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Featured - page 8

Strong end for KHS tennis

in Featured/Tennis by

2 entries represent Lady Knights program proudly
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—No State medals were garnered, but the two separate Lady Knight entries that made the trip to the IHSA State meet at various northwest suburban tennis courts acclimated themselves well.

Kaneland High School had two entries head to State competition for the first time in school history, and was represented by No. 1 singles entry Sammie Schrepferman and No. 1 doubles tandem, Jelly Emmanouil and Madi Jurcenko.

Keisha Clousing of Wheaton-Warrenville South ultimately won the singles group, but Schrepferman had already made history by being the first Lady Knight singles player in history to make it to the late October dance.

The sophomore lost her two matches on Thursday, first to Adesuwa Osabuohien of Homewood-Flossmoor in a 6-1, 6-1 match, and finally to Oswego East athlete Jaiere Harlow by a tally of 6-4, 7-5 in the consolation bracket.

For the third year in a row, the Lady Knights had a Jurcenko in the State tourney, and the Emmanouil/Jurcenko crew beat Grace Alexander and Sam Diemer of Boylan Catholic High School by a final of 6-4, 6-0 in the opening round on Thursday.

The second round saw Kaneland’s duo beat the Whitney Young team of Syedah Cabell and Kendall Scruggs in a 7-6, 6-3 match.

The action picked up on Saturday after rain delays at Palatine High School, and the KHS duo took yet another match in the fourth round over Rachel and Rebecca Lewis of Danville by a final of 5-7, 7-6, 6-3.

The fifth round had Emmanouil and Jurcenko take a match over the Glenbrook South team of Martina Dragoytchev and Jessica Chepurda in an 8-5 single-setter, assuring a claim of a top-24 team.

The Lady Knight unit saw its season come to an end with a loss to New Trier’s Kirstie Woodbury and Cammy Frei by an 8-3 final that would have sent Kaneland’s team to a top-16 berth.

KHS coach Tim Larsen was glad that the talent on paper translated to actual court time.

“The girls and I knew that we had talent on the team, but didn’t know what we were capable of in the State tournament,” Larsen said. “Now we know. Having done that well as sophomores isn’t going to be a ‘finish line’ mentality at all. I can tell you for sure that Sammie has seen what it takes to have success in that tournament, and she will be more determined than ever to do so next year. And for Madi and Jelly, they surpassed their own goals for this year’s tournament. That was because the tournament was still somewhat of an unknown to us. Next year, we’ll be able to set challenging, realistic goals because of this year’s experience.”

With the end of the productive season, Kaneland tennis says goodbye to seniors Jenna Bicos, Sara Grams, Aly Harner, Brooke Harner, Cara Lenhardt, Danielle McCormack, Abby Meyer and Jessica Woodward.

Good enough

in Boys Cross Country/Featured by

Boys XC punches Sectional ticket with 2nd-place finish
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—If it weren’t for Crystal Lake Central, Kaneland High School boys cross country would have even more to celebrate.

As it stands, celebrating a berth at the Belvidere Sectional is cause enough.

With a pack separated by 46 seconds, the Knight lineup took second at the Class 2A Kaneland Regional on Saturday, thanks to a 69 point total.

Crystal Lake finished with 31 points, while Sycamore had 96 points to be the third and last unit to travel to the Sectional. The Spartans edged Prairie Ridge by one point.

Burlington Central, Woodstock, Hampshire and Rochelle rounded out the eight-team field.

“The team had a better overall performance than the conference meet,” KHS coach Chad Clarey said. “We have some mental hurdles to clear, but this group can respond quickly with great senior leadership.”

Crystal Lake senior Alex Baker was the first of three straight teammates to top the race, and finished with a leading time of 15 minutes, 37.1 seconds.

Kaneland’s top runner was senior leader Conor Johnson, who finished sixth with a time of 16:36.9.

Following closely was junior teammate Kyle Carter, who finished with a time of 16:37.2.

In 13th place was Knight junior Nathaniel Kucera, who finished with an effort of 16:56.5.

Junior Luis Acosta was fourth-best for the Kaneland lineup in 20th place overall at 17:14.4, and Brandon Huber was 23rd with a time of 17:24.0.

“We know the rigors of our home course, and we needed to get a solid race in and finish the day healthy,” Clarey said.

The boys race begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27, with successful teams from the Antioch and Belvidere North Regionals.

Volleyball passes 1st playoff test

in Featured/Volleyball by

Photo: Keri Groen pushes the ball past Geneva defenders uring Kaneland’s Spikefest held at Kaneland Harter Middle School on Saturday. Photo by Patti Wilk

Top-seed Lady Knights sweep Green Wave at Hampshire
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—Tuesday’s playoff opener got rid of the bad taste of last year’s crushing opening defeat pretty well.

Almost a year to the day of a three-game downer at the hands of Glenbard South to end the 2011 season, mistakes were curbed and the aggressive tone worked in a 25-18, 25-18 win over St. Edward of Elgin on Tuesday at the Class 3A Hampshire Regional.

The win over the No. 5 seed Green Wave paves the way for a regional winner-take-all against the third-seed Sycamore Lady Spartans, which beat No. 2 Burlington Central after Kaneland’s victory by a 25-23, 25-21 clip.

“Postseason has not been nice to us, and we’ve faced some tough opponents,” KHS coach Todd Weimer said. “We were determined and we were focused, and we wanted to come out and play the best we could.”

KHS is now 22-12 for the year.

St. Edward fell victim to its share of errors in the first game on Tuesday, and Kaneland took advantage with a 15-5 lead. The Green Wave closed it to 19-12 before an Ellie Dunn kill. After seeing the margin close to 20-15, a block by Keri Groen, a pass over the net by Jenny Lubic and a Lyndi Scholl kill helped extend the margin to 24-16. An attempted block hit the net for game point at 24-18.

“The most important thing that we did was ball control,” libero Shayna Tucek said. “Every player focused on what they had to do, and they did it.”

St. Edward regained some footing and was ahead as late as 14-13 in the second game.

A Lauren Banbury kill gave the Lady Knights a lead for good at 16-15. After Kaneland put the pressure on, St. Edward was forced to regroup in a time out at 22-16.

Up 22-17, Groen stuck a kill down the St. Edward lineup, and several exchanges later, had another kill followed by a Scholl game point for the match win.

“It’s honestly the biggest weight lifted off,” Scholl said. “It’s an amazing feeling knowing that we can play Thursday and the season isn’t over. We still have a chance.”

Thursday’s loss to the visiting Lady Foxes was despite the best efforts of Lubic and Ashley Prost, who had a combined 24 assists. The lower level games all went Kaneland’s way.

At SpikeFest, no team performed better except the champion Geneva Lady Vikings. Riverside-Brookfield took third, followed by Metea Valley, Yorkville and Hampshire.

Kaneland’s 4-1 mark featured wins over Hampshire (25-16, 25-19), R-B (27-25, 27-25), Metea Valley (25-17, 20-25, 15-9) and Yorkville (25-14, 25-14).

The loss against Geneva was a 25-19, 25-22 result.

By virtue of their exceptional play, Dunn and Banbury of Kaneland earned all-tournament nods.

Dunn had 18 aces, three kills and eight blocks, while teammate Banbury had 13 kills and four blocks.

Kaneland is set to play in the Hampshire Regional final on Thursday, Oct. 25, at 6 p.m.

Zumba classes a hit in Maple Park

in Featured/Health & Wellness/Maple Park by

Photo: Certified Zumba instructor April Espe leading a class in Maple Park. Photo by Susan O’Neill

Zumba Classes
Wednesdays, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays, 8 to 9 a.m.
Maple Park Civic Center, 302 Willow St.
Schedule may vary, so call (815) 827-3286

by Susan O’Neill
MAPLE PARK—Twice a week, a core group of about 10 Maple Park women get together at the Maple Park Civic Center and dance to a mix of salsa, merengue, as well as other Latin music and current hits.

This, folks, is Zumba class.

Maple Park resident Terry Thorne, who has been a dedicated Zumba participant since April Espe began teaching the class last March, said she joined gyms when she was younger, but it just “never took.”

“I’ve been taking the (Zumba) classes for eight months, and I’ve never been committed to anything this long, except my husband,” Thorne said.

According to Maple Park resident Jamie DeStefano, one of the reasons the women keep coming back is the fact that participants laugh and have fun during the class.

Another reason is the way the class makes them feel.

Thorne, 55, said Zumba keeps her joints loosened up, and that she can bend over and touch the ground—something she was previously unable to do.

“One week off makes a difference,” she said. “I don’t want to stop doing it now.”

Espe, a Sycamore resident, had been teaching dance classes for girls, ages 3 to 12th grade, when she decided to teach their mothers some dance routines. She held the classes for the moms without telling the children. During the next student show, the parents surprised them with their own performance.

Espe saw how much fun the adults had, so when Maple Park resident Beth Miller posted on the village’s Facebook page that she was looking for a Zumba class, Espe put two and two together. She was already a dance teacher operating a school—“Just for Kix,” in DeKalb—so she obtained a certification in January to teach Zumba and started to get the word out about the class.

Espe participated in all kinds of sports while growing up. She did gymnastics for 15 years, ran track and played volleyball. She also has five years of dance experience.

According to Espe, Zumba class is aerobic, but participants really don’t think too much about their workout.

“It’s fun and you’re moving,” Espe said. “You’re dancing yourself into shape.”

Through the village’s Facebook page, flyers and word of mouth, Espe has developed a following in the area. In addition to the classes in Maple Park, she also teaches a Zumba class in DeKalb.

Espe makes sure that the dance steps are simple enough so that people can easily follow them. She also talks beginners through the steps and repeats them often.

“A lot of people are scared off because they think dance skills are required,” Espe said. “As long as you’re moving, that’s what counts.”

She said the class appeals to all ages, and that she even has a few people over the age of 70 in her classes.

DeStefano said she has lost 40 pounds with Weight Watchers, and the class has helped her with her weight loss.

“This gets my day going,” she said.

For more information about Zumba classes in Maple Park, call (815) 827-3286.

Photos: Christmas in October

in Elburn/Featured by

DuKane Chapter of A.B.A.T.E. (American Bikers for Awareness, Training, and Education) of Illinois hosted its 26th Annual Toy & Food Run Sunday. Benefitting Motorcycle Rights, local charities, and area food banks. The ride started at Knuckleheads Tavern on North Street in Elburn. Here, Santa leads the way at the start of the ride. Photo by John DiDonna


Judy Kaenel, President of the DuKane Chapter of A.B.A.T.E. (above) gives final instructions to the riders.


A pair of Bulldogs get a free ride in the back of a trailer pulled by a Harley during the Toy and Food Run on Sunday.


The bikers are anxious to hit the road before the start of the run.

Blackberry Creek runs for funds

in Featured/Kaneland by

Photo: The first Blackberry Creek Elementary Run for Funds took place on
Friday. Kids ran during the day and had a Family Fun Night during the evening. Here, a group of students runs around the school during the day. Photo by
Kimberly Anderson

by Susan O’Neill
KANELAND—Kaneland Blackberry Creek Elementary School’s inaugural Run for Funds event last Friday was a big success. The weather cooperated, students enjoyed some exercise, and the Blackberry Creek Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) netted $10,000.

According to Blackberry Creek gym teacher Jamie Holubecki, the event had two goals: to promote fitness and raise money for the school. Organized by the Blackberry Creek PTO and coordinated with the teachers, the Run for Funds event involved each grade spending an hour outside, walking (or running) laps around the school.

The children could give and/or collect donations from friends and family members, using a donation sheet that supported their activity. The PTO offered prizes for every level of donations collected, from $5 on up, including water bottles, T-shirts, pedometers and an iPod Touch.

“Staff has been so supportive,” PTO President Kathy Webster said on the day of the event. “It’s been a great team effort.”

Webster and other PTO members were at the school, cheering on the students alongside gym, music, art, literacy and computer teachers.

By the end of the hour for fifth-graders, student Max Drancik had completed 10 laps around the school. According to Webster, two laps around the school equals one mile, so Drancik had gone five miles.

Blythe Lundberg, also a fifth-grader, was on her 11th lap at the conclusion of the run. She raised $35, including a donation from her grandparents. She said she enjoyed the event.

“It gives us a chance to be more active and to raise money for the school,” she said.

The day ended with a celebration for the students and their families. The highlight of the evening was “Stuck for a Buck,” in which students were given strips of duct tape to stick Blackberry Creek music teacher Brandon Fox and computer teacher Tammy Metz to the wall.

“I told them they’ve given new meaning to ‘Support your PTO,’” Webster said.

According to Webster, the PTO had hoped to raise $3,000 after expenses. So when the tally came in at $10,000, she was thrilled. The money will be used to buy items for the school, such as sports and playground equipment, computer programs and other technology, curriculum requests from teachers, as well as to support field trips—all things that recent budget cuts had put in jeopardy.

“This is our first time,” Webster said. “We’re really excited. There are things we can buy that we didn’t think we’d be able to.”

Blackberry Creek Principal Andy Gibbs said he was pleased with how the event turned out.

“The money raised will benefit the kids academically and support activities, and they got some exercise,” he said. “It was a hit.”

Higher ground

in Featured/Football by

Photo: The Knights go up to try and block a Sycamore extra point during the first quarter of Kaneland’s 30-7 Homecoming win. Photo by Patti Wilk

Kaneland gets best of Sycamore in a rush in Homecoming game
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—There’s beauty in simplicity.

Kaneland kept it simple on Friday night at Peterson Field, brought on by necessity after quarterback Drew David was spelled before the game by sophomore backup Tyler Carlson due to injury.

The Knights utilized a clock-munching, punishing ground game with different formations, and saw the defense also get in on the act en route to a 30-7 win in Northern Illinois Big XII Conference play.

Kaneland’s mark improved to 8-0, marking that particular stat for the third straight year, and 4-0 in the NIB-12 East.

Sycamore fell to 5-3 (2-2 NIB-12), and hasn’t beaten Kaneland in regular season play since a 37-7 win on Sept. 14, 2007, along Spartan Trail.

Kaneland lost to the Spartans in first-round playoff action on Halloween night, 2009, in Maple Park.

Not needing to go complicated with a first-time starter behind center, and having the ground tools at its expense, the Knights got 177 yards rushing from Jesse Balluff, and 104 from Carlson in the win.

“We came into this game thinking normal playbook, same plays, everything like that,” Balluff said. “The running was working so we went to that more.”

The scoring started from the Spartan end, thanks to a touchdown run from senior ballcarrier Austin Culton on the lengthy opening drive to make it 7-0 halfway through the first frame.

Beginning from their own 19, Kaneland used two runs by Carlson, including a 27-yard carry, and three by Balluff to get into position for a 1-yard scoring run by Carlson with 3:22 remaining in the first for a 7-7 tie.

The defense took the stage on Sycamore’s next drive, thanks to a stuff of Dion Hooker by Gary Koehring in the endzone to take the lead for good, 9-7, with 2:13 to go in the first.

“Our line got such a good push. They had him stuffed in the backfield. All I had to do was wrap him up and take him down,” Koehring said.

The second quarter featured another score from the Knights, with a drive beginning at the 38 of Sycamore. Three runs by Carlson and another by Balluff set up a third-and-8 from the 26, when Brandon Bishop hauled in a 16-yard pass.

Balluff took the next carry and powered his way through the middle for a touchdown to make it 16-7 with 1:33 before halftime.

Kaneland’s second-half opening drive came up empty after a missed 40-yard field goal try by Matt Rodriguez was returned to the Kaneland 33.

Justin Diddell stonewalled a Culton carry on 4th-and-1 at the Knight 24 to reverse possession.

A 10-play drive that featured a Zach Martinelli 20-yard catch sandwiched around runs from Carlson, Balluff and Dylan Nauert, led to a Balluff 14-yard score with :34 left in the third.

Carlson found a hole for a nine-yard scoring run to make the final margin of 23 with 6:35 remaining.

Morris comes into town to finish the regular season in a battle of undefeated squads on Friday, Oct. 19.

Morris hosted Kaneland a year ago with the NIB-12 East on the line and lost 31-28.

KHS tennis trio heads to State

in Featured/Tennis by

Photo: Sammie Schrepferman

Schrepferman, Emmanouil, Jurcenko set school record
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—St. Charles East High School was the site of Saturday’s IHSA Tennis Sectional, and also the site of some happy Lady Knight athletes.

No. 1 singles competitor Sammie Schrepferman became the first-ever singles qualifier in KHS history with a fourth-place finish at the sectional. No. 1 doubles unit Jelly Emmanouil and Madi Jurcenko finished third to qualify for the big dance.

This marks the third consecutive year Kaneland tennis sends athletes to state.

In 2010, Lindsay Jurcenko and Amelia Napiorkowski qualified as a doubles team, and Napiorkowski did the same with Madi Jurcenko in 2011.

As a team, Kaneland finished fifth with 13 points in the 10-team sectional.

KHS coach Tim Larsen knew his crew had the intangibles to cause a racket.

“They reacted well to whatever was going on on the court,” Larsen said. “All three of them are smart tennis players. They have a lot of talent, and they have a lot of really good shots.”

Bartlett (20), Geneva (17), St. Charles East (14) and Wheaton Academy (14) were the only schools that outpaced KHS.

Schrepferman earned a first-round bye, and earned straight set wins in her first two matches before losing the third to Jennifer Gates of Bartlett. In the battle for third place, the sophomore dropped a 6-2, 6-1 match to Geneva’s Kirby Einck.

“At the beginning of the year, I didn’t think I was going to be able to make it,” Schrepferman said. “I started off the year a little bumpy. It was the middle of the year where I told myself to keep going and if I wanted to go I had to push myself harder.”

Emmanouil/Jurcenko swept their first two matches before getting taken to three sets in a loss to Bartlett’s Jitsupa Sirinit and Gabby Gregorio.

The Lady Knight duo recovered to take third place from Saints duo Haydyn Jones and Kelsie Roberton.

“We had a pretty good seed in the beginning,” Emmanouil said. “We were pretty comfortable the first two matches and then up against Bartlett, it was pretty tough.”

Jurcenko feels that the gameplan shouldn’t change that much headed into the elite gathering.

“The main goal is to make it to State. It would be awesome to win. You kind of just go and see how you do,” Jurcenko said.”

The finals take place from Thursday, Oct. 18, to Saturday, Oct. 20. Tournament central is located at Buffalo Grove High School.

Knights emerge victor in rivalry contest

in Boys Soccer/Featured by

Photo: Kaneland goal keeper Marshall Farthing puts the ball in play during the first half of the varsity boy’s 1-0 win at Sycamore on Oct. 11. It was the team’s regular season finale. The Knights (13-3-2, 7-2-1 Northern Illinois Big 12 East) finished second to DeKalb in the conference. Photo by John DiDonna

by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Nothing like a tight and close match to show what you’re made of.

It looks as if Kaneland High School soccer is made of pretty strong material.

The lone match this week occurred in Sycamore, with the Knights facing off against their conference rivals, the Spartans, on Thursday.

With one goal in the second half, the Knights were lifted to a 1-0 win over the host Sycamore squad, raising their record to an exemplary 13-3-2 mark at the end of the regular season.

The Knights also boast a 7-2-1 record in Northern Illinois Big XII Conference play, good for second.

All that was needed was a goal from Arsim Azemi on an assist from Kushstrim Ismaili with 17:24 remaining in the contest to secure a shutout win.

Meanwhile, the Kaneland sophomores came away with a 5-0 win over the Spartans, and the freshmen won 4-0.

Up ahead for the No. 1 Knights is the first test of the Class 2A Burlington Central Regional, a meeting with No. 4 IMSA on Wednesday, Oct. 20, at 5 p.m.

“We have had a good season,” KHS coach Scott Parillo said. “I hope the team can go a little farther. We will see what happens. We always thought we would have a nice record because of the talent we had, but there are so many things that can change that, injuries, grades, etc. You never really know. We have been fortunate that we have been able to do as well as we have this year.”

The winner of the KHS-Titans match faces either No. 2 BC or No. 3 Hampshire on Saturday, Oct. 20, at 11 a.m.

A year ago, Kaneland used an Alex Gil goal to beat DeKalb in the regional semis before losing to Marmion Academy in the final.

Kaneland girls excel in wet conditions

in Featured/Girls Cross Country by

Photo: The Kaneland girls pack it up at the beginning of the NIB XII meet in Peru, Ill. Saturday. Photo courtesy of Yorkvilletrackandfield.com

L-P site of admirable totals for NIB-12 meet
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—Running conditions at Baker Lake Park in Peru, Ill., were interesting, to say the least.

Saturday saw non-stop rain of various impacts, but that didn’t seem to slow down the Lady Knight attack against the best the Northern Illinois Big XII Conference had to offer.

Yorkville outpaced the other teams with a 26-point total, followed by KHS at 65.

DeKalb (98), Geneseo (129), Sycamore (129) and Dixon (145) rounded out the top half of the conference.

Seven-through-12 was made up of LaSalle-Peru, Rochelle, Sterling, Ottawa, Morris and Streator.

Kaneland varsity runners had an average time of 18 minutes, 58.5 seconds, with a pack separation of 1:09.6

DeKalb junior Kelsey Schrader took the race mantle with a time of 17:30.2, followed by Yorkville freshman Skyler Bollinger at 17:57.6, but Kaneland sophomore Victoria Clinton continued her torrid stretch with a time of 18:13.2.

Clinton felt the conditions didn’t hinder her day as much as they could have.

“It was really rainy, and it made your body cold,” Clinton said. “It made it hard to move first, but it made it fun. Now I have to try to stay focused and stay consistent through each mile.”

Freshman Brianna Bower was next for KHS in eighth place by finishing the course in 18:40.9 fashion.

Senior Abby Dodis crossed the line next for the Lady Knights, thanks to an effort that took 19:15.4.

Junior Sydney Strang was 18th overall with a time of 19:20.5, and continues to her work her way back from a bout with pneumonia weeks ago.

“The rain made it a lot more intense and a lot more fun, too,” Strang said. “You never really want to miss a meet and sit out.”

Senior Amanda Lesak supported the KHS total with a time of 19:22.7 for 21st place, rounding out the Lady Knight top five.

The next challenge for girls cross country is the most important of the 2012 campaign, with the Class 2A Regional hosted by Kaneland at Elburn Forest Preserve on Saturday, Oct. 20.

The other teams participating in the regional are Burlington Central, Crystal Lake Central, Prairie Ridge, Hampshire, Rochelle, Sycamore and Woodstock.

Advancing teams head to the Belvidere Sectional on Saturday, Oct. 27.

4-place output for KHS boys at NIB-12

in Boys Cross Country/Featured by

Photo: Conor Johnson competes at the NIB XII meet in Peru, Ill. Saturday. Photo courtesy of Yorkvilletrackandfield.com

Carter leads Knights in crowded field
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—”Rain, rain, go away” is the usual saying.

The Knights just had to go forward in unusual weather.

Despite the outdoors releasing everything from a strong drizzle to a steady downpour, the Northern Illinois Big XII meet at Baker Lake in Peru, Ill., still went on and Kaneland ended with a fourth-place honor.

Yorkville finished its sweep of the NIB-12 with 27 points, followed by Dixon’s 59 and DeKalb’s 80.

Kaneland’s 118 bested Sycamore (128) and Geneseo (134).

Sterling, Morris, Ottawa, L-P, Streator and Rochelle filled the bottom-half slots.

Yorkville sophomore Jake Hoffert was tops with a 15 minute, 14.8 second race, 2.1 seconds over DeKalb’s Mark Dubrick.

Kaneland’s Kyle Carter was tops for his team with a time of 15:54.2.

Senior Conor Johnson was 23rd at 16:18.2.

“It’s always a weird meet,” Johnson said. “It seems we’re a little flat when we come here, but we’ll get back in the groove this week.”

Senior John Meisinger was 27th overall at 16:28.3, followed by junior Nathaniel Kucera in 28th at 16:35.8, and junior Brandon Huber in 29th at 16:38.9 to round out the Knight top five.

Kaneland’s Brad Kigyos didn’t mind the torrential rainfall.

“It kind of makes it fun,” Kigyos said. “It makes the time pass a lot easier. When you’re out there, it goes pretty quick.”

Kaneland prepares for the Class 2A Kaneland Regional in Elburn on Saturday, Oct. 20.

Also scheduled for the regional are Burlington Central, Crystal Lake Central, Prairie Ridge, Hampshire, Rochelle, Sycamore and Woodstock.

Advancing teams head to the Belvidere Sectional on Saturday, Oct. 27.

Photos: The classics on display

in Elburn/Featured by

The 20th annual Elburn Lions Car Show took place on Sunday at Lions Park. The event included food, music, a swap meet, craft show and raffle drawing for $2,500 or a 383 Chevrolet stroker motor.


Ron from Aurora displays his fully equipped WWII vehicle in the Special Interest category.


Dennis Ryan and Don Kames from Kaneville check out a 1957 Chevy Bel Air owned by Mike Joray. Rows of classic automobiles were on display throughout the park.
Photos by Kimberly Anderson

Casey’s Safe Haven gives a home to horses in need

in Elburn/Featured by

Photo: Casey’s Safe Haven is a holistic horse rescue in Elburn that opened its doors to the public this summer as a home for retired horses from the police service, pony rides and race tracks. Courtesy Photo

by Amanda Niemi
ELBURN—A new non-profit organization is giving a home to horses in need.

Casey’s Safe Haven is a holistic horse rescue that opened its doors to the public this summer as a home for retired horses from the police service, pony rides and race tracks.

Sue Balla, Cathy Klink and Barb James make up the Casey’s Safe Haven Board of Directors.

The safe haven’s name is in remembrance, of the first horse Balla, the organizations founder, saved at an auction. Casey was “best friend” to Balla for 26 years.

The organization’s doors were open to the animals long before it began receiving funding as an official non-profit.

“Normally you form an organization, you get money then get the animals. We took a little pony in and named her Hope. She was in really bad shape,” said James. “This little pony was loved, but we couldn’t save her.”

The idea of Casey’s came when Balla was president of a previous rescue out of Field of Dreams farm, where she leases her barn. Sue’s ideas had been to rescue and re-home animals with a good family. The board members of the previous NPO wanted to rescue and keep animals. That rescue moved to a different barn the day after they left, when Balla got a call about a pony in need.

“We took in a fourth (horse) early this summer, (at) the end of June. During that time, you cannot raise funds. We were living on anyone’s generosity,” James said. “We started to cram and plan our fundraiser. The end of July, Jack got adopted. The same day, we got a phone call—about four more ponies coming in together. We didn’t have stalls or regular funding. Sue said, ‘If you can find them stalls, food and bedding, we can take them in.’”

Casey’s fundraiser was held on Saturday at Rustic Roads Farm in Elburn. It was a “complete success” for the organization, even drawing in a few big names.

“Mike Star (Goodfellas, The Bodyguard), who emceed the event, flew in from California,” James said. “He’s a friend-of-a-friend of Sue’s, and he said he would love to help out. He’s a really down-to-Earth guy.”

Of course, even the stars couldn’t outshine the help Casey’s received from community members and local businesses that donated their time and services.

“We couldn’t have done it without Mark Bernard, Big Bowl, Tokio Pub, Shaw’s Crabhouse and Foodies marketplace. (They) donated all the food, all the drinks, and hosted for us, so we would like to thank them,” James said. “Chrissy Dwier—Mark’s assistant—(and) tons and tons of people helped us. Those people, we couldn’t have done it without them. It was a magical night and tremendous success. A lot was due to the location and sponsors we had.”

Many of Casey’s sponsors are through the local community and friends of members and volunteers. It has been a grassroots effort for the three members of the board of directors.

“It’s hard, when you start as a new organization, to get your name out there. You always need more name recognition,” James said. “We need to grow that. It’ll come; we’re brand new. We’ve rescued seven ponies and one horse. That’s a lot.”

James said the organization would like to educate the public on the lives of service horses, and asks people to be vigilant when it comes to how animals are cared for.

“People don’t set out to be cruel, but they haven’t given thought to what it entails to own a horse. It’s a lot more than they can handle in a bad economy.” James said. “There are people out of ignorance that just don’t treat their animals right.

“There is so much more we want to do, but, of course, it is going to take funding.”

For more information or to contact the Casey’s Safe Haven Board of Directors, visit www.caseysil.org or call Balla at (815) 762-1983. You can also find Casey’s Safe Haven on Facebook.

Maple Park mayhem

in Featured/Maple Park by

The Maple Park Fire Department held its annual dance/raffle at the Maple Park Fire Station on Saturday evening. Line dancing was a big hit throughout the night.


Cricket and Cathy Lay (above) from Maple Park dance to a slow tune by the band Back Country Roads (below), who provided the music for the dance.

Photos by John DiDonna

No lows at 7-0

in Featured/Football by

Photo: Kaneland’s Ryan Lawrence (29) gets in on the ball carrier with help coming from Bradley Johnson (79) and Gary Koehring (5) during the second quarter of the varsity boy’s 55-0 win at Yorkville on Friday. Photo by Patti Wilk

Knights take hunt to Foxes in 55-0 win
by Mike Slodki
YORKVILLE—Foxes football must have felt like it was in a valley of the same name after the final buzzer sounded on Friday.

Jesse Balluff and his fellow Knights peaked again, and not for the first time.

With four touchdowns, Balluff and crew triggered a running clock for the fourth time in seven tries in 2012, en route to a 55-0 win over the host Yorkville squad at Campbell Field.

Kaneland improved to 7-0 (3-0 Northern Illinois Big XII East), while Yorkville fell to 3-4 (0-3). The Knights still have yet to lose a NIB-12 conference matchup since the group’s inception in 2010, and begin 7-0 for the third consecutive season.

Kaneland has now won 26 regular season contests in a row, dating back to the final week of the 2009 regular season, and 28 of its last 30 contests overall.

Like last week, KHS had no trouble getting off to a good start, as it found the end zone on its first five possessions. They did the same on their first six drives in a win over DeKalb on Sept. 28.

Quarterback Drew David and Balluff each had a game-high 75 yards on the ground and helped KHS to 238 rushing yards overall.

David finished the night 8-of-13 for 175 yards and three touchdowns with one interception.

Dylan Nauert’s 69 yards receiving led the team.

After the first YHS drive came up empty, Kaneland used six plays to go 62 yards, which ended on an 18-yard TD pass to Balluff in the flat on a crucial third-down play.

Kaneland was up 7-0 with 8:19 left in the first and never looked back.

“I saw the opening and took it,” Balluff said. “Our lineman are just amazing this year, it’s ridiculous.”

Another Yorkville dead-end drive had KHS set up shop at the Fox 41, where runs by Balluff and Nate Dyer set up a 12-yard TD pass to Nauert with 3:50 left in the first for a 13-0 lead.

A drive that spanned two quarters ended after nine plays with a six-yard score from Balluff, making it 20-0 with 8:40 left in the second quarter.

Yorkville found itself punting again, setting up a one-play drive that ended on a 60-yard catch and run TD for Nauert and a 27-0 edge with 3:45 to go in the first half.

Balluff intercepted a pass on defense allowing Kaneland to set up shop at the hosts’ 36. A run by David and pass to Balluff paved the way for Balluff to catch another touchdown in the open field for a 34-0 lead with 2:10 to go in the first half.

“We can score from the 20; we have a very powerful offense. Even at the 50, we can score quicker and score more often,” Balluff said.

KHS was up to old and beneficial tricks to begin the second half, as the opening six-play drive ended with a 31-yard TD run by Balluff with 9:33 to go, which made it 41-0.

The fourth quarter saw additional touchdowns on runs by Tyler Carlson and Isaac Swithers for the final margin.

KHS coach Tom Fedderly keeps seeing the troops improve week after winning week.

“The further we go in the season, the more meaning the games have,” Fedderly said. “We know we need to improve if we want to be a conference champ or be in a big game.”

Kaneland will try to handle Sycamore in Maple Park on Friday, Oct. 12.

A year ago saw the Knights take out Sycamore along Spartan Trail in a 35-21 game. Sycamore comes off a 26-14 win against the Rochelle Hubs and enters Friday with a 5-2 mark.

KHS tennis solidifies upper-tier status in NIB-12

in Featured/Tennis by

Photo: Senior Jessica Woodward serves against Morris during the NIB XII Tennis Tournament in DeKalb on Friday. Photo by John DiDonna

No. 1 doubles outplays field; Lady Knights finish 2nd to Sycamore
by Mike Slodki
Kaneland—If Lady Knights tennis keeps this current level of play up, they’ll be seeing good things come their way in the homestretch of 2012.

While the group wasn’t able to duplicate the 2011 conference title showing, it still managed to show off enough for a second-place showing at the Northern Illinois Big XII gathering held at DeKalb High School Friday and Saturday.

Sycamore’s lineup had a conference-winning 53 points, after finishing second behind Kaneland a year ago, while KHS scored 51 points. Sterling had 42 points to take the West.

KHS had one NIB-12 champ to boast of in the form of No. 1 doubles juggernaut Madi Jurcenko and Jelly Emmanouil, while Sammie Schrepferman took second in the No. 1 singles scrum.

A year ago, it was Jurcenko and graduate Amelia Napiorkowski that seized the No. 1 doubles category while Emmanouil won the No. 2 singles crown.

“(Saturday) was a lot harder in the cold,” Emmanouil said. “But it was just about getting warmed up and then we played a little better.”

Emmanouil and Jurcenko are among the girls getting used to only a high level of play the last couple of years.

“I would say we are as good as the last couple years. Lindsay’s (Madi’s sister) and Amelia’s senior years were good. We definitely are as good as those teams right now I think,” Jurcenko said.

Kaneland battles the competition in St. Charles out at St. Charles East High School on Saturday, Oct. 13. Jurcenko and Napiorkowski were State qualifiers a year ago as a freshman/senior duo.

The nine-team sectional also features Sycamore.

Back in the hunt

in Featured/Volleyball by

Photo: Kaneland’s Ellie Dunn (3) gets a spike past Morris defenders during Kaneland’s home match on Oct. 4. Photo by Patti Wilk

Lady Knights stifle Morris, take down DeKalb
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—KHS volleyball earned another conference win against a rival, then faced neighbors even further west before accomplishing a first-ever task against DeKalb in a busy week.

Thursday saw a three-game win over visiting Morris, while Saturday saw the usual early-October trip to the Bettendorf Tournament in Iowa. They then earned their first win at the new DeKalb High School. In fact, all levels won at DeKalb on Tuesday, a feat that has head coach Todd Weimer excited.

“All levels won, so (it was a) big program sweep,” Weimer said.

Tuesday’s back-and-forth win over DeKalb saw Kaneland run out to a 25-20 win in game one. Game two turned into a marathon as both teams battled back and forth before DeKalb took the 31-29 victory. Kaneland held firm in game three, earning the match victory with a 25-20 win.

Weimer said the win was especially sweet since his team’s roster had to be juggled. One player was not available, while several others were just returning after long illnesses and injuries.

“(The) varsity did a phenomenal job … just all about teamwork,” Weimer said. “What more do you want?”

The Lady Knights now stand at 16-9 overall, 4-3 in the conference.

“We’re back in the hunt for the conference race,” Weimer said.

The matchup opposite the Lady Redskins of Morris went 23-25, 25-18, 25-22 in favor of KHS despite early difficulties.

Ellie Dunn had 12 kills, two aces and five blocks. Emily Laudont added seven kills and nine digs, while teammate Lauren Banbury contributed seven kills and two blocks.

Weapon Lyndi Scholl put in four kills and five digs of her own.

Additional Kaneland-Morris action saw the sophomores take a 25-23, 25-16 win, the freshman “A” team win a 25-12, 25-19 affair, while the freshman “B” team emerged with a 22-25, 25-11, 25-23 win of its own.

With their hands full against three teams from the host state, Kaneland went to work against No. 2 ranked Ankeny, but fell 21-10, 21-19.

Against host Bettendorf, KHS lost again by a final of 21-13, 21-17, before righting the ship against Waukee 15-21, 21-17, 19-17 in the modified tourney scoring.

Ellie Dunn set the tone with 16 kills and 10 digs in the three matches. Ashley Prost had 36 assists in her name, while Tucek put together 21 digs.

“It was great to see our girls be the most competitive ever at this very difficult and competitive invite,” Weimer said. “We’re very fortunate that we’re able to go out there and compete fairly well. Even Waukee was very good. There is no weak team out there.”

The Lady Knights take on host Sycamore on Thursday, Oct. 11.

Redemption

in Boys Soccer/Featured by

Photo: Team Captain Anthony Parillo (5) fights for the ball against Yorkville on Tuesday. Kaneland came away with a 2-1 victory. Photo by John DiDonna

Knights win rematch over Yorkville; add wins over Plainfield East, Rochelle
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Just shoot the ball, because who knows what it’ll bring.

That, in essence, is what KHS coach Scott Parillo was preaching to his troops during halftime and in the second half of a match on Tuesday against visiting Yorkville.

Parillo’s son and scoring option Anthony took it to heart after a booming kick ricocheted off players into the net with 12:54 to go.

The score was the difference in the 2-1 Northern Illinois Big XII win.

Kaneland is now 12-3-2 (6-2-1 NIB-12) after the win over Yorkville, plus wins over visiting Plainfield East, 3-2, and at Rochelle, 4-2.

Down 1-0 at the half to a feisty, much-improved Yorkville team, the Knights came back on a goal from Kushstrim Ismaili with 34:44 remaining. The score remained deadlocked until Parillo’s goal 22 minutes later.

“I actually was surprised it went in,” Parillo said. “The deflection didn’t look like it was going to go in; it was a little slow. Luckily, it made it around him.”

The elder Parillo saw positive and stark contrasts from the losing effort against Yorkville from two weeks ago.

“I don’t know what it is about football fields, but they’re not very kind to us,” Parillo said. “Yorkville is an excellent team. We feel very fortunate to have won this game. I thought we played much better here than at Yorkville.”

Against the Bengals of Plainfield East, goals were scored by Arsim Azemi and Alec Koczka in the first half, with a goal from Parillo with 6:33 remaining to put the action on ice.

In the NIB-12 tussle against the Hubs, Koczka’s goal 22 minutes in helped secure a 1-1 tie, before a goal deluge from Sam Rymarz on a penalty kick, Ben Longson and Parillo on a penalty kick tilted the scales.

Ahead for the Knight soccer outfit is a Thursday, Oct. 11, showdown with potential Burlington Central Regional opponent Sycamore along Spartan Trail.

Giving to the community a way of life for Paisano’s owners

in Elburn/Featured by

by Susan O’Neill
ELBURN—When Annette Theobald was a young girl, her mother was her role model for helping others in the community. Her family was active in the church, and it was there where she first heard her mom say, “Let’s see how we can help.”

Theobald recalled being embarrassed as a teenager, when her mother told her they were going out to pull the weeds in the median at the entrance to their subdivision.

“I remember thinking, ‘I hope nobody sees me,’” she said.

However, she soon came to understand the message her mom was giving her.

“This (median) is part of our community, and it’s our responsibility (to help take care of it),” her mom said.

Theobald’s first experience with a large project to raise money for others came a few years after she moved back home from college. She and her sister-in-law, both in their 20s, volunteered to manage the purchase and sale of alcoholic beverages for St. Phillip’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

Her involvement with church projects continues to this day. When she and her husband Dick moved to Kaneville, they joined St. Gall’s Church in Elburn. The church holds a rummage sale every year during Elburn Days, and Annette signed up right away. After helping out for seven years, she began running the fundraiser eight years ago.

Annette said she enjoys working on the sale with the other people from her church. She also likes the idea of people making use of items that someone else no longer needs.

“We’re becoming such a disposable society,” she said. “People throw things away that others could use.”

When the Theobalds opened their pizza business, Paisano’s Pizza & Grill, nine years ago in Elburn, it was natural for her to extend her community involvement to her business.

From the choice of the name—“Paisano” means “friend”—to the many events for which they provide pizzas at a discount or sometimes for free, the Theobalds feel a strong connection between the business and the community.

“A business has a responsibility to give back to the community,” Annette said. “It’s the community that supports you. They have lots of other choices. It goes both ways.”

Elburn Lions Club Past President Chris Halsey said the Theobalds donate something whenever the Lions Club has a benefit. They also offer to staple a flyer to their pizza deliveries to announce the event.

One out of every four Lions Club Bingo Nights is pizza night, with Paisano’s offering their pizza to the club at a discount.

“They are the type of people you instantly connect to,” Halsey said. “They are definitely an asset to the community.

Plus, they also have a very good product. My wife is from Chicago, and she says Paisano’s is the best pizza out here.”

Conley Outreach Community Services also benefits from the Theobald’s generosity.

“I can’t say enough about them (Annette and Dick),” Conley Outreach Director Carol Alfrey said. “They are so community-minded and so generous with their gifts. It goes beyond their business; it’s just who they are as people.”

Alfrey said that Paisano’s provides pizzas for the work day at the Conley Farm in Kaneville. They also put a collection jar out on the counter at their restaurant for Holiday Spirit donations, and match the amount that people give.

They donate gift cards for the Kaneville United Methodist Church’s fundraisers, and do “a little bit of everything,” Alfrey said.

Conley Outreach awarded Paisano’s its Angel Award for Business in 2010, recognizing local donors or sponsors who go above and beyond.

“They step up whenever they’re asked and even when they’re not asked,” Alfrey said.

This year marked the sixth July 4 that Paisano’s donated 65 percent of the day’s receipts to a specific organization. Conley Outreach has been a recipient, as well as the Elburn Lions Club, the American Legion, the Kaneville Fire Department and the Kaneland Sports Boosters.

This year, the Kaneland Parents’ Performing Arts Boosters benefitted from Paisano’s generosity. The parents’ organization raises money to support Kaneland schools’ chorus, band and theatre programs.

Not only did Paisano’s donate a portion of the day’s sales, they invited Boosters Executive Board members to the restaurant that day to inform customers about their organization and what they do.

“Fundraising for kids things is difficult,” Performing Arts Boosters Vice President Trisha Mills said.

Mills explained that students are always bringing home requests for donations for various organizations and events.

“People’s money can only go so far. This (Paisano’s donation) was really huge for us,” she said.

Annette said that she and Dick are on the same page about how Paisano’s can help out in the community. However, while Annette’s focus is more on what organization she can help, she said Dick’s antenna picks up on helping specific individuals with whom he comes in contact.

“He has done this by giving them a short-term loan; giving them a job, even if they have no food experience,” she said. “He has even taken a customer or two he had gotten to know to a doctor’s appointment, when they had no other way to get there. He is quite modest about what he does.”

Theobald has already begun to instill her desire to help in her children, 12-year-old Hannah and 10-year-old Vanessa.

“Hannah already does so many things,” Annette said.

Hannah helps out at the church’s rummage sale, volunteers as a teacher’s assistant at Kaneville United Methodist Church’s Vacation Bible School, and also helped out at the Kaneville Fire Department’s Pancake Breakfast for a few years.

“Different people like to volunteer for different things,” Annette said.

Vanessa, who also helps with the rummage sale, likes to test the donated items, making sure that all the parts are there.

“There are so many things we could do for each other that don’t have to cost anything,” Annette said.

Donating your old eyeglasses to the Lions Club, collecting Campbell Soup labels for the Kaneville Community Center and growing your hair a few extra feet for Locks of Love are just a few examples.

Annette said she also looks through the paper to find events to which she can contribute, as well as find wish lists from various organizations for which she can provide needed items.

“It’s a mindset,” she said.

For Annette, it’s important to choose things to volunteer for that you enjoy. She said that, before you commit yourself to something, you should understand what is involved and how much of a time commitment it is.

“You should also ask yourself, ‘Is it your gift? Is your heart in it?’” she said. “If you don’t enjoy doing it, do something else.”

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