Fox Valley Conference
Coach: Layne Holter (19th season).
Last year’s finish: Fifth in FVC Meet.
Top returning runners: Maxum Caesar, jr.; Adman Caesar, jr.; Juan Camargo, sr.; Derek Warren, sr.; A.J. Lewis, sr.; Ryan Peters, so.
Top new runners: Ian Barnes, fr.; Joey Drage, fr.; Dominic Garrad, fr.; Zach Gast, fr.; Carson Hendry, so.; Logan Hubka, fr.; Ashby Jordan, fr.
Worth noting: C-G returns five of its top seven runners, led by Caesar and Warren. … Casear was 10th in the FVC Meet, Lewis took 15th. … “We have a great group of runners ready to make their mark in our program,” Holter said.
Crystal Lake Central
Coach: Bill Eschman (25th season).
Last year's finish: Eighth in FVC Meet.
Top returning runners: Keegan Smalley, sr.; Jack Flynn, sr.; Nick Camacho, sr.; Adam Zentner, sr.; Nate Kopp, sr.
Top new runners: Austin May, so.; Ryan Atkinson, so.; A.J. Camacho, so.
Worth noting: Eschman feels like the Tigers need runners to step into leadership roles vacated by last year’s seniors.
Crystal Lake South
Coach: Rich Eschman (26th season)
Last year's finish: Seventh in FVC Meet.
Top returning runners: Matt Brown, so.; Alex Picchi, so.; Chris Davis, jr.; Clayton Pfeifer, sr.; Ethan Nabong, sr.; Jack Lyons, so.; Garrett Czajkowski, so.; K.T. Siversten, so.
Top new runners: Hugo Prado, so.; Colin Rennhak, fr.; Josh Martinez, so.
Worth noting: The Gators lost their best runner in school history, Jack Becker, to graduation. Becker, who was third in the Class 2A State Meet, now runs at Bradley. … South has a young team, Eschman says his top seven likely will have only one senior and one junior. … The young Gators, like Brown, Picchi, Davis, Czajkowski and Rennhak, have looked strong in their summer running and Eschman hopes they learned what it takes from Becker to get to an elite level.
Coach: Ron Delarmente (first season).
Last year's finish: Second in FVC Meet.
Top returning runners: Adam Swanson sr.; Lucas Janikowski sr.; Mark Jensen, sr.
Top new runners: Max Wizgird, jr.
Worth noting: The Chargers had an oustanding 2017 season as FVC runner-up and qualifying for the Class 3A State Meet for the first time since 2007. Four of their top seven are gone, but D-C still could be tough. … Swanson anchored the Chargers’ 4x800 relay team that was third in the Class 3A State Meet in the spring. He and Janikowski are the top returners, along with Jensen. … Max Wizgird, Brian Hernandez and Kyle Wizgird could step into significant roles and help the Chargers chase Huntley in the FVC.
Coach: Dennis Wozniak (11th season).
Last year’s finish: Eighth in FVC Meet.
Top returning runners: Tommy Croissant, sr.; Teddy Lyon, sr.; Isai Morales, so.; Darius Nguipe, so.
Top new runners: Aiden Gonzalez, fr.
Worth noting: The Whip-Purs lost four of their best runners from last year’s team, which qualified for the Class 2A State Meet. Santiago Arreola, an All-Area second-team pick, along with Kyle Blake and Elijah Stuart, both honorable-mention selections, are gone. … Wozniak says the returning runners are hungry to have success like they did last season.
Coach: Matt Kaplan (11th season).
Last year’s finish: FVC champion.
Top returning runners: Ian Geisler, jr.; Jadon Conroy, sr.; Jeremy Roe, sr.; Chris Simek, sr.
Top new runners: Charlie Kucz, fr.; Amari Ahmad, fr.; Barach Yops, fr.
Worth noting: The Red Raiders may take up where they left off since they have four of their top five runners – Geisler, Conroy, Roe and Simek – returning. … Geisler, Conroy and Roe were consistently among the top finishers in many races last year; they were in the top seven at the FVC Meet. … The one thing the Raiders want this year is to finish at the Class 3A State Meet, which they did not do last season.
Coach: Kevin Christian (12th season).
Last year's finish: Third place in FVC Meet.
Top returning runners: Zach Albrecht, sr.; Mark Lemke, sr.; Brett Bognar, sr.; Brandon Cole, sr.; Evan Ludlum, sr.
Top new runners: Trevor Petrin, jr.; Connor Maloney, so.; Daniel Sanders, so.; Andrew Doetsch, fr.; Nabeel Mustafa, sr.
Worth noting: Albrecht should be the area’s top runner this season and Lemke may not be far behind. … Christian feels like with those two leading the lineup, along with Bognar, Cole and Ludlum, the Golden Eagles could have a great year.
Coach: Kevin Horst (third season).
Last year's finish: Fourth in FVC Meet.
Top returning runners: Carlos Montes, so.; Caleb Schopen, so.; Jessi Garcia, jr.
Top new runners: Kyle Dutkiewicz, sr.
Worth noting: Horst is excited about the talent coming up from last year’s freshman-sophomore team, which was one of the best in the area last season. … The Warriors do not have a clear No. 1 runner, so Horst hopes they can do well by running with a strong pack.
Kishwaukee River Conference
Coach: Timmy Wiltshire (first season).
Last year’s finish: Sixth in KRC Meet.
Top returning runners: Reid Stricker, sr.; Jason Pichardo, sr.; J.J. Lich, jr.; Zach Isonhard, so.; Jacob Pedersen, so.; Levi Austin, jr.
Top new runners: Steven Austin, fr.; Connor Flores, fr.
Worth noting: Wiltshire, who takes over as coach of the Hornets, was one of the top runners on their Class 1A state-qualifying team in 2011. … The Hornets were moved up to Class 2A this year, so the postseason will be a little tougher. … The top six runners from last season are back, led by Stricker, who was 12th in the KRC Meet to earn All-KRC honors.
Coach: Chris Setzler (23rd season).
Last year's finish: Fifth in KRC Meet.
Top returning runners: Christian Tobin, sr.; Grady Germann, so.
Top new runners: Alex Fischer, so.
Worth noting: The Skyhawks had a run of some of their best teams recently, with a Class 1A State Meet appearance in 2015 and multiple All-State performances from Matt Stelmasek and Tim Bertulis. … They have a small team returning this season, led by Tobin and Germann. Setzler wants this to be a growing year for the team.
Coach: Kenny Johnson (second season).
Last year’s finish: Third in KRC Meet.
Top returning runners: Luke Chaffin, so.; Aaron Moehrlin, so.; Zach Secor, so.; Brant Lesher, so.; Brandon Anchor, so.
Worth noting: Top runner Alex Leonard (eighth in KRC) graduated, as did Jadon Kozin, but the Indians return four of their top seven runners, all of whom are sophomores. Chaffin, Moehrlin and Secor all were in the top 21 at the KRC Meet, Lesher was 33rd. … The road gets tougher as Marengo is moved to Class 2A, but Johnson feels his team has a bright future with its young talent.
Coach: Ryan Carlson (fifth season).
Last year's finish: Fourth in KRC Meet.
Top returning runners: Chase Duncan, sr.; Thomas Koschak, sr.; Ethan Luedke, jr.; Ethan Anderson, sr.; Zach Anderson, sr.
Top new runners: Ben Campbell, fr.; Simon Comstock, fr.
Worth noting: The Rockets will miss their top runner from last year, Nick DeGroot, who graduated, but they have a lot of returning runners and Carlson feels they will be competitive in the KRC. … “We are counting on strong performances from our senior boys as they work to lead the team into the state series,” Carlson said.
Coach: Jay Fuller (fifth season).
Last year’s finish: Second in KRC Meet.
Top returning runners: Julio Arellano, sr.; Aidan Schleutermann, so.; Diego Cruz, sr.
Top new runners: Elvis Valadez, sr.; Jack Hansen, so.; Alex Fetzner, sr.; Mason Hurless, sr.; Logan Hagmann, so.
Worth noting: Arellano had a strong junior season and Schleutermann and Cruz were also in the top four on last year’s KRC runner-up team. … Fuller liked the way the seniors demonstrated over the summer what it takes for the younger runners to be successful. … Woodstock has 32 runners out, 17 of which are freshmen or sophomores.
Coach: Cas Creighton (seventh season).
Last year's finish: Seventh in KRC Meet.
Top returning runners: Jameson Teuber, jr.; Alejandro Ortiz, sr.; Luis Cieslak, sr.
Top new runners: Frank Dudzik, fr.; Jorge Aragon, so.; Brandon Long, jr.
Worth noting: Teuber’s 31st-place finish at the KRC Meet was the Thunder’s highest among returning runners this season.
East Suburban Catholic Conference
Coach: Dawn Hines (first season).
Last year’s finish: Sixth in ESCC Meet.
Top returning runners: Ryan Jones, jr.; Peter Walsdorf, so.; Andrew Pascente, jr.; Derek Lee, sr.
Top new runners: Chris Atadero, fr.; Anthony Carney, fr.
Worth noting: Jones was ESCC runner-up and finished 32nd on the Class 1A State Meet, seven spots short of making All-State. He has finished every varsity season (cross country and track) at state meets. … Walsdorf had a strong freshman season and took 24th in the ESCC Meet. … The Hurricanes get bumped up from 1A to 2A this season.