Coach: Layne Holter (16th season).
Last year's conference finish: Ninth in FVC.
Top returning runners: Alex Ratkovich, so.; Michael Saxon, sr.; John Cody, sr.; Tyler Strordahl, sr.; Sang Seo, jr.; Joe Veal, sr.
Top new runners: Daniel Speer, sr.; Jack Warnecke, fr.; Lars McInturff, fr.; Jack Adams, so.; Kyle Adams, so.
Worth noting: Holter felt like many of the Trojans improved throughout the track season and are ready for racing this fall. From the new runners, he thinks the Adams brothers will challenge to make the lineup.
Crystal Lake Central
Coach: Bill Eschman (21st season).
Top returning runners: Cole Barkocy, so.; Jake Cannizzo, sr.
Top new runners: Ryan Bush, sr.; Weston Sterchi, so.; Steven Hillier, jr.; Ryan Hillier, jr.; Ben Swanson, sr.
Worth noting: The Tigers were hit hard by graduation, but Eschman likes that there are 32 runners out for the rebuilding process. “We’re going to take our lumps, but I don’t think anybody’s going to feel sorry for us,” said Eschman, whose team usually is at or near the top of the FVC. “It goes through cycles. We have good kids who are working hard.”
Crystal Lake South
Coach: Rich Eschman (22nd season).
Last year's conference finish: Fifth in FVC.
Top returning runners: Justin Miller, sr.; Tommy Melone, jr.; Doug Cain, jr.; Timmy Siesennop, jr.; Doug Hall, jr.; Jon Prus, so.
Top new runners: Miles Foydl, so.; Alex Foydl, so.; Jack Becker, fr.
Worth noting: Prus is coming off a ninth-place run with the Gators’ relay team in the Class 3A 4x800. He and Becker likely will be South’s top runners. The Gators are really young, with Justin Miller as the only senior who may score in the top seven.
Coach: Tyler Carlson (second season).
Last year's conference finish: 11th in FVC.
Top returning runners: Todd Noreen, sr.; Alex Clark, sr.; Josh Wizgird, jr.; David Yonamine, jr.
Worth noting: Carlson likes what he has in experience with the seniors and juniors and what the Chargers have done with their summer training. “They put in a strong summer and they’re anxious to race,” Carlson said.
Coach: Dennis Wozniak (seventh season).
Last year's finish: 14th in FVC.
Top returning runners: Jacob Oury, so.; Jacob Serio, sr.; Max Oury, sr.
Top new runners: Santiago Arreola, fr.; Kyle Blake, fr.
Worth noting: The Whip-Purs lost only one runner to graduation, so they hope to move up in the FVC standings this time around. Jacob Oury was one of the area’s top freshmen and finished 20th in the FVC Meet.
Coach: Matt Kaplan (seventh season).
Last year's conference finish: Seventh in FVC.
Top returning runners: Keagan Smith, jr.; Seth Conroy, jr.; Mike Grocholski, jr.; Zach Hollman, jr.; Matt Kapolnek, so.; Elijah Green, sr.
Top new runners: Joey Ozzauto, fr.
Worth noting: Smith finished 16th in the Class 3A state meet, becoming the first boys runner in school history to medal at state. The Red Raiders could contend in the FVC with Smith, Conroy and an improved Grocholski leading the way. Kapolnek also may make an impact as a sophomore.
Coach: Kevin Christian (eight season).
Last year's conference finish: Second in FVC.
Top returning runners: Matt Goldby, sr.; Alec Bognar, sr.; Kyle Eubanks, sr.; Kyle Ross, jr.; Garrett Brenizer, so.
Top new runners: Austin Albrecht, jr.; Cole Schwarz, jr.; Austin Nguyen, jr.
Worth noting: Goldby had a breakout season in track with a 4:26 in the 1,600 meters and a 1:56 in the 800. He should be among the area’s top runners. Bognar, Ross and Brenizer make the move to varsity from junior varsity and Christian considers them potential All-FVC runners.
Coach: Judd Shutt (10th season).
Last year's conference finish: Third in FVC.
Top returning runners: Mitch Kazin, sr.; Filip Pajak, so.; Scott Hearne, sr.; Tyler Figgins, jr.; Chris Berg, sr.; David Tulke, so.; Brett Stevens, sr.
Top new runners: Mike Ostrow, so.; Austin Nobbe, jr., James Lasak, fr.
Worth noting: The Wolves return four runners from their top five finishers in last year’s FVC Meet, including Pajak, Kazin and Hearne, their top three in most races. Shutt feels their depth is improved, which could make them stronger overall since runners will have to battle for lineup spots.
Coach: Jay Fuller (first season).
Last year’s finish: Eighth in FVC.
Top returning runners: Luke Beattie, jr.; Spencer Stumpff, jr.; Donovan Chambers, jr.; Spencer Hanson, so.; Jarod Baker, so.; Mike Zaino, sr.; Jon Cunningham, sr.
Top new runners: Travis Montalbano, jr.; Wyatt Walkington, jr.; Austin Castillo, so.
Worth noting: Beattie was a Class 2A all-stater and leads the team again this season. Fuller looks for other runners to emerge for the Blue Streaks’ top seven. “We are looking forward to the competition and to see where we are at for this year and next,” Fuller said.
Coach: Bruce Ferris (fifth season).
Last season: 11th in FVC.
Top returning runners: Jesse Long, jr.; Sam Reuter, sr.
Top new runners: Wes Ford, so.; Matt Haynes, so.; Danny Blalock, so.
Worth noting: Reuter and Long are the only Thunder runners who are not sophomores or freshmen. Ferris was pleased with the work ethic the runners displayed over the summer.
Big Northern Conference
Coach: Casey Seyller (first season).
Last year's conference finish: Seventh in FVC.
Top returning runners: Matt Logan, sr.; Matt Wilson, sr.; Cameron Iftner, sr.
Top new runners: Jose Ortiz, so.; Jacob Cobb, so.; Brandon Roberts, so.
Worth noting: Jorge Pichardo, regarded as the Hornets’ best runner in history, graduated in a talented senior group from last year. But the freshman-sophomore team was strong with a third-place BNC finish.
Coach: Chris Setzler (20th season).
Last year’s finish: 10th in FVC.
Top returning runners: Noah Miller, sr.; Matt Stelmasek, jr.; Nash Miller, sr.; Jake Grimes, sr.
Top new runners: Tim Bertulis, fr.
Worth noting: The Skyhawks have a strong group and move to the Big Northern Conference this season and also will be in Class 1A for the postseason. Setzler feels advancing to the Class 1A State Meet is a reasonable goal for the Skyhawks.
Coach: R.J. Meyer (sixth season).
Last year’s finish: Did not run full team at Big Northern Conference Meet.
Top returning runners: Jonathon Mier, sr.; Victor Arevalo, jr.; Brian Karlow, jr.; Patrick Kralik, sr.
Top new runners: Jadon Kozin, fr.; Alex Leonard, fr.; Chris Villarreal, fr.; Alec Phillips, fr.
Worth noting: Meyer thinks Arevalo “has all the tools” to become one of the area’s better runners. Arevalo will try to lead the Indians toward some postseason success. Four talented freshmen could help Marengo build something for this year and the future. “Early on, they will be challenged to see if they can handle the rigor of varsity races,” Meyer said.
Coach: Ryan Carlson (first season).
Last year’s finish: Third in BNC.
Top returning runners: Ryan Hommowun, so.; Chris Williams, so.; Nick Koschak, so.
Top new runners: John Kellum, so.
Worth noting: Kellum was a Class 2A state qualifier in the 800 meters in track. Carlson has been an assistant for 10 years and takes over for retired Keith Forth, the only cross country coach the Rockets have ever had. R-B is young, but Carlson feels they can be a competitive group with the summer work they put in.
East Suburban Catholic Conference
Coach: Amy Beattie (first season).
Last year’s finish: Fifth in the Suburban Christian Conference.
Top returning runners: Michael Lyons, sr.; Ryan DiPietro, jr.; Adam Konopka, so.; Justin Santopadre, jr.; Andrew Payton, jr.; Sam Gulbrandsen, sr.; Danny Baumert, so.; Clay Gulbrandsen, so.; Liam Knudsen, jr.
Top new runners: Nick Reuter, fr.; Michael Morehead, fr.; Tyler Gillum, fr.
Worth noting: Lyons made big improvements over the summer and should lead the Hurricanes. Beattie feels she has 10 runners who could make the varsity lineup. The Hurricanes aren’t sure how they will compare to teams in their new conference, the East Suburban Catholic Conference.
– Compiled by Joe Stevenson, the Northwest Herald