FOX VALLEY CONFERENCE
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Coach: Brent Pitt (10th year)
Last year: Fourth place Fox Valley Conference -- Sectional champions, 4th at state
Key losses: Joel Valdivia (3rd in state shot put -- Lake Forest), Luke Zygmunt (state champion 800, 3rd place 1,600 -- Butler), Will Brewster (2nd place in state 3,200, 2nd place in state 1,600 -- Illinois), Brett Seaholm, Jamie Lefebvre (state qualifier), Deandre Nabriant, Ray Beckman, Casey Boyle, Devon Osborn, Daniel Glenn.
Key returnees: Seniors -- Kevin Boyle (state qualifier), Kelton McCowen, Heinrich Klett, Jorge Rivera, Eddie Nielsen, Louis Kovarik, Ted McGraw, Matt Weatherhead (7th place 800 relay), Jourden Swopes (7th place 800 relay), Davonte Jennings (7th place 800 relay), Luke Stancil; Juniors - Kacey Adams (7th place 800 relay), Diego Quazada, Kevin Orozco (state qualifier), Steven Anderson; Sophomore -- Tommy Zygmunt.
Top newcomers: Juniors -- Malcolm Reed, Jacob Wiggins; Sophomore -- Cam Schwartz; Freshmen -- Chris Jones, Connor Gosell.
Outlook: On the surface, graduation losses were big in Valdivia, Zygmunt and Brewster. But on a second glance, Pitt has a talented herd of Rams back and the depth is better than ever with the biggest numbers in history. Jennings, Swopes, Adams and Weatherhead lead the sprints groups and the distance is deep with the younger Zygmunt, and Orozco returning. Kovarik will challenge in the throws as the Rams look to ascend to the top of the FVC.
Coach: Mike Richardson (1st year)
Last year: 10th in FVC
Key losses: Cody Stephens, Kasen Christiansen, Carlos Gomez, Ben Guhl (state qualifier -- Northwestern (IA), Josh Speer, Matt Zaverdas, Andrew Soulis (state qualifier), Jake Geary (state qualifier).
Key returnees: Seniors -- Alex Rotter (state qualifier), Brandon Uribe (state qualifier), Jim Glass, Jake Smith, Charlie Pine; Juniors - Ryan Bruder, Alex Shulga; Sophomores -- Gary Booker, Kevin Meyer.
Top newcomers: Senior -- Dylan Toole; Freshman -- Dylan Ponomar
Outlook: Off the most successful season in school history, the Knights are looking for a repeat performance in Richardson's first season. Rotter and Uribe bring state experience to a talented group. Toole already has made an appearance at indoor state and likely will make an assault on the Knights record book in the jumps. Finding the replacements for Geary and Soulis on the sprint relays will go a long way to a successful 2013 for North.
EAST SUBURBAN CATHOLIC
Coach: Jim Halford (29th year)
Last season: third place ESCC
Key losses: Brian Kadowaki (state qualifier), Pat Gray, Anthony Paul, Jack Schoen (7th place 1600 relay), K.J. Matsuzak (UW Parkside), Jordan Yancey (7th place 1600 relay), Christian Horcher (7th place 1600 relay), Devin Becker, Kenny Miller, JP Blaida 7th place 1600 relay).
Key returnees: Seniors -- Chase Reiger, Zach Ballitan; Juniors - Dillon Novak, Alex Warkenthien, Dan Santos, Max Johnson, Austin Fenger; Sophomores -- David Biondo, Patrick Tastika, Collin Psenka.
Top newcomers: Sophomores -- Nuriel Canles, Patrick Hogan; Freshman -- Michael Cusack
Outlook: It's not often that Halford has to rebuild, but this year may be one of those cases considering the Corsairs were hit hard by graduation. The cupboards are hardly bare. Reiger, Warkenthein, and Biondo look to lead the way in a very tough ESCC this spring. Tastika and Psenka provide good young depth for Carmel. How the younger Corsairs develop and contribute to a talented group of juniors will go a long way towards Carmel's success.
NORTH SUBURBAN LAKE
Coach: Randall Dunbar (1st year)
Last year: NSC co-champions
Key losses: Mike Rantis (state qualifier), Chris Rantis (state qualifier), Pat Juras (2nd in state 1,600 -- M.I.T.), Chris Helgeson, Jon Smith, Jimmy Bohn, Mark Weber, Isaac Honnegger, Dave Smith (state qualifier), Adam Polywka.
Key returnees: Seniors -- Jon Ramirez (state qualifier), Matt Sherman, Bobby Klett, Robert Rossdeutcher, Jared Ripoli, Trevor Kuehr (state qualifier), Alex Milner (state qualifier); Juniors -- Ryan Fitzgerald, Dan Abboud, Adam Griffith, Justin Wright, Anthony Baca, William Llanos (state qualifier)
Top newcomers: Seniors -- Shazid Kahn, Drew Pavlovich; Sophomore -- Zach Hilt
Outlook: The shoes couldn't be much bigger to fill than the ones Dunbar has to step into for the Bears. The defending Co-champs have owned the HSC as of late, but don't expect a significant drop-off here. The distance led by Milner, Ramirez and Llanos is as good as it gets in the conference. How LZ fills the sprints, which is usually a strong point, will be a factor in their pursuit of another title. The return of Pavlovich will help in the field events.
Coach: Jason Schroeder (2nd year)
Last season: Fourth place NSC
Key losses: AJ Wilson (state qualifier), Luke Carlson, Mike Babowice, Dan Ryan, Kevin Burke, Jamison Taff, Nathan Honold, Jake Rexell, Cameron Gillen, Shane Reilly (state qualifier - Carthage), Easton Huch (state qualifier - BYU)
Key returnees: Seniors -- Nick Korhumel, Andy Nader, Matt Williams, Jaleel Savoy, Jojo Amdur, Kai Weitkamper, Lou Diamond, Matt Dziedzic (2nd in state shot put); Junior -- Griffin Maldonado; Sohomores -- Max Roberts, Keith Wilson
Top newcomers: Junior -- Patrick Human; Sophomore -- Alex Zolek
Outlook: Last season was a feeling out process for Schroeder as he learned a lot about his team and what they were capable of. In year two, he has to like what he has with the return of Korhumel, Roberts, and Dziedzic. The Illinois-bound Dziedzic is the top returning thrower in the state and Korhumel could be the key to another strong distance group. Wilson will contribute in a number of ways and Roberts is a major threat in the hurdles. Wildcats have the pieces to contend for the title.
Coach: Kevin Shifley (6th year)
Last season: 13th place NSC
Key losses: Natish Kumar, Anthony Doretti, John Tazioli, Joe Ryan, Nick Doretti, Adam Fell, Gable Leppert
Key returnees: Seniors -- Kevin Wilk, Steve Slaughter, Dominic Paliani, Tim Del Castello, Kenny Pechtl, Tyreese Hurdle, Damien Perry, Juan Carlos Miguel, Cooper Lohr; Sophomore -- Bryce Richard
Top newcomers: Senior -- Harrison Richards; Junior - Chance Lindsey, Mike Lindsey; Sophomores -- Hassan Thomas, Ryan Rubio ; Freshman -- Isaac Banuelos
Outlook: The Mustangs look to get back on track with their brand new track. Last season Mundelein did not have a track to compete on. Now a brand new running surface should lead to a big year for the Mustangs. Richard is emerging as one of the top middle distance runners in the conference and the strong sophomore and junior class should lead to a rise up the standings for Mundelein. The Lindsey brothers and Banuelos will contribute immediately.
Coach: Andy Farrissey (17th year)
Last season: Third place NSC
Key losses: Parker Deloye (state qualifier -- Transfer to Barrington), James Vestuto (state qualifier), Tommy Barnes (state qualifier), Carl Miller (state qualifier), Jacob Yorntoob, Austin Scheu, Diego Chavez
Key returnees: Seniors -- Alan Velev, Danny Gardiner (state qualifier), Stephen Johnson, Brian Lee, Brendan Wood, Michael Dolan (state qualifier); Juniors -- Ki Hwan Kim (state qualifier, Jordan Fobbe; Sophomores -- Sammy Ho.
Top newcomers: Sophomores -- Cameron Green, Tim Vestuto
Outlook: Depth has never been an issue for the Patriots and they will need it this spring as they look to offset heavy graduation losses in the sprints. Kim is a two-time qualifier in the sprint relays and with the additions of the multi-talented Green and Vestuto, Stevenson just might have the makings of another great group of sprint relays. Dolan looks to return to state in the discus and Gardiner and Velev will help in the hurdles and middle distance.
Coach: Bill Dawson (18th year)
Last season: Seventh place NSC -- NSC Lake Division champions
Key losses: Roberto Lara (state qualifier), Mike Harland (state qualifier), Tyler Herman (state qualifier - Lawrence), David Hidrago (state qualifier), Nick Moreno, Alex Vandenberge, Wisam Abunimeh, Brad Shearer, Pat Ward, Mike Hoeflinger, Kyle Gregory.
Key returnees: Seniors --Martin Martinez (state qualifier), Jacob Butler (state qualifier), , Andrew Berman, Joe Severini, Arthel Rosquist, Miles Ganer, Tony Severini, Mike Biondo (state qualifier), Terrel Jones; Juniors -- Reese Brady (state qualifier), Marcus Shamberg, Adam Shurson, Michael Kliene
Top newcomers: Senior -- DaVonte Wilcox; Sophomores -- Jacob Martinez, Will Kellerhals, Nathan Campbell
Outlook: While the conference is never won on paper as the old cliché claims, the Blue Devils look to have all the necessary pieces in place to contend for the top spot for the first time in nearly a decade. The older Martinez is one of the top distance runners in the county this spring and figures to contribute in the mile and 2-mile. The sprints and middle distance will be a strength with the Severini brothers, Biondo and Butler all playing major roles. Keep an eye on football standout Wilcox in the sprints.
NORTH SUBURBAN PRAIRIE
Coach: Chris Bailey (4th year)
Last season: 11th place NSC
Key losses: Lee Shannon, Travis Gantz (state qualifier)
Key returnees: Seniors -- Nick Brito, Tyler Facey, Leroy Chapman (State Qualifier), Kyle Patrick (state qualifier), Jacob Craft; Juniors -- Dan Lonski (state qualifier); Sophomore --
Top newcomers: Senior -- Jack Johnson; Junior -- Cam Ayers; Freshman -- Theo Hill
Outlook: A little success equals a buzz for the program and the numbers for the Sequoits indicate just that. Earning multiple state qualifiers and then having those qualifiers back in Lonski, Chapman, and Patrick means a strong year is ahead for the Sequoits. Chapman is one of the top 400 runners in the state and Lonski will play a major role on sprint relays and in the 200 where he qualified for state last spring. Ayers and Hill will contribute big points early for Antioch.
Coach: Tom Evans (2nd year)
Last season: NSC Prairie Division Champions, NSC co-champions
Key losses: Brandon Lofthouse, Sean Wells (5th place 110 Hurdles, 4th place 300 hurdles -- Grand Valley State), Chris Orc, Justin Sanchez, Gabriel Velarde.
Key returnees: Seniors -- Peter Audrain, Trent Peters-Clark, Keion Miller, Dan King, Brad Wasilewski, Louis Echiverria, Kris Smith, Kyle Whittman, Brandon Lombardino (2nd in state discus); Juniors - Jonathan Wells (5th in state high jump), Kyle Hatton, Dalyn Romig, Jorge Costilla, Billy Sullivan, Jake Bychowski.
Top newcomers: Junior -- John Loris; Sophomores -- Jeff Brundidge, Jeremy Bredwood; Freshmen -- Octavian Wells, Nick Peterson, Tim Brundidge.
Outlook: Winning the Lake division was nice. Sharing the conference title for the first time was even better. Now the Bulldogs have an even bigger goal: a trophy on the season's final weekend. With significant returnees in Miller, Lombardino, Wells, and Hatton, the Bulldogs have the key ingredients necessary to defend their conference and divisional titles. Depth will also be a key and there is plenty of it with newcomers in Wells and the Brundidge brothers. The departure of Sean Wells leaves a sprint and hurdles gap that needs to be filled.
Coach: Kurt Rowells (8th year)
Last season: Fifth in NSC
Key losses: Josh Camp, Hans Hunecke (Augustana), Turner Bradshaw, Alan Gomez, Darius Tuminello
Key returnees: Seniors -- Ryan Prais (state qualifier), Dillon Fallotico, Mark Gerrits, Jake Degrave (state qualifier), Shaun Beutlich (state qualifier), Justin Bergeron, Ahman Reffat (state qualifier), Trevor Ray (8th in state 400), Ty Summers (state qualifier), Troy Swindel (state qualifier); Juniors -- Tyler Lohrmann, Rodolph Boyer; Sophomores -- Cory Hertz, Jake Balliu
Top newcomers: Senior -- Caleb Arnwine.
Outlook: Eventually the streak of divisional titles was going to come to an end. Now the goals are even bigger for the Eagles. State medals and a shot at the conference title are high on the list. This veteran group led by Prais, Beutlich, Ray, and Degrave are major point getters and will go a long way to leading Lakes to its first conference crown. Arnwine will be an immediate help on a strong group of relays and Fallotico and Summers will be important in the throws.
Coach: Kevin Brady (ninth year)
Last season: ninth in NSC
Key losses: Antonio Farley (state champion 400 -- Illinois State), Sergio Martinez, Juddon Carter, Deangelo Lockett, Danny Ceja, Tony Arenas, Enrique Sanchez, Victor Contreraas-Gomez.
Key returnees: Seniors --Angel Carrera, Robert Paz, Manual O' Connor, Jorge Villa; Juniors -- Chris Washington; Sophomores -- Kevin Perez, Joel Pinajero, Joey Greenhill
Top newcomers: Senior -- Tyler Johnson; Freshman -- Emmanuel Sanchez
Outlook: As Brady examines his roster, it's hard to overlook the loss of the first state champion in school history in Farley. The distance events will again be strong for the Panthers and Greenhill and Pinajero figure to be counted on in multiple events this spring. Sanchez is one to watch right away and Johnson is a sign of things to come with more football players joining the team and providing depth.
Coach: Mark Whitney (1st year)
Last season: 10th place NSC
Key losses: Kyle Schrems, Ian Hough
Key returnees: Seniors -- Mitch Campbell, Sam Kasten, Michael Hayibor, Richard Vizcayno, Gabriel Cotton (state qualifier), Jacob Hallendorff, Nick Foley, Oleg Babin, David Kucharz, Dan Galinovskiy, Morgan Lichtenstein, Drake Randall; Juniors -- Ben Mohrdieck, Don Lee, Eric Dorhoefer, Kyle Whitney, Nick Webber, Chris Lannan.
Top newcomers: Juniors -- Ilya Fedorovich; Sophomores -- Tyler Smith, Rob Williams, Juan Martinez, Eric Slovak; Freshmen -- Caleb Ju, Bryan Castellanos, Alex Young, Alex Geier, Kenny Dantes, Andres Salazar, Noah Agnew, Brandon Coty, Jordan Martin, Ali Abbas.
Outlook: For a first-year head coach, Whitney is fortunate. He inherits a team with talent up top, and in the younger classes, too. Cotton is one of the top Class 2A sprinters in the state. The junior class provides depth in the distance events with Whitney's son Kyle and Mohrdieck leading the way. Babin is a medal threat in the pole vault. A very strong sophomore and freshman class shows signs of a strong future for the Cougars.
Coach: Megan Zemanek (12th year)
Last season: 12th place NSC
Key losses: Jazz Saldivar, Parker Faust, Gerald Ledova, Thomas Webb, Erik Summerville
Key returnees: Seniors -- David Carter, Will Danner, Jack Weber, Chris Bednarski (state qualifier); Juniors -- Nick Ledova, Kacper Kulesza
Outlook: Bednarski led the way for the Bulldogs in the sprints and jumps last year earning a state qualifying berth in the long jump. He will lead the way this spring as a strong senior class looks to lead the Bulldogs to the top of the Prairie Division.