NORTH SUBURBAN LAKE
Coach: J.B. Hanson (seventh season)
Last year's record: 12th in Class 3A, 4-time defending NSC champions
Top graduated seniors: Pat Juras (seventh in Class 3A, MIT), Jon Smith (Illinois State), David Smith
Top returning competitors: seniors Trevor Kuehr, Alex Milner, Jared Ripoli, Jon Ramirez
Key newcomers: seniors Bobby Klett, Ruben Riano; juniors Will Llanos, Gerrit Williams
Outlook: With a senior-dominated team that features four returning members of last year's 12th-place state finisher, the Bears are poised to make yet another push for state after placing second to York by two points in 2010. Lake Zurich will also be trying to run down a fifth straight NSC championship after easily toppling runner-up Libertyville by 50 points for the 2011 crown.
Coach: Mark Buesing (12th season)
Last year's record: second in NSC
Top graduated seniors: Dan Ryan (CLC), Easton Huch (BYU), Cam Taylor
Top returning competitors: seniors Nick Korhumel (20th at sectionals), David Rule; junior Atticus Rush; sophomore Max Roberts
Key newcomers: junior Nello Bardina; sophomore Alex Zoellick
Outlook: After finishing second to now four-time defending NSC champion Lake Zurich last fall, the Wildcats are hoping to build on that success in 2012. Korhumel came on very strong for Libertyville at the end of the 2011 campaign as he only missed qualifying for the state meet by one place out of the powerful Class 3A Schaumburg sectional.
Coach: John Osmanski (ninth season)
Last year's record: eighth in NSC
Top graduated seniors: Adam Fell (Concordia), Nitesh Kumar (Illinois Wesleyan), Jorge Becerra
Top returning competitors: senior Cooper Lohr; junior Liam Mellon; sophomore Bryce Richards
Key newcomers: junior Edgar Calixto; sophomores Mickey Cardenas, Chris Palacios
Outlook: With a relatively young squad assembled for the new season, the Mustangs will be facing an uphill struggle in the rugged NSC Lake Division. Mellon and Richards are impressive young runners for Osmanski's team while Lohr provides Mundelein with senior leadership and experience.
Coach: Scott Sommers (fifth season)
Last year's record: fifth in NSC
Top graduated seniors: Jonathan Kersky, Alex Goldberg, Diego Chavez, Konnor Kruse
Top returning competitors: seniors Brendan Wood, Thomas Russell, Jon Rice, Danny Gardiner; sophomore Sam Oh
Key newcomers: senior Grayson Stout; juniors Alex Mazursky, Jeremy Bloomfield, Hal Jones
Outlook: Russell and Wood give the Patriots' pack a good duo to run behind heading into another season of tough competition. Stevenson will try to gradually improve throughout the 2012 campaign with its eye on the conference meet and state series.
Coach: Bill Dawson (31st season)
Last year's record: third in NSC
Top graduated seniors: Roberto Lara (CLC), Mike Harland (CLC), Tyler Herman (Lawrence), Jusuf Saranic (Lawrence), Drew Lannoye
Top returning competitors: seniors Martin Martinez (24th in Class 3A), Jacob Butler, Joe Severini; junior Reese Brady
Key newcomers: senior Jacob Schwerr; juniors Adam Shurson, Marcus Shamberg, Michael Kleine, Pat Kreis, Mike Neal, Tim Neal; sophomores Jakob Martinez, Will Kellerhals;freshmen Dustin Macuiba, Adrian Suarez
Outlook: With a great front-runner in Martinez leading their pack, the Blue Devils inexperienced team will try to remain consistent this fall in the NSC. After reaching the state track meet in two events last spring, Brady could make a big impact this season. But Butler could miss the first month due to a broken foot in the summer.
NORTH SUBURBAN PRAIRIE
Coach: Dave Judson (18th season)
Last year's record: 13th in NSC
Top graduated seniors: Travis Gantz, Cade England
Top returning competitors: junior Tyler Thorn; sophomores Zach Besson, Dan Ressler
Key newcomers: senior Anthony Formella; sophomore Bogdan Anghel; freshmen Nick Filippone, Nathan Borries
Outlook: With his top trio having a year of experience under their belts, Judson expects his squad to be stronger this season along with the addition of first-year senior Anthony Formella on the team. Formella switched to cross country this fall after sustaining a football injury last year.
Coach: Jeff Durlak (sixth season)
Last year's record: 10th in NSC
Top graduated seniors: Justin Sanchez
Top returning competitors: seniors Peter Audrain, Trent Peters-Clarke; juniors Dalyn Romig, Jorge Costilla; sophomores Jeffrey Brundidge, Matt Marander, Sam Axelsson, Rigo Mejia
Key newcomers: freshmen Ivan DeJesus, Matt Kling
Outlook: The Bulldogs will be trying to run down a third straight sectional appearance as a team this season while aiming to move up in both the Prairie Division and the NSC. Peters-Clarke and Audrain are coming off of all-conference performances last year and they will provide senior leadership for Grant's veteran team.
Coach: Andy Schroeder (eighth season)
Last year's record: seventh in NSC
Top graduated seniors: Josh Camp (Illinois), Wesley Gonzalaz (Western Kentucky), Rich Baker
Top returning competitors: senior Ryan Prais (two-time state qualifier); juniors Jimmy Burchard, Tyler Lohrmann, Ryan Barry, Jack McGill, Grant Berland, Ben Nagelhout, Jacob Groenwald; sophomores Daniel Miller, Alex DiGiammerino, Michael McEldugg
Key newcomers: sophomore Vince Seely;freshmen Jacob LeBaron, Jacob Scheuring, Nick Halberg
Outlook: The Eagles have a great front-runner in senior Ryan Prais, who qualified for the Class 2A state meet as a freshman and a sophomore. But Prais in the only Lakes senior in its top 10 so they will focus on making steady improvement while keeping an eye on contending for the Prairie title and reaching sectionals.
Coach: Kevin Brady (eighth season)
Last year's record: Prairie Division champs
Top graduated seniors: Tony Arenas, Sergio Martinez, Robert Cruz
Top returning competitors: seniors Angel Carrera, Roberth Paz, Jorge Villa, Manuel Ocana
Key newcomers: sophomores Rosendo Acosta, Kevin Perez, Noberto Garcia, Andrew Maskevich
Outlook: The Panthers have a strong senior duo in Paz and Carrera ready to lead a pretty experienced group of varsity runners. Round Lake had three individuals reach the Class 3A Schaumburg sectional last year after finishing as the best team in the Prairie Division.
Coach: Mark Whitney (first season)
Last year's record: ninth in NSC
Top graduated seniors: Kyle Schrems
Top returning competitors: seniors Morgan Lichtenstein, Ben Rappaport; juniors Keith Carlson, Ben Mohrdieck, Nick Webber, Kyle Whitney; sophomores Tyler Smith, Rob Williams
Key newcomers: junior Eric Doerhoefer; freshmen Bryan Castellanos, Caleb Ju, Trevor Moyers
Outlook: With six of their top seven runners back, things are looking up for new coach Mark Whitney, who replaces Michael Roberts this season. The Cougars are hoping to be very competitive in the Prairie Division, NSC, and the state series.
Coach: Al Willhoit (34th season)
Last year's record: 12th in NSC
Top graduated seniors: Connor Rueb, Erik Summerville, Tom Webb, Steve Stiller
Top returning competitors: seniors David Carter, Connor Ciesil, Colin Bernhardt, Brentley Hovey, Jared Zacharkiewicz; junior Kevin Vaughan; sophomores Austin Pequeno, Matt Bulgarelli
Key newcomers: seniors Angelo Pequeno, Connor Williams; junior River Chandler
Outlook: Looking ahead to the post-season, the Bulldogs are in pretty good shape with four returning members from last year's Class 2A sectional qualifying team to build around. Wauconda will have to battle it out week to week if they hope to be competitive in the NSC Prairie Division.
EAST SUBURBAN CATHOLIC
Coach: Jim Halford (26th season)
Last year's record: Class 2A sectional qualifier
Top graduated seniors: K.J. Matuszak (23rd in Class 2A, UW-Parkside)
Top returning competitors: senior Alex Warkenthien; juniors Anthony Gattuso, Dillon Novak, Ian O'Connor; sophomore Patrick Pastika
Key newcomers: sophomores Patrick Hogan, Nicholas DiCola, Dillon Kane;freshman Mickael Cusak
Outlook: Graduated all-stater Matuszak will be next to impossible for the Corsairs to replace this fall. But Carmel still has high hopes of returning to the Class 2A sectional meet as a team and cracking the top four in the powerful ESCC.
FOX VALLEY / FOX DIVISION
Coach: Jim Centella (fourth season)
Last year's record: 19th in Class 2A, fifth in FVC, second in Fox Division
Top graduated seniors: Will Brewster (eighth in Class 2A, Illinois), Luke Zygmunt (Butler), Brent Rische (CLC)
Top returning competitors: senior Kevin Boyle; juniors Kevin Orozco, Kirk Dickson, Ben Shwaiko; sophomores Tommy Zygmunt, Max Brunk
Key newcomers: senior Matt Weatherhead; junior Steven Anderson;freshman Alden Aaberg
Outlook: The Rams lost three very key seniors from their state qualifying team to graduation. But they still hope to fight for FVC and regional crowns before trying to earn another trip downstate.
Coach: Brandon Boyd (eighth season)
Last year's record: sixth in Fox Division
Top graduated seniors: Matt Kendzior, Matt Zaverdas, Tim Rollings
Top returning competitors: senior Brett Brown; junior Ryan Bruder
Key newcomers: sophomore Jack Barreca
Outlook: The front of the Knights pack is pretty solid with a young trio of returning runners. There is a lot of competition in the back of their pack and Grayslake North will face a lot of rugged competition throughout the FVC.