Southwest Prairie Conference Kicks Off Conference Weekend

The boys' individual race consists of a clear favorite: Knowlton of Plainfield South. Knowlton is the defending champion from last fall's race, as he executed one of the most impressive wins of his career in beating race favorite, Blanco of Oswego East and eventual all-stater, Paramo of Plainfield North. Knowlton has had a fantastic season thus far, as he has broken the 15:00 minute barrier two times this year. His most impressive race came at the Palatine "Meet Of Champions" Invite as he took 4th place with a 14:54. Expect for Knowlton to win this meet by about 15 seconds. The pack behind Knowlton should include the likes of Jason Hoffman (Minooka), Timmy Wade (Plainfield South), Luke Wentz (Oswego East), Heriberto Alvarez (Oswego East), Jay Dworak (Joliet Central), Vincent Van Eyck (Minooka), and Nicholas Bozarth (Oswego East).

The boys' team battle is highlighted by overall favorite, Oswego East. The Wolves have been firing on all cylinders lately, with great performances at the Palatine MOC Invite and the First to the Finish Invite in Peoria. At Palatine, their top runner, Wentz, had a learning experience when he decided to lead the first mile of the varsity race and ended up dropping to 32nd place, running 15:31. However, Oswego East still managed to take 4th place as a team, due to breakout performances by Alvarez and Bozarth. The duo placed for the Wolves and showed that they can hold their own in competitive environments. It is difficult to see anyone beating the Wolves here, but Minooka and Plainfield South may have the best chance.

The Indians of Minooka have had an interesting year so far. They have seen solid performances by Hoffman, Jordan Freese, Van Eyck, Seth Joder, Hunter Phillips, and Mark Dames; but never on the same day or in the same race. Freese and Dames are both looking for a better season than they have previously had. Their sophomore seasons stand out as their best. As sophomores, Freese ran a 15:22, while Dames ran a 15:36. Both times still stand as their PR's to this day. Freese, along with teammate Joder, enters the race looking for redemption from their performances at the Naperville Twilight Invite. If the Indians can all perform well in this race, they could potentially take down the Wolves.

The Cougars of Plainfield South have not performed to their full potential yet this fall. They had great performances at both the Plainfield City Championship and the Joliet Steelman Invite, but have not seen strong performances in bigger events. As previously mentioned, the Cougars should have the individual champion, Knowlton, for low points up front but their team performance will rely heavily on how three runners compete: Wade, Jake Schoo, and Austin Ivec. Wade had a breakthrough performance at the Locktoberfest Invite, taking 13th place with a 16:13. Wade started his season on the wrong foot, but after this performance, he looks to continue his momentum at conference and improve upon his 6th place finish he had last year. Ivec and Schoo will battle to be the Cougars fifth man. The fifth runner has been an uncertainty for the Cougars this year as it seems to be a rotating door. Ivec needs to run better than he did at the Richard Spring Invite, where he ran 16:08 to take 100th place overall. If Ivec can be close to teammates James Sottosanto and Will Lathrop, the Cougars have a shot at winning conference for the fourth straight year.