The boys track and field season is underway. Here are previews of teams in the Suburban Life coverage area.
Coach: Brian Quick (seventh season)
Top returners: Carson Schneid, sr., sprints; Brandon Saguil, sr., sprints; Grant Ross, sr., middle distance; Daniel Pepping, sr., sprints; Sean Kingston, sr., distance; Jason Huang, sr., hurdles; Jack Chvatal, sr., high jump; John Challenger, sr., high jump; Owen Takahashi, jr., sprints
Top newcomers: Andrew Manuel, jr., sprints/jumps; Aidan Dentice, jr., throws; Griffin Schneid, fr., middle distance
Worth noting: The Redwings are deep in talent with multiple athletes who can cross over in multiple events, which should be beneficial at the conference meet. Winning conference is a big goal for Benet. The Redwings won conference three years in a row from 2017-19 and are looking to regain the title this spring. Huang is the defending ESCC high hurdles champion, currently has the third-fastest time in the state and qualified for the Illinois Top Times meet. Multi-purpose sprinter Carson Schneid and Takahashi return from the all-conference 4x400 relay. Saguil, slowed by a chronic hamstring injury last season, is back healthy and will contend for the conference 100 and 200 titles and will start the 4x100 relay in what could be one of the fastest 4x100′s Quick has ever had. Ross posted a 2:04.86 in the 800 at Batavia’s Distance Madness meet and qualified for Top Times. Challenger and Chvatal finished second and third, respectively, in the high jump at last year’s conference meet. Manuel and Dentice, both coming over from the football team, add depth. The Redwings will be competing in Class 2A in the postseason for the first time since 2016, when they won the first sectional championship in boys track history.
“So the opportunity for qualifying many of the above athletes is very good,” Quick said. “Adding another [championship] to this year’s team would be very special considering most of the athletes on the team have never had a complete track season due to the pandemic.”
Downers Grove South
Coach: Sean Senf (third year)
Top returners: Tim Neumann, sr., 800/1,600/3,200/relays; Kenny Creamer, sr., 100/200/400/relays; Eli Reed, sr., 100/200/400/relays; Patrick O’Neil, sr., 100/200/relays; Philip Okunev, sr., 200/400/relays; Joey Puccillo, sr., 800/1,600/relays; Shane Hosty, jr., relays; Jordan D’Urso, sr., 4x800 relay; Matt Hyman, sr., pole vault; Brandon Amaniampong, jr., triple jump
Top newcomers: Vincent Esposito, jr., shot put; Jake Steele, fr., triple jump
Worth noting: The Mustangs are coming off a team championship at the West Suburban Gold indoor meet. Senf has some “dudes” as he likes to call them in the sprinting events in conference 55 and 200 champ Reed and Creamer, with depth behind them. Neumann is a known name around the 3A distance community who can run with the top in the state in the 800 and 3,200 meters. He won the 1,600 title at indoor conference. Puccillo has made great improvements since cross country season and Senf said he gives the 4x800 team a “silent assassin” with much faster splits than his open times. The 4x400 relay team of Reed, Puccillo, Neumann and Okunev currently have the second-fastest time of 3:30.13 statewide in Class 3A. “We believe we have a well-rounded team that can score points at big invites in every event,” Senf said. “The outdoor season will present many more impressive times, which may change our thought process, but at this time we would like to try and qualify the 4x200, 4x400 and 4x800, as well as a few individual events come May.”
Coach: Dan Greco (sixth season)
Top returners: Tyrese Buffkin, sr., high jump; Alonso Perkins, sr., sprints/long jump; David Hernandez, so., 400/4x400 relay; Jack Ocallaghan, sr., 1,600/4x800 relay; Kyrie Jones, sr., sprints/long jump/triple jump; Cooper Hoffmann, jr., 800/4x800 relay
Top newcomers: Ryan Van Dam, so., 1,600/4x800 relay/4x400 relay; Terrell Hatter, jr., sprints/triple jump/long jump; Ryan Stringer, so., 800/4x800 relay/4x400 relay; Demontay Mack, jr., shot put
Worth noting: The Rams finished the indoor season on a high note, taking second at the Upstate Eight Conference indoor meet, Glenbard East’s highest finish since joining the UEC. Perkins won the 55-meter dash and long jump, and Glenbard East won the 4x800 relay. Perkins and Buffkin already have hit state-qualifying marks in the long jump and high jump, respectively. Buffkin comes off a big 2021 season. He was conference and sectional high jump champion and 10th in the state. Hernandez was third in the 400 at indoor conference and Jones was third in the long jump. The sprint team, led by Perkins, Hernandez, Jones and Joseph Garzon, will look to score points in the short sprints. The Rams’ distance team, led by Ocallaghan, Van Dam and Hoffmann, will score points in the distance races and relays. Newcomer Mack will be an asset for the team in shot put.
Worth noting: The Raiders are coming off a third-place finish at the indoor Upstate Eight Conference meet. Last year, Glenbard South finished fourth at the outdoor conference meet and fifth at sectionals. Newcomer Difrenco won the shot put at indoor conference and Evans was second. Williams won the high jump at indoor conference and should score in the triple jump and long jump. Bryan finished fourth in the long jump and high hurdles at indoor conference and third in the low hurdles. Gorski projects that Glenbard South will have a strong 4x800 relay team and noted that Woods is dropping time every time he runs the 800, 1,600 or 3,200.
“South Elgin is the team to beat in the Upstate Eight Conference meet,” Gorski said. “We hope to beat Glenbard East and finish second at the outdoor conference meet, getting as close to South Elgin as possible. We hope to qualify as many events as possible at the sectional meet this year.”
Coach: Jon Schweighardt (11th year)
Top returners: Michael Miller, sr., 1,600/3,200; Anthony Nitti, so., 400/800/1,600; Andrew Dauskas, sr., 400/800; Mohib Syed, sr., sprints/hurdles
Top newcomer: Mason Ellens, hurdles
Worth noting: The Hilltoppers were sectional champions last season. Syed took second in the high hurdles at the West Suburban Silver indoor conference meet and Nitti was second in the 800. Glenbard West took sixth at indoor conference.
“We do not have any expectations for this season,” Schweighardt said. “We are looking forward to improving each day. Our kids are working hard and we are just shooting to improve our times and distances each day.”
Coach: Dean Norman
Top athletes: Noah Sadowski, jr., sprints; Luke Sadowski, sr., sprints; Cassidy Whitaker, sr., high jump; Khamani Williams, sr., sprints/long jump; Quartus Rassi, sr., 1,600/3,200; Aaron Koehler, jr., distance; Zayd Truttling, jr., sprints; Eric Larson, so., hurdles/discus; Adam Fournier, jr., distance/triple jump; Amari Alexander, fr., sprints; Ayden Farrare, fr., jumps/sprints
Worth noting: The Hornets finished third at the West Suburban Gold indoor meet after taking fourth at outdoor conference last spring. Alexander was second in the 55-meter dash and fourth in the 200, Larson won the 55 hurdles and was second in the 200, Karam Tajeddin was third in the hurdles, Hinsdale South was second in the 4x160 relay and 4x400 relay and was fourth in the 4x800 relay. Tommy Madden was second in the triple jump at indoor conference.
IC Catholic Prep
Coach: Bob Cronin
Top athletes: Antonio Richardson, sr., sprints; AJ Walsh, jr., high jump/sprints; Denzel Gibson, jr., sprints; Jason Hall, sr., sprints/jumps; Malik Gray, jr., sprints; KJ Parker, so., sprints; Elijah Easton, so., sprints; Zach Spencer, fr., triple jump; John Hilgart, sr., throws; Jayden McDonald, fr., throws
Worth noting: Richardson placed 12th in the state in the 200 last year and also qualified in the 100. “He battled nagging injuries last season so hopefully great things will follow good health this season,” Cronin said. Walsh narrowly missed qualifying in high jump and is already over 6 feet indoors. Gibson qualified for the Top Times indoor state meet in the 60 meters. Hall, Gray, Walsh, Parker and Easton will provide sprint depth. Spencer and Hall will look to score in the triple jump. Hilgart and McDonald are new to throws but Cronin said look good in the shot put and discus.
Coach: Dennis Kennedy (12th season)
Top athletes: Jacob Katauskas, so., thrower; Nick Buczyna, jr., thrower; Andrew Tilly, sr., distance/4x800 relay; Adam Bromberek, jr., distance/4x800 relay; Thomas Polen, jr., 800; Chase LeFevers, fr., long jump; Quentin Peterson, fr., sprints/hurdles; Nate Wrublik, jr., sprinter; Garrett Calhoun, jr., pole vault; Daniel Foy, fr., pole vault; Liam Carey, jr., 4x800 relay; Jack Davey, jr., 4x800 relay; Angel Quiroz, so., sprinter; Brad Suva, so., high jump
Worth noting: Lemont has 56 boys out for track and field, mostly underclassmen highlighted by a strong throwers group. A good distance crew carried Lemont to second place in the South Suburban Blue last year. Katauskas and Buczyna are both throwing the shot put in the mid 40s indoors, Bromberek has run a 4:52 mile and Tilly a 4:55 mile. Polen has run the 800 in 2:03, the 4x800 relay has run an 8:55 and LeFevers has gone 19 feet, 6.5 inches in the long jump. Lemont placed second this year in Lemont’s 12-team indoor invite.
Coach: Eric Brechtel (ninth season)
Top returners: Jackson McWhinney, sr., throws; Jonathan Goff, jr., sprints/relays; Luke Hemmersmeier, jr., jumps/relays; Josh Ugorji, jr., sprints/relays; Tommy May, sr., 800
Top newcomers: Deion Manley, sr., sprints; Jayden Leise, jr., sprints/jumps; BJ Searcy, fr., sprints; Myles Green, fr., long jump; Josiah James, fr., long jump; Gabriel Bianco, so., middle distance; Sam Hemmersmeier, so., sprints
Worth noting: Brechtel said the Broncos will have a strong emphasis on the sprint relays with a spirited competition for the top four guys on the 4x100 and 4x200 relays. McWhinney, the school record holder in the discus and indoor shot put and a 2019 state qualifier, narrowly missed qualifying for state last year and Brechtel said should have a shot at All-State in the discus. Luke Hemmersmeier is the indoor school record holder in the long jump and a 2021 state qualifier in the 4x200 relay. Goff was sixth in the 60-meter dash at the Chicago Catholic League indoor meet and was a 2021 state qualifier in the 4x200, as was Ugorji. May just missed qualifying for state in the 800 last year and could be a name to watch in the 400 and 800, but is just returning from sickness and has only raced once indoors.
“We are a young team on the rise,” Brechtel said. “We had some strong performances at the CCL indoor conference championships this past weekend. We have dealt with a few nagging injuries during indoor season so hopefully they will be behind us.”
Coach: Dan O’Donnell (fifth year)
Top returners: Alex Bacci, sr., 3,200/1,600; Daniel Chavez, sr., 3,200/1,600; Eliseo Gonzalez, sr., long jump/high jump; Gael Arroyo, sr., 800; Joey Prochaska, sr., 800; Leon Kelsick, sr., triple jump; Edgar Quintero, sr., 400; Gabe Torres, jr., pole vault; Kevin Lopez, sr., hurdles; David Arana, sr., 100; Keion Devine-Woods, sr., 100
Top newcomers: Christian Valadez, fr., 200; Michael Barnes, so., high jump/200; Alex Aragon, so., 800; Manuel Soto, so., 800; Anwar Simon, so., hurdles; Darrius Dunbar, fr., 100/200
Worth noting: The Mustangs took second at the West Suburban Gold indoor meet. Bacchi and Chavez were first and second, respectively, in the 3,200 and second and third at the Gold meet. Morton was second in the 4x400 and 4x800 relays, Gonzalez won the long jump, Torres won the pole vault and Barnes was second in the high jump. Morton graduated two state-qualifying pole vaulters, including runner-up Victor Rodriguez.
“A young and talented group led by a strong group of seniors,” O’Donnell said. “Excited to see how much this team can improve heading into the outdoor season.
Coach: Paris Lewis (first year)
Top returners: Justin Taylor, jr., triple jump/long jump/100; Ian Surowiec, jr., 400/relays; Patrick Titzer, jr., 800/300 hurdles; John Mowrer, jr., 800/1,600; Tommy Taylor, so., 200/relays
Top newcomers: James Penley, fr., 100/200/high jump; Nolan Day, fr., discus/relays
Worth noting: The outdoor track season looks promising after Nazareth’s first full indoor season in a number of years. Justin Taylor, who placed 11th in the triple jump at the Class 2A state meet last year, broke the indoor school record in both the triple jump and long jump during indoor season. Surowiec just missed breaking Nazareth’s 400 record during indoor season.
“This team has a solid mix of sprinters and middle distance runners, which should position each relay to be competitive this outdoor season,” Lewis said. “Our field events like by Justin Taylor in the jumps should experience tremendous growth and results as the season progresses.”
Coach: Rainy Kaplan
Top returners: Michael Doll, sr., triple jump, hurdles; Ryan Domin, sr., 400/sprint relays; Jack Rathburn, sr., pole vault; James Mendoza, sr., sprint relays; Tony Cole, long jump/sprint relays; Tim Rosland, jr., distance; Henry O’Connor, jr., hurdles/mid-distance
Top newcomers: Braelen Jones, sr., high jump/long jump/sprints; Paul Tikhiy, jr., mid-distance
Worth noting: The Sentinels are looking to repeat as Metro Suburban Red champions and Kaplan believes they can win a sectional title as well, coming off a runner-up finish at sectionals. The Sentinels’ 4x200 and 4x400 relays both finished 10th at state last year. Westmont is coming off a championship at the Reed-Custer Comet Classic Invitational where it beat out conference and sectional rivals Chicago Christian and Bishop McNamara. Doll already has broken his indoor school record in the triple jump this season, going 12.88 meters. Domin is the anchor to Westmont’s sprint relays.
Coach: Chris Felinski (ninth year)
Top returners: Sheldon Powell, sr., 3,200; Daniel Kersey, sr., 1,600/3,200; Jalen Whitaker, jr., 100/200
Worth noting: Wheaton Academy has one of its largest teams in recent years with 49 athletes out for the sport. Returning all-conference distance runner Powell, fourth at sectionals last year, leads the Warriors’ distance crew with Kersey as both push to go under 10 minutes in the 3,200. The 4x800 team gets a boost with the addition of Murray, who ran track in middle school and broke 5 minutes in the 1,600 as an eighth-grader but didn’t participate last year with track overlapping with soccer. He will anchor the 4x800 and run the 400. Roberts, who gave up lacrosse to run track, has the potential to be the best hurdler Wheaton Academy has ever had. In the field, David Li returns as a long jumper with 10 throwers also on the roster. “Not having an indoor season or any outdoor meet at this point it is hard to see where these athletes will land, but we are going to be having a competitive team all around,” Felinski said.
Coach: Nate Roe (second season)
Top returners: Daniel Lang, sr., hurdles/relays; Ryan Schreiner, sr., 400/800/relays; Davis Brumbach, jr., 4x400 relay; Samuel Kahsay, sr., high jump; Ryan Zdek, sr., 1,600/3,200; Eamon Kane, sr., throws
Top newcomers: Devon Neal, sr., sprint relays/jumps; Noah Gordon, sr., long jump/sprint relays; Caleb Varney, jr., shot put; Jon O’Keefe, sr., hurdles/sprint relays; Jonpaul Bell, jr., high jump; Jonah Noyes, sr., distance/middle distance; Ben Shebar, jr., 1,600/3,200
Worth noting: The Falcons return a fair amount of experience in multiple events and are aiming to improve on their fifth-place finish at the DuKane Conference indoor meet. There is depth with well over 110 boys on the team. Schreiner, fourth in the state in the 800 last year and a member of Wheaton North’s state-qualifying 4x400 relay, won the DuKane Conference indoor championship, is a record holder in the 800 and ended indoor season with the third-best 800 time in the state. Lang, conference and sectional champ and a state qualifier in the 110 hurdles as well as the 4x200 relay, ended indoor season with the fifth-best 55-meter high hurdles time in the state. Brumbach was a state qualifier in the 4x400 relay last year and Kahsay, who jumped 6 feet, 3 inches last year at conference, is already over 6 feet indoors. Zydek is a three-time state cross country qualifier and three-sport athlete. Kane is the Falcons’ top discus thrower with state-qualifying potential. Varney has thrown the shot put 48 feet indoors and Bell has high-jumped 5-11 indoors with potential to top 6-3.
“Ryan and Daniel are amongst the top athletes in their respective events and will play huge roles in several events outdoors,” Roe said. “Our field events are steadily coming along and ready to be at their best by May. That is always our focus. Earn a personal best and let the place and points take care of themselves.”
Worth noting: The Tigers, second at the sectional meet last year, took fourth at the DuKane Conference indoor meet last week. Young was second in the 55 and fourth in the 200, Virginelli fourth in the 800, Atkins second in the 1,600, the 4x800 relay was second, Marsico was third in the shot put, Richards was third in the pole vault, Rossini third in the long jump and fifth in the triple jump. Young, fifth in the state in the 100 and third in the 200 last year, currently has the second-best time in the state in the 55. Kottke is a returning state qualifier in the 400 and Virginelli currently has one of the top times in the state in the 800. Atkins is coming off a top 20 place at state cross country last fall and has one of the top 1,600 and 3,200 times in the state. Marsico has one of the state’s top shot put distances.
Coach: Terry Artman (14th year)
Top returners: Alex Simmons, sr., sprints/relays; Max Manning, sr., throws; Cristian Lager, sr., hurdles; Cayden Loth, sr., hurdles; Damian Rocha, sr., mid-distance; Jaylon White, sr., sprints/relays
Worth noting: The defending West Suburban Gold outdoor champions graduated a large number of seniors and are looking to younger levels to fill voids and for this year’s veterans to step up. Artman said it is the largest team Willowbrook has had in some time. Willowbrook took fourth at the WSC Gold indoor meet. Lager was second in the high hurdles, Charlie Hayes third in the 800, Manning second in the shot put and Jakhi Jones third in the high jump.
“Hardworking bunch,” Artman said. “High interest with even a lot of new seniors coming out for the first time. High energy and enthusiasm for track and field on this program. Assistant coaches Jibril Jones, Malcom Ross and Colin Madison all do a wonderful job coaching up these Warriors in both technique and attitude. And it shows everyday at practice. Looking forward to the future of the Warrior program with these coaches guiding them.”
Coach: Charlie Kern (eighth season)
Top returners: Ethan Summer, sr., 3,200; Jeff Luka, sr., 3,200; Garret Schwan, sr., 4x800 relay; Kelly Watson, jr., sprints; Luka Mailander, jr., sprints; Joey Valeski, jr., sprints; Leo Glennon, jr., sprints; Antonio Gianni, sr., sprints; Caden Schaer, sr., pole vault; Sam Birnbaum, sr., pole vault; Payton Noble, discus
Top newcomers: Aidan Hill, jr., middle distance; Cole Ostendorf, so., throws; Gavin Schaer, so.
Worth noting: The Dukes had state qualifiers in five events last season, with the 4x800 relay placing fourth and Will Heuer taking seventh in the 400. York has a strong group of distance runners. The 4x800 relay had the state’s sixth-fastest time indoors and is looking forward to the return of Garrett Schwan, a member of last season’s 4x800 relay state team, and Jackson Geiger, fourth in the 800 at sectionals last season, who were hurt all indoor season. Senior pole vaulters Schaer and Birnbaum are working to reach the state qualifying height.
“Our sprinter group is young, but they are gaining valuable experience and continue to get better each week,” Kern said. “We are excited to see how much we improve over the course of the season.”
I am the Sports Editor for Kendall County Newspapers, the Kane County Chronicle and Suburban Life Media, covering primarily sports in Kendall, Kane, DuPage and western Cook counties. I've been covering high school sports for 24 years. I also assist with our news coverage.