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, October 29, 2017

Your Letters... Our Book

We’ve had a tradition for about 10 years… and for the fifth time in seven years now, after BOTH teams qualify, the coaches are proud to organize a book for the runners to read and enjoy on their trip down to Peoria.  It contains information about the meet, a puzzle or two, and most importantly, letters from their families, friends, Kaneland alumni, community members and others who felt inclined to share. 

We solicit these letter attachments to email, offering a chance to share advice, thoughts, quotes and inspiration to ALL of the runners on the team.  If you know of anyone who may enjoy the chance to send something along to the TEAM, please have them do so.

·        There will be ONE BOOK with letters to both the girls and boys teams.
Parents:  ALL parents of runners on the State Teams should make a two-fold letterFirst, please address your letter to your athlete.  Let them know how proud you are of them.  Write what is in your heart.  They will likely save this book for years to come.  Second, please add another section dedicated to the team(s).  Advice, thoughts, inspiration or otherwise would be appropriate.

Guidelines:  We will be assembling this book on Thursday.  ALL LETTERS TO THE TEAM MUST BE RECEIVED VIA EMAIL ON THURSDAY at NOONIf you do not make the deadline, there will be no guarantee that your letter will be included in the bound edition.  ALL EMAILED LETTERS SHOULD BE SENT TO:  kanelandxc@gmail.com

Letters should be kept to one page in length, if possible (small font). 
As always, we appreciate the support that our extended Kaneland Community provides us.  If you know of someone who would like to offer something to make this book even more special, please pass along the guidelines and details here.

Thank you for your help in making this special KXC tradition a reality.

Address for emailing letters:   kanelandxc@gmail.com

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Knights JV Opens Regional Course with 11 Career PR's

Coming on strong at the end of the season seems to be the theme for many runners on the ledger today. Introducing themselves to a brand new course, the Knights took it to the competition and earned a final "un-scored" team win for the season in Burlington.

Ethan Walker earned a top finish for the Knights with a 4th place showing overall, and running a :28 career PR. Petrik was next into the chute, just 7 seconds later, also running a new career PR of 17:20 (:31 PR). Dallal crossed just behind at 17:21, :25 into a PR. Seth Nosek was just a few clicks off of his personal record time, when Finn joined him at the yellow finish line with a new PR of 17:37, also completing the pack split at just :24 for potential scoring runners. 

Dalton Klingensmith just outlasted Drew Occhipinti with an equal time of 18:10, which was Dalton’s career best. He surged through the last mile in order to achieve this. Drew caps a terrific first year of running in the program. Aaron Lodwig also  completed his season in great form, running a new career best at 18:16. Abruzzo chipped a few more seconds off his career  best just 7 seconds later. Fitts nabbed a top time as well when he crossed the line at 18:24, while Scotty Dunne blasted a big :31 PR in his final run of the year.

Senior Ben Purcell ran his best time of the season on his final race, finishing just ahead of Orczykowski, who has battled hard all season and led by example.

Huber capped his freshman year with a PR on the last day, racing to a 19:04 PR. Fountain also matched that feat by running his best, 19:28, at Plato Park. Parker Malone gave great chase to the runners of Sycamore and BC, coming across the line next at 19:48. Girolamo ended his senior year with a season PR, and Kyle Konrad fought through cramps putting down a blazing kick to  tie Holder at 20:28. More runners should take note of the courage that Kyle Wells runs with despite the pain an discomfort his own body affords him when the gun goes off. This is another senior, whose example of grit, courage, and intelligence have shown brightly.

Sussland completed this new course in 22:13 after a career day at conference. Matt Konrad was on the cusp of another PR for the year at 22:46. Jablonski was in obvious pain from the first mile, but never gave up, and with great fortitude he completed the day at 25:02.  Brazee was our last Knight into the chute at 25:14, completing a brief but strong freshman campaign.

To our seniors who ran in a high school meet for the very last time, it is with sadness that the season’s schedule has closed. It is also with sincere thanks that your coaches extend to you for the leadership you have provided the entire team along this journey. Some of you came into the program just six months ago, others since the summer of 2014, but all of you have left an indelible mark on our history, and we are better for it.

Sectional Volunteer Sign Up HERE!

We have one final task this season, as a KXC Family, and it's a big one. We need our KXC families to sign up for one or both races this weekend, as well as to consider assisting with parking cars and buses on the campus.


We are hopeful that all KXC Families will consider lending a hand to this important endeavor. We cannot do this without you! Thank you very, very much for your dedication to our athletes, the program, and to Kaneland Athletics.

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..."

Monday, September 11, 2017

Knights are Fifth to the Finish at Peoria

The course was in much better shape this year, and so was our team. On the strength of an individual championship from Matt Richtman, the team totaled 286 points to land in the Top 5 for a crystal trophy. Richtman hunted down two runners through the first mile and kicked to an :06 victory, the first ever for a Knight at this meet. Equally impressive, Daniel Occhipinti was able to crack the Top 30 and break the 16:00 barrier for the first time, running 15:58. With 30 points scored from our Top 2 runners, the power of the pack was felt just :47 later.
Sam Webster (70, 16:31) was just short of his career PR on this 80 degree day, and started a large wave of “diamond” Knights who finished just five seconds apart. Aidan Lodwig finished in the Top 100 (90, 16:40), just ahead of Heiser (16:43) who was our #5. Weilgos was on Heiser’s heels with an identical time (96), and Neal made his varsity debut memorable with a career best 16:45. Our 3-7 runners teamed up for four PR’s on the day.

Henry Nosek took a moderate approach to racing, following his race plan well and pacing his brother Seth to a 1:03 PR for 3 miles. Henry is looking forward to rejoining his pack mates next weekend at Eddington. Ethan Walker, in just his second high school race of his career, nearly broke 18:00, finishing off his day in 18:06.  With so many ranked teams in the Varsity race, it was particularly satisfying to see the group pack up and run with fortitude in the new diamond jerseys.

As the Open Race started, a flood of more than 1,000 runners thundered down the slope at Detweiller. When the dust settled, Kaneland amassed 12 career PR’s for 3 miles in the race.  Dallal led the charge by coming in 102nd (17:48), with Popovich chasing him down the stretch (17:51). Finn was following the race plan of hunting down “diamonds” at the end, finishing just 5 seconds off of Brady and earning a career PR in 17:56.

Orczykowski led the next wave of Knights who put four in the chute, just :06 apart. This makes watching the team so much fun! Kyle Or went 18:25 for a career PR, with Petrik earning a course PR just :02 later. Fitts was next across the line, earning a new PR of 18:29, and Drew Occhipinti cracked off a huge PR run at 18:31. The improvement from this crew is inspiring and has come after great intensity on the Crazy 8’s days the past two weeks.

Aaron Lodwig put up a career best for 3 miles at 19:07, and Dunne registered a course PR in 19:30. Fountain was just :03 back of Dunne, his first run under 20:00. Klingensmith established a new personal best on this course at 19:42, as did Abruzzo at 20:01. Purcell overcame a very bloody nose, proving his own Warrior Mindset strengths, to finish in 477th and in the top half of the field.

Malone ran three miles for the first time, setting the bar at 20:31 for his new time to beat. Kyle Wells was determined not to let his final chance at running Detweiller go by without a fight. His inspired effort to run 20:40 was exemplary. Freshman Ted Allen was able to run his GPS watch to perfection and compete for the very first time in our lineup. His execution of a restricted race plan allowed him to still finish sub 21:00, and well above the top 2/3 of all finishers.

Sussland managed a new standard to shoot for with three miles, running 23:13, while Jablonski raced to 906th in 23:39 on the day. Senior Matt Konrad dropped his mile pace by :12 from last week to finish in 23:56 and on a mission to improve.  Top to bottom, this was a super effort on a warm and dusty day. The collective State of 2A cross country seems up for grabs in earning a Top 16 finish. 

We must continue to work on our own milestones, and make every effort to move up in our own finish groups.  While we have waves of runners finishing close together, we need to see runners pushing into new packs and pulling teammates up to the next level. We’re not yet where we need to be. Keep striving for more, and push those around you.

Recent Rankings by Mike Newmann

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Kaneland Masters Hills of Veteran's Acres for 3rd Place Varsity, 4th Frosh Soph

We knew the course was tough. We didn’t know our own team was tougher. Proving to be Warriors once again, the team was determined to pack up and race brilliantly on the legendary 5K course. 13 medals, every frosh soph runner ran a PR mile pace, and we finished as the best 2A school in the meet once again.

Richtman overcame two falls on the course to start scoring with a second place finish. Daniel Occhipinti landed a Top 20 finish with 17th overall, and was followed by our first big wave of finishers.

Aidan Lodwig, Sam Webster, and Jacob Wielgos finished 0.7 seconds apart, to complete our scoring and accomplish our first milestone of the season (3-5, sub :20, two meets in a row). Webster surged from 10 seconds down at the end of the race. Heiser came in 23 seconds later, good for 44th.

Finn and Petrik paired up and ran two seconds apart with Fin running a better mile pace than Tuesday, which is quite a feat!
Drew Occhipinti led another wave of checkerboard Knights when he out-leaned Orczykowski, just one second ahead of Purcell. Finishing in waves like this is breathtaking and exciting to watch because it shows that you all teamed up throughout the race to work with one another. Drew ran a PR mile pace, on the rolling Veteran’s Acres.  Matt Konrad improved his mile pace by 11 seconds per mile with a gritty effort and strong finishing kick.

Our Frosh Soph crew managed to have every single runner net a new PR mile pace for the season, despite the hills. Neal surged and passed all race long to finish 14th overall. Seth Nosek (26) led a twelve second wave of Knights to the finish with Walker, Dallal, Popovich, and Lodwig (32, 34, 38, 40). This type of scoring does a great amount of damage in team scoring. All runners were under 6:00 mile pace on the run. Fitts earned the last of our medals with a 61st place finish, and Dunne missing out by just one spot but a season’s best effort.

Fountain and Huber came in next after spending much of the race in contact with one another; they were 2 seconds apart. Malone and Abruzzo were quickly in next, five seconds later, making it a wave of four runners in :10.  Holder ran :30 per mile faster than Tuesday, and Sussland incredibly improved by :56 per mile. Conley also dropped :19 per mile on the course to finish in 16:28.

We have new milestones this week, and a course to be excited about, on tap in Peoria. We will see some of the very best 2A teams in IL this weekend; and an enormous open that will help us hit new heights for PR times.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Kaneland Packs Net Pair of Seconds at Sycamore Invite

It was the best opening meet we could have asked for in starting the 2017 campaign. The varsity squad nailed a solid pack split, putting 5 in the Top 28 to earn a second place finish among some strong teams in Class 2A.

Richtman held off a surging Sterling superstar to earn the individual title with a time of 15:20, a meet record. Daniel Occhipinti cracked the top 12 with his own strong effort against Sycamore, running 16:42 on the hilly course.

Our team sealed an elite finish when the pack of checkerboards began pushing into the chute a few seconds later. Wielgos, Webster, and Heiser raced :15 apart to earn medals. . Lodwig just missed a medal but net a terrific 32nd effort in 17:25, as the top 6th man in the meet.

Petrik poured in a very good 18:39, as our seventh runner, bettering 27 scoring runners from other schools.  Finn nabbed an 18:59, good for 66th. Purcell came in just 8 places later with a course PR of 19:07. Orczykowski celebrated his birthday in style by running 19:13, and a finish in the top half.  Klingensmith was on his heels just 5 seconds later, keeping the checkerboard in his sights the whole way.

Drew Occhipinti smashed the 20:00 barrier in his first three mile race, crossing the line at 19:40. Warriors and courage take on many forms in races. Keep watching Drew’s improvements. Jablonski completed the day for varsity at 24:11, remaining positive and committed to excellence. Matt Konrad began his XC career with great effort in 25:04.

The frosh soph crew wouldn’t let their older brothers have all the fun today. These Knights put up more medal winning performances and met their Milestone with a top notch split.

Neal started scoring by racing 6th in a season’s best 5:50 mile pace. This was :20 faster per mile than in the scrimmage. Seth Nosek and Dallal teamed up for 13 and 14 with a second between them. Popovich was our next Knight into the Top 20, placing 16th in 14:45.  Aaron Lodwig completed our scoring split by finishing 31st in 15:14, good for the :65 pack split. This is a great start!

Abruzzo and Fitts were in next, just two seconds apart, both with big PR mile paces over last week. Dunne was :07 per mile faster in this meet, finishing 43rd to get into the Top 1/3. Fountain was next at 57, :19 per mile better than Friday. Huber was right behind him (:21 improvement for mile pace).

Malone raced hard through the finish, another improving performance for  PR pace and intensity. Holder had the “finish of the day” by hammering home his sprint to run 17:28 (2:13 PR from ‘16). Conley and Sussland stood up to the challenge and were brilliant in their efforts on the longer course. Woods raced competitively throughout and ran sub 24:00.

Solid effort and great Knight!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Silver Steals Scrimmage Title with 5 in Top 13

This event does many things for our team, including: gives a small glimpse of what’s to come, challenges our limits on a hilly course, gets us the chance to finally compete, brings some excitement to what we have been doing all summer long.
Silver used a strong push up front, and some surprises along the way to earn their victory against Brothers.

Webster and Heiser showed that the pack we believe we will have in the scoring mix is going to be tight all season. Each net personal record (PR) runs on the 2.4 mile course. Dallal was the first freshman across the line, cracking into the Top 10 in his first HS run. Just behind came Orczykowski, pulling a 1:14 PR. Rounding our Silver Team scoring was Finn at 15:27. Fountain chipped in a championship effort at 16:47. Jablonski and Sussland did the exact same with a 2:15 PR for Kevin and a 19:20 race from Trev, while posting his strongest mile pace of the summer.

Richtman won individual honors with a :41 improvement over last fall’s results. Black Team got equally good efforts from Seth Nosek, who posted a 1:58 PR, Petrik notching a :56 PR, 18th overall from Purcell, and Aburzzo on his heels with a 1:27 PR. Huber and Wells ran much of the way together as teammates, which is something we want to see from the whole team. Wells had the finish of the day, finding one of the many holes in the turf at the Woods. Pay careful attention to the way Wells approaches his season. Although injured, he gutted out yet another strong effort.

The Occhipinti Orange Team used some young power to net good results as well.  Daniel took some skin, and some time, off of his race from last year, posting a :12 PR. Neal showed he’s game for leading the FS team this fall with a solid 14:48, virtually running alone much of the way.  Popovich crossed next for Orange in 15:09, just out-kicking Petrik. Walker and Fitts, two more newcomers to KXC, paired up and finished 4 seconds apart and in the Top 15. Senior Drew Occhipinti and Parker Malone each ran their first races at Elburn Woods and looked tough in the process. It’s a long season, and we all got some good experience with hill running today.

White Team good a boost from Wielgos and Aidan Lodwig up at 4th and 6th. Both running 1:00+ PRs. Aaron Lodwig was next in for White, 2:00 back of his brother, and teammate Dunne immediately after, netting a 2:30 PR, second biggest drop of the day. Klingensmith and Tiv were White Teamers only a second apart, Dalton with a :29 PR, and Tiv on his third day of XC. Holder had the biggest PR smash, crushing his 2016 scrimmage time by 4:49.

Can’t wait to see this crew race as a full team, at both levels. It’s going to be a fun season for us all.

Friday, August 4, 2017

KXC Spirit Pack and Warm Up Jacket Orders Due 8/10

It's time for all of our boys to connect to the BSN Team Store, so they can order their new meet warm up top. These Holloway Raider tops were selected by our seniors and can be personalized with an athlete's name by going to bsnteamsports.com and then entering the following team code:  zCfRHJkPRq

KXC BOYS ONLY should order one jacket at the price of $48. After the team store closes on Sunday, BSN will credit all accounts who purchased the warm up top with $24. BSN has dictated that this be the easiest process for all families to only pay $24 (in the end) without coaches hunting down families for $24 checks.  The other half of the cost of the jacket is being paid by the coaching staff through our activity account with fund raised monies and remaining monies from our summer conditioning camp. In the ordering process there is an opportunity to add your name to this garment for no additional cost. This is the jacket you're looking for on page 2 of the flyer.

KXC Families should consider piggybacking on the order by grabbing any new t-shirts, sweatshirts, and other apparel. The orders for such garments can be made simultaneously with the warm up jacket order. Please keep in mind that the team warm up jacket is for the team only.

This fall, our team is getting some new equipment via the uniform rotation. The boys will have new jerseys and shorts for racing, and new backpacks to carry equipment on meet days only. The same shorts and backpacks will be on sale, on the Team Store, should an athlete wish to purchase any of them.

If you have any questions regarding the order, please contact Coach Clarey. Our window is short for orders so that we can get the equipment back to our team and families earlier in the fall. THE TEAM STORE CLOSES AT 11:59PM ON SUNDAY, AUG. 13. There can be NO exceptions after the deadline. When it's closed, it's closed.

You can see the flyer in the PAGES connection in column to the right.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Register Online NOW for CJ's Run

The following LINK will connect you to registration for a special event at Kaneland High School on August 11. CJ Girolamo and his family are working with the Greater Chicago Epilepsy Foundation to present an evening 5K on the school grounds.  Proceeds will benefit research, treatments, supports and therapies for those who suffer from epilepsy.

The run will begin at 7pm, and we are looking for runners and volunteers to help with this special event. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Coach Clarey. If you are interested in participating, please use the link above to connect to the registration.

As always, our KXC Family steps up to serve others. Please join our family this time, as we support the Girolamo's and the Greater Chicago Epilepsy Foundation.

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).