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High school boys track and field: Conference showings bode well for Kaneland

SYCAMORE – Record performances by Kaneland’s Clayton Hannula and Danny Walker were among the highlights for the Knights at the Northern Illinois Big 12 conference meet May 12 at Sycamore High School.

Hannula, a junior, broke his previous best in the shot put by more than two feet to win the event at 58 feet, 4.5 inches – a meet record and the third-best Class 2A mark in the state. Afterward, he placed third in the discus at 172-8.5, also No. 3 in the state and more than 30 feet farther than fourth place.  

Walker, a senior, scaled a conference record 15-3 to win the pole vault – his fifth clearance of 15 feet or better this season.

“We had lots of highlights across the board in both the varsity and frosh-soph meets,” Kaneland coach Andy Drendel said.

Elsewhere in the field events, senior Cody Delarme long jumped a 20-inch lifetime best of 20-2.5 to place third, junior Drew Gould leaped 6-1 to place fifth and equal his personal best in the high jump, and junior Jack O’Sullivan vaulted 12-1 to get a sixth-place point for the Knights.

On the track, the Knights’ foursome of senior Adam Rivas, sophomore Noah Butzman, and seniors Matt Noel and Delarme placed third in the 4x100-meter relay in 43.47 seconds, just a tenth off the state-qualifying standard.  

Gould got fifth-place points in the 100 high hurdles, running 15.62, and junior Ian Stoll got a sixth-place point in the 300s, running 42.05.

In the 4x200 relay, the team of Rivas, junior Tyler Nance, Noel and Delarme placed second with a season-best time of 1:32.03.

Junior distance star Matt Richtman took on Sterling’s Jacob Gebhardt (the state’s top Class 2A miler) in the 1,600 run and lost a stirring battle to the finish line by a tenth of a second, 4:22.61 to 4:22.71. 

In the 200 dash, Rivas placed fourth in a personal best 23.21.

Kaneland closed out the night with senior Matt Redman, Delarme, Noel, and Richtman passing the baton to a third-place finish in the 4x400 relay in 3:29.43.

Kaneland was outside the scoring in the 800 run, but senior Noah Duffy ran a promising two-second personal best of 2:03.23.

The Knights finished fourth in the 10-team varsity championships with 70 points, placing behind Geneseo (98.5), Yorkville (94) and Sterling (80).  

After the Kane County meet May 5, Drendel hinted he might keep his underclassmen at the frosh-soph level and give them the opportunity to compete for a conference team title. That he did, and the young Knights fell just three points short of doing so, scoring 97 points to Sycamore’s 100.  

Frosh-soph meet highlights included sophomore Noah Butzman winning the 400 dash in a personal best 51.70, freshman Daniel Occhipinti winning the 1,600 run in 4:44.28 and placing second in the 800 by .06 seconds (2:04.50), and the foursome of sophomore David Delarme, twins Kyle and Chris Angelotti, and Butzman winning the 4x400 relay in 3:36.92. In the field, sophomores Dimitri Chavez and Zane Pozen went 1-2 in the pole vault at 11-6, Drew Hahn placed second in the shot put (40-11), Alex Dhom placed third in the long jump (18-2), and freshman Colton Doll placed third in the triple jump (37-4.75).

At the Rochelle sectional May 18, the varsity Knights will look to lock up a slew of state meet berths.

“We’ll be confident and fully-loaded with all our freshmen and sophomore varsity contributors in our lineup,” Drendel said. “Our goal is to qualify as many relay teams and individuals for the state meet as possible, and I like our chances for filling up a bus load.”  

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