Scouting the boys cross country state meets
Where: Detweiller Park, Peoria When: 2 p.m. Saturday
York will be going for its 28th state title on Saturday at Detweiller. The Dukes rolled to the Niles West sectional title with an impressive 29 points. York had four runners in the top five, with senior Scott Milling leading the charge. O'Fallon is one team that could give York trouble. The Panthers were state runner-ups last season and return senior Alex Riba and junior Patrick Perrier, both will be contenders for the individual state title. Neuqua Valley looked to be a solid trophy pick early in the season, but the Wildcats are coming off a third place finish at the Marist sectional finishing behind Lyons and Plainfield South. All three teams will be dangerous on Saturday. Lake Zurich has been coming on strong, and is hoping to continue the momentum it gained by winning the Schaumburg sectional. Palatine and Barrington figure to be hanging near the top.
Barrington: The Broncos nipped Palatine by 1- point to claim second place at the Schaumburg sectional. Senior Ryan Burgoon sets the tone for Barrington; he finished 23rd at state last season and has his eyes set on another all-state finish this season. Senior Mike Rappleye and junior Jake Herb have solidified the Broncos 2-3 spots. Herb has emerged as solid contributor this season and continues to progress. Sophomore Konrad Eiring is another talented runner for Broncos. Senior Kerry Frank returned from a stress fracture last week and gave Barrington a lift. Coach Ty Gorman has been a believer in this team all season, and the Broncos could surprise people by pulling out a trophy.
Palatine: Despite losing its top five runners from last season Class 3A state title, Palatine find itself back once again at the state meet, and possibly contending for another state trophy. Senior Christian Zambrano has powered the Pirates attack all season and has been rock steady. After winning the Mid-Suburban League title, the Pirates have had a pair of hiccups at the regional and sectional meets. The key for the Pirates will getting sophomore Graham Brown back up with Zambrano. Senior Zach Stella is also looking to rebound from a so-so sectional. Senior Brian Smith, senior Andrew Clingerman, junior Emil Kozakiewicz and junior Argeni Bailon provide the Pirates with some depth.
Hersey: The Huskies are happy to be back at state and will contend for a top 10 position. Sophomore David Rodriguez and junior Andy Philipose give Hersey a potent 1-2 punch. Junior Jack O'Neil has been a solid bridge for the back pack, with senior Ryan Kearns, senior Robert Somary, and sophomore Grant Von Der Lippe providing some depth.
Individuals to watch
St. Ignatius senior Jack Keelen was the preseason favorite to win the Class 3A title, and he will definitely be in the mix on Saturday. O'Fallon has two runners that could pull off the victory. Senior Alex Riba finished second in Class 3A last season, and junior Patrick Perrier has one of the best marks at Detweiller this season (14:28). Prospect senior Quentin Shaffer tied Perrier mark at Detweiller and has looked strong all season. York senior Scott Milling is also a threat, along with Oswego senior Caleb Beck.
Area runners to watch
Quentin Shaffer, Prospect: Shaffer has swept to three straight victories at the MSL meet, Hoffman regional, and Schaumburg sectional. The Knight senior is a threat to win the Class 3A title and will be among the leaders.
Steven Salvano, Buffalo Grove: Salvano has had a very impressive season, taking second in the MSL and Libertyville regional. Last week the Bison junior took third at the Schaumburg sectional. He has come a long way since last season and has put his name among the elite runners in Illinois.
Ryan Burgoon, Barrington: Burgoon started the season slow with an injury, but has shown no ill effect since returning in mid-September. The Bronco senior already has earned one all-state medal and he will be looking to add another on Saturday.
Christian Zambrano, Palatine: Zambrano was the sixth runner on the Pirates state championship team last season and has done a great job in the leadership position this season. The Pirate senior will be in the mix for a state medal.
Billy Thomas, Hoffman Estates: Thomas has emerged as one of the MSL best runners this season. The Hawk junior has pushed for the lead all season and has not been afraid to take risk. Look for Thomas to make a push for a medal on Saturday.
When: Saturday, noon
Outlook: Belvidere North will be seeking its fourth consecutive state title, but the Chicago Jones Prep will offer a serious challenge. Belvidere North senior Garrett Lee has best mark on the Detweiller course this season, hitting an impressive 14:27 in early September. St. Viator qualified for its second consecutive state meet, taking third at the Fenton sectional. Junior Nick Brey powers the Lions attack and will be pursuing a state medal. Senior Kevin Schreiber is also a force for St. Viator. Senior Will Beiersdorf, senior Tyler Sammons, senior Joseph Lorezini, and junior Patrick Spanier will aid St. Viator.
-- Michael Eaken