Boys track and field: Scouting Lake County
FOX VALLEYGrayslake NorthCoach: Matt Zaluckyj (1st year)
Last year: 10th in Fox Valley Conference
Key losses: Titus Booker (Wisconsin -- Football), Kevin Meyer, Jordan Kennedy, Eli Atwater, Brannan Moore.
Key returners: Seniors -- Dylan Ponomar, Adrian Suarez, Brandon Keaskowski, Jeff Kesselring, Jordan Calta, James Thomas, Francisco Carrera; Juniors -- Michael Cabahug, Alex Moran, Liam O' Connell, Griffen Gawenda, Tobi Johnson, Miguel Carrera, Jared Sims, Justin Bock; Sophomores -- William Bauman
Top newcomer: Freshman -- Will Meyer
Outlook: Where the Knights will be at their best will be middle-distance depth. Panomar is a potential state qualifier in the 800 while Gawenda will be a factor in the hurdles. Look for Cabahug to be a contributor as well for a North team that should be in the middle of a very deep Fox Valley Conference.
Grayslake CentralCoach: Brent Pitt (13th year)
Last year: 7th place Fox Valley Conference
Key losses: Cam Schwartz, Spencer Hirt, Seth Graf, Max Brunk, De'Juan Ali,
Key returners: Seniors -- Elijah Eugene (State qualifier), David Dorlack, Stephen Fletcher, Connor Gosell (State qualifier), Daniel Vincent, Zachary Cinq-Mars, Noah Cummerford, Cam Dennison; Juniors -- Jack Aho (3rd in 3A state 3,200), Matt Aho, Johnny Chum, Mickey Andrews; Sophomores -- Eli Minski, Larry Reed
Top newcomer: Sophomore -- Luke Reblin
Outlook: Jack and Matt Aho have shown early on that the Rams have one of the best 1-2 distance combinations in the area. Jack is among the top indoor runners in the state in the mile and a 2-mile, mile contender at state. Gosell is already over 6-8 in the high jump while Eugene will be a factor in the vault. Rams figure to contend for the top spot in the FVC.
NORTH SUBURBAN LAKELake ZurichCoach: Randall Dunbar (4th year)
Last year: 4th place NSC
Key losses: Justin Shim (9th in state 3,200 relay), Alex Goodridge, Nick Mandal, Gregory McLain, Zach Swanson, DJ Smith, Mark Spatz, Michael Peters, Ryan Gay
Key returners: Seniors -- Ben Klett, Alec Rowell, Hyann Khan, Dante Manley, Dan Marshalla, Matt Milner; Juniors -- Matt Pereira (9th in state 3,200), Jake Stevens, Alex Nelson, Dylan Kachigan, Brian Griffith (9th in state 3,200 relay), Kyle Fitzgerald, Reed Coghenour, Kyle Griffith (9th in state 3,200 relay), Shawn Bandel; Sophomores -- Andrew Bouc, Jacob Bieniek, Pat Burns.
Top newcomers: Juniors -- Kyle Ross, Mark Wu; Freshman -- Jason Sayre.
Outlook: A really nice balance of sprinters and middle distance highlight this years Bears team. The Griffith brothers and Pereira are significant threats in the 800 and could make up another state-bound 3,200 relay. Stevens is a pole vault state contender while Manley and Klett make up a nice sprinting pair.
LibertyvilleCoach: Jason Schroeder (5th year)
Last season: 7th place NSC
Key losses: Max Roberts (State qualifier), Atakan Pekpolat, Jordan McInerney, Liam McCown, Liam Hyek, Mark Dunsing, Scott Littwitz, Thomas Doherty, Thomas Peterson, Quade Kayle (State qualifier - Carthage), Nicholas Seneczko, Pat Quinn (State qualifier), Keith Wilson (State qualifier), Alex Zolek
Key returners: Seniors -- Ethan Fowkes, William Johnson, Sean O' Malley, Kyle O' Malley, Cameron Chen, Gabe Alesna, Justin Page, Jared Huch, Jack Seton; Juniors - Ryan O' Malley, Brandon Tang, Stephen Richardson, Alexander Douthat, Daniel Oh, Christopher Haidvogel, Garrett Fowkes; Sophomores -- Brendan Gallagher, Alexander Tam, Albert Su
Top newcomers: Juniors -- Luke Christensen, Skylar Blacker, Joseph Gasick
Outlook: In terms of state qualifiers, last season was one of the best in recent memory for the Wildcats. Rebuilding will be in order with some of the heavy losses they suffered. Expect the throws to be good as always with a trio of O'Malley's to keep things going. Richardson and Tam are two returning leaders that should help a talented young group along.
MundeleinCoach: Ethan Karolczak (1st year)
Last season: 9th place NSC
Key losses: Bryce Richards (7th in state 800 - Kansas), Alek Escuduro (North Park), Anthony Gibbons, Anthony Wick, Aaron Tellez, Chris Palacios
Key returners: Seniors -- Uli Hagedorn, Antoine Hicks, Justin Neucam; Juniors -- Mitch Sharer, Arron Woolford, Sal Roman, Ben Krauss, Shane Kosmach, Tristan Empalmado; Sophomore -- Kenny Adiyiah, Bobby Nuzzo
Top newcomers: Freshmen -- Robert St. Clair, Aidan Afonso, Dario Carrillo, Mickey Carduhn, Alan Salgado.
Outlook: While the most decorated Mustang in program history departed in Richards, Karolczak is taking over a team that may have better depth than ever. Nuzzo is a sprinter to watch for sure and Hagedorn is a leader in the middle distance that will keep building the program in the right direction. A very good freshmen group means a very bright future for the Mustangs.
StevensonCoach: Andy Farrissey (20th year)
Last season: 5th place NSC
Key losses: Sam Oh (7th in state 3A 1,600 - Harvard), Matt Legan, Matt Poetker, Tim Vestuto (State qualifier - Butler), Aaron Lund (State qualifier), Henry Sise (State qualifier - Villanova).
Key returners: Seniors -- Jared Borowsky (State qualifier), Jake Calamari; Juniors -- David Goncharov, Caleb Oh, Paul Udoni, Noah Lukz, Jordan Eng; Sophomores -- Seth Johnson, Aaron Portman, Tae Whan Kim
Outlook: Distance again will be a strong suit for the Patriots but look for Stevenson to be improved in the middle distance events. Borowsky has been a three year star for Stevenson and figures to be again in the mile and 2-mile. Oh looks to keep things going just like older brother Sam. Goncharov is a do everything kind of runner that should keep the Patriots near the top of the conference.
WarrenCoach: Bill Dawson (21st year)
Last season: 3rd place NSC (NSC Lake champions)
Key losses: Jakob Martinez (State qualifier), Nathan Campbell (State qualifier), Jeff Abbott (State qualifier - Elmhurst), Will Kellerhals, Joe Haight (5th in state 800 relay), Dominic Rossi, Matt Sladek (8th in state shot put), Isaac Walker (5th in state 800 relay - DePaul).
Key returners: Seniors -- Dustin Macuiba (state qualifier), Alex Delgado, Dom Diehn, Nick Marcinkus (5th in state 800 relay), Brady Roegner, Kendrick Bell, Matt Haight, Colin Ward, Chris Beckman; Juniors -- Melvin Pettis, Hugo Flores (5th in state 800 relay), Julian Ruiz, Donte Johnson, Nathan Oommen, David Ramirez-Wilson, Nabil Asmar, Stacey Jones.
Top newcomers: Senior -- Cole Anderson; Sophomore -- Brandon Ellis.
Outlook: Not many teams in the area can boast the sprinting depth of the Blue Devils. Pettis, Flores, Johnson and Marcinkus are a formidable group. Notre Dame-bound Macuiba is one of the top distance threats in the area which makes this Warren team a contender for the NSC title. Bell and Diehn will contribute to the jumps and throws. Ellis is out for the first time. He is the younger brother of current Miami of Florida freshman and Warren girls standout Brittny.
NORTH SUBURBAN PRAIRIEAntiochCoach: Chris Bailey (7th year)
Last season: 11th place NSC
Key losses: Matt Horton, Bogdan Anghel, Jack Kovach, Tim Christian (State qualifier), Brad Russell, Gabe Lopes, Alan Taylor (State qualifier), Destiny Dickson, Danny Ressler (UW-Stout)
Key returners: Seniors -- Dylan Duckworth, Steven Frandsen, Jared Bolton, Zach Frye, Theo Hill, Peyton Morrow, Brendon Nickolai, Dylan McBride; Juniors -- Brandon Etayem, Kevin Vettese, Landon Keefover (State qualifier); Sophomores -- Nick Galante, Drew Porter
Top newcomers: Senior -- Tyler Wilkins; Juniors -- Pat Schoenfelder, Brandon Lind; Sophomore -- Brandon Gallimore
Outlook: Expect big things in year two from Keefover. He will be a big piece of the puzzle for the Sequoits this spring. Duckworth has put the work in during the off-season which should mean good things for Antioch. Football additions like Gallimore help add some depth to this program.
GrantCoach: Tom Evans (5th year)
Last season: NSC runner-up
Key losses: Jeremy Bredwood (5th in state 1,600 relay), Jose Robles, Collin Stefanowski, Brandon Ehmann, Trevon Jones (5th in state 1,600 relay -- St. Xavier), Tom McNulty, Peyton Rehling, Ayitey Ayree, Deonte Dillon, Frank Cardy (Xavier OH), Mikel Graves
Key returners: Seniors -- Nick Peterson, Tim Brundidge, Dylan Maranto, Octavian Wells (5th in state 1,600 relay, 4th in state 400), Kemar Miller (5th in state 1,600 relay), Tyler Schaefer, Ryan Devito, Ben Schram, Chris Hatton; Juniors -- John Schmid, Omid Navidzadeh, Josh Polark, Richie Kolle; Sophomores -- Nathan Ehrenhofer, Henry Halverson
Top newcomers: Junior -- Nick Kouvelis; Freshmen -- Robert Yeruschlami, Michael Smith, Bobby Cayet.
Outlook: The last of a trio of Wells brothers leads a very good Bulldogs team this spring. Miller is a strong returning jumper and sprinter, and Brundidge is among the state's best in the 110 hurdles. Peterson and Schaefer add quality in the vault and jumps, which gives the Bulldogs a chance to score in almost every event. Consider Grant a serious contender for the NSC crown this spring.
LakesCoach: Kurt Rowells (11th year)
Last season: NSC Champions, NSC Prairie champions, sectional champions
Key losses: Cory Hertz (2nd in state 400 -- Northern Iowa), David Macias, Jake Balliu (State qualifier -- Winona State Football), Ryan Mullen (5th in state shot put -- Miami Oh Football), Steve McVicker (Winona State -- Wrestling), Tyler Ibarra
Key returners: Seniors - Nate Fuentes, Hayden Falls, Jordan Mercure, Jake Hubbard, Cooper Jazo (5th in state pole vault), Charles Hudson, Mike Zalapukis, Robert Kuhlmann (State qualifier), Brandon Thiel (state qualifier), Ibraheem Reffat, Kris Jones; Juniors -- Nick Garcia, Jeremy Wallace, Cameron Ruiz (3rd in state long jump), Leon Small; Sophomores -- Kael Moran, Ethan Greenfield
Top newcomers: Juniors -- Diego Torrez, Shane Brancato
Outlook: The Eagles' suffered significant graduation losses. But the cupboard in Rowells' final season (he will be the new athletic director at Lakes in 2016-17) is far from bare. Ruiz is one of the state's best in the long jump, and Kuhlmann has been cool in the 800. Illinois-bound Jazo will be a factor in the vaults as the Eagles look to defend their NSC title.
Round LakeCoach: Kevin Brady (12th year)
Last season: 12th Place NSC
Key losses: Kevin Perez, Fabian Zapata, Stephen Ladewig, Joey Greenhill, Morgan Fields, Enrique Sanchez, Cole Steger, Andrew Maskevich, Rosendo Acosta
Key returners: Seniors -- Emmanual Sanchez, Joseph Tith, Luis Nunez, Vidal Ortega, Carlos Rosas, Francisco Villenueva, Christian Vasquez; Juniors -- Moises Acosta, Jonathan Sanchez, Israel Montero, Tobias Young, Josh Penny, Alex Valladares, Brandan Mantallanes.
Top newcomers: Juniors -- Alan Espinosa, Jamison Hamlin; Sophomores -- Demetrio Lopez, Ernesto Vargas; Freshmen -- Chris Pierre, Darius Calhoun
Outlook: A nice buzz is surrounding the Panthers program this spring. During a recent indoor meet, the Panthers needed multiple buses to get the entire team to the meet -- a nice problem for Brady to have. The influx of football players into the program should mean better depth. Villenueva and Sanchez will be key contributors.
Vernon HillsCoach: Mark Whitney (4th year)
Last season: 10th place NSC (Sectional champions)
Key losses: Tyler Smith (state qualifier), Richard Clark (state qualifier - Butler), Mani Sundararajan, Rob Williams (state qualifier), Juan Martinez (state qualifier), Eric Slovak, Colin Alexander, Nathan McAdams, Ty Chong, James Hommer, Joe Blitstein
Key returners: Seniors - Caleb Ju (state qualifier), Alex Geier (state qualifier), Noah Agnew (2nd 2A state high jump), Brandon Coty, Alex Yang, Jamie Cervantes, Trevor Moyers (State qualifier), Jay Holloway (State qualifier), Josh Williams (state qualifier); Juniors -- Shane Williamson (State qualifier), Martin Bolotin, McNemon Vincent, James Hommer (State qualifier), Tim Krashevsky (3rd in 2A state 800), Cacper Jaskowski, Nick Mohrdieck, Zak Baumann; Sophomores -- James D'Argo, John Moore, Nikolay Kravtsev, Aidan Williamson, Sohan Barot, Ayinash Nathan
Top newcomers: Freshmen -- Calvin Wu, Stephen Auw, Alex Choi, Jimmy McDonald.
Outlook: Just getting to state won't be good enough for the Cougars. Vernon Hills won its first-ever sectional title last year and brings back most of that group, including returning state 800 medalist Krashevsky and Tennessee-bound high jump medalist Agnew. Scoring at state is a goal, and winning the NSC Prairie in its final year is realistic as well.
WaucondaCoach: Megan Zemanek (14th year)
Last season: 13th place NSC
Key losses: Adrian Zambrano, Alex Payne, Ben Lanzerotti, Mike Miller, Max Beuchner
Key returners: Seniors --Justin Klein, Tyler Theel (state qualifier), Tyler Calvello; Juniors -- Antonio Acosta, Tyler Stankiewicz, Niklas Lopez; Sophomores -- Adam Fox, Andry Nevski
Outlook: Theel looks to lead a sound group of Bulldogs this season. Senior leadership is always the key for Wauconda and expect Calvello and Klein to carry the load as well. Theel just missed in the 400 last spring and should be right at the 2A mark this year.
EAST SUBURBAN CATHOLICCarmel CatholicCoach: Jim Halford (31st year)
Last season: 4th Place ESCC
Key losses: David Biondo (7th in state 2A Pole vault -- St. Francis), Matt Maloney, Ian Davies, Patrick Pastika (State qualifier), Collin Psenka (State qualifier), Nuriel Canles, Patrick Hogan, Jason Kadowaki, Austin Truesdale (State qualifier), Patrick Foster (State qualifier -- Illinois Wesleyan), Julian Johnson (State qualifier)
Key returners: Seniors -- Michael Cusack (State qualifier), Cameron Dean, Tommy Kelly, Birken Cetinkaya, John Caffarelli; Juniors -- Ryan Thompson, Jeremy Strutzel, David Daniels, Stephen Lacke, Jacob Demarco; Sophomores -- Jacob Unze, Kennedy Gawin, James Stefo.
Outlook: Graduation losses were heavy for the Corsairs. Getting back to the top of the ESCC will start with key returnees Cusack, Strutzel and Unze. Kelly and Caffarelli will be important pieces as well as Carmel looks to contend with Notre Dame, Benet and Marian Catholic atop the always tough ESCC.