Immense size, talent | 2013 Spring Sports Preview

By on March 14, 2013

Photo: Kaneland’s Nate Dyer throws the discus a conference-best 148 feet, 9 inches, at the NIB-12 Conference track meet last season at DeKalb High School. File Photo

Largest team in school history gears up for ’13
by Mike Slodki
KANELAND—Kaneland High School boys track head coach Eric Baron has more reasons than ever before to feel good about his team’s prospects for the coming season.

Despite the loss of key personnel like Sean Carter, Clayton Brundige and Nate Rehkopf, the Knights return by and large an immensely talented group with State experience.

That gets Baron eager to get things going, despite the snow-covered outdoors.

“For the indoor meets, we’ve been running mostly freshmen and sophomores, and the group of freshmen that we have just amaze me,” Baron said. “They are just so talented. I have a great group of juniors and seniors, but I have a group of freshmen that might be more talented than they were. The phrase is ‘reloading,’ but I don’t think we’re reloading anymore.”

Kaneland finished second in the Northern Illinois Big XII swing of things a year ago, and took its fourth straight sectional crown before sending 11 athletes to the big dance in Charleston, Ill. Five finalists achieved All-State honors and will serve an important role in 2013.

Members of the all-State 4×200 relay squad of senior Dylan Pennington, junior Brandon Bishop and senior Brandon Cottier provide a boost, with junior Dylan Nauert taking on relay duties and hurdle responsibilities.

“Cottier and the other sprinters have gotten the job done and have State medals. Bishop has come out of the gate, as well. Dylan and those two have the relays looking very solid,” Baron said.

Distance qualifiers from a year ago include senior Conor Johnson, junior Nathaniel Kucera and junior Kyle Carter, who set a school record in State prelims.

Kory Harner returns in the vault category after qualifying the last two years.

Nate Dyer returns with national experience, besides a Charleston trip, while Cottier also lent speed to the sprint categories.

“Last year, all three relays medaled, Dylan Nauert medaled, Nate Dyer didn’t, but he was a sophomore and what he’s been doing is unheard of, so I don’t worry about him,” Baron said.

Distance personnel also used to State competition include Luis Acosta in the junior class.

Ben Barnes and Isaac Swithers could see major event time on the sophomore level, while Baron pointed out Brandon Cruz as someone who could make an impact on the freshman class.

Field events look to be a certain strength in 2013.

“We have a very talented group of throwers, and more than we’ve ever had. I think that’s going to continue. Dyer is the workhorse of the group in the shot and disc, and could be knocking on the door of school records when it’s all said and done,” Baron said.

Baron also mentioned junior Shane Jorgensen as having stepped up big a year ago.

“We tied for first at Kane County because Shane had a huge night,” Baron said. “Jaumareo Phillips has had a huge offseason and has been throwing consistently, and Alex Snyder has been throwing well.”

Senior Marshall Farthing returns in the high jump and triple jump, while senior Tanner Andrews lends his jumping expertise to the Knight contingent, with junior Dalvell Triplett triple jumping in 2013, as well.

Kaneland plans on using its massive roster to its advantage.

“This gives us a lot of flexibility. If we have an injury, we’re not going to miss a bit. Injuries can be very devastating to a team, and I don’t see that being an issue. We’re just so deep,” Baron said.

The first outdoor meet for KHS is the East Moline U-High ABC meet scheduled for Saturday, April 6, while the Peterson Prep is housed by Kaneland on Saturday, April 20. The Kane County Meet is set for Friday, May 3, at Burlington Central, and the Northern Illinois Big XII meet is the following Friday at Dixon High School.

KHS Boys Track Roster

Luis Acosta 11
Brian Anderson 9
Tanner Andrews 12
BenBarnes 10
Alex Baumgartner 12
Brandon Bishop 11
Ryan Bower 11
Sam Bower 11
Kyle Carter 11
Julian Cook 9
Brandon Cottier 12
Brandon Cruz 9
Phil Cutsinger 11
John Delach 9
Andy Delgado 9
Mark Dhom 9
Nate Dyer 11
Dan Evers 11
Marshall Farthing 12
Drew Franklin 9
Alex Gil 12
Mike Gorenz 11
Mitchell Groen 9
Kory Harner 12
Cole Hookham 9
Brandon Huber 12
Conor Johnson 12
Shane Jorgensen 11
Brian Kemp 9
Brad Kigyos 12
Brandon Kigyos 10
Austin Kintz 9
Gary Koehring 11
Nathaniel Kucera 11
Will Kuipers 9
Dylan Kuipers 11
Joe Kuipers 12
Tyler Kurzrock 9
Andrew Lesak 10
Matt Lyons 10
Jay Markuson 12
Jared Matthys 9
Stephen McCracken 12
John Meisenger 12
Nick Messina 12
Brayden Miller 12
Dylan Nauret 11
Mitchell Nelson 10
Kyle Osborne 9
Brandon Park 10
Freddy Paulina 9
Ryan Paulson 12
Connor Pennington 10
Dylan Pennington 12
Connor Peterson 9
Jaumaureo Phillips 11
Triston Powell 9
Giovanni Regalado 9
Mitchell Reger 10
Mike Rinella 9
Tanner Robertson 9
Brock Robertson 11
Jacob Robitske 10
Jakob Rodriguez 9
Matt Rodway 12
Zach Selmer 12
Tyler Slamans 11
Haven Smith 10
Alex Snyder 11
Sean Spaetzel 9
Felipe Speraggi 9
Gus Stott 12
Logan Strang 9
Isaac Swithers 10
Zach Thielk 10
Jackson Thomas 11
Dalvell Triplett 11
JR Vest 11
James Walker 10
Ryan Weber 9
Seth Weiss 12
Spencer White 9
Chris Wido 12
Zack Wielgos 11
Sam Wolf 9
Nicholas Wolski 9
Nathaniel Zitko 11