2022 Class A Boys Preseason Preview: #20 to 11

Northridge Prep is among the next group of teams looking for a great season

A hearty group of teams is ready to show they are better than last year. This particular group is already thinking of a huge return on investments after a great block of summer training. Look for Arthur HS, Northridge Prep, and many more to produce some great results this fall. 

Head Coach: Richard Dorjahn
Last year's finish: State Runner-Up
Key returners: Logan Beckmier (Sr.), Jacob Adcock (Sr.), Lyle Adcock (Sr.), Steven Edwards (Sr.), Connor Edmonds (Sr.), Caden Binder (So.), Nathan Cogdill (Jr.)
Outlook: It will be a tall task in regaining respect as a program after a terrific 2021 campaign. The defending state runner-ups will have three returners capable of moving the goal post forward. "We believe our top three runners can achieve all-state honors," says coach Dorjahn. "Becker wants to improve on this 13th place in 2021 at Detweiller Park and the Adcock Brothers have put in an excellent summer looking for improvement." This will have to be the order for an upperclassmen dominant team despite low numbers. 

Head Coach/Coaches: Carl Florczyk / Darren Pierce, Erika Ruiz, Lizzy Staub, Maggie Buchmiller
Last year's finish: 26th place- State Championship
Coach Florczyk's outlook: "First and foremost, our goal is to continue to build our culture and family atmosphere at FCHS. We always preach that the culture is most important and that this will translate into the team and individual success. With that being said, our team wants to compete strongly in the Cahokia Conference and throughout the postseason, with the biggest goal being advancing to the state meet. We know that there are many strong, competitive programs, so we will have to be dedicated in our training and we will need to do all the little things right, such as pre-run and post-run work, recovery, nutrition, and sleep."

Head Coach: Patrick Warkins
Last year's finish: 24th State
Key returners: Lucas Simpson (Jr.), Lucas Schaab (Jr.), Ken Boesen (Sr.), Carver Grummert (Jr.), Wyatt Widolf (So.), Espen Hammes (Jr.)
New additions: Ryan Welty (Fr.)
Outlook: With a strong returning cast, the Comets should be in a position to make some big noise. "We have five kids returning from our qualifying team from last year," according to coach Warkins. "I expect Wyatt Widolff to be a big contributor to the team as he was injured most of last year." In addition, if the team improves on its junior cast throughout the season, this may be a team to watch out for during the post-season. 

Head Coach/Coaches: Bolaji Adeoti / Michael Lee, Elizabeth Vick
Last year's finish: 21st place- State Championship
Key returners: Wyatt Miller (Sr.), Max Cryer (Jr.), Dayton Beatty (Sr.), Hudson Wills (Sr.), Travis Kellogg (Jr.)
Key additions: Alex Walsh (Fr.), Josh Schaefers (So.)
Unexpected losses: Joseph Hernandez (So.)
Outlook: The Indians could be one of the surprise teams in the state with an underrated squad returning its masses. Starting with Wyatt Miller who placed 37th year in the state meet, the sky is the only limit for a corps who have been together since middle school. "Our top five athletes have really set a great example for others this summer in trusting the process.," said coach Adeoti. "We hope to have a strong performance in our regionals and sectionals and to stay healthy for anything beyond sectionals." 

Head Coach/Coaches: Michael Lucas
Last year's finish: 9th place- Lisle Sectional
Key returners: Aidan Lee (Jr.), Cam Fenton (So.), Jaxen Paine (Jr.), Fernando Daily (Jr.), Tyler Hanson (So.), Jake Dewald (So.), Aiden Christenson (Jr.)
Outlook: Aidan Lee was an individual state qualifier last year and expects to return if the team does not. The team could qualify but all scoring runners must stay healthy and focused to reach that goal according to coach Lucas. "At regionals, [we] should have two sub 16:00 runners and two under 17:00," he adds. "If my fifth runner can get under 17:15 I think we will be okay. However, if our pack cannot maintain a less than two-minute separation, a team like Bishop McNamara or Herscher can defeat us."

Head Coach: Steven Bland
Last year's finish: 19th place- State Championship
Key returners: Daniel Winkelman (Sr.), David Peterson (Sr.), JJ Gonnam (Jr.), Sam Rozier (Jr.), Soren Gray (So.)
Key additions: Tyler Linta (Fr.), Caleb Gonzalez (Fr.), Matthew McLoughlin (Fr.)
Outlook: Three runners return from last year's state qualifying team: Daniel Winkleman, David Peterson, and JJ Gonnam. Beyond the big three, it's a guessing game as to who will fill the opening slots. Look for Winkleman

Head Coach/Coaches: Randy Moore / Brandy Forward
Last year's finish: 5th place- State Championship
Key returners: Weston Forward (Jr.), Aidan Sosnowski (Sr.), Noah Shook (Sr.), Tyler Nalley (Sr.), Reece Wesseln (Sr.)
Key additions: Andrew Kurien (So.), Sam Walsh (Fr.), Joel White (Fr.), Evan White (Fr.)
Outlook: After a very successful 2021-22 school year for the Royal Lions, they return another very good squad. Led by returning all-staters Weston Forward and Aidan Sosnowski, the key will be having their pack close the gap on Sosnowski. If they can do that, expect this team to move up the rankings.

Head Coach: Troy Kerber / Larry Lillwitz, Leah Bohr
Last year's finish: 10th place- Lisle Sectional
Key returners: James Stolfe (Sr.), Patrick Hilby (Jr.), Armando Acosta (Sr.), Kevin Lilliwitz (Jr.), Mark Dutkanych (Sr.), James Digate (Jr.)
Key additions: Kolton Rizzo (Fr.)
Outlook: As a team we most definitely would like to return to the IHSA State Finals as a team! ACC qualified in 2020, and 2019. ACC has had a total of 17 team qualifiers in the programs storied history along with 7 top 10 finishes! We feel that if all goes well and we can stay injury free and healthy, we have the talent and potential to do some great things throughout the season and during the state series! Obviously, we are looking to compete well in all of our major meets this season which are traditionally loaded with good 3A and 2A programs. If my forecasting is correct we could could be coming out of the state's strongest 1A Sectional against traditional powers HCA, DePaul Prep, Chicago Latin, and Northridge Prep and whoever else is waiting in the wings! Our team dynamic looks to be 3 to 4 up front packing with a slight gap and a close chase pack, with several others competing on this team for those top 7 and state series team spots which this team completion always equals success!

Head Coach/Coaches: Michael Melick / Jacob Ludy, Katie Ludy
Last year's finish: 25th place- State Championship
Key returners: Dean Witzig (Jr.), Sam Bushert (Sr.), Lukas Holderby (Jr.), Payton RomersbergerReed Newcomb (Jr.), Isaac Porzelius (So.)
Key additions: Drew Cooper (Fr.), Israel Nowark (Fr.), Micah Render (Jr.)
Outlook: The Titans return six runners from last year's state team, but there is still some room to grow according to coach Melick. "Losing Noah [Ludy] will hurt as he had the talent to step into that low-stick role at the conference and sectional meet that helped us out," he said. Despite being down the list on the finisher's list, the squad's saving grace was a 14-second split. 

The Titans enter the fray already better than last year in terms of fitness. "Given the summer training I've seen thus far, we are going to come into day one of 2022 with fitness we didn't achieve until October of 2021," says Melick. "Sam had a great track season, and I think he is ready for sub-16:00, we have four or five more guys that could be under 16:30, and I think we could get our whole top seven ahead of our #1 from 2021 (16:55), so I believe our boys will have a lot of fun this Fall. Where will that place be? I don't know, we might not even win the Conference, as Eureka is in a similar boat as us with younger talent ready to step up and make the leap." 

Head Coach/Coaches: Mike Egle / Anthony Vazquez
Last year's final: 14th place- State Championship
Key returners: Max Elder (Sr.), CJ Pronek (Jr.), John Kipp (Jr.), Joey Carney (Sr.), James Barder (So.), Brady Kataoka (So.), Brian Kane (Sr.)
Key additions: Peter Kipp (Fr.) 
Egle's Outlook: Coach Egle has big goals for his team. "This should be another top 10 team for us with our goal being top five," he said. "This is the most talented group we have had ever but the classification is stacked this year. Max Elder should break 15:45. Then we have John Kipp, C.J. Pronek, and Taft transfer Brady Kataoka who ran great for us on JV last year. James Barder (So.) looks to be the 5th man. We have good competition to see who is our sixth and seventh man. This is the best summer running we have had."