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updated: 9/5/2013 5:09 PM

Boys cross country: Scouting Lake County

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By John Bumbales
Daily Herald Correspondent

NORTH SUBURBAN LAKE

Lake Zurich

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Coach: J.B. Hanson (eighth season)

Last year's record: fourth in Class 3A, 5-time defending NSC champions

Top graduated seniors: Alex Milner (16th in Class 3A), Trevor Kuehr (20th in Class 3A), Jared Ripoli (48th in Class 3A), Ruben Riano, Jon Ramirez, Bobby Klett

Top returning competitors: seniors Will Llanos (115th in Class 3A, 18th in NSC), Matt Reninger, Gerrit Williams, Austin Kuehr , Jack Herman, Dave Brown, Brian Griffin, Robert Picha

Key newcomers: juniors Justin Shim, Mark Spatz; sophomore Matt Milner; freshman Matt Pereira

Outlook: The Bears did lose six of their top seven runners from last year's fourth-place state team to graduation. But as is usually the case over the past six seasons, Lake Zurich is poised to bounce back strong with the goals of defending their NSC crown for a sixth straight time and reaching the state meet as a team once again.

Libertyville

Coach: Mark Buesing (13th season)

Last year's record: sixth in NSC

Top graduated seniors: Nick Korhumel (Colorado State)

Top returning competitors: seniors Atticus Rush (22nd in NSC), Nello Bardina, Evan Mazurek; juniors Alex Zoellick, Max Roberts

Key newcomers: senior Pat Humen (first-year in cross country)

Outlook: The Wildcats will really miss the presence of Korhumel, who qualified for the state meet last year out of the powerful Class 3A Schaumburg sectional. But Libertyville is pretty optimistic that it can put together a solid season behind an experienced group of seniors runners that have been working together since track season.

Mundelein

Coach: Kurt Rutz (first season)

Last year's record: ninth in NSC

Top graduated seniors: Cooper Lohr

Top returning competitors: seniors Liam Mellon (28th in NSC), Tommy Shannon, Greg Proper; juniors Bryce Richards (10th in NSC, second at 800 meters in Class 3A), Chris Palacios, Mickey Cardenas; sophomores Uly Hagerdorn, Joseph Clow

Key newcomers: junior Christian Kaider; sophomore Mitch Alberts; freshmen Ben Krauss, Mitch Cohen

Outlook: With their top four runners back, the Mustangs appear to be in a pretty good position to compete well and improve in the NSC this fall. New Mundelein coach Kurt Rutz is hoping for some big improvements over last year as he takes over the reigns from former coach John Osmanski this season.

Stevenson

Coach: Scott Sommers (sixth season)

Last year's record: second in NSC

Top graduated seniors: Brendan Wood (Middlebury College), Jon Rice, Thomas Russell, Danny Gardiner

Top returning competitors: seniors Alex Mazursky, Jeremey Bloomfield; junior Sam Oh (fifth in NSC); sophomore Jared Borowsky

Key newcomers: seniors Daniel Oh, Hal Jones; junior Josh McMullen

Outlook: After finishing second in the NSC to now five-time defending champion Lake Zurich, the Patriots and hoping to remain in the top three this fall and hopefully push for even higher. Stevenson has a slightly younger pack expected to lead its surge in 2013, but the Pats hope to grow over the course of the season and finish strong when it counts most.

Warren

Coach: Bill Dawson (32nd season)

Last year's record: third in NSC

Top graduated seniors: Martin Martinez (Brown University), Jacob Butler (UW-Parkside)

Top returning competitors: seniors Reese Brady (27th in NSC), Marcus Shamberg, Adam Shurson, Michael Kleine, Pat Kreis, David Jahn; juniors Jakob Martinez (20th in NSC), Will Kellerhals, Nathan Campbell, Jeff Abbott, Grant Orlowski

Key newcomers: sophomores Alex Delgado, Dustin Macuiba

Outlook: Losing two-time all-state runner Martin Martinez (24th in 2011, 13th in 2012) to graduation will leave a pretty huge hole in the Blue Devils' lineup to fill this fall. Warren's current runners should still be very competitive in 2013 as the dedicated practice habits of Martinez have worn off on the team in a very positive matter.

NORTH SUBURBAN PRAIRIE

Antioch

Coach: Dave Judson (19th season)

Last year's record: 11th in NSC

Top graduated seniors: Anthony Formella

Top returning competitors: seniors A J Marsiglio, Tyler Thorn; juniors Dan Ressler, Zach Besson, Bogdan Anghel

Key newcomers: seniors Tommy Noegel, Briley Schultz; freshman Pat Schoenfelder

Outlook: The Sequoits lost their No. 1 runner in Formella to graduation, but they do have some good depth and experience returning with five of their top six runners back. The competition will be tough again, but Antioch should be pretty competitive in the NSC Lake Division if the squad can maintain a consistent pack of runners.

Grant

Coach: Jeff Durlak (seventh season)

Last year's record: fourth in NSC, NSC Prairie Division champions

Top graduated seniors: Peter Audrain, Trent Peters-Clarke

Top returning competitors: seniors Dalyn Romig (26th in NSC), Jorge Costilla (30th in NSC); juniors Jeffrey Brundidge, Matt Marander, Rigo Mejia, Sam Axelsson; sophomore Jordan Festin

Key newcomers: senior Kyle Hatton (ninth in Class 3A at 800 meters); junior Frank Cardy; freshman John Schmidt

Outlook: The Bulldogs are coming off a great season and despite losing their top two runners to graduation they have two all-conference runners back in Romig and Costilla ready to lead their pack. Grant is aiming to defend its Prairie Division title, the first one in school history, and the Bulldogs hope to crack the top 10 in the always powerful Schaumburg sectional.

Lakes

Coach: Andy Schroeder (ninth season)

Last year's record: 10th in NSC

Top graduated seniors: Ryan Prais (University of Illinois, three-time state qualifier)

Top returning competitors: seniors Jimmy Burchard, Jacob Groenwald, Hitarth Patel, Ben Nagelhout; juniors Daniel Miller, Alex DiGiammarino; sophomores Jake Schuering, Jacob LaBaron

Key newcomers: senior Kavan Mulloy; sophomore Kellen Maczyuski

Outlook: Coach Schroeder knows that Prais can not be replaced. But he could not compliment Prais enough for what he gave to the Lakes program during his four seasons on the varsity level. The Eagles are looking forward to a very promising season with goals of reaching the team sectional and potentially sending some runners downstate.

Round Lake

Coach: Kevin Brady (ninth season)

Last year's record: 12th in NSC

Top graduated seniors: Angel Carrera (Western Illinois), Manuel Ocana (Elmhurst College), Orlando Ortega, Jorge Villa (Elmhurst College), Roberth Paz

Top returning competitors: juniors Kevin Perez, Andrew Maskevich, Morgan Fields, Rosendo Acosta, Norberto Garcia; junior Emmanuel Sanchez

Key newcomers: sophomores Carlos Rosas, Vidal Ortega, Luis Nunez, Arturo Nunez; freshman Moises Acosta

Outlook: The Panthers were really hit hard with the loss of their top four runners to graduation. But Brady's squad will be looking to the future with his top seven being dominated by juniors and sophomores who are coming off of a good track season last spring.

Vernon Hills

Coach: Mark Whitney (second season)

Last year's record: fifth in NSC

Top graduated seniors: Morgan Lichtenstein

Top returning competitors: seniors Kyle Whitney (52nd in Class 2A, ninth in NSC), Ben Mohrdieck (100th in Class 2A, eighth in NSC), Nick Webber (25th in NSC), Eric Doerhoefer, Keith Carlson; juniors Tyler Smith, Rob Williams; sophomores Bryan Castellano, Trevor Moyers, Caleb Ju, Sam Laneman, Alex Geier

Key newcomers: freshmen Shane Williamson, Tim Krashevsky, Jake Adkisson

Outlook: The Cougars are expecting to have their best season since the program started and they have a great 1-2 punch in seniors Whitney and Mohrdieck poised to lead their pack along with a third all-conference runner in Webber. Coach Whitney hopes his team can contend for the NSC championship, be a favorite in the regional, and qualify for the 2013 state meet in early November.

Wauconda

Coach: Al Willhoit (35th season)

Last year's record: 13th in NSC

Top graduated seniors: Angelo Pequeno, Colin Bernhardt, Brentley Hovey, David Carter, Connor Ciesil

Top returning competitors: juniors Ricky Sidlowski, Austin Pequeno

Outlook: The Bulldogs have a reliable junior duo in Sidlowski and Pequeno back to lead their pack in the NSC Prairie Division. Now it is just a matter of building around that solid nucleus in hopes of making a solid impact when the Class 2A regionals roll around in late October.

EAST SUBURBAN CATHOLIC

Carmel Catholic

Coach: Jim Halford (27th season)

Last year's record: seventh in regionals

Top graduated seniors: Alex Warkenthien

Top returning competitors: seniors Anthony Gattuso, Dillon Novak, Ian O'Connor; juniors Patrick Pastika, Patrick Hogan, Dillon Kane, Nicholas Dicola; sophomore Michael Cusack

Key newcomers: sophomores John Caffarelli, Ryan Novak

Outlook: The Corsairs will have their work cut out for them if they hope to be competitive again in the powerful ESCC. But if Carmel can run effectively as a pack, it hopes to reach its goals of placing in the top eight at the sectional meet and getting their top five runners to finish in under 16 minutes.

FOX VALLEY / FOX DIVISION

Grayslake Central

Coach: Jimmy Centella (fifth season)

Last year's record: sixth in FVC, second in Fox Division

Top graduated seniors: Kevin Boyle (42nd in Class 2A), Alec Squillo

Top returning competitors: seniors Kevin Orozco, Ben Shwaiko, Steven Anderson; juniors Max Brunk, Danny Vincent; sophomore Alden Aaberg

Key newcomers: junior Suneed Ahmed; sophomore Jack Battaglia; freshman Noah Boelens

Outlook: The Rams do have a lot of leadership back with a trio of seniors ready to set the tone with their pack running. But the unexpected loss of two key returning runners to other sports and activities means that Grayslake Central has to develop some of its younger individuals in order to make a significant impact when the state series rolls around.

Grayslake North

Coach: Brandon Boyd (ninth season)

Last year's record: ninth in regionals

Top graduated seniors: Brett Brown

Top returning competitors: seniors Ryan Bruder, Alex Shulga; juniors Jack Barreca, John McShane, Brannon Morris

Key newcomers: sophomore Dylan Ponomar

Outlook: With a consistent group of pack runners starting to blend together at the varsity level, the Knights are hoping to make a trip to the sectional meet as a team. If all goes well late this fall, Grayslake North could also have an opportunity to qualify for the state meet as a team for the first time in school history

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