Burlington Central primed for unprecedented county honor

Kaneland boys track and field coach Eric Baron enjoyed an all-state distance career at St. Charles High.

Baron doesn’t routinely recount those glory days, but recently found himself traipsing down memory lane at the thought of Friday’s Kane County Boys Meet at Burlington Central.

“To be honest with you, I haven’t been on Central’s track since I was in high school,” Baron said. “But I know the track has been resurfaced and they’ll host a great meet.”

While BC athletes have provided their share of top performances at past county meets, this season marks the first time Central will serve as host. The event is in its 95th year.

Central applied to be part of the regular county hosting rotation about eight years ago, when the track was expanded to eight lanes. Last summer’s track resurfacing added to the venue’s “Everything is new” feel, Rockets coach Mike Schmidt said.

It’s undoubtedly a big moment for a solid 2A program. Even girls athletes are happy to see many unfamiliar with Rocket Hill coming to town.

“I think the boys are really excited to have home-field advantage,” said Katie Trupp, who won girls county titles in the high jump and pole vault Friday. “I don’t even really know if that’s a thing for track, but it could be.”

Kaneland might be a benefactor, pending the conditions.

Take it from Baron.

“That could be the only drawback there,” he said. “Like us, if it’s really windy out there. There really is no wind break.”

Browns draft Aurora Christian product: Former Aurora Christian offensive lineman Garrett Gilkey followed Eagles coach Don Beebe to NCAA Division II Chadron (Neb.) State. Now Gilkey could be headed to another one-time Beebe stomping ground: The NFL.

On Saturday, the Cleveland Browns made Gilkey a seventh-round selection in the NFL draft, picking the 6-foot-7, 320-pounder on the heels of a Division II All-American season.

“I wouldn’t say it with any arrogance, but after this year at Chadron and then my different opportunities, post-career, at the Senior Bowl and the [NFL scouting] combine, I felt very confident with my performances,” Gilkey told Cleveland reporters on a conference call. “I had a level of confidence that kind of assured me that I was going to get drafted.”

Gilkey, who hails from Sandwich, started at Aurora Christian for two seasons. As a senior in 2007, he helped the Eagles to a 12-1 record and a berth in the Class 3A state semifinals.

Gilkey was prohibited from playing sports as a high school freshman because he underwent surgery for a heart condition. He moved on to Aurora Christian after that.

Fischbach to Concordia: St. Charles North senior quarterback Ryan Fischbach has committed to play his college football at Division III Concordia, his father has confirmed.

Splitting snaps with Erik Miller, Fischbach completed 33 of 68 passes last season for 667 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception.

Bender to show stuff in Missouri: Former Geneva right-hander Kyle Bender has signed to play with NAIA Hannibal (Mo.)-LaGrange beginning next season.

Bender, in his second season at Waubonsee Community College, will transfer for the fall semester.

Waubonsee was set to visit the Hannibal-LaGrange JV team in early March, but the game was canceled because of weather.

Pond Boston relief numbers in: Dick Pond Athletics-St. Charles last week was part of a company-wide fundraiser for the Boston One Fund foundation, an effort designed to aid in Boston Marathon bombing relief.

Together, the six Chicagoland Dick Pond locations raised $23,840 from cash donations and “Runners for Boston” T-shirt sales, according to St. Charles store manager Glen Kamps.

• Kevin Druley is a sports writer for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or

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