Skip Stolley monitored the Illinois track and field scene even when he lived in California for two-plus decades, charting top high school athletes and maintaining contact with fellow coaches.
Upon returning to his home state a few years ago, Stolley firmly repositioned his fingers on the pulse. This week, the Elburn resident gladly took action to influence the heartbeat of the sport he long has held dear.
The chairman of USA Track and Field’s Illinois Long Distance Running Committee, Stolley has tabbed the Advocate Dreyer Fox Valley Marathon as official marathon host in the new, nine-part Illinois USATF Road Championship Series. Any USATF member entered in the Sept. 22 race will be eligible for gold, silver and bronze medals in 26 separate men’s and women’s age groups.
“The truth is, there hasn’t been an Illinois USATF road championship at any distance for more than 20 years, which is inexcusable,” Stolley said. “I had been asked to get involved, and I had decided that I really wasn’t going to unless I could make a difference.”
A longtime USATF official, Stolley assumed his current role in November, and soon got started on establishing the Road Championship Series. Only one leg – the indoor 5K championship – has been contested. Championships for 10-mile, half marathon, road mile, marathon, 10K, 15K, 5K and 8K/5M will be held through December.
For more information and sites, log on to www.usatfillinois.org.
Registration for the fourth annual Fox Valley Marathon – which starts and ends in downtown St. Charles and winds through the Fox River Trail – opened online at www.fv26.com in December, nearly two months earlier than usual.
Marathon co-organizer Dave Sheble said entries are coming at a greater pace than last year, and the field already includes athletes from 32 states and countries including Canada and Japan.
Sheble called the USATF designation “a great honor.” The Illinois USATF will recognize its top 10 male and female member finishers in addition to separate accolades from marathon officials.
“There’s a tremendous number of awards that will be given out that day,” Sheble said.
Stolley doesn’t figure he’s in line to win one, but he’s elated just the same.
Hawks make headway: St. Charles, Batavia, Geneva and the communities encompassing Kaneland collaborated to become one big hockey town this season. The Fox Valley Hawks also included one player each from Oswego and Wheaton Warrenville South, but the team boasted an overwhelming accent of players from Chronicle Country.
Fox Valley concluded its winter session last week, falling to Bartlett in a Blackhawk Cup Varsity Combined state semifinal.
With the JV also on the upswing, club president Judy Bondarowicz considered the Hawks’ inaugural season encouraging.
“Still at the early stages, but we’re making progress,” Bondarowicz said. “We had two solid teams. We got past the first year of a new club coming together and came out strong in the end.”
From Kane to ’Cane: Geneva senior right-hander Andy Honiotes verbally committed to the Miami (Fla.) baseball program in June.
He since has signed his letter of intent to attend school and play for the traditional power, but recently made another bold strike with a pen, unapolegetically picking the Hurricanes as NCAA men’s basketball tournament champions.
“Oh, yeah, of course. I’ve got them to win my bracket, you know,” Honiotes said. “I’m really excited to go there. It was the perfect place for me.”
Miami enters the tournament as a No. 2 seed in the East Regional, and will face 15th-seeded Pacific in the first round at about 1:10 p.m. today.
The Geneva baseball team should be in transit to downstate Jacksonville at that hour; the Vikings open the season there at 7 p.m. today.
• Kevin Druley is a sports writer for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or email@example.com.