Naperville (Neuqua Valley) has been a distance powerhouse for the past 15 years it feels like. They have had top 10 finishes at the state meet like it was as easy as spreading cream cheese on a bagel. This summer head coach Paul Vandersteen lost ace runner Zach Kinne who has moved to Pennslyvania.
Kinne has transferred to North Allegheny Senior High School in Pennslyvania to finish his senior year as a Tiger. The Tigers may have lucked their way to a state title in PA with the addition of Kinne. Something that Kinne will more than likely do is mentor North Allegheny's young star, Daniel McGoey, who is going into his junior year. McGoey took 3rd place in the state for XC last season and lost to two seniors, so the Tigers may have a one-two punch at state with these two great runners.
Many people are wondering why would Kinne leave the state of Illinois for the state of Pennsylvania. The reason was his father's job. After talking to Kinne a bit about the move it was very obvious that he was both excited about the move but sad to leave Illinois. Kinne is looking towards the future though telling us that he wants to win both the individual and team title for XC this year, win at least the 3200m at state and possibly the 1600m, and he wants to go sub 8:50 in the 3200m and sub 4:08 in the 1600m. Kinne indicated that the biggest thing he will miss from his home state is all the friends he made from running whether it was one of his teammates or one of his competitors. Kinne will still be in contact with many of them, but he said it is hard to be so far away from them. Kinne doesn't think him leaving will be a huge blow to the Neuqua Valley title hopes, saying that we should not count them out when it comes to placing on the podium come November.
Kinne may have only been here for three years, but he made a huge impact on the Illinois scene. In 2016, Kinne was a sophomore on the Wildcats XC State Championship team and ended up qualifying for nationals with that same team taking 67th place at NXN. For part of this past indoor track season, Kinne was the IL#1 in both the 1600m and 3200m. At the track & field state championship this season, Kinne nearly upset one of the best runners in the nation when he almost beat Danny Kilrea of Lyons Township in the 3200m. You could write a book on all of Kinne's stories of how he has impacted Illinois running. Us here at Milesplit IL will miss watching Kinne race on the plains of Illinois, but we wish him the best of luck racing in the mountains of Pennsylvania.