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Regional Rally

in Featured/Softball by

Photo: Sam Hansen leaps into the arms of fellow Class 3A IMSA Regional-winning teammates on Saturday after Kaneland’s 9-5 win over Yorkville. Photo by Patti Wilk

Furious 6th inning leads to comeback over YHS for Regional

by Mike Slodki
AURORA—There’s a saying that if you give someone an inch, they’ll take a mile.

In the case of Lady Knights softball, give them the sixth inning, they’ll score six runs.

Kaneland softball (31-6) scored nine runs in its final two at-bats during Saturday’s Class 3A Regional Championship at Illinois Math and Science Academy against the second-seeded Yorkville Lady Foxes for a 9-5 win and its first regional plaque in seven years.

“We’ve been doing this all year,” coach Brian Willis said. “They never quit. I didn’t have to say anything. They know what they’re capable of.”

Kaneland got into the final with a 10-0, six-inning triumph over fourth seed Rosary on May 23.
Delani Vest earned the win in both games.

“Since freshman year I’ve wanted to win a regional championship. It feels awesome to finally get one, and we really had to push through this one,” Vest said.

Yorkville went up 1-0 in the third inning, and it remained that way until the bottom of the fifth.

With one out, Allyson O’Herron singled, as did Paige Kuefler. Lanie Callaghan laced another single for an RBI to tie the game. With two outs, Lexi Roach redeemed her third-inning at-bat that left two runners stranded with a triple to give Kaneland a 3-1 lead.

“That was the biggest hit, no question,” O’Herron said. “That got us going.”

After Yorkville put up four runs on Vest in the top of the sixth, Kaneland’s lineup came alive with six runs after 11 girls came to the plate.

With the score 5-4 after a Vest RBI, McKinzie Mangers lifted a flyball out of the right-fielders reach that plated two more for the 6-5 lead. Sarah Grams and Roach came up with two more run-scoring hits.

In the seventh, Sam Hansen caught a liner at second base, triggering a celebration.

“We are confident. This shows that we could do it, and we have to ride the wave,” O’Herron said.

The sectional wave was scheduled for Wednesday at Belvidere North against Sterling. Sterling won the game 9-1, ending the KHS season. See the June 7 edition of the Elburn Herald for game coverage.

Kaneland’s 11: Boys track performs at high level

in Boys Track/Featured by

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.

No repeat trip for Kaneland baseball

in Baseball/Featured by

Photo: Ray Barry dives safely back to first base in the first inning of Kaneland’s home playoff game against DeKalb on May 23. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Sometimes too much of a good thing turns out to harm you in the end.

Kaneland baseball had to get past DeKalb in the Class 3A Kaneland Regional semifinal on May 25 in order to embark on its repeat road to Joliet, Ill., and another State plaque.

But three instances of bases-loaded situations for the Knights yielded only one run total, and the DeKalb Barbs made the most of its late-inning at-bats.

The end result was a 9-3 loss that ended the KHS campaign at 24-11.

The Knights finished last year as Class 3A champions at 26-10 after winning its final 13 contests of the year.

DeKalb went on to lose on Saturday during the regional final to Marmion Academy, 4-1, and finished 18-16-1.

This marked the second time in three seasons the Knights have exited in the regional semi, having lost to Hampshire at home in 2010.

“Things came back to haunt us,” KHS coach Brian Aversa said. “We had situations early in the game. If we took advantage of the bases-loaded situation, it would have been a completely different game.”

For Kaneland, John Hopkins earned the loss, going 4.2 innings while giving up five runs on four hits.

Ray Barry went 1-for-3 with two runs, a double and RBI, while Tom Fox went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI.

DeKalb took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, but Kaneland got one back.

Barry singled and stole second and third. After Jake Razo walked and stole second, Tom Fox drove Barry home with an RBI to make it 2-1. Trever Heinle walked, but Quinn Buschbacher grounded into a 5-1-3 double play to end the threat.

Kaneland had another bases loaded opportunity in the second, but Tyler Heinle lined into a double play.

Kaneland would tie the game in the third, beginning with a Razo walk. After he moved to second on a balk, Fox drove him in with an RBI double. With one out, Buschbacher walked, but Hopkins grounded out to the pitcher and Jordan Jones struck out.

The Knights took their last lead of the year when Barry hit a one-out double, and Tyler Heinle drove him in with a single. After Razo sacrificed him over, Fox popped out to short.

DeKalb went on the offensive with three runs in the top of the fifth to take a 5-3 advantage. In the bottom of the fifth, Kaneland saw what would be its last, best opportunity.

Buschbacher drew a one-out walk, and new pitcher Drew Peters singled. With two outs, Joe Pollastrini singled for a bases loaded situation, but Barry flied out to right.

In the top of the sixth, DeKalb poured it on with four more runs to cinch the win.

“DeKalb’s a good club, they came out and proved it today. We’re good, too. We just didn’t play up to our caliber,” Aversa said.

The Knights say goodbye to Buschbacher, Trevor Storck, Fox, Tyler Heinle, Peters, Jones, Mike Tattoni, Trever Heinle, Barry, Bryan VanBogaert and Razo due to graduation.

A job well done

in Featured/Maple Park by

Photo: Maple Park firefighter Art Maercker (center) at his retirement party at Sorrentos on April 21. He is flanked by Fire Chief Kevin Petersen (right) and Assistant Chief Rod Johnson. Maercker served 50 years in the fire department from March 1, 1962 to March 1, 2012. He also served as Fire Chief from May 1979 to May 1996. Courtesy Photo

50-year veteran of Maple Park Fire Department retires
By Lynn Meredith
MAPLE PARK—In March 1962, 22-year old Art Maercker joined the volunteer fire department in his hometown because it interested him and because he wanted to do one thing “halfway right,” as he put it. That interest sustained until he retired in March 2012, after 50 years of service.

The Maple Park Fire Department honored Art with an open house at his favorite restaurant, Sorrento’s, on April 21. He was presented with a plaque, certificates from the state and the state fire marshal and some shirts and a jacket that displayed his retirement status. But underneath the celebration was the support of lifelong friends and comrades, not only in the Maple Park department but surrounding departments that worked closely with Maercker over the years, as well.

“Art and I have been friends forever. I’ve known him since we went to school together in Maple Park. We were both in the Maple Park Fire Department together, and then I moved to Elburn,” said retired Elburn Fire Chief Marty Strausberger. “We worked fires together and many mutual aide calls.”

The Maple Park department was all-volunteer until 2005, when Fire Chief Kevin Peterson became full-time and others began to be paid for on-call. When there was a structure fire like a barn or a house or even the George B. Smith factory that burned twice in Maple Park, an alarm rang, and men from the nearby businesses and farms would gather at the firehouse. The departments would call in a certain number of tankers and pumps from fire departments in neighboring towns to help fight the blaze.

“It was a lot of hard work, and it was a lot of hard play,” Maercker said. “I was there in the fun times. We didn’t have all the paperwork that Kevin has now. There’s just so many memories. We just had fun and a lot of work.”

The fire department changed over the years. The equipment became bigger and bigger and more powerful, Maercker said. Instead of an alarm to alert firefights, there are now pagers. One thing that has not changed is the comraderie among the firefighters.

“I have never been around a group who are so close knit,” Donna Maercker, Art’s wife, said. “They’re like a big family. When they get together, it’s like a family reunion. And everybody likes everybody.”

One time when a bar in Maple Park caught fire, and the MPFD left the truck running and were trying to fight the blaze from the front, they looked up and saw Strausberger and the Elburn guys coming down the street to help out.

“You back each other up. You don’t run a fire by yourself. You don’t care who it is that’s there, if it’s Elburn or Kaneville or who it is,” Maercker said.

Maercker served as chief from May 1979 to May 1996. He stayed on for the reason he joined in the first place: it still interested him. Well, that and the fact it was still fun.

“When Kevin took over as chief, all I did was drive tanker. But I’d give them grief, and they’d give me grief,” he said. “Now I still stop down and harass them, retired or not.”

Maercker told Peterson he didn’t want a party for his retirement, but Peterson ignored that instruction just like he ignored Maercker when he said he wanted to retire on a few occasions.

“He tried to retire a couple of times, but I wouldn’t accept it,” Peterson said. “The retirement open house was so low-key because that’s just the way he is. We tried to get him to get up and say something (at the party), but he just said ‘Thank you’ and walked off.”

Strausberger agreed that Maercker is quiet, but does what he needs to do.

“He doesn’t say much. We’ve been friends for years. He’s pretty quiet, but he gets the job done,” Strausberger said.

Donna encouraged having a party for him.

“When somebody puts in 50 years, you got to do something for a job well done,” she said.

4th sectional title in a row for KHS boys track

in Boys Track/Featured by

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.

Girls track sees 2 finalists at 2A State meet

in Featured/Girls Track by

Photo: Sydney Strang was part of Lady Knight relay action during the Class 2A State meet in Charleston, Ill. Courtesy Photo

KANELAND—While it wasn’t on the scale of the final finish in 2011, the Lady Knights track outfit still came out of the weekend at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Ill. with elite totals in terms of the rest of the state.

When the dust settled from the Friday and Saturday meet, the top finishers brandishing Kaneland duds were Sydney Strang and Jen Howland.

Strang, the lone Lady Knight to make it from prelims to finals on the weekend, qualified for the final 800 meter run group with a time of two minutes, 19.29 seconds and finished 11th in the state with a finals time of 2:20.12.

Kelsey Cramsey of Effingham won the event with a time of 2:12.54. Rochelle’s Michelle Dobbs took third with a time of 2:14.33.

Other Lady Knight final competition included Howland competing in the 3200m run and finishing 11th at 11:36 in an event won by Kristen Busch of Freeburg at 10:54.74.

Additional KHS competition in the prelims included the 4x800m relay foursome of Amanda Lesak, Jessica Kucera, Maggie Brundige and Strang finishing tenth in its heat at 10:07.04.
Lauren Zick, after earning a finals berth last year, finished sixth in her prelim heat of the 400m dash at 59.36 seconds, and the 4x400m unit of Lesak, Zick, Strang and Kaltrina Ismaili finished its prelim run in 4:05.53, less than two seconds from qualifying for the finals.

Teamwise, Springfield Southeast won the trophy with 63 points, followed by Walther Lutheran’s 46. Chicago’s Lindblom (38), Freeport (29), Freeburg (27) and Marengo (27) rounded out the top six.

Kaneland says goodbye to seniors Ashley Cottier, Caroline Eichelberger, Kelly Evers, Howland, Christina Janes, Nicole Ketza, Carolina Tovar and Shannon Wallace.

Non-conference foes fall on KHS baseball victory tour

in Baseball/Featured by

Photo: Bryan VanBogaert fires toward the dish against Batavia on Friday’s Senior Night at Fifth Third Ballpark in Geneva. The Knights won 2-1. Photo by Patti Wilk

KANELAND—Whether you are Marmion Academy, St. Francis of Wheaton, DeKalb or IMSA, you can’t be looking forward to what lies ahead next week.

Kaneland baseball rolled through the last week of non-conference competition, ending on Saturday with a 7-2 solving of host West Aurora.

Previously, the Knights also took care of Batavia, 2-1 at Fifth Third Ballpark in Geneva, and also traveled north to Cary-Grove High School to hand the Trojans an 8-2 shellacking.

Despite a Monday setback to host St. Charles East, The Knights finish 24-10 with the regular season and conference crown already collected.

Kaneland was 20-10 when the 2011 regular season concluded on the way to a State title.

More currently, the Knights are winners of nine of their last 10.

Jordan Jones took the ball for a complete-game win over the Blackhawks.

Jones went seven innings, allowing just two runs on four hits.

Mike Tattoni went 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBI to go along with three base swipes.

Ray Barry went 2-for-3 with two swipes.

The Knights put up three runs in both the second and third innings for the cushion.

In the win against former Suburban Prairie Conference North Division and Western Sun Conference rival Batavia, Kaneland’s two-run output in the bottom of the second inning was enough to ward off Batavia’s run in the third.

Trevor Storck improved to 7-0 on the mound, while Bryan VanBogaert earned the save with two innings of work.

Kaneland jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the first three innings thanks to personnel like Tyler Heinle (3-for-3, three runs, two RBI), Jake Razo (2-for-4, double, two RBI) and Tom Fox (1-for-3, three RBI, double).

In the 5-4 loss to the Saints, Matt Limbrunner saw the loss come his way after giving up five runs on five hits. Barry went 2-for-2 with double and Quinn Buschbacher went 2-for-3 with a double

Kaneland was set to play on Wednesday as the top seed of its own regional on Wednesday against fourth-seed DeKalb, which beat IMSA on Monday evening.

The regional title matchup is scheduled for Saturday, May 26, at 11 a.m. with either Kaneland or DeKalb facing the winner of the second-and-third seed matchup of Marmion Academy vs. St. Francis.

SG preschool owner records, releases children’s album

in Featured/Sugar Grove by

Photo: Amy Peters plays a game with the kids at Brightest Stars Preschool in Sugar Grove which is owned by her and her husband, Bill. Besides owning and working the preschool, Amy has just had her first CD of songs produced.
Photo by John DiDonna

by Keith Beebe
SUGAR GROVE—Brightest Stars Preschool owner Amy Peters, an accomplished vocalist and instrumentalist, decided some time ago that she wanted to mix her favorite hobby—music—with her business life. As a result, Peters finished recording her CD “Come and Swim with Me” last December, and made it available for purchase at the preschool and www.cdbaby.com.

“When I am singing with groups of children, I make the songs as interactional as I can. It’s fine to have concert-style songs, but little ones really want to get into the songs and be a part of them,” she said.

According to Peters’ website, www.brighteststarsmusic.com, “Come and Swim with Me” is “full of fun and exciting new music for children ages 2 to 10, and will have your child singing, interacting and learning.”

Peters said she is especially fond of the album’s title track, but enjoys the other tunes on the recording.

“Each song has special meaning to me, but another that stands out is called ‘Sammy the Zebra.’ My son Devin, who was 9 years old at the time, asked if he could help me write a song. His idea was about a zebra named Sammy who is sad,” Peters said. “Wondering how to fit a sad song into my mix, I asked Devin why the zebra was sad, and he said that Sammy loses his stripes every time it rains, and since Sammy lives in the rainforest, he was sad a lot. Well, who knew that ‘Sammy the Zebra’ would be many, many children’s favorite song?”

Peters said the album took about a year to record, mix and master.

“Wanting to make sure that my CD had a professional sound, I met up with Patrick Dugan from Musical Expressions in Naperville, who is a professional musician, and he became my one-man band,” she said. “Patrick did all the music tracks and recording along with the mixing of all my songs. He made sure each song had its own special sound.”

Amy Peter's first CD is called "Come And Swim With Me." These songs mix learning with catchy tunes that are easy to sing along with. Photo Courtesy of Bill Peters
Album No. 2 should be on the way shortly. In the meantime, Peters is having a blast hearing what people are saying about “Come and Swim with Me.”

“This has been so much fun for me to hear what other people have said about my CD. I love hearing what are the favorites, whether it’s ‘Chocolate Chip Cookies,’ ‘Come and Swim With Me,’ ‘Any Other Car Like That’ or ‘Mommy, I Want Salami,’” she said. “But one of the biggest compliments came from a guy in his 20s who said he loved that my songs were so ‘adult friendly.’ Another friend said she has ‘I Like Me’ set on her phone alarm clock, and she wakes up every day with me singing to her. Many other family and friends have purchased my CD to give as birthday gifts and baby gifts.”

Peters has taught for 22 years, and has been singing “for as long as she can remember.” She said teaching and singing are her two passions, and she further developed a love for music after she learned to play the guitar.

“I realized that I had my own melodies. I started writing music for my classes. My first song, called ‘Come and Swim with Me,’ got the songwriting started … and it hasn’t stopped since,” she said.

Peters said that when she can’t find a song to use while teaching, she’ll simply write the song herself. In fact, she challenged herself last year to pen a new song each week and, in her own words, “rose to the task” and had a blast sharing her songs with Brightest Stars Preschool students.

Peters began her career teaching in a developmental preschool. She developed a love of working with preschool-aged children and made the decision to operate a preschool out of her own house. In 2008, Peters and her husband, Bill, decided to purchase a building and open a preschool in Sugar Grove.

“I have a great support system that allows me to keep doing what I love—teaching and singing. My husband Bill has believed in me from the beginning of wanting to grow a preschool center and a music venture,” Amy said. “He is always there to help when I need my sound system set up for singing events, or for taking the kids to their activities when I have a show. And, of course, I would have never had my love of music without the influence of my number one fan: my mom. Thanks, mom.”

Regional heartbreak for soccer

in Featured/Girls Soccer by

Photo: Taylor Opperman moves the ball during the Class 2A regional semifinal loss at Burlington Central on May 16. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
BURLINGTON—Kaneland High School’s current senior crop is the only group in school history to only know regional final action.

After the Class 2A regional semifinal at Burlington Central on May 16, those Lady Knights won’t even know that feeling again.

A hard-luck match against Crystal Lake Central (9-7) ended in a 1-0 loss.

Burlington Central then defeated Crystal Lake Central on Saturday evening in three overtimes for the regional plaque.

Kaneland’s loss dropped the season record to 12-6-1 (7-2-1 NIB-12).

Goalkeeper Jordan Ginther made key stops throughout the game, but Crystal Lake Central’s offense was on the move most of the match. Coupled with Kaneland’s choppy offense, it made for tough going capped by Maddie Edwards’ goal with seven minutes, 45 seconds left. Edwards launched a shot that landed in the right corner of the goal.

“She nailed it,” KHS coach Scott Parillo said. “Most goalies don’t even attempt at nailing that thing. If you’re going to lose, lose on a shot like that.”

“We were just hoping we could get things going,” Parillo said. “We just didn’t seem to be able to get anything going today. That’s a bummer.”

The Lady Knights had given up just 14 goals in the 2012 campaign.

Kaneland finished the season 7-3 in its last 10 matches, and was hoping to get through CLC for a date with BC, which had vanquished them on May 12.

Kaneland had lost the regional championship to CLC in 2009.

The Lady Knights went to a regional title match in 2010 and 2011, only to drop to Rosary.

KHS says goodbye in 2012 to Taylor White, Katie Taylor, Melissa Bohorquez and Abby Bend due to graduation.

Waubonsee Interpreting Program recognized

in Featured/Regional by

Photo: As Waubonsee Community College Assistant Professor of Interpreter Training/Sign Language Cassie Moore (standing) works one-on-one with a student, other members of the class continue practicing their signing and interpreting skills. The interpreting lab at the Aurora Campus includes video cameras that capture students’ performances for later review and feedback. Courtesy Photo

SUGAR GROVE—When it was established in 1976, Waubonsee Community College’s Interpreter Training Program (ITP) was the first of its kind in the state. A pioneer in the field of interpreting for the deaf, the program produced hundreds of alumni, many of whom have gone on to great professional accomplishments.

For its continuing quality and contributions to the community, Waubonsee is proud to honor ITP as part of its “Placing Learning First: Faculty and Program Recognition.”

The ITP has its roots in the Waubonsee Hearing Impaired Program, which served deaf and hearing-impaired students from community college districts across the state. With so many interpreters and teachers needed for that program, it made sense for the college to train people for the profession. An Associate in Applied Science (AAS) Degree and Certificate of Achievement in the discipline were both approved by the Illinois Community College Board in 1976.

Thirty-six years later, the program has expanded to include a 72-semester-hour AAS degree, a 33-semester-hour Certificate of Achievement and a 24-semester-hour Sign Language Certificate of Achievement. Students in the degree program must complete two semesters worth of sign language courses before moving on to the interpreter training courses, and completion of the sign language certificate is required for entry into the interpreter training certificate program.

This rigor continues once students enter the program, with a cumulative 3.0 grade point average required to stay in the program. Plus, they must finish all interpreter training courses with a “C” or better within a three-year timeframe to complete a degree or certificate.

Over the years, Waubonsee has awarded 276 degrees in the field, along with 283 certificates. Many of these students have gone on to tremendous professional accomplishments; in fact, Waubonsee alumni have served as presidents of both the National and Illinois Registry of Interpreters of the Deaf.

As a member of the deaf community herself, Assistant Professor of Interpreter Training/Sign Language Katie Thomas often sees graduates in professional settings.

“I often get my former students as my interpreters, so I want to be able to understand the interpreted lecture/conversations well,” Thomas said. “Also, I have an obligation to the deaf community who will be using the same interpreters that I teach. Overall, I am proud of how Waubonsee teaches students professionalism, dignity and good public relations with deaf people outside the college.”

Waubonsee students get the chance to work with members of the deaf community in both controlled classroom and actual interpreting settings. Given the interpreting program’s strong history and reputation in the community, faculty are able to bring in deaf consumers to role play with students and offer honest feedback about their interpreting skills and performance. The capstone class of both the interpreting degree and certificate is ITP 290—”The Interpreter as Practitioner,” a practicum course that allows students to apply and refine their skills in a workplace environment and also provide volunteer interpreting services at community events.

In addition to the feedback they receive from deaf consumers and professional colleagues, Waubonsee students are also able to receive specific feedback from teachers and even themselves, thanks to the CommuniCoach system. In this system, which was developed by Waubonsee communications faculty, students are videotaped during their signing performances so that instructors can pinpoint exactly where and how they can improve.

While the interpreting program offers state-of-the-art instructional methods, a variety of networking opportunities and a great pay-off, it does require a certain amount of sacrifice on the part of the students. For example, the ITP courses must be completed as a full-time day program, so students must schedule accordingly. This is something that is not lost on the ITP instructors.

“I know how much our students sacrifice to be here, and (I) see how hard they work,” said Professor of Interpreter Training/Sign Language Dr. Lynn Clark. “It inspires me to give my all.”

Clark has been giving her all to Waubonsee’s ITP since she became a full-time instructor in 1980. She will retire at the end of the academic year with 32 years of teaching memories.

Clark holds a bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master’s degree in counseling from Michigan State University. She earned her doctorate in psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 1989. She holds national certification from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and is licensed at the general-master level by the State of Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission.

Also holding national certification from the RID and licensed at the advanced level by the State of Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission is Assistant Professor of Interpreter Training/Sign Language Cassie Moore. Moore also holds a national education K-12 certification from RID. She joined Waubonsee as a part-time interpreter in 1989, taught part-time from 1990 to 2008, and spent eight years as a part-time counselor at the college, as well, before being hired as a full-time instructor four years ago. Moore earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in communicative disorders from Northern Illinois University.

Thomas also spent time as a part-time interpreter at the college before becoming an instructor in 1995. Holding a bachelor’s degree in special education from Northern Illinois University, Thomas has been working to develop interpreting standards for the Illinois court system. She also holds national certification from RID, is licensed at the master level by the State of Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission, and is a member of the American Sign Language Teachers Association.

Leading the nation

in Featured/Sugar Grove by

Photo: Students in Waubonsee Community College’s automotive recycling course remove a car part in the Sugar Grove Campus automotive shop, which was recently designated a GreenLink Shop by the Coordinating Committee for Automotive Repair. Waubonsee is the first school in the nation to earn this distinction. Courtesy Photo

Waubonsee becomes first school to have automotive program named GreenLink Shop
Sugar Grove—Waubonsee Community College’s automotive technology facility has been named a GreenLink Shop by the Coordinating Committee for Automotive Repair (CCAR). Waubonsee is one of just four shops in the state and the first school in the nation to earn this designation.

GreenLink Shops must achieve a standard of excellence in environmental, health and safety operations. This includes everything from displaying safety posters to practicing appropriate fluid management, which involves draining automotive parts; controlling leaks and spills; and properly recycling, reusing or disposing of fluids. And while the designation requires just one person in the shop to complete the CCAR’s Safety and Pollution Prevention (S/P2) online learning program, Waubonsee requires all students and faculty members to finish it.

A leader in environmental responsibility, Waubonsee was also the first school to offer a certificate in automotive recycling, with classes debuting last summer. Developed in cooperation with the Auto and Truck Recyclers of Illinois, that coursework focuses on the environmental regulations for disposal of common substances, as well as proper procedure when dismantling cars and repurposing parts.

Two auto recycling courses are being offered this summer. The first begins May 19. For more information, visit www.waubonsee .edu/automotive.

Welcome Home

in Featured/Sugar Grove by

Photo: Scott Hofmann of Kaneville construction and consulting company Team Hofmann discusses rebuilding Tina O’Donnell’s house with her neighbors Chrissy Graziano and Pam Sorenson.

Neighbors, friends help pave the way back home for Elburn woman
by Susan O’Neill

Elburn—Several women wearing large yellow rubber gloves sat in front of storage bins full of cleaning solution, methodically wiping down kitchen and other utensils. They joked as they cleaned.

“Those are from your mother’s wedding,” Tina O’Donnell’s long-time friend Janet Rohan said.

Tina’s neighbors Pam Sorenson and Chrissy Graziano were among the volunteers.

A handful of men and teenaged boys carrying pieces of furniture from a small truck to the front yard for cleaning were Pam’s and Chrissy’s husbands, Steve Sorenson and Tom Graziano. The two men worked alongside their sons Brad and Nick, as well as Tina’s nephew Jay Haas.

Since Jan. 1 of this year, when Tina’s husband Bob died in the fire that destroyed their home in Blackberry Creek, these friends have been her stalwart companions. The two couples have been there for Tina from the beginning, providing emotional as well as physical support.

Together with other friends and Tina’s family, they are helping Tina slowly put her life back together.

Since the fire, Tina has been staying with her mom in Geneva. Due to water, fire and smoke damage, the house was uninhabitable. Tina’s insurance denied the claim, so her sister-in-law Judi O’Donnell held a fundraiser in February, and another one in March, to raise the money needed to redo the house.

Family, friends and local business owners donated items to sell at the fundraisers. Thanks to her Facebook page, Tina also received many cash and check donations, some from people in other parts of the country.

For the first several months, Pam said it was too painful for Tina to come back to the house. Then, sometime around Easter, they got a dumpster and started the demolition.

“We had to gut the downstairs and rip out drywall,” she said. “We threw out appliances because of the smoke damage. It’s been a long process.”

Kaneville residents Kathy and Scott Hofmann read about Tina’s situation in a Feb. 17 article in the Elburn Herald. In the article, Judi said they were looking for local contractors Neighbor who could donate their time to help clean up the house and rebuild.

Kathy and Scott own a small company called Team Hofmann, through which they do carpentry, construction and consulting work. Kathy worked for a general contractor for 20 years before she and Scott started their own business, so they have a lot of housing experience and know a lot of trades people in the area.

The Hofmanns contacted Tina’s sister-in-law to ask how they could help. They met with Tina at the house in early spring, and talked about what could be done with the house.

“She needs the house different,” Kathy said.

Kathy and Scott are working with Tina on plans to change the stairway and to knock out some walls to change the way the house looks inside. Their thought is that some differences in the house will help her not to focus on the tragedy, and to be able to better move forward with her life.

“I tell her, ‘There’s light at the end of the tunnel,’” Kathy said.

Scott and Kathy have gathered a number of people to help with the various tasks to be done. CornerStone ReStoration Service has helped with cleaning the dry wall upstairs, and has taught the volunteers how to do some of the work themselves.

Prior to this past Mother’s Day weekend, Pam said people have put in 400 man hours, spent four full weekends and a couple of week-nights, and have filled four dumpsters. She said Kathy is keeping track of things for them.

“Tina’s got so many volunteers; they just need some direction,” Kathy said.

Confident Aire HVAC business owner Tom Wangler has offered to donate his time to clean the duct work. Kaneville firefighter and commercial electrician Paul Ross, Kaneville resident and plumber John Behm, OTS (On the Spot) Drywall’s Brian Rissman and Midwest Windows’ Ken Gilke have all offered their assistance.

“It’s just all coming together,” Kathy said. “Half my neighborhood wants to help, as well as the people from my church (St. Peters in Aurora).”

Chrissy said that she feels it’s only natural for people to want to help.

“We’re in this for the long haul,” she said. “We pray for her to get home and get her life back to normal.”

Tina smiled as she looked around at the gathering of family and friends, old and new.

“They’re making it so welcoming for me to come back here,” she said. “If it weren’t for them, I’d just run away.”

Lady Knights end regular season in good shape

in Featured/Girls Soccer by

Photo: Brooke Harner rockets the ball during recent action against Rochelle. Harner and her fellow No. 2 Lady Knights were scheduled against No. 3 Crystal Lake Central at the Class 3A Burlington Central Regional on Wednesday. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Despite dropping a potential preview for the upcoming regional title match to Burlington Central on Saturday, the Lady Knights have quietly meshed a roster of young and experienced, injured and healthy, and are about to dive foot first into playoff action.

Monday had the Lady Knights emerge victorious over host Streator, 4-0. Saturday’s 3-0 loss in Burlington was preceded by a 5-0 win over Sterling on May 9.

Kanleland finishes the regular season with a 12-5-1 (7-2-1 NIB-12) record. A year ago, KHS finished the regular season 11-8-3 (6-3-1 NIB-12).

“It took us a couple of games to start to play together with so many new players,” KHS coach Scott Parillo said. “I think we started believing in ourselves after those first four games—we were 1-3. We got a couple of wins and confidence grew.”

A year ago, Kaneland beat IMSA in the semifinal at Rosary High School before losing to the hosts in the championship. Kaneland has advanced to the regional title every year since 2009, only to lose.

Against Sterling, the Lady Knights’ first goal was scored by Brittany Olson approximately 18 minutes into the contest.

The four second-half goals were reached by Jessica Coia on two occasions, Olson and Courtney Diddell, all within a 29 minute stretch.

Against the Lady Bulldogs, Kaneland had first-half scores from Olson and Coia, while Madi Jurcenko and Olson were responsible for the second-half goals.

The frosh-soph team ended its season with a 10-5-1 record after a 1-0 win over BC.

The winner of the Kaneland vs. Crystal Lake Central matchup from Wednesday was slated to meet up with the Lady Rockets on Saturday, May 19, at 7 p.m. in Burlington.

Parillo feels good about where the team has been in 2012.

“We have had a solid year for being so young. We gave up a total of 13 goals in 18 games and six goals after the first four games. The defense started to play well, as well as the midfield. It has been a very enjoyable season so far.”

KHS boys one point short of NIB-12 bragging rights

in Boys Track/Featured by

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.

Sugar Grove garage sales

in Featured/Sugar Grove by

SUGAR GROVE—Sugar Grove community garage sales are Friday and Saturday, June 1-2.

Here’s how to participate:
• Hold a garage sale at your home on June 1 and 2 (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
• $20 registration fee to cover the expense of advertising and marketing materials.
• Complete the registration. Return it by May 18, along with the $20 registration fee payable to: Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce & Industry PO Box 765 Sugar Grove, IL 60554
• If you want maps and/or copies of the address listing, please pick up at the chamber office on Wednesday, May 30, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., located at the Sugar Grove Community Building, 141 Main St., Sugar Grove.

Why participate?
• The chamber creates opportunities that add value to the community and residents
• Your sale will be identified on an address listing distributed to potential shoppers
• The Sugar Grove Community Garage Sales will be advertised in newspapers and on radio.

For more information, call Shari Baum at (630) 466-7895 or email info@sugargrovechamber.org.

Bob Jass Chevrolet ready to play ball with Elburn Baseball & Softball

in Elburn/Featured by

ELBURN—Bob Jass Chevrolet is partnering with the Elburn Baseball & Softball in Elburn.

Bob Jass Chevrolet has joined forces with the national Chevrolet Youth Baseball program to provide new equipment, instructional clinics, a monetary donation and an opportunity to raise an additional $10,000 through a Chevrolet sweepstakes. The program kicked off March 1 and will run through July 15.

“Youth baseball provides positive and productive life lessons for young people across America, and the Chevrolet Youth Baseball program is an extension of Chevrolet’s commitment to baseball, community and families,” said Ryan Easter, general manager for Bob Jass Chevrolet. “There is nothing more American than Chevrolet, and baseball and Bob Jass Chevrolet wants to combine America’s favorite brand and favorite pastime together for our families in Elburn to enjoy.”

The Chevrolet Youth Baseball program is beginning its seventh year, and has helped raise more than $13 million to aid local teams, affecting more than 2.7 million young in communities where Chevrolet’s customers live, work and play. This year, about 1,699 Chevrolet dealers are participating.

Bob Jass Chevrolet will present the Elburn Baseball & Softball with 10 new equipment kits, complete with equipment bags, baseball buckets, whiffle balls, hitting net, batting tees and Chevrolet Youth Baseball T-shirts.

In addition, Bob Jass Chevrolet will present a check representing a one-time monetary donation to Elburn Baseball & Softball.

The team also will have an opportunity to raise additional funds through a Chevrolet Youth Baseball Fundraiser. Sponsored leagues across the country will each receive 2,000 fundraiser entry tickets to distribute for a suggested donation, and each league will keep 100 percent of the proceeds it raises. At the end of the fundraiser, five winners—one from each region—will win the Chevrolet Equinox or Chevrolet Cruse vehicle of their choice. Each participating market will award a secondary prize of a television and Blu-Ray player.

In addition to its commitment to youth baseball, Chevrolet also is the official vehicle of Major League Baseball. It has expanded its support of MLB to youth baseball players in communities across the country through the Chevy Youth Baseball program. Since its beginning in 2006, Chevy Youth Baseball has benefitted more than 1 million youth baseball players and their families.

“It’s not just all about the kids, either,” said Easter. “We feel fortunate to be able to connect with the parents of all the team members. Each year we have all the teams come to our dealership for cookies and team photos. The morning is crazy with children running around, and parents visiting with our staff and each other. We look forward to the craziness every year. It’s what being part of a community is all about.”

In addition to this year’s regular activities, Bob Jass Chevrolet invited guests from Elburn Youth Baseball to attend a Cubs baseball game held on Sunday at Wrigley Field. At this event, an additional $500 was presented to Tim May, coordinator for Elburn Youth Baseball, to be used by Elburn’s youth baseball program.

Reducing the stigma

in Featured/Health & Wellness/Regional by

Photo: Board member Rosalie Link (left to right), Development Manager Miranda Barfuss, Alderman Dawn Vogelsberg, Board President Jim Di Ciaula, former Board President Diane Gibson and Executive Director Jim Otepka. Courtesy Photo

TriCity Family Services promotes mental health awareness
by Susan O’Neill
GENEVA—May is the month designated for Mental Health Awareness, but TriCity Family Services (TCFS) works all year long to raise awareness and the importance of mental health.

“None of us is really immune from dealing with mental health crises in our lives,” TCFS Executive Director Jim Otepka said.

According to a National Institute of Mental Health statistic, one-in-four American adults 18 and over lives with a diagnosable, treatable mental health condition. They can go on to live full and productive lives; however, many people never seek or receive help due to stigma, lack of information, cost or lack of health care coverage.

Otepka said that TCFS has an important role to play in raising the awareness and reducing the stigma of mental illness. The agency offers community-centered educational programs, and agency staff conduct presentations for civic groups and organizations of all types, from mothers’ groups and Parent Teacher Organizations to church ministerial groups, as well as round tables for schools’ student services personnel.

Typical topics for the round tables include bullying, school avoidance and refusal, as well as risk factors for suicide and suicide prevention.

“Schools are 40 percent of our referrals,” Otepka said.

Counselors at TCFS offer help to students with attention disorders, depression, anxiety, incidents of self-mutilation, and for victims of bullying.

TCFS is a private, not-for-profit agency that provides mental health services to people and organizations in central Kane County, particularly those individuals and families who are uninsured or underinsured. The service area includes the cities of Geneva, Batavia and St. Charles, as well as Campton, Virgil, Blackberry and Kaneville townships. The agency offers sliding scale fees, and scholarships are available for group programs.

Approximately 90 percent of all counseling clients pay less than the full fee, nearly two-thirds of all child and adolescent clients it serves use Medicaid, and more than half of all counseling clients have reported incomes of $30,000 or less.

When TCFS was founded in 1967, teens were at the core of its services. Through the 2012 Teens Won’t Wait Project, the agency is currently working to better meet the needs of teens in the community through obtaining additional funding.

Group programs for teens include a Wilderness Challenge Program, an eight-day therapeutic adventure that provides a positive peer group experience for at-risk teens; a Young Women’s Retreat, a weekend of building self-esteem and peer support; Mindful Emotions, an eight-week class that helps teen girls strengthen their communication skills and develop healthy coping strategies; and Smart Choices, an anger management class for teens to learn new ways to handle anger that includes working with their families to help change the family dynamics.

The agency offers prevention and early intervention programs, as well as counseling, workshops and other services to promote good mental health and effective family functioning.

“Our area of specialization is working with families,” Otepka said.

He explained that gaining an understanding of the problem within the context of the family allows family members to be part of the treatment.

In addition to divorce support workshops for children, anger management for children and adults, groups for single moms and for grandparents raising grandchildren, TCFS also offers family enrichment groups, designed to build stronger ties between parents and their children and among siblings.

Offered in schools and school settings, the family enrichment groups include families sharing a meal, a discussion with the adults about parenting while the children participate in art or other forms of therapy, ending with an activity that includes both parents and children.

Simply setting aside the time to interact as a family has significant benefits, said Denis Ferguson, director of the Behavioral Health Program.

Ferguson said TCFS staff includes six full and part-time therapists for adults and six for family services.

“We also see a fair amount of couples,” he said. “That’s a key area for us.”

Ferguson explained that the philosophy TCFS staff ascribe to is that the body and the mind are interconnected, and their approach is holistic. They participate in outreach activities, such as a Children’s Wellness Fair in St. Charles and offer classes on mental health issues as part of the Batavia High School health curriculum.

The agency has recently initiated a pilot program with the Visiting Nurses Association Health Care in Aurora, in its pediatric clinics. Staff consult with doctors regarding children with physical complaints, but without a medical reason. In the first three months of the program, they have received 40 referrals for issues such as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorders (ADHD), bi-polar disorders, anxiety and depression.

Their goal is to determine if they can help people improve their general health with behavioral health programs.

“There is no health without mental health,” Ferguson said.

Feels like the 1st place for boys track

in Boys Track/Featured by

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 baseball riding 1st-place wave

in Baseball/Featured by

Photo: Quinn Buschbacher beats the ball to first in the sixth inning of Kaneland’s 1-0 home win over Morris on Tuesday. Photo by Patti Wilk

Aversa’s troops in NIB-12 drivers seat

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland has had Sycamore’s number on the baseball field as of late, including last year’s regional title win.

On Thursday and Friday, Kaneland’s number of 10 was good enough for a win in both contests.

Meanwhile on Monday, the Knights even won without the benefit of a hit against Morris at KHS.

Against Morris, the Knights were the beneficiary of nine walks, and the lone run in the first inning scored on a balk, allowing Ray Barry to score.

John Hopkins earned the win with a complete-game shutout, in which he fanned seven.

It took just six innings for KHS to vanquish the Spartans in Maple Park by a final of 10-0 on Friday, and the Knights needed a run-filled top of the seventh inning to put away host Sycamore on May 3.

The Knights sit at 18-8 with an exemplary 11-2 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII play, good for first place. They have a one-game edge over the Yorkville Foxes with two conference games remaining

Matt Limbrunner earned the win in the Thursday rout and improved to 2-0 with a five-hit shutout. The tall right-hander struck out six in the victory.

Tom Fox went 3-for-4 with a run scored, while Quinn Buschbacher had an RBI triple and two runs scored.

On May 3, Bryan VanBogaert earned the win in a relief effort, going 2.1 innings and allowing just one run and one hit.

Limbrunner retired the final batter to earn a save.

Up 3-1 after three innings, Kaneland surrendered two runs to Sycamore in the fourth and a run in the fifth to trail 4-3. Kaneland proceeded to score seven runs in the top of the seventh for a 10-4 lead. Sycamore’s four-run seventh failed to complete the comeback for the final 10-8 margin.

Jake Razo went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI, while Fox went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI.

“We are looking for consistency now,” KHS coach Brian Aversa said. “The bats are there, they just have to show up everyday.

The Knights look to continue the win streak in more NIB-12 conference action in Morris, on Thursday, May 10.

Softball, with 24 wins, continues season steamroll

in Featured/Softball by

Photo: Kaneland catcher McKinzie Mangers gets ready to throw to third base in the seventh inning of their 10-1 home win against Sycamore on Thursday. Photo by Patti Wilk

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Like bills received in the mail, Kaneland softball comes at you whether you like it or not.

Sometimes its a late rally, other times a convincing route, but the Lady Knights softball roster is leaving an imprint on whomever it goes up against.

After a 10-1 rout of the visiting Lady Spartans on Thursday, and a 7-4 comeback win over visiting DeKalb on May 2, the Lady Knights are 24-5, nearly doubling last year’s win total, and caps it with an 8-0 mark in Northern Illinois Big XII play. Kaneland holds a three-game edge over DeKalb for the conference crown.

Eight runs in the final three innings of play buoyed Kaneland against Sycamore, with Sarah Grams going 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBI in the win. Righty Alexis Villarreal earned the win in five innings, allowing just a run on five hits to go with seven strikeouts. Ellissa Eckert pitched two perfect innings to secure the win.

The win over DeKalb took on a more dramatic and compelling nature, after DeKalb smashed two early homers to take a 4-3 lead after three innings. Down to its next-to-last chance, Kaneland went nuts in a four-run sixth.

KHS coach Brian Willis was happy with the end result, particularly after a rough start.

“It would have been disappointing, no question about it, especially with all the opportunities we would have left out there,” Willis said. “We had some baserunning and defensive gaffes early, but this team is resilient. They don’t quit.”

With the bases juiced and one out, Delani Vest’s grounder to shortstop was thrown away, allowing two runs to score. Allyson O’Herron and Paige Kuefler followed with RBI singles to put the game away.

Kuefler continues to plug away in the middle of the order, carrying an offensive load at times as an underclassman.

“I feel I have improved, but I’ve been in some slumps,” Kuefler said. “I try my best to work out of the slumps. On a game like today it was hard for me to wait to get up to the plate because I was so into it and I wanted to come back.”

Kaneland prepared to host Yorkville on Thursday, May 10, as the Northern Illinois Big XII slate soldiers on.

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