It's going to be a grand ol' time for the boys sweepstakes on Saturday
This meet could be a recall of sorts from some of the top invites ran so far. Peoria was the site of two very good meets the preceding two weekends. Many of the teams that competed there will be on display in this affair. One team of note is York. The Dukes fell from their pre-season #1 perch after finishing a very distant sixth place at the Richard Spring Invitational. They, of course, did not have top runner senior Ethan Kern. Still, it was a damaging middle and back of pack runners who could not respond to the challenge. The Dukes will need to get it going in a hurry because Kern is out for the race. Senior Daniel Klysh will do his best to get his yearlings above the water level.
Defending team champion Hersey will have a stiff challenge on their hands again with the likes from out of town foes St. Louis University and St. Xavier of Louisville- both programs have won multiple state titles. However, it is up to the Huskies to get the most out of their two lowstick runners seniors Josh Methner and Max Svienty. They are capable of going 1-2 in a good scenario. The remaining 3-5 runners must match or supersede the 16-second spread from Peoria.
New Trier is a team that must be watched for since they do not have a true front runner. But real team pack racing is the name of the game according to head man Dave Wisner. "Since we don't have any superstars, we need to keep our 1-5 split to 20 seconds or less," he said. "Ideally, if we put three in the Top 20, four in the Top 30, and five in the Top 40 we have a chance at the title."
Sometimes as a coach you have to pick and choose how you race your horses in a competitive season. For Coach Jim Milner he chose to rest his guns last weekend at the massive Peoria Notre Dame Invite. The week prior the Wolves placed second at the FTTF 3A portion and perhaps it was not wise to go hard three weeks in a row. Four of the top five Wolves runners have broken 15:20 and will put them in a position to fight for a top-three spot. Top runners seniors Heriberto Alvarez and Luke Wentz will lead the way.
Depth is the name of the game here: Barrington, Hinsdale Central, Downers Grove South, Maine South, St. Ignatius, Loyola Academy, Lake Zurich, Jones Prep.
Individually, Methner is the defending champion and the overwhelming favorite to repeat. Last weekend in Peoria, he dropped a state 14:12 on the state championship course. Depending on how well the course looks after a rain soaking through Friday, he should be near his time of 14:32 from last year. Others in the top five fight include Joey Kasch of Maine South, Alvarez, Svienty, Wentz, Jack Gilboy of Lake Zurich, Klysh, Jacob Myers of Lake Zurich.