

Kaneland’s 11: Boys track performs at high level

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Two Kaneland HS relay teams earned all-state honors last weekend.
Photos by Marshall Farthing

Knights’ 2A trip to
EIU sees five All-State
efforts, three records

by Mike Slodki
CHARLESTON, Ill.—When you send as many Class 2A State finalists for boys track as Kaneland High School did, you’ll push some entries to the finals by sheer force and numbers.

Or in the case of this past weekend, by speed.

With five finalists, the Knights program achieved All-State medal honors in those events.

A year ago, Taylor Andrews won the 110m high hurdles in Class 2A, while Nick Sinon claimed the high jump in the 2010 try that featured the Knights taking second in the entire state.

This season, with 19 points, Kaneland finished an exceptional 11th.

Cahokia High School was crowned champ with 67 points, while former KHS conference rival Glenbard South took second with 56. The other local school to finish near Kaneland was Burlington Central with 22 points for 10th.

“Our program gained a great deal of experience this past weekend as we look towards next year,” KHS coach Eric Baron.

For KHS, the top finish was the 4×200 meter really unit of Dylan Pennington, Brandon Bishop, Brandon Cottier and Sean Carter, who took third with a time of 1:29.89 in the finals, a school record. Glenbard South’s team won the race with just .31 faster of a time.

Other exceptional relay action featured the 4x100m relay foursome of Bishop, Cottier, Dylan Nauert and Carter, which finished sixth in the finals at 42.70 seconds, marking another school record.

Individually, Nauert added a sixth-place finish to his mantle with a 39.34 second time on the 300m low hurdles event.

In the 200m dash event, Carter took seventh in the finals at 22.80 seconds.

Finally, the 4x800m school relay group of Conor Johnson, Nate Kucera, Clayton Brundige and Kyle Carter finished ninth overall with a clip of 8:02.68. A 7:59.87 time in prelims was good for a school record, as well.

Other State qualifiers that were in crowded fields included Kory Harner, who vaulted 13 feet in the pole vault.

Nate Dyer ended his season with a 50 feet, 1.5 inch toss in the shot put prelims.

Cottier’s effort in the 100m dash prelims was a 11.46 time.

With the season ended, the Knights say goodbye to Brundige, Sean Carter, Mitch Dienst, Andrew Essex, Miki Marin, Marcel Neil, Kelvin Peterson, Nate Rehkopf and Brandon Stahl.

4th sectional title in a row for KHS boys track

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Photo: Kory Harner can call himself a 2012 State qualifier in the pole vault after his Thursday performance at the Rochelle Sectional. File Photo

Kaneland sends 11 events to hallowed EIU turf this weekend

by Mike Slodki
ROCHELLE, Ill.—Labeling the Kaneland boys track output from Thursday’s Class 3A Rochelle Sectional as “exceptional” would be right on the money.

For the remaining field at this weekend’s Class 3A State gathering in Charleston, Ill., the showing could be described as “ominous.”

Kaneland’s total of 115 points gave a nice cushion over second-place Burlington Central’s 84, Dixon’s 83, Sterling’s 64 and Rochelle’s 60.

The point total for Kaneland beats last year’s sectional best of 90 points.

Trying to nab a State trophy for the second time in three years, Brandon Cottier, who will hope to make his presence felt in the 100 and 200 meter dash, is among those who is not just “happy to be there”.

“Once I get to State, I try to better myself. We don’t settle, and we go in to win,” Cottier said.

Sophomore Dylan Nauert highlighted the eleven separate events to make it down to State, with a 40.18 time in the 300m low hurdles, taking the Sectional title.

In a nice piece of symmetry, both Cottier and Sean Carter finished 1-2 in the prelims for the 200m dash, with a flip of places in the finals.

Carter earned the sectional crown with a time of 22.67 seconds, and Cottier finished in 23.14.

In the 100m dash, Cottier took fourth with a time of 11.03 seconds, after finishing fourth in the prelims at 11.13.

“If we run our best race, we’ll definitely place at State. The sectional is a different feel because you are doing your best to get to State. Once you get to State, there’s nothing after that,” Cottier said.

In the 400m dash, Nate Kucera’s fourth place time of 50.65 seconds earned him a qualifying nod.

Relay action went the way of the Knights in the form of races like the 4x800m relay, which ran in 8:05.20, good for fourth.

Additionally, the 4x100m relay squad took home the sectional mantle with a time of 43.30.

It went nice with another first-place race in the 4x200m relay, which ran in 1:29.80, 1.75 seconds better than Boylan Catholic.

Field events were highlighted by Nate Dyer and Kory Harner.

Dyer, after a double conference championship in both the shot put and discus, also punched his ticket to Eastern Illinois University with a fine showing.

The sophomore threw 155 feet, nine inches and finished third in finals, after finishing second in the prelims with a 155-09 effort. In the shot, Dyer finished third with a tally of 50-11. Dyer also finished third in the prelims (50-11).

Harner made it in the pole vault with a second-place effort of 13-03.

“Every year, we just want to qualify someone in pole vault. It’s been 30 straight years,” Harner said. “When you get to sectionals, you really feel the pressure of wanting to go down (to State).”

Kaneland has bragging rights to several State champ honors the last two years, with Taylor Andrews’ 110m hurdles in 2011, Nick Sinon in the 2010 high jump, and the 4x400m relay in 2010.

KHS boys one point short of NIB-12 bragging rights

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Photo: Kaneland’s Nate Dyer is about to throw the discus a conference-best 148 feet, nine inches, at the NIB-12 Conference track meet on Friday at DeKalb High School. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland boys track had many competitors contributing to a winning effort during Friday’s second-ever Northern Illinois Big XII meet out at DeKalb’s Dresser Road digs.

Too bad Dixon had more of a winning effort, just one point more.
It’s fuel that will go toward motivation for a winning night at the Rochelle Sectional on Thursday, May 17.

Kaneland’s 97 points were second only to Dixon’s 98.

Sterling (78), Sycamore (75) and Rochelle (50) rounded out the top five with Yorkville, Geneseo, LaSalle-Peru, DeKalb and Ottawa completing the top 10.

Kaneland’s frosh-soph outfit took fourth.

The Knights’ relay personnel are as fast as ever, judging by the work in Barb-land.

Kyle Carter, Nate Kucera, Clayton Brundige and Conor Johnson took care of the 4x800m relay field with a time of eight minutes, 8.94 seconds, while 4x100m relay speedsters Brandon Bishop, Brandon Cottier, Dylan Nauert and Sean Carter won their race at 43.24 seconds.

In the 4x200m relay event, Dylan Pennington, Bishop, Cottier and Sean Carter won with a time of 1:29.88.

Hurdling went Nauert’s way when he ran a 40.20 second race, while Sean Carter finished second in the 200m dash with a time of 22.59, just .01 behind Dixon’s Scott Good.

Cottier, Nauert, Kucera and Sean Carter ran the 4x400m relay with a first-place time of 3:25.53.

Sophomore Nate Dyer continued his impressive campaign with a 148 foot, nine inch, first-place discus throw.

Tanner Andrews also served the KHS cause well with a 41-08.5 triple jump for second place.

The Knights hope to continue the momentum of great scores in Rochelle, with the team being served by athletes who have already been to Charleston.

But KHS coach Eric Baron’s coachin style will not change regardless of the previous May travels one has had.

“We have physically prepared our team to the best of our ability. This week is all about mental preparation. We will be ready to perform at our best on Thursday. Our focus is on getting as many athletes into the state meet as possible and getting personal best. Titles and points will come with a large number of personal best and qualifiers,” he said.

Feels like the 1st place for boys track

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Photo: Nate Rehkopf, decked out in retro Knights track uniforms, took his heat of the 3200m run during Friday’s Kane County Invite out at West Aurora High School. Photo by Mike Slodki

Knight boys tie Geneva for first at prestigious KC meet
by Mike Slodki
AURORA—Team numbers don’t matter to Kaneland boys track. Neither do past accolades.

All that matters is that Kaneland put up an impressive 74 points in an 18-team Kane County Invite on Friday at West Aurora High School.

Coming off of a Peterson Prep first place and a second-place honor in Crystal Lake, the Knights’ total matched Geneva for first place at the historic Kane County grouping.

A year ago, Kaneland finished fourth with 57 points out at Millennium Field in Streamwood, Ill.

West Aurora finished third with 65 points at its home field, followed by Batavia and St. Charles North tying for fourth with 56 points.

Burlington Central took sixth with a total of 52.

South Elgin’s 41 was seventh best, while Aurora outfits Marmion Academy and Aurora Central Catholic tied for eighth with 37 points. St. Charles East rounded out the top 10 with 32 points.

KHS coach Eric Baron was eager to see what the KC happenings springboard to.

“We’ve had PRs for a lot of kids, like Nate Rehkopf in the 3200m prelims and Eric Dillon in the high jump,” Baron said. “This is the first of a line of big meets, and this is the granddaddy of them all. It’s been here for 92 years.”

Runners like Rehkopf still wanted to make an impact, even without a finals trip.

“The other teams might have bigger numbers but we have great depth, which I think puts us at an advantage,” Rehkopf said.

Kaneland can boast several area titleholders after the 2012 version of the Kane County excursion. Nate Dyer continued his astounding season with a shot put title after a finals throw of 50 feet. Fellow sophomore Dylan Nauert captured the 300 meter low hurdles title after a finals try of 40.19 seconds.

KHS also had several second-place finishers under its employ, beginning with Dyer in the discus with an effort of 151-01. Shane Jorgensen earned a second-place spotlight with a 48-10.5 in the shot put.

Third-place nods included Miki Marin in the 800m run with a tab of 1:58.40, Sean Carter in the 200m dash finals with a time of 22.46, and the 200m relay team of Dylan Pennington, Brandon Bishop, Brandon Cottier and Carter at 1:30.40.

The Knight fourth-place finishers included Eric Dillon in the high jump at 6-03 and Kory Harner in the pole vault at 12-09. Marshall Farthing took fifth in the long jump at 6-01, while Nauert found double-duty success with a fifth in the 110m high hurdles at 15.99.

Laying ahead for the Knight crew is the second-ever Northern Illinois Big XII meet in DeKalb on Friday, May 11.

Knight boys lay down exceptional efforts

in Boys Track/Featured by

Photo: Brandon Bishop begins a relay in the rain during the Boys and Girls visit to DeKalb on April 25. Photo by Patti Wilk

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Your Kaneland High School boys track outfit is getting hot at the right time.

On April 25, the Knight boys took care of DeKalb’s team in convincing fashion in a 110-36 dual.

They followed that with a second-place finish at their usual Crystal Lake Central Invite on Friday, dealing with other schools with a distinct numbers advantage.

Against the host Barbs, the Knights saw another stellar afternoon from Nate Dyer, who grabbed two firsts.

The sophomore threw a 48 foot, 7-and- a-half inch shot put, and also took the discus with a 140-10 throw.

Teammate Eric Dillon won the high jump with a 6-foot launch, while teammate Marshall Farthing won the triple jump with a 38-7.5 try. Dan Evers nabbed a first in the pole vault with an 11-06 vaulting, as well.

In relay activity, the Knights saw firsts in the 3200 meter relay with a time of 8:45.5 and a 400m relay run of 44 seconds.

Dylan Nauert continued a positive trajectory by taking the 110m high hurdles in 16.3 seconds, while Sean Carter won the 100m dash in 11.3 seconds.

Nauert continues to impress coach Eric Baron.

“Dylan is a very strong hurdler,” Baron said. “His technique is getting better all the time, but his strength carries him through right now.”

Knight Luis Acosta brought home the 800m run title with a 2:05.7 try, and Brandon Stahl won the 400m run with a 55.4 clip.

Carter also bested the field in the 200m run at 22.4 seconds, while the 1600m relay unit finished first with a time of 3:36.8.

In the 10-team Crystal Lake Central Invite held on Friday, the Knights also received enough good effort and fortune to take second up north.

With Belvidere North’s team taking first at 114 points, Kaneland’s second-place, 99-point total was good enough to outlast Harlem (93), the hosts (81) and Burlington Central (74).

Dyer’s 50-07.75 was good for second in the shot put, while Dillon reached fourth place in the high jump at 5-09.

Ben Barnes took third in the long jump at 19-05.

Kaneland’s 3200m relay team took second, with Nate Kucera, Conor Johnson, Clayton Brundige and Kyle Carter running a 8:21.18 track, and the crew of Brandon Bishop, Brandon Cottier, Nauert and Sean Carter were crowned champs of the 400m relay with a time of 43.84 seconds.

Nauert took the invite mantle in the 110m hurdles with a time of 15.96.

Ahead for the boys is the Kane County Invite, held at West Aurora High School on Friday, May 3, at 4:30 p.m.

Peterson Prep goes Kaneland’s way in 2012

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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.

Boys track feels outdoorsy at E. Moline

in Boys Track/Featured by

Photo: Alex Snyder throws the discus a huge 112 feet, 11 inches during Kaneland’s home meet against Sycamore on April 10. Photo by John DiDonna

Knights also earn dual win vs. Spartans
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—How do you deal with boys track giants from the Quad Cities area along with other very talented outfits?

You show your talent is as big and capable as theirs.

Kaneland boys track put up third-place numbers at the annual East Moline United Kiwanis Invitational at the Soule Bowl in East Moline, Ill., on Saturday with 233.5 points.

Rock Island won the meet crown with 260 points, while the hosts put up 250 points of their own.

Pleasant Valley of Iowa was in fourth with 196 points, and Galesburg was fifth at 195.

Two fellow Northern Illinois Big XII schools competed on Saturday, with Sterling finishing seventh in the 12-team meet (152 points), and Geneseo scoring 141.5 points for eighth.

With the events placed in A, B and C flights, Kaneland found plenty of competitors of their own with top finishes.

Knights standout Kyle Carter was the premiere runner in the 800 meter run “A”, thanks to a two minute, 2.96 effort, .72 seconds better than Beau Salsman of Galesburg.

Teammate Dylan Nauert’s third place in the 300m hurdles “A’ group fit well in the team’s success, thanks to a 41.40-second finish.

Nauert was at it again as part of the 4x100m relay team along with Brandon Bishop, Brandon Cottier and Sean Carter, as the foursome finished second with a time of 43.84.

In the 4x400m relay “A” flight, Bishop, Nathan Kucera, Kyle Carter and Nauert finished second with a 3:30.48 effort.

Kaneland also found encouraging developments in the field events, with JR Vest taking third in the pole vault with a height of 12 feet even.

Nate Dyer continued his positive trajectory from last year by throwing 45-10 in the shot put. Dyer also took second in the discus throw for coach Eric Baron’s crew, heaving a 144-10 disc.

Bishop found himself in the thick of things again by finishing third in the 100m dash “B” with a time of 11.9.

Kaneland’s Miki Marin emerged first in the 800m run “B” thanks to a 2:05.11, 1.25 seconds faster than Pleasant Valley’s Joe Schuler.

Eric Dillion finished third in the high jump “B” action with a leap of 5-10.

The Knights’ 4x400m relay group finished second in the “B” category with a time of 3:45.01.

In the pole vault “B” event, Knight Dylan Kuipers finished second with a height of 11 feet.

Sean Carter finished a scant .17 seconds behind Rock Island’s Brandon Richardson at 11.82.

Kucera took first in the 400m dash “C” with a time of 52.46, while teammate Clayton Brundige was king of the 800m run “C’ at 2:07.97.

KHS representative Brock Robertson finished second with a time of 43.74 seconds in the 300m hurdles “C”.

Another pole vaulter doing well for KHS was Dan Evers, who finished first in the “C” group with a vault of 10-06.

Kaneland’s Ben Barnes held his own in the “C” long jump grouping by finishing second with a distance of 18-09.5.

In a Tuesday meet against Sycamore, Kaneland won 96-50, thanks to first places from personnel like Nauert in the 300m hurdles (41.3) and Dyer in the shot put (45-11) and discus (140-05).

Conor Johnson also nabbed first in the 3200m run at 10:04.6. Dylan Pennington took first in the 200m dash with an effort of 24.9.

Vest excelled in the pole vault with an 11-foot launch.

Saturday, April 14, brings the latest test for boys track in the form of the Ottawa Invitational.

Boys track talent factory hopes to pay dividends

in Boys Track/Featured by

Photo: Kory Harner is one of the many cogs in the victory machine for Kaneland boys track. File Photo

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Knights boys track has a storied history and a lot to live up to.

In the last couple seasons, the outfit has not disappointed.

With 2010’s second-place team finish in Class 2A, and 2011’s third straight sectional championship, the final obstacle of the season saw a State crown for departed senior Taylor Andrews in the hurdles, as well as qualification in 10 events.

Seventh-year Coach Eric Baron takes solace in the fact that even with personnel like Andrews, Trevor Holm and Tommy Whittaker not wearing Knights garb, they return athletes that learned quite a bit and excelled often.

“We’re missing that experience this year, I’ll be honest,” Baron said. “Brandon Cottier has the most State meet experience now, and we have guys that ran at State like Sean Carter in the 4×200 and Brandon Bishop and Luis Acosta. We have a lot of young talent, but not a lot of big meet experience.”

Clayton Brundinge returns for events like the 4x800m relay, and the Knights will enjoy the talents of Miki Marin and Carter.

“Carter is a great leader and it was just his first year, and you’d never know it by talking with him and being around him,” Baron said.

Baron has a pleasant problem when it comes to distance.

“What I have right now is more depth than I’ve ever had before and can run fresh athletes in almost every distance race,” Baron said.

Kyle Carter, coming off a huge cross-country season, employs his endurance for the 4×800 and the 4×400.

Conor Johnson will also be counted on for distance events, along with Clayton Brundige, John Meisinger, Nate Rehkopf and Brandon Huber.

For sprints, Cottier returns to once again make a mark as a two-time Charleston qualifier, while Bishop returns off a NIB-12 best campaign in the 100m dash.

Dylan Pennington contributes to the spring side in the 4×100 and 4×200.

For the field events, Baron shows optimism.

“It’s going to be eye-opening how much we’ve improved on field events. Nate Dyer is on pace to blow away school records in discus, and Shane Jorgensen has thrown over 44 feet already,” Baron said.

Alex Snyder and Jaumaureo Phillips take care of the throwing events as well.

Perhaps the most questions center around the long jump, with basketball talent Marcel Neil making the transition to the track and hoping to answer some of them.

“Once we figure out what to do with him, he’s going to impress a lot of people in the long jump,” Baron said.

Tanner Andrews returns after having his sophomore campaign wiped out due to injury, and heads to the triple jump with teammates Marshall Farthing and Frankie Furco.

Kory Harner and Dylan Nauert look to return to rarified air in the pole vault and hurdles, respectively.

The Knights try to move on from a productive indoor campaign and head outdoors to the East Moline United Invite on Saturday, April 7. The Kane County Invite takes place at West Aurora on Friday, May 4.

Dyer circumstance

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Nate Dyer, pictured with the USATF president for the state of Illinois, competed in the State USATF Junior Olympics on June 24-26 in Plainfield, Ill. Dyer, entering his sophomore year at Kaneland High School, competed in javelin, where he took second place, took a third-place honor in the shot put, and took first in the discus event. Dyer moved on to the Regional championships in Plainfield this past weekend. In the intermediate boys division, Dyer took first in discus, second in the javelin and fourth in the shot put. Dyer has now qualified for the USATF National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships at Wichita State University, beginning on Tuesday, July 26. Courtesy Photo

KHS spring sports awards put fitting cap on 2010-11

in Baseball/Boys Track/Girls Soccer/Girls Track/Softball by

KANELAND—Coming a little later due to the storybook run of Kaneland baseball, KHS released its spring sports awards for 2010-11, highlighting a successful first step into Northern Illinois Big XII play.

In girls track, Lauren Zick and Andie Strang took home the co-MVP for track, while Brooke Patterson was named MVP on the field end. For most improved, Abby Dodis and Briana Stark took home the honor.

Sydney Bilotta, Strang, Kris Bowen, Jessica Stouffer and Keara Palpant were recognized as captains.

Zick and Patterson were joined by Gabby Aguirre as part of the Northern Illinois Big XII (NIB-12) All-Conference squad. Strang (1600 meter run, 4x800m relay), Bowen (4x800m relay), Patterson (pole vault), Sydney Strang (4x800m relay) and Zick (400m dash, 4x800m relay) were also recognized for their State trip.

For boys track, Taylor Andrews and Tommy Whittaker were named track MVP’s, while teammate Matt Spitzzeri took the field MVP. Curtis Secrest was given the Drendel Award.

Secrest, Trevor Holm, Whittaker, Andrews, Matt Cowans and Spitzzeri were recognized as captains, and Kory Harner took the Ron Probst Award.

The NIB-12 also named Andrews, Spitzzeri, Whittaker, Holm, Brandon Cottier, Mickey Marin and Jesse Balluff as part of the All-Conference squad.

Harner, Marin, Luis Acosta, Clayton Brundige, Balluff, Brandon Bishop, Dylan Nauert, Sean Carter, Holm, Cottier, Whittaker, Andrews and Secrest were all recognized for their State qualifying efforts.

In soccer, Emily Heimerdinger secured an All-State honor, capping her four-year output in style, while also named the NIB-12 MVP. The Class of 2011 member was also named co-MVP for the Lady Knights with teammate Amy Fabrizius.

Conference-wide, Heimerdinger, Fabrizius, Sophia Blank and Sam Wantuch were named to the All-Conference team.

Katie Taylor earned the Lady Knights Award, while Blank took home the Coach’s Award.

Keeper Michelle Ortiz was named Rookie of the Year, while Wantuch was named Most Improved Player for the roster that made it to the regional championship. Blank, Fabrizius, Heimerdinger and Taylor were also recognized as captains.

In softball, McKinzie Mangers and Andrea Potts were recognized as captains, while Allyson O’Herron took home the Lady Knight Award.

Potts was also named the Offensive Player of the Year.

Alexis Villarreal was named Most Improved Player for her efforts on the mound, and teammate Rilee Vest was named Defensive Player of the Year for the Lady Knights softball unit.

Additionally, Potts was a unanimous selection to the NIB-12 All-Conference team as an infielder. Vest and Katy Dudzinski were named as honorable mention candidates.

For the State Champion Knights baseball program, Bobby Thorson was named team Offensive MVP.

Kyle Davidson, Jake Razo and Brian Dixon took the Defensive MVP awards, and Dixon, Razo and Tyler Heinle were named Most Improved Players.

The No. 41 award was given to Sam Komel, Corey Landers and Dixon.

Mr. Kaneland Baseball was given out to the whole of the 2011 Class 3A State winners.

Additionally, Kaneland held the Senior Athletic Banquet Awards in June, giving the Knight Award for three-sport athletes to Stouffer, Strang and Davidson.

Strang was named female athlete of the year, while Andrews was named male athlete of the year. Strang also won the female Birkette Award, while the male Birkette Award went to Curtis Secrest.

‘Grand’ accomplishment

in Boys Track/Football/Girls Basketball/Girls Cross Country/Girls Track/Kaneland by


The Kaneland Sports Boosters offer four $1,000 scholarships to graduating seniors each year. The student write an essay with the theme “Lessons learned in victory and defeat”. These scholarships were awarded at the Senior Athletic Banquet sponsored by the boosters and the athletic office on May 25th. The winners this year were: (from left) Curtis Secrest, Andrea Strang, Kristina Bowen and Trevor Holm. Courtesy Photo

Taylor-made: Senior is Class 2A 110m hurdle champ

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Photo: Senior Taylor Andrews (left), here running the 4x400m Relay in Friday’s prelims, set a state record in the 110m High Hurdles Friday, only to break it again Saturday during the IHSA State Track and Field Finals. Andrews won the event in 14.27 seconds, .10 seconds ahead of second place. Photo by Marshall Farthing

CHARLESTON—West Point wants the best and brightest.

It’s a good thing, because Knights senior Taylor Andrews showed he not only has those traits, but it also among the fastest.

Andrews set the Illinois boys track 2A State record with a 110 meter hurdles time of 14.27 seconds, .10 seconds ahead of Peoria Richwood’s Clayton Glasper.

Andrews also won his preliminary heat with 14.34 seconds worth of speed, also a record.

Andrews runs on the heels of 2010 State champs Nick Sinon in the high jump and the 4x400m relay.

A year ago, coach Eric Baron’s crew finished second in Class 2A. In 2011, it finished tied for 16th with 18 points, deadlocked with Mahomet-Seymour and Springfield’s Lanphier High School.

Cahokia (62 points), Glenwood (44) and Glenbard South (40) rounded out the top three.

Other finalists at Eastern Illinois University for the Knights was the 4x100m relay team of Jessee Balluff, Brandon Cottier, Andrews and Tommy Whittaker, as they finished sixth at 42.59 seconds.

The foursome won its preliminary heat at 43:03 seconds.

Additionally, Whittaker found himself sixth in the state in the 400m dash event, after racing in 50.21 seconds, capping his senior campaign. Whittaker finished third in his preliminary heat with a time of 50.13.

Fellow senior standout Trevor Holm finished 10th in the finals in the 1600m run, at 4:24.51. Holm was sixth in the preliminaries at 4:23.22.

Fellow state qualifiers included personnel like Kory Harner, whose pole vault effort was 13 feet.

The 4x800m relay team of Mickey Marin, Luis Acosta, Clayton Brundige and Holm was fifth in its heat at 8:18.84.

Whittaker ran a 11.18 in the 100m dash prelims. Curtis Secrest, Sean Carter, Brandon Bishop and Cottier ran a 1:31.46 in the 4x200m relay prelims.

Knight Dylan Nauert, who qualified at Sectionals by .01 seconds, finished the 300m hurdles in 40.67 seconds.

Cottier, Secrest, Andrews and Whittaker finished the 4x400m prelims at 3:23.36.

Kaneland boys track now says goodbye to Andrews, Doug Bade, Holm, Trevor Schramer, Secrest, Matt Spitzzeri and Whittaker due to graduation.

Boys track win 3rd straight sectional

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by Mike Slodki
ROCHELLE—Call ‘em champs.

With 90 team points, Kaneland pulled off the sectional three-peat. Sterling was second, tied with Burlington Central at 78 points.

Knights boys track began the State bus with the 4×800 meter relay unit as it placed fourth with a time of 8 minutes, 8.72 seconds.

Kaneland managed an event title in the 4x100m relay with a time of 42.76.

Taylor Andrews looks to finish his KHS tenure on a skyrocketing trajectory with a 14.35 championship in the 110m high hurdles, edging rival Tre Llanes of Burlington Central by .43 seconds.

With a 1:31.11 in the 4x200m relay, Kaneland finished fourth and qualified for Charleston, Ill.

“It’s been a focus from the beginning,” KHS coach Eric Baron said. “The program is at a point where we believe we can be successful year in and year out.”

400m dash qualifying glory went to Tommy Whittaker, whose 50.15 time was good for third in the finals.

Freshman Knight Dylan Nauert is going to EIU after qualifying in the 300m hurdles by .01 seconds (40.43, third place).

“I just ran scared,” Nauert said. “I just tried my best and wanted to qualify. I needed to be quicker and work on my steps, and I hopefully make it to Saturday.”

Standout Trevor Holm goes in the 1600m run after finishing third with a time of 4:26.19, and is involed in the 4x800m relay.

“For relays, I go into it not wanting to let my team down,” Holm said. “My mind’s a little different than an individual event for that one.”

KHS finished first in the 4x400m relay with a time of 3:20.96.

Knight Kory Harner, with a pole vault of 13 feet, 3 inches, met the qualifying mark in that event.

photo courtesy of yorkvilletrackandfield.com

Boys track stakes claim to NIB-12 title

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OTTAWA—The venue name of Friday’s Northern Illinois Big XII Conference meet was appropriate—King Field.

Because that’s the level of performance put forth by Kaneland boys track.

With 122 points, Kaneland was far and away the winner of the meet, followed by host Ottawa (80) and Sterling (80). Yorkville and Dixon, both with 65 team points, rounded out the top five.

For field events, senior Matt Spitzzeri finished second in the triple jump with an effort of 41 feet, nine inches.

On the track side, the KHS group of Taylor Andrews, Jesse Balluf, Brandon Cottier and Tommy Whittaker won the 4x100m relay in 44.23 seconds.

Senior standout Trevor Holm was conference champ in the 3200m run with a time of 9:49.42.

Andrews added to his belt notches with a 14.45 second effort in the 110m hurdles, winning the race.

Whittaker’s time of 11.07 in the 100m dash was good enough for the NIB-12 win. Teammate Mickey Marin won the 800m run with a time of 2:03.66.

In the 4x200m relay, Kaneland’s crew of Balluf, Sean Carter, Cottier and Curtis Secrest took second with a time of 1:33.80.

Andrews also blazed by the field in the 300m low hurdles with a time of 39.90 seconds, beating Dixon’s Ricky Laskowski by .32.

The 4x400m relay saw KHS runners Andrews, Cottier, Secrest and Whittaker finish second at 3:28.22.

The Knights’ next challenge is on Thursday, May 19, at 4 p.m. for the Class 2A Rochelle Sectional.

Hall of Fame at KHS

in Boys Track/Featured/Kaneland by

Sophomore Danielle McCormack receives her award from Principal Fantozzi during the 2011 Academic Achievement and Hall of Fame Awards on May 2 at the high school auditorium.
Photos by John DiDonna

Rich Born (left) presents ten members of the 1976 Kaneland boy's track team with the Hall of Fame Award for Teamwork during the Academic Achievement and Hall of Fame awards on Monday, May 2 at the high school. Kaneland won the district track meet in 1976 with 72 points and qualified twelve men for state competition. Photo by John DiDonna
James C. Hannon, Ph.D., CSCS (right) receives the Kaneland 2011 Hall of Fame Award for Personal Achievement from Cross Country Coach Chad Clarey (center) and Superintendent Dr. Jeff Schuler (left) during the Academic Achievement Awards and Hall of Fame Induction ceremony on Monday, May 2 at the High School. Dr. Hannon is a tenured Associate Professor at the University of Utah and a 1988 Kaneland High School graduate.
Ronald J. Ackerman gives a speech after accepting the award for Extra-Curricular at the Kaneland Hall of Fame awards on Monday, May 2. Mr. Ackerman attended Kaneland High School, graduating in 1975. He played football, basketball and ran track all four years. He was the state champion in the 880 yd. dash and a member of the state champion mile relay team. In 2002, Ron was appointed Chief of the West Chicago Fire Department.
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