2022 Class A Boys Preseason Team Preview: Can Latin Repeat?


The 2022 season should be another good one as several storylines are expected to dominate the scene. Defending champion Chicago Latin will be an interesting team in their last year in this classification with tremendous experience over the past several seasons. Akili Parekh will lead the Romans once more. 

Chicago rivals Depaul Prep will be on the scene and lurking hard with their senior dominant crew. There are others to watch like Normal University, Eureka, and possibly St. Joe Ogden in the fold.

10. Benton
Head Coach/Coaches: Brett McLain / John Krieger
Last Year's Finish: 7th place- State Championship
Key Returners: Gavin Genisio (Jr.), Gabriel McLain (So.), Mason Tieffel (Jr.), Cole Buchanan (So.), Parker Johnson (So.), Jack Bacon (Jr.)
Newcomer: Seager Sanchez (Fr.)
Outlook: The Rangers have been on an upwards rise over the past few years, especially last year taking 7th at the state meet. That team consisted of a bunch of freshman and sophomores besides #2 runner Chase Owens who has graduated. While the loss of Owens is big, they return a lot. Star Gavin Genisio will be one of the favorites to win the title after a great sophomore track season that saw him run 4:07 and 1:53.

Head Coach: Kevin Claus
Last Year's Finish: 11th place- State Championship
Key returners: Tommy Murray (Sr.), Landis Musser (Sr.), Peyton Sand (Sr.), Cael Hinde (Jr.), Mitchell Hasenour (Sr.), Gage Gaulrapp (Jr.)
Key Additions: Braeden Bode (Fr.)
Coach Claus' Outlook: Five of the top seven Rams return including top man Tommy Murray who took ninth in the state meet. "We'll have some excellent senior leadership this season and we're looking forward to preparing for the upcoming season," says coach Claus who is happy that his team put in a great summer of production. 

Head Coach: Tim Bower
Last year's finish: 13th place- State Championship
Key returners: Owen Mahaffey (Sr.), Luke Weber (Jr.), Clay Bergbower (Sr.), Luis Zavala (Sr.), Nick Shamhart (Sr.), Ben Street (Sr.), Isaac Street (So.)
Outlook: Ben Street has stepped up to be the vocal leader of the team according to coach Tarr. "The boys can still be a very competitive team led by seniors Owen Mahaffey, Clay Bergbower, Luis Zavala, Nick Shamhart, and Street," added Tarr. "Luke Weber is a junior and a strong runner and I see Isaac Street helping us out as well."

Head Coach: David Remmert
Last year's finish: 10th place- State Championship
Key returners: Jacob Elston (Sr.), Caleb Wood (So.), Logan Sikorski (Sr.), Rylan Good (Jr.), Liam Sokolowski (Sr.), River Derby (So.), Ayden LeGrande (So.)
Outlook: After a great track season, the Sages look to return another great squad. Led up front by Elston, Good, and Wood. The key will be getting their fourth and fifth runners under 16:40 this year. They have the talent for a great squad that can move up as the season progresses.

Head Coach/Coaches: Jason Retz / Coach Rein, Coach Acklin, Coach Blaase
Last year's finish: 6th place- State Championship
Key returners: Carson Maroon (Jr.), Payton Wendell (Sr.), Holden Jones (Jr.), Ethan Blackburn (Sr.), Aiden Armstrong (Jr.), Isiah Mock (Jr.)
New addition: Lance Retz (Fr.)
Outlook: Coach Retz is a man of many words whose success as a coach has been unmatched. It will be interesting to see if this year's team can make reach the same level of output after graduating its two top runners. "We'll test that fitness once at the end of the summer and see where we are... our goal is to be the best versions of ourselves," he said.

Head Coach/Coaches: Olivia Morris / Matt O'Hanlon, Tom Engelhorn, Kellen Ehrenhardt
Last year's finish: 20th place- State Championship
Key returners: Charlie Bardwell (Sr.), Tucker Hinkle (So.), Carson Lehman (Jr.), Andrew Perry (Jr.), Gabriel Gerber (Sr.) Brady Monk (Jr.), Luke Rinkenberger (Sr.)
Outlook: Coach Morris believes that her team is going to be much improved over 2021 based on the connectivity of the pack. "We are a team that has a dangerous 1-5 and 5-7 splits," she said. "We want to be that team that takes down other teams in mile two and three and we look to compete in every race that we are in."

In addition, this team leaped near the top of the preseason rankings after a great track season. This team can very well challenge for a trophy this year. Watch for Bardwell, Perry, and Gerber to all have breakout seasons.

Head Coach/Coaches: Todd Vohland / Amber Johnson, Rachel Devereux, Leslie Hein
Last year's finish: 18th Place- State Championship
Key returners: Martin Velchek (Sr.), Caleb Kernaghan (Sr.), Cameron Kernaghan (Sr.), Evan Cook (So.), Gus Striglos (Jr.), Diego Hernandez (Sr.), Matt Auburn (So.)
New additions: Carson Kernaghan (Sr.)
Outlook: The Bulldogs may be a top 10 team by season's end if things such as good health can manifest themselves. Also, the fighting spirit to earn the squad's top sticks 1-7 will be up for grabs. 

This is a very good group that has a lot of potential going into this season. They showed a lot of improvement during the spring, especially with their all-state 4x800m of Velchek, Cook, Cam. Kernaghan, and Cal. Kernaghan. Striglos also showed a lot of improvement as well, going 10:09 in the 3200m.

Head Coaches/Coaches: Dan Daly / Ryan Hopper, Michelle Parekh, Jim Spivey
Last year's finish: State Championship
Key returners: Akili Parekh (Sr.), Benjamin Gibson (So.), Daniel Goodman (So.), Jackson Ballard (Sr.), Matthew Kotcher (Sr.), Charlie Steffen (Jr.)
Outlook: The Roman return nine out of their top 10 runners. Despite losing ace Ryan Hardiman, the grasp for one of the three trophies is clearly within grasp. All-staters Akili Parekh and Ben Gibson will be the key factors to the Romans' success this season. Parekh will be looking to challenge for an individual state title this season, with Gibson looking to finish within the top 10. After a great track season for Daniel Goodman, he looks to emerge as a very good #3 runner. With Ballard and Steffen also having a good spring, this squad's 1-5 split will be much better this year than it was the previous fall.

Head Coach: Lester Hampton
Last year's finish: 4th place- State Championship
Key returners: Sachit Muduli (Jr.), Brandt Henderson (Sr.), Mason Hart (Jr.), Gabriel Zacharias (So.), Jonah Kaeb (Jr.), Alex Phan (Sr.), Ethan Reisigner (Sr.)
Outlook: The Pioneers return a great squad from last year's 4th place team and enter the season as a top three team in the classification. After a very average track season, this squad will have to step up their game if they wish to stay a trophy team. Muduli has the potential to be a top 10 runner in the classification, paired with Henderson who will look to be a top 25 runner in the class this year. Then comes the pack of Hart, Zacharias, Kaeb, and Phan. If they can keep the split less than 40 seconds from Henderson, this squad should be good.