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 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!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Richtman Makes History, as Varsity Runs 11th and Frosh Soph take 3rd

For the first time in the 47 year history of the Kaneland/Eddington Invitational, we had an individual champion. Matt Richtman used his second surge to overtake the lead and went on to win by :07 and set a personal best on the KHS course. This was Matt's second invitational win of the season.

Webster started the next wave of 2-5 scoring Knights who ran just 33 seconds apart. Sam’s course best 16:49 was followed ten places later by Nosek, with a course :12 PR. Heiser plugged in a career best 17:19 for three miles, just ahead of Kantola, who ran a :15 PR at KHS.  Duffey and Purcell also established new KHS course bests, with Ben’s time a full 2:39 better than his previous best at home.

The Frosh Soph crew backed up a strong effort at HCA by bringing home a third place trophy as a squad. Occhipinti broke into the 16’s for the first time on three miles with a 6th place start. Jacob Wielgos set a course PR and took 12th overall with a very tough 17:14, our fifth fastest team performance on the day. Aidan Lodwig set a career best time, and improved by 2:48 from the Silver Bone last October. 

Drake Nemec crushed his career three mile best by :53, serving as our fourth scorer. Petrik and Riedel were next in the chute, with Petrik setting a :17 career PR and Riedel :34 better as our #6.

Kyle Orczykowski and Dalton Klingensmith continue to feed off of one another in racing. Kyle Or with a 1:10 drop from ‘15 and Dalton dropping :56; both career PR’s. Seth Nosek surged and surged some more, running to a grueling :43 PR over three miles. Blake Finn also improved on his career best for this distance by shaving off :45.

The remaining frosh soph runners established new career bests for three miles. Abruzzo knocked off :16 and beat 104 other runners. Scotty Dunne crushed his PR by 1:44, while Jablonski was :03 faster than his career best.  Arty Patrick showed tremendous toughness, just like in practice this past week and smashed his previous PR by 2:42!  Holder ran to a season’s best by :03, and Garrett Woods annihilated his Peoria time by a full 9:12!

Our Open was not what we anticipated. CJ Girolamo was pushing for a Top 35 finish when he suffered a seizure at the 1.5 mile mark. Teammate and close friend, Kyle Konrad, stopped in his tracks to help support CJ until the EMS arrived. Thankfully, Kyle’s support and that of Girolamo's parents kept CJ safe. Teammates passing by this scene twice were impacted by the confusion and knew that a race was not the primary objective. That being said, Messina and Wells finished with a flurry, and Crimmins managed a career best time of 21:23. Cole Rutter raced for the first time in 2016, and despite the pain in his legs, he clocked in a fast finish of his own at 30:28 to put an exclamation point on our great day.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Knights Notch 7th at Muddy First to the Finish Invite in Peoria

The Knights raced very well despite the muddy conditions to earn 7th place overall in a field of 58 teams and more than 800 Class 2A runners.  Matt Richtman earned a 5th place medal, by clocking in at 15:44. It is estimated that the course ran about 30-40 seconds slower than normal due to the deep mud and sloppy conditions of the torn up Detweiller Park course.

Team scoring was completed 1:41 later, when four Knights finished within 10 seconds of one another. Junior Sam Webster led freshman Daniel Occhipinti around the 3 mile course to place 74th and 78th, and senior Andrew Kantola paired with junior Henry Nosek to finish our total with 87th and 88th places respectively.  Sophomores Jacob Wielgos and Aidan Lodwig also tightened their gaps to place 2 seconds apart, and in the top 150. Peyton Heiser finished the day just two seconds off his personal best on the State Championship course, and Noah Duffey put in a strong comeback performance as he returned to our lineup for the first time in a year.

Ben Purcell and Jacob Petrik finished in a dead heat after three miles, at 19:03. Drake Nemec and Patrick Riedel both set personal bests for a full varsity race, despite the sloppy conditions, which is quite a feat.  Kyle Orczykowski chipped in a terrific race, and finished in the top half of all competitors. CJ Girolamo and Dalton Klingensmith demonstrated good pack running by pairing up to start a run of Knights into the chute. CJ started the surge at 19:57, followed by Dalton at 20:01, who was shortly trailed by senior Anthony Messina at 20:07, and then freshman Seth Nosek who rocked a 20:13.

Freshman Blake Finn broke 21:00 in his second three mile race of his young career, and David Babula did the same at 20:57. Kyle Wells battled through injury in order to run on the famed Detweiller course, and finished the day with a solid 565th place despiate the pain. Tony Abruzzo was right on Kyle's heels, finishing in 21:05.  Kevin Jablonski set a personal best time at Detweiller when he finished in 22:01.  Freshman Scotty Dunne also running in his second three mile race has shown great heart and commitment, today running sub 8:00 at 7:41 pace.  Ryan Crimmins also committed to racing despite foot pain, and completed his day at 23:20. Gutsy leadership like this goes a long way in the eyes of younger runners that see you can push through some aches and pains in racing.

Jack Holder was near PR mile pace on the day, in the slop and mud. Senior Cole Rutter was able to race for the first time this season and continues to fight through adversity while giving his very best. We are very proud of Cole, and his new freshman teammate Garrett Woods, who learned how grueling and tough the sport of cross country is when the easy way out is to stop, but the hardest part is overcoming that urge to quit.

In a loaded field of ranked teams, the Knights did some very good things today. Having a single digit performance up front was clearly helpful in team scoring. Having the rest of the scoring pack just :10 apart was another positive sign.  Getting some runners back to health and in the lineup will continue to be a boost for the group, as we try to surge forward, close our gap between 1 and 2, and strive for bigger things at the end of the season.
Special thanks to our KXC Families for hosting a delicious picnic following the meet. We loved it!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Cross Country Tweet-Gate: Truth Revealed

Saturday's invitational at Harvest Christian Academy was a learning experience for us all. The varsity fought hard, and attempted to come from behind against a very talented HCA team that placed 5 runners in the Top 10 of their home meet.

Following the Varsity race, Coach Clarey sent this text message to Mr. Goff, for an update on the team performance, as he was out of town:

Later, Mr. Goff's tweet about the team included details on Matt's record breaking performance, and two Top 12 finishes from Webster and Nosek. What 140 characters didn't reveal, and later were viewed with negativity, were the remarks about how our #4 runner was grabbed by the front of his jersey and thrown to the ground.  Andrew Kantola raced to the top of the hill on mile 1, and was grabbed by the front of his jersey and thrown to the ground. His teammates reported a runner in a black jersey doing it, but we could not verify who it was.  Clearly this is not part of what cross country is supposed to be, and in this instance with the "eeesh" part to the personal text  which Mr. Goff received was in regard to such an awful act by an opposing runner.

What would continue to be highlights for the meet, which he later shared, were the places of our top 5 runners: which included a sub 18 performance by Heiser (season's best, and one of his best career races) and a career PR effort from Purcell, who placed in our Varsity's top 5 for the first time in his career.

Truth #1:  The text message that went on Twitter included 140 characters that looked to demean the Varsity. But with the details above, should clarify the fact that a heinous act by an opposing runner is the origin of the "eeesh" that some on Twitter and Facebook may have taken offense to this weekend.

Truth #2:  Mr. Goff, while on vacation with his family, had every good intention to share the great news about all of his Kaneland programs. At the time he posted, he received three different messages from coaches, and copied text to tweet, but was limited in 140 characters.  Thus the truth was cut out of his message, and looked like the rest of the varsity did poorly.  If you've paid attention to any and all of his previous thousands of tweets, you'd know that this would never be the case.

As soon as he learned that the post included the front end of details about the varsity race ("eeesh"), but that the rest of the text about the incident was not included, he removed the tweet and replaced it with individual finishes for the scoring runners of the varsity team.

Truth #3:  EVERYONE can learn a valuable lesson from this instance where when we post any details or information, photos, video, or experiences, there is a HUGE network of people that are connected to your submissions online.  The tweet was removed as soon as the error was found, but even Facebook picks up tweets from Mr. Goff, and spread the word further.

On behalf of myself, and my Athletic Director, the events of this "Tweet-Gate" of sorts probably caused frustration, angst, bitterness and confusion for those who read the original tweet. The reality is that all did not know the FULL story. If any runner, parent, fan, or administrator should care to speak with Coach Clarey directly about this, feel free. The best of intentions are always there to promote our team and sport. In this instance, a portion of text looked questionable. The truth is, every one of us can and should continue to both support our Kaneland Knights with the positive nature that Mr. Goff brings to his posts, and that we must all take a vigilant look at what we post before we hit "send."