Class 2A Boys Preseason XC Preview: Unranked Section

The scene at the 2022 First To The Finish Invitational was intense


When the meets begin to trickle in and the results show up all across the state, there are going to be some surprises-both good and bad. But don't tell the coaches and the runners who enter the fray unranked. We are looking at things through a paper lens and that is fun in many respects.


Head Coach/Coaches: Ken Husser / Alec Beutel, Eryk Yunk
Last Year's Finish: State Runner Up
Key Returners: Jesse Kramer (Jr.), Antonio Ostalaza (Jr.), Zachary Rediger (So.), Anthony Avila (Sr.), Jovanni Alvarez (Sr.), Lukas Hoemke (So.), Brandon Molina (So.)
Unexpected Losses: Will Ward (Sr.), Colin Young (Sr.)
Outlook: The Blue Thunder returned to the trophy scene last year for the first time in quite some time. They return five of their seven from last year's squad. They, unfortunately, lost their two top runners though. Their top returner is expected to be Jesse Kramer who finished 42nd at the state meet. He had a good track season and can potentially be one of the top runners in the classification if he progressed well over the summer.

Antonio Ostalaza should be able to be a low 16s runner this season potentially. They will need to see massive development from their fourth and fifth runner if they wish to solidify themselves as a top team in the classification.

Coach Husser stated, "I think we will struggle early but by the end of the season hope to come together as a team. There will initially be a gap between our 1-2 runners or 1-3 runners and the rest of the group. Our hope is to close that as the season progresses."

Head Coach/Coaches: Tom Wazio / Kyle Swynenburg
Last Year's Finish: State Meet- 21st place
Key Returners: Charley Duggan (Sr.), Gavin O'Connor (Jr.), Andrew Straley (So.), Danny Macis (Sr.), Brian Sheehan (Jr.), Eamon Roache (Jr.), Aidan Leary (So.), Dylan Koss (So.)
Key Newcomer: Brian Biondo (Jr.)

Outlook: The Crusaders had a great year in 2022 that saw them qualify for state for the first time since 2019. They look to be led by Charley Duggan and Gavin O'Connor who both will be in all-state contention. Duggan was this team's top runner last year with a 47th-place finish at the state meet. He has been dealing with injuries so there is a big question mark surrounding him.

O'Connor had a great track season that saw him run 9:50 in the 3200m. He will be much better than his 73rd-place finish on the grass. Andrew Straley and Danny Macis both showed that they are ready after great track seasons. Straley was the fourth man on this team last year and ran 4:41 on the track for the 1600m. Macis is in the same boat as Straley as he was the fifth runner on this squad last year. He ran 4:43 on the track for the 1600m. Both runners should be in the low 16:00s or under this season.

Coach Wazio stated, "With Charley Duggan being a question mark, we'll have to look to others to play a bigger role.  The main guys that will be called upon to perform are O'Connor, Straley, and Macis. The next core group of guys will determine our success this year based on how they progress and respond to the challenge"

Head Coach/Coaches: Zach Boehmke / Maggie Byrne, Justice Carter, Hawke Marlow, Forrest Farokhi
Last Year's Finish: Chatham Glenwood Sectional- 16th place
Key Returners: Brian Allison (Sr.), Hudson Coady (Sr.), Michael Allison (Sr.), Mohammed Amrani (Jr.), Dereje Jahiel (Jr.), Parker Schroeder (Sr.), Dominic Urban (Sr.), Gabe Doussard (Jr.)
Key Newcomers: Jevan Juday (Fr.), Titus Coady (Fr.)
Coach Boehmke's Outlook: The Urbana boys are looking to improve upon the success of their 2021 season after a disappointing finish in 2022. Boys that were underclassmen in their first state experience are now seniors and trying to impart a standard that will carry on after they leave. We have a strong top four.

Hudson Coady made a big leap over the past track season and is trying to build on his state experience. Mohammad Amrani is back from an injury that nearly ended his running career and running better than before. Michael and Brian Allison had their strongest, most consistent track seasons and appear as healthy as they have been going into a cross country season. Those four boys should be running low 16:00s and under as we progress through the season. After that, we need a fifth to step up to actualize what this team can be. There are plenty of potential candidates and recent team history indicates we need multiple guys to commit their best efforts so we are safeguarded. If the pack can come together, a top-20 finish is within reach.

Head Coach: Mitchell Baum
Last Year's Finish: Class A State Champion
Key Returners: Bryan Malkowski (Sr.), Bodi Ward (Jr.), Elias Roldan (Jr.), Maddux Bailey (Sr.), Joseph Flynn (Sr.), Charles Malelo (Jr.), Keegan Glascott (Jr.), Liam Donehoo (So.), Sebastian Macias (So.)
Outlook: The Rams get elevated to 2A after winning two trophies in 1A over the last two years. This year they will be looking to rebuild as they enter uncharted territory. They will be led by all-stater Bryan Malkowski. He ran 9:43 in the 3200m over the track season. Just because they moved up a classification does not alter Malkowski's chances of being an all-stater again. They look to have great two and three runners with Bodi Ward and Elias Roldan both looking as if they may be able to break 16:00 this year. After that though, the Rams will need to see massive development from their fourth and fifth runners.

Head Coach: Andy Brendel
Last Year's Finish: Chatham Glenwood Sectional- 10th place
Key Returners: Drew Twyman (Jr.), Andrew Pace (Sr.), Dalton Mersinger (Sr.), Sam Kuckuck (Jr.), Jacob Metcalf (Sr.), Ethan Schmidt (Sr.), Will Kosmopolis (So.)
Outlook: The Knights have the top guys to be a top team in the classification but will need to see development from their 3rd, 4th, and 5th runners if they wish to qualify for the state meet. Drew Twyman was this squad's top runner last year with a 40th-place finish at the IHSA 2A State Meet. He had a great track season where he ran 4:30 in the 1600m. Andrew Pace also qualified for state last season where he took 55th place. He didn't have a great track season, but still projects to be a top runner in the 2A classification. Both will be in all-state contention this November. If this squad can get three more guys under 16:30 this should be a great squad.

Head Coach/Coaches: Andrew Walmer
Last Year's Finish: Chatham Glenwood Sectional- 13th place
Key Returners: Augustus Gaudio (So.), Henry McMurry (So.), Kaleb Kasper (Jr.), Luke Nykaza (Jr.), Lukas Carey (Sr.), Zach Wilcoski (Jr.)
Key Newcomers: Jack Van Hoorn (Fr.), Blake Patrick (Fr.), Jackson Koontz (Fr.)
Unexpected Losses: Blake Dillman (Jr.)
Outlook: The Bulldogs have had a historic history with their biggest accomplishment being the only non-3A school in Illinois to qualify for NXN. They return five of their top seven last year who will be hungry after a year where nobody represented them at the state championship.

Augustus Gaudio looks to be the squad's top runner for the second year in a row. He ran 4:35 during the track season in the 1600m. He looks poised to be a sub-16:00 runner this season. Then enters the pack of this squad with Henry McMurry, Kaleb Kasper, and Lukas Carey. All of these athletes project to be under 16:40, but this pack will be key to this group's chances at qualifying for state. If they can all get under 16:20 then they will be a team to watch.

Coach Walmer stated, "Despite the smaller team size this year at 15 runners, I am excited for the season to unfold. The team is already becoming a tight-knit group focused on making the most out of each day. We have only had one workout so far, but that workout alone has taken the team one large step closer to achieving their goal of making it to the State meet. The runners understand that they need to build each other up in order for the team to reach its peak. They understand that their competitors will not settle. They are ready to rise to the occasion and to enjoy the XC season"

Head Coach: Darren Latham
Last Year's Finish: Highland Regional- 7th place
Key Returners: Leo Cozzi (Jr.), Andrew Latham (Sr.), Ian Moll (Sr.), Greg Drain (Jr.), Lucas Jensen (So.), Ayden Ellsworth (Sr.), Kaine Climaco (So.), Jacob Chung (Jr.), Leighton Cohea (Sr.), Noah Braymer (Sr.)
Outlook: The Indians last qualified for the state meet back in 2019 and have been in a bit of limbo ever since 2020. They will be led by Leo Cozzi who was their solo state qualifier last year for the state meet. Cozzi had a great track season where he ran 4:36 for the 1600m and was also part of his team's 4x800 relay that earned all-state honors.

Andrew Latham and Ian Moll will be next for this squad. Both potentially could break 16:00 if things go right this season. Moll had a huge track season where he ran 4:41 in the 1600m and was all-state in the 4x800. With that great of a track season, he projects to be up with last year's #2 runner Latham. Then they will need to see some development from their fourth and fifth runner if they wish to make it to the state meet.

Head Coach/Coaches: Greg Storm / Jason Perry
Last Year's Finish: Chatham Glenwood Sectional- 12th place
Key Returners: Zion Wilkins (So.), Ben Simmons (Sr.), Chase Massie (Sr.), Lucas Ratcliff (Jr.), Lockley Welcker (Jr.), Hayden Burns (So.). John Meredith (Sr.)
Key Newcomers: Francis Bu (Fr.), Corey Anderson (Fr.)
Outlook: The Terriers have not competed at the state meet as a team since 2018, that could change this year as they have the pieces to potentially complete that feat. They will be led by their solo state qualifier from last year, Zion Wilkins. He was only a freshman last year and looked to make some strides over the track season as he ran 4:35 in the 1600m. He should definitely be under 16:00 this fall. Then will be the trio of Ben Simmons, Chace Massie, and Lucas Radcliff who all will be interchangeable as the season goes on. All three should easily be under 16:30 with the potential of Simmons potentially being able to be the breakout runner of this group. If this group can develop a solid five, they will have a chance at Detweiller this fall.

Coach Storm stated, "The outlook of our team is to use the early season meets as a good way to test race plans. We plan to be more aggressive, and it will hopefully prepare us for Regionals and Sectionals.  I think we have a solid top 4-5 that will be looking to have some really good PRs once October rolls around.  We use the Peoria Invite as a good point to evaluate if we are on the right track." 

Head Coach: Jim Halford
Last Year's Finish: Lakes Regional- 7th place
Key Returners: Cole Bonham (Jr.), Joey Lodowsky (So.), PJ Biegel (Sr.), John Krietsch (Jr.), Timmy Moravec (Jr.), Kye Paras (Jr.)
Key Newcomers: Quinn Emmons (Fr.), Evan Hursthouse (Fr.)
Unexpected Losses: Ian Steward (Sr.), Liam Luby (Sr.)
Outlook: The Corsairs return six members from last year's top seven, but they will have an uphill battle if they wish to make the state meet this year. They will be led by last year's state qualifiers Cole Bonham and Joey Lodowsky. Bonham was a top 100 finish as he finished in 99th place and Joey Lodowsky finished in 179th place. After them will be PJ Biegel and John Krietsch. Both will need to be sub 16:30 this year and they will be looking for a fifth runner though as the year goes on.

Coach Halford stated, "This year will be a very solid team. We have Cole Bonham, who should be somewhere in the top 40 runners.  He has had an outstanding summer.  Soph Joey Lodowsky was a state qualifier as a freshman and will be a sub 16:00 runner as a soph.   PJ. Biegel is our only senior who should be between 16:00-20 and Junior Kyle Paras should also be in the same time range.  Our 5th runner is John Krietsch.  Our goal for John is to run in the 16:30-40 range"

Head Coach/Coaches: Chris Bailey / Ryan Hlinak
Last Year's Finish: Deerfield Sectional- 9th place
Key Returners: Carter Webb (Sr.), Carson Lanners (So.), Tyler Wolfe (Sr.), Griffin Freeman (Jr.), Anthony Sculuca (Jr.), Anton Augusto (Sr.), Brady Kobb (Jr.), Cole Loiacano (Sr.), Tyler Miller (Sr.)
Key Newcomer: Ademide Adegboyega (Jr.)
Outlook: The Sequoits have been on the rise as a team as they have attempted to qualify for the state meet. They will be led by senior Carter Webb who was one of their state qualifiers in 2022. He ended up taking 67th place at the state meet and is a top 40 returner. Following him will be Sophomore Carson Lanners who had a very successful track season. He ran 4:43 in the 1600m and 10:19 in the 3200m, he was a state qualifier last year as a freshman and looks to be a great number-two runner for this squad.

Tyler Wolfe will possibly be the most improved runner on this squad. He ran great in the 800m on the track with a mark of 1:59. He will be a guy that could challenge the 16:00 barrier. Rounding out the scoring will be Griffin Freeman and Anthony Sculuca who will need to at least be under 16:30 if this squad wishes to run at the state meet.

Coach Bailey stated, "We will look to our older guys for leadership. Seniors Carter Webb, Tyler Wolfe, Tyler Miller, and Cole Loiacano have been with the program for 4 years and their leadership is going to be invaluable.  Carter Webb and Sophomore Carson Lanners are returning after qualifying for the IHSA state championships in 2022.  Senior Tyler Wolfe is coming off a huge junior track season after running 1:59 for 800 and was part of our state qualifying 4x400 relay.  Juniors Griffin Freeman and Tony Sculuca will be counted on as major contributors and Brady Kobb with the addition of junior Ademide Adegboyega will add depth"

Head Coach: Larry Huffman
Last Year's Finish: Chatham Glenwood Sectional- 9th place
Key Returners: Austin Corey (Sr.), Justin Witt (Sr.), Kyle Kern (Sr.), Ethan Schimpf (Sr.), Dylan Brewer (Sr.), Peyton Rose (So.), Jeremy Warden (So.)
Key Newcomers: Hudson Maddox (Fr.), Tyler DeVilder (Fr.)
Outlook: The Bulldogs barely missed the state meet in 2022 with a 9th-place finish at their sectional. Austin Corey looks to be their top guy this year and will have massive shoes to fill as their top runner last season was Joe Schwartz. He had a great track season that saw him run 4:40 in the 1600m and 1:58 in the 800m.

Justin Witt could be in line to be the #2 runner. He did not compete over the track season so we hope that everything is ok with him. Ethan Schimpf had a great track season as he ran 4:50 in the 1600m. This is a massive elevation for the man who was the sixth man on this squad last year. He looks to be one of their top scorers.

Head Coach/Coaches: Chris Friedman / Steve Carter, Muriel Unseth, Josh Piper, Zach Plank
Last Year's Finish: State Meet- 22nd place
Key Returners: Jacob Gladstone (Jr.), Luke Williams (Sr.), Charlie Serrahn (Sr.), Luke Siebenaler (Sr.), Madox Dean (Jr.), Jacob VandeWiele (Sr.), Jack Nester (So.), Simon Fabish (So.)
Key Newcomers: Aaron Mohr
Outlook: The Eagles are entering a rebuilding year after a few years of success for their program. Jacob Gladstone is the top returner from last year's squad, he had a good season but did not see much improvement from his freshman year. He has all the potential to break 16:00 this year, but we will have to see how things play out. Luke Williams had a fantastic track season and may be closer to Gladstone than many expect him to be. He ran 4:49 in the 1600m in his first track season! 

Coach Friedman stated, "It'll be an interesting year for the boys. They have no single frontrunner, but they have several guys who are all good and can run together. Can we make up the points lost on one and two with our fourth and fifth? In bigger meets, I think we will be much stronger than in small meets. Last year's state experience will help this group as most of them either ran or experienced the state series training and can apply it to this year. The pack is going to be our real strength"