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updated: 3/29/2012 9:03 PM

Scouting DuPage County boys track teams

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By David Oberhelman

doberhelman@dailyherald.com

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Addison Trail

Coach: Bruce Kelsay (13th year).

Last year: Sixth in the West Suburban Gold; tied for 10th at the Class 3A York sectional.

Top athletes: Joe Atria, jr., middle distance; Alex Baciu, sr., hurdles, sprints; Francisco Castelan, sr., hurdles, sprints; Dawid Kielbania, sr., middle distance; Wyatt Klemm, jr., throws; Joe Martinez, sr., distance; Jacob Newsome, sr., throws; Phil Partipilo, sr., sprints, jumps; Pat Prasak, sr., sprints; Connor Rowley, sr., middle distance.

Outlook: Typically sprint-oriented, middle distance will prevail over the next couple years, Kelsay said, good for depth and assembling relays. Not that sprints are down: Castelan and Partipilo went 1-3 in the 400 at the Gold indoor meet and regrouped to help win the 1,600 relay, and the Blazers took second in the 4-lap relay behind fast Hinsdale South. Newsome will register in discus, placing second outdoors in the Gold in 2011. Partipilo can score in long jump, but overall field events are not a strength. Numbers (65) are up, though, so is attitude: "probably one of the most fun years I've had coaching," Kelsay said.

Benet

Coach: Pat Marshall (sixth year).

Last year: Second in the East Suburban Catholic Conference; 12th at the Class 3A Lyons Twp. sectional.

Top athletes: Corey Arango, sr., sprints; Tom Berg, jr., middle distance; Peter Butler, jr., sprints; Ryan Crouse, sr., middle distance; Brian Durkin, sr., sprints, jumps; Dominic Ghilardi, so., sprints; Steven Hubona, so., throws; Mike Lang, jr., sprints; Charlie Lucke, sr., sprints; Charles Melka, jr., throws; Hunter Miller, sr., sprints; Eddie Moline, sr., sprints; Tom Svoboda, jr., middle distance; Steve Tyznik, jr., throws; Anton Vershay, jr., distance.

Outlook: Underclassmen made up about 70 percent of last year's conference team, so Marshall expects a big bounce. A big perk is a drop to Class 2A, which could help a number of Redwings qualify, including trademark 1,600 and 3,200 relays and possibly individuals such as Miller, Vershay, Berg and others. Numbers are up to around 100, good for a run at the ESCC title Benet won from 2005-10. "We have good performances in every event," Marshall said. "That's something we don't always have."

Downers Grove North

Coach: John Sipple (fifth year).

Last year: Sixth in the West Suburban Silver; third at the Class 3A Lyons Twp. sectional.

Top athletes: Charles Creamer, so., sprints, hurdles; Ben Eaton, jr., distance; Brian Grippando, so., throws; Ryan Koegel, sr., sprints; Riley McGinnis, sr., jumps; Alex Meier, sr., jumps; Jordan Munar, sr., sprints; Dan Peters, sr., throws; Matt Posipisil, sr., sprints; Kevin Proffitt, sr., distance; Marckus Simmons, jr., throws; Nate Sloan, sr., sprints.

Outlook: Persuaded by Koegel to skip club soccer, Munar exploded onto a big stage with school-record, first-place times in the 55, 200 and 400 at the Silver indoor conference meet to head a strong third-place team finish. Munar and Creamer add flexibility to relays, a Trojans strength that brings back the flexible Sloan. There are only a couple holes and inexperience that will be improved with the move outdoors. Meier, Eaton and Proffitt -- "He's on fire," Sipple said -- enter the outdoor season with momentum and downstate goals. "I think we can qualify quite a bit," Sipple said.

Downers Grove South

Coach: Dustin Hausherr (first year).

Last year: First in the West Suburban Gold; fourth at the Class 4A Lyons Twp. sectional.

Top athletes: Jon Aldrin, sr., sprints; Terrance Allen, sr., throws; Jacob Amiri, so., middle distance; DeMaine Bailey, sr., sprints; Charles Cheng, sr., hurdles; Nick Kirk, sr., distance; Tim Lieb, sr., throws; Harry Miles, sr., distance; Kaylon Miller, jr., sprints; Cater Minnis, sr., jumps; Odell McFarland, jr., sprints; Adrian Rosete, sr., pole vault; Javon Turner, so., jumps; Jeremy Ulrich, sr., throws; Brett Whitten, sr., hurdles.

Outlook: Now led by 2000 Addison Trail grad Hausherr (Brian Caldwell stays coaching distance), the well-rounded Mustangs are motivated after losing the Gold indoor title by 2 points to Morton. Aldrin looks to repeat as state qualifier in both the 100 and 200 as does Whitten in the 300 hurdles. Relays are among many strengths including Kirk and Miles in distance, and discus with Allen and Ulrich, the 2011 Gold champ. "We're definitely more of an outdoor track team," Hausherr said.

Fenton

Coach: John Kurtz (44th year).

Last year: Fifth in the Metro Suburban Conference; sixth at the Class 2A Glenbard South sectional.

Top players: Cosme Bailon, so., sprints; Piotr Gorecki, sr., hurdles; Freddie Joyner, sr., throws; Lucas Linder, sr., pole vault; David Mendoza, jr., middle distance; Josh Smith, jr., sprints; Wade Smith, jr., distance; Michael Uhl, sr., middle distance; Fabiel Urzua, jr., distance; Greg Wagner, so., throws.

Outlook: Bumped to 3A for the state series, "hopefully the better the competition the better the results," said Kurtz, dean of DuPage boys track. Joyner, Linder and Urzua look to qualify after close calls last season. Urzua won the 1,600 at the Metro Suburban indoor meet as did a 1,600 relay headed by another downstate candidate, Mendoza. Bailon won the Metro indoor 400. The Bison placed fifth indoors but with Joyner in discus and Gorecki in the 300 hurdles, hope to join the top three. "We have a great group of individuals to coach and that makes it extremely pleasant," Kurtz said. "They want to excel and you can't ask for anything more than that."

Glenbard East

Coach: Jack Brady (28th year).

Last year: Seventh in the DuPage Valley Conference; tied for seventh at the Class 3A York sectional.

Top athletes: Trinity Baker, sr., jumps, hurdles; Vince Booth, so., distance; Markel Brackett, sr., sprints; Javonte Burnett, jr., jumps; Mike Fahey, sr., middle distance; Jake Hurlburt, jr., throws; Antwon James, sr., sprints, long jump; Jack Peters, so., distance; Evan Schiewe, sr., distance.

Outlook: Sprints and jumps headline the squad as well as Fahey, the 2011 York sectional 800 winner who reached the 3A finals at 1:53.28. Defending DVC triple jump champ Burnett will come back slowly from leg problems but James started fast with indoor DVC titles in long jump and the 55 dash. Baker, a Hinsdale South transfer, adds a big point scorer in high jump and hurdles. It looks like the 1,600 relay will be the Rams' best this season, capitalizing on speed. Lower-level depth will fill in many spots on varsity. An upper-half DVC finish is sought by Brady, who said, "This has been one of the nicest groups of people I've been around."

Glenbard North

Coach: Mark Karwowski (second year).

Last year: Eighth in the DuPage Valley Conference; 14th at the Class 3A York sectional.

Top athletes: Jay Alberto, sr., middle distance; Dominic Beljung, so., pole vault; Josh Bird, jr., middle distance; Deonte Fisher, sr., sprints, hurdles; Troy Jackson, sr., jumps; Alex Mendez, sr., sprints; Jordan Miller, jr., high jump; Nick Paoletti, jr., jumps; Vince Sherrod, sr., sprints, jumps; Jordan Simmons, sr., sprints; Mitch Siver, jr., throws; Tremel Smith, sr., sprints.

Outlook: The Panthers can only go up after last-place conference and sectional finishes. Relief should be coming with a cast of good of frosh-soph middle-distance and distance runners. Those spots will be up for grabs on the varsity level. This spring the strength is in the field events and sprints, particularly senior-based sprint relays headed by athletes such as Smith and Fisher, also a threat in the 300 hurdles. "Deonte's kind of a go-to guy for a number of different events," said Karwowski, who will also score with Siver working a new technique to advance in shot put and discus.

Glenbard South

Coach: Andy Preuss (30th year).

Last year: First in the Metro Suburban Conference; first at the Class 2A Glenbard South sectional; third in Class 2A.

Top athletes: Kenny Anderson, sr., jumps; Nick Boesso, sr., throws; Torey Fobbs, sr., throws; Sean Henderson, jr., jumps; Ethan Hill, sr., sprints; Wesley Sanders, sr., sprints; Jarius Shannon, jr., sprints; Joe Singleton, so., distance; Elven Walker, hurdles; John Wold, so., distance; Scott Wurtz, sr., distance.

Outlook: The Raiders graduated 2A champs in Joe Boesso and 400 superstar Garret Payne and lost sprinter Tim Magitt to a broken leg in football but return plenty. The retiring Preuss hopes to go out with a top-five state finish. He's got cross country all-staters Wold, Singleton and Wurtz (in his first year out) from a second-place 2A finish, all-state shot putter Nick Boesso -- also 11th in discus -- state qualifiers in Sanders (100/200) and Walker (110/300 hurdles) and a decent chance to qualify all four relays. Glenbard South started its ascent by winning the Metro Suburban indoor title by 33 points, scoring in 14 of 15 events. Probably not as strong as 2011 but still a trophy contender. "We've got to look at it optimistically," Preuss said.

Glenbard West

Coach: Jon Schweighardt (first year).

Last year: Fourth in the West Suburban Silver; fifth at the Class 3A York sectional.

Top athletes: Brandon Bonifer, jr., middle distance; Nathan Hall, jr., sprints; Anthony Herwaldt, sr., jumps; Nate Hokenson, jr., sprints; Alec Larson, jr., distance; Ken Leaf, sr., middle distance; Mike Lederhouse, sr., distance; Will Lindstrom, jr., middle distance; Justice Odom, sr., sprints; Tommy Schutt, sr., throws; Eric Shute, so., throws; Paul Selman, jr., sprints; Alex Watkins, sr., jumps, sprints.

Outlook: The state record holder in the 300 hurdles (36.77 in 1999), Schweighardt succeeds Kurt Frazier, who stays on as distance coach. While hurdles will still be a year away, at the front of a large distance squad is Lederhouse, coming off a sixth-place 3A 1,600 finish, looking for more. A 1,600 relay headed by 400 man Odom, plus Schutt (54 feet in shot at the Silver indoor) and surging Shute in the throws are among highlights for a squad that seeks another top-four Silver finish. "We're just trying to be a factor in the conference," Schweighardt said.

Hinsdale Central

Coach: Jim Kupres (sixth year).

Last year: Fifth in the West Suburban Silver; second at the Class 3A Lyons Twp. sectional.

Top athletes: Ryan Callen, sr., throws; Ryan Dahleen, sr., hurdles; Jack Feldman, sr., distance; Connor Furlong, sr., sprints; Dan Hinspeter, sr., sprints, jumps; Tom Lyons, sr., distance; Ted Owens, sr., distance; Nick Piker, jr., throws; Ryan Somerfield, jr., distance; Max Von Mallinckrodt, sr., sprints; Reed Wigley, sr., hurdles.

Outlook: A top-three finish is tough in a loaded WSC Silver, but that's among Kupres' goals. He's got two of the league's best throwers in state qualifier Callen and Piker, who won 2011 sophomore discus and shot. The Red Devils graduated all-state distance runners Billy Fayette and Zac Withall but have solid returners. Dahleen's great technique earned the Silver indoor 55 low hurdles title; Von Mallinckrodt and Furlong helped set a program indoor 1,600 relay record. They are among a dedicated class of seniors. "It's nice to have a strong group to lead the way for the younger guys," Kupres said.

Hinsdale South

Coach: Dean Norman (seventh season).

Last year: Second in the West Suburban Gold; eighth at the Class 3A Lyons Twp. sectional.

Top athletes: Taveris Binion, jr., sprints; Rory Caputo, sr., middle distance; Manny Dunleavy, jr., hurdles; Krishawn Fountain, sr., hurdles; Joe Gangichiodo, sr., sprints; Demario Gordon, sr., sprints; Zach Guritz, jr., throws; Dijon James, sr., jumps; D.J. King, sr., sprints; Cedric Randle, sr., jumps; Abreon Starks, jr., sprints.

Outlook: A dedicated sprint group leads the way both individually and in relays. Binion and King had great indoor seasons including an 800 relay program record and Binion's 200 dash win at the Gold conference meet. Gangichiodo will be motivated in the 400, having finished one spot away from qualification in 2011, and Binion was nearly as close in the 200. A triple threat in jumps, James is the Gold's defending high jump champion. The Hornets should again vie for a top-three WSC Gold finish. "We need to develop distance, and build up as our freshman class is a little low in numbers," Norman said.

Immaculate Conception

Coach: Bob Cronin (ninth season).

Last year: Ninth in the Suburban Christian Conference; seventh at the Class 1A Lisle sectional.

Top athletes: Sean Fenton, jr., throws; Brendan Flaherty, sr., throws; Tim Hipskind, jr., sprints; James Janowski, so., sprints, jumps; Patrick Kirby, sr., sprints; Dan Vatch, sr., jumps.

Outlook: The goals are to finish in the middle of the pack in the SCC and qualify sprint relays and send Vatch back downstate again in high jump. Only about 5-foot-8, Vatch has gone 6-2 and aims for the 6-3 qualifying standard. "An amazing young man," Cronin said. While the distance group is young, team captain Kirby and Hipskind look to get the 400 and 800 relays to Charleston after a pair of close calls in 2011. Janowski, a transfer, shows promise in the jumps. "The numbers are down, but we've got good quality," Cronin said. "I'm looking for it to be an exciting year."

Lake Park

Coach: Jay Ivory (12th year).

Last year: First in the Upstate Eight Valley; second at the Class 3A York sectional; first in Class 3A.

Top athletes: Demetri Alimissis, sr., sprints; Eric Dade, so., distance; Tim Ehrhardt, jr., pole vault; Scott Filip, jr., jumps, hurdles; Per Johnson, jr., throws; Marcus Jegede, so., jumps; Kevin Jorgensen, sr., middle distance; Shawn Koch, jr., jumps; Jeremy Lozano, so., distance; Dakota Morales, jr., middle distance; Derrick Smith, jr., pole vault; Kevin Spejcher, sr., high jump.

Outlook: The two-time defending 3A state champs graduated superstars Jermaine and Jeremy Kline and Zach Ziemek, but Ivory hopes to contend once again. Filip, fifth last year in long jump, continues Ziemek's multi-events mantle, while Spejcher seeks his fourth straight qualification coming off a sixth-place finish. Ehrhardt and Smith have already gone 14-6 in vault. For years seeking strength on the track to approach the field bounty, this group may have more balance than in the past, both in sprints and distance with Jorgensen, Dade, Lozano. Still young, the Lancers won the 2011 UEC Valley soph title and were second at the 2012 UEC indoor. "I want the trifecta -- conference, sectional and state," Ivory said. " ... We've got to hit just right, but it's possible."

Lisle Lions

Coach: Ken Jakalski (25th year; 36th overall).

Last year: Fourth in the Interstate Eight Conference; third at the Class 1A Lisle sectional.

Top athletes: Cory Beckman, sr., sprints; Tony Benedetti, sr., sprints; Ben Buchelt, so., distance; Jefferson Chan, so., distance; Robbie Dean, sr., sprints; Ryan Kilroy, jr., middle distance, pole vault; Bradley Krc, fr., sprints; Andy Populorum, sr., sprints; Nick Rizzotti, jr., hurdles; Tyler Schech, jr., throws; Tyler Young, sr., sprints.

Outlook: In Jakalski's final year he's got a balance of sprints and distance. The Lions will challenge for a top-five spot in conference and push for state-bound relays. Graduating program long-jump record holder Anthony Ventrella leaves a gap in horizontal jumps, but it's one of few gaps. Young is the top sprinter while Buchelt will enjoy friendly competition with Chan in the 3,200. "We don't have that immediate talent to score big in multiple events," Jakalski said, "but we have a great mix of some younger guys who are going to leave a mark."

Metea Valley

Coach: Aaron Lewis (second year, third overall).

Last year: Fourth in the Upstate Eight Valley; 14th at the Class 3A Bartlett sectional.

Top athletes: Mike Hennessey, sr., middle distance; Ben Hulett, sr., hurdles; Will King, sr., sprints, jumps; Aaron Laskey, sr., middle distance; TréSean Mackey, sr., sprints; Preston Mitchell, sr., middle distance; Jake Murawski, jr., discus, high jump; Chase Nelson, sr., sprints; Raysean Parker, sr., jumps; Jarrell Ross, sprints, jumps; Luke Rozier, jr., sprints; Joe Stewart, sr., distance; Matt Stewart, sr., distance; Alan Williams, sr., sprints.

Outlook: This second-year program shouldn't wait much longer to land its first state qualifier. Metea might have several, among the Stewart twins -- they went 1-2 in the UEC indoor 3,200 -- King, Ross and a relay or two. The 1,600 relay ran at the Illinois Prep Top Times Indoor Classic and Lewis hopes the depth of his 103-man team will qualify all four relays outdoors. Building are the 800 and pole vault, but jumps are solid. In only its second varsity season Metea placed third at the UEC indoor. "I think we're a team that's on the rise," Lewis said.

Montini

Coach: Pete Connelly (third year).

Last year: Third in the Suburban Christian Conference; seventh at the Class 2A Glenbard South sectional.

Top athletes: Pat Barrett, sr., hurdles, pole vault; Logan Goss, jr., jumps, sprints; Mitch Hoem, sr., pole vault; Brady Powers, sr., throws; Michael Spangler, jr., sprints; Anthony Taylor, sr., sprints; Dimitri Taylor, jr., sprints; Dave Zirko, sr., jumps.

Outlook: Their 2A Lisle sectional draw may be even tougher than last year, but Connelly still hopes to get sprint relays or individuals downstate. In 2011 only Barrett went, finishing fifth in pole vault at 13-9. To his credit Anthony Taylor, the defending SCC 100 and 200 winner, is running before playing football at Eastern Illinois. Anything 800 and up is still a challenge but should be better after last year's second-place SCC JV finish. If Connelly can find a fourth speedster to fill the sprint relays he may emphasize those; otherwise he'll give the Taylors and Spangler their best shot to qualify in open sprints. "Usually those decisions reveal themselves as the season goes on," the coach said.

Naperville Central

Coach: Steve Wiesbrook (ninth year).

Last year: Fourth in the DuPage Valley Conference; 14th at the Class 3A Plainfield North sectional.

Top athletes: Ben Andreas, so., jumps; Sam Bransby, so., sprints; David Goodalis, sr., throws; Tyler Haines, sr., sprints; Michael Jopes, so., hurdles; Mike Juretschke, sr., pole vault; Brad Kouchoukos, sr., middle distance; Kevin Kulling, jr., sprints; Kevin Rzepczynski, sr., pole vault; Christian Schafer, so., distance; Adam Spaccapaniccia, sr., sprints; Daniel Spaccapaniccia, so., sprints; Matt Stern, jr., distance; Forrest Thayer, sr., distance.

Outlook: Senior leadership bolstered by promising youth. The Redhawks set three indoor records and won two open events (Bransby's 400, Juretschke's vault) and two relays at the DVC indoor meet. A team-record 135 athletes lend depth. For state qualification the longer relays probably fit the bill, Kouchoukos and Goodalis as well. Top-half in the DVC is a legitimate goal for this improved program. "It's hard to believe that two years ago we were eighth in the conference," said terminally sunny Wiesbrook.

Naperville North

Coach: Tim Brown (second year).

Last year: Fifth in the DuPage Valley Conference; ninth at the Class 3A Plainfield North sectional.

Top athletes: Jack Cerne, sr., middle distance; Sam Ceruti, jr., distance; Nick Drendel, sr., distance; Ryan Hanselman, so., distance; Marvin Harris, sr., sprints; Griffin Haugen, jr., distance; Nick Lyon, sr., pole vault; Adam Milsap, so., sprints; DaTrell Poindexter, so., sprints; Jimmy Qiao, jr., distance; John Walsh, sr., middle distance; Alec Weyneth, jr., hurdles.

Outlook: A strong group of youngsters who placed third at the DVC indoor frosh-soph level may be called upon to help out in varsity invites. Brown likes his 200-400 runners, plus a distance group that draws from a 10th-place 3A cross country finish. Lyon heads a field crew that looks to develop depth within this 125-man program. An upper-half DVC finish and getting the 1,600 and 3,200 relays downstate are among the goals. Along the way Lyon and Harris will provide leadership to the younger guys. "Hopefully, they'll get some good experience and do some good things," Brown said.]

Neuqua Valley

Coach: Mike Kennedy (seventh year).

Last year: Second in the Upstate Eight Valley; fourth at the Class 3A Plainfield North sectional.

Top athletes: Henry Barnes, jr., sprints, jumps; Jake Bender, sr., sprints; Mark Derrick, sr., distance; Ernie Edwards, jr., hurdles; Tim Heinz, so., high jump; Matt Hughes, so., high jump; Alekh Meka, jr., distance; Eric Metoyer, sr., sprints; Brad Mikulecky, jr., jumps; Andrew Peterson, sr., pole vault; Josh Prescher, jr., pole vault; Nick Rafacz, so., sprints; Kevin Skrip, sr., sprints; Drew Smith, sr., distance; Taylor Soltys, sr., distance; Carlos Varela-Hernandez, jr., throws;

Outlook: Neuqua will compete for the program's third state trophy. Bender, who set a program indoor 400 record at the UEC indoor, placed second at 3A state in 2011. Derrick (North Carolina) ran sixth in the 3,200 and heads a third-place cross country distance squad. There's a chance to qualify all four relays and several field events, and quality sophomores are sprinkled throughout the loaded lineup. Kennedy enjoys this committed, team-oriented group. "We have a pretty solid team," he said.

St. Francis

Coach: Scott Nelson (24th year).

Last year: Sixth in the Suburban Christian Conference; ninth at the Class 2A Glenbard South sectional.

Top athletes: Sean Becker, sr., throws; Adam Brown, sr., throws; Matt Denny, sr., middle distance, jumps; Andrew Hallet, so., distance; Matt Lorish, so., sprints, middle distance; Brendan Marren, jr., sprints; Kevin McShea, jr., jumps, hurdles; Scott Stiff, jr., distance; Nick Vilimek, so., distance.

Outlook: The school's numerous spring sporting options have reduced the numbers to 33, the lowest Nelson recalls in two decades. Always a fighter, he'll prepare them to win conference and state-qualify as many as possible. Despite Joe Giamberdino's graduation the strength remains in distance, where Denny, Hallet, Vilimek, Stiff and friends qualified for 2A cross country, finishing 23rd. Last year's JV finished fifth in their SCC meet, and many of them will be on varsity. It's always nice to have a McShea on board. "We're young," Nelson said, "but we've got a great future."

Timothy Christian

Coach: John Vander Kamp (26th year).

Last year: Seven in the Metro Suburban Conference; 10th at the Class 1A Lisle sectional.

Top athletes: Joel Brouwer, sr., sprints; Jordan Frankfurt, sr., middle distance; Jake Hooker, jr., hurdles; Jimmy Larkin, jr., distance; Richard Medina, jr., sprints; Alex Sweatman, sr., distance; Luke Washington, sr., sprints, jumps.

Outlook: Timothy is not loaded with scorers, but a few select individuals hope to reach Charleston. Keeping Washington healthy after PE injuries the last two years is crucial to a good athlete who ran second in the 50 at the Metro indoor meet (the Trojans finished sixth overall). Hooker missed last year's 1A state finals in the 300 hurdles by one spot, and is a good bet to qualify again. Sweatman will aim for one if not both the open distance races. Timothy is not deep enough to mount serious relays, and throwers are surprisingly slim for this traditionally strong disc/shot program. Vander Kamp's credo this season: "Let's find out a little bit about your potential and go after it."

Waubonsie Valley

Coach: Kevin Rafferty (fifth year).

Last year: Third in the Upstate Eight Valley; seventh at the Class 3A Plainfield North sectional.

Top athletes: Austin Ameri, sr., sprints; Jamal Bearden, sr., throws; Dovon Benard, jr., high jump; John Burke, jr., sprints; Tony Burns, fr., sprints; Kyle Cluver, sr., sprints, pole vault; Alex Gerdisch, jr., high jump; Dee Gray, sr., sprints; Riley Kittridge, jr., throws; Kyle Neese, jr., sprints; Eric Pembrook, sr., middle distance; Kyle Schafer, sr., hurdles; James Travis, so., jumps; Dan Waldron, jr., sprints.

Outlook: Waubonsie isyoung, deep and sprint/jump-heavy with good stuff going on in relays (especially the 1,600) plus the usual duo exceeding 50 feet in shot put. The Warriors were fourth indoors in the Valley, no shame given their strength. Rafferty and staff will have a season-long dilemma deciding relays vs. individuals, such as 200 man Gray or 300 hurdler Schafer. Pembrook is the Valley's reigning 800 champ. Distance will take time to jell. "I think we've got a couple gems that are going to put us in position to have some success at the state meet," said Coach "Raf."

West Chicago

Coach: Paul McLeland (22nd year).

Last year: Sixth in the DuPage Valley Conference; ninth at the Class 3A Bartlett sectional.

Top athletes: Roberto Campos, sr., distance; Jon Hernandez, sr., distance; Tom Kubik, sr., sprints, pole vault; John Kulikowski, fr., jumps; Connor Overman, sr., middle distance; James Scheck, sr., distance; Nate Sudnick, sr., discus; Toby Thompson, jr., sprints, jumps; Anthony Venen, sr., sprints.

Outlook: West Chicago was hit hard by the graduation of stars Gunnar Sterne and Jeff Foreman and complementary athletes like David Duran and Matt Bannon. Hardworking Hernandez needs to pare mere seconds off his 3,200 time to qualify, or a relay with Scheck and Campos could work. While Kubik will strive to improve upon his 12-6 vault, the best bet is Dayton-bound footballer Sudnick, who last year threw the discus 151 feet. Youngsters like indoor frosh-soph long jump champ Kulikowski will fill events in a year when the main goal is personal bests. "And from that point," McLeland said, "we'll do well."

Wheaton Academy

Coach: Bill Bickhart (17th year).

Last year: Eleventh in the Suburban Christian Conference; 10th at the Class 2A Glenbard South sectional.

Top athletes: Andrew Duncan, jr., distance; Nick Lee, so., sprints; David Leffler, so., sprints; Nathan Lopez, so., throws; Kent McDonald, jr., distance; Widi Moestopo, jr., distance; Matt Ruff, so., sprints; Justin Sargent, jr., sprints; Noah VanDyke, fr., distance; Baxter Wennlund, sr., distance.

Outlook: A strong underclass aims for a midlevel SCC finish. Ruff, a serious candidate for state qualification, placed fourth in the 400 at the 2011 sectional at 52.28, near the Warriors' record of 52.1. He'll also run the 200 and maybe the 800. VanDyke has emerged to head a solid distance corps, with returners Wennlund and Moestopo looking to surge outdoors. Lopez is attempting a track-lacrosse duo. International student Lee joins the sprint group led by Sargent and Leffler. There are some holes, per usual. "We are a jigsaw puzzle and I never have the full picture," Bickhart said, "but I always have good kids."

Wheaton North

Coach: Don Helberg (20th year).

Last year: Second in the DuPage Valley Conference; fourth at the Class 3A York sectional.

Top athletes: Eric Altimari, sr., sprints, jumps; Aidan Askin, sr., distance; Matt Biegalski, so., hurdles, jumps; Marcus Charles, jr., sprints; Zac Daniels, jr., jumps; Zach Gordon, jr., jumps, sprints; Sam Hoffman, sr., distance; Christian Hollinger, sr., throws; Dale Hollinger, jr., pole vault; Brett Kohler, sr., hurdles; Stephen Papierski, sr., high jump; David Rudman, sr., pole vault; Alex Ryan, jr., distance; Patrick Sharp, sr., sprints; Mac Spaulding, sr., throws; Micaiah Steele, jr., sprints, hurdles; Paul Steeno, jr., distance.

Outlook: There are more athletes where these came from, making the balanced Falcons a 3A trophy possibility. They won the DVC indoor by 61 points (and won the frosh-soph level, too) and will get more points outdoors with another relay, discus and Kohler's 300 hurdles. Charles, Ryan, Steeno, Daniels and Christian Hollinger all won their DVC events. Wheaton North will try to use depth to assemble qualifying relays while also getting its top individuals downstate as well. "We're going to have the luxury of probably experimenting a lot,"Helberg said. "There are a lot of interchangeable parts."

Wheaton Warrenville South

Coach: Ken Helberg (24th year).

Last year: First in the DuPage Valley Conference; first at the Class 3A York sectional.

Top athletes: Carl Anderson, sr., middle distance; Derek Anderson, sr., distance; Alec Brazeau, sr., high jump, pole vault; Phabian Clark, hurdles, sprints; Corey Davis, jr., sprints; Quinn Farley, sr., distance; Steve Franke, sr., hurdles; Brooks Greene, sr., sprints; Kyle Joyce, jr., throws; Dan Krob, sr., middle distance; Andrew Martz, jr., distance; Nolan McKenna, so., distance; Luke Schroer, so., distance; Don Tomes, jr., hurdles; Dan Vitale, sr., sprints; Pat Wiedow, sr., throws.

Outlook: The Tigers ran third at the DVC indoor meet (second on the soph level), but with 140 athletes they have the depth and strength to again qualify four relays and perhaps make noise downstate. Clark and Brazeau look to repeat as qualifiers; Vitale returns from all-state 400 and 800 relays. The real strength of this squad may be from 800 on up with the Andersons, Schroer, McKenna, etc. A healthy Davis will be a key to the sprint group. "We're kind of as even as we've been, at least sprint-wise," Helberg said.

Willowbrook

Coach: T.J. Artman (fifth year).

Last year: Fourth in the West Suburban Gold; 12th at the Class 3A York sectional.

Top athletes: Craig Benner, sr., middle distance; Ari Capos, so., discus; Luke Caron, so., distance; Marcus Framke, sr., hurdles; Jake Golba, sr., throws; Tim Hyde, jr., distance; Alex Lavorini, so., jumps, sprints; Mitch McNamara, jr., throws; Pat Niyork, sr., distance; Ian Welsh, sr., throws.

Outlook: The Warriors finished seventh at the Gold indoor, but though numbers are down on the freshman level (not uncommon this year) there may be help from a sophomore squad that took fourth. The goals remain to gain on the Gold competition and nab a few conference titles. A crowded throws group will make waves in the Gold and Benner is solid from 400-800 and in relays. The headliner is the UIC-bound Niyork, 12th in 3A cross country, a state 3,200 qualifier as a junior. Sending Niyork back to Charleston with company is another of Artman's goals: "I'd like to see Tim (Hyde) in the 1,600 and Pat Niyork to repeat and medal."

York

Coach: Stan Reddel (12th year, 20th overall).

Last year: First in the West Suburban Silver; third at the Class 3A York sectional; second in Class 3A.

Top athletes: Billy Clink, sr., distance; Mike DeSimone, sr., sprints; Kyle Dombeck, sr., hurdles; Mike Druffel, jr., hurdles; Eric Glaubke, sr., middle distance; Paul Golen, sr., throws; Sean John, jr., pole vault; Jack Libert, jr., distance; Zach Locicero, sr., sprints; Chris May, jr., distance; Emmett McCoy, so., high jump; Scott Milling, jr., distance; Nathan Mroz, so., distance; Matt Plowman, fr., distance; Jamal Ross, jr., hurdles; Nick Sgarbossa, sr., pole vault.

Outlook: York is young, its sprinters untested, and at the Silver indoor meet trailed Oak Park. Just wait. A relay-ready 202 strong, the Dukes haven't finished below second in state since 2007, when they placed fourth. The distance tradition is here, Plowman ahead of Jack Driggs' freshman marks and Clink transferring from St. Charles North. Of interest are quality field events led by Golen and Sgarbossa, a 2011 all-state vaulter whose 15-3 set a record at the Silver indoor meet. As Reddel told his balanced team then: "We'll have you ready by May."

-- Dave Oberhelman

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