3A Boys Preseason Preview: #25 To #11

A pack of hungry runners past through the second mile of last year's 3A state championship

3A is deep every year, but it is really DEEP this season. There are teams here on paper with the potential to jump into the top 10 realm by the state meet. The journey will be a fun one to watch!
Head Coach/Coaches: John Powers / Dave Cromer, Tyler Hinckley, Pablo Ramirez
Last Year's Finish: State Championship- 23rd place
Key Runners: Gaven Corpin (Sr.), Connor Ariunbat (Sr.), Jayden Patel (Sr.), Kyle Corpin (Sr.), David Shu (So.), Charlie Calderone (So.), RJ Moniri (Sr.), Anvith Kotha (Sr.), Joe Basile (So.), Shiven Patel (Sr.), Dylan Wyka (Jr.)
Outlook: The Cougars enter this season after making a trip to the state meet last year for the first time since 2013. They return four members of that team that provide experience to some younger athletes who will be on varsity for the first time.

The Cougars will be led by the duo of Jayden Patel and Gaven Corpin. Corpin is the top returner from last year's squad as he took 110th place at the state meet. Patel had a great track season that saw him run 9:52 in the 3200m and really emerge as a runner. They currently both project as mid-15:00 runners.

For this team to get better they need one of them to step up as a number one guy and dip into the low 15s. Bringing home the scorers look to be Connor Ariunbat, Kyle Corpin, and David Shu. Ariunbat was the third runner on last year's team. Corpin had a great track season as he covered the 3200m in 10:03. Shu also had a great track season as he covered the distance in 10:08.

All of these runners are extremely close to one another and will look to have a 1-5 split under 20 seconds. Coach Powers stated, "This year's squad hopes to continue to build on the success of their past two seasons. We have a solid core of SRs who already have 2-3 years of Varsity experience"

Head Coach/Coaches: Jay Renaud / Bryan Quesea
Last Year's Finish: State Meet- 28th place
Key Runners: Michael Piagari (Sr.), John Peterson (Sr.), Finley Moss (Jr.), Owen Smith (Sr.), Aidan Letzel (Sr.), Colin Awe (Sr.), Quinn Davis (So.), Brody Cushing (So.)
Key Newcomers: Landon Samp (Fr.)
Unexpected Losses: Alex Bonnette (Sr.)
Outlook: The Knights are slowly climbing back up to a top program in the state as they have strung a few good years together now after a bit of a drought in the late 2010s. This will be an intriguing squad that can move up the rankings as the season continues.

They look to be led by the duo of Michael Piagari and John Peterson. Piagari is the top returner from last year's team as he placed 140th at the state meet. He ran 9:47 during the track season and really looks to emerge this season. Peterson has had a great summer and looks to be the team's number one runner according to Coach Renaud.

Owen Smith elevated himself into a key varsity spot after a great track season where he ran 9:54 for 3200m. Finley Moss had a great summer and looks to add to the Knight's top five runners. Rounding out the fifth spot will be an excellent battle with about 3-4 names being in contention. Watch out for freshman Landon Samp who ran 4:40 in the 1600m during the track season, he may be challenging for a top roster spot at the end of the season.

Head Coach/Coaches: Tony Rizzo / John Gibbs, Mike Ramirez
Last Year's Finish: Hinsdale Central Regional- 7th place
Key Runners: Sean Heetland (Sr.), Nathan Gehrmann (So.), Sam Rocio (Sr.), Aiden Massaro (Sr.), Branden DeLeon (Sr.), Isaac Aguado (Sr.), Miguel Orrala (Jr.)
Key Newcomers: Michael Nava (Jr.), Lachlan Mahoney (Fr.)
Unexpected Losses: Ayden Jenkins (Sr.), Devyn Jenkins (Sr.)
Outlook: The Blackhawks had an upsetting ending to their 2022 season and came into this year with big expectations. Sean Heetland enters the season as this group's top guy. He should be one of the best runners in the state after running 9:18 in the 3200.

The duo of Brandon Deleon and Nathan Gehrmann should be next up with both athletes running 9:56 and 9:57 on the track for the 3200m in the spring. They should be mid to low 15:00 runners this season.

Samuel Rucio, Aidan Massaro, and Michael Nava will round out the final varsity spots with all three athletes projected to run under 16:00. The key for this squad will be this pack closing their 1-5 split to under 50 seconds.

Coach Rizzo's statement: I can tell you for certain, the team is pretty hungry after last season's disappointing finish at regionals. We tend to have one of the most competitive regionals in the entire state, and that showed last year, and we feel that this year we stack up into the teams that would be moving forward into the sectional and thereafter. I feel strongly like these boys have committed for several years when they were younger and their payoff is going to be coming during this season. Training has been great. I anticipate that it will continue to be great and as long as we are injury-free and illness-free free we will be able to compete to our best ability and that will show in those results.

Head Coach/Coaches: Kyle Nugent / Kurt Frazier, David Voland
Last Year's Finish: Waubonsie Valley Sectional- 13th place
Key Runners: Chuck Halden (Sr.), Anthony Nitti (Sr.), Graham Faris (Jr.), Liam Grady (Jr.), Ryan Fader (Jr.), Julian Hernandez (Sr.), Cayden Camp (Jr.), Brandon Carpenter (Jr.), Drew Bennett (Sr.), Gio Hernandez (Sr.)
Outlook: The Hilltoppers make their return to the rankings after a few rebuilding years. They look to be on an upward trend with this group of athletes. They return six of their top seven from last season.

Leading this group will be breakout runner Chuck Halden. He had a solid spring running 4:21 in the 1600m and 9:35 in the 3200m. He was the top runner on last year's team and has the potential to be an all-stater this fall.

Next will be the duo of Anthony Nitti and Graham Faris. Nitti had a late start to his cross country campaign last year with his first meet being in October. After a track season in which he was a 1:58 800m runner and a 4:27 1600m runner, expect him to be highly relied upon. He could even be up with Halden this season. Faris had a great track season as well as he put up marks of 4:36 in the 1600m and 9:55 in the 3200m.

Rounding out the scoring five looks to be the pack of Ryan Fader, Cayden Camp, Liam Grady, and Julian Hernandez. These four will be interchangeable all season and project to be under the 16:00 barrier. The key will be this pack closing the gap to 40 seconds if they wish to be a top 15 unit in the state.

Coach Nugent stated, "We have a mix of about 3-4 seniors and about 5 juniors that will make up our varsity squad. Most of these guys had tremendous track seasons and are hungry for team success in XC. The team is a close group of friends who have high goals for themselves. We are excited to see what this team can do in November if we can stay healthy and consistent"

Head Coach/Coaches: Bronco Meeks / AJ Freeman
Last Year's Finish: 8th at 3A Hinsdale Central Regional
Key Newcomers: Ed Polaski (Fr.)
Coach Meeks Outlook: We have a large group of returners from last season. We only lost two seniors from our top 12 last year. The two seniors we lost were our top runners, so we do need some guys to step up and fill those roles. We will not have an athlete who consistently finishes at the front every meet. Our focus has been on pack running and working together. If we can continue to work on tightening up our pack we should be pretty competitive by the season's end.

Head Coach/Coaches: Chris Muth / Lauren Vriezen, Tori Gatlin, Kerry Stillmunkes, Brian Long
Last Year's Finish: State Meet- 22nd place
Key Runners: Jake Younger (Sr.), Ryan Rotramel (Jr.), Brody Greyer (Jr.), Owen Horeni (So.), Lukas Summers (Jr.), Adam Klemm (Sr.), Eyan Meyer (Sr.), Ben Kieffer (Sr.)
Coach Muth's Outlook: This team has a very solid top four runners this year with only one senior in that group. We absolutely need to stay healthy and improve our second group of guys to close the gap between our top four and our 5-8 group. We need to have a split of less than 50 seconds to achieve our team goals and I do think they have the work ethic, drive, and personalities to make big improvements this year. This is an exciting group to work with and honestly don't think there is a clear ceiling to this group yet until we see a few races.

Head Coach/Coaches: Scott Friedlander
Last Year's Finish: 2A State Meet- 11th place
Key Returners: Dane Brown (Sr.), Dylan Cohen (Sr.), Jamie Chandler (So.), Eric Hogenkamp (Sr.), Jon Wool (Sr.), Ryan Jones (Sr.), Andrew Firestone (Sr.), Nick Dowell (Jr.), Edwin Shi (Sr.), Danny Kriegel (Jr.)
Outlook: This group moves up from 2A to 3A and returns virtually their entire squad. Their strength will be in their pack running which makes things intriguing heading into the season. The main thing for this squad will be developing a true #1 guy. Their 1-5 split should be within 15 seconds after a lot of guys had great track seasons. This team has a lot of depth for being one of the smallest schools in the classification.

Head Coach/Coaches: Steve Buti / Mike Czajkowski
Last Year's Finish: Hoffman Estates Sectional- 10th place
Key Runners: Nate Wehner (Sr.), Brian Hatoum (Jr.), Barak Goldstein (Sr.), Dylan Dominguez (Jr.), Robert Oboza (Sr.), Zachary Coren (Sr.), Henry Gamson (So.), Logan Liu (So.), Josh Brown (So.), Doug Anderson (Sr.), Usiel Rodriguez (Jr.)
Key Newcomers: Luke Rhoads (Sr.)
Coach Buti's Outlook: We have a team that is dedicated to putting in the work to be successful. Our strength will be our top three: Nate Wehner, Brian Hatoum, and Barak Goldstein. Our pack after that will be important and continue to improve. We have a solid group of guys that should be fighting for the 4-7 spots.

Head Coach/Coaches: Chris Bosworth / Chris Stewart, Mike Kososki
Last Year's Finish: State Meet- 24th place
Key Runners: Jed Wilson (Sr.), Greyson Ellensohn (Jr.), Oscar Frontjes (Sr.), Adrian Ahuatl (Sr.), Michael Wilson (So.), Connor Reed (Sr.), Ryan Tobin (Jr.)
Key Newcomers: Sam Wollak (Fr.)
Coach Bosworth's Outlook: We are going to start off the season slowly building through our meets. We may use meets at the beginning of the season as specific training runs, not fully loading our lineup until the guys are ready. The goal is for the team to continue building momentum on a weekly basis. The team will look to be competitive in the Dukane Conference, Regional, and Sectional meets. We want to save our best race for the state meet.

Head Coach: Eric Wiegmann
Last Year's Finish: Lake Park Sectional- 11th place
Key Runners: Dalton Lowery (Sr.), Adam Abiade (Sr.), Calvin Allaband-Gamble (Sr.), Sebastian Vilches (Jr.), Nicholas Ouhabi (Sr.), Joseph Dai (Jr.), Silas Moody (Jr.), Kendall Easterly (Sr.)
Outlook: This could be the best Dolphins squad since their last state meet appearance in 2017. Coach Weigmann returns most of his charges who have some hard knock experience in the name of Dalton Lowery and Adam Abiade upfront. "We have five of our top seven [guys] from last year back," said Weigmann. "I feel we had a strong summer of training. As far as our goals, we just want to continue to get better every day."

Head Coach/Coaches: Kris Roof / Tony Jones, Adrian Barrientos, Jeff Bryant
Last Year's Finish: State Championship- 27th place
Key Runners: Will Kozlowski (Sr.), Anan Bauman (Sr.), Paul Neely (Sr.), Brendan Bradish (Sr), Eli Berlin (Sr.), Gary Angelo (So.), Mathew Melo (So.), Tristan Wong (So.), Andy Lawrence (So.)
Key Newcomers: Hugo Ayala (So), Quinn Anderson (Fr.)
Unexpected Losses: Oliver Grusin (Jr.)
Outlook: Growth from one year to the next is how most veteran coaches assess whether or not they have something brewing. The Champions (formerly Indians) graduated some notable figures, but at the same time were able to simultaneously reload through a strong track season. "After a satisfying track in which we saw many young men step and mature, we have set our sights on bigger and better things this fall," indicated Coach Jones. Among the growth presented earlier are Anan Bauman, Paul Neely, and Brendan Bradish who all broke 10:00.

The "X" factor and lowstick performer is Will Kozlowski who in many respects figured some things out during the track season. "Will made another big jump in his long-term development, clocking 9:19.70c and 4:18," said Jones. "If and when he truly believes that he is one of the top runners in the state, watch out!"

Like all emerging teams who tasted success, the Champions have some depth and young guns in the background ready to assert themselves. Added Jones: "I don't want to overtly blurt out what our goals are, but let's say we intend on making a big impact on the 3A stage this season."

Head Coach/Coaches: John Brady / Arthur Stringham
Last Year's Finish: 2A State Champions
Key Runners: Cooper Marrs (Sr.), Jack O'Brien (Sr.), William Kallas (Sr.), Brady Norman (Jr.), Brennan Lester (Sr.), Hayden Marrs (Sr.), Evan McMullen (Sr.), Diego Lopez (Jr.), Asa Kahle (Jr.), Tommy Bogden (So.), Misael Herrera (Sr.)
Coach Brady's Outlook: Best summer in three years that I've been coaching at RB. Brady Norman probably had the best summer of all. No big injuries all summer. Moving from 2A to 3A will definitely be a challenge. With six back from the 2A championship team expectations are high and a Top 10 finish will be a goal.

13. Naperville (Neuqua Valley)

Head Coach/Coaches: James Janota / Mike Kennedy, Jared Righter, Michael Rossi
Last Year's Finish: 12th at IHSA 3A State
Key Runners: Zac Close (Sr.), Robert Glenn (Sr.), Tony Hinderliter (Sr.), Anthony Pastore (Sr.), Josh Nauman (Sr.), Aaron Hamilton (Jr.), Ryan Adamski (Jr.), Neel Chawla (Jr.), Liam Yack (Jr.), Jacob Lane (Sr.)
Outlook: The Wildcats are entering a new chapter of their school's history with legendary coach Paul Vandersteen retiring this past year. Coach James Janota has been a long-time assistant so don't expect much to change in this historic program.

This team comes into the season with a great low-stick runner in Zac Close. He took 15th at the state meet last year and will be aiming for a top 10 placement. On the track, Close was one of the best 3200m runners in the state, earning all-state honors.

Robert Glenn and Tony Hinderliter are in a position to be top supporters of Close. Glenn produced a notable track season which should bode well this fall. He was the team's second runner last year with a 57th place finish. 

Hinderliter comes into this season after making massive strides over the track season. The senior dropped his time in the 3200m all the way to 9:39. Both of these runners should be sub 15:00. After those three, there will be a tightly fought battle between Anthony Pastore, Ryan Adamski, and Josh Nauman for the final scoring spots.

Coach Janota stated, "Zac Close has pushed himself pretty hard this summer, figuring out what his limits are and trying to push past them. Robert Glenn and Tony Hinderliter have run together in our key workout days, and they are on a path to some great performances this year. We're hoping those 3 guys can all be All-State this fall."

Head Coach/Coaches: Grant Baganz / Dave Ashton, Steve Slack, Aaron Benson, Jeff Couch, Donna Wandke
Last Year's Finish: State Championship- 20th place
Key Newcomers: Manny Najera (Fr.)
Unexpected Losses: Luke Flessner (Sr.)
Coach Baganz's Outlook: We aim to focus on racing with confidence and translating our track and field success into cross country success. Our performance at State last fall left something to be desired, and those returning guys are out to do something about that, and they have plenty of company to help. We know we are among the top 5-10 teams in the state with the potential for something special. Furthermore, guys know that if we truly focus on being healthy, hungry, humble, and motivated, then very good things will happen, and we can't wait to see what that is!

Head Coach/Coaches: Joe Parks / Mike Nigliaccio, Alec Bollman
Last Year's Finish: State Championship- 8th place
Outlook: The Pirates have found their mojo again as one of the best-ranked squads in the state over the last few years. With major losses from last year's group to graduation, this will be a new-look squad. This team will be three strong upfront and a four and five that will try and make a name for themselves.

Alex Krieg was the second-best freshman who ran at the state meet last year with his 86th-place finish. After going 4:22 and 9:33 during the track season, he will look to potentially be in all-state contention. Andy Hansen is the top returner from last year's team where he took 52nd at the state meet. He will be with Krieg in terms of challenging for an all-state position.

Carter Hayes had a great track season that ended with him qualifying for state in the 1600m. He was in the top hundred finishers at the state meet last year with a 99th-place effort. He will look to challenge 15:00. James O'Sullivan will be looking to improve off a great freshman track season where he went 9:54 in the 3200m. He may very well challenge 15:30 this year.

Abraham Hernandez had an amazing race at Nike Cross Regionals where he took 16th place in the Open 1 Race. If he can bring that same type of performance to the regular season he will be a good depth piece to this squad. Kevin Jablonski ran 10:19 in the 3200m on the track which is promising. He should be a top-seven member of this squad.

Chris Quick Jr. will be a very intriguing name to watch for many this year as the son of the former legendary Pirates coach and namesake. Junior enjoyed a solid introductory track campaign going 4:45 in the 1600m and 10:27 in the 3200m. He should be close to their top seven runners.

Coach Parks asserts: "This will likely be a season of patience and growth early on. We certainly don't have the luxury of any of our top guys going down and we have young guys who can't be expected to carry a varsity load all year. I don't expect us to be super competitive in all the early meets as we have to play our cards right to have all guys clicking at the right time come October. It will be a challenge, but we are looking forward to it. Individually Carter Hayes and Alex Krieg have the potential to be top-shelf guys. Both have areas they need to work on, but both our highly motivated and have extremely high work ethics."