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!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Frosh Soph team finishes 6th, Varsity 9th at Charger Classic

The long weeks of conditioning, and the loaded menu of workouts have taken their toll. Our Knight packs looked thin, and a bit sluggish at Oakhurst Forest Preserve this weekend. We had a recent conversation as  a team about how the season resembles charging up  and down a huge hill. When you get to the peak, you’re pretty exhausted, but as you start going down the other side, you’re going to pick up momentum. Prepare to do this, starting this week.

The core of leadership that comes from our varsity roster once again gave their last ounces of effort on the course. Reger, Kuipers, Walker and Kurz have been mainstays in the lineup all season. Their dedication and  organization of the team are perfect examples to mirror. Joining in this week were Kintz and Lesak, running their first meets of the season with controlled race plans. Kintz began his run with a 2 second delay, prescribed and explained well by Coach Mordini. Once he started passing, he never really took the foot off the gas pedal. In his first ever cross country race, he finished 22nd in 16:16. 

Running to a course PR, were Reger (:29 faster than 2013), Kuipers (:58 better), and Walker who was :40 faster than his career best when he last ran ACC in ‘12. Kurz put on a strong kick to finish as our fifth runner this week, notching one of his fastest mile paces of the season. Andrew Lesak joined our ranks again and executed his race plan perfectly. Each week is a stepping stone to something bigger, and we are elated that he is courageously working to win his “Battle of 6.” Gale equaled his PR at ACC, and Nick Moses ran his fastest race pace of the season on the smooth flat course.

The frosh soph squad used the delayed start to collectively pass over 500 runners. The 6th place finish came with Top 30 finishes from Kantola, Messina and Webster. Kantola improved his ‘13 time by 2:25! Messina notched a new PR for the course, running :80 faster. Season’s best mile paces also came from Nosek, Girolamo and Wojak. Wells finished in the top 2/3 to help push for the team. 6th place was also the highest finish by a frosh soph team at the Charger Classic, since we began going to the meet in 2011.

As the temperatures rose, it became more challenging to set new PR’s for mile pace. Peyton Heiser managed his PR pace for the season, finishing the Open in 63rd place. Wilk and Kasap each ran their fastest times of the season, and O’Sullivan is getting stronger each week.  While it was a long wait, to finally get to the Open, we need to do a better job of getting up and moving around. Tired bodies lying all over camp for 90 minutes is never a promising sign. We'll work on that.  The fatigue was evident, but we are going to get fresher, faster, and a full lineup soon. Be prepared to focus at a much higher level in Freeport, as there are team trophies within our reach.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

KXC Families Show True Colors - "Neon Green Team"

In addition to being able to boast good times on our new course, it is especially noteworthy to reflect upon the huge endeavor that we just finished off as a family. The Larry Eddington Invitational was a tremendous success because of the hard work of a multitude of entities, most notably the “Neon Green Team” of KXC parents who helped us pull of the single largest sporting event in KHS history. 

With more than 1300 athletes from 25 (each) boys and girls teams, we were able to set a new standard of excellence. The coaches and fans had rave reviews for the way our new course ran so efficiently, and with greater chances to view the field of elite runners. Our deepest thanks and admiration from the coaching staff for your selfless acts of meeting on Friday and carrying out roles so beautifully on Saturday. 

Some of you may have noticed there were some different faces in the mix of parents who came out to assist with the meet.  When in need, our extended KXC Family came back to help ensure the level of excellence that our school is known for, with regard to hosting meets and invitationals, remained intact.  There were a handful of  (not too) "old school" KXC parents who came back to assist with a meet they reflect very fondly upon. You can see why Eddington is our Homecoming of sorts.

We appreciate every ounce of your effort to help with shirts, turns, bus parking, and every other job we offered. It would be impossible for us to carry this meet out at the level of excellence demonstrated on Saturday, were it not for our KXC Family. We are all truly blessed, and the coaching staff and administration are very thankful for you sharing of time and talent.

Elite Eddington Field Pulls Veterans to New PR's, FS Boys Highest Finish Since 2010

It was quite a day for  our first Eddington Invite held on the KHS campus. Never before have we hosted an athletic event with so many competitors, in any sport (1300+).

Our varsity team had its collective hands full with the #10 ranked 3A team taking the title, and three other Top 10 ranked 2A programs landing in the top 5.

Granted our placement was mid pack, with such a large and talented field, but our times were most notable. It appears that our course runs about 30 seconds slower than Detweiller. So anyone who raced within 30 seconds of their Peoria time actually had an even better race than a week ago.

The front six varsity runners managed career PR’s on the well groomed course. Park made the top 50 in the field at 16:52. Reger was right at :30 as compared to Detweiller. Spaetzel battled through illness again, putting the team before himself with his effort. Will Kuipers and James Walker ran a dead heat at PR times of 17:47, James a full 1:06 better than his previous KHS best. They also completed the pack scoring and split of under :60, ever a goal for KXC.  French actually ran 7 seconds FASTER than he did in Peoria, so marked improvement there! Kurz also was faster than Peoria, based on the :30 difference. Only Park and Spaetzel have had more than two reps of Varsity experience beyond this season. We're doing a terrific job filling many vacancies this year. Really proud of you all. 

Frosh Soph runners managed a team trophy and best finish since 2010. Richtman blew the lead open late, winning by :23. Kantola ran 1:40 better than his career best on the KHS course, and landed a top 20 finish. A pack of Knights completed scoring with Messina (netting a new career PR at KHS by :72!) rallying late, and Webster + Nosek within :06 of Anthony. Great pack at the end. The FS team beat Belvidere North today, a team that defeated us by 65 points at the Sycamore Invite just a few weeks back. Just as they will fortify their varsity with young talent, so must our team continue to push their pack forward toward varsity. This competition is what drives a team to improve. When we become complacent with just holding "our spot," the team's growth suffers. Younger runners should continue to push and challenge the veterans as often as possible, because it's what makes our program better, and the results will show (be patient).

Girolamo was just :01 from a new career PR for 3 miles. Nosek was :03 away, and Grant Wilk and Peyton Heiser each established new career PRs with sensational runs at home. Cole Rutter had a huge day, running a 4:05 PR for 3 miles. Great work, FS boys. Seeing that Wojak, Wells, Heiser and Wilk were only :08 apart demonstrates the kind of pack mentality that we are looking for. When we race side by side with a teammate or at the front of a pack, we can use a different "energy" that the pack provides. When you train, try to lead a pack. You'll see the difference it makes.  We have some aches to take care of at every level, including with our young guns of FS.  Do the stretching, the ice therapy, and even the morning runs. It makes a difference! 

In the Open, Nick Moses showed he was equal in strength to Peoria, running the :30 differential.  Josh Kasap was just :06 short of his Peoria time, and continues to improve. Kyle Osborne set a new course PR also, better by :07. His sportsmanship at the finish demonstrates the kind of leadership that earns the respect we get from other teams.  Ben Smith is another runner who continue to battle the rigorous pain and toil that IS cross country. The way he, and Austin Parks have brought their wrestler's mentality and competitive drive are excellent examples for us all to follow. You must continue to fight through that pain, and never give up. Gingrich, Wolfe, Piazza, continue to believe in yourselves. This sport is very demanding, but you have all demonstrated great levels of growth with learning the sport. Keep at it and give it your all. You reap what you put into it, so keep at it. We believe our best races are yet to come for us, Knights. Believe your hard work will pay off. We do.

KXC on the Morning News?

The Kuipers Family is inviting all KXC Runners to come EARLY in the morning for some time on TV. The family farm is hosting the CBS Morning News for a few 'spots' and they'd love for our boys (and girls) to come get interviewed and participate in the fun.

Please contact Kim Kuipers (815-791-1750) for details. Boys, contact Will and he will give you the plan. IF you join in, don't forget to wear your Kaneland Cross Country gear (that Spirit order should be in very soon, btw), and promote our Zombie Run on October 10th!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

9/19 Meeting: Eddington Invite Arrives With Plenty of Need for Volunteers

     Friday evening is our next big event for our parents. Those who signed up to help with the Eddington Invitational should plan to join Coach Clarey on Friday evening at 5:40pm. We will spend roughly 20 minutes talking about the necessary roles and responsibilities for Saturday morning’s dress rehearsal of the Sectional (the Eddington Invitational is that dress rehearsal).
     We will be utilizing the voices and organized presence of our KXC Families, to help direct traffic flow of both buses and runners.  We’ve ordered some green shirts to highlight our workers, so those who make it Friday will have first crack at them. There have been a few additional offers to help, and we’ll turn none away. Knowing our new course will be important, and teaming up to share the different responsibilities will be both necessary and fun. Getting to know the other KXC families is just one more part of this whole experience that makes this more than a team.
     Those who cannot make it on Friday at 5:40pm are welcome to arrive at 7:45am on Saturday to pick up remaining roles still available. During your son’s race, it is our goal to have another parent available to cover while you cheer. Thank you in advance for your help and support this week!

Knights Race to 14th in Class 2A Field at Detweiller/First to the Finish

     Bringing a roster to Detweiller, which only 10 of the 30 checker-boarded Knights competed last fall in Peoria,  mattered little. The 2013 team combined to run 82:18 with their Top 5, minus Carter. This year’s crew ran 82:15, without Lesak, Kintz or Murri. The collective core of this team is just getting started. Our charge to the “Finish” was a complete team performance.

     Richtman continues to prove that he’s up to the challenge of racing at any level, and posted the fastest time ever by a KHS freshman on the State Finals course (16:01). He was backed up by career best times from his supporting cast of scorers: Brandon Park (16:16), Sean Spaetzel (16:23) both of whom bettered their 2013 State Finals times. Also scoring with PR’s included Reger (16:33) and Kuipers (17:02). Sophomores Kantola and Messina  record breaking efforts sandwiched a 1:18 improvement from senior James Walker.

     Webster and French ran a dead heat at 18:11, with Gale, Nosek and Kurz finishing in a pack spread by just 7 seconds. The effort put forth to pack up was obvious by the pairs and groups of three that raced through the field. Austin Parks improved his best 3 mile by a minute, with Girolamo, Nance and Wells just 4 seconds apart.
Smith and Purcell fought all the way to the finish with matching times of 19:55. Wojak and Moses were 2 seconds apart, with Heiser 1:30 faster than Tuesday at the Woods. O’Sullivan, Wilk, Wolfe and Gingrich were all under a minute apart, and they looked like experts running the pack through mile 1. Kasap improved his time by nearly 4 minutes, and looked very strong in the process. Ian Piazza bettered his mile pace by :48 to establish a new PR.

     On the day, the team amassed 26 Personal Records, and demonstrated why the mental imagery that we use on Fridays is such a valuable tool. To see the team scaling the right sideline along the main path up toward the chute through loops 1 and 2, passing all day long, and charging up the finish, driving their knees, pulling with arms, and leaning at the blue mat finish, it was evident that what we are doing is working. Continue to use this 20 minute exercise on Friday afternoons, and make the most of your race experiences.

    The family picnic following in Henry was awesome. Thank you to all the parents who helped make this a bountiful meal for the boys upon their arrival. We all sincerely appreciate the extra effort of the Park and Walker Families, for organizing and grilling our main dishes. There will be bagel money left over, so the boys are fortified throughout the rest of our season.

    Final thoughts include a note of thanks to the team for being extremely well disciplined and prepared for the race. We were without two of our favorite coaches, and yet you all worked seamlessly to make sure you know surge points, routines for warm up and cool down, and how to act like a first class team. We have a lot to look forward to this season. You’ve already made it special. Keep it up.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Knight Seniors Lead Team to Quadrangular Win @ Elburn Woods

We surely could have run a team on the shorter course, but what better way to prepare for our date in Peoria than by putting all our horses in one race?  You certainly used the course to your advantage and found ways to pack up. This is the recipe for success to those who wear the checkerboards.

Seniors raced the Elburn Woods course for the last time, and all ran with conviction and determination. Park was able to repeat his role as a front runner, and is looking good in the process. Richtman and Spaetzel were always within 10 seconds of him. This is critical to our pack success. 
Reger and Kuipers ran career best races on the hilly and uneven Elburn Woods course.  Mitch beat his best by :12, and Will did so by 1:14!

James Walker finished off his race like it was his last, with a strong kick to outlast charging sophomore,     Kantola. Andrew bettered his previous PR at the Woods by :46. Very exciting to see the youth of this team racing close to those teammates they workout with during practices.
Sam Webster has been coming on strong of late, and finally is feeling healthy and prepared for the distances. French competed very well and was just nipped at the finish, yet still making the Top 20.

Taking their first runs of the hilly 3 mile loop in Elburn, Henry Nosek and Zach Kurz set strong standards to measure themselves against next fall when we return to the Woods for more races.
Alex Gale offered a fierce kick at the finish but refrained from using his martial arts moves on the YHS Fox who bettered him at the line. Messina found out just how challenging this home course is, and he will be better served with the experience gained.

Wojak and Heiser, Parks and Wells, all in their first varsity races at the Woods ran strong times and races. Peyton outlasted a late charge from a YHS Fox, and Parks demonstrated his own brand of courage, running on a bum ankle.

Smith is really going to blossom in the near future, as he’s just learning how all this cross country training fits together for races. Stick with it, Ben, you are learning quickly and effectively.
Purcell may not have had his best run of the year, but not every race can be an 8, 9, or 10. Believe in yourselves, and the rest of the field will believe in you too.

Piazza broke away from his pack late, Kasap outleaned Gingrich. Osborne will look for more support from his peers in upcoming races, call him up! Cole Rutter has done a tremendous job of working his way back from injury, and truly should be looked up to for his desire to run through the aches. We need more of this! He WANTS it! So take note of his heroic effort.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Picnic After Peoria, $5 Per Person and All are Welcome!

Our annual trip to Peoria is this coming Saturday. Our boys race at 11:00am against some of the best Class 2A teams in the State of Illinois. Our entire team (all those healthy enough) will run in the same race as we have unlimited entries and no Open or F/S level this weekend.

Following the race, we will be driving back up the river to Henry, where the team will enjoy a cookout being organized by families of our seniors. The format for this year's picnic is fairly similar.

Please note the following:
Runners who are planning to join us for the cookout, and including any and all family members, are encouraged to give Coach Clarey a head count by Wednesday. Our "grillers" will be getting meat from Ream's Meat Market in Elburn and are preparing to grill for us all.  The cost for the grilled main dish, plus tableware and plates, etc. will be $5 per person.

All members of the team and their families should plan to offer $5 cash per person, in an envelope with family name on it, to Coach Clarey or Coach Franklin.  We will collect and settle up with the senior class families. Any monies leftover from the offering will be used to purchase bagels for the boys on mornings of future trips.

In addition to the $5 offering, per person, we are requesting that additional delicacies be added to the picnic tables.

Frosh/Soph athletes should bring a dessert or fruit.
Juniors and Seniors plan to bring a dish to pass or appetizer.

If you should have any questions about the picnic, please feel free to catch Coach Clarey after the races on Tuesday evening, at Elburn Woods.

Remember:  Cash in envelopes with names, please! Also, if you could write the number of attendees on the front of the envelope, that'd be great.

Looking forward to it!

Varsity Wins Inaugural Harvest Christian Fall Classic

Racing at the front of the pack, in the closing stages of a race, is very exciting. It’s an exhilarating rush, and when you are able to finish it off to win, it’s a feeling you cherish and become addicted to. Saturday was a special day, for more than one runner.

We brought the team to HCA so that we could begin to cultivate a level of chemistry within the team, to gain some confidence in what we are doing, and to set a foundation for good “meet day” habits as we progress through the campaign.

Brandon Park took control early, fought the last mile hard against a pair of Tigers, and in the end found the guts and extra gear to pull away for a special victory. Moments like these are so much fun to witness. Not to be outdone, both Reger and Kuipers took advantage of the small field and ground out top 10 trophies on a challenging and true cross country course.

Spaetzel and Walker gave us the races we needed to earn a team title. While they are not feeling 100%, the potential exists for this to snowball into something fun. Kurz managed to improve his mile pace by :13 over Tuesday on arguably a tougher course. Gale is getting back into the lineup at a good time, and will continue to improve. Parks dropped a minute from his Tuesday performance, and Ben Smith had a huge kick to improve by more than 2:00!  Cruz has been a warrior all summer and into the season. There are bigger and better days ahead, but watch for his quiet leadership and example. It’s what we want out of all of our runners.

The JV boys race featured a mix of freshmen to seniors, and Richtman cruised to victory. What was equally exciting was the way we ran in pairs after Kantola,   Messina and Duffey closed the 80 second gap between 1-2 on Tuesday. Kantola was only 22 seconds back today, and our top 6 made a pack split of :58. THIS is #KXC. We are a pack team, and we find great success doing it.
With 6 in the top 10, the team is starting to gel. 

Jared Murri ran the coaches race plan to perfection, Wojak is making huge gains in racing, and that leads to confidence. Purcell and Moses made the top 20 in just their second high school races. Freshmen Wells, Heiser, O'Sullivan and Wilk are all beginning to find the great benefits of racing WITH people, and not winding up in 'no mans land.'  Our juniors and seniors who jumped into the shorter race found great success in dropping mile paces, and running a hilly course like this tactically. We will practice surging on turns, running up and down hills, using blind corners to run away from the competition and more. Being able to put all these things together, in the same race, is what will allow us to succeed.

The shorter course (2.0) helped mile paces, but so did the experience factor. Now that we are starting to find out a little more about how to run these longer cross country races, and the teammates who we are able to race with, we should have a better idea of where we should be when we begin racing a full 3 miles this week. Keep the pack going!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Giving Harvest Christian's Fall Classic a Try

We head to Harvest Christian's Fall Classic for the first time tomorrow.  With all the new runners on our team, this seems like a good opportunity for our boys to be able to race together, pack up, and have a good day. Please use the details below to help yourselves plan for a great morning of racing:

7:00=                      Assemble by FVCC doors, eat a bagel and get something to put on the bus.
7:15 =                     Bus leaves
8:00=                      Course tour          
8:45 =                     JV Boys/Open Warm Up, All F/S runners will be included in this division for our team.
9:30 =                     JV Boys/Open Race, 2.0 miles (see course map)

10:00 =                   Varsity Boys Warm Up, Juniors and seniors ready for the 3 mile distance will race it.
10:45 =                   Varsity Boys Race, 3.0 miles (one extra loop)
11:30=                    Awards
1:00=                      Arrive back at Kaneland HS (Estimated)
AWARDS:  Top 3 teams  in Varsity will receive trophies , top 10 individuals earn awards (varsity trophies, FS medals)   

The bus will not be stopping for lunch on the way home, so please prepare. Parents who wish to drive their athletes home may do so, by signing them out in the team camp. If you are planning to take another athlete home, a written note from the family is necessary.

**Directions: Get to Randall Road and head NORTH.  When you get up to South Elgin, begin looking for our turn, about a mile after you pass over Rt. 20. When you see Royal Ave. with the Home Depot on your right, TURN LEFT at the light! 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Varsity 7th, Frosh Soph 3rd to Kick Off Season in Loaded 2A Field @ Sycamore

There is much room to grow from this experience, but the effort put forth by both groups was superb, in our first run of the season. We are just beginning to see what we have in our arsenal, and we are just scratching the surface of what we will be capable in weeks to come.

The checkerboard pack of Knights managed a sub 60 second split, using 3 new varsity runners among that top 5. Reger and Park ran a dead heat, with Kuipers and Spaetzel shortly behind. This small split between scoring runners bodes very well for our future.

In his first varsity race of his career, Aaron French closed strong to earn 63rd overall, and completed our 7th place team effort. Walker and Kurz were tough competitors throughout, and served as pushers in scoring.  Notable performances from the varsity race also included Kyle Osborne’s :35 improvement in mile pace from the scrimmage, and Josh Kasap’s :55 of improvement in mile pace. THAT is hard work and commitment to the race. Tremendous.

Our Frosh Soph crew also managed to turn some heads when they kicked off 2014 with a 3rd place team placement in their division. Freshman Matthew Richtman made a strong push toward the front, and took over the race at the perfect time for his first high school victory. Teammates behind him matched his intensity with an exciting pack performance where our #2 to #7 runners were just :35 apart. 

Bringing home medals for top 30 finishes included: Messina, Kantola, Nance and Nosek. These 4 runners were :20 apart. Girolamo and Webster were chasing that pack all the way home and finished in the top 40. The team was charged in the huddle with keeping visual contact with the knight and shield on the back of their teammates’ jersey. All the runners were able to come away with great races by adhering to the mission.

 Purcell, Wojak, Heiser and Wells were also :20 apart at the finish. Duffey was very much under the weather, but will be back to normal soon. Wilk and O’Sullivan really battled hard down to the chute, and each put up huge improvements in mile pace over their scrimmage times.

Fans from another school were commenting on Kaneland tonight, being “down” a bit this year. Not sure they know the full story. In years where you lose so much experienced talent to graduation, it’s suggested that you are "rebuilding."

We simply prefer to "reload." Get ready, boys. There’s a lot of work, and fun, to be had.