The boys cross country season is underway. Here are previews of teams in the Kane County Chronicle coverage area.
Coach: Bronco Meeks
Top athletes: Francesco Benelli, jr; David Bednarek, jr.; Colin Knowles, sr.; Gavin Warpinski, so.
Worth noting: With multiyear state qualifier and 2023 graduate Quintin Lowe moved on, Batavia is focusing on a pack approach. After having about 30 competitors in the program the past three seasons, Batavia has 45 this time around, which allows for some larger workout groups. “The group has shown some nice growth throughout the summer. We feel that we can be competitive in our conference and in the postseason. To achieve their goals they must continue to grow together throughout the season. It has been a fun process so far and we are looking forward to the journey of the 2023 cross country season,” Meeks said.
Coach: Vince Neil
Top athletes: Robert Anderson, sr.; Jayden Beecroft, jr.; Danny Burke fr.; Ryan Kries, sr.; Logan Karottu, sr.; Adam Hinkelman, sr.; Alan Perez, sr.; Brandon Pflug, fr.
Worth noting: Kries was a Class 2A state qualifier and returns to lead the Rockets. Karottu and Hinkelman will make up the top three with Kries. Kries was 10th in the FVC Meet. Neil sees Burke and Pflug making major impacts for the team. Beecroft, a state track qualifier, also could push to be in the top five.
– Joe Stevenson
Coach: Peter Raak
Top athletes: Luke Gaston, jr.; Julian Hipp, jr.; Cameron Lotspeich, sr.; Noah Martin, jr.; Dominic Ross jr.
Worth noting: Geneva graduated five from its lineup from last season, including standouts Jack Kuehl and Anthony Ross. Dominic Ross and Julian Hipp are coming off decent finishes at sectionals last season and could emerge as leaders this year. “We graduated a crop of seniors last year, but we have a core of juniors and seniors ready to step up to reload. They have had a solid and consistent summer of training and are focused on taking their racing to the next level. They work well together as a team and should be very competitive in conference and beyond,” Raak said.
Coach: Chad Clarey
Top athletes: Evan Nosek, jr.; David Valkanov, sr.; Evan Whildin, so.: Zachary Murdock, jr.; Collin Reutimann, sr.
Worth noting: A longtime powerhouse in Class 2A, Kaneland looks to make it back to state as a team under the leadership of veteran coach Chad Clarey, who is in his 29th season. Clarey has a lot of depth this season, which means he can let the freshmen jell together without the pressure of running at the varsity level. Clarey said the process is what will drive the Knights this season. “Our team is going to focus on being intentional with all facets of our training, including all the extras that go into being a well-rounded distance runner,” Clarey said. “We are going to centralize our focus on leading with the right attitude and making sure our influence reflects the best parts of who we are as competitors and human beings. Our sport is a vehicle for showing toughness, commitment, fortitude and courage. We will strive to model that daily. If we do the work, we will surrender the results to whatever they are meant to be.”
– John Gaillone
Coach: Andrew Lifka
Top athletes: Connor Carlson, sr.; John Daffenberg, jr.; Robert Gramley, sr.; Matthew Sullivan, jr.
Worth noting: Marmion placed second at the season-opening Kane County meet, thanks to the efforts of Daffenberg (third), Carlson (fourth), Gramley (13th) and Sullivan (15th). Carlson and Daffenberg are both returning state qualifiers.
Coach: Chris Bosworth
Top athletes: Adrian Ahuatl, sr; Grayson Ellensohn, jr.; Oscar Frontjes, sr; Michael Wilson, sr.
Worth noting: The Saints graduated standout Mitch Garcia, but have four returners from a season ago. Last week at the Kane County meet, the Saints finished third as a team and had three in the top 11 – Ellensohn (eighth), Frontjes (10th) and Ahuatl (11th).
Coach: Kevin Harrington
Top athletes: Wilhelm Lackner, sr.; Brian Santos, jr.; Owen Santos, sr.; Will Stone, sr.
Worth noting: The North Stars finished fourth at the Kane County Meet last week and had two finishers in the top 20 in Stone (12th) and Lackner (17th). St. Charles North returns a decent amount of last year’s lineup in a competitive DuKane Conference.