Boys cross country: Scouting Cook and Lake County

After just missing out on the third-place trophy by 12 points to Glenbard South at the state meet last year, Grayslake Central heads back to the drawing board this fall in their quest to bring home some hardware.

The Rams won the state title in 2015, took second in 2016, and they have been trying to get back onto the podium as a team ever since under coach Jimmy Centella.

Grayslake Central has its four top runners back in senior Trey Sato (11th), sophomore Adan Cordova (21st), senior Will Welty (39th), and senior John Vagnoni (68th). Aashay Patel (96th), and Duncan Jones (107th) graduated, but senior Nolan Kissinger (114th) is back.

"Trey (Sato) had a breakout track season running a 4:12 mile and finishing with two all-state track medals," said Centella. "I would not be surprised if he makes a run at Jack Aho's school record of 14:12 and challenges for the individual 2A state title," Aho was a two-time state champion, who recorded that 14:12 time at the 2016 state meet.

Senior Asher Tiojanco and junior teammates Daniel Varblow and Kurt Storckman will by vying for spots on the top-seven varsity team. The Rams were NLCC, regional, and sectional champs last season.


The Sequoits lost captains Ben Georgia and Braxton Schieler to graduation from a team that placed fifth in the NLCC, sixth at regionals, and ninth at sectionals. Antioch has its top seven sectional runners returning including seniors Carter Webb (67th in Class 2A), Tyler Wolfe (state track qualifier in 4x400 relay), and Anton Augusto. Juniors Griffin Freeman, Brady Kobb, and Anthony Sculuca are also back along with sophomore Carson Lanners (175th) for coach Chris Bailey's squad.


The Corsairs have two state qualifiers returning in junior Cole Bonham (99th in Class 2A) and Joey Lodowsky (179th). Seniors P.J. Biegel and John Krietsch will be top-five runners on coach Jim Halford's squad along with junior Kyle Paras. With standout freshmen Evan Hursthouse and Quinn Emmons joining the team, Carmel is hoping to finish in the top three in the ESCC and make a run for the state meet after a great summer of training. Other potential top-seven runners will be Charlie Cowart, John Dieler, and sophomore Teddy Schlicksup on what is expected to be Carmel's best team in quite some time.

Grayslake North

The Knights graduated their top two runners from last season, including state qualifier Owen Davies (185th in Class 2A) and Nicholas Von Briesen. Grayslake North has a very young team returning from its sixth-place finish in the NLCC last year including sophomores Oliver Davies and Ryan Larrivee. Freshman Dylan Warder is a new runner for coach Jenny Spangler, whose team will focus on individual improvement and improving as a team at the NLCC meet.


The Bulldogs took second place in the NLCC, fourth at regionals, and 17th at the Class 3A sectionals as top runner Dane Glover and Aidan LaMantia have now graduated. Grant has some good experience back in seniors John Nehmzow, Ryan Golden, and Michael Johnson. Juniors Niko Dayment and Jacob Kaufman will be keys as will sophomores Max Haas and Eric Ramirez. Coach Jeff Durlak is hoping his team can finish in the top three in the NLCC and qualify as a team for sectionals.


The Eagles lost Micah Lind (32nd in Class 2A, all-state academic) and Quin Maloney to graduation from a team that placed third in the NLCC, fifth in regionals, seventh in sectionals, and 17th in the state. Seniors Payton Whitehead (18th at sectionals) and Liam Makela will work to potentially guide the team back to state as Whitehead was all-state at 800 meters in track. Coach Travis Shepherd has a solid group of junior returnees including Jackson Summy (87th in Class 2A), Blake Salbilla, Brady Mock, Matthew Powley, and Rheese Rieb. Lakes reached state for the second time in a row and third time ever last fall. Freshmen Cooper Summy, Lawson Caruth, Reese Mock, and Aiden Hauca will look to make their mark.

Lake Zurich

The Bears have been a model of consistency in the NSC and state meet. But they will miss the presence of graduated all-stater Dylan Myers (fourth in Class 3A, Illinois State), Braden Eckman (UW-Whitewater), and Will Perez (UW-Milwaukee) from their sixth-place state meet team. Only two of Lake Zurich's top seven runners are back in seniors George Sabev (56th) and Dalton Leitz (203rd). Both of them are coming off injuries that limited their track seasons. Coach J.B. Hanson's untested team has two freshmen in Luke Marshall and Carson Porter, and six sophomores in Owen Holzhauer, Sushant Kesevan, Marc MacCormac, Nishanth Mandavilli, Miguel Marquez, and Esau Meza. The juniors are Colin Fridner, Edwin Galarza, Dom Herdus, and Xavier Weitz. The other seniors are Diego Banuelos, Max Kotelnikov, and Sawyer Trullinger.


The Wildcats are hoping to improve by leaps and bounds this fall with junior sectional qualifier James O'Keeffe, freshman standout Thomas Chudy, junior Michael Chudy, senior Jack Barry, and freshman Jack Steffe expected to form a strong pack. After placing fifth in the NSC last year, Libertyville is gearing up to make a bid for the NSC championship before pushing for a berth to the state meet. Sophomores Bennett Fogle and Peter Rappa are part of the young and motivated team that is hoping to take the program to new heights.


The Mustangs did not lose any seniors from their group that finished second in the NSC, fifth at regionals, and 13th in the Class 3A sectionals. But in spite of that Mundelein will still have a pretty young lineup returning with lone senior Tom Russ ready to help lead the troops. Junior Alberto Diaz will be another key performer supported by sophomore teammates Nathan McCreight, Elijah Mendoza, Andrew Weaver, and Nathaniel Mendez. Coach Kurt Rutz said that freshman Izic Miller should also be in the top seven as the Mustangs hope to improve on their NSC, regional, and sectional finishes from last year.

Round Lake

The Panthers lost sectional qualifier Anthony Sementa and Oscar Cortes to graduation from their 2022 squad. With seniors Daniel Campos, Riley Walsh, and Oscar Rodriguez helping to lead the way, Round Lake is hoping to challenge for a berth to the Class 3A sectional meet this season for the first time. Juniors Jackson Young and Abraham Gonzalez will be other key runners for coach Kevin Brady while sophomores Edwin Alvarez and Emilio Chavarria will hope to make solid contributions to the Panthers' pack.


The Patriots placed sixth at regionals and 14th at sectionals while only losing one of their top seven runners (Siddarth Paleati) to graduation. Senior state qualifier Dylan Zimmerman (173rd in Class 3A) will be a strong runner for Stevenson coach Scott Sommers' team. Freshman Adam Foley has already turned in an impressive clocking of 15:49 when Stevenson placed third at the Lake County meet. Seniors Andrew Brandt, Richard Klein, and Alexander Chang all have sectional-meet experience. Junior Gurshaan Sohi, sophomore Caleb Holloway, and freshman Ollie Foley are all off to good starts as Stevenson gradually gears up for a strong finish this fall.

Vernon Hills

The Cougars placed 24th in Class 2A, fifth in sectionals, and third in regionals as Brady Klegg (132nd, Colby College) and Erick Herrera were among four seniors who ran downstate that graduated. Senior Charlie Blackmer (90th) was Vernon Hills' No. 1 runner last year followed by juniors Jeremy Gitzinger (153rd), and Zack Shoemaker (205th). Senior Campbell Woolard is coming off a great track season while freshman Bryant Lester recorded great times in middle school in West Virginia and has run well with the varsity this summer. Other potential top-seven runners for coach Steve Szabo are Aarav Sheth, Trevor Todd, Aarush Vora, Raghav Verma, Brady Koetz, and Stephen Posner.


The Blue Devils will certainly miss the presence of state qualifier Cole Kaether (91st in Class 3A, U of I-Springfield) after the squad placed third at regionals and 12th at sectionals last year. Warren will definitely have a young team overall with seniors Ryan Moats and Kyle Newton joining sophomores Josh Duray and Andru Koehl as some of the new team leaders. Coach Brett Heimstead said that the squad has the potential to have two sophomores and three freshmen among their top seven runners, and he hopes for a strong finish during the championship season.


The Bulldogs' only loss to graduation was No. 2 runner Jack Fostiak after placing seventh in the NLCC last year. Juniors Patrick Shannon, Kyle Jenkins, and Nic Ganek will be among the team leaders for coach Jacob O'Hara along with sophomore standout Levi Coburn. Sophomores Tanner Soutar and Lorenzo Martinez are key newcomers along with freshman Dylan Fillinger. "We are in a rebuilding phase with only one senior on the roster, 14 incoming freshmen out for the team, and a new coaching staff," said O'Hara. "We have a young, bright core looking for a big step forward and a lot of young depth new to the sport.



The Broncos lost A.J. Van Vuren, Sam DeWeerdt (University of Tampa), and Alex Anderson to graduation after the team was runner-up in the MSL, fifth at regionals, sixth at sectionals, and 11th in Class 3A. Barrington junior all-stater Joe Bregenzer (24th, ninth in 3,200) should be a great leader for coach Tom Root as will juniors Ethan Scott (48th), and Justin Hurtado (61st). Seniors Manasyu Chaudhari (113th) and Max Lewis (122nd) are other key runners along with junior Avery Erickson (153rd). The Broncos will also turn to Brian Breen, Mark Mcginn, Haru Nagaoka, and Jonathan Curbelo for depth as the team has the lofty goal of bringing home the first top-three trophy in school history.

Buffalo Grove

The Bison can no longer rely on graduated standout Mario Torres (28th in Class 3A, EIU) or Tyler Lieu this year. Buffalo Grove placed seventh in the MSL, and its young team will only have one senior in Daler Raupov. Sophomores Will Capito, Riley Wold, Grant Preusker, Nate Lipani, and Alex Hernandez will play key roles for new head coach Miguel Parra Garcia's squad as will freshman Spencer Flershem. Garcia is hoping the team can finish in the top half of the MSL and qualify for sectionals.


The Cougars were fourth in the MSL, third at regionals, seventh at sectionals, and 23rd in Class 3A last season. Conant lost No. 1 runner Vijay Krishnamoorthi (33rd, eighth at 3,200 meters, Princeton), Sean Ju, Rudra Patel, and Carter Swearingen to graduation. Seniors Gaven Corpin (110th), Connor Ariunbat (154th), Jayden Patel (166th), and Kyle Corpin give coach John Powers' pack great guidance. Senior newcomer R.J. Moniri is ready to make an impact as are sophomores David Shu and Charlie Calderone. The Cougars' front four look to be rock solid after qualifying for the 4x800 relay in track last spring.


The Vikings will miss the presence of graduated state qualifier Theo Cunningham (83rd in Class 3A, UIC) and Matthew Jones. But they do have a strong No. 1 runner returning in sophomore state qualifier Rory Gaan (41st). Fremd finished sixth in the MSL and ninth at sectionals for coach Matt Zaluckyj, who has seniors Adarsh Prathap and Thomas Border back to help lead the pack. Juniors Cooper Hewson, Arjun Shah, Tom Johnston, and Joe Johnston will be joined by freshman Jack Jennings as the Vikings' goals are to finish in the top three in the MSL and qualify for the state meet. Fremd won the 1969 state title over runner-up York.

Elk Grove

The Grenadiers are looking to slide up a couple of spots in the MSL (10th in 2022), regionals (ninth), and earn a berth to the sectional meet as a team this fall. Elk Grove has an abundance of seniors back in Keane Bayani, Dhruv Patel, Kyle Niven, and Jesse Niven to lead its crew. Junior Evan Miles should be one of the Grens' front-runners with junior Sam Gardner and sophomore Michael Dabrowski expected to fill out the varsity roster.


The Huskies return all seven of their runners from a team that placed fifth at sectionals and 17th in Class 3A. Seniors Zach Frayder (80th), Liam Naughton (90th), Rob Geissenberger (109th), A.J. Svienty (157th), and Cameron Donner (184th) ran at state. Sophomore Mateus Salomao (130th) and junior Jon Choi (209th) also ran downstate. Coach Kevin Young also has sophomores Aidan Korb and Brandon Rugg ready to step into larger roles as Hersey would like to get back to the top of the MSL and give themselves a shot at a trophy at the state meet. The Huskies placed second in the state in 2018.

Hoffman Estates

The Hawks only lost one of their top seven runners to graduation in Psomas Ryan. New head coach Rich Flach's team will have its work cut out competing in the powerful MSL. But they do have Cole Faulkner, Jeremiah Somerville, Gabe Bilancia, and Nabeel Shakeel ready to provide senior leadership. Hoffman Estates juniors Brady Faulkner and Tommy Krautrunk will also be a key part of the core runners on the squad. "Our team roster has grown in size this year from last year," Flach said. "And our main goal is to rely on our upperclassmen to help mentor and develop our new group of incoming runners." The Hawks placed second to York at the 1990 state meet.


The Eagles finished sixth in the WSC, sixth at regionals, and 17th at sectionals as top two runners Christian Lopez and Felipe Sotelo graduated. Israel Rodriguez, Jamie Favela, Jeshua Ochoa, and Giovanni Del Carmen will be strong senior leaders for coach Brad Henning's experienced team. Junior Hector Cortes is another key runner as are teammates Jacob Porras, Ernesto Sanchez, and Daryl Esparza. Leyden's goals are to finish between third and fifth in the WSC, advance out of regionals, and finish in the top 10 at sectionals.

Maine East

The Blue Demons placed sixth in the CSL as they lost all-conference runner Adam Mrozek to graduation. Maine East does have No. 1 runner junior Luis Mendoza back to help lead its troops along with senior Mark Antar, junior Jonathan Garcia Hernandez, and senior Logan Lay. Coach Chris Peters will also be counting on sophomore Jakub Sordyl for added depth as the team embarks on a new campaign. "I am looking forward to watching this group run. They have put in a lot of work this summer and have shown more in practice than in the past," said Peters "I am excited to see them race and see what they can do."

Maine South

The Hawks lost three of their top four runners from their ninth-place Class 3A state meet team, including Joey Karlesky (38th, U of I-Springfield), Luca Arcuri (50th, University of Nebraska), and Alex Wille (70th, UC-Santa Barbara). Luke Pravecek (Michigan Technology University), and Will Huddleston (UIC) also graduated. Junior Owynn Garrelts (54th) is Maine South's top returning runner along with senior Connor Foley (125th), and junior Owen Tremblay (206th). Coach Greg Nordahl's team placed third in the CSL, first at regionals, and third at sectionals as newcomers Jack Eckhart, Owen Charley, Liam Charley, and Gino Arcuri hope to help lead the Hawks back to the state meet.

Maine West

Overall, the Warriors have a pretty young and inexperienced squad returning. But senior Ryan Hauptman is a key runner that coach Nate Hassman will be able to turn to for leadership this season in the CSL North. Juniors Frank Ferraiolo and Joey Bruno should be part of the Warriors' front pack along with senior Ben Huk. Sophomore Mozart Ontiveros, junior Gerardo Perez, and sophomore Shane Washington are expected to round out Maine West's top seven runners.


The Pirates had a great 2022 season by winning the MSL, regional, and sectional championships before finishing eighth in Class 3A. Three of Palatine's top five runners are gone including Mason Krieg (12th, DePaul), Owen Elliott, and Jack Casaccio. The baton has now been passed to senior Andy Hansen (52nd), sophomore Alex Krieg (fifth at sectionals), and junior Carter Hayes (state qualifier at 1,600 meters). Coach Joe Parks' team will also rely heavily on sophomores James O'Sullivan, Christopher Quick, and senior Abe Hernandez. "Our overall numbers are a bit smaller than we would like," said Parks. "But we have some firepower up front and some incredibly dedicated young men that can be very good by the end." Palatine won the state title in 2011 to go along with five seconds and a third in the storied meet.


The Knights placed fifth in the MSL, fourth at regionals, fourth at sectionals, and 28th in Class 3A as three of their top seven runners graduated. Seniors Michael Piagari, John Peterson, and Colin Awe all return with state meet experience. Junior Finley Moss, senior Owen Smith, and senior Aidan Letzel will be key runners for coach Jay Renaud's squad. Newcomers Quinn Davis, Brody Cushing, and Landon Samp hope to make their impact felt on varsity. The Knights are hoping to finish in the top three in the MSL, qualify for state as a team, and put together a better performance than last year. Prospect placed second to York in 1994.

Rolling Meadows

The Mustangs are looking to gain experience in large invites and improve in the MSL with some young talent that will need to learn how to race against varsity competition. The front of Rolling Meadows' pack will probably be really young with junior Simon Ludolph being joined by sophomore teammates Dawid Opiola and Erick Olson to make up a solid trio. Coach Frank Schweda has seniors Danny Barretto and Kyle Pietroske poised to be key scorers. Junior Luke Randolph and sophomore Lukas Samuels will hope to take their running to the next level this fall.


The Saxons lost sectional qualifiers Christian Haywood and Jose Morales to graduation after placing eighth at regionals last fall. Junior Nick Vaccaro was also a sectional qualifier last year while Owen Whelan was another key senior who graduated. Schaumburg's program put together a mini-dynasty with three Class AA state championships in four years from 1985 to 1988 under former coach Jim Macnider. The Saxons' 1987 title was won by a mere four points over Naperville Central while their 1988 crown was by seven points over powerhouse York.

St. Viator

The Lions lost senior captain Alex Gasey to graduation. But they have the experienced senior foursome of John Huchison (sectional qualifier), P.J. McLeod, Finn McLeod, and Sam Hargadon returning to lead the front of their pack. Junior Mike Wallace and freshman Owen Gottfried round out the top six while a number of runners are battling it out for the seventh spot on the varsity squad. Coach Bill Stanczak is hoping that St. Viator can qualify for sectionals this fall.


The Wildcats placed ninth in the MSL and seventh in regionals as Sam Patel (800-meter state finalist), Chris Ordon, and John Ramirez waved goodbye to the team. Seniors Tyler Woods, Jim Kyvik (sectional qualifier), Jake Ning (sectional qualifier), and Tommy Papaioannou are ready to lead the way. Veteran coach Tom Polak's corps are shooting for the top half in the MSL and reaching sectionals. Juniors Jesus Campos and Wilbur Bahena will be key scorers. Wheeling won the 1998 Class AA state crown behind superstar twins Jorge and Ed Torres. Jorge was a three-time individual state champ before running for the University of Colorado.

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