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“He gave that medal. He gave that moment to me,” Clarey said. “That’s who he was.“When he was laid to rest (December, 1994), I gave his medal back to him because he had earned it. I had hoped one day maybe I could come back and do something like that (coaching).”
The Knights did just that Saturday – and impressively – at the 2A state meet at Peoria’s Detweiller Park. Behind four top-25 all-staters, Kaneland (74 points) won by 21 points over Dixon. Sycamore took fifth place.
“I really can’t describe the feeling,” Kaneland's Daniel Occhipinti said. “(Last season) definitely put a chip on our shoulder. The seniors that graduated, we wanted to do this for them as much as for us. No one got down because we raced phenomenally last year but this year we really wanted that trophy.”
Seniors Austin Adams (8th, 16:10.64 for 3.0 miles), Occhipinti (18th, 15:23.68) and Ethan Walker (21st, 15:26.95) and junior Isaiah Dallal (24th, 15:27.83) were all-state, followed by seniors Ethan Neal (51st, 15:51.89), Ben Durbala (59th, 15:56.82) and junior Parker Malone (88th, 16:12.99).