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Prep track insider: Shake sets the standard for Kaneland

Kaneland’s Dylan Kuipers competes in the pole vault during the 2013 Kane County Boys Track Meet at Burlington Central High School. Kuipers and the Knights will compete at today’s county meet at Streamwood.
Kaneland’s Dylan Kuipers competes in the pole vault during the 2013 Kane County Boys Track Meet at Burlington Central High School. Kuipers and the Knights will compete at today’s county meet at Streamwood.

KPV’s sweet proposition

Pole vaulting and bad carbohydrates suddenly mix for the Kaneland boys program each May.

For the third straight spring, Knights pole vault coach Andy Drendel is offering what he calls “quite the incentive” for any vaulter who establishes a personal record this month: A free small Boston Shake at Alice’s Place in Elburn.

Should an athlete PR twice, he would earn a large Boston Shake, a delicacy that combines a milkshake and sundae. The challenge stemmed from former Knight Kory Harner telling teammates about the dessert during a practice.

Senior Dylan Kuipers – whose PR is 14 feet, 6 inches – and classmate Dan Evers (13-3) have paced the group this season, competing neck-and-neck at most events.

“They do a good job. They’re good buddies,” Drendel said. “They were this tall as freshmen, you know (putting his hand mid-waist), doing everything together, and now it’s kind of cool to see them as seniors doing this together.”

Sophomores Mitch Goren and Mike Rinella round out Kaneland’s top four.

In addition to their PRs, the group also will have another standard in its crosshairs at tonight’s Kane County meet at Streamwood: Kaneland product Sam Kranz’s seven-year-old county record of 16-0.

It’s day-to-day

Marmion hosted Kaneland and Aurora Central Catholic in a boys triangular Tuesday. The meet, like the Cadets’ Tuesday event against Riverside-Brookfield and Oswego last month, served a largely developmental purpose.

“You’re trying to get your JV kids, your frosh-soph kids, in a meet because that’s still the key to your program is numbers,” Cadets coach Dan Thorpe said. “And that’s why we’ve been successful is we’ve had depth. We’re able to get those kids to come out as freshmen, and they get the chance to compete on those nights.”

Although St. Charles East girls coach Tim Wolf agrees and often follows similar protocol, he still remembers a different midweek landscape as an ACC athlete in the late 1990s.

“We’re finding that a lot of coaches are training through the week and don’t necessarily run all their kids in Tuesday meets before weekend invitationals,” Wolf said.

“When I was competing, we were always racing, you know. I think we even did dual meet records, and that just doesn’t happen anymore.”

Batavia boys dogged in 4x400

Batavia’s David Curnock escaped a charging Nathaniel Kucera of Kaneland two weeks ago to help the Bulldogs boys close the Peterson Prep Invitational with a victory in the 4x400 relay.

Blake Crowder, Peyton Piron and Jorden Berendt – the first three legs in the quartet – watched in anticipation. Batavia likes its chances should it tangle for the 4x400 county title with the Knights or any other challengers today.

“I’m more of a chaser, so they put me out in front because that’s how I get a better time, and Peyton, he’s just really good at setting himself,” Crowder said. “And then our two distance guys, Berendt and Curnock, they’re just good at pacing and they’re really good at keeping the lead and managing things from there.”

Kevin Druley,


Lauren Zick, Kaneland, Sr.

What she did: Captured titles in the 100 and 200 meters May 2 at the Kane County girls meet while placing second in the long jump and as part of the 4x100 relay. The Knights finished second to West Aurora in the team race. “It’s nice to have some competiton to push us to see where we’re at,” Zick said.

St. Charles East girls relays

What the Saints did: Won three of the four relays at the Kane County girls meet. Batavia took the 4x800.


West Aurora won’t relinquish its grip on the Kane County girls meet. The Blackhawks stormed to their fifth successive title last week, scoring 137 points to defeat host Kaneland (92), St. Charles East (91) and the rest of the 16-team field. The Knights hung around without freshman sprinter Nicole Sreenan, also a standout competitive cheerleader who was at an out-of-town event.


Which girls athletes qualify for the three-class IHSA state meet in Charleston May 22 to 24. Sectionals are set for next week, with notable sites including Metea Valley in 3A (St. Charles East, St. Charles North, Batavia, Geneva) and Freeport in 2A (Kaneland and Burlington Central).


“KANELAND NEVER STOPS,” is the slogan on the Knights’ Nike hoodies this season, and boys athletes are especially aware their charge is only beginning.

Deep at every event and primed to challenge for a 2A state team trophy, the Knights will look to defend their Kane County title tonight, then go from there.

Sly’s looking forward to seeing the Knights’ push. They should be among a group of several Chronicle-area boys and girls athletes who’ll be Charleston-bound in the coming weeks.

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