Boys cross country: Cook County and Lake County season preview

  • Trey Sato returns to a talented Grayslake Central team that finished 12th last year in the Class 2A state meet.

    Trey Sato returns to a talented Grayslake Central team that finished 12th last year in the Class 2A state meet. Matthew Apgar/

  • Palatine's Mason Krieg, right, is one of the top returning runners this fall in Cook County.

    Palatine's Mason Krieg, right, is one of the top returning runners this fall in Cook County. Daily Herald file photo

By Bobby Narang
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 8/30/2022 9:10 PM

Palatine boys cross country coach Joe Parks is optimistic his team is ready for another memorable season.

Parks has good reason to be encouraged, mainly because of the bulk of his team is returning following a strong 2021 season. The Pirates finished ninth in Class 3A last fall.


Seniors Mason Krieg, Jack Casaccio, Owen Elliott, Christian Keller and junior Andy Hansen, sophomore Carter Hayes and freshman Alex Krieg are the main runners Parks is counting on this season.

"We have some strong senior depth in Mason, Jack and Owen," Parks said. "All three ran in their first state cross country meet last fall and that experience will hopefully take us a long way."

Junior Carter Webb is Antioch's top returner. Juniors Anton Augusto and Tyler Wolfe complete a solid threesome of juniors slated to lead the Sequoits.

Barrington placed second in the MSL last season, but looking to take a step up the standings with the return of senior AJ Van Vuren. Junior Max Lewis and sophomores Avery Erickson, Joe Bregenzer and Ethan Scott are in the top group of returnees.

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"A.J. Max and Avery will have to lead a sophomore heavy group through the season's ups and downs," Barrington coach Tom Root said.

Buffalo Grove senior Mario Torres is one of the top returnees in the Mid-Suburban League. Tyler Lieu, Charlie Kummerow, Nick Cozzi, Ricardo Loeza, Riley Wold and Will Capito are slated to be among the key runners for the Bison.

"We hope to finish in the top half of the MSL and qualify to the sectional as a team," Buffalo Grove coach Bryan Quesea said.

Carmel would love to bust into the top three in the East Suburban Catholic Conference, coach Jim Halford said. Cole Bonham, P.J. Biegel, Matthew Lotze, Ian Steward, Andrew Schmidt and John Krietsch are among the top runners.

Conant senior Vijay Krishnamoorthi and junior Gavin Corpin are both looking to take it up a notch after earning all-conference honors last season.

"We feel like we're ready to take the next step in the postseason," Conant coach John Powers said.


Elk Grove has experience on its side with three juniors and two sophomores among the top seven.

Fremd has good mix of experience and youth, paced by senior Theo Cunningham, junior Thomas Border and sophomore Rory Gaan.

"The team returns five of the top seven from last year, and is looking to challenge for one of the state qualifying positions at sectionals," Fremd coach Matt Zaluckyj said.

Grant has big goals due to the return of four of its top seven runners from last season's sectional qualifying team. Dane Glover, Aidan LaMantia, Memphis Roman, John Nehmzow and Niko Dayment form a solid group.

Grayslake Central has a long history of success in recent years. The Rams are in store for another big season with Trey Sato, Will Welty, John Vagnoni, Duncan Jones and Kyle Bianchi slated to be among the top runners.The Rams finished 12th in Class 2A last season.

"Trey Sato has the talent and the work ethic to be one of the top contenders in 2A this fall," Grayslake Central coach James Centella said. "Will Welty and John Vagnoni also have all-state potential."

Grayslake North's bringing back a pair of all-conference runners in Owen Davies and Nicholas Von Briesesn, while Sergio Janneau is back on the team.

Hersey had a banner showing last season, winning the Mid-Suburban East title and placing 16th in Class 3A. Juniors Liam Naughton and Cameron Donner are looking to take the next step in their development this fall, Hersey coach Kevin Young said.

Lakes is aiming for another noteworthy run with the return of Micah Lind, Payton Whitehead and Quin Maloney.

"Micah and Quin have step the tone with their leadership," Lakes coach Travis Shepherd said. "This group is hungry and likes to compete."

As the defending North Suburban Conference champions, Lake Zurich brings backs Dylan Myers, Braden Eckman, Cole Boudreault and Will Perez.

"We're a senior-dominated team with a lot of experience and high expectations," Lake Zurich coach JB Hanson said. "

Libertyville senior Danny Wojda and sophomores Mike Chudy and James O'Keefe give coach Stuart Mendelsohn a solid group of returnees.

Maine East's top returnees include Adam Mrozek, Luis Mendoza and Allan Bochenek.

"I'm looking forward to seeing the boys compete," Maine East coach Chris Peters said. "They've been working hard and are excited to race."

Maine South is one of the deeper teams in the region, with Luca Arcuri, Luke Pravecek, Joey Karlesky, Will Huddleston, Alex Wille, Nico Lospalluto and Dominick Parrillo leading a strong senior group.

At Maine West, the projected top seven is slated to be Ryan Hauptmann, Ben Huk, Joey Bruno, Frankie Ferriolo, Jesse Martin, Gerardo Perez and Sherwin Bathula.

Mundelein coach Kurt Rutz has built a strong program through the years. Rutz is pointing toward strong seasons from Javier Mata, Tom Russ, Alberto Diaz, Logan Ramirez and Logan Green this fall.

"We have everyone back from last year, but we're still a young team," Rutz said. "We're looking to improve on last year's advancement to the sectionals."

Prospect has the bar very high this season, mainly due to the return of Luka Kuzmanovic, Andrew Katsogianos, Michael Piagari, John Petereson and Jack Murphy.

"We're very excited to get the season started and watch the guys compete," Prospect coach Jay Renaud said.

Rolling Meadows is a junior heavy team, with Diego Buenrostro, Hayden Sander and Kyle Pietroski all back for another season.

"The guys are working hard and running together," Rolling Meadows coach Frank Schweda said. "I'm looking for Diego to have a great season, and the other guys to stay healthy and keep building up as well."

Schaumburg's top four of Christian Haywood, Owen Whelan, Jose Morales and Nick Vocarro are looking to lead the program to a special season.

St. Viator is aiming to ride strong seasons from John Hutchison, Sam Hargadon and Mike Wallace.

Vernon Hills is experienced and talented with the return of four runners -- Brady Clegg, Charlie Blackmer, Erick Herrera and David Rzepa.

Wheeling is led by seniors Chris Ordon, John Ramirez and Samir Patel and juniors Jake Ning and Tyler Woods.

"We're 10 deep going into this fall," Wheeling coach Tom Polak said. "We've not had that luxury in quite a while. Our expectations are to be in the top half of the MSL, which is always tough."

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