Scouting boys cross country sectionals
Where: Busse Woods
When: Saturday, 11 a.m.
What to know: Top five teams and top seven runners from non-qualifying teams advance to the Class 3A state meet at Detweiller Park in Peoria on Nov. 9.
Ouick look: No. 3-ranked Hersey looks really good and has it eyes set on a state trophy. Conant's Zach Dale has been in a zone the last month, but the Cougars junior will have a stiff test against McHenry junior Jesse Reiser for a victory on Saturday. It should be a classic battle.
Team outlook: Hersey has been rolling the past two weeks and shows no signs of slowing down. Senior Andy Philipose and junior David Rodriguez will set the tone for the Huskies and will be looking for a top-ten, if not top-five, finish. The Huskies will then use their depth with seniors Erick DeLoera, Matt Stadnicki, and Jack O'Neil to wear down the competition. Hersey had a 32-point winning margin at the Mid-Suburban League meet and increased it to 40 points in winning the Hoffman Estates Class 3A regional. Palatine has been making a move with Graham Brown making a push. He finished second last weekend in leading the Pirates to a regional title. Senior Argeni Bailon and senior Emil Kozakiewicz have also stepped up to help solidify a Pirates attack that is peaking at the right time. But watch out for Buffalo Grove. The Bison only finished 9 points in back of Palatine at the MSL meet before dominating and winning the Libertyville regional title without sophomore Kevin Salvano. Senior Steven Salvano ran his best race at Libertyville, finishing fourth, since a midseason illness kept him out of action. With both Salvanos in the lineup, this team will be dangerous. Barrington, Prospect, Lake Zurich, and Fremd will battle for the final two spots. Barrington will be looking to hold its pack together and is hoping for the return of junior Konrad Eiring, who missed the regional meet with an ankle injury. Prospect held back at the regional but the Knights will depend on senior Blake Hallman and junior Mike Anderson to push the attack on Saturday. Freshman Matt Pereira and senior Will Llanos pace a Lake Zurich team that finished second at both the North Suburban Conference meet and Palatine regional. Senior Harry Winter and senior Nick Vucovich will pace a Fremd team that ran strong at regional's but is still looking to tighten its back pack.
Jesse Reiser, McHenry: The Warriors junior finished fourth at 2012 Schaumburg sectional, but finished seventh at the Class 3A state meet. Reiser is one of top runners in Class 3A and has the third-fastest time at Detweiller Park, home of the state course, this season.
Zach Dale, Conant: The Cougars junior finished third at the Wauconda Invite, two spots behind Reiser the individual champion on Sept. 14. But Dale has not lost a race since that early season invite. Dale will get a second chance at Reiser on Saturday and this match-up will be a dandy.
Graham Brown, Palatine: The Pirates junior challenged Dale for the first 2 miles at the MSL Invite and had a chance to face off against Reiser last weekend. Brown has been making progress and will be up front on Saturday.
Angel Estrada, Highland Park: The Giant senior took second at the Central Suburban Championship and also won the Libertyville regional title. Estrada has had a steady season and will be among the leaders on Saturday.
Jake Herb, Barrington: The Broncos senior has been a tough runner all season and has shown a lot of grit. Herb is willing to take chances and won't leave anything on the course.
Billy Thomas, Hoffman Estates: The Hawk senior got off to sizzling start in early September , but was slow by an injury in late September. Thomas led the MSL race after one mile, and challenged Dale for the lead at the Hoffman regional up to the mid-way point. Thomas is looking to hang on longer this week.
Others to keep an eye on include Kevin Salvano (Buffalo Grove), Steven Salvano (Buffalo Grove), Andy Philipose (Hersey), David Rodriguez (Hersey), Harry Winter (Fremd), Nick Vucovich (Fremd), Pat Humen (Libertyville), Sam Oh (Stevenson), Jared Borowsky (Stevenson), Matt Pereira (Lake Zurich), Argeni Bailon (Palatine).
Lake Park Class 3A Sectional, Saturday, 2:30 p.m.: Maine West junior Alex Liston finished 13th at the Niles West regional and will seek a state berth on Saturday at Lake Park East Campus in Rosselle. Liston will be joined by Maine West senior Geoff Rozo and Leyden sophomore Alan Prado. All three runners qualified as individuals.
Wheaton Academy Class 2A Sectional, Saturday, 11 a.m.: St. Viator senior Nick Brey finished fourth at in loaded field at the Wheaton Academy regional, the Lion senior will be looking to lock down a spot for the Class 2A state meet on Saturday morning at Kress Creek Farms. St. Viator senior Javier Montelongo will join Brey at Wheaton Academy sectional.
-- Michael Eaken