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!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Longer, Slower Course Doesn't Stop Kaneland Momentum

After substantial rains caused the meet to be canceled on Saturday, the course was modified in order to get the meet in. The course got longer, softer, and ultimately slower; but it didn’t dampen the scorching efforts of our Knights.

At the varsity level, Richtman took home second overall with a  new course PR at 15:13. Occhipinti moved up 16 places from ‘16 to net 6th overall in a course PR. Webster earned All Conference honors, placing 15th, with a :17 PR at home. Heiser was :00.4 away from All Conference, placing 19th with a new personal best at KHS. Aidan Lodwig sped to a :29 course PR, in 22nd place. Wielgos ran to 25th to complete our milestone split of 2-6 at :59, and knocking 4 seconds off his best race.  Henry Nosek needed to get his diphtheria shot today, but still managed to earn 29th overall at 17:19.  The runner-up finish for the Varsity puts them in a great position to build momentum for the post season.

When the frosh soph toed the line, they were getting their first glimpse of a talented Yorkville squad and a deep NIBXII. Ethan Walker took home the first ribbon of the day for Kaneland, running a career best 3 mile race at 17:41, for 11th. Dallal was next in the chute at 12th, also running a career PR for three miles. Seth Nosek earned the last ribbon, running 17:55 overall. Ethan Neal demonstrated courage in suffering through cramps, and raced to 19th. Popovich managed a Top 20 performance at 18:13, also running a :30 course PR on the day.  Abruzzo and Fitts raced together throughout, and Tony (24th) had a :29 course PR which Charles (25th) managed a :22 course PR.
The Open team threw down a huge team effort to put 5 runners in the Top 18 overall. Blake Finn cracked the Top 5 in a career best 17:44 for three miles. Petrik came across the line next with a :29 PR at home, as well as a career best time for three miles.  Drew Occhipinti net a 12th place ribbon in a career PR for the distance, as Orczykowski was on his heels 2 seconds later to also net a career best for three miles.

Klingensmith equaled his career best at 18:38, while Aaron Lodwig ran to a new :10 PR in 18:57, good for 22nd.  Scotty Dunne earned a new PR for three miles at 19:07 (25th). Purcell ended his senior year with a PR run on the longer course, improving by :03. Malone paired up with Fountain to run back to back finish places and times at 38 and 39. Running with a teammate is a strong motivator for success. Holder was next in 41st place, earning a 1:06 career PR for three miles. Kyle Konrad was able to put up a new career best at home, running a :13 PR at 20:14. Will Huber knocked down a :20 PR on the home course at 20:22. Girolamo, running for the final time at home in his career also had a PR race on the campus course.

Trevor Sussland had the biggest drop of the day when he smashed a 2:15 career PR for three miles. Kyle Wells followed the lead of his senior teammates by running to a career best at home (:25 better). Jablonski was next to the chute, finishing strong at 21:09. Matt Konrad net a course PR of 22:42, and was just a few seconds off of his career best. Freshman David Brazee smashed his previous best from Freeport to earn a solid 22:50.

Next up, we travel with our full team to Burlington Central for a preview of the Regional course on Thursday at 4:15.

Monday, October 9, 2017

KXC PARENTS: Volunteer Sign Up


Kaneland XC Families, we hope that you will find it in your hearts to volunteer for as many positions as you can this coming Saturday when we host the NIB XII Conference Championships. Our five races will run from 10am until about 12:30pm. It is critical that we get help with key positions on the course as well as at the finish line AFTER we run a smooth performance in the parking lots.

This meet is a great dress rehearsal for the IHSA Sectional which will be hosted on the Kaneland campus on October 28th. We are most hopeful that you will join us again that weekend in similar roles.

If you have questions related to volunteering, please contact Tom and Karen Richtman, whose number is located on the linked document. Additionally, we are in need of early morning help with bus and spectator parking, as well as possible last minute course set up.

Busy weekend ahead! Looking forward to showing how well we run our home meets.

Kaneland Rallies for Byron Handicap Victory

Tonight we came back to Byron, looking to close the gap from a third place performance in 2016. The team caught fire early, when Drew Occhipinti left the line first and didn’t let up until 17:27 later when he won his first individual title in the sport. Klingensmith followed suit, leaving the starting line :20 after Drew, and entering the chute just 11 seconds later.

Surging was the plan all evening, and Popovich was next at the finish, with a season’s best mile pace to go with a fourth place medal. Abruzzo followed in next at a converted 17:12 time for 6th, and a new season’s best mile pace.  Orczykowski closed team scoring at 8th place, and sub 18:00 pace, followed immediately by Petrik who converted to 16:56.  Dallal earned the last of our varsity medals when he raced in 11th place, just 7 seconds after Petrik.

Blake Finn raced to a season’s best mile pace as well, just short of a medal at 17th overall, but improved 1:09 from ‘16. Seth Nosek was next in the chute with a time of 16:38 converted to PR by 1:14 on the course.  Walker capped our night’s varsity races by passing 20 runners on his way to a 17:05 overall time at 28th place.

Orczykowski and Petrik tied with :47 improvements from 2016, while Abruzzo took off :15 and Klingensmith another :22. The challenge was laid out ahead of the race where runners know there’s more to race for this season in earning a roster spot on the Top 12. Continuing to push for that roster makes our entire team better. Keep putting up your own strong numbers. It makes a roster decision extremely difficult for coaches, but on the whole it also makes our program that much tougher.

When the sun was setting in beautiful colors of orange and purple, the open was nearly all black and white. Charles Fitts took the individual title with a season PR on mile pace, winning in 17:33. Aaron Lodwig was runner up, just :13 behind, followed :05 later by Dunne who improved by :59 over his 2016 race. Ben Purcell raced into the finish just two seconds later, for 4th, in PR time at Byron. Fountain was right behind Ben for a 5th place medal, racing in PR mile pace time.

Parker Malone turned in a sixth place performance, earning a medal at 18:37. Senior Kyle Konrad FINALLY got to race at Byron after four years sidelined by injury, and he net a 7th place medal in season’s best time. Kyle Wells earned his own medal in 8, and setting a new standard of excellence for the season at 6:40 mile pace.

Jack Holder improved 1:10 on the night, racing to 6:46 mile pace in the process. Sussland landed a Top 10 medal with a huge PR for mile pace, finishing in 19:50. Jablonski was next to the finish, without his spikes but in 12th position.  Matt Konrad ran a peak race with PR mile pace, coming in 13th overall.  David Brazee improved his mile pace by :50 and is really in a groove. What a huge time drop in mile pace!

Overall, there were so many highlights, but the best may have come after the race when a woman working the finish chute took a moment to speak with the coaches. She was not only impressed with the way the team ran, but she was most pleased by the genuinely good manners and respect that she was shown by all of our finishers.

What you do, how you represent your school, your team, and your family, speaks volumes when you may not even know it. While we took home many awards for great races, the fact that you left a lasting impression on a meet official who sees “Kaneland XC” in this light is a great victory for our program.

We are always proud of you boys, for the competitors you are, and how you go back at the finish to be good sports and shake hands with your peers from other schools. Always remember to C.A.R.E. about what you do, and to give your best attitude and effort; just like you did tonight.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Pretzel Invite Champs at Both Levels

There comes a “turning point” in a season where a team gels and starts momentum toward something big. Today’s efforts could make for a strong October, if we can remain healthy and work to improve ourselves at both levels.

Richtman blazed to a 14:42 on the revamped Freeport course, earning a :39 individual win. His time was a “short course” PR as well. Occhipinti  grabbed another pretzel and a :31 improvement from ‘16. Webster ran a career best 15:46, avenging a loss from sophomore year. Being :04 off of Daniel’s time is huge for us.

Heiser and Wielgos (8th, 10th) teamed up to smash their PR’s by :47 and :15 respectively, and completed our  1-5 split at :81. Aidan Lodwig ran :33 better to finish 12th overall at 16:15, and completing our milestone time of :33 between 2-6 runners. Nosek earned a Top 20 medal with a 15th place finish and a course PR.

Finn established a career best on the day when he finished in 16:57, while Petrik annihilated his PR pace and time when he chopped :33 off his ‘16 performance. Orczykowski ran a :46 PR from ‘16, finishing 29th overall. Klingensmith improved :25, with a time of 17:57, and first year senior Drew Occhipinti met his PR pace of the season with a stellar 18:07.  Hero of the 2016 trophy team performance, Ben Purcell rallied late to finish in 18:44, and was followed a minute later by a wave of Knights.  

Kyle Konrad raced to a season’s  PR pace at 65th place, with Wells on his heels in the same record fashion. Girolamo lit up the course in his new spikes and continues to improve in his final campaign. All three seniors have been working to get back in the lineup and have led by example the entire time. Pay attention!  Matt Konrad completed the HoCo day run in a season’s best time of 22:29.

Frosh soph runners completed a “whitewash” which is a term used in cross country scoring when you place 1-5 first in a scored meet. Minus the Eastland and Jefferson runners who finished 2nd/6th, but not on full scoring teams, the Knights grabbed 4 pretzels and a 15 point performance. Ethan Neal raced to an individual title in 16:27. Seth Nosek beat his ‘16 time by :80 while Walker and Dallal earned their first taste of Pretzel, finishing :02 apart. Popovich completed the team scoring with a seventh place effort, to complete our scoring at :61. 

Abruzzo kicked in :05 later to net a 9th place medal and a :35 improvement from 2016. Aaron Lodwig (12th) was next in at 17:42, with a season’s best mile pace. Fitts (13th) got in under 18:00 for a medal, and Dunne grabbed the last award in 20th place, just :01 ahead of Malone who crushed his season’s best mile pace by :12.  Huber set a new standard of excellence with 6:32 mile pace, while Sussland obliterated his best mile pace by :41! That’s an enormous improvement, Trevor. Way to go!Brazee and Woods also raced to season’s best mile paces, running together for the finish.

There’s reason to be excited, but yet we cannot be satisfied or complacent with our team performance. We must continue to tighten up the gaps between scorers and our pushers. This meet gave us a different “feel” in running out in front. There’s a little less pressure, and a lot more fun on days like this; but they are rare. The real work begins on Monday. October is finally here; the best time of the year. 

Don’t stop now, boys!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Kaneland Rocks the River Run with Two Trophies, 10 Medals

The team looked much sharper and mentally prepared to compete, and the results were outstanding. The varsity pack surged forward through the second and third miles to earn a second place trophy on the power of a :29 split (2-5).  Richtman started our scoring with a solid runner up effort against an elite foe, burning up his own home course. Races like these become fuel for future work.

Daniel Occhipinti surged from the mid 20’s at the mile mark to nearly net a top 10 finish (11th, 16:28). Webster was engaged the whole way and could see Daniel throughout, sprinting in 10 seconds later. Aidan Lodwig ran a :40 course PR to finish as our 4, and Heiser improved :14 from conference last fall on the same course to complete our score.

Wielgos passed up 39 scorers from other teams, and Henry Nosek pushed 37 to boost our score. Finn was next in the chute with a new course PR, slicing off :50. Orczykowski was next to crack off a PR at Sterling, racing :19 better. Petrik was the last of the group to PR for the course when he crossed just 2 seconds later at 18:13.

Drew Occhipinti looked amazing again, battling the heat and other runners to complete the day in 18:43.  Klingensmith was next at the finish in 18:56, nearly in the top half of all finishers. Richies Tiv ran his first XC race of his career and nearly broke into the 18’s! He had one of the best kicks of the day, in at 19:17.  Wells rallied late despite asthma troubles, but still knocked down 7:00 pace.

Kyle Konrad and CJ Girolamo ran in tandem for much of the way, with KK getting a final surge at the end for a :09 edge over his running buddy. Matt Konrad blew away his Peoria PR by more than a minute when he crossed at 22:37. Jablonski overcame a rolling of the ankle in the first 400 meters to complete the day at 22:56.

On the Frosh side, the team benefited from running a shorter version of the course at 2 miles. Ethan Neale managed another runner up finish for the team, clocking in at 11:08. Just :19 later, Dallal joined him at the chute, good for 7th with Seth Nosek :03 back for 9th. Walker was next, in 14th overall, and :06 behind Nosek. Popovich earned a medal and finished our team scoring when he crossed the line at 11:51, good for 26th overall.

Aidan Lodwig had his best run of the season when he finished at 12:03. Abruzzo was next over the mats, :18 after to push 32 other scoring runner totals up. Fountain was next in, just :02 later, followed immediately by Malone and Fitts, putting four diamond jerseys in the chute over a span of just :04.

Huber ran PR pace at 6:20, where Holder did the same at 13:45, landing in the top 2/3. Brazee finished this hot day with a new standard of  awesomeness with his best mile pace yet. Woods rocked an 8:42 mile pace to end the day for our Knights. 

We have not yet met our most recent milestones, but we are gaining ground. Remember that you fought three miles to get to those blue mats at the finish line. NEVER GIVE UP on a race, and never quit ahead of the mats. You fought the entire way; so never allow another runner to take a point from you which you earned the whole way through. Even when you are not a scoring runner, you are still striving to make a difference in the milestones, the team scoring, and in the process of establishing your own brand of excellence.

Stick with it. You are doing many things well right now, including focusing on the positives, rallying around one another for support, and making an impact at meets. Believe in yourselves. The hard work from Peak Week paid off. However, you are not close to the finish and must continue to make strides toward getting better as a team.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Pair of 5th Place Finishes from Box 5 at Eddington

On a somewhat steamy morning of racing, our boys found “the pack” as a means of heating up the course and making history in the process. Matt Richtman surged to victory, using a new approach as front-runner from the gun. His victory was three seconds faster than his time last fall, in warmer conditions.

Behind Richtman, it was Daniel Occhipinti who passed twelve runners from the mile mark to net 27th place and earn a new course PR at 16:35. Peyton Heiser took “the edge” with the chase pack and finished just 26 seconds off of Occhipinti’s pace, :20 better than 2016. Sam Webster was on his heels at the chute, just two places and 00.3 back. Wielgos net a new course PR 4 seconds later at 17:04, to complete our scoring and help the team to a fifth place finish.

Henry Nosek joined in the fun by finishing as our sixth runner, and pushing the scores of  40 other scoring runners. Aidan Lodwig also did damage to the other scoring teams by netting a course PR and pushing 35 scoring runner totals up.

The frosh soph crew loaded Box 5 with their full arsenal. Neal fought dehydration and cramping to grind out an 8th place finish. Seth Nosek locked down at Top 20 performance with a :45 course PR time. Dallal moved up to 24th, with a time of 18:12.  Ethan Walker just missed a ribbon at 37th, in 18:30, but served as an excellent target for Popovich who was in next at 39th overall to complete our score.

Fitts was in the chute next as a strong 6th runner, defeating 56 other scorers from teams in the race. Abruzzo crossed the line 5 seconds later, pushing 55 more runner’s totals, and netting a 1:20 PR at home.

Parker Malone set a career best time in the heat, running :57 faster than at Detweiller last weekend. No one improved more than that, from last week. Dunne was 1:02 faster than ‘16, in PR time and just two places ahead of Aaron Lodwig who set his best course standard at 19:54. Huber also set his new 3 mile best, finishing in 20:42.

Jack Holder managed the biggest drop of the day by  dropping 2:10 off his ‘16 Eddington performance.  Sussland followed with a new course best to beat, at 24:05.  Woods was within :04 of his ‘16 Eddington performance, and will get two more reps on the home course with conference and the new Knight Run in October.

Unfortunately, the FS race was our last of the day as the heat took too many runners to the trainer or ER. The great value of hydration was on display as the ambulances left the campus. We net a pair of trophies on the day, and some critical lessons regarding meet preparation. We’ll be much sharper this weekend without the distractions of hosting a meet and adding extra time on our feet on Friday night. Get ready for a big week! It's "Peak Week!"

KXC Parent Feedback Solicited for Hosting Upcoming Meets

KXC Families , thank you for using THIS LINK to share observations and insight to help make our upcoming meets in October the best they can be for our athletes and those others we serve by hosting.

Each of the ideas on the document will be reviewed, and the coaching staff will work with our Meet Manager to develop a system which allows for even greater communication, support, and service to our cross country community.

As always, thank you for your continued support of the program and our Athletics program at Kaneland. "It takes a village..."