Boys track and field: Scouting Northwest

  • Prospect's Michael Shafis reacts after clearing the bar in high jump during the Class 3A boys state track and field finals in Charleston last season.

    Prospect's Michael Shafis reacts after clearing the bar in high jump during the Class 3A boys state track and field finals in Charleston last season. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Buffalo Grove's Zach Sheasby competes in the long jump during the Class 3A boys state track and field preliminaries in Charleston last season.

    Buffalo Grove's Zach Sheasby competes in the long jump during the Class 3A boys state track and field preliminaries in Charleston last season. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

Updated 4/4/2019 1:17 PM

BarringtonCoach: Todd Kuklinski

Last year: Placed 9th in state, MSL champion, MSL West champion, Lake Zurich Invite champion, Stevenson Relay champion, Palatine Relay champion, Lake County champion


Lost to graduation: Nick Laning (3,200m, 1,600m, now running at Vanderbilt), Luis Cossio (sprints, now running at Notre Dame), Brad Warman (throws, now throwing at Grand Valley State), Ray Niro (sprints, now playing football at Northwestern), Alec Andrea (sprints, now playing football at Illinois), Michael Dreiling (sprints), Geoff Frenk (throws)

Top returnees: Mark Di Iorio, sr. (throws, state qualifier in discus), EJ Darlington, jr. (sprints, state qualifier), Aaron Sarkar, jr. (mid-distance, state qualifier), Patrick Furlong, jr. (mid-distance, state qualifier), Luke Goodwin, sr. (throws), Greg Van Hollen, sr. (distance), James Lyon, sr. (distance), Sean Cleary, sr. (mid-distance), Ryan Kenny, sr. (mid-distance), Ryan Dykes, jr. (jumps, sprints), Kyle Rivas, jr. (jumps, sprints), Kunal Mamtani, sr. (jumps), Nate Goodman, soph. (high jump), Chase Cimaglio (high jump), Danny Olson, sr. (pole vault), Mark Nicoletti, sr. (pole vault)

Top newcomers: Michael Hendrickson, sr. (distance), Brian Hur, sr. (sprints), Maso Kelly, sr. (sprints), Blaz D'Adamo, sr. (sprints, jumps), Adam Calacci, jr. (jumps), Quinn Ketel, jr. (sprints), Nick Baron, jr. (sprints), John Palumbo, jr. (sprints), Michael DuBois, jr. (sprints), Robert Calhoun, soph. (sprints), Jack Elliott, soph. (hurdles, pole vault), Joey Gurskis, soph. (sprints, jumps), JT McBride, sr. (hurdles), Reese Palm, sr. (distance), Jack DeWeerdt, sr. (distance), Ben DeWeerdt, soph. (distance), Gavin Sarkar, fr. (mid-distance), Joey Furlong, fr. (mid-distance)

Outlook: Five athletes from last year's team that won the MSL and placed ninth in state are now competing in college. Yet despite the significant losses, the Broncos seem ready for another strong run. "Losing so many quality athletes, leaders and state medalists from last year's group will hurt," Barrington coach Todd Kuklinski said. "But depth will be this team's strong suit. We are solid in distance, jumps and throws. The development of our sprint core could make 2019 a very exciting year."

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Buffalo GroveCoach: Timothy Podulka

Last year: Placed 7th in the MSL meet

Lost to graduation: Zach Sheasby (state qualifier in the long jump and the triple jump), Andriy Mykulyanych (100m, 200m)

Top returnees: Isaac Suh, jr. (state qualifier in the high jump), Jon Peici, sr. (400m)

Top newcomers: Ethan Kim, jr. (sprints), Max Oberman, jr. (sprints), Ricardo Torres, soph. (800m), Grant Wasielewski, jr. (3,200m)

Outlook: Buffalo Grove lost Zach Sheasby, a state qualifier in both long jump and triple jump, but returns a couple of promising athletes who are used to turning in similar elite performances. Junior Isaac Suh is back after qualifying for state last year as a sophomore in the high jump. And senior Jon Peici recently broke the school indoor record and won the MSL indoor title in the 400-meter dash. "We look forward to being competitive in both the MSL East Division as well as at the MSL conference meet this year, while qualifying multiple athletes for the state meet," Buffalo Grove coach Timothy Podulka said.

ConantCoach: John Powers

Last year: Placed 10th in the MSL

Lost to graduation: Chris Floyd (Air Force), Sam Torrens, Michael Barberini, Nate Foster, Matt Candre


Top returnees: Michael Nelson, Ulises Silva, Joey Carrell, Sean Le, Patrick Malecki, Liam Harrison, James Preucil, Ethan Parham, Diego Valadez

Top newcomers: Luke Vanbooven, Anthony Wachal

Outlook: Preparation is key to success and Conant coach John Powers believes this group is as prepared as any group he's had in recent years. "It's been a long time since we had a solid group of athletes prepared physically and mentally for the season," Powers said. "We've been working very hard from day one, and our early meet results show it. We've been looking for a new crop of seniors to replace a lot of valuable leadership on and off the track. The coaching staff feels this group has a great chance to fulfill this role."

Elk GroveCoach: Brian Bucciarelli

Last year: Placed 12th in the MSL meet

Lost to graduation: Brandon Paeng (sprints), James Spatafore (sprints), Adian Keserovic (hurdles)

Top returnees: Nate Kraemer, sr. (distance), Devaughn Tillman, sr. (throws), Kosei Kusunoki, jr. (jumps, sprints), Michael Johnson, jr. (distance), Keshawn Bates, soph. (hurdles)

Top newcomers: Jake Surz, sr. (sprints), Evan Eizenga, fr. (jumps)

Outlook: The numbers keep climbing for the Grens as interest in the program continues to grow. Elk Grove coach Brian Bucciarelli is hoping that growth will translate into positive results on the track. "Over the past few years, we have been steadily adding depth in numbers and are improving as a team," Bucciarelli said. "The seniors in the program are hardworking, provide good leadership and do a good job of mentoring the younger athletes. We look forward to competing and improving on our individual marks."

FremdCoach: Jeff Williams

Last year: Sectional champion, placed 6th in the MSL meet

Lost to graduation: Brian Chindblom (sectional champion in long jump, now competing at North Park), Ben Konopka (sectional champion in 300m intermediate hurdles, now competing at Marquette), Jaden Jackson (state champion in 300m intermediate hurdles, now competing at Illinois), Matt Bilek (state medalist in the shot put, now competing at Illinois)

Top returnees: Jimmy Leahy, sr. (state qualifier in pole vault), Luke Fissinger, sr. (pole vault), Justin King, sr. (300m hurdles, 110m high hurdles)

Top newcomers: Kyle Johnston, soph. (400m)

Outlook: Coming off back-to-back sectional championships in 2017 and 2018, Fremd has high expectations again this season. It will be tough to replace a state champion in Jaden Jackson (300 IM hurdles), a state medalist in Matt Bilek (shot put) and sectional champions Brian Chindblom and Ben Konopka, all of whom are competing in college now. But the Vikings reload with plenty of veterans with big meet experience. Pole vault will be a strength as Jimmy Leahy, a state qualifier, and Luke Pissinger, a 15-foot vaulter, return. "We are a young team with quality senior leadership," Fremd coach Jeff Williams said. "This is a great group of young men who are looking to make an impact both on the track and off."

HerseyCoach: Kenneth Blazek

Last year: Placed 5th in the MSL Outdoor Conference meet

Lost to graduation: Ryan Theisen (state qualifier, 3,200m), Shawn Bolin (sprints), Frank Schutz (hurdles), Nate Mayo (800m, 1,600m), Jack Fredian (1,600m)

Top returnees: Jack Harmon, sr. (hurdles), Abe Pennant, sr. (long jump, triple jump), Kevin Igoe, sr. (high jump), Ryan Buch, sr. (800m), Josh Harden, sr. (distance), Tom McCarthy, sr. (distance), Josh Methner, jr. (distance, placed 4th in the state in the 3,200m)

Top newcomers: Tim Choma, jr. (800m), Jason Palafox, jr. (800m), Colin Safford, jr. (800m), Max Svienty, jr. (3,200m), Quinn Rudy, jr (3,200m), Conor Oiler, fr. (800m), Trevor Schutz, jr. (throws), Austin Korba, jr. (throws), Danny Grozdev, jr. (sprints, jumps), Jordan Hansen, jr. (sprints, jumps), Kenny Haughton, jr. (sprints, jumps), Sam Mayo, jr. (sprints, jumps), Jimmy Matanovic, jr. (sprints, jumps), Cole Vanstaadlduinen, jr. (sprints)

Outlook: Hersey is trying to put the pieces together for a successful season. "Building a competitive team is a lot like putting a puzzle together," Hersey coach Kenneth Blazek said. "We have to get the athletes in the right spot to succeed and help the team score points. We will be looking to be very competitive this season. We have a lot of newcomers to the program and if we get them to jell with our top returnees, we could make some noise. Our team goal is to contend for the East Division and finish in the top 3 at the conference meet. We hope to qualify as many athletes as possible for the state meet and bring home some hardware." Junior Josh Methner, who won the Class 3A state cross country championship this past fall, returns after taking fourth place in state last year in the 3,200-meter run.

Hoffman EstatesCoach: Vito Anzalone

Last year: Placed fifth in state, sectional champions, placed third overall in the MSL meet

Lost to graduation: Declan Rustay (100m, 200m, 4x100 relay, 4x200 relay, now running at University of Illinois), Conner Kiley (100m, 200m, 4x100 relay, 4x400 relay, now running at UIC), Anijel Jones (long jump, 4x100 relay, 4x200 relay, 4x400 relay), Marshall Davis (long jump, triple jump), P.J. Rodriguez (110m high hurdles, 300m intermediate hurdles), Shreekar Patel (4x400 relay, 800m, 1,600m)

Top returnees: Malik Whitehead, sr. (long jump, 100m, 200m, 4x100 relay, 4x200 relay), Jonah Walton, soph. (high jump, 400m), Tomiwa Adewumi, soph. (100m, 200m, 4x100 relay)

Top newcomers: Ryan Smith, soph. (200m, 400m, 4x200 relay), Bryan Smith, soph. (200m, 400m, 4x200 relay), Ken Winston, soph. (800m, 1,600m, 3,200m), Fredy Martinez, soph. (100m, 200m, 4x100 relay, 4x200 relay), Jaelyn Williams, soph. (high jump, 200m)

Outlook: Coming off a fifth-place finish at state, a sectional championship and the recruitment of a couple of athletes who are now competing in college at the Division I level, Hoffman Estates is still feeling good about its 2018 season and wants to build off that momentum. "Our key words for this year are 'Legacy' and 'Mentality' because we want to uphold the reputation we've been building these last few years and develop into respectful, successful young men," Hoffman Estates coach Vito Anzalone said. "I am incredibly excited about our team this year because of our promising athletes and endless potential. Our sophomore and junior class has an incredibly bright future ahead of them and with the guidance of our seniors, I know this team can create a lasting impact."

LeydenCoach: Tom Cartwright

Last year: 7th in West Suburban Conference meet

Lost to graduation: James Hana (400m)

Top returnees: Patrick Sarad, sr. (800m), Julian Munoz, sr. (3,200m), Michael Schnoebelen, jr. (long jump, 100m), Manuel Ruiz, jr. (long jump, 100m), Kacper Nowaczyk, jr. (400m), Daniel Casarez, jr. (800m), Saul Jimenez, jr. (800m), Lorenzo Nunez, jr. (400m), Shane Allen, sr. (shot put, discus)

Outlook: Improvement is the goal for Leyden, improvement from last year's seventh-place West Suburban finish, and improvement from even yesterday. "The season outlook is to be better than the previous meet, week and day," Leyden coach Tom Cartwright said. "My hope is to place one spot higher than the indoor conference 2019 season, but more importantly have some state qualifiers. I want our kids to get better as track athletes and simply be good people. We have a team that works hard for themselves and for each other. Our kids constantly push through practice to take nothing for granted. Our conference is good and it's a barometer to determine how far we have come and how far we need to go."

Maine WestCoach: Andy Trotter

Last year: Placed 6th in the Central Suburban League North

Lost to graduation: Derek Pace (distance), Donny Johnson (distance, now running at Concordia), Landon Habler (jumps, sprints), Walter Hutt (throws, sprints)

Top returnees: David Jackson, jr. (sprints), Jonathan Kang, jr. (distance), Damon Street, sr. (high jump, sprints), Jaden Dolphin, jr. (high jump, sprints), Mike Bartusiak, jr. (throws)

Outlook: It has been a tough season already for Maine West, which has been hampered by early injuries. "This season has been and will be a challenge," Maine West coach Andy Trotter said. "We have not been very healthy so far and we don't have a lot of depth. We do have some talent, so we're hoping to be a stronger team as we get outdoors."

PalatineCoach: John Nalley

Last year: Placed 9th in the MSL meet

Lost to graduation: Evan Eckels (distance), Mason Gratzianna (sprints), Elliott Hardwick (jumps), Eddie Orozco (throws), Art Oshinson (mid-distance),

Top returnees: Richie Jacobo, jr. (state qualifier in 3,200m), Joe Ahlgrim, sr. (distance), Zach Cherian, sr. (sprints), Noah Chon, sr. (hurdles), Kai Ding, sr. (sprints), Julian McRoberts, sr. (pole vault), Josh Dysangco, sr. (jumps), David Godsey, sr. (throws), Jake Gronwick, sr. (hurdles, jumps), Chris Lewiston, sr. (sprints, jumps), Luke Sauerland, sr. (distance), Tyler Williams-Smith, sr. (jumps, sprints), Jaden Rasheed, jr. (sprints), Mossimo Vardamaskos, jr. (sprints), Damian Zych, soph. (pole vault)

Top newcomers: Jacob Bey, sr. (jumps), Jorge Corona, sr. (mid-distance), Patrick Angelaccio, jr. (multiple events), Joseph Cuprak, jr. (mid-distance), Daevin Diaz, jr. (sprints), Jack Wimer, jr. (sprints), Andrew Duran, jr. (distance), Brandon Hernandez, jr. (throws), Conrad Bloom, jr. (throws), Charlie Hopper, jr. (throws), Andrew Oles, jr. (throws), Ricky Orozco, jr. (throws), Jacob Wnuk, jr. (jumps, sprints), David Burchett, soph. (sprints), Alex Clue, soph. (hurdles), Josh Brown, soph. (jumps), Simon Holland, soph. (jumps), Andrew Johns, soph. (distance), Wiktor Pajak, soph. (pole vault), Nate Saldano, soph. (mid-distance), Patrick McClanahan, fr. (distance), Thomas O'Sullivan, fr. (distance), Gentry Mabry, fr. (mid-distance)

Outlook: Experience will be an issue for Palatine this season. "We have a very inexperienced team as only six returning athletes on our roster earned varsity letters last season," Palatine coach John Nalley said. "I am very excited to see how the team progresses throughout the season. We have a good group of seniors with leadership qualities. We are counting on them to bring the young guys along and hopefully have everyone ready to compete at the Palatine Relays by the end of April." There are 34 juniors on Palatine's roster and while most of them are new to the varsity, many have had success in the past. "This group (of juniors) has had some success at the frosh-soph level the past two years so we need to see how quickly they can adapt to varsity competition," Nalley said.

ProspectCoach: Jay Renaud

Last year: Placed 2nd in the MSL meet, MSL East champion

Lost to graduation: Jack Terry (distance), Nate Cozine (distance), Tommy Morton (throws, now competing at Wisconsin-Whitewater)

Top returnees: Tim Zalinski, sr. (sprints, jumps), Nathan Kowalski, sr. (sprints, hurdles, jumps), Michael Shafis, sr. (sprints, jumps), Mitch Kamp, sr. (throws), Andy Reimann, sr. (distance), Matt Kuleszynski, sr. (hurdles), Paul Khairallah, sr. (distance), Jordan Morrow, sr. (distance), John Moellenkamp, jr. (sprints, jumps), Sebastian Swistak, jr. (throws), Logan Mertes, jr. (distance), Tom Walter, jr. (distance), Andrew Diversey, jr. (pole vault), Justin Carreon, jr. (pole vault), Erik Snell, jr. (distance), Will Horvath, jr. (sprints), Damian Kukuc, jr. (hurdles)

Top newcomers: Adam Mekky, jr. (sprints), Stefan Krneta, jr. (sprints), Pax Kim, jr. (sprints), Noah Marx, soph. (sprints), Kevin Stokes, soph. (distance), Nic Squillacioti, soph. (distance), Matt Squillacioti, soph. (sprints), Luke Zardzin, soph. (sprints), Gavin Kafkakis, soph. (distance), Joe Mantych, soph. (jumps), Matt Raitano, fr. (sprints), Sean Beihoffer, fr. (sprints), Jack Olson, fr. (jumps, sprints)

Outlook: There are high expectations for Prospect as a team, but there are some high expectations on an individual level as well. The Knights are looking to defend their MSL East championship and at least match or exceed their second-place finish in last year's MSL conference meet. Meanwhile, Michael Shafis is looking to earn all-state honors in high jump all four years of his high school career, a rare distinction. "We hope to repeat as MSL East champions, win the MSL meet, qualify as many kids to the state meet as we can and bring home as many PRs and medals as possible," Prospect coach Jay Renaud said. "Ultimately, we hope track and field is a great experience for our athletes, where they can take the things they've learned to the classroom, the community and to life beyond high school."

Rolling MeadowsCoach: Frank Schweda

Last year: Placed 5th in the MSL meet

Lost to graduation: Zach Olberg (sprints, now at Navy), Brad Fugiel (distance), Sean Feikes (sprints), Will Rezny (throws, now at University of Illinois)

Top returnees: Joe Boyer, sr. (throws), Tim Szylak, sr. (hurdles, sprints), Eddie Lennon, sr. (distance), Sergio Castro, jr. (sprints), Charlie Svoboda, sr. (pole vault, relays), Kacper Lesniak, sr. (jumps), David Zieba, jr. (jumps, sprints), Nate Orlyk, sr. (distance)

Top newcomers: Noah Wilson, soph. (sprints), Aidan Schmidt, jr. (sprints, jumps), Mick Lawlor, soph. (high jump), Stephen Barretto, soph. (distance)

Outlook: Rolling Meadows, which finished third in the recent MSL indoor meet, is optimistic it will be competitive in every event this season. "Our team has some balance this year, a big performer in each event group, plus guys who will help out and add points," Rolling Meadows coach Frank Schweda said. "Our depth will help us, as well as many of the guys coming in with big-meet experience. Everyone has been working hard and the indoor conference meet showed that. I think we saw that we can compete with and beat some of the best teams in our conference as well as around the state." Speaking of state competitions, Joe Boyer, who will throw at Illinois State next year, is regarded as one of the top throwers in the state and recently placed second in shot put at the Illinois Top Times meet, throwing just better than 61 feet and breaking a Rolling Meadows school record from 1974.

SchaumburgCoach: Ryan Senica

Last year: Placed 10th in the MSL meet

Lost to graduation: Victor Olaitan (state medalist in 110m high hurdles, state qualifier in long jump and triple jump, competing at Harper)

Top returnees: Cedric Celino (sprints, jumps), Parth Mohanty (pole vault), Joe Jamison (throws)

Top newcomers: Grant Bonatz (distance), Georgi Stankov (sprints, jumps), Jorge Monaco (sprints)

Outlook: Schaumburg lost a big name in Victor Olaitan, who earned a medal in last year's state meet in the 110-meter high hurdles and also qualified for state in the long jump and triple jump. Veterans will be counted on to fill the void and help the Saxons improve on last year's 10th-place finish at the MSL meet. "We are looking to rely on returning seniors to help anchor the team and we are looking forward to the development of top newcomers to help provide additional scoring on the year," Schaumburg coach Ryan Senica said.

Schaumburg ChristianCoach: Robert Common

Last year: Placed third in the SWAC

Top returnees: Jordan Epps (100m)

Outlook: Now in its fourth year, the Schaumburg Chrisitan track program includes athletes in the school from fifth grade to 12th grade. Jordan Epps created excitement last year with an 11:32 in the 100 meters.

St. ViatorCoach: Rodero Warren

Last year: Had 19 state qualifiers, placed fourth in sectionals, placed third in East Suburban Catholic Conference championship

Lost to graduation: Michael Steadman (200m, 400m, long jump, 4x100, 4x200, 4x400), Jeremy Yoder (long jump, 200m, 4x100, 4x200), Richard Rinka (400m, 800m, 1,600m, 4x800, 4x400), William Sheriff (100m, 200m, 4x100, 4x200), Brady Collis (4x800, 1,600m, 800m), Jeremiah Hare (sprints, jumps), Kennedy Gawin (sprints, jumps)

Top returnees: Jason Doland, sr. (middle distance), Patric Natindim, jr. (middle distance), Athan Huelskamp, jr. (throws), Kentaro Lim, sr. (pole vault), Jacob Nelson, sr. (sprints, jumps), Joseph Turzitti, sr. (sprints), Nathan Peters, sr. (sprints), Michael Grossi, jr. (sprints), Lucas Barisas, soph. (sprints), Jeremiah Pittman, soph. (sprints, throws)

Top newcomers: Evan Ritchie, jr. (sprints, jumps), Mark Crouse, jr. (throws), Alec Scislowski, soph. (sprints, throws), Kristofer Lipiarz, fr. (throws), Daniel Crawford, fr. (sprints), Rowan McDonnell, fr. (middle distance), Brendan Oleksak, fr. (sprints), Dominic Palese, fr. (sprints), Mikey Schumacher, fr. (middle distance), Lucas Doland, fr. (middle distance), Ryan Li, fr. (middle distance), Benjamin Duenez, fr. (pole vault)

Outlook: There may be a few challenges along the way, but St. Viator is focused on the state meet. "We are a small school without facilities to properly train our athletes, yet, we compete successfully against schools four to six times our size," St. Viator coach Rodero Warren said. "Even with the private school multiplier, we've been able to find a way to the state meet, and even pick up some medals. This group can keep it going. We have a lot of talent on the team and should be able to make it downstate in a few events. The season is long and we have a lot of time to get better. I know the guys are going to be working hard and coaches are going to continue to push us and make sure we do our best on an off the track." Long distance runners Jason and Lucas Doland, who are brothers, should make a big impact for the Lions. Jason Doland, a senior, has already committed to run for Memphis next year. Lucas Doland is a freshman.

Wheeling WildcatsCoach: Tom Polak

Last year: Placed 6th in the MSL meet

Lost to graduation: Lawrence Knish (Marines), Angel Villegas (Harper), Braxton Barrett, Carlos Martinez, Logan Laude, Kevin Juarez, Kelvin Chavez, Mao Gurney, Vlad Castillo, Jorge Pizano

Top returnees: Jordan Teran, jr. (state qualifier in 800m and 1,600m), Tyler Polak, sr. (1,600m, 3,200m), Justin Hall, sr. (shot put), Ivan Muro, sr. (discus), Christian McLaughlin, jr. (discus), Jason Aguilar, jr. (110m high hurdles, 300m intermediate hurdles), Sebastian Vences Perez, sr. (800m, 1,600m), Fernando Olvera, sr. (pole vault), Ted Giang, sr. (high jump), Jackson Gross, sr. (1,600m, 3,200m), Abraham Cisneros, jr. (200m, 400m), Tyler Johnson, jr. (100m, 200m)

Top newcomers: Josh Martinez, jr. (200m, 400m), Solomon Hudson, soph. (100m, 200m), Angel Torres, jr. (800m, 1,600m), Daylan Berger, fr. (110m high hurdles), 300m intermediate hurdles), Esteban Lagunes, jr. (800m, 1,600m), Greg Sevilla, jr. (800m, 1,600m), Alan Nance, jr. (400m, 800m), Bryan Martinez, soph. (1,600m, 3,200m)

Outlook: Wheeling is in re-building ... and building mode. "With the loss of a strong senior class, we are in re-build mode with a very young sprint core that could make an impact in a year or so," Wheeling coach Tom Polak said. "A goal this season as a team is to also build a team identity to get excited about." The Wildcats should be able to happily identify with their distance athletes and throwers. There is talent and experience there. "The distances and throws will have strong seasons with several athletes capable of state qualifying," Polak said. "We are working on developing depth." Polak is also looking forward to one more season of coaching his son Tyler, a distance runner who will be continuing his career in track and cross country at Illinois State next year.

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