Boys swimming: Scouting Fox
Will St. Charles North 3-peat?
Will St. Charles East and West-Chicago co-op finish in the top 10 at the state meet?
Will Marmion Academy improve its 18th-place finish from the 2020 season?
Those questions will be answered on Feb 24-25 at the state meet held at the Westmont Natatorium.
In between, there will be conference dual meets, weekend invitationals, conference meets and sectionals.
With no state meet in 2021 because of COVID-19, St. Charles North is the 2-time defending state champ, taking top honors in 2019 and 2020.
The North Stars, guided by veteran coach Rob Rooney, boast one of the top swimmers in the state in Aleksej Filipovic. Filipovic, as a sophomore, won the 100 butterfly and was runner-up in the 50 freestyle.
Others Rooney will be counting on will be senior Hunter Freeland, juniors Kriz Stephen Delbello and Robby Kemp along with sophomore William Duetmeyer.
"We are looking to build upon the traditions of the past and build for the future," said Rooney.
St. Charles East, seventh in the state in 2020, has a young but talented team ready to swim in 2021-22.
Jack Redden is the lone senior on the team. Returnees include juniors Leo Czerwinski and Will Murray a long with sophomores Ben Stevens, Chris Souk and Kyle Algrim.
Freshmen Josh Kennedy and Clancy Windle hope to make a splash in their initial high school season.
"We are a relatively young and talented team," said coach Adam Musial. "Guys can literally step up and swim in any event. We are looking to place the pieces together and put on a performance at the end of the season."
West Chicago co-op, guided by Troy Murray, has high hopes for the coming season. With swimmers from Geneva and Batavia, the Wildcats hope to repeat as Upstate Eight champs and finish in the Top 10 at the state meet.
Batavia senior Logan Townsend, a state qualifier as a sophomore in the 200 and 500 freestyle, is the top returner for Murray.
Others with varsity experience are senior Gavin McCullough (Geneva), juniors Mason Smith (Batavia) and Mark Stavenger (West Chicago) along with sophomores Ryan Fors (Batavia) and Brady Johnson (West Chicago).
Freshmen Nathan Lindstrom (Batavia), Tom Eng (Batavia), Alex Claessens (Geneva) and Sam Ortiz (Geneva) look to make contributions for the Wildcats.
"We have a team that can compete at the state level," said Murray. "It is a challenge they have accepted. We hope to qualify for state in every individual event and 2 of 3 relays. These are lofty goals but we have the talent to do that."
Perennial power Marmion Academy, losing 10 seniors to graduation, is in a rebuilding mode in 2021-2022.
Senior Jackson Oostman and juniors Tyler Connor and Sean Wehner provide experience for the Cadets.
Freshmen Tyler Bardak and Evan Conti hope to break into the lineup for Marmion.
"We have a young team and we are in a position of uncertainty," said coach Aaron Maschman. "We have strong potential. Time will tell."
Boys swimming at a glance
Top teams: Jacobs co-op. West Aurora, Cary-Grove, St. Charles East, St. Charles North, Huntley, West Chicago co-op, South Elgin
Top swimmers: Jacobs:- Sr. Martin Nowak, So. Pavlo Komarow; Illinois Math and Science Academy: Seniors Aiden Knutson, Nathan Brodsky, Kevin Qu; Jr. Alex Ward; So. Carson Converse; West Aurora: Seniors Jay Jenkins, Jack Fisher, Gunnar Amderson; Jr. Brad Reimer, So. Isaac Del Toro; Bartlett: Seniors Anthony Martin, Isaac Scherman; Cary-Grove: Seniors Ben Castro, Kameron Fadden, Sam Naatz; Jrs. Dexter Zielinski, Danial Sanahurskyj; Sophs: Connor Chan, Drew Watson, Brendan Buser; St. Charles East: Sr. Jack Redden, Jrs Leo Czerwinski, Will Murray, Sophomores Kyle Algrim, Ben Stevens, Chris Souk; Larkin: Sr. Israel Vargas; Huntley: Seniors Ben Rocks, Gavim Heard, Max Van Doran; Jrs Yehan Subasinghe, Dominic Siwiec, So. Luke Hackemack; St. Charles North: Seniors Aleksej Filipovic; Hunter Freeland; Jrs Robby Kemp, Kriz Stephen Del Bello, So. William Duetmeyer; South Elgin: Seniors Matt Ozog, Dom Schlueter, Aiden Beeskow, Jrs: Josh Vargas, Andrew Strama; Bartlett: Seniors Anthony Martin, Isaac Scherman; West Chicago co-op: Seniors Logan Townsend (Batavia), Gavin McCullough (Geneva), Jrs Mason Smith (Batavia), Mark Stavenger (West Chicago): Sophs Brady Johnson (West Chicago), Ryan Fors (Batavia)
Season skinny: St. Charles North and St. Charles East will certainly battle for the DuKane Conference championship and a high finish at the state meet. North and East aren't the only solid teams in the area. Jacobs, Cary-Grove and Huntley will fight for supremacy in the Fox Valley Conference. The Golden Eagles, guided by Molly Gomberg, are led by senior Martin Nowak, in his fourth year on the varsity. Sophomore Pavlo Komarow also returns while freshmen Luke Johnson and Gabe Niemi are newcomers for the Golden Eagles. "We have a very young team with a lot of talent," said Gomberg. "We want to get as many swimmers at the to Natorium (Westmont, new host of state) as possible. We want to see improvement across the board." Cary-Grove coach Scott Lattyak has a wealth of talent and experience returning. The top returnee is senior Ben Castro, who was 11th in the state in 2020 in the 100 butterfly. Others back are junior Danial Sanahurskyj and sophomore Drew Watson. Providing experience for the Trojans are seniors Sam Naatz and Kameron Fadden, junior Dexter Zielinski and sophomores Connor Chan and Brendon Baser. "We want to win conference and qualify as many individuals for state as possible," said Lattyak. "We are hoping for a top 10 finish as a team." Huntley should be in the mix for a conference title with Jacobs and Cary-Grove. Senior Ben Rocks, a state qualifier in the 100 freestyle, is the top Red Raider back. Seniors Max Van Doran and Gavin Heard return for a fourth year on the varsity while juniors Yehan Subasinghe and Dominic Siwiec begin their third on the varsity. Sophomore Luke Hackenack got varsity experience as a freshman. "We are excited about the season," said Huntley coach Jenna Gaudio. "We look forward to the weekend invites and the IHSA state series. We have several swimmers setting their goals around state qualifying times. We hope to be competitive in the FVC invite and the IHSA sectionals." West Chicago is shooting for a second straight Upstate Eight Conference title. The Wildcats, who co-op with Geneva and Batavia, have a lot of talent returning. Senior Logan Townsend from Batavia is a state qualifier in the 200 and 500 freestyle. Others back are senior Gavin McCullough (Geneva), juniors Mason Smith (Batavia) and Mark Stavenger (West Chicago), and sophomores Brady Johnson (West Chicago) and Ryan Cors (Batavia). "We believe our team can compete at the state level," said coach Troy Murray. "It is a challenge this team has accepted. We want to qualify in every individual event and 2 of 3 relays. We know these are lofty goals but we believe we have the talent to do it." With an experienced team, West Aurora coach Chris Ranallo is hoping to make a splash in the Southwest Prairie Conference. Seniors Jay Jenkins (4-year varsity), Jack Fisher (3-year varsity) and Gunnar Anderson (3-year varsity) provide the leadership for the Blackhawks. Junior Brad Reimer and sophomore Isaac Del Toro return with experience. "We have a solid group returning," said Ranallo. "We are looking forward to a full season and hoping to get varsity swimmers down to state meet at the end of the season."