St. Charles E Boys Starts #1 In Class 3A Preseason Preview

Cross Country is a special sport in the state of Illinois and of course, there is no other place than Detweiller Park in Peoria to set the stage for a state championship. Not only did we get an all-time record from Josh Methner of Hersey, St. Charles East was crowned a state champion for the first time. Moreover, we have reached the apex of our preseason cross country previews and we now welcome the 2020 cross country season!


25. Edwardsville

Head Coach/Coaches: George Patrylak/Dustin Davis, Maggie Dust

Last Year's Finish: 22nd place- State Championship

Key Returners: Ryan Watts (Jr.), Geordan Patrylak (Jr.), Andrew Stover (Sr.)

Projected Top 7: Watts, Patrylak, Stover, Wyatt Erber (Jr.), Jaylin Ruckman (Sr.), Ryan Luitjohan (Jr.), Jack Perfulfi (Sr.)

New Additions: We have a junior returning to us after playing soccer in Germany last year.  Wyatt was our first alternate at state as a freshman. He has been working hard this summer with our varsity group and should be in our top seven (if not top five) this year.

Unexpected Losses: We did not have any unexpected losses this summer.

Coach Patrylak's Outlook: I really like our team. This team is extremely close. They really like one another and they really try to hold one another accountable. I am hoping this bond will carry them through the uncertainty of this season and have them ready to go when the opportunity presents itself. It is difficult to predict too much until the official regional and sectional assignments are released, but we expect to make State as a team and hope to have a couple of runners under 15:00. Look for Ryan Watts to be in contention for All-State status this fall. Hopefully, he can pull someone else with him.

24. Libertyville

Head Coach/Assistant Coaches: Stuart Mendelsohn /Matt Condron, Nick Korhumel

Last Year's Finish: 10th place- Hoffman Estates Sectional

Key Returners: Liam Tucker (Sr.), Jack Hamilton (Jr.), Ali Faiz (Jr.), Dylan McCarty (Jr.)

Projected Top 7: Tucker, Hamilton, Faiz, McCarty, Andrew Clark (Sr.), Ian Burke (So.), Isaac Sweitzer (Sr.)

New Additions: Calvin Briscoe (Senior)- ran T&F last spring for the first time and was able to stay with Varsity top runners. Ran a 4:49 1600 on a 160m indoor track. No running experience. Andrew Brooks (Junior)- T&F mid-distance who runs a 52 (400m) and a 2:00 (800m)

Unexpected Losses: None

Coach Mendelsohn's Outlook: We lost only one Top seven (Will Gordon) and the rest of the team is back and healthy. We have a very strong Junior class with some great young talent too.  If everyone stays healthy, they have a legitimate chance of qualifying for the state meet as a team. To take a positive out of the current situation, leaders have emerged and have got the team running/training without coaching staff supervision. It has created a stronger bond amongst each other and solidified a "one" team mentality.

23. Palatine

Head Coach/Assistant Coaches: Chris Quick/Mike Nigliaccio, Alec Bollman

Last Year's Finish: 7th place- Hoffman Estates Sectional

Key Returners: Jack Casaccio (So.), Brandon Waller (Sr.)

Projected Top 7: Cassaccio, Waller, Andrew Johns (Sr.), Andrew Jordan (So.), Mason Krieg (So.), Patrick McClanahan (Jr.), Thomas O'Sullivan (Jr.)

New Additions: None

Unexpected Losses: None

Coach Quick's Outlook: I think we can be really good, but who knows really? We lost the growth so many young guys needed during the track season. That definitely will take a toll on a team where sophomores will play a huge role. We just didn't earn the confidence you get from breakout races. That said, I like our dynamic. We needed our senior class to improve a ton and that definitely has happened. We have four guys - Andrew Johns, Brandon Waller, Michael Woodward, and Darwin Maco - who are leading our training. They are putting up an incredible volume of work and are all massively improved. Watch out for Waller. He is a special needs athlete who has been a state champion in the Special Olympics 400/800. He was all-conference in the MSL last year and has made a huge jump.

A lot of our season will be determined by guys who have no real varsity experience. Our top three freshmen ran 15:30, 16:01, and 16:03 last season. Casaccio, Jordan, and Krieg have all improved a ton over their fitness from a year ago. The real X-factor for us is our junior class. Patrick McClanahan ran 2:00/4:37 as a freshman, but missed his sophomore year as he got hit by a car last July and then had the track season canceled.

We had numerous juniors like Mukal Verma, Riley Beasley, Angel Adaya, and Tyler Murphy who were coming on like crazy during track who have had their development delayed. If one or more of those guys breaks out, we could be really good. Who knows. At this point, I'd love to run some dual meets and just find some way to express our fitness. Time will tell.

23. Chicago Lane Tech

Head Coach/Assistant Coaches: Kris Roof/Tony Jones, Gerry Gonzalez

Last Year's Finish: 9th place- Lake Park Sectional

Key Returners: Jon Archer (Sr.), Hunter Whitney (So.), Declan Toomey

Projected Top 7: Archer, Whitney, Toomey, William Archer (So.), Denys Chelah (Sr.), Theo Canji (Sr.), Zach Genin (Sr.)

New Additions: Not necessarily new additions but these are guys back from illnesses or missed varsity experience: Zach Genin, Tommy Stecz (So.)

Coach Tony's Outlook: Despite the foreseeable future of what Covid-19 could bring in terms of a season, this could be one of the best teams of the LT XC era. The once young and talented group of freshmen are now seniors and battle-tested. All they want this fall is an opportunity to compete. Over the course of the past five months, they have been able to train individually and occasionally together in a safe "bubble."

More importantly, it is refreshing to see Zach Genin back after horrific several years off the scene due to a rare leg irregularity. Zach has been crushing workouts and team runs as our leader. With a continued strong mental running state, he will elevate his teammates to the next level with him. W. Archer and Hunter Whitney are two of the most talented underclassmen in the state. They will prove it with their feet throughout this fall. We will be ready when it counts!

21. New Lenox (Lincoln-Way Central)

Head Coach: John Taylor

Last Year's Finish: 23rd- State Championship

Key Returners: Caden Simone (Jr.), Nolan Sams (So.), Jay Parker (Sr.), Connor LeBeau (So.)

Projected Top 7: Simone, Sams, Parker, LeBeau, Kurt Kreis (So.), Andrew Flais (Jr.), Ryan Flais (Jr.)

Key Additions: Unknown

Unexpected Losses: Unknown

Carson's Thoughts: This is the most interesting team in 3A food me as it is a very young team across the board. Lots of sophomores in the top five, we very well could see this team jump into the top ten if they improve and really hit that sophomore leap.

20. Aurora (Waubonsie Valley)

Head Coach: Kevin Rafferty

Last Year's Finish: 13th- State Championship

Key Returners: Zach Benziger (Sr.), Aidan Oster (Jr.)

Projected Top 7: Benziger, Oster, Ethan Marshall (Jr.), Angel Solis (Jr.), Andres Perez (Jr.), Jacob Tukker (Jr.), Andres Perez-Degadillo (Jr.)

Key Additions: Unknown

Unexpected Losses: Unknown

Carson's Thoughts: This will look to be a rebuilding year for the Warriors after a cinderella story in the 2019 season. With only one senior in their top seven, this will be an interesting team to watch in 2021. That one senior though is returning all-stater, Zach Benziger who will be looking to be top 15 this year. Followed by Aidan Oster this team's success depends on their 3-5 pack and where they fall in the scheme of everything.


19. Naperville Central

Head Coach: Dave Ashton

Last Year's Finish: 24th- State Championship

Key Returners: Arthur Graham (Sr.), Nicholas Keeling (Jr.), Brandon Kamp (Sr.)

Projected Top 7: Graham, Keeling, Kamp, Samir Hussain (Jr.), Kyle Rose (So.), Samuel Barnard (So.), Benjamin Smith (Sr.)

Key Additions: Unknown

Unexpected Losses: Unknown

Carson's Thoughts: The Redhawks are looking to be prepped and ready for an excellent 2020 season. Led by Arthur Graham this team already has three runners under the 16:00 barrier. Add in Kyle Rose and Samuel Barnard who will be looking for big improvements as sophomores, this team can storm up the rankings.


18. Deerfield

Head Coach/Assistant Coaches: Scott Friedlander/ Sam Friedland, Bill Anderson

Last Year's Finish: 9th place- Hoffman Estates Sectional

Key Returners: Cole Bernstein (Jr.), Josh Puyear (Sr.), Ryan Bernstein (Jrr.), Eric Lakemaker (Jr.)

Projected Top 7: C. Bernstein, Puyear, R. Bernstein, Lakemaker, Ben Zamler (Sr), Lucas Moskovitz (Jr), Charlie Hart (Sr.)

New Additions: There are several solid freshmen we already know of and one good rising sophomore who is considering switching from soccer after showing promise in track last year, but that's really for the future. It's very unlikely any of them end up in the Top 7 in 2020.

Unexpected Losses: None.

Coach Friedlander's OutlookThis should be a special year. Since the move to three classes, we've always been on the border between 2A and 3A. And in the last few years, I've heard ramblings of significant decreases in enrollment that leads me to believe that the reclassification after this season might send us to 2A, and maybe for a long time. So this might be our last shot in 3A for a while, and we have some aspirations for 3A. We haven't been to State in the largest class since 1982, the end of a golden era for Deerfield cross country. Yes, we were 2A four times in the last decade and qualified, but we haven't qualified in the biggest class in 33 tries since 1982. The guys think this could be the squad to breakthrough.

So our primary goal is to qualify for State as a team. A secondary goal is to win our second straight North Division title in the Central Suburban League, and we should be heavy favorites. We also put a big emphasis on the lower-levels at our conference meet too, and we're going for our 3rd straight sweep at all three lower levels (JV, soph, and frosh).

Josh Puyear has the most potential individually this year. He ran 15:06 at Detweiller at Dark last year but struggled to replicate that level of performance during the season. His best was 15:14 at Richard Spring. When he's on his game, he's the best runner on the team. When he struggled at times last year, he'd be in a pack of three which included Josh, Ben Kraemer (graduated), and Cole Bernstein. So I'd expect Josh and Cole to be in the front for us. Cole's twin brother Ryan might be right up there too - the fortunate thing about being twins during COVID-19 is they never had to train solo. But truthfully, we have about a dozen guys who could be anywhere behind Josh and Cole. With that many guys with varsity potential, we're bound to see at least several of them make major gains.  

Training during COVID-19 has been far better than I could have even imagined. Since the beginning of June, we've had optional 6:30am video calls every weekday to get everybody awake and ready to train in the early morning like we would normally do if we were allowed to get together. I set up those calls expecting 10-20 early risers to show up, but we've had 30+ runners on every call, so I'm completely blown away. That's not normal teenager stuff, that's extraordinary teenager stuff. The runners keep online running logs too, so I've been able to keep up with them virtually since March, and while it has been mentally challenging at times, they haven't missed a beat.


17. Wheaton North

Heach Coach/Coaches: Nate Roe / Jeff Potter, David Christensen, Sean Frintner

Last Year's Finish:18th place- State Championship

Key Returners: Ryan Scheiner (Jr.), Will Roth (Sr.)

Projected Top 7: Scheiner, Roth, Ryan Zydek (Jr.), Sam Walhout (Sr.), Henry Frye (Sr.), Alexander Nazar (So.), Hudson Romaine (So.)

New Additions: None at this point.

Unexpected Losses: One of our top Freshmen has chosen to focus on basketball.

Coach Roe's Outlook: The key will be finding a 5th and 6th from a group of relatively inexperienced guys.  I really like how this team has worked together during the quarantine.  Some guys have taken major steps forward and are ready to make a strong impact on our team.  We also have a quality and dedicated young core that I believe will make an impact on the varsity level by the time the end of the season rolls around.


16. Chicago Jones

Head Coach/Assistant Coaches: Andrew Adelmann

Last Year's Finish: 8th place- Lake Park Sectional

Key Returners: Aaron Hou (Sr.), Andy Niser (Sr.)

Projected Top 7: Hou, Niser, Luke Benes (Sr.), Ethan Sterling (Jr.), Daniel Leonard (So.), Matthew DeSantis (So.), Andrew Nelson (Fr.)

New Additions: We are incredibly lucky this year to be getting a big group of experienced freshmen (which is very rare for us) as well as a transfer.  Matthew DeSantis was accepted to Jones as a transfer from DePaul College Prep. Matthew ran 16:03 last year as a freshman and was 3rd at the IESA State Meet in 8th grade.  He is the younger brother of recent grad Ryan DeSantis who was a track and XC state qualifier for us.  Matthew is an incredible runner. We also have a trio of incoming freshmen from Old St. Mary's, who was last year's IESA State Champions.  Andrew Nelson was third at the IESA meet (10:46), Alex Leonard was 7th (10:57), and Spencer Dixon was 17th (11:14).  We also have a runner coming in from Northside Catholic Academy who was 31st last year at the IESA State Meet (11:27).They are a great group of kids who have already been meeting up to get their training in this summer.  

Unexpected Losses: We didn't lose any runners of impact

Coach Adelmann's Outlook On The Team:  Given the circumstances, I am happy with where we are right now.  We are taking a more patient approach this year and just hoping we get our chances.  It has been a rough ten months for our guys after the teacher's strike fiasco last fall and then the current pandemic situation.  So right now, having any stretch of 'normalcy' would be refreshing.  

The one benefit of having gone through what we went through last October is that it really prepared us for what happened in March, as well as what we are continuing to face now.  For better or worse, while most athletes were (rightfully so) caught off-guard and not sure what to do, our guys just picked up where they left off and came together as they did during the strike.  If we get the chance to have a season, I think that is going to be a huge advantage for us.

All of this takes a brutal toll on people.  Look at Sectionals this past fall.  Just the emotional and mental exhaustion of the 2.5 weeks leading into the meet cost us dearly. Nobody was at their best.  If you look at how well we did at NXR two weeks later after we regrouped a bit, it just shows how important routine and normalcy is. I believe that our performance in Terre Haute showed unequivocally that we were a Top-10 team and would've finished there in Peoria had there been no strike.  I think that's important for us to keep in mind as we head into this year. If we are fortunate enough to see a State Meet, I believe it will be one of the slowest overall on record.  

We will have a different look this year. While on paper we don't have an incredible front runner like Maida, Hou was a state qualifier and ran incredibly last year at NXR.  He is someone who can run under 15:00.  And we will be much stronger in the 4/5 spot, which was our Achilles heel last season. Michael Sommese ran low 16's as a sophomore but was injured last year- he is back now.  Luke Benes broke through at the end of the year last year too and got some great experience.  And when you look at guys like Andy Niser, Ethan Sterling and Danny Leonard, combined with DeSantis coming in as a transfer and a great freshmen crop, we have a lot of the depth we didn't have before.


15. Yorkville

Head Coach/Coaches: Chris Muth / Lauren Vriezen, Tori Gatlin, Kerry Stillmunkes

Last year's Finish:19th place- State Championship

Key Returners: Ivan Westcott (Sr.), Austin Popplewell (Sr.), Colin Kachlic (Sr.), Jackson Edwards (Sr.)

Projected Top 7: Westcott, Popplewell, Kachlic, Edwards, Jack Stillmunkes (Jr.), Ben Whaley (So.), Nick Clever (Jr.)

New Additions Jack Stillmunkes is a Junior that has been on the team every year but has battled growing into his body over the last 16 months as he has grown about 8 inches.  He was very talented coming out of middle school and we were just waiting for him to get a stretch of healthy training which he was able to do over the winter and spring months. He has the potential to be in the mix for a top-three spot on this team and could really help elevate this team.  

Unexpected Losses: None

Coach Muth's Outlook: I think this team is experienced, motivated and confident and could rival the Yorkville boys teams that had success in AA a few years back, and have the possibility to be better than those teams time-wise. This is a very fun team that I hope to get the opportunity to show off what they can do and all the hard work they have put in over the last 12 months.


14. Wheaton-Warrenville South

Head Coach/coaches: Chris Kuntz / Craig Lawrence


Key Returners: Michael Atkins (Jr.), Michael Macabobby (Jr.) 

Projected Top 7: Atkins, Macabobby, Carson Rewiski (Sr.), Alexander Gazarek (Sr.), Andrew Colina (Jr.), Matthew Lifka (Sr.), Gabriel Ham (Sr.)

Coach Kuntz's Outlook: We have had a lot of success as a "Pack" team. This year will be no different. We take great pride in running together. The kids have been working hard. Because our graduating senior group was so good most of these kids haven't had the opportunity to run at the Varsity level. But they have had a lot of success in the open level. Michael Atkins, Michael Macabobby, and Carson Rewiski have experience in top-level meets. They will be great leaders. We are very excited about the upcoming season. We can't wait to see what we can do.


13. Naperville (Neuqua Valley)

Head Coach: Paul Vandersteen

Last Year's Finish:7th place- St. Charles East Sectional

Key Returners: Nicolas Dovalovsky (Sr.), Aidan Stone (Sr.), Vasant Fong (Sr.), Noah Schalliol (Jr.)

Projected Top 7: Dovalovsky, Stone, Fong, Schalliol, Stephen Smilie (Sr.), Brian Jett (Sr.), Charlie Rook (Jr.)

Key Additions: Unknown

Unexpected Losses: Unknown

Carson's Thoughts: Coach Vandersteen will be retiring in just a few years, but it doesn't mean that his team will be getting any worse. Actually the Wildcats will be taking a big step up from last year's performance which saw them break a 10-year streak of top 10 finishes at the state meet by not even qualifying in general. This year the team will be led by Nicolas Dovalovsky who should be a top 10 runner in the state this season, backed up by fellow individual state qualifier, Aidan Stone. The Wildcats have a history of some names coming out of nowhere and i expect them to have a few tricks up their sleeves.


12. Glen Ellyn (Glenbard West)

Head Coach/Assistant Coaches: Kyle Nugent / Kurt Frazier, Alberto Guevara, David Voland

Last Year's Finish: 7th place- Lake Park Sectional

Key Returners: Pierce Cousins (Sr.), William Hohe (Sr.), Colin Hess (Sr.)

Projected Top 7: Cousins, Hohe, Hess, Luke Kaslewicz (Sr.), Ben McGrath (Sr.), Jack Hatlested (Sr.), Zach Hofmann (Sr.)

New Additions: Zach Hoffmann is a great runner who never tried XC until last year (his jr year). He ran one open race at Fenton and got 4th. He was showing great improvements and then had a stress fracture that ended his season.  Now he is healthy and has been training consistently. Zach has enough talent to help our varsity team this year.

Unexpected Losses: None

Coach Nugent's Outlook: This team could be very special. This is one of my top-3 most talented teams I've ever coached. The guys on this team are great friends and everyone seems to be on the same page. It is a motivated bunch of guys who can't wait to compete together as a team. The potential of this team is apparent, and the training so far has been very impressive. We want to stay healthy and keep our fingers crossed that we can have a season!


11. Barrington

Head Coach/Assistant Coaches: Tom Root / Matt Medansky, Rudy CastaƱeda, Al Sekulic 

Last Year's Finish: 15th place- State Championship

Key Returners: Joey Furlong (Jr.), Ben DeWeerdt (Sr.), Carter Hart (Sr.)

Projected Top 7: Furlong, DeWeerdt, Hart, Matt Hargrave (Sr.), Jack Fitzpatrick (Sr.), Alfredo Arnieri (Sr.), Ryan Fryer (Jr.)

New AdditionsNone

Unexpected LossesNone

Coach Root's Outlook: We graduated two big senior leaders last year who scored for us on Varsity (Paddy Furlong and Trevor Giampa) but kept an enormous class of juniors who competed last year for varsity spots or we're hot on those guys' heels all season. Not only do we have possibly the deepest group of upperclassmen I've ever seen, they are ALL putting in the work necessary to be one of the top teams in the state and are very fit right now as we roll into August.


10. Wilmette (Loyola Academy)

Head Coach/Assistant Coaches: Dan Seeberg / Dave Behof, Dario Tainer

Last Year's Finish: 6th place- Lake Park Sectional

Key Returners: Spencer Werner (Jr.), Michael Solmos (Sr.), Jack Garrigus (Sr.)

Projected Top 7: Werner, Solomos, Garrigus, Spencer Dzyacky (Sr.), Harry Wood Prince (Jr.), Cameron Matejka (Sr.)

New Additions: None

Unexpected Losses: None

Coach Seeberg's Outlook: This is the best team I've had since the  2009 team that just missed winning the Nike Nationals. Obviously, the lost track season hurt us and our development. We are having a good summer, but we only have one runner who has run All-State times in the past. I know there remains a lot of uncertainty for most teams like ours who are counting on guys who really needed that critical time to develop and mature through the track season, guys who never really ran and trained before high school.  We have a bunch of them. They are training hard. We have tremendous senior leadership.  We are looking forward to getting some more clarity soon.


9. Hinsdale Central

Head Coach/Coaches: Jim Westphal

Last Year's Finish: 12th- State Championship

Key Returners: Piyush Mekla (Sr.), Daniel Watcke (So.), Henning Ley (Sr.)

Projected Top 7: Mekla, Watcke, Ley, Colby Revord (Jr.), Grant Miller (So.), Colin Hill (Jr.), Thomas Kusak (Sr.)

Key Additions: None

Unexpected Losses: None

Carson's Thoughts: 2019 was a rebuilding year for a very young Red Devils team which has a few of its top runners returning in 2020. Piyush Mekla and Daniel Watcke will both be in all-state contention this October. Younger runners like Miller and Hill will be in line for great years as well.

8. Downers Grove North

Head Coach/Coaches: John Sipple/Jillian Blondell, Eric Buhot, Alexa Harris, Will Kupisch, Robert Nierman

Last Year's Finish:11th place- State Championship

Key Returners: Evan Cummins (Sr.), Roy Llewellyn (Jr.), Kyle McNally (Jr.)

Projected Top 7:Cummins, Llewellyn, McNally, Chris Allen (Sr.), Raynard Tipton (Sr.), Karan Shetty (Jr.), Topher Ferris (So.)

New Additions: We have a few freshmen that look to have some nice potential - Zachary Bender and Ryan Amidei

Unexpected Losses: Michael Pugh (So.)

Coach Sipple's Outlook: Last year was definitely a season of growth for a number of our young guys and we were able to continue to build on that during the track season. While we did not quite run the times that we would have liked during the track season, the guys really progressed as people and the level of maturity amongst our young group has grown. The team overall has also found a number of guys finding a new level of focus and determination. 

This team is laying the foundation for things that they are now realizing are within their reach.  I think in a 'normal' year that most people will under-rate our group and will not see us coming because our development will continue throughout the season. So, it is a shame that we are in this situation but this team still has a lot to work for and look forward to and I am excited to see the legacy that this group leaves behind.


7. Lake Zurich

Head Coach/coaches: JB Hanson

Last Year's Finish: 14th place- State Championship

Key Returners: Jacob Myers (Sr.), Jack Gilboy (Sr.), Danny Burns (Jr.)

Projected Top 7: Myers, Gilboy, Burns, Jack Mason (Sr.), Aidan Markiewicz (Jr.), Dylan Myers (So.), Kevin Loftus (Jr.)

Key Additions: Bodie McCall (Fr.), George Sabev (Fr.)

Unexpected Losses: None

Carson's Thoughts: JB Hanson has become one of the state's most consistent coaches, creating great teams year after year. This year, his squad will be led by two superstar runners, Jacob Myers and Jack Gilboy. With a strong and young second half of the top 5, this team has a lot of room for improvement.


6. Orland Park (Sandburg)

Head Coach/coaches: John O'Malley

Last Year's Finish: 4th- State Championship

Key Returners: Ismail Tineh (Sr.), Griffin Lehnhardt (Sr.), Ahmad Alhayek (Sr.)

Projected Top 7:Tineh, Lehnhardt, Alhayek, Brock Rice (Jr.), Tommy Sieczkowski (Sr.), Sean Marquardt (Jr.), Grant Giblin (Fr.)

Key Additions: Grant Giblin (Fr.), Angelo Quinones (Fr.)

Unexpected Losses: None

Carson's Thoughts: Coach O'Malley is back at it with once again another amazing team despite major losses to top runners. Watch for Ismail Tineh to lead the charge this season, he went sub 15:00 last season and will look to race alongside teammate Griffin Lehnhardt. The Eagles will need to keep their 1-5 split within 40 seconds to be in state trophy contention. Watch out for Grant Giblin, who coach O'Malley calls the best freshman he has ever had which is saying something coming from a future hall of fame coach.


5. Elmhurst (York)

Head Coach/coaches: Charlie Kern

Last Year's Finish: 3rd- State Championship; TEAM CROSS NATIONALS- 12TH PLACE

Key Returners: Colin Hill (Sr.), Sam Ayers (Sr.), Mickey Vreeland (Sr.)

Projected Top 7: Hill, Ayers, Vreeland, Zach Fidrocki (So.), Jackson Geiger (Jr.), David Rosario (Sr.), Jeff Luka (Jr.)

Key Additions: None

Unexpected Losses: None

Carson's Thoughts: After an injury-riddled 2019 regular season, the Dukes enjoyed a very good post-season that netted a third-place trophy and a berth to Portland, Oregon for the NXN sweepstakes. There are few good pieces back despite some major graduation losses, notably is Colin Hill, who is looking to be a top 10 runner in the state, they have a strong and young pack following them. Sam Ayers will look to be a front runner in the state after missing a portion of last season. Mickey Vreeland, Zack Fidrocki, Jackson Geiger watch to have breakout seasons and possibly go in the 15:20-15:40 range.


4. Lyons (Lyons Township)

Head Coach/Assistant Coaches: Michael Danner/Discipio, Reyes, Pontrelli

Last Year's Finish:16th place- State Championship

Key Returners: Owen Hays (Sr.), Sawyer Madell (Sr.), Jocqael Thorpe (Sr.), Cade Nelson (Sr.)

Projected Top 7: Hays, Madell, Thorpe, Nelson, Charlie Mclawhorn (Jr.), Finn Gallagher (Jr.), Sam Nowak (Sr.)

New Additions: Kyle Garcia (SR) moving from football to cross country; Nicholas Strayer (FR) 2nd 1A IESA meet.

Unexpected Losses: None

Coach Danner's Outlook: Hard for me to answer without being around the team on a daily basis. I can only try to help guide them in the right direction over the summer and trust they will hold each other and themselves accountable. I am looking at this as a positive challenge that we needed to reach our true potential, as we have not shown that the last couple of seasons.


3. Naperville North

Head Coach/coaches: Tim Brown

Last Year's Finish: 8th place- State Championship

Key Returners: Tommy Paltzer (Sr.), Chase Burrell (Sr.), Julian Head (Sr.), Gabe Ryan (Jr.)

Projected Top 7: Paltzer, Burrell, Head, Ryan, Nick Williams (Sr.), Harrison Boelke (Jr.), Colin Corcoran (So.)

Key Additions: None

Unexpected Losses: None

Carson's Thoughts: This team lost its top runner to graduation in Jake Allen who is now at the University of Kentucky. The Huskies are a potentially rising star team with the potential to be very good in terms of metrics. If there is a big meet, look for a split within 40 seconds 


2. Winnetka (New Trier)

Head Coach/Assistant Coaches: Matt Sloan / Jeff Bailey, Greg Harper, Drew Hansen, Kip Hendren, Mark Wukas, Brian Loring, & Erik Saszik

Last Year's Finish:10th- State Championship

Key Returners: Andrew Flynn (Sr), Charlie Siebert (Sr), Conor O'Neill (Sr), Nick Falk (Jr)

Projected Top 7: Flynn, Siebert, O'Neill, Falk, Noah Rush (Sr.), George Cahill (Jr.), Patrick Jamieson (Jr.)

New Additions: None

Unexpected Losses: None

Coach Sloan's Outlook: Our 2020 team is led by a veteran group of athletes, which includes the return of six of our seven competitors from last year's 10th place state meet line-up and a senior class who have played a vital role in creating positive momentum while redefining the culture of our program. With those groups setting the tone, our attention as a squad this summer has been focused on daily growth. We are enjoying the journey as we strive for excellence in everything we do collectively and individually. The boys have done a great job getting fit individually and they have laid the groundwork for our team to improve upon our 2019 state finish.