Hinsdale Red Devil-Hornet Invitational Preview

The weather and the new course layout should be the major factors in the 33rd edition of the Red Devil-Hornet Invite (or vice versa) hosted by Central and South High Schools.  First, the climes are expected to reach the 90 degree mark (perhaps by the girls open race at 11:25a) which will cause some calamity to the competitors. The Katherine Legge Memorial course has been altered because of construction on the site. So, there will be a new record for each respective race winner.

The Boys will go first

Key Teams:  [3A] #3 Winnetka (New Trier), #6 Wheaton-Warrenville South, #7 Hinsdale Central, #8 Palatine,  #10 Naperville (Neuqua Valley), #15 Naperville Central, #22 Highland Park

Team outlook:

This is going to be an exciting tilt with seven ranked teams lining up on Saturday morning at 10am on a new three-mile layout.  New Trier will be the spotlight team right away with a target on their backs as they take their first steps toward a state title and/or trophy.  The Trevians will be led by seniors Peter Cotsirlos and Chase Silverman.  Both runners are front runners followed by a solid scoring punch that should make them hard to beat.  Cotsirlos in particular will be a marked man based on assessment that he is an individual favorite.

Neuqua Valley is the defending champion with something to prove themselves right away.  Head Coach Paul Vandersteen recently indicated that his star pupil Nick Bushelle (Sr.) is healthy and ready to lead the team.  Previously Bushelle’s summer training was interrupted by an illness.  The strength laden Wildcats will look to suppress their foes with tight pack running.

Wheaton-Warrenville South is another team that will be in the hunt for an invitational team win.  The Tigers have the talent to go a long way in the post-season.  But they will need to prove themselves in this all important first test.  Nolan McKenna could easily be tabbed the individual favorite or at least a very low scorer.  Luke Schroer (Sr.) and Kyle Cepeda (Jr.) could be the top assistants in race behind McKenna if can do their jobs by working together near the front of the pack.

Don’t forget ever forget about Palatine.  Coach Chris Quick will lean on his anointed leader Graham Brown (Jr.) to provide the spark that the Pirates are going to need if they plan to be among the three trophy teams… it will be interesting to see how upstart teams like Naperville Central and Highland Park will do among a wall of giants.  Both teams have lost some great talent since last year but reloading is the key to success and the quick ability to get back in the hunt and put in a quality effort.

The host Hinsdale Central crew naturally has an advantage but in reality this team is real solid behind the talents of Billy Magnesen (Sr.).  The Red Devils are a tough team with some serious season goals.  Kevin Huang (Sr.) is another key runner that must strike pay dirt to show the competition they are for real.

Individual outlook: The emphasis really will be the team race but some quality individuals will no doubt step up and produce some quality efforts.  For starters, Nolan McKenna is the #1 choice to rock the field.  He should win easily in KLM record style (new course layout or old meet layout comparison).  Graham Brown looks to be a good paper pick to battle for his first major invitational win should McKenna slip up.  He has incrementally moved toward the next great Palatine runner that many Pirate fans are expecting.  If Brown can’t hold on to McKenna’s coat tails, then Highland Park’s Angel Estrada (Sr.) will look to rip past the finish line with his tremendous leg speed. Estrada has a solid team but he will have the luxury of going after individual honors.  How about 2011 frosh-soph champion Peter Cotsirlos getting into the mix?  It is possible that he is ready for the challenge.  Nick Bushelle could charge foward for a top five position if his conditioning is now up to par.  Billy Magnesen will give it one final try in his home invite.  Don’t be surprised if he is in the top five.

Glenbard West starts quest for state championship

Key Teams: [3A] #2 Glen Ellyn (Glenbard West), #3 Palatine, #7 Naperville Central, #11 Winnetka (New Trier), #16 Minooka, #24 Wheaton-Warrenville South

Team outlook:

Glenbard West surprised New Trier last year on the strength of Madeline Perez’s (Sr.) win and Lisa Luczak’s (Jr.) third place finish.  Three other Hilltoppers would finish in the top 20 in route a 51-55 team victory.  Palatine was close by in third with 60pts.  This time around the Hilltoppers are the favorites and they are going to have to do it without their leader Ms. Perez.  Madeline indicated very early in the week (to this writer) that she was not running on Saturday because of body soreness.  Moreover, she did say that she was ok and not injured and would be in attendance to support her team.  The leadership role will now fall on Luczak and newcomer Lindsay Graham (So.).  Glenbard West should still have enough depth to pull out the team victory.

New Trier will feature a noticeably different look for the first time in four years without the Ackerman twins Courtney and Jessica leading the way.  It is now time for junior Mimi Smith time to shine brightly.  She will have several teammates capable of lending a hand in the process.  The Lady Trevians will need to rely more on pack running than in past years for obvious reasons.

Palatine didn’t need any charity case to prove they are one of the top three teams in the state.  The thing that makes the Lady Pirates so good is their ability to run any style of race.  In past years, they could throw out a front runner such as Sarah McIntosh and Tess Wasowicz to low score and set the table.  But now it appears as though things could be different with more of a pack running style.  Seniors Liz Cox and Jessica Lincoln came up in the middle school running ranks together and now are expected to lead the squad on and off the course.  They will be heavily guarded by the likes of teammates Sabina Yousif (So.) and Cassidy McPherson (Sr.).

The best of the rest will feature host Hinsdale Central led by Becca Marcotte (Sr.) and Annie Zahir (So.).  The Devilettes are an emerging team despite finishing 12th in the state meet last year.  The mix of young and experienced runners will begin their improvement process this Saturday… Naperville Central is one of those teams that coaches have continually pointed to as dangerous and capable of hurting some really good squads.  In order for the Hawks to realize their dream of a top three finish they are going to have to hit on all cylinders with a low scoring pack and Katie Hoffman (Jr.).

Individual outlook: The field is going to be littered with talent emanating from the key teams.  Mimi Smith has to be the pre-meet favorite based on her resume and the fact that Madeline Perez is not running.  Glenbard West has two other aces in Lindsay Graham and Lisa Luczak but they may be forced to alter fast paced plans in order to fill Perez’s hole.  No one has bothered to mention Aurora (Metea Valley) senior Kendall Cast as a prime suspect.  Cast placed seventh here last year and will be one of the best runners in the state in whatever race she enters.

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