Cross Country

High school boys cross country: 2019 season preview capsules

Cary-Grove's Maxum Caesar (204) and Derek Warren (235) lead the pack early in the boys race during the Fox Valley Conference Cross Country Meet last fall at Hampshire High School.
Cary-Grove's Maxum Caesar (204) and Derek Warren (235) lead the pack early in the boys race during the Fox Valley Conference Cross Country Meet last fall at Hampshire High School.

Fox Valley Conference

Burlington Central

Coach: Vince Neil (16th season)

Last year’s finish: Kishwaukee River Conference Meet champion.

Top returning athletes: Anthony Farmer, sr.; Gio Martinez, sr.; Robert Perry, so.; Tommy Zettl, sr.; Zac Schmidt, so.; Nathan Guy, jr.

Top new athletes: Javarius Foreman, jr.; Yusuf Baig, so.

Worth noting: Burlington was a powerhouse in the KRC and should hold its own even though it’s moving into a conference with larger schools. … Farmer was third in the Class 2A State Meet last year and Martinez finished 35th. They led the Rockets to 10th place as a team. … Neil, who ran at Dundee-Crown, is now back in the FVC. He thinks this team can be better than last year’s. “I believe that we can improve on last year’s 10th-place finish,” Neil said. “We will lean on our top two boys to be out in front and give us those low numbers.”

Cary-Grove

Coach: Layne Holter (20th season).

Last year’s finish: Third in FVC.

Top returning athletes: Maxum Caesar, sr.; Adam Caesar, sr.; Ian Barnes, so.; Ryan Peters, jr.

Top new athletes: Connor Elbert, so.; Anthony Zamudio, fr.

Worth noting: Holter said the Trojans’ top three runners will be strong, they just need to find consistency with the other two scoring spots in meets. … Maxum Caesar was third in the FVC Meet and qualified for the Class 3A State Meet. … Barnes was one of the top freshmen in the area, joining Jacobs’ Andrew Doetsch as the only freshmen on the Northwest Herald All-Area team.

Crystal Lake Central

Coach: Bill Eschman (26th season).

Last year’s finish: Seventh in FVC Meet.

Top returning athletes: Austin May, jr.; Julian Ryerson, jr.

Top new athletes: Owen Mize, sr.; Drew McGinness, sr.; Ryan Atkinson, jr.; A.J. Camacho, jr.; Danny Hamill, so.

Worth noting: Class 2A All-State Keegan Smalley and the Tigers’ other four top runners from last season have graduated, so Eschman sees this as a year to build and grow. … “We will be asking some runners to step up and and we shall see how they respond,” he said. “They have been working hard. I hope they listened and learned from the seniors that graduated.”

Crystal Lake South

Coach: Rich Eschman (27th season).

Last year’s finish: Eighth in FVC Meet.

Top returning athletes: Matt Brown, jr.; Alex Picchi, jr.; Topher Davis, sr.; Garrett Czajkowski, sr.; Gabe Waz, sr.; Josh Diersen, jr.; K.T. Sivertsen, jr.; Jack Lyons, jr.

Worth noting: Eschman likes what he has seen from Picchi, Czajkowski and Davis in the summer running, putting in high mileage and strong tempo runs. … Brown missed a good deal of summer training while healing from a stress fracture, but is healthy now. … “We think we are capable of finishing in the top five in the FVC, and we also believe we are capable qualifying for the [Class 2A] state meet,” Eschman said.

Dundee-Crown

Coach: Ronald Delarmente (second season).

Last year’s finish: Fifth in FVC Meet.

Top returning athletes: Max Wizgird, sr.; Daniel Montoya, jr.

Worth noting: The Chargers are rebuilding after graduating six of their top runners off of last year’s team. … The biggest loss was FVC champion Adam Swanson, who now runs at NCAA Division I Eastern Illinois University. … Max Wizgird is the lone returner in the lineup. “Max finished the season strong and had a good summer and is looking to lead our young team,” Delarmente said.

Hampshire

Coach: Ryan Hollister (first season).

Last year’s finish: Sixth in FVC.

Top returning athletes: Isai Morales, jr.; Aidan Gonzalez, so.; Darius Nguepi, jr.; Evan Johnson, sr.

Top new athletes: Owen Cuplin, fr.; Payton Edlen, fr.

Worth noting: Hollister takes over for former coach Dennis Wozniak, who coached the Whip-Purs for 11 seasons. … Morales was 13th in the FVC Meet, and Gonzalez also was a top-three runner for the Whips last season. … Johnson and Nguepi battled back from injuries to have strong summer workouts. … “How far we go as a team this season will depend on our pack,” Hollister said. “We need people to fight for those varsity spots.”

Huntley

Coach: Matt Kaplan (12th season).

Last year’s finish: FVC Meet champion.

Top returning athletes: Ian Geisler, sr.; Jimmy Ozzauto, sr.; Charlie Kucz, so.; Ryan Besch, jr.; Thomas Patel, jr.; Brice Klepfer, sr.

Top new athletes: Ben Rocks, fr.; Jake Leonard, so.

Worth noting: The Red Raiders graduated five of their top eight runners off a Class 3A state-qualifying team and FVC champion. The key losses are Jadon Conroy (Miami, Ohio), Chris Simek (Illinois-Chicago) and Jeremy Roe, all varsity contributors for three seasons. … Geisler was the Northwest Herald Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year after taking 17th place in the Class 3A State Meet. He was FVC runner-up. … Ozzauto and Kucz contributed to the team last season and will be looked at to do more this time. … “We’ve got a lot of work to do, but so far I’m pleased with the efforts and attitudes,” Kaplan said.

Jacobs

Coach: Kevin Christian (13th season).

Last year's finish: Second in FVC Meet.

Top returning athletes: Andrew Doetsch, so.; Daniel Sanders, jr.; Trevor Petrin, sr.; Colin Brenizer, sr.

Top new athletes: Colin Brenizer, sr.; Connor Maloney, jr.; Kyle Horn, jr.; Peter Tomson, sr.; Mitchell Ruffin, so.
 
Worth noting: The Golden Eagles graduated five of their top seven runners from the FVC runner-up team. Doetsch and Sanders are good runners to start building around. Doetsch was ninth in the FVC Meet, while Sanders had a strong summer of training. … “We’re going to have a lot of runners competing on varsity for the first time,” Christian said. “They have put in the work. Now, it’s time to see how well they compete at the next level.”

McHenry

Coach: Kevin Horst (fourth season).

Last year's finish: Fourth in FVC Meet.

Top returning athletes: Jessi Garcia, sr.; Ian Knebl, sr.; Dylan Jensen, sr.; Carlos Montes, jr.; Caleb Schopen, jr.; Enrique Robles, so.

Top new athletes: Jackson Albanese, fr.; Diego Montes, fr.; Rayaan Ahmed, fr.

Worth noting: Garcia is one of the area’s top returning runners after taking 12th in the FVC Meet. … Horst liked what he saw in the summer workouts. “The team showed a lot of motivation and is ready to go,” Horst said. “It will be hard to earn a spot on the varsity this year due to some great depth. Our goals were set 1 1/2 years ago: Compete for an FVC team title and represent McHenry at the state level.”

Prairie Ridge

Coach: Judd Shutt (15th season).

Last year’s finish: Did not have full team in FVC Meet.

Top returning athletes: Jared Zuniga, sr.; Charlie Inion, jr.; Andy Woenker, sr.

Top new athletes: Jack Lee, so.; Will Green, so.; Aidan Gilleland, so.; Cameron Killam, so.

Worth noting: The Wolves are young and trying to build this season. Shutt likes the attitude and work ethic he has seen. “They push themselves in practice and competition,” he said. “They will make huge improvements throughout the course of the season.”

Kishwaukee River Conference

Harvard

Coach: Timmy Wiltshire (second season).

Last year’s finish: Fifth in KRC Meet.

Top returning athletes: JJ Lich, sr.; Steven Austin, so.; Levi Austin, sr.; Jacob Pedersen, jr.; Zach Isonhart, jr.; Connor Flores, so.

Top new athletes: Connor Pedersen, fr.; Evan Lich, so.;

Worth noting: The Hornets graduated Reid Stricker, an All-KRC runner the past two seasons. Wiltshire expects Steven Austin, who set some Harvard freshman records, and JJ Lich to take big steps forward to competing in the KRC. … Wiltshire just hopes the Hornets can keep runners in the lineup better than last season, when injuries plagued the team.

Johnsburg

Coach: Chris Setzler (24th season).

Last year’s finish: Seventh in KRC Meet.

Top returning athletes: Grady Germann, jr.

Top new athletes: Jackson Batt,, fr.; Ethan Berthoud, fr.; Andrew Ardon, jr.; Brad Wizceb, jr.; Blake Radtke, sr.; Noah Boon, fr.

Worth noting: Setzler feels things are looking up with the addition of 10 new runners, some of whom are upperclassmen. The Skyhawks have a solid pack and could be competitive in the Class 1A postseason while building toward the future.

Marengo

Coach: Kim Hoffmeister (first season).

Last year’s finish: Fourth in KRC Meet.

Top returning athletes: Aaron Moehrlin, jr.; Zach Secor, jr.; Luke Chaffin, jr.

Top new athletes: Robert Lopez, sr.; Preston Bailey, so.

Worth noting: Chaffin and Secor finished 10th and 12th, respectively, in the KRC Meet and return to lead the Indians. … Hoffmeister feels the addition of Lopez, who runs track, will solidify the team. Bailey is another new addition who is looking strong.

Richmond-Burton

Coach: Ryan Carlson (fifth season).

Last year’s finish: Third in KRC Meet.

Top returning athletes: Ethan Luedke, sr.; Mitch Elder, sr.

Top new athletes: Rex Hanneman, fr.

Worth noting: Thomas Koschak took fourth in the KRC Meet last season and is the Rockets’ biggest graduation loss. … Luedke was 17th in the KRC Meet and returns to lead the team. Carlson hopes Luedke and Elder will both contend for All-KRC honors later in the season.

Woodstock

Coach: Jay Fuller (sixth season).

Last year’s finish: Second in KRC Meet.

Top returning athletes: Dan Berkebile, sr.; Aidan Schleutermann, jr.; Jack Hansen, jr.; Max Hodory, so.; Logan Hagmann, jr.

Top new athletes: Clark Shulfer, so.; Alex Wickersheim, so.; Dylan Hanson, fr.; Thomas Sieck, fr.

Worth noting: Julio Arellano-Zapata, who was third in the KRC Meet, has graduated, but Schleutermann and Hansen, who were fifth and sixth, respectively, are back to lead the Blue Streaks. … Burlington Central edged the Streaks by three points for the KRC title, but now is in the Fox Valley Conference. Fuller thinks Woodstock can win the conference championship. … Berkebile had a strong summer of training, and Fuller thinks he will make an impression. … “Their goal is to compete for and win the KRC championship,” Fuller said. “We think it will set up for us well for the state series.”

Woodstock North

Coach: Cas Creighton (eighth season).

Last year’s finish: Sixth in KRC Meet.

Top returning athletes: Frank Dudzik, so.; Jorge Aragon, jr.; Jameson Teuber, sr.; Nathan Speciale, so.

Top new athletes: Parker Szura, fr.

Worth noting: Creighton hopes the addition of some freshmen, who have shown potential, will help the Thunder make some strides.

East Suburban Catholic Conference

Marian Central

Coach: Murray Domich (first season).

Last year’s finish: Seventh in ESCC Meet.

Top returning athletes: Ryan Jones, sr.; Peter Walsdorf, jr.;

Top new athletes: Chris Atadero, so.; Jack Suarez, jr.; Anthony Carney, jr.

Worth noting: Jones was runner-up and Walsdorf was fifth in the ESCC Meet last year. Jones wound up finishing 24th in the Class 2A State Meet to earn All-State honors. Walsdorf narrowly missed a berth for the state meet. Domich said the Hurricanes will require some development with the third through seventh spots in the lineup.

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