2011 Illinois Boys Cross Country Preview

2011-09-01T21:00:00Z 2011-09-06T10:30:03Z 2011 Illinois Boys Cross Country PreviewBy Ken Karrson kenneth.karrson@nwi.com, (210 933-4192 nwitimes.com

BEECHER

Athletes to watch: Grant Nykaza, Jr.; Aaron Borgman, Sr.; Mike Polzin, Sr.; Matt Barton, Sr.; Austin King, Jr.

Outlook: The defending Class 1A champion Bobcats welcome back Grant Nykaza, a two-time top-four state finisher, but he, Borgman and Polzin represent the extent of experience on the squad. The roster totals just eight athletes, three of whom are freshmen.

BLOOM TWP.

Athletes to watch: Jacob Hernandez, Sr.; Joaquin Silver, Sr.; Adrien Koonce, Sr.; Dorian Simmons, Jr.

Outlook: Hernandez almost chose soccer over cross country, which would have dealt a blow to coach Huey Johnson's 2011 team. He decided to juggle the two sports this fall, meaning the Blazing Trojans are retaining their regional champion.

CRETE-MONEE

Athletes to watch: Bryce Stluka, So.; Josh Millsap, Jr.; Taris Simmons, So.; Casey Warrick, So.

Outlook: Stluka made quite the splash as a freshman, gaining All-Southland Conference recognition. He and Millsap, whom coach Brian O'Donnell also thinks is an all-conference-caliber runner, will lead a Warriors squad that is banking on measurable contributions from some younger athletes.

HOMEWOOD-FLOSSMOOR

Athletes to watch: Cahron Cross, Sr.; Rashaun Warner, Sr.; Princewil Ibe, Jr.; Kevin Anderson, So.

Outlook: The Vikings garnered a second consecutive regional championship for H-F last fall and top-12 sectional finish. Cross took sixth individually and Warner was 13th at the Class 3A Bloom Twp. Regional, and they'll form the cornerstones of the 2011 squad. Ibe should also be a key contributor.

ILLIANA CHRISTIAN

Athletes to watch: Matt Hall, Sr.; Tony Wondaal, So.; Milo Dixon, Sr.; Jordan Dekker, Jr.; Kevin Vroegh, So.

Outlook: Hall, the 22nd-place runner at last year's Class 2A meet, is the Vikings' No. 1 man, but doesn't have to go it alone this fall. Wondaal occupied the 88th spot at state and will complete races in under 16 minutes as a sophomore, and both Dixon and Dekker were part of the Illiana contingent that took 13th in Peoria.

MARIAN CATHOLIC

Athletes to watch: Matt Lamb, Sr.; Noah Brim, Jr.; Camren Howard, So.

Outlook: Coach Tim Sovereign is pinning his early hopes on team captain Lamb, Brim and Howard, the latter two of whom did some good things on the track this past spring.

 

MOUNT CARMEL

Athletes to Watch: Alex Asta, Sr.; Colin Slager, Sr.; Frank Slabe, Jr.; Dan O'Keefe, So.

Outlook: Asta and Slager guarantee that Mount Carmel retains a solid veteran core. Slabe and O'Keefe lead the next wave of Caravan runners, several of whom must make their presence felt to create the necessary depth.

SETON ACADEMY

Athletes to watch: Brandon Woods, Sr.; Sylvester Tolliver, Sr.; Damon Goodloe, Sr.; Darius Caffey, Jr.; Jaylen Johnson, So.

Outlook: Woods showed flashes in 2010 and ought to be a bigger factor this time around. Tolliver got cross country experience while at T.F. North and should blend in nicely. Goodloe gives the Sting another senior leader, while Caffey and Johnson represent the future.

THORNRIDGE

Athletes to watch: Shaquille McDaniel, Sr.; Toheeb Ogunseye, Sr.; Kiente Geiger, Jr.; Chad Hupp, Jr.; Phillip Thompson, Jr.

Outlook: McDaniel, who displayed promise last fall, and Ogunseye are the veteran leaders, but Geiger, Hupp and Thompson should offer decent support.

THORNTON

Athletes to watch: Chris Strain, Darwin Perry, Fred Childress, Robert Warnsley.

Outlook: Thornton is basically starting from scratch in 2011, as coach Vince McAuliffe says there'll be a "brand-new top seven" running for him. The race-day objective is to try and keep everyone bunched together.

T.F. NORTH

Athletes to watch: Chris Szablewski, Jr.; Joel Flores, Sr.

Outlook: Szablewski has become the face of Meteors cross country after running his way into a Class 2A sectional berth.Flores will be there, but T.F. North could be left with a small squad.

T.F. SOUTH

Athletes to watch: Alex Dolinar, Sr., Travis Middleton, So.; Anthony Kyte, So.; Dylan Angell, Sr.; John Leopardo, Sr.

Outlook: Dolinar is back for a fourth season, while Middleton and Kyte were solid performers in their inaugural prep campaigns. If Angell and Leopardo prove as dependable on the course as they've previously been on the track, T.F. South should be competitive at most of its events.

THORNWOOD

Athletes to watch: Johnell Seanior, Sr.; Reggie Brown, Jr.; Isidro Carreon, Sr.; Jacari Perkins, Sr.; Wale Daramola, Jr.; Kenneth Allen, Jr.; Deonta Pittman, Sr.

Outlook: Seanior, Perkins and Daramola will anchor this year's squad, which needs steady input from a few more individuals in order for it to have a reasonable chance of issuing a challenge within the SWSC.

-- Compiled by Ken Karrson

 

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