Head Coach/coaches: Travis Shepherd/Keith West, Dan Jazo
Last year's finish: Kaneland Sectional- 7th place
Newcomers: Jay Patel (Sr), Ty Dwyer (So), Jack Engel (So), Aidan Gillespie (So), Sean Humpa (So), Gavin Murrie (Fr), Nathan Rolla (Fr)
Coach Shepard's outlook:
We come into the 2018 season with big goals and expectations. We have a group of seniors that have had a large impact on our program over the last three years. Each year the team has performed at a high level when it counts and continued to raise the bar. Last year we won the Grant Invite and just missed a conference title. We turned in our 2nd best Sectional performance in school history and missed qualifying for state by nine points. Fueled by a narrow miss at the State Finals, the team put together a quality track season. We set a new school record in the 4x8 relay (8:04) along with numerous personal bests. They have carried a successful Spring into a motivated Summer. We return Six of our top seven return with four very driven seniors. While we don't have a true leader, the team has done a nice job of feeding off of each other in workouts and practice. New people step up daily, which has made for quality Summer practices.
A key addition this year is sophomore Jack Engel. Having only trained for a few months, he ran 2:07 and 4:55 for us as a freshman last Spring. With a full summer under his belt, I anticipate he will have an immediate impact on the top 7. Also, for the first time in years, we have a 2nd pack forming behind our top 7. That is huge and will push everyone to bring it daily. We have a few guys that may develop into true front-runners, but ultimately we will have success this year based on the strength of our pack. As we do in practice, the guys often race together. Our pack is often tight as evidenced by the fact that our top 5 guys have PRs within 16 seconds of each other. I believe that split can stay under 20 seconds all year and regardless of a front-runner, will keep us competitive in every meet.
The top 5 have PRs under 16:20 and we'll look to get all 7 guys under 16. That would put us squarely in the top 15 teams in 2A. The guys have been working all Summer with their sights set on Peoria. Overall this is an inspired group who are ready to compete each meet. They welcome the spotlight and are pumped when they have an opportunity to compete against really good teams. They are diligent in their preparation as they meticulously take care of what is in their control. When the moment is here, they will be ready to strike. A team with this makeup is a delight to work with and I am beyond excited to coach this group.
Head Coach: Bill Eschman
Last year's finish: State- 15th place
Key returners: Keegan Smalley (Sr), Jack Flynn (Sr), Adam Zehtner (Sr), Nate Kopp (Sr), Nick Camacho (Sr) Projected top 7: Smalley, Flynn, Zehtner, Kopp, Camacho, Austin May (So), Carson Johnson (Sr)
Carson's outlook: The Tigers are looking like a very good team this year. They are lucky by having 5 members of their top 7 that qualified for the state meet last year, returning for this upcoming season. They are looking like they will be one of the strongest pack running teams in the state. Watch for a 1-5 split of about 25 seconds for them. They are so close together that they will probably have a different #1 member almost every meet.
Head Coach: Vince Neil
Last year's finish: State- 18th place
Key returners: Anthony Farmer (Jr), Adam Kries (Sr), Gio Martinez (Jr), Jack Hartmann (Sr), Tyler Gerke (Sr), Tommy Zettl (Jr)
Projected top 7: Farmer, Kries, Martinez, Hartman, Gerke, Zettl, Foreman
Newcomers: Javorious Foreman, Patrick Mayfield
Coach Neil's outlook: We have a great front-runner in Anthony Farmer. The next step is tightening our gaps from 2-7. We made some great strides last year in our pack running and top 20 finish at the IHSA state meet but the boys are still hungry for a better performance. The attitude and motivation are there to have a successful season.
Head Coach: Evan Thorpe
Last year's finish: Kaneland Sectional- 6th place
Projected top 7: Grady, Seagren, Grisworld, Andrew Lohse (Sr), Brock Drengenberg (So), Cadyn Grafton (So), Aidan Johnson (Jr)
Carson's outlook: Dixon is coming into the season very underrated as they seem to have it all. The most important thing that they have that not a lot of other 2A teams have is depth. They are returning 6 runners that broke the 17-minute barrier last season. They are a dangerous pack team. Their pack is a little farther back, but their 1-5 split will be around 35 seconds this season. The Dukes had a great track season from both Andrew Lohse and Collin Grady last year. Both were all-staters in the 4x800m and Grady was an all-stater in the 4x400m. Lohse was a good thing to see, now he has to keep it up for cross country.
Head Coach: Chad Clarey
Last year's finish: State- 6th place
Projected top 7: Occhipinti, Lodwig, Wielgos, Seth Nosek (Jr), Ethan Walker (Jr), Ethan Neal (Jr), Blake Finn (Sr)
Coach Clarey's outlook: We lost the state champion in Matt Richtman, as well as the strength of Webster, Heiser, and Henry Nosek. We don't feel the cupboard is bare. We have some really nice pieces remaining from our team last fall and are really looking for a solid 5-6-7 to move up as close as possible to our front-runners. Wielgos and Lodwig have done an outstanding job of leading the pack through the summer, and we feel the positives they have collectively had from a promising and successful track season can springboard them into a season of improvement in cross country. When October rolls around, we hope to have a better pack split than a year ago, with a team that is 9-10 deep. We don't measure a season on whether or not we qualify as a team, but in the improvement, our runners see by the end of the campaign. We've had a good start so far, with our summer conditioning. We'll take some lumps in early meets as we work to find a consistent lineup. We are young, but we are getting great leadership from our seniors. They're driven to see this team find its own identity within our program's history.
Head Coach: Tom Smith
Last year's finish: State- 16th place
Key returners: Avery Davidson (Sr), Reese Borlin (Sr), Garret Roberts (Sr), Ben Learned (Sr), Ethan Sabotta (Sr), Caden Davidson (Jr)
Projected top 7: A. Davidson, Borlin, Roberts, Max Tellefson (Sr), Learned, Sabotta, C. Davidson
Carson's outlook: Washington is looking great this season as they are returning 6 of the top 7 from last year that qualified for the state championship. Watch the Panthers work on having a 1-5 split of about 50 seconds. This team is hungry to do great things at state as it will be the last one for 6 of the projected top 7. They don't have much depth as they only have 5 runners under the 17-minute mark.
Head Coach coaches: Michael Lambdin/David Liszka
Last year's finish: 2A State- 3rd place
Key returners: David Lerohl (Sr), Lucas McKay (Sr), Dayton Ward (Sr), Bryce Guerrettaz (Jr), Paul Ruetten (Jr), Jack Cambier (So)
Projected Top 7: Lerohl, McKay, Dayton Ward, Guerrettaz, Ruetten, Aaron Trier (So), Cambier
Newcomers: Bailin Farrell (Sr), Isaac Ward (Fr)
Coach Lambdin's thoughts: While losing 3 of our top 4 runners from last year's team to graduation, there is the potential to be a strong squad in 2018. A very different kind of team, but a strong one. As of yet, no one has emerged as a true #1 runner. We appear to be a pack team. How good that team will depend on how strong the front runners are and how tight the back can stay with them. I am excited to see how this team develops.
7. Mt Zion
Head Coach: Kelly Fox
Last year's finish: Decatur (MacArthur) Sectional- 7th place
Key returners: Mason Jones (Sr), Carson Fenton (Sr), Cade Baker (Sr), Collin Perry (Sr), Max Klebe (Jr), Wally Kraus (Jr), Zach Fenton (So)
Projected top 7: Jones, Fenton, Baker, Perry, Klebe, Kraus, Fenton
Carson's outlook: The Braves were not satisfied with their last year's cross country season as they missed qualifying for the state meet with a very good team. Luckily this year they are only losing 1 member from last year's top 7 group. The Braves should have a 1-5 split of about 1:30, that doesn't sound that impressive, but you also must remember that they have Mason Jones returning. Jones last year broke the 15-minute barrier only once, but this year he will break it a few times if his training has been great. This is an under the radar team that could move up the rankings.
Head Coach: Gene Jones
Last year's finish: Normal University Sectional- 6th place
Key returners: Adam Gilbreath-Glaub (Jr), Jacob Gray (Sr) Projected top 7: Alex Blackburn (Sr), Austin Gale (Jr), Gilbreath-Glaub, Gray, Evan Johnson (So), Ian O'Laughlin (Jr), Reagan Pace (Sr)
Coach Jones's Outlook: As of July 11th we have 47 on the Roster for the Runnin' Red. There is a good mixture of veteran (letter winners) & young runners with some ability. The squad has goals of Mid-Illini Conference Champs and developing into a strong team through the season to advance to the State Meet on November 3rd.
5. Troy (Triad)
Head Coach: Andy Brendel/Brian Weiss
Last year's finish: Decatur MacArthur Sectional- 10th place
Key returners: Ben Walter (Jr), Jarod Willis (Jr), Drake Bleier (So), Caleb Bagwell (So), Luke Perry (So) Projected top 7: Walter, Willis, Bleier, Bagwell, Perry, Carson Dempsey (Fr), Ethan Dudley (Fr)
Newcomers: Carson Dempsey (Fr), Ethan Dudley (Fr), Ross Jefferson-Bushur (So)
Coach Brendel's outlook: We return all our top athletes and are excited about this talented, young group.
Head Coach: Todd Orvis
Last year's finish: State- 9th place
Key returners: Michael Moreman (Jr), Dylan Watson (Jr), Noah Hile (Sr), Lenox Li (Sr), Lukas Burleson (Jr), Brandon Barfell (Sr)
Projected top 7: Moreman, Watson, Hille, Li, Burleston, Ricky Oakley (Jr), Barfell
Coach Orvis's Outlook: Fortunately, our program has evolved into a position of having the same goals going into each season. Those are to win the conference meet and place in the top 10 at the state meet. However, at this point, we aren't even close to being a top ten team. A few key guys are coming off injuries from the spring and will need to regain their base before running well. Summer contact days have been well attended and our boys are putting themselves in position to have another solid season.
Head Coach: Dan Devlin
Last year's finish: State- 4th place
Key returners: Kyle Boughter (Jr), Will Formea (Sr), Ryan Waldinger (Sr), Zack Kinison (Sr), Jack Flesner (Sr), Sam Forness (Jr)
Projected top 7: Boughter, Formea, Waldinger, Kinison, Isaac Becker (Jr), Flesner, Forness
Carson's outlook: Springfield is coming into the season with a good chance to bring home a state title. The Senators are looking great as they are returning 6 of their 7 state qualifiers from last year. They have a ton of depth as they are returning 7 runners that went sub 16:40. This is a squad that encompasses a great pack as their scoring split looks to be around one minute. The "Capitol city" is a team that can be very dangerous as they seemingly have it all, they could definitely challenge Chatham-Glenwood for the state title.
Head Coach: John Szabo
Last year's finish: State- 7th place
Key returners: Nick Doud (Sr), Bradyn Olmstead (Jr), Roger Mendiola (Sr), Evan Turnbull (Jr), Quinn Olson (Sr), Drew Gibson (Jr)
Projected top 7: Doud, Olmstead, Mendiola, Turnbull, Olson, Gibson, Zach Reynolds (Jr)
Coach Szabo's outlook: Our coaching staff has been very pleased and impressed with the dedication and efforts of our team this summer. They have been outstanding. With 6 of our top 7 back from our 7th place 2017 state finish, we are very optimistic and excited for the 2018 season. The split for those six returnees was 57 seconds with Nick Doud leading the way with the best time of 15:25 last fall. Other returnees from last fall's state team include Roger Mendiola, Bradyn Olmstead, Evan Turnbull, Quinn Olson, and Junior Drew Gibson. All six have logged more summer mileage than ever before. Other Raider harriers who have had a great summer and will be vying for a top 7 spot include Dylan Kosloskus, Suraj Aireddy, Zach Reynolds, and Bryce Reed. Last year's 7th place finish was our best in school history and our team goal is to break that record again! GO RAIDERS!!!