Glenbard West Boys team sharing a laugh after the Naperville Twilight Invitational
The teams: #1 Wheaton-Warrenville South, #4 Elmhurst (York), #5 Glen Ellyn (Glenbard West), #16 Chicago Whitney Young, #19 Winnetka (New Trier), #20 Park Ridge (Maine South), #21 Chicago Jones, Chicago (St. Ignatius), Chicago Lane Tech, Oak Park-River Forest, Chicago Payton, Wheaton North, Carol Stream (Glenbard North), Franklin Park-Northlake (Leyden), Wilmette (Loyola Academy), Evanston, Skokie (Niles North), Skokie (Niles West)
It will be a chase to Peoria after the "automatic" teams-
There will be some smiles and cries after the verdict is read shortly after Noon when the official results are in. It is then that everyone will know who advances to the state championship in Peoria.
In terms of the team outlook, things appear to be a lock for Wheaton-Warrenville, York, and Glenbard West. The top rated and US#3 Tigers have been rock solid all season with the front-running exploits led by junior William Hauenstein. He has four wins and has finished in the top 10 in all meets this season. As good as he has been the face of the program is a menacing pack that features four runners under 15:00. The senior twins Sean Maison and Scott Maison are perfect compliments to Hauenstein as well as good separate entities. Add in juniors Jacob Kluckhohn and David Zeller and you get compressed scoring splits in the 30 seconds and under range. The team's best performance of the season was at the high powered Richard Spring Invite, they whooped the field scoring 42 points in a 60+ team field! Equally impressive was the 13-second field. The only thing that will stop the Tigers is an act of God or someone stealing the team travel van.
York has run well during the second half of the season on the strength of exploits of juniors Ethan Kern and Daniel Klysh. Both runners have run under 14:40 this season. Under the guidance of head coach Charlie Kern Sr, they are developing nicely. Once counted out the Dukes are maturing well with the varsity addition of sophomore Colin Hill. He recently cracked the top sub 15:00 barrier and a repeat performance is something the team will depend on. Three other youngins by the names of Sam Ayers, Mike Moriarty, and Thomas Braun add depth. To beat a team like Wheaton South all cylinders must be firing at the same time for the full three miles. Even then it may not be enough.
At one time this season Glenbard West was arguably the second best team in the state. Some will say the Hilltoppers have slipped from atop of their perch when ace senior Rory Cavan slowed up due to sporadic illness. He will need to get back to normal racing levels and its approach to the team. His trusty teammate and fellow senior Stephen Moody has stepped up. He has placed in the top 10 in every race this season with second place finishes at the Naperville Twilight and WSC Silver Championship. The remaining scorers are solid at 15:15-15:35. That should be good enough to keep the hotel reservations.
The remaining fight for Detweiller-
The Niles West Sectional is always tough and predictions seem to always get muddled up because teams and individuals step up. New Trier is first on the list with strong scoring splits under 20 seconds. That is good and they need to be near the middle top of the food chain. The Trevians do not have a strong low stick scorer as sophomore Andrew Flynn has run only 15:17.
Maine South is in the same boat as New Trier in terms of having a complete scoring team that can challenge the big three. Senior star Tommy Brady is the ultimate low stick and that will help. Senior Ian Spears clocked 14:57 at the Peoria Invite and that is a concern for foes if he and 15:00 man junior Joey Kasch can match the effort on Saturday. But as always the key will be the fifth man.
Whitney Young and Jones Prep have been the best teams in the Chicago Public League for several years. They have battled in recent weeks at league finals and later the Jones Regional. The Dolphins and Eagles are 1-1 against each other and the tiebreaker will be a nail-biter. Whitney Young appears to have the tiebreaker here. Seniors Sam Rivera and Charlie Nevins are the last of the great Dolphins powerhouse and they attend on going out with a bang. Rivera is just getting lathered up with two dominant wins in consecutive weeks. The supporting cast has really stepped things up as well. They have started conservatively and finished strong as veteran teams are supposed to. If any of the aforementioned teams slip it will open the door for Jones, Lane, St. Ignatius, and Loyola Academy to come in.
Individually, Brady has run well as anyone in the state. The one-time national level harrier has clocked 14:25 and he is the top returner from last year. Hauenstein, Kern, Cavan, Maison twins, Klysh, Rivera, and Moody are among the top candidates to win or place among the top five.