2022 Class A Boys Preseason Preview: #25 to 21 plus unrated

A strong emerging pack just pass the first mile in last year's state championship

A fleet of teams begins their journey toward having improved seasons over last year and hopefully reach the ultimate destination known as Detweiller Park in Peoria. Let's take a hard look at some of the opening squads and their initial information.

Head Coach: RJ Elder
Last year's finish: 19th place- Decatur St. Teresa Sectional
Key returners: Griffen Elder (Sr.), Conlan Walsh (Sr.), Aidan Braunecker (Jr.), Gio Buccio (Sr.), Max Sager (Sr.)
New additions: Julius Ramos (Fr.), Noah Flagg (Fr.), Oliver Kreke (Fr.), James Emmerich (Fr.)
Outlook: After a solid post-season last year that netted a top 20 performance at the state meet, the Bulldogs return some quality experience and could make a run into the top 20 at some point in the season. "Our seniors are key to this year's success," said coach Elder. "Sam Deters, Nick Wiedman, and Max Sager will all be competing for a top seven spot. Conlin Walsh, Giovanni Bucco, and Griffen Elder will be key runners to score for the team." The fans will especially want to keep an eye open for Griffen Elder who placed 12th in the state championship 3200m this past spring.

Head Coach: Neal Haertling
Last year's finish: 27th place- State Championship
Key returners: Cayton Cratch (Jr.), Clayton Donagher (Sr.), Camden Pierce (Jr.), Evan Reitz (Sr.), Niklaus Rubach (Jr.), Trenton Ingles (So.), Eli Rushing (Sr.)
Outlook: The Warriors return a decent amount from last year's state qualifying team. They should have an ok 1-5 split of around 60 seconds, with Cratch leading the way. We will have to see if they can make it down state again this year.

Head Coach: Rob Grosso / Peggy Heck
Last year's finish: 23rd place- State Championship
Outlook: Coach Grosso believes his team will be just as potent as last year because of experience. Keep in mind, that the Tigers graduated their superstar Drew Rogers who is now at the University of Missouri. Brayden Shepard returns as the top runner and has state experience. But like all teams, you are only as good as your fifth runner. "The guys at the front will keep working to pack it up, and the challenge of finding who will be our 5th runner has been embraced by the guys and motivated many of the candidates this summer to get the work in," according to coach Grosso.

Head Coach: Neal Garrison
Last year's finish: 7th place- Decatur St. Teresa Sectional
Key returners: Josiah Hortin (Jr.), Jackson Barrett (Jr.), Will Foltz (Jr.), Bryce Graves (Jr.), Mason Veach (Sr.), Aaron Hegarty (So.)
New additions: Xander Neamtu
Outlook: Long-time Mahomet-Seymour coach Neal Garrison makes his debut for a program known better for its girls' track and field performances. "I just started this year so I don't know the team well enough to have a great outlook for the team," said Garrison. The immediate goal for the program is to make the state meet for the first in its 60 years of existence.

The Warriors have two major building blocks in place on the strength of Jackson Barrett and Josiah Horton. The experience of competing in a tough sectional ultimately netted top 60 performances at the state meet. 

Head Coach/Coaches: Gregg Meyers / Kyle Anderson, Tom Gorham, Mike Sullivan, Cooper Hoffmann
Last year's finish: 17th place- State Championship
Key returners: Isaiah Hill (Jr.), Brendan Williams (Sr.), Mika Nelson (So.), L.j. Higgs (Jr.), Reed Florey (So.), Mason Siegel (Jr.)
New additions: Aiden Faulkner (Fr.), Garrett Webster (Fr.), Kam Stevenson (Fr.)
Unexpected losses: J Hampton
Outlook: This will be a season of weekly progression for a program that's more accustomed to gaining access to the trophy podium. Top returner Isaiah Hill will lead a young group according to coach Meyers: "We are going to be young and our numbers are going to be lower than normal five of our nine runners are freshman or sophomores and we only have one senior, but I think this team has the potential to compete and maybe surprise people by the end of the year."

In addition, Williams and Hill dropped great track seasons. Nelson and Florey have shown significant improvement over the last year. The incoming freshmen class shows promise and could be a factor later in the season.


Head Coach/Coaches: Ryan Bruns / Hunter Queen
Last year's finish: 9th place- State Championship
Key returners: Isaac Teel (Jr.), Noah Bledsoe (Jr.), Landen Carter (So.), Brendan Conway (So.), Andrew Wagner (Sr.)
New Additions: Brody Wilt (Fr), Landen Boman (Fr.)
Outlook: "It's always hard to predict what will happen, especially with our youth, but I feel that we have given ourselves the chance to be competitive,{ according to coach Bruns. "We always want to have a chance at running our best come postseason. If we continue to work as we have been doing, I will be interested to see how we progress."

One runner who has progressed immensely since last year was all-stater Isaac Teel. He will not be flying under the radar anytime soon after running 4:17 and winning the 1600m state title. He has already matched his three-mile personal best after winning the Detweiller at Dark meet in 14:45. The key for the team to get back to Peoria is to develop and follow Teel's lead.

Head Coach: Peter Nelson
Last year's finish: 8th place- Oregon Sectional
Key returners: Lucas Arnold (Sr.), Derek Coulter (Sr.), Corbin Sturgill (Jr.), Blair Wilkerson (Sr.), Jack McKnight (So.), Mason Coulter (So.), Zach LaRue (Sr.)
New additions: Nieko Martinez (Fr.)
Outlook: After missing out on advancing to the state meet by one spot last season, the goal will be to do whatever it takes to get to Peoria in November. One way to do that is to obtain better competition. "We have a couple of new meets by going to IVC and EPG invites, said coach Nelson. "We have a nice balance between big and small meets. We are wanting to defend our LTC title compete near the top at regionals and bring a boys team to state for the 1st time."

Head Coach: Erica Plaisier
Last year's finish: 12th place- Lisle Sectional
Key returners: Tyce Plaisier (Jr.), Ryan McKenzie (So.), Luke Hubbard (Sr.), Gio Molina (Jr.), Alex Becker (Sr.), Josh Bemister (Jr.), Richie Meszaros (So.)
Outlook: A solid team that can make it into the top 25 at some point this season. They don't have a front runner but do have a solid pack within 30 seconds of each other.

Head Coach: Michael Robinson
Last year's finish: 26th place- State Championship
Key returners: Kyler McNinch (Sr.), Charlie Dickinson (Sr.), Atticus Horner (So.), Kelton Schwamberger (Sr.), Garrett Pertell (Sr.), Ryan Dickinson (Sr)
Outlook: Coach Robinson's team will consist of a massive amount of veterans and notable meet experience. "I look for these young men to continue working hard and improving as the season goes along," he stated. "We want to get better and continue on the tradition we have built over the past couple of years."

Head Coach/Coaches: Joe and Janet Erb / Jeremy Stevens and Shawn Maher
Last year's finish: 12th place- Oregon Sectional
Key returners: Nicolai Martino (So), Danny Hodgdon, Cole Thomas, Brady Schaller
New Additions: Joe Erb, Danny Hodgdon, Blake Linder, Hudson Pope
Outlook: "We are a very young team with a lot of potential," according to coach Janet Erb. "We return a sophomore who was a state qualifier and add guys that ran at the IESA state meet."