Steeleville Leads Off Class A Boys Pre-Season Rankings At #25

Welcome to a brand new season of Illinois Cross Country! Although the smallest division of cross country in Illinois, 1A is full of historic programs competing for trophies every year. Let's take a look at the opening teams (Steve Bulgarin photo)

25. Steeleville

Head Coach: Neal Haertling

Last season's finish: 20th- State Championship

Key returners: Mel Mulholland, Gavin Conway, Jacob Fedderke, Logan Fulkerson

Tony's Take: The Warriors aim to use last year's valuable state meet experience to propel them to bigger and better things. Look for a bigger leap with the top three runners back and with a strong fifth man this team could easily be a top 15 team by season's end.

24. Melrose Park (Walther Christian)

Head Coach: Paul Goffron

Last season's finish: 22nd- State Championship

Key returners: Luis Dieguez (Sr.), Julio Padilla (Jr.), Darryl Norwood Jr (So.), Gus Viise (Sr.), Nathaniel Nunez (Jr.)

Tony's Take: The Broncos were probably rated the last team in based on their sectional strength and placement. However, this unsung team was able to surpass three teams at state. They should be much improved with five starters returning including the top three led by Luis Dieguez.

23. Benton

Head Coach: Brent McClain

Last season's finish: 6th- Edwardsville (Metro-East Lutheran)

Key returners: Mason Wills (Jr.), Kyle Sneed (Sr.), Triston Summers (Sr.), Avery Potter (Jr.), Brady Gischer (So.), Ethan Krieger (Jr.)

Tony's Take: Expect a good coach such as Brent McClain to ensure that his troops gets the message on how close they were to advancing to state last year. It was six points that separated the Rangers from making the big dance. Top man Mason Wills will lead the charge and his state meet experience will be an asset. Look for this team to improve their 2-5 scoring pack and make a charge up the charts throughout the season.


22. Breese (Mater Dei)

Head Coach: Marv Eversgerd

Last season's finish: 23rd- State Championship

Key returners: Luke Goebel (Sr.), Kevin Medlin (Sr.), Alex Detmer (Jr.)

Tony's Take: The Knights may have been a surprise by some pundits when they advanced to state last year. The 23rd place finish may have been better if top runner Luke Goebel did not finish out of the scoring as the the 7th man. Goebel is a 15:30 guy who had a bad day. Goebel returns in good favor after producing a solid track season that saw him qualify in two events (3200/1600) and he should be an all-state threat. Mater Dei could be a top 15-20 team with a few more players added to the game. 


21. Champaign (St. Thomas More)

Head Coach: Andy Wszalek

Last season's finish: 14th- State Championship

Key returners: Dominic Magrini (Jr.), Michael Lee (Sr.), Ian Clapper (So.), AJ Wrobel (So.), Lucas Simpson (Sr.)

Tony's Take: A state champion coach is abruptly out (Dave Behm) will have some consequences during the season. In addition, the transfer of #1 runner of sophomore Luke Manolakes will hurt. But on the flipside the Sabres return five starters from an upper crust finish at state. Experience and strong pack runner as well as securing the #5 scorer will be the main objective this fall.