Last year's action was intense from the beginning... some of the state's preseason top talent is back
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What to look for: the first major weekend of the season will kick off September at KLM in a big way. Five of the top ten squads will be in the field for the boy's teams. The defending champions and top-ranked Red Devils return nearly their entire squad led by senior Daniel Watcke who is also last year's individual champion in 15:00. This will be an early season opportunity to see whether the summer training has paid off. With the depth of the teams here, finishing inside the top 10 would be a great accomplishment.
Individually, aside from Watcke who will have his hands full, look for premium-rated Akili Parekh (Sr., Chicago Latin), Parker Nold (Sr., Oswego East), Zachary Balzer (Sr., Minooka), Zac Close (Jr., Neuqua Valley), Quintin Lowe (Jr., Batavia), Luke Noren (Sr., Naperville Central), and Mason Krieg (Sr., Palatine). There is sufficient evidence to suggest that several runners could go under 15:00 and the winner under 14:50.
Last year in the girl's race, Minooka escaped over Prospect 102-106. That tiny margin by the Indians better fifth runner than the scoring split dictated. In fact, the first six teams were within 31 points. It could be more of the same unless #2 Prospect is somehow heads and shoulders above everyone else. If there is any team who can and will use their tight-pack racing to their advantage, it will be Naperville Central. The Redhawks return their entire lineup and then some. They are very good!
The race winner from a year ago graduated in Ava Parekh of Latin. This could mean a more balanced spread among the top 5-10 placers. Catie McCabe (Sr., Hinsdale Central) will be on her home layout and that could make her the favorite But don't think the likes Lily Ginsberg (Jr., Prospect), Liv Phillips (Jr., Naperville Central), Isabella Marsico (Jr., Lake Forest), and Ava Hendren (Jr., Naperville Central) are going to yield an easy time. All and all this should be a great season-opening meet for the entire field.