Date: Saturday, September 23, 2023
Location: Deer Grove East Forest Preserve; Palatine, IL
Course walk: 8:30a
Boys schedule: Frosh 9:00a; Soph 9:50a Varsity 10:50a; JV 11:50a
Social media: @milesplitil #PALMOC23
MileSplit IL rankings: HERE
Key teams: #2 Hersey, #3 Oak Park-River Forest, #5 Plainfield North, #6 Plainfield South, #8 New Trier, #9 Neuqua Valley, #10 Barrington, #15 Palatine, #17 Palatine (Fremd), #19 Hinsdale Central, #20 Prospect; 2A- #4 Chicago St. Ignatius, #7 Crystal Lake Prairie Ridge, #9 Aurora (Marmion Academy), #10 Grayslake Central, #24 Crystal Lake Central
-Defending meet and 3A state champion Plainfield South will face another tough challenge in their quest for another title. There are a bevy of teams who came off of recent great performances that need to be broken down.
Plainfield South will be strong as pit bulls upfront with defending champ Camyn Viger (Sr) and co-conspirator Dylan Maloney (Jr). If they are expected to be top five finishers, the rest of the Cougar's scoring pack will need to step up big time. The 3-5 scoring pack must be under 30 seconds (among themselves) and near the top dogs' vicinity.
Hersey seemed like an underdog team despite winning their season opener invite at Hinsdale Central at the beginning of the month. After an impressive performance last weekend at the Richard Spring Invite, the Huskies proved they are a real trophy team. They are legitimate individual title contenders, led by the enormous efforts of Zach Frayder (Sr) and Liam Naughton (Sr), who ran 14:29 and 14:34. But more importantly, they will need them up top against some heavyweight squads. Their awesome 49-second scoring split was no joke.
Speaking of heavyweight performers, Oak Park-River Forest showed they can compete at the highest level. The Huskies took second to Hersey in Peoria by eight points in a 67-team field. PAL MOC will be half the size, and that could benefit them, especially if they get their top 3 or 4 runners under 15:00. Finn Kelly (Jr.), Liam O'Connor (Jr.), and Lewis OConnor (Sr.) all went under 15:00 on the Detweiller course.
If there is an underdog team here, it has got to be Plainfield North. The Tigers' youth had been served last year, and they are ready to shine here. On the strength of the legs of Quinn Davis (Jr.), Thomas Czerwinski (So.), and Owen Stahl (Sr.), they have been front runners in their big meets. The Tigers have been under 50 seconds, 1-5 at the FTTF Invite. If they can duplicate this again, they will be in line for a top three spot. New Trier, Barrington, and possibly Neuqua Valley can place in the top five.
The individual race could either be a tactical affair or a shoot-out. With Viger and Aden Bandukwala (Sr., Hinsdale Central) in the field, the tempo can't be too slow. They both have fantastic leg speed, and that's dangerous for any foes. After what happened last weekend in Peoria, look for the opening mile to be in the 4:40 range. Joe Bregenzer (Jr., Barrington), Zac Close (Sr., Neuqua Valley), Alexander Krieg (So., Palatine), and Ben Crane (Jr., New Trier) will challenge for the win. Let's be clear: the winning time on Saturday will likely be faster than last year's 14:45.