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Sports

Boys Track and Field: Previewing teams in the Kane County Chronicle coverage area

St. Charles East's Bob Liking won the boys championship at the Leavey Invitational Sept. 6 at LeRoy Oakes.
St. Charles East's Bob Liking won the boys championship at the Leavey Invitational Sept. 6 at LeRoy Oakes.

The boys track and field season is on hold indefinitely, but we're still previewing the season. Here are previews of teams in the Kane County Chronicle area.

BATAVIA BULLDOGS

Coach: Dennis Piron

Top athletes: Anthony Bradley, jr., sprints, middle distance; Adam Kennedy, sr., sprints, middle distance; Joe Knanishu, sr., sprints, middle distance; Steven Koif, sr., sprints; Dondre Phillips, jr., sprints; Damian Rodriquez, sr., middle distance; Eamon Samsami, sr., distance.

Outlook: Piron has crafted his team around the mutually supporting distances of 400 and 800 meters in recent seasons. Runner-up in the Class 3A 3,200 relay last spring, Navy recruit Kennedy and DePaul-bound returnees Knanishu and Rodriguez help make a formidable quartet. Kennedy, Knanishu and Bradley were all-state in the 1,600 relay. “The 800 is where I feel most comfortable,” Kennedy said. “I want to really lay it out there.” The Bulldogs have been a model program with a penchant for covering all 18 events at major competitions.

BURLINGTON CENTRAL ROCKETS

Coach: Mike Schmidt

Top athletes: Jake Bormann, jr., throws; Anthony Farmer, sr., middle distance, distance; Yavant Hausler, sr., sprints; Jacoby Haynes, jr., sprints; Gio Martinez, sr., distance; Eric Metz, jr., throws; Zac Schmidt, so., sprints, middle distance; Tommy Zettl, sr., sprints, middle distance.

Outlook: Schmidt has sky-high expectations for the Rockets, who tied for sixth last spring at the Class 2A state meet. “I think we are a top-five team, with a chance for a trophy,” Schmidt said. “I think we have a chance. There is a lot of high-end talent around here.” Burlington Central is particularly lethal in the four relays. Zettl anchors two returning all-state units at 1,600 and 3,200 meters. Farmer, the linchpin to the Rockets’ runner-up 3,200 quartet, returns to full strength.

GENEVA VIKINGS

Coach: Gale Gross

Top athletes: Tim Archibald, jr., sprints, middle distance; Ben Calusinski, jr., middle distance, distance; Roman Cramer, jr., jumps, pole vault; Onyi Okaobasi,sr., sprints, hurdles, jumps; Cody Machlet, sr., sprints, hurdles, jumps; Hayden McCoy, jr., sprints; Konnor Mickelsen, jr., sprints; Valdis Skokenbergs, sr., distance.

Outlook: Okaobasi is the senior stalwart for the Vikings. A finalist in the long jump last year at the Class 3A state meet, Okaobasi is a legitimate contender in the 110-high and 300-intermediate hurdles as well. Gross is equally excited about Machlet in the same events. “He is right behind (Okaobaski),” Gross said. “We think (Okaobaski) can qualify in multiple events.” Calusinski, a cross country state qualifier, is the Vikings’ distance ace.

KANELAND KNIGHTS

Coach: Andy Drendel

Top athletes: Austin Adams, sr., sprints, middle distance; Teddy Allen, jr., sprints, pole vault; Nate Bermes, sr., pole vault; Peter Conroy, jr., hurdles, jumps; Colton Doll, sr., sprints, jumps; Max Gagne, sr., sprints; Daniel Occhipinti, sr., distance.

Outlook: The Knights will look to Class 2A team cross country state champions Adams and Occhipinti to be the vanguard this spring. The anomaly of competing in 3A in track was inconsequential for Adams as the senior was fourth at 800 meters last year. “Expectations are really high,” Drendel said. “We are pretty deep in a lot of events. We’re trying to outdo what we did last year in terms of state qualifiers." Cross country all-staters Ethan Walker and Isaiah Dallal give Drendel added depth.

MARMION CADETS

Coach: Dan Thorpe

Top athletes: Eric Blaha, sr., jumps, pole vault; Alex Carlson, sr., distance; Trevis Clementi, sr., distance; Caleb Modlin, sr., hurdles; Ben Okolita, sr., pole vault; Andrew Saloga, sr., pole vault; Anthony Tinerella, sr., sprints; Anthony Zangler, sr., middle distance. 

Outlook: Two years removed from a Class 2A state championship, the Cadets are built around the incongruent mixture of Saloga, the reigning state runner-up in 3A pole vault, and their state cross country veterans from last fall. “We have an excellent distance culture,” Thorpe said. “We would love to (have Saloga) at the top of the podium. Our sophomores and juniors are going to carry us.” Carlson and Zangler are the distance standouts for Marmion.

ST. CHARLES EAST SAINTS

Coach: Tim Wolf

Top athletes: Andrew Brown, sr., sprints; Liam Frank, jr., sprints, hurdles; Aidan King, sr, middle distance, distance; Bob Liking, sr., distance; Brian Lingard, sr., sprints; Zach Loomis, jr., middle distance, distance; Luke Schildmeyer, jr., middle distance, distance; Micah Wilson, so., distance.

Outlook: The St. Charles East vanguard this spring will undoubtedly be King, Liking, Loomis, Schildmeyer and Wilson, the contributing members of the Saints’ Class 3A state championship cross country team last fall. "I think we can qualify in all the distance events,” said Liking, the Wisconsin-bound leader for both programs. “We have a lot of experience.” Schildmeyer is the lone returning member of the Saints’ all-state 3,200 relay, but King, Brown and Connor Murphy figure to propel the reigning third-place quartet this season.

ST. CHARLES NORTH NORTH STARS

Coach: Kevin Harrington

Top athletes: Ryan Arnold, sr., middle distance, distance; Ben Cook, sr., sprints; Josh DiNatale, jr., sprints; Joshua Duncan, so., sprints; Paolo Gennarelli, so., throws; Josh Kolodziej, jr., sprints, pole vault; DJ Oshin, sr., throws.

Outlook: Harrington has grand ambitions to direct the program to new heights. “We have a stable of sprinters that we haven’t seen before,” Harrington said. “We will be the best team in the history of St. Charles North. We’re not there yet.” DiNatale and Duncan are the North Stars’ core sprinters who will excel not only individually but also in the three sprint relays. Gennarelli is the North Stars’ most intriguing athlete as the newcomer already has established a program best in the shot put (55 feet).

ST. FRANCIS SPARTANS

Coach: Mike Prizy

Top athletes: Shane Anderson, jr., throws; Ben Bettag, jr., sprints, middle distance; Jack Crabtree, sr., hurdles, jumps; Leo DeLeon, sr., throws; Jackson Gerard, jr., sprints, jumps; Sam King, jr., middle distance, distance; Ethan Naling, jr., sprints, jumps; Chris Spahn, so., distance; Dan Weizeorick, sr., middle distance, distance.

Outlook: Weizeorick is coming off multiple all-state performances in the past year after leading the Spartans’ 3,200 relay to fifth, placing eighth in the metric mile, and garnering sixth at the Class 2A state cross country meet in November. Bettag also returns from St. Francis’ all-state 3,200 quartet. “We want big things happening in May,” Prizy said.

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