Waubonsie Valley High School Aurora, IL
Oct 28, 2017
Boys: #2 Neuqua Valley on the eve of their longtime head coach and soon to be Hall of Famer Paul Vandersteen is the team to beat here and that's a fact. Look for the Wildcats to float past the competition on the strength of front running Zach Kinne (Jr.). Kinne will have an airtight crew behind him. The scoring split will run under 45 seconds 2-5 and that will be more than enough. Foes that will fight for a spot to Peoria include #7 Huntley, #13 St. Charles East, and #15 Naperville Central. Huntley may be a year away from greatness, but they will fight for a top two spot on Saturday... individually, Kinne is the favorite followed by Josh Rodgers (Jr., Geneva). Thomas Shilgalis (Jr., Naperville Central) sat out of regionals and hope to return for the Redhawks on Saturday. They will need him and his dominating 14:26 performance at the Naperville Twilght Invite.
Girls: #1 Naperville North, #11 Batavia, #18 Oswego, #19 Oswego East, #20 Rockton (Hononegah), #25 Naperville Central- Last weekend Naperville North did not run a full squad and still dominated a solid field at the West Aurora Regional. This time expect Sarah Schmitt (Sr.) and Alex Morris (Jr.) to race. Expect US#3 Huskies to race without caring they were dropped two slots in the latest national polls for just dominating all season long. The goal will be to survive and advance. Batavia on the other hand will be seeking a trip to state and then a goal to get inside the top 10. The Bulldogs are a good team if not underrated with two front runners in Marygrace Golden (Sr.) and Mia Gianfrancesco (So.). They will be pursued by some emerging programs. Oswego is one of those teams. The Panthers beat their crosstown rival Oswego East last weekend to place second at the West Aurora Regional. Hononegah is a surprise team late in the season. Let's see if they move on to state. How about a team that is not currently ranked in Geneva? The Vikings have underperformed despite having an injury or two. It's time to step up.
Venue Records: Waubonsie Valley High School
Granite City High School , IL
Oct 28, 2017
Boys: The southern most sectional has traditionally been the softest of the five sectors. It will once again be a little lean outside of #12 Edwardsville. The Tigers have been a dominate force and they proved that over #21 O'Fallon at last weekend's Belleville West Regional. O'Fallon is a good team and they have performed well in sectional contests in their history.
Girls: #2 Yorkville, #4 Edwardsville, #9 Minooka, #12 Lockport, #21 Lincoln-Way Central, O'Fallon- This is not a one team sectional anymore. It is rather top heavy with major implications for the winner. Yorkville is lauded as one of the premier teams in the country and if they hope to keep their names in the NXN at-large picture they MUST win here. The Lady Foxes have what what it takes to keep the gravy train going. They have championships under ther belt (5 state titles), great schedule, top notch front runners, and great scoring pack to close out races. The Lady Foxes will lead with Alyssa Edwards (Sr.) and Helena Kleronomos (Fr.). The rest of the team will be returners in 2018. Edwardsville on the other hand is playing with the dealer's cards. Their power ranking is strong because they are going all out for a state championship trophy in Peoria. The only blemish on the Tigers record is a 4th place finish at the FTTF (Naperville North, Yorkville, Downers South). They are a better team now.
Emily Shelton (Sr., Minooka) had struggled at times earlier in the season from the "empty nest" syndrome. Her longtime teammates Ashley Tutt and Mackenzie Callahan have moved on to college (Northern Illinois University). Shelton has been racing all alone these days. But after a superb effort at the Naperville Twilight which produced a season best 17:00 (6th place) seems to have awaken Shelton. She has not loss since then. Keep in mind that Shelton placed third at state last year with a fine time of 16:42.
Venue Records: Granite City High School
Katherine Legge Park Hinsdale, IL
Oct 28, 2017
MileSplit On-Site Coverage
Boys: Obviously the teams to watch will be Western Suburban Conference Silver foes #1 Downers Grove North, #4 Lyons Township, #5 Hinsdale Central, but don't forget outsider #8 Sandburg who won state just two years ago. It will be a hard fought victory forever wins it. Add in #10 Downers Grove South and #11 Plainfield South, this regional may be the deepest in the state. The top ranked Trojans are clearly the favorites so don't get it twisted. They have a front runner in Jacob Riddlehoff who will challenge for a top 5 finish. But really the team's strength is a tremendous scoring pack that will be well under 45 seconds.
Individually, the race of the year is on the horizon between #1 Danny Kilrea (Sr., Lyons) and #2 Dylan Jacobs (Sr., Sandburg). They met during the season's first big weekend of coverage and Kilrea landed a smackdown to Jacobs. While Kilrea has maintained the #1 spot and one of the elite positions in the US poll, the gap has been trimmed tremendously. Jacobs ran an unbelievable 13:57 at the Peoria Invitational last month to make it known that he will be ready. The sectional title holder will be a short lived one in terms of memory with the state championship looming. But it will serve as a bit of bragging rights for the fans and pundits. If course conditions are right and the tactical aspect of racing does not come into play, we should see something marvelous.
Girls: #3 Downers Grove South, #8 Hinsdale Central, #10 Lyons Twp., #15 Lisle (Benet Academy)- There is a sense that Downers Grove South may be trouble over the next few weeks. They will obviously advance to state. Before that could be an awakening by the competition here. Running in a strong pack has produced great dividends all season for the Mustangs, but now there has be top notch racing from the front. Hinsdale Central and Lyons are dangerous teams who can do that. Benet Academy was very close to beating DGS at regionals even if it was a low key affair. There cannot be any slip ups on Saturday.
The individual race should be a good one if not a surprise or two. A brand new face surfaced at the Lyons Regional when Abby Lopez (So., Argo) stunned a strong field. Her name had appeared on the rankings all season but no one knew who she was. Until now. Lopez will be a major threat for the title.
Venue Records: Katherine Legge Park
Hoffman Estates High School Hoffman Estates, IL
Oct 28, 2017
MileSplit On-Site Coverage
Boys: #6 Hersey is the team to beat now. The Huskies seemed to be on all cylinders now and they are healthy. It was just after the Palatine Invite in late September that many billed #9 Mundelein as a serious threat or even favorite. But the Mustangs have struggled with some pack running and closing out of races. They will advance to state and probably be a candidate for a top 10 finish, but that's about it. #17 Prospect, #20 Lake Zurich, Dundee-Crown, Barrington, and Palatine will fill out the bracket.
Alex Tam (Sr., Libertyville) may have a leg up on the competition based on his winning formula. His only loss this season was at the Palatine Invite to Maine South's Tommy Brady. Barrington senior Nick Laning (Sr., Barrington) will be a force to reckon with. Watch for Prospect's Jack Terry to challenge.
Girls: #6 Barrington, #13 Prospect, #14 Stevenson, #22 Cary-Grove, #23 Palatine, #24 Libertyville- There are no guarantees when it comes to this sectional. As painful as it may be but Barrington and Prospect have had some difficulty in advancing to state when expected to several times over the past few years. Both teams were ranked and missed out last year. Prospect in particular came in ranked 10th and was expected to advance with their shoes tied together. The Knights would finish 7th. A third is a charm and you can bet that coach Pete Wintermute has made sure his girls has gotten the message of finishing a complete three miles.
The race for individual glory will be a fabulous one. Madison Marasco (Sr., Schaumburg), Melissa Manetsch (Sr., Libertyville), Jocelyn Long (Sr., Barrington), and Brett Chody (Sr., Lake Forest) are supreme runners who have been in exclusive "Premium 10" club.
Venue Records: Hoffman Estates High School
Lake Park CC Course Roselle, IL
Oct 28, 2017
MileSplit On-Site Coverage
Boys: Typically the teams here draw the deepest sectional but not this time. That does not mean #3 Wheaton-Warrenville and company won't make for great entertainment. The Lake Park course is a fast one that reminds many of Detweiller how fast it can go. Things may be a little tactical though according to meet officials who anticipate some standing water on parts of the course from rain earlier in the week. Look for #14 Glenbard West, #16 Maine South, #18 York, #19 New Trier, and unranked Chicago Whitney Young as the next five teams fighting for a spot to Peoria. But don't be surprised if an unknown team or two jump up and snake bite these foes.
Tommy Brady has been running well and he may be the one to beat followed by Clayton Mendez. Brandon Christopher has run well with Brady for most of the season and he should a candidate for a top three spot.
Girls: #5 Wheaton-Warrenville South- "We don't worry about rankings and stuff like that," says WWS coach Rob Harvey. Is this a Jedi mind trick to send out to the universe to trick those who may fall asleep on his team? Maybe so because the Lady Tigers are now in position to win another sectional title and licking their chops in Peoria the following week. There are no pure front runners among Wheaton South. But they have one of the best 1-5 scoring teams. If you don't believe it, then go and check the stats... #7 Glenbard West went 1,2,3 last weekend at the Wheaton North Sectional and finish second. It could happen again and the outcome may turnout the same. The Hilltoppers appear to be maxed out past their #3 runner and if this is true, so be it... to fill out the bracket to Peoria look to #16 York, #17 New Trier, and Maine South as the prime cut choices.