2020 Class A Boys XC Preview: The Countdown #25 to #21

A strong mix of emerging teams should encompass this part of the rankings during the early portion of the season. As time moves along, hopefully for their sake they will see big gains and notoriety in the running food chain

25. Chicago (DePaul College Prep)

Head Coach/Coaches: Mitchell Baum

Last Year's Finish: 6th place- 1A Lisle Sectional

Key Returners: Joseph Hartman (Jr.), Ethan Castette (Jr.), Charlie Richardson (So.)

Projected Top 7: Hartman, Castette, Richardson, Nathan Moyer (Jr.), James MacKittrell (So.), William Beebe (So.), Trent Norberg (Sr.)

New Additions: Unknown

Unexpected Losses: Matthew Desantis

Carson's Outlook: Losing Matthew Desantis to Chicago Jones is a huge blow to the Rams, but Hartman and Castette will look to lead the charge. Add in rising sophomore Charlie Richardson, this could be a team that moves up in the rankings.

24. Aurora (Central Catholic)

Head Coach/Coaches: Troy Kerber / Josh Jerwers, Nolan Dickson

Last Year's Finish: 22nd place- State

Key returners: Rohn Ritchie (Sr.), James Stolfe (So.), Jose Lopez (Sr.)

Projected top 7: Ritchie, Stolfe, Lopez, Kevin Lilliwitz (Fr.), Max Meyers (So.), Noah Herbst (So.), Armando Acosta (So.

Key newcomers: Armando Acosta (So.), Kevin Lilliwitz (Fr.), Patrick Belskis (Jr.), Chris Alcala (Sr.), Fernando Gayton (Sr.), Zack Gates (So.), Russell Abner (Fr.), Kyle Perez (So.) 

Unexpected Losses: None

Coach Kerber's Outlook: Overall, our team has a great blend of returning state experience, with some outstanding underclassmen talent. Ritchie looks to rebound, after an injury last season, impacted him in the state series!  He posted a 4:28 in a recent summertime trial. Stolfe also returns and looks strong in training, and Acosta, Lilliwitz, and Herbst are outstanding underclassmen, who will positively impact the lineup!

Meyers and Lopez, also return with state experience!  We feel by season's end, we could have an outstanding team!  We have some depth, and we are hoping to have at least 10 guys racing in the 16:00s, and to have a few race sub 16:00!  Depending on where we are assigned, we feel that we are a top two sectional team, and have the talent to be a top 10 team, at the state meet!  Despite the distraction, of the pandemic, we have some great talent and chemistry!


23. West Chicago (Wheaton Academy)

Head Coach/Assistant Coaches: Chris Felinski / Daniel Ball, Neal Roys, Katie Swider

Key Returners: Blake Wittstock (Sr.), Sheldon Powell (Jr.), Daniel Kersey (Jr.), Westen Myers (Jr.)

Projected Top 7: Wittstock, Powell, Kersey, Myers, Caleb Demas (Sr), Zeke Thelen (So), Shaun Yun (Sr)

New Additions: Shaun Yun - had to sit out last season being a transfer, someone who I think can be a varsity scorer for us and run sub 17 for 3 miles.  David Stoner is joining as a senior - he has been having a great summer of training, he could crack the top 7 in varsity.  Joey Urban, a freshman, was a conference champion in 8th grade and has been running with the varsity boys during the summer.  Have not done a time trial to know where he would fall, but extremely promising.

Unexpected Losses: None

Coach Felinski's Outlook: This is the strongest group of athletes I have had in the past five seasons.  The last time we qualified as a team was in 2015, and I only lost my #3 runner to graduation.  Everyone else is a returning runner.  I have challenged the guys that I would like to get 5 runners sub 17, and in 1A, that should be in the mix for a state qualifying position. 

Blake Wittstock and Sheldon Powell should be able to qualify as individuals if we don't make it as a team.  Last year Blake was low to mid-16-minute runner and had a horrible sectional race otherwise he should have qualified.  Sheldon has also improved a lot since last year and he was the 10th individual in the sectional as a sophomore, and given the plan to have the top 10 this year, he should be right in the mix for an individual position.  I see us being the 4-8thposition in the sectional.  We could qualify, or we could be a couple of places on the outside looking in if we have a tight race.  Bringing in Shaun Yun, who was a low 18-minute runner as a sophomore, had to sit out last year due to being a transfer, should have a strong senior year.


22. Franklin

Head Coach/Coaches: Rick Smith

Last Year's Finish:12th place- Elmwood Sectional

Key Returners: Thad Bergschneider (So.), Jake Gutzman (Jr.), Robby Biesenthal (So.), Shayne White (So.)

Projected Top 7:Bergschneider, Gutzman, Biesenthal, White, Codey Smith (Sr.), Tyler Kanganis (Jr.), Carson Bowman (So.)

New Additions: Unknown

Unexpected Losses: Unknown

Carson's Outlook: This team will be led by its two front runners, Bergschneider and Gutzman who will be looking to break the 16:20 barrier this season. Followed by a 3-5 split of about 30 seconds, the Flashes will need to tighten that pack up to move up the rankings.


21. Chillicothe (Illinois Valley Central)

Head Coach/Coaches: Dennis Fraikes

Last Year's Finish: 6th place- Elmwood Sectional

Key Returners: Collin Eisenbarth (Sr.), Jordan Norris (So.), Gabe Ross (So.), Reece Nowack (So.)

Projected Top 7: Eisenbarth, Norris, Ross, Nowack, Matthew Moland (Jr.), Jayden McNaught (Jr.), Nathan Koch (Jr.)

New Additions: Unknown

Unexpected Losses: Unknown

Carson's Outlook: The grey ghost might be the team in 1A that has the most potential to shoot up the rankings. Having a total of three sophomores in their top five may just be useful as you normally see a big sophomore year from most runners. We will have to see if that is the case here.