2021 Class A boys pre-season preview: unclassified

The unclassified section contains teams that are just outside the top 25. These teams are on the verge of being noticed by the masses. Be aware of squads in this realm because they have a chip on their shoulders and will do anything and everything to prove everyone wrong. Don't be surprised if several of these teams move into the rankings at some point during the season and even make it to state. In a very compacted 1A classification, expect a lot of changes in the rankings as we enter the season.

Gook luck to all!


Head Coach/Assistant Coaches: Ryan Bruns / Hunter Queen
Last Year's Finish: 2nd at 1A Pinckneyville Sectional
Key Returners: Isaac Teel (So.), Dylan Bledsoe (Sr.), Dawson Chaney (Jr.), Holden Clark (Sr.)
Projected Top 7: Teel, Bledsoe, Chaney, Clark, Brayden Schubert (Sr.), Daniel Martin (Sr.), Noah Bladsoe (Fr.)
New Additions: Daniel Martin, Noah Bledsoe are showing some promise
Coach Brun's Outlook: I'd like to think by the end of the year we will be fighting for a spot to go to the state championship. As always, you need to stay healthy. 

Head Coach/Assistant Coaches: Todd Orvis / Greg Palmer
Last Year's Finish: 7th at 1A Decatur St. Teresa Sectional
Key Returners: Eli Mojonnier (Sr.), Emerson Thorlton (Sr.), Ayden Ingram (So.), Murphy McCool (Jr.)
Projected Top 7: Mojonnier, Thorlton, Ingram, McCool, James Dulin (Jr.), Isaiah Tidwell (Jr.), Josh Gernand (Jr.)
Coach Orvis's Outlook: I believe that we certainly have the capability to improve on last year's accomplishments. Eli Mojonnier has had a great summer so far and should give us a low stick at every meet. Emerson Thorlton quietly had a nice track season, running 2:04/4:36. He should be a very solid number 2 for us. The remainder of our team is pretty raw. I think there is much room for improvement from last season.

2020 was my first year with the team and first year of XC for several of those boys. With good health, I could see them improving a lot. They certainly have the talent and ability. The biggest team goal that we have is to advance out of the sectional. No team has done that in program history. Although our sectional is highly competitive, I believe we have a shot. If we are fortunate enough to advance, the goal will be a top 10 finish at the state meet.

Head Coach: Lacy Diaz
Last Year's Finish: 8th at 1A Decatur St. Teresa Regional
Key Returners: Josiah Hortin (So.), Jackson Barrett (So.), Logan Wallace (Sr.), Will Foltz (So.), Riley Nolan (Sr.), Mason Veach (Jr.)
Projected Top 7: Hortin. Barrett, Wallace, Foltz, Nolan, Veach, Bryce Graves (So.)
New Additions: Bryce Graves (So.)
Coach Diaz's Outlook: We are really excited across the board, we feel our top 6-8 can compete and we are pleased with the effort this summer leading into the new season. 

Head Coach/Assistant Coaches: Jason Midlock / Mark Clarke, Rachel Reyes
Last Year's Finish: 7th at 1A Elgin Harvest Christian Academy Sectional
Key Returners: Andrew Ciarlette (Sr.), Owen O'Connor (Sr.)
Projected Top 7: Ciarlette, O'Connor, Matthew Naughton (So.), Nathan Ciarlette (So.), Mateo Galvaz (Jr.), Jimmy Hostert (Jr.), Jack Oswalt (So.)
New Additions: Matthew Naughton had a good track season running the 400. He was unable to come out for cross country last year so we are excited to have him race this fall.
Unexpected Losses: Luke and Zach Pekol are going into Junior year and have decided to focus on achieving a scholarship in volleyball.
Coach Midlock's Outlook: Owen and Andrew have been running varsity for the last 3 seasons and will be our strength. Andrew ran track for the first time this past spring/summer (usually a tennis player) and has built on his track season with consistent conditioning throughout the summer. Owen made a deep run with wrestling over the summer, 3rd in the coaches state tournament and brings the wrestling mindset and toughness to the team. After Andrew and Owen, we need some younger runners to develop and accept the challenge of racing.

Head Coach: Tyler Weis
Last Year's Finish: 6th at 1A Belleville Althoff Catholic
Key Returners: Gavin Hill (Sr.), Cole Gruenke (Jr.), Conner Garsnett (Sr.), Justin Weihe (Sr.), Cale Frisse (Sr.), Caleb Locke (Sr.) Projected Top 7: Hill, Gruenke, Garsnett, Weihe, Locke, Frisse, Jack VanGorkom (Jr.)
New Additions: We have a couple of guys that are new to cross country this year that I think can contribute to the varsity squad once they figure things out. Senior Cade Williamson and junior Lucas Haas are both kids that decided to come out for the first time this year, and I think with a bit more mileage under their belts they could contend for the top 7. Junior Landon Auxier is an athlete who was out his freshman year but not his sophomore year due to a variety of circumstances, and I could see him making an impact as long as he can stay healthy.
Unexpected Losses: Unfortunately we had a stellar season from freshman Carter Missey last year that will not be repeated for us. He moved to Carlyle, so while we'll still be rooting for him and seeing him at meets, it won't be for the Warriors. Coach Weis's Outlook: One thing I really appreciate about this group is their experience. We have quite a few seniors that are projected to make up our top 7 that work well together. They're good kids that are all in the same social circles and they do a great job of picking each other up when they need it. I really think that camaraderie is going to be a key factor for this team as the season progresses. With the size of our school, we like to set our goals high, but realistic. Last year was the first team qualification out of the sectional meet in over 30 years. Of course, with the state meet at Peoria cancelled, those boys missed out on a trip to Detweiller. I'd like to see this group earn that trip up there to make up for missing out the year prior.

High School Head Coach/Assistant Coaches: Pete Nelson
Last Year's Finish: 7th at 1A Seneca Sectional
Key Returners: Derek Coulter (Jr.), Lucas Arnold (Jr.), Jude Hofmann (So.), Corbin Sturgill (So.)
Projected Top 7: Coulter, Arnold, Hofmann, Sturgill, Jackson Long (Jr.), Zach LaRue (Jr.), Blair Wilkerson (Jr.)
New Additions: Mason Coulter, Jack McKnight, Jesse Lopez
Unexpected Losses Dalton Koenig Plath and William Fredrickson
Coach Nelson's Outlook: Our team is no longer the young, up and coming team. We are now older with a lot of big-race experience. We have had a solid summer of training and hoping for guys to really step it up in the #3-5 spots to help boost our team performance. 

Head Coach/Assistant Coaches: Dustin Franckey / Mike Tipsord
Last Year's Finish: 8th at 1A Harvest Christian Academy Sectional
Key Returners: Ryder James (Sr.), Keagan Busboom (Sr.)
Projected Top 7: James, Busboom, Daniel Busby (Sr.), Aiden Kerr (Jr.), Isaiah Busby (Fr.), Landen Barfield (So.), Tyson Franckey (Jr.)
New Additions: Isaiah Busby - Freshman 5:25 miler while also vaulting in the spring
Coach Franckey's Outlook: We have some young guys that'll get their legs under them by midseason. Our 1-2 punch should be very competitive. With us moving to the Illini Prairie Conference we look forward to seeing the state's best 1A teams all the time. Iron sharpens Iron is how we look at it.