Welcome to Kaneland Cross Country!

The purpose of this blogsite is to allow full access to the team, practices, history, and future events. Please check back with this blog throughout the summer and fall for new updates on the team. Feel free to share it with friends and family who follow the program!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Camp Canceled for 6/16

Due to a slow moving line of rainfall with yellow on the radar, we are going to cancel the camp this morning. Please get your summer running in for Friday and this weekend as prescribed on the calendar. We will see you at Waubonsee on Monday. Have a great weekend!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

To Our Boys Going to Prom

Dear Boys,

You're about to head out for your junior/senior prom, and some of you believe the hardest part was asking your date. There's so much more to this. Get ready.

Yes, you were inspired to think of the prettiest, classiest, "top tier," most "knock-out gorgeous" young lady you knew and then ask her to the prom. And you succeeded. It's only fair to fill you in on three of the many reasons, and now ultimate responsibilities, that you have in this date you're going on tonight.

1. The goal of asking this perfectly awesome young lady to a very memorable and special dinner and dance was to get you and your teammates out of a comfort zone you've long been in. Your circle of close friends from the team just doubled when you complete this date. You have succeeded in this first task admirably and with some well thought out creativity. But you're not done. In fact, all you've done is enter the race.

2. This is a tremendous test of your skill, agility, ability, and understanding of how to be a gentleman. Of all the things you already know, have been taught, seen modeled by the best of parents and family, this is your chance to showcase your current levels of chivalry. After all, you are KNIGHTS.

What is chivalry?  In a nutshell, it is the combination of qualities expected of an ideal KNIGHT, especially courage, honor, courtesy, justice, and readiness to help those in need.

Courage:  You have demonstrated the courage to ask such a phenomenal young lady to this dance.

Honor: Her family, as well as yours, expects you to treat this young lady like the most special beauty on earth.   Allow her to be herself fully by being on your best of behaviors.

Courtesy:  Everything you do has her best interests in mind. Holding and opening doors. Waiting for her to start eating. Offering a coat, handkerchief, arm, or seat are always general courtesies you should extend to your date.

Justice:  Remember that no father of your date has any problem with dispensing justice should you not be the KNIGHT we know you really are.

Readiness to Help Others:  Your "wing-men" on this mission are your teammates. Keep them close, but not so close that people would think your teammate was your date instead of the lovely lady you invited.  And when it's time to dance, you WILL get up and dance with your date and the team.

3. When you go with your "pack," apply the Geese Lessons during cross country season: give powerful encouragement and compliments, stick together, call your teammate (including your date!) up to stay in the pack, and keep your pack together. Include everyone from your team. Leave no runner, or date, behind.

In addition to these few reasons why prom was a good motivator for you, please accept these experiences and thoughts in mind as you go about your remaining hours of "prom weekend:"

a. You continue to represent our cross country and track programs when you wear the tux. You are a KNIGHT 24/7, act with chivalry the entire time.

b. When it's time for pictures, smile for 95% of them, and behave. The other 5%, be goofy. You're kids.

c.  When you eat dinner, remember that THIS is NOT a race! Use the napkin, slow down, chew with  your mouth closed and only speak after you've swallowed.  Act with class and grace.

d.  When your date needs something, be the first to respond and help. Check in with your date and ask if she needs anything. Work according to your good judgment and intuition.

e.  When it's time to dance, get off your butt and go see this as a workout. You're not afraid to lift in front of girls in the weight room. You have no problem running in short-shorts without a shirt on (off campus, of course) in public. Go watch and learn quickly, listen to the music, sing along to the music, and enjoy the dance itself.  YOU CANNOT POSSIBLY BE A WORSE DANCER THAN COACH CLAREY, so go take that next risk and have fun. Same pack fundamentals as running. Go together, stick together, dance together (dates included, of course!), and have fun together.  You will regret sitting out, when you want to be in the lineup. The lineup is on the floor. Go dance like you compete.

f. When the dance is over, and you're nearing the end of your night, just like a race, you need to finish strong. Make good choices. Be in the right place at the right time with the right people, doing the right things.  Remember that not only is this your prom, but it's HER PROM. Be the gentleman she will be proud to have called her date, 100% of the way.

This prom will be an amazing experience for you. This is the start of new, bigger things, exciting things.  Most of all, this is an opportunity to test yourself and be great. In life, there are many memorable moments. Make this a great time with your date, with your teammates, with your family and friends.

We've long said that there will always be better runners, but never a better team. Be a great teammate, be a great date, be a KNIGHT.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Richtman Runs to 4th at State Finals; Fastest Knight in History

Junior harrier Matt Richtman joined some elite company on the podium at Detweiller Park when he crossed the finish line in 14:36.  Richtman surged into the top pack through the first mile, with sights set on the Aho twins from Grayslake Central. Running through the mile mark in 7th, the lead pack began to shake off challengers. Matt utilized his surges well through the "triangle," before emerging and racing through the two mile mark in 9:38 (which bettered his fastest 3200 time on the track in the spring). He continued to pull away from the pack, and used his newest asset to racing, a relentless finish, to seal a fourth place effort in front of thousands of cross country fans.

Matt earned his second All State medal in the sport, after finishing 18th as a sophomore in 2015. His time of 15:04 broke Conor Johnson's previous program best (15:18, in 2012).

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Deep NIB XII Conference Field Pushes Knights to Fifth Place Finish


The landscape of Illinois XC has never been deeper in our conference than it is this year. Yorkville had never lost a NIB XII team title in the conference’s existence, and today was beaten by #6 Sycamore and #7 Sterling. Throw in a vastly improved DeKalb team, and #24 L-P, and we’ve got our hands full.

Matt Richtman became our first individual conference champion since 1999, when Henry Norris won the Suburban Prairie Conference crown at Elburn Woods. He was knotted up with two elite All State athletes, and surged to victory in the final 125 meters, just like he practices on Fridays. He became a sprinter.

Occhipinti joined our varsity lineup and immediately made his presence felt by surging into all conference contention. At the finish, he was on PR pace at 16:24 and 22nd overall.  Webster tried chasing that white jersey throughout and completed his run 12 seconds later for 29th place. Kantola raced to the chute four places later at 16:51, and Henry Nosek was 36th as our last scoring runner in 17:03 following an adjusted week of practices due to injury. Peyton Heiser kept Nosek in his sights the whole way and ended the day with a career PR in 17:11. Purcell earned another spot start in the varsity race and finished 61st overall in this loaded field of teams. Thanks, Ben for stepping in.

In the frosh soph race, Lodwig made good on a new PR at 17:30 which locked down 4th overall. Drake Nemec was the other award winner on the day in this level, earning 16th with a PR effort of 18:07. The next pack of checkerboarded Knights finished in a flash, with Petrik at 18:24, Seth Nosek right after at 18:26, and then Orczykowski at 18:30. The pack was able to manage a :60 split on the day, a season’s best. Klingensmith ran a :15 PR on the three mile course, and Riedel raced to 33rd overall, despite being under the weather.

When the Open took charge a few minutes following, we had new award winners and PR breakers on the course. Abruzzo and teammates settled into a pack through the first mile and demonstrated exactly what we needed to see from the whole team on the day. Feeding off of the energy of those they raced with then passed, Tony kept charging forward to a 7th place ribbon, and a 1:44 PR from Eddington.

Girolamo made a great push toward the front and net a 9th place ribbon. Finn was just two places behind for a ribbon and a new three mile PR at 18:48. Scotty Dunne also raced ahead from the pack and earned a 1:19 PR. Messina and Konrad pushed into the top half of all open runners, in 22nd and 23rd place. Good to have Kyle in the lineup again! Jablonski was able to break his previous best, running 20:52. Giant improvements from Eddington times came from Holder (2:51 PR), Patrick (2:29 PR) and Woods (1:06 PR). 

When you are actively racing those around you, surging and passing, then great things happen and times drop. (more team details will be shared 


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Old School Cross Country Finishes Teach Team Valuable Lesson at Byron

There are lessons learned in every race, if you look for them. Byron’s handicap race allowed for our team depth to shine, and taught us how every place and split second matters.

Fresh off a team trophy performance in Freeport which was won by our sixth runner, we were narrowly beaten by Rock Falls. History repeated itself tonight, as RF got past us by a single point again, with exciting finishes making the difference in team tally.  The narrow "old school" chute opening between padded posts was used, instead of the 15 foot wide line, and it made for some exciting finishes.

Richtman sped to a new Kaneland best on the 2.87 mile course when he ran 14:45. This was 29 seconds faster than our previous best of 15:14 by All Stater Matt Reusche in 2009.

Orczykowski held his ground after a :20 delay to earn 8th. He was on the heels of a Richmond-Burton pack of seniors who earned the team title with five in the Top 10, and a :21 split for the day.  Occhipinti found the chute as our third runner, finishing 11th after being delayed 2:40 at the start.
Things started to get exciting a few runners later when senior Anthony Messina made a Rock Falls runner his “hunted” and was relentless to the chute, crashing into pads and earning a hard fought medal and 1 point edge at 14th.  Next, Wielgos chased in a pack of three scoring RF Rockets and with .6 seconds the difference between he and their #5 at 18th place. (52-53, RF)

RF wasn’t done, as they avenged the close finish by Messina in taking back a pad crashing place. Purcell was surprised at the chute by another aggressive Rocket runner who came charging past in the very last second. Bodies spilled on the grass in this fun, old-school finish. Ben earned 21st place overall, and showed great fortitude in the process. 

Our next set of finishers all made great use of the pack mentality we try to bring to our races. Patrick Riedel nabbed a 24th place medal in 19:03. He kept Petrik close to him on the course by putting up “targets” and encouragement. Petrik came in one second later to earn the final Varsity medal of the day. Lodwig joined them at the chute in 19:06, and raced 2:00 faster for his overall time (17:06). Sophomore Drake Nemec battled hard despite not feeling well, and defeated half of the talented field for 31st place overall.

When the tallies for scores are complete in the remaining races we will run, it will come down to a scant few points. It doesn’t matter if you are the #1 or the #6, you’re going to have to beat every last man within two seconds of you for the chance to advance. We practice finishes for a reason, boys. We need to take every advantage of points left at the chute so that we can move forward. We earned a trophy in Freeport. We learned a lesson in Byron. Never get beat at the chute. Never give up.

Klingensmith picked up where he left off in ’15. He set a :74 PR on the course and won the Open. Abruzzo had a blistering kick to the line :06 later for 2nd overall. Seth Nosek enjoyed some help from his brother during the race to net 3rd in 17:52, and Finn was right on his heels for 4th at 17:54. Just :14 separated our front four in this race.

Girolamo completed our pack scoring and split at :41 when he crossed the line in 7th. Scotty Dunne also looked strong (and smiling) as he raced through the finish in 9th for a medal. Jablonski took home the final medal of the day in 15th with a 2:40 PR on the hilly course.  Holder was next in at 16th and 20:37, stringing consecutive strong finishes together.  Arty Patrick used the RF runner for motivation through the final mile of the course to run 18th in 21:31.

Our remaining pack rallied with Woods to bring home our final five runners in :02 for 21st to 25th place. That Varsity pack will need to continue to pick up steam in the remaining races, and finish in a similar manner. While we work to close the gap between 1-2, our greatest strength will be the small spacing between our 2-7. This crew must work it’s way up to run with the #3s, 4s and 5s of those teams we are trying to catch.

Just like the “goose” lessons on our sheets from earlier in the year, there will be a great need to “fly” together. Every single point will count at the end.


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Knights Steal Second Off Efforts of Our Sixth

Saturday’s meet in Freeport was very exciting, led by the gritty efforts of our seniors. In the closest team finish in meet history, Rock Falls narrowly beat the Knights by just a point (60-61). However, Kaneland tied Belvidere for second, and took home the hardware on the efforts of our sixth runner.

Andrew Kantola had a break-out performance to lead the Knights with a 6th place PR run. Henry Nosek was just :12 back in 16:26, and a course PR. Webster surged through the final mile to finish 14th, and Heiser was just :04 back as our #4.

Senior Noah Duffey fought stomach issues and hip pain to grind out a top 30 finish, which would be just enough to catch Belvidere. Ben Purcell came back to the lineup from injury to set a course PR and finished four places ahead of the Belvidere #6, which earned us the trophy for XC’s only tie-breaking rule.

Anthony Messina continues to lead by example on and off the course, and he was able to notch an inspired 52nd place in 18:39. In CJ Girolamo’s first race back to the lineup, he raced to 56th. Both of these young men demonstrate courage and perseverance daily. Kyle Konrad also got back from injury to compete on the Freeport course for the first time, running 6:30 mile pace. While the health of the varsity group has been shaky at best, their tremendous will to compete made carrying the team trophy home that much more sweet.

On the frosh soph side, the team was looking for its first team title of 2016. They more than earned it with three pretzels and four in the Top 10.  Daniel Occhipinti burned up the course with a 16:12, our fastest team time of the day. Wielgos gave great chase throughout, taking second in 16:18, a :49 improvement from ‘15. Lodwig earned the last pretzel in 5th, besting his 2015 time by 1:21. Nemec is on a roll and feeling good, today earning a 10th place finish while practicing what we preach in races by keeping Petrik close throughout.  Petrik willed himself to an ACC/Freeport PR time of 17:38 as our #5.

Riedel earned an individual medal in 17th, and Seth Nosek took home one of his own with a grueling and inspired 18:02 PR. Watching Seth compete and push his own limits is worth the price of admission. Abruzzo smashed his ACC time by :56 for 21st overall. Orczykowski (-:45) and Klingensmith (-1:21) each set course PRs.

Finn and Dunne both beat their ACC times on this longer, hillier course. Each runner continues to develop and grow as we race more.  Jablonski beat his 2015 time by 1:11 to finish 44th. Holder and Patrick were within a few seconds of their ACC times, and they continue to show both the mental and physical toughness which this sport requires. Woods capped another great day by surging often through final two miles to run just one second off his ACC PR pace.

While we have some work to do, and some bodies to get healthy, this was a very positive day for our program.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Nosek Leads Charge at Charger Classic


The will to compete is growing infectious. There’s beginning to be a little more life in our packs, and in our approach to this season. Led by an inspiring effort from the frosh soph team, the rest of the races included some very promising results to build upon.

Our frosh soph team started the day by packing up, and placing all seven runners in the top 43. Occhipinti nearly broke into the 15s with a stellar 16:02 to net 4th overall. Wielgos joined him in the chute just 5 places later for a PR effort. Lodwig improved 1:35 from ’15 to move up to 15th overall.  Nemec had one of the strongest efforts of the day, capturing 32nd and a 1:29 improvement. Petrik and Riedel sprinted into the chute together with matching 17:44s. Orczykowski completed our day ahead of 106 other runners, and a 1:41 improvement to earn 43rd place.  In team scoring, we narrowly beat Burlington Central, who also ran their young guns down, by a 93-98 margin. This was our highest finish for FS at the Charger Classic.

The Varsity took to the course next, and despite many aches and pains from a very tough “peak week,” the team notched multiple PR performances.

Richtman raced to the fastest time ever by a Knight on this course when he crossed the line at 14:44. His Top 10 finished bettered his time from ‘15 by :25. Also improving were Henry Nosek and Sam Webster, each clocking their first ever times in the 15s. Nosek sprinted to 15:51, and Webster at 15:58 to finish in the Top 50 of an elite field. Kantola improved by :71 from last fall, and set a new course best. Heiser rounded out our scoring runners on the heels of BC’s #4 with a new :41 PR on the course.

Duffey was able to compete on the ACC course for the first time and is continuing to improve, inching closer to old form. Messina and Crimmins each had their PR mile paces for the season today, each with strong finishes into the chute.

Our Open crew did a phenomenal job in the largest field of the day. The top 5 scoring runners were just :71 apart, and smashed the 2015’s Open team time by 1:55.  Klingensmith improved by 1:46 from last year to finish 37th. Seth Nosek came to the chute at 18:17 with a PR mile pace. Blake Finn arrived :10 later, good for 49th overall. 

Abruzzo also set a season’s best for mile pace, crossing at 19:04. Dunne completed scoring by outleaning Jablonski at the line, good for 19:20. Holder and Patrick improved mile paces by more than :20 this week, longing stronger by the week. Woods smashed his mile pace by :53 and is making huge gains each week. Great day of PRs!