Boys cross country: State meet scouting, Northwest
Where: Detweiller Park, Peoria
When: Saturday; Class 1A at 10 a.m.; Class 2A at noon, Class 3A at 2 p.m.
What to know: Neuqua Valley and Downers Grove North finished 1-2 in Class 3A last year; the script could flip this season. Downers Grove North enters the state meet as one of the top teams, followed by Neuqua Valley. The teams met on Oct. 4 at the Naperville Twilight Invitational, with the Downers North nipping Neuqua 56-57. Glenbard West, Wheaton Warrenville South, Hersey, Lyons Township will all be in play for a coveted state trophy. Individually it is going to be a dandy of a race. Sandburg senior Dylan Jacobs and Lyons senior Danny Kilrea are both ranked nationally and they will be colliding with the Class 3A state title on the line. Both Kilrea (14:02) and Jacobs (13:57) have hit impressive marks at Detweiller ealier this season and both have their eyes set on the state course record of 13:50.6, set by Lebanon's Craig Virgin in 1972. But it is predicted to be wet on Saturday, and that could slow things down. Whitney Young senior Clayton Mendez, Maine South junior Tommy Brady, Barrington senior Nick Laning, Naperville Central junior Thomas Shilgalis, Geneva junior Joshua Rodgers, Granite City junior Andrew O'Keefe, O'Fallon senior Lucas Capistrant, Hersey sophomore Josh Methner, and Libertyville senior Alex Tam, and Lake Zurich senior Patrick Burns will all contend for a coveted state medal.
Hersey: The Huskies roll into the Class 3A state meet after winning the Mid-Suburban League, Hoffman Estates regional and Hoffman Estates sectional titles. Sophomore Josh Methner took second at the MSL, regional and sectional meets and will be running for all-state honors on Saturday. Senior Ryan Theisen has also looked strong this postseason and will be another threat for all-state honors. Theisen missed most of last season due to an injury, but has returned to form this season and combined with other seniors to anchor the Huskies' effort. Junior Ryan Buch, senior Nate Mayo and sophomore Max Svienty have connected to form a very solid chase pack and were key in the Huskies' winning sectional run. Junior Thomas McCarthy, senior Quinn Cunningham, senior Sean Patton and senior Jack Fredian give the Huskies plenty of depth. Hersey has the potential to push for a state trophy. "The key to our success has been our composure and determination, they have done an outstanding job of accomplishing the day's goals and race plans without getting caught up with the obstacles they can't control," said Hersey coach Kevin Young. The Huskies will be challenged on Saturday, but they have not flinched in a strong run this season. Methner and Theisen will provide the power up front; it will be up to the Huskies' trail pack to narrow the gap on Saturday. "We're excited and ready for the challenge that awaits on Saturday," added Young.
Barrington: Senior Nick Laning could finish in the top five on Saturday and he will push the Broncos' state effort. He enters the state meet riding a big wave of momentum, having won the MSL meet, the Palatine regional and the Hoffman Estates sectional. "He has controlled his last three races wire to wire, and I expect Nick to be one of the most steady, confident guys on the line on Saturday," said Barrington coach Tom Root. Barrington came up big with a third-place finish at the Hoffman Estates sectional after finishing third in the MSL and fourth at the Palatine regional. Sophomore Paddy Furlong had a strong sectional run and will join junior Greg Van Hollen and junior Aiden King to form the chase pack. Freshman Ben DeWeerdt, junior Jack DeWeerdt and sophomore Aaron Sarkar will need to narrow the gap on the second wave to give the Broncos a push. Barrington ran its best race of the season at the sectional and will be looking to carry that momentum into Saturday. "It's extremely special for this group to make state, not just our top seven or top 12, but our entire program," said Root. "Our upperclassmen focused this season on the kind of legacy they want to leave behind in our program. The fact that this group of guys made it to state solidifies what this effort has meant to them all."
• Jack Terry (Sr.) Prospect: He ran an inspired race in finishing seventh at the Hoffman Estates sectional, adding to his Hoffman Estates regional title and fifth-place finish at the MSL meet. Terry has the potential to earn a state medal. He used a hard finish at the sectional meet and he will need the same type of effort on Saturday. "He's a great kid that leads by example in all aspects," said Prospect coach Mike Stokes. "Jack wants to run a sub-14:45 and his best mark in Peoria is 14:48. We think that will put him where he wants to be."
• Richard Jacobo (Soph.) Palatine: He's had a strong second season, finishing fourth in the MSL, third at the Palatine regional, and securing his spot at state with an 11th-place finish at the sectional. Jacobo has looked fearless in running up top during the postseason and will need the same type of run on Saturday in order to secure a state medal. Jacobo has definitely taken a step forward this season and he will be looking to keep moving on Saturday. "Richie has just been responding with poise beyond his years. He is unafraid of sticking his nose into races with the top seniors and he has been determined to race in the front, and it has paid off for him," said Palatine coach Chris Quick.
St. Viator: The Lions qualified for their sixth trip in seven years to the Class 2A state meet by placing second at the Chicago University sectional. St. Viator finished second in the East Suburban Catholic Conference and also finished second at the Fenton regional. Sophomore Patric Natindim has led the way; he finished 12th at the sectional meet. "He's worked hard and leads by example," said Viator coach Wayne Edelman. Senior Richard Rinka, senior Dan Bartelt, and senior Kevin Goss form the second wave. Senior John Leineiger, junior Jason Doland and senior Brady Collis will look to support the team effort. "We are hoping for a top-10 finish this year. Our success this season comes from hard work and believing in the program," Edelman said.
-- Michael Eaken