FIRST TEAM Ben Barnes
Uncorked a personal best effort of 23 feet, 5 inches on his final attempt to win the Class 2A state title in the long jump, a win that helped set the Knights on a collision course with perennial power Cahokia.
Navigated a muggy weekend in Charleston to place eighth in the 3A 800-meter. Was a reliable force during weekend invites and conference meets.
Southern Illinois recruit helped Kaneland push four-time 2A defending champion Cahokia with an eighth-place run in the 400 while competing with the runner-up 4x800 and 4x400 relays.
Burlington Central, Jr.
Had an unbeaten season in the 300 hurdles. Won a 2A state title in 37.34 seconds. Was no slouch in 110s, placing third to help BC take third in the team race.
He may not have been as big as the rest of his 2A throwing brethren, but the Kane County Chronicle Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year relied on textbook technique to win the shot put with a personal best 58-5 1/4. Also seventh in the discus.
A key contributor to the Cadets’ ninth straight Suburban Christian Conference crown, Grahovec placed sixth in the 3A 800 in his final high school race.
Provided one of the signature moments in Knights’ remarkable 2A run, nearly flagging down his Cahokia counterpart in the anchor leg of the 4x400. Stanford commit also was part of the runner-up 4x800 and took sixth in the 400.
Contributed a fourth-place pole vault of 14-9 at the 2A state meet, joining classmate Dan Evers (seventh) as the latest in a decorated group of Knights in the event.
Fourth-place finisher in 1A state cross country in November kept success going, anchoring the Red Ramblers’ champion 4x400 relay (3:24.48) and placing fourth in the 800.
St. Charles North, Sr.
Improved from fourth place to second in the 3A high jump, engaging in a memorable duel with Grant’s Jonathan Wells, who topped Miller, 7-0 to 6-10. Miller will compete at Illinois State in the fall.
Helped the Bulldogs to Upstate Eight Conference title and a runner-up finish in the 3A Bartlett Sectional before advancing to state prelims in 300 hurdles and as part of 4x400 relay.
One of two Vikings champions at the 3A Bartlett Sectional, Roels won the 200 in 21.99 seconds to advance to the state prelims in Charleston in his final season.
Aurora Christian, Sr.
Earned what Aurora Christian officials believe to be the school’s first individual state track title by capturing the 1A discus with a throw of 165-10, six inches better than his nearest competitor.
Luis Acosta, Kaneland, Sr.
Brandon Bishop, Kaneland, Sr.
Jason D’Amico, Geneva, Sr.
Kyle Decker, St. Charles East, Sr.
Jack Feeney, St. Charles North, Sr.
Johnathan Harrell, Aurora Christian, Sr.
Luke Juriga, Marmion, Jr.
Jeremy Kalicum, Mooseheart, Sr.
Nathan Klair, St. Charles North, Sr.
Patrick Lefevre, Aurora Central Catholic, Sr.
Casey Matthews, Burlington Central, Sr.
Tyler Maryanski, Marmion, Sr.
Javier Montelongo, Aurora
Central Catholic, Sr.
Dylan Nauert, Kaneland, Sr.
Matt O’Connor, Burlington Central, Sr.
Brock Robertson, Kaneland, Sr.
Mark Rudelich, Batavia, Sr.
Ty Seager, Wheaton Academy, So.
Mark Sciurba, St. Charles East, So.
Mitch Voellinger, Batavia, Sr.
Ryan Wieties, Batavia, Jr.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Eric Baron, Kaneland
Entering the season, the Knights served notice they were aiming for three-time defending Class 2A state champion Cahokia.
Their bid to dethrone the Comanches nearly succeeded, as Cahokia edged Kaneland, 90-84, by far its slimmest margin of victory during the run.
By the time Baron brought the group to his alma mater, Eastern Illinois, for the state meet, the Knights had been dialed in for weeks.
Kaneland registered the highest team total for a runner-up in state history.
“It was just a pretty outstanding season,” Baron said. “Second place – I know the boys were disappointed that they didn’t win – but honestly, the way that we competed was what every coach wants. We couldn’t have asked for more from the boys.”
– Kevin Druley, firstname.lastname@example.org