2023 IHSA State XC Championships Preview - 2A Boys


By Michael Newman


Class 2A Individual Runners to Watch


Dylon Nalley, Marion; Dale Johnson, Sterling; Trey Sato, Grayslake Central; Matthew Conroy, St. Ignatius Prep; Finn Richards, Benet Academy; Ishan Patel, Woodstock; Evan Nosek, Kaneland; Caleb Mathias, Champaign Central; Will Gelon, Prairie Ridge; Julian Baker, Mt. Zion; Max Weber, Civic Memorial; Josh Weeks, Morton; Luis Flores, St. Laurence; Owen Morgan, Taylorville; Jaden Frederick, Glenbard South; Mason Hart, Normal University; Tim Jochum, Glenbard South; Mekeye Lomax, Marion, Dylan Gehl, Geneseo.


Class 2A Individuals Preview


Dylan Nalley has set course records in his last three meets. Does he make it four in a row on Saturday? Nalley has put down some fast times this season including two fast efforts at Detweiller Park. He wants to defend his state title. He may want that course record just a little more. Dale Johnson and Trey Sato are the two runners to watch. Do they push Nalley? Do they look to garner a place instead of a time?


IL XC Speed Ratings State Meet Projections


Teams Previews


Normal (University)

Sectional Runners – Mason Hart SR, Sachit Muduli SR, Mitchell Hayes SR, Connor Hartman JR, Landen Alcorn SR, Sean Kaeb SO, Jonah Kaeb SR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022  (1A-4th)

Overview –The last two state meets that Normal University has raced in, they finished fourth both in Cass 1A. The move to Class 2A this fall is a hope that a change in Class will mean a change in place. U-High did not run all of their top runners in winning their regional meet. U-High did last week winning 70-78 in winning at Jacksonville. Any runner in their top five can be  the top runner in the meet. Their average in invitationals this year is nearly 18 seconds. It was 25 seconds last week in winning the sectional race. Mason Hart and Sachit Munduli finished in the top 10 running within six seconds of each other. Mitchell Hayes, Connor Hartman, and Landen Alcorn ran between 14:58 and 15:05. U-High should have two all-state runners at state. Their split could be around 25 seconds again. Remember, their split has gone lower in meets. The key is having their pack start between 10 to 15 places. Achieving that could have this group of Pioneers ready to claim a state title.



Sectional Runners – Dylon Nalley SR, Mekeye Lomax SR, Raphael Greer FR, Gabriel Greer FR, Evan Dailey JR, Cade Parks SR, Hayden Lees SR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (8th)

Overview – If it were a dual meet last week, Marion would have had the edge 25-31 ahead of U-High. Marion had four runners in before Normal’s third runner crossed the line. Normal put four more runners ahead of Marion to claim the win. U-High had 5 in the top 22, Marion had 5 runners in the top 49. It is a nice thing to have the top runner in the state as your #1 runner. Dylon Nalley should be the huge favorite in this race. Their next three runners have shown big improvement. Mekye Lomax finished fifth last week and could finish in the top 15. Freshmen Raphael Greer and Gabriel Greer finished 21 seconds behind Lomax next week. Evan Dailey, the fifth runner last week, was 38 seconds behind the Greers which could be a problem on Saturday. The gap of 59 seconds on their second through fifth runners needs to come down by at least 15 seconds this week. Cade Parks has been in the top five during the season. A big race from him could get the Wildcats in position for a state title.


Glen Ellyn (Glenbard South)

Sectional Runners – Tim Jochum SR, Jaden Frederick SR, Michael Bailey SR, Lucas Newman SR, Tim Jochum FR, Ben Zima SR, Luke Van Tholen JR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (3rd)

Overview – The Raiders have been tested three times during this season. The first was a big win at the First to the Finish Invitational at the beginning of September. Their past two have been the last couple of meets. Glenbard South edged Benet Academy 34-38 in their regional. The margin went down to two points last week 55-57. The Raiders edge is that their five runner split in the sectional meet was 38 seconds with Tim Jochum and Jaden Frederick within a second of each other and the threesome of Michael Bailey, Lucas Newman, and Tom Jochum running within three seconds of each. The gap between the two groups last week was 34 seconds. South needs a similar race on Saturday getting in position and moving up when it counts in the final mile.


Lisle (Benet Academy)

Sectional Runners – Finn Richards JR, Charlie Phelan SR, Aidan Hulett JR, Jacob Molloy SR, Danny Shannon SR, Ryan Amidei SR, Matt Spellman SR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2019 (7th)

Overview – Benet Academy moved back into 2A last summer and were thought of as one of the top teams in Class 2A. This is their first appearance in the state meet since 2019. The Redwings lost to Glenbard South by four points in the Regional meet at Miller Meadows. It was only a two point difference last week at Lewis University. If it were a dual meet, Benet Academy would have won 26-29. Finn Richards is one of the top runners in Class 2A and could finish in the top 10 in this meet. He finished 11 seconds ahead of the first Glenbard South. There was a 20 second gap before Charlie Phelan, Aidan Hulett, and Jacob Malloy finished. The three runners were separated by 25 seconds. There was a gap of 38 seconds before Danny Shannon finished. It is the same scenario as the three above teams getting their fifth runner in first before any other team accomplishes that.


Chicago (Payton College Prep)

Sectional Runners – Gavin Lee SR, Tra’Monti Williams SO, Preston Ellis JR, Declan Slavin SO, Tristian Zhu JR, Gus Berlinghof FR, Aiden Hu-Lowenthal SR Note: Gabriel Cooper did not run in the sectional meet.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (6th)

Overview – Payton held out some of their runners from last week’s sectional meet where they finished fourth and four points behind St. Ignatius College Prep. Their split last week without their full lineup was 46 seconds. Add Gabriel Cooper within 15 seconds of the team’s top runner Gavin Lee, the split could be near 28 seconds. Both Lee and Cooper potentially could finish in the top 25. Preston Ellis, Tra’Monti Williams, and Declan Slavin were within 10 seconds of each other. Focus has been on the top four teams heading into this weekend. It could be the Grizzlies that have the final say in this race.



Sectional Runners – Josh Weeks SR, Yonas Wuthrich SR, Layton Knoop SR, Phillip Canopy JR, Boston Beyer JR, Christian Harris JR, Keyston Beyer FR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (5th)

Overview – Morton had a setback in their regional meet finishing second behind Washington. They were back to Normal in winning at Geneseo last week. Josh Weeks is the team’s top runner and should be among the top 10 in this race. Yonas Wuthrich ran a great race five seconds behind Weeks. He will need that kind of race at state. They had a 39 second split in their next three runners led by Layton Knoop. The overall split of 59 seconds is not enough for the team to finish in the top teams battle. It will need to be under 40 seconds to challenge for a trophy.


Maple Park (Kaneland)

Sectional Runners – Evan Nosek JR, David Valkanov SR, Evan Whildin SO, Zachary Murdock JR, Liam Lentz JR, Collin Reutimann SR, Joey Schuch FR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2021 (4th)

Overview – The hurt that the Knights have worn has slowly gone away in this past year after Kaneland missed making it to state when they were expected to. This year was different finishing an easy second just four behind sectional champion Marmion Academy. Kaneland could have three runners in the top 30 in this race. Evan Nosek finished third at Woodstock and could finish in the top 10. David Valkanov was just two seconds behind his teammate and could be among the first 15. Evan Whildin was three places behind Valkanov. The sophomore could end up finishing between 20th through 30th. The teams overall top five last week was 77 seconds. Closing that gap down by 10 seconds could make their first three runners even more potent. Kaneland needs a number of things to happen if they want to finish in the top five. Moving their split closer to each other is a must.


Crystal Lake (Prairie Ridge)

Sectional Runners – Will Gelon SR, Gerrit Dam SR, Evan Gilleland SR, Kevin DeGroot SR, Kieran Gilleland SO, Steven Randles FR, Eddy Klimkowski SR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (14th)

Overview – The Wolves came within seven points of the sectional finishing third last week at Woodstock. Their top three runners had been running in a pack in their previous meets. Will Gelon cut it loose last Saturday finishing second. Gelon will be among the top 10 finishers on Saturday. Gerrit Dam finished 11th and Evan Gilleland finished 17th  giving the Wolves a three runner split of 50 seconds. The split on the team’s top five was 86 seconds. The split on their 2-5 pack was 48 seconds. Could be a dangerous team in this race if they pack it up.


Aurora (Marmion Academy)

Sectional Runners – John Daffenberg JR, Michael Whitacre SO, Matthew Sullivan JR, Connor Carlson SR, Robert Gramley SR, Nathan Brandon SR, Jesse Carlos SR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2019 (7th)

Overview – Marmion was on a string of missing qualifying for the state meet in the past four years. They came through this year but closely at Woodstock with eight points separating the top three teams. The Cadets do not have the start runner that could finish in the top 15 in this race. John Daffenberg finished seventh in the sectional to lead his team. He could just make it in the all-state area at Detweiller Park. It is the pack running that could push this team closer to the front. The split between Michael Whitacre and fifth runner Robert Gramley was just 26 seconds. The top five split overall was 48 seconds. The Cadets have the low numbers to get close to finishing in the top five. They need higher one digit numbers in front to win a trophy.


Chicago (St. Ignatius College Prep)

Sectional Runners – Matthew Conroy SR, Hugh Lynch JR, Brandon Mendoza SR, Henry Link SR, Nicholas Lopez JR, Brendan Houlihan FR, Manny Alvarez JR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (3A-19)

Overview – The Wolfpack has ingredients to challenge for a finish in the top five after finishing third last week at Lewis University. Matthew Conroy was the individual champion in the Trinty Sectional and should be among the top 10 finishers in this race. St. Ignatius does have a good pack that will support Conroy in this race. The four pack of Hugh Lynch, Brandon Mendoza, Henry Lopez, and Nicholas Lopez were only separated by 18 seconds. The gap of 52 seconds between Conroy and Lynch might be problematic for the Wolfpack on Saturday.


Bethalto (Civic Memorial)

Sectional Runners – Max Weber SO, DJ Dutton SR, Justice Eldridge SR, Landon Kearbey SO, Jacob Cranford SO, Lucas Naugle SR, Tullio Zampieri SO.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (17th)

Overview – The Eagles have the ingredients to challenge for a high finish after finishing third last Saturday at Jacksonville. They will need a front runner that can finish in the top 15 and they have that led by sophomore Max Weber. They had a solid four runner pack that had a 30 second split led by DJ Dutton and followed by Justice Eldridge, Landon Kearby, and Jacob Cranford. Their overall split last week was 51 seconds. A lower split could keep the Eagles among the top 10 teams in this race.


Grayslake (Central)

Sectional Runners – Trey Sato SR, Adan Cordova SO, William Welty SR, Nolan Kissinger SR, John Vagnoni SR, Asher Tiojanco SR, Daniel Varblow JR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (4th)

Overview – This team has experienced state meet races. The Rams have five seniors that have the experiences of running at Detweiller Park in November. The Rams could challenge for a finish in the top half of this meet. Trey Sato has put down some fast races this fall and should be in the top five in this race. The pack behind Soto is 44 seconds away. Adan Cordova, William Welty, Nolan Kissinger, and John Vagnoni had a 61 second split amongst them.


Mt. Vernon

Sectional Runners – Caedmon Cook SR, Joel Hayes SO, Trey Mygatt SR, Trace Elliot SO, Rowan Wilford SO, Branden Etheridge SR, Eli Johnston SO.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (25th)

Overview – The Rams ran one of their best races of the season finishing fifth at Jacksonville The split on their top five at the South Seven Conference was 57 seconds when they finished second behind Marion. The split last week was only 19 seconds on their top five that finished from 28th to 41st. Caedmon Cook, Joe Hayes, and Trey Mygatt were the top three runners separated just by seven seconds. Mt. Vernon could surprise some of those teams ahead of them this Saturday.


Mt. Zion

Sectional Runners – Julian Baker SR, Daniel Grauer JR, Lyncoln Koester JR, Mark Mavis SO, Isaac Carpenter SR, Carson Davis SR, Aiden Mulgrew SO.

Last State Meet Appearance -  2022 (9th)

Overview Julian Baker has returned to his usual self after starting the season on a slower note. Baker ran 15:32 at First to the Finish in September. In his final three meets, he won at the Apollo Conference Meet and then second place finishes in his regional meet and the sectional meet. Baker is primed for a tough race on Saturday maybe placing in the top five. Mt. Zion had a 42 second split off second runner Daniel Grauer and Lyncoln Koester. Grauer finished 40 seconds behind Baker last week. Watch for that split to lower with great races from their top two runners.



Sectional Runners – Ben Gossage FR, Fisher Rinkenberger JR, Sam Tellefson SR, Charlie Borlin JR, Milo Rinkenberger SR, Brice Banning SR, Jacob Hall JR.

Last State Meet Appearance -  2022 (27th)

Overview – The Panthers I could see finish in the top 10 especially after they won the Metamora Regional ahead of Morton. Morton came back to win last week at Geneseo. Washington had a nice top four pack last Saturday led by Ben Gorsage. The freshman led a 21 split on their top four runners which included Fisher Rinkenberger, Sam Tellefson, and Charlie Borlin. The team had a 45 second last week that could go lower on Saturday.



Sectional Runners – Ishan Patel SR, Aryan Patel SR, Ellery Shutt SO, Jakob Crown SR, Charlie Baker SR, Cohen Shutt SR, Milo McLeer JR

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (11th)

Overview – The Blue Streaks did not have their best race of the season on their own course finishing fifth but making a return trip back to Detweiller Park. Ishan Patel finished fourth on his final race on his home course to lead Woodstock. He could be among the top runners in this meet. Aryan Patel leads the Blue Streaks pack having a 2-5 pack split of 51 seconds.



Sectional Runners – Dylan Gehl JR, Sam Mosbarger SR, Jaxson Sottos SO, Aidan Bries SO, Max Johnson JR, Jack Kreiss FR, Kaden Elmer SO.

Last State Meet Appearance -  2022 (23rd)

Overview – The Maple Leafs have a solid top two with Dylan Gehl and Sam Mosbarger having the capability of finishing in the top 25. This team is young with all but one runner (Mosbarger) being underclassmen. Geneseo had a top five split near 100 seconds that you should see decrease when they are racing this Saturday.



Sectional Runners – Dale Johnson SR, Aalin Schmidt JR, Charles Johnson SO, Jordan Britt SR, Parker Blakeslee JR, Parker Janssen SR, Owen Anderson SR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2016 (4th)

Overview – One of the biggest things that happened for Sterling was qualifying for the state meet as they finished fourth at the Geneseo Sectional. Dale Johnson will be one of the favorites in the individual race and the top runner for this team. The split off Johnson was over two minutes so that should be ignored. Aalin Schmidt was the team’s second runner. He leads the next four split of 63 seconds for a team that will try to finish in the top half of the standings in this race.



Sectional Runners – Owen Morgan SR, Liam Bettis FR, Jack Chesser SR, Jesse Sloan SR, Logan Halligan FR, Tyler Corpin SO, Brenton Good SR.

FIRST State Meet Appearance

Overview – The biggest moment of last weekend was Taylorville qualifying for the state meet for the first time finishing sixth at the Jacksonville Sectional. Four seasons lead this team that have been waiting for this moment for the last three years. Owen Morgan finished fourth in the sectional race and could be among the top 15 runner at high noon on Saturday. Liam Bettis had a great freshman that continues for one more week and leads the pack behind Morgan. The split of 22 seconds on that pack can move that team up ahead of higher ranked teams.


Lake Villa (Lakes Community)

Sectional Runners – Jackson Summy JR, Payton Whitehead SR, Cooper Summy FR, Blake Salbilla JR, Brady Mock JR, Matthew Powley JR, Liam Makela SR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (18th)

Overview – The Eagles are young this season with five of their top seven runners underclassmen. Lakes Community just made it out of the Woodstock Sectional finishing seventh just one point out of sixth place. Jackson Summy stepped up during the second half of the season to become the top runner. Summy finished 10th overall in last Saturday’s race and could be in the top 25 in this meet. Payton Whitehead and Cooper Summy are a strong second and third runner for the Eagles and lead a 69 second split off Jackson Summy. The 2-5 split off Whitehead was 48 second last week. Both splits will need to drop for Lakes Community to finish in the top of the standings in this race.



Sectional Runners – Leo Cozzi JR, Greg Drain JR, Andrew Latham SR, Lucas Jensen SO, Ian Moll SR, Kaine Climaco SO, Logan Zurbrugg SO.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2019 (18th)

Overview – Good pack running was the difference to get Mascoutah to the state meet for the first time since 2019. The Indians finished seventh to qualify for this weekend’s state meet.  This is a team of the future with two juniors and three sophomores leading the way. Leo Cozzi is a constant this fall at the front of the pack. He finished 20th overall at Jacksonville as the team’s top runner. Cozzi led the team’s top five runner pack that had a split of 47 seconds. Their sectional split off second runner Greg Drain was just 25 seconds.



Sectional Runners – Aaron Conderman JR, Dean Geiger FR, Averick Wiseman FR, Westin Conatser SO, Keegan Shirley SO, Hayden Fulton JR, Noah Terviel SO.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2019 (2nd)

Overview – Dixon just escaped getting out of the Woodstock Sectional finishing sixth overall. The strength of their teams starts up front with Aaron Conderman, Dean Geiger, and Averick Wiseman running all within 18 seconds of each other. The Dukes overall ran a split of 93 seconds on their top five. Their average split this season has been ten seconds faster at 82 seconds. Running an average race keeps this team with a top 20 finish. Keep an eye on this team this fall. All of their top seven runners are underclassmen.



Sectional Runners – Cuyler Swanson FR, Everett Swanson FR, Nikita Hovious SO, Brodie Peterson SO, Jonathan Zarbock SO, Chase McDonnell SO, Parker Fleetwood SO.

FIRST State Meet Appearance

Overview – Morris made their sectional experience special qualifying for the state meet for the first time finishing sixth overall. This is a team that we will see back at Detweiller Park in years to come since all of their runners are either freshmen or sophomores. Cuyler Swanson was a surprise regional winner just ahead of Morton’s Josh Weeks two weeks ago. The freshman finished seventh last week to lead the team and someone we could see finish in the top 25. His twin brother Everett is the team’s second runner 31 seconds behind Cuyler. Both splits are big with their five runner split at 124 seconds. This experience on Saturday  will pay off for the Redskins especially in 2024 and 2025.


Chicago (DePaul College Prep)

Sectional Runners – Bryan Malinowski SR, Elias Roldan JR, Bodi Ward JR, Jack Barnes FR, Maddux Bailey SR, Liam Donehoo SO, Joseph Flynn SR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (1A -1st)

Overview – DePaul College Prep moved up into Class 2A to start this fall after winning the 1A team title a year before. This was more of a reloading team as the Rams finished fifth at the Trinity Sectional. Bryan Malkowski, who was on the state team in 2022, stepped up as the #1 runner who finished in 11th in his sectional race. DePaul ran a 76 second split in their top five with Malinowski, Elias Roldan, and Bodi Ward running within 31 seconds of each other.



Sectional Runners – Charlie Serrahn SR, Jacob Gladstone JR, Jack Nester SO, Luke Williams SR, Aaron Mohr SR, Max Draksler FR, Alex Colvin FR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (22nd)

Overview – The Eagles will be making the short trip to Peoria for the state meet after finishing fifth at the Geneseo Sectional. Dunlap had a strong trio in the front with Charlie Serrahn, Jacob Gladstone, and Jack Nester ran within 22 seconds of each other in this sectional race. Dunlap has had a best split of 32 seconds during the year in meets. It was 55 seconds in their sectional race.


Oak Forest

Sectional Runners – Colin O’Brien SR, Nick Manso SO, Parker Griffin SR, Patrick Scurek JR, Hudson Neth FR, Christian Padgett JR, Sam Coe SO.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2010 (16th)

Overview – It was hard to think that Oak Forest would make the state meet at the start of the season. The Bengals achieved that finishing seventh at the Geneseo Sectional. It is the first time that Oak Forest has run as a team since 2010. Colin O’Brien and Parker Griffin are the only two seniors in this team’s top seven. O’Brien was the team’s top runner last week two seconds ahead of Nick Manso and another eight seconds ahead of Griffin. The team’s top five split last week was 57 seconds.


Burbank (St. Laurence)

Sectional Runners – Luis Flores JR, Peter Mulligan JR, Isaac Guzman SR, Jimmy Vertucci SO, Ethan Toch FR, Kendel Mulligan SO, Julian Chavez FR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 1989 (AA - 24th)

Overview – The Vikings had a first in their sectional that has not happened in a long time. St. Laurence finished sixth at the Trinity Sectional qualifying for the state meet for the first time in 34 years. Luis Flores is the top runner for the team and among the top 25 runners in Class 2A. The junior finished fourth in last week’s sectional. Flores is 74 seconds ahead of their pack led by Peter Mulligan. The team’s 2-5 split last week was 57 seconds.


Chicago (University)

Sectional Runners – Simon Lane JR, Benjamin O’Donnell JR, Leyton Mueller SR, Oliver Go JR, Ellis Domenick SR, Connor Lane FR, Sean Niro SO.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2019 (1A-16th)

Overview – The Maroons were one of the surprise teams to make it to Peoria and the state meet this season. U-High was seventh overall and the final team to advance out of the Trinity Sectional. Simon Lane and Benjamin O’Donnell were separated by 27 seconds as the team’s top two runners last week. The Maroons top five split in that race was 84 seconds.