Many of the Kaneland football players surely considered it a long trip Friday night from Maple Park to Streator.
Perhaps, but it doesn’t quite compare with Virgil to Australia.
That’s the trip Kaneland junior Nate Dyer has in mind for next summer. Dyer, a fullback for the Knights football team, is also an accomplished thrower in track and field, and was invited earlier this week to compete in a summer competition on Australia’s Gold Coast.
The Virgil resident already has had a taste of track’s big time – he’s competed in Junior Olympic competitions three years in a row – and success there has emboldened him to think big. A college track and field scholarship is one goal, and he’s not afraid to throw out the Olympics as his ultimate ambition.
“As much training as I can get to end up there is what I’ll do,” Dyer said.
The Australia competition, affiliated with an organization called Down Under Sports, would be another nice step, but it’s no given that Dyer will attend.
Likewise for fellow Kaneland track standout Dylan Nauert – who also was invited to attend – plenty of fundraising would be required to make the trip work. A potential bowl-a-thon fundraiser is one preliminary possibility.
“I have a lot of support so I’m hoping we can raise enough money to get him there because it’s really an honor,” said Penny Dyer, Nate’s mother. “From my understanding, I have a meeting with them online Tuesday so I’ll find out a lot more about it, but from my understanding, they only take like 300 kids from the United States to go compete over there.”
Dyer placed third in his age group in discus his first year at the Junior Olympics but has since blossomed more in shot put and the hammer throw. Dyer said his father, Karl, helps him refine his form.
Attention to detail is especially crucial for Dyer considering that, at 5-foot-8, 195 pounds, he lacks the brute strength of some of his rival throwers.
“I’m most definitely on the small side,” Dyer said. “A lot of throwers I throw against are at least 6-foot or bigger. I’m definitely way shorter but there’s a lot of technical stuff I know, which helps.”
Dyer was an IHSA Class 2A meet state qualifier as a sophomore in discus and shot put. He also competes in the offseason with the DeKalb Varsity Track Club.
This time of year, though, Dyer locks in on Kaneland football, where he’s surprised himself by becoming a significant piece in Kaneland’s running game alongside returning starter running back Jesse Balluff.
Dyer set the tone with a pair of touchdown runs in Kaneland’s season-opening win at Brooks and has continued to establish himself for the unbeaten Knights.
“I had no clue,” Dyer said. “I knew I was going to get in some but I didn’t know I was going to come out like this.”
Kaneland-Batavia a no-go: As we reported on our website earlier this week, talks of Kaneland and Batavia opening the 2013 football season against one another fizzled, with Batavia deciding to extend its season-opening arrangement with Glenbard North through the 2015 season.
Too bad. While neither program has much to prove – both are picking up where they left off after reaching the state semifinals in their class last year – the matchup would have been a blast for players and fans in the area.
With both programs again slated to return a boatload of talent next year, it’s a game that would have had local football enthusiasts buzzing throughout the summer.
Glenbard North, a quality, DuPage Valley Conference program, makes for a quality matchup for Batavia, as this year’s Week 1 nail-biter illustrated.
Here’s hoping Kaneland is also able to find a willing partner worthy of the program the Knights have become.
• Jay Schwab is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5382 or email@example.com.