The boys track and field season is underway. Here are previews of teams in the Kane County Chronicle coverage area.
Coach: Dennis Piron
Top athletes: Jalen Buckley, sr., jumps; Jonah Fallon, sr., sprints; Nicholas Fortino sr., pole vault; Jacob Hohmann, sr., sprints; Quintin Lowe, jr., middle distance, distance; Scot Parker, sr., sprints; Vincie Solanio, sr., sprints.
Outlook: The Bulldogs are poised to do some serious damage this spring in the aftermath of their convincing DuKane Conference indoor championship last weekend at home. Ranked behind only Minooka in the Milesplit Class 3A rankings, Batavia is as talented as it is deep. Hohmann and Parker return to defend their 800-meter relay state championship. Fallon is one of the top quarter-milers in the state while also anchoring the Bulldogs’ reigning runner-up 1,600 relay. “I think this team can be No. 1 in the state and overtake Minooka,” Hohmann said. “[Fallon] is pulling crazy times right now.”
Coach: Mike Schmidt
Top athletes: Yusuf Baig, sr., distance, Grayson Burton, so., pole vault; Leighton Dietz, jr., sprints, middle distance; Ryan Kreis, so., distance; Nolan Milas, jr., sprints, hurdles, jumps; Zac Schmidt, sr., sprints, middle distance; Alec Zaccaria, sr., sprints, jumps.
Outlook: Like Batavia, Burlington Central enters the outdoor season with a lofty ranking. “We are ranked fourth by Milesplit,” coach Schmidt said. “That’s probably about right. We have pretty much a complete team.” The Rockets’ two Division I recruits, Schmidt (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) and Baig (Illinois State) are seasoned state veterans who are among the best on the Class 2A landscape. Schmidt specializes in the 400 and 800. Baig is a top threat in the two longest individual races. “He is a study in perseverance,” coach Schmidt said of Baig.
Coach: Gale Gross
Top athletes: Brady Ahern, sr., middle distance; Jack Kuehl, jr., middle distance; Nathan Lehman, sr., middle distance, distance; Nick Pappas, jr., jumps; Dylan Pratt, sr., sprints; Dan Sustersic, sr., sprints.
Outlook: The Vikings will be hard-pressed in the DuKane Conference this spring as Batavia, Lake Park and St. Charles North are all ranked in the top four in Class 3A. “Having three teams in the top five [in the state] makes for a tough conference,” Gross said. “We’re just a very young team. Over 50% of the team has never done track before. Our main goal is to get experienced and move up the ladder from a seventh-place finish at indoor to outdoor.”
Coach: Andy Drendel
Top athletes: Nolan Allen, sr., middle distance; Lucas Bass. sr., sprints, jumps; Sam Gagne, sr., sprints; Evan Nosek, fr., distance; Elijah Pflipsen, sr., throws; Christian Phillips, sr., distance; Corey Phillips, sr., sprints.
Outlook: The Knights have been reclassified to the middle tier of the three-class system this spring. “The expectations have changed for the postseason,” Drendel said. “We are still preparing ourselves for a 3A mindset.” Drendel has high hopes for Bass, the Knights’ most accomplished sprinter and jumper. Much will be expected of the Knights’ core group of seniors, who bring experience and a time-honored work ethic to the Interstate Eight this spring.
Coach: Dan Thorpe
Top athletes: Niraj Abraham, sr., distance; Jackson Burroughs, sr., sprints; Ernesto Carleton, sr., jumps; Danny Chung, sr., hurdles; Tyler Hoeft, sr., pole vault; Bryce Langkan, sr., throws; Dane Pardridge, sr., sprints; John Schokora, sr., distance.
Outlook: Four years after claiming its only state championship in program history, the Cadets also have been placed back into Class 2A for the postseason. “DroppIng back to 2A really helps a lot,” Thorpe said. “We’re back to where we belong.” The veteran coach said restoring his better athletes to full strength is a top priority. “We have a nice team, but we’re injured,” Thorpe said after the Cadets’ ninth-place finish at the Chicago Catholic League indoor championship last weekend.
St. Charles East
Coach: Tim Wolf
Top athletes: Josh Evans, jr.,sprints; Matt Hall, jr., sprints, hurdles; Joshua Perry, sr., pole vault; Jed Wilson, so., distance; Micah Wilson, sr., distance; Joseph Xotla, sr., sprints, middle distance.
Outlook: The Saints have the premier distance runner in the state in Micah Wilson. The Wisconsin-bound senior is not only the defending Class 3A state champion at 3,200 meters, he also cruised to the state cross country title last fall. Micah Wilson stormed to both the 1,600 and 3,200 titles at the DuKane Conference indoor finals; his younger brother, Jed, was runner-up in the longer race. “I couldn’t feel any more confident,” Micah Wilson said. “Everything just clicks right now. I want to defend my state championship in the 3,200.”
St. Charles North
Coach: Kevin Harrington
Top athletes: Otis Duncan, sr., sprints; Paolo Gennarelli, sr., throws; Cambell Hughes, sr., sprints; Joey Santoro, sr., distance; Bryce Thomas, jr., sprints, middle distance; Ryle Traub, sr., middle distance.
Outlook: The North Stars are yet another local program that has received high praise from the authoritative track website Milesplit. St. Charles North is ranked No. 4 entering the outdoor season in Class 3A. Exceptional athletes are needed to score in Illinois’ toughest division and Duncan and Gennarelli, both of whom have committed to West Point, provide such credentials. “If I can do what I continue to do, I truly believe I will be on the podium,” said Duncan, who denied two-event all-state sprinter Reece Young (Wheaton Warrenville South) to capture both the 55 and 200 dashes on March 19 at the DuKane Conference indoor meet. Gennarelli was an inch shy of the magical 60-foot barrier in claiming the shot put. Gennarelli was third last spring in the discipline at state.
Coach: Mike Prizy
Top athletes: Ethan Affrunti, sr., sprints; Sam Andrzejewski, jr., distance; Sean Killian, sr. sprints, jumps; Aakash Martin, jr., sprints; Daniel O’Connell, jr., distance; Matthew O’Donnell, sr., sprints, jumps; Chris Spahn, sr., distance.
Outlook: Like many private schools with small enrollments, Prizy does not have the luxury of a plentiful number of bodies this spring. “We’re not going to be able to fill all of the events” Prizy said. Prizy is excited to see what Killian and O’Donnell can do in their field events. “I think we could do very well in the jumps,” he said.
Source: The Daily Chronicle