3A Boys Team Preseason Preview: #25-11

The Joliet Township Invitational proved to be a solid early-season affair with some rated teams entered

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Head Coach/Coaches: Nate Roe
Last Year's Finish: 8th- 3A Niles West Sectional
Key Returners: Will Roth (Jr.), Josh Gorup (Sr.), John Logan (Sr.), Mauricio Xochitecatl (Sr.), Joseph Parker (Sr.)
Projected Top 7: Roth, Gorup, Logan, Xochitecatl, Parker, Lucas Urchell (Sr.), Henry Frye (Jr.)
Key Additions: None
Unexpected Losses: None
Coach Roe's Outlook: This is a very coachable and humble team, who will realize their full potential as the season progresses. They gained great experience this past spring in track, with three members of the state qualifying 4x8 returning to the team. Our juniors will provide a great spark to the team, but we'll be a senior-heavy squad, which is always a goal. Each of our key juniors and seniors has really stepped up in leadership, something that was greatly needed. Overall, these guys are more concerned with the team and program they represent than their own personal goals, and that makes them very powerful and coachable. We will get to see many of the state's top programs each week, especially in our own conference, and that will only sharpen us more. Overall, we're really looking forward to this season and the journey.

Head Coach/Coaches: Bill Dawson/Jason Jecmen, Joe Stubenvoll
Last Year's Finish: 9th- Schaumburg Sectional
Key Returners: Griffin Pasha (Jr.), Luke Wiley (So.), Hunter Subry (Sr.), John Wiser (Sr.)
Projected Top 7: Pasha, Wiley, Subry, Wiser, Andrew Metcalf (Sr.), Carlos Villa (Jr.), Max Zeisler (So.)
Key Additions: Caleb Levy (Fr.)
Unexpected Losses: None
Coach Dawson's Outlook: We should be solid. Returning 6 out of our top 7 from last year's Sectional group that had a team average of 15:45 at Busse Woods is a nice start. The summer conditioning has gone well. Finishing 4th at last spring's state meet in the 4x800 has been positive in giving people the confidence to be competitive and a hunger to perform on the bigger stage this fall. That being said the North Suburban Conference is loaded this year. Lake Zurich is always competitive. Mundelein, Libertyville, and Stevenson return some very talented runners. Lake Forest may have 2 of the top 10 individuals in the state. Our strength is going to be in our depth. Can we get all 5 runners into the top 35-40 at Sectionals? That's the question everyone is asking.

23. Batavia
Head Coach/Coaches: Bronco Meeks/AJ Freeman
Last Year's Finish: 9th- Waubonsie Valley Sectional
Key Returners: Damian Rodriguez (Sr), Adam Kennedy (Sr), Joe Knanishu (Sr), Eamon Samsami (Sr), Ryan Mansour (Jr)
Projected Top 7: Rodriguez, Kennedy, Joe Knanishu, Eamon Samsami, Ryan Mansour, Quintin Lowe, Jonah Fallon, Ian Rousseau
Newcomers: Quintin Lowe (Fr), Owen Billie (Fr)
Amount of Attendees at Summer Running: 45
Has Anyone Been Injured During Training?: Our team has been pretty healthy throughout the summer. This will be a key part of how our season plays out this year. Last year's varsity squad was hit hard with iron issues and mono. It took them most of the track season to fully recover. They seem to be healthy right now, but it will certainly be something we will be keeping an eye on throughout the season 
Coach's Outlook Of Team: We have five returning varsity athletes. They bring plenty of experience that should help with the growth of our younger athletes. They have the ability to be a special team. The work ethic and tools are there. They just need to stay healthy and run for one another. This is a fun group of seniors. I love working with these guys and we are excited to see what they do in their final season together.

Head Coach/Coaches: Jim Westphal/John Snee, Jim Kupres, Noah Lawrence
Last Year's Finish: 11th- State Championship
Key Returners: Piyush Mekla (Jr.), Carter McCarroll (Sr.), Colby Revord (So.)
Projected Top 7: Mekla, McCarroll, Tom Kusak (Jr.), Revord, Henning Ley (Jr.), Colin Hill (So.), Dan Watcke (Fr.)
Key Additions: Watcke 
Coach Westphal's Outlook: We will have a mix of experience and youth. We will be asking our more experienced athletes to step up and lead, we are asking our inexperienced athletes to step up and compete. Our goal is to improve week to week and be the best team we can be at the end of the season.

Head Coach/Coaches: Andrew Adelmann/Oscar Aguinaga
Last Year's Finish: 7th- Niles West Sectional
Key Returners: Anthony Maida (Sr.), Ryan DeSantis (Sr.), Ian Bacon (Sr.), Aaron Hou (Jr.), Andy Niser (Jr.) Projected Top 7: Maida, DeSantis, Bacon, Hou, Niser, Luke Benes (Jr.), Michael Sommese (Jr.)
Key Additions: Ethan Sterling (So.), Danny Leonard (Fr.), Jayden Reyes (Fr.) 
Coach Adelmann's Outlook:
We have a special group this year and I'm excited to see them race. There are a lot of guys with a ton of character who have some great individual stories they have gotten them to this point. Last year was really fun and we grew a ton. Unfortunately, we had to be really cautious most of the season with four of our top seven only running about 20-25 miles a week and cross-training the rest of the time, and we just ran out of steam late October. But it was a successful second year in a process that we thought would be a three year one.

This year we have an incredible trio of seniors up front in Maida, DeSantis, and Bacon and a really competitive group of juniors in Hou, Niser, Benes and Sommese right behind them. I think something that will be really big for us is this season is the amount of big-race experience these guys have. A lot of them have been racing in big varsity races since their freshmen and sophomore years.

Individually, Maida really took over the reins last year and is one of the toughest racers I've ever coached. Bacon had a tremendous comeback season on the track after a rocky 14 months of setbacks and injuries and showed some great heart. And DeSantis has been such a dependable workhorse for us and has always stepped up when needed.

As always, our focus is less on any one specific goal and more on the processes that make us better each day. If we can grow as people and control what we can control, we will be successful. Everyone matters from top to bottom, and that is what is most important to us

Wheaton North expects to be a team on the rise this fall


20. DeKalb
Head Coach: Mike Wolf/ Shea Carpenter
Last Year's Finish: 11th- Waubonsie Valley Sectional
Key Returners: Juan Castro (Sr.), Aidan Donohue (Sr.), Emmanuel Yepiz (Sr.), Eric Jang (Sr.)
Projected Top 7: Castro, Donohue, Yepiz, Jang, Karl Olsen (Jr.), Angel Fernandez (Fr.), Riley Newport (Fr.) Key Additions: Newport, Fernandez, Harrison 
Unexpected Losses: None
Coach Wolf's Outlook: No injuries this summer and we have had a pretty typical summer of training. I believe we will have a strong top 3-4 and the challenge will be who can fill in for our #5 spot.

Head Coach/Coaches: Tim Brown/Dan Hemmens, Chris Buechner
Last Year's Finish: 15th- State Championship
Key Returners: Jake Allen (Sr.), Tommy Paltzer (Jr.), Gabe Ryan (So.), Chase Burrell (Jr.)
Projected Top 7: Allen, Paltzer, Ryan, Burrell, Josh Tong (Sr.), Julian Head (Jr.), Harrison Boelke (So.)
Key Additions: None
Unexpected Losses: None
Coach Brown's Outlook: I'm looking for a great season with a lot of growth and potential from the underclassmen. There are some key leaders who have really stepped up this summer, and the rest of the team has responded in a very positive way. I'm excited to see what our top guys can do against really tough competition in our racing schedule this fall. If he stays healthy, Jake Allen should have an incredible season, too. And I'm excited to see how he will pull the underclassmen along.

Head Coach/Coaches: Paul Vandersteen/Jaime Janota, Mike Kennedy, Mike Rossi, Kris Hartner
Last Year's Finish: 3rd-  State Championship
Key Returners: Nicolas Dovalovsky (Jr.)
Projected Top 7: Dovalovsky, Ryan Horn (Jr.), Stephen Smilie (Jr.), Aidan Stone (Jr.), Vasant Fong (Jr.), Brian Jett (Jr.), Quinn Kennedy (Sr.)
Key Additions: None 
Amount of Attendees at Summer Running: 90
Coach Vandersteen's Outlook Of Team: This is the smallest senior class we've fielded since 2006, and it has deprived us of some of our depth. But while our competitive prospects are more modest, we've enjoyed refocusing on our team culture and habits. One of the joys of coaching Cross Country is watching an athlete without a running background put his trust in our training and flourish as a result. For instance, Ethan Lockwood joined us his sophomore year, having run little and competed even less. But he has been a faithful worker, steadily improving and transforming himself. He has become a runner in the purest sense, and we are as proud of his growth as any of the most decorated champions in our program's history.

Milesplit's Outlook: Coach Vandersteen has been at the forefront of a dynasty over the past two decades as part of Neuqua Valley. Last year he may have had the best year of his coaching career as he took his "no names" to a third-place state trophy at Detweiller and nearly qualified for NXN after losing star Zach Kinne to transfer. One thing is for sure, count on the wildcats to move up this list as the season continues.

Head Coach/Coaches: Greg Nordahl/Dave Fermanich, Tom d'Ambosio
Last Year's Finish: 13th- State Championship
Key Returners: Joey Kasch (Sr.), Adam Christopher (Sr.), Luke Burkum (Sr.), Walter Glockner (Sr.) Projected Top 7: Kasch, Christopher, Burkum, Glockner, Sean Bauer (Sr.), Matt Cull (Jr.), Matt Coyle (Jr.)
Key Additions: Cull, Eamon Brady (Jr.), Brad Altman (Sr.)
Unexpected Losses: None
Coach Nordahl's Outlook: We have been to the state meet 7 of the last 11 years. The athletes know what it takes and this summer they have trained very hard and consistently. We had a rash of illness during the track season (upper respiratory) that persisted into the summer. Being able to evaluate the team now: healthy and 10 deep; I am somewhat surprised at how potentially good the team could be. Joey Kasch looks to be ready for a break-out year and some of the new talents we have could be impressive. Returning runners Christopher, Burkum, Glockner, and Bauer now have a few seasons of racing under their belt and the mental toughness to battle in tough races. We should be good.

Head Coach/Coaches: George Patrylak/Dustin Davis and Maggie Dust
Last Year's Finish: 20th- State Championship
Key Returners: Jack Pifer (Sr.), Zach Walters (Sr.), Henry Gruben (Sr.), Xander Valdez (Sr.)
Projected Top 7: Pifer, Walters, Gruben, Valdez, Jack Perulfi (Jr.), Drew Stover (Jr.), Geordan Patrylak (So.) Key Additions: Ryan Watts (So.) transferred from West Aurora
Unexpected Losses: Colten O'Brien, a senior, has been an alternate for the last two years. Colten and his family will be moving out of state. Sophomore, Wyatt Erber, will be in Germany for soccer during the school year.
Coach Patrylak's Outlook: I am really excited about this season. We have a strong 1-2 punch in Pifer and Walters. We hope they can match, if not beat, what Hartmann and Prenzler accomplished last year. Although we may not have the same potential 1-4 as we did last year, I like our overall depth on this team. I feel like we have 10 people with the ability to run sub 16:00 at Detweiller by the end of the year. The big question is how much our 3-10 can close the gap on Walters. If we stay healthy and hungry and get a solid progression throughout the season, it could be a really good year for the Tigers. Just don't give us too much credit too soon or judge us too harshly early in the season.

Head Coach: Tom Razo
Last Year's Finish: 24th- State Championship
Key Returners: Jacob Hinchley (Sr.), Ross Cronholm (Sr.), Aidan Pajeau (Sr.), Brendan Diamond (Sr.) Projected Top 7: Hinchley, Cronholm, Pajeau, Diamond, Wil Kiley (Jr.), Devan Callahan (Jr.), Michael Barber (Sr.)
Key Additions: Unknown
Unexpected Losses: Unknown
Milesplit's Outlook: The Porters are set to have one of the best years in a while. After rebuilding the past few years with some of the best freshman classes in the state. This is the first year where they can really put that talent to the test. Making to state the past two years they have finished near the end of the list. They return Jacob Hinchley, Ross Cronholm, and Aidan Pajeau who all ran sub 16:00 last season. The real difference-maker for the proters this year will be the re-emergence of Wil Kiley. The junior had a great season dropping fast times of 4:34.10 in the 1600m and 9:40.32 in the 3200m. With the talent they have, they can possibly even contend for a top ten finish in the state.

Head Coach: Kurt Hasenstein
Last Year's Finish: 7th- Hoffman Estates Sectional
Key Returners: Will Kelly (Sr.), Will Houser (Sr.), Brian Hiltebrand (So.), James Kurtzweil (Sr.), Harrison Wollney (Jr.)
Projected Top 7: Kelly, Houser, Hiltebrand, Kurtzweil, Wollney, Wade Herrera (Sr.), John Bresnahan (Sr.)
Key Additions: None
Unexpected Losses: None
Coach Hasenstein's Outlook: Our returnees have been training well together and everyone is healthy. We have 2 strong runners upfront... Will Kelly is a 2 time All-Conference runner (6th last season and 9:34 3200) and Senior Will Houser was a state qualifier in the 800 last spring (Both sub 15:20 at Detweiller last Fall) followed up with Sophomore Brian Hiltebrand and James Kurtzweil (both in the 15:40's at Detweiller). Harrison Wollney ran low 16's in his first season of CC so I look for him to join the 2nd tier runners and join the sub 16 club. Our conference is always very challenging with New Trier and Maine South as perennial powers but I think we have enough talent to hang with them this season. Postseason plans would be for us to challenge for a spot in Peoria in November.

13. Minooka
Head Coach: Kevin Gummerson
Last Year's Finish: 22nd- State Championship
Projected Top 7: We have about 14-16 guys that will challenge for the top 7 spots.
Newcomers: We have a strong group of freshman and sophomores that have dedicated themselves over the summer. I anticipate them having an impact on this team by the end of the year.
Amount of Attendees at Summer Running: 50 regular attendees
Has Anyone Been Injured During Training?: Vincent Van Eck was coming off an injury last track season, and he did miss the early part of the summer. However, he is back to running again. 
Key Losses: None
Coach Gummerson's Outlook Of Team: I am extremely excited about this group. While we lost some great athletes to graduation, we have a group that has had plenty of big meet experience returning. I also envision it being very competitive to make the lineup, which always leads to multiple surprises. The key for us is going to be who we get to step into those spots and is willing to make a difference for this team. Our schedule is incredible, and I anticipate us growing a ton through some of the big meets we attend in the month of September.

Head Coach/Coaches: JB Hanson
Last Year's Finish: 23rd- State Championship
Key Returners: Jack Gilboy (Jr.), Jake Myers (Jr.), Patrick Hart (Sr.), Adam Cupples (Sr.), Danny Burns (So.), Jack Mason (Jr.)
Projected Top 7: Gilboy, Myers, Hart, Cupples, Burns, Mason, Oscar Phillips (Jr.)
Key Additions: None
Unexpected Losses: None
Coach Hanson's Outlook: We are very excited about the upcoming season. Jack Gilboy is as tough as they come, and Jake Myers had a breakthrough track season with his 10th place finish in the 1600m. Patrick Hart will surprise people this fall, and if Adam Cupples is healthy, he will be right there with the other 3. Jack Mason and Danny Burns have both had very consistent summers, and are ready for a breakthrough themselves.

Head Coach/Coaches: Brian Caldwell/Mike Kirk, Sean Senf
Last Year's Finish: 14th-  State Championship
Key Returners: John Heneghan (Sr.), John Norris (Sr.), Canyon Stage (Sr.)
Projected Top 7: Heneghan, Norris, Stage, Tim Neumann (So.), Stephen Nicholson (Sr.), Ben Skibbe (Sr.), Tyler Bleau (Sr.)
Key Additions: Tim Neumann (So.), Jeffrey Spirek (Fr.), Norberto Quintana (So.)
Unexpected Losses: None
Coach Caldwell's Outlook: We know we have the potential to be incredibly tough this year. Norris and Heneghan are ready to get back on grass after track seasons that didn't quite live up to what we were hoping. The emergence of Canyon Stage over the Track season (9:25 3200 and state qualifier) should give us a very solid 3 upfront.

Neumann will take some time to truly figure out XC, but had a very solid track campaign and has the tools to be a major factor this fall. He's talented, incredibly hard-working, and is a fierce competitor. Nicholson came out last fall for XC as a junior so now has a full year of relatively consistent running under his belt. In his first track season, he posted a respectable 9:58 3200m. Skibbe, Luczak, Bleau, and maybe Spirek give us some depth as all athletes that should be under 15:40 with potential for significantly faster.

More than those guys, we have a very deep group that is committed to putting in the work and doing their best to help our team reach its potential. On top of the varsity level, we are really fired up and ready to compete with the perennial powerhouses on all levels. The overall outlook and goal are to have 60 guys that do the work and put the team first. If we do that, the tangible results will come. We'd like to keep our streak of winning the WSC Gold going and qualify for state for the 3rd year in a row (would be 4 out of 5 and just 5th ever in school history).