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Kaneland boys claim another I8 cross country title

Kaneland's Isaiah Dallal competes during the Boys Cross Country Interstate 8 Conference Championships on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020 in Sycamore.
Kaneland's Isaiah Dallal competes during the Boys Cross Country Interstate 8 Conference Championships on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020 in Sycamore.

SYCAMORE - Kaneland is not used to working this hard to finally win something more than a dual meet or a triangular.
 
In fact, the last time they did it, they won a state title.
 
While the Knights won’t be able to defend that title since there won't be a state competition this year, the team finished their limited regular season schedule on Saturday by winning the Interstate Eight Conference.
 
Kaneland beat runner-up Sycamore, 30-51, while Sandwich was in third place with a 92 and Morris was fourth with a 116.
 
“This group has worked hard all season long to go out and earn more than a dual meet victory,” Kaneland coach Chad Clarey said. “I was pleased with how we raced today. It was a good battle between ourselves competing against some of the schools there.”
 
Senior Isaiah Dallal (16:53) completed his race almost 10 seconds faster than his nearest opponent, Sycamore senior Jack Cambier (17:02), who also ran fantastically.
 
“Jack went within nine seconds of (Dallal) and he hasn’t been that close to him all year so I thought Jack ran a heck of a race,” Sycamore coach Mike Lambdin said. “And the kid from L-P (junior Ryan Hartman) had beaten Jack earlier this year.”
 
Dallal said thoughts of it being the final race of the regular season were strong.
 
“We knew it was our last race so we tried to make the best of it,” he said. “It was pretty miserable with the weather. I didn’t get the time I wanted to, but I got to do what I wanted.”
 
Lambdin was pleased to see his kids hang tough with Kaneland.
 
“Kaneland’s one of the best teams in the state and we competed well against them,” he said. “This is a nice step forward but still leaves something to aim for in the coming weeks.”
 
Nolan Allen, who raced in the open division, took fourth place overall (17:10) for the Knights who also received strong performances from seniors Parker Malone (17:15) and Aaron Lodwig (17:21), juniors Logan Cunz(17:26) and Christian Phillips (17:33) and seniors Chris Fountain (17:38)Charlie Fitts (17:40).
 
“Nolan separated himself from the rest of the pack and was running a little bit faster than the last time we were here in September,” Clarey said.“And that was despite the wind and the temps and everything else.”
 
Allen and Fitts were among seven Knights separated by just 30seconds and that doesn’t even account for Dallal’s effort.
 
“Our seventh finisher Charlie Fitts had probably one of the best races,” Clarey said. “The guys are fighting to cement that last roster spot for the IHSA. (Chris) Fountain was two seconds ahead of our No 6. That’s a huge day.”
 
Junior Nicholas Kocher (17:10) took fifth for the Spartans as all but three of the top 10 finishers were Kaneland and Sycamore athletes. Ethan Solfisburg (17:31) was 11th for the Spartans and followed by Caden Emmert and Donny Gramer (17:46).
 
“The last few weeks we’ve been moving forward and this was another step,” Lambdin said. “We have in mind what our perfect race would be and we're pretty close to that. If two boys would’ve been 15 seconds faster we would've been exactly where we wanted to be going onto this meet.”
 
 

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