Walmer Saavedra(sr) of Lindblom battles Paolo Tiongson(jr) of Loyola with about 600 meters to go. Tiongson tipped Saavedra at the finish line to finish 2nd overall with a time of 15:13. I heard Saavedra has been ailing a bit with some nagging minor injuries, but he seems to be rounding out in form to be a top flight challenger for the CPS meet in two weeks.
Mauricio Galvan(sr) of Kennedy (center) finished 14th overall in the boys varsity race with a time of 15:57. Conditions were a bit windy and temperature was estimated at about 50 degrees. Galvan was one of 4 CPS runners that finished in the top 14 at the varsity level.
Jonathan Fernandez(jr) on his way to a 35th overall team finisher. Fernandez was one of 3 Von Steuben Panthers who finished in the top 35. Unofficially, I had Lindblom with 236 points (if you combine all team points), Von Steuben with 323 points, Mather with 349 points, and 418 points (absent #1 runner Danny Rosen).
Augustin Alfarao(sr-left) and Lane Tech held off Von Steuben, Mather, and Lake View to take the team race. Only 32 points separated the 4 teams at the top. Von Steuben had 3 in the top 7 including individual champion Jamie Marcos(jr) with a 9:38. Mather finished 2-3 including a very strong 3rd place finish by Jeremy Bekkouche(jr). Ultimately, Lane's depth proved the difference as they had 8 runners finish in the top 18.
Lane did not run top 5 varsity runner Andy Granados(sr) who has run a 16:37 this year nor did they run rising sophomore KC Pruitt(so) who has run a 16:42 this year.
Lake View finished a very strong 4th place. Their 72 points was only 6 points away from 3rd place Mather. Lake View is making it happen with runners like #1 runner Dillon McDonnell(jr) who ran a 2 mile PR of 10:35 and Dontay Lockett(sr) who ran a 2 mile of of 10:36- an improvement of over 61 seconds from last year.
Von Steuben might have the strongest team I have ever seen. They have a powerful 1-2-3 of Jamie Marcos(jr), Jonathon Fernandez(jr), and Bukuru Anaclet(jr) - all juniors. Marcos is emerging as a possible top 3 CPS individual contender. Fernandez ran a 2 mile PR of 10:10. Anaclet is a returning all-city runner. He finished 20th at the CPS meet last year as a sophomore with a time of 15:58. Key for Von Steuben will be the development of their 4th and 5th men. 5th man Ezekiel Alicea(jr) ran an 11:04. A week ago on the same course he ran an 11:36. If he continues to close the gap between him and their #3 man, Von Steuben could be very dangerous come the CPS meet. By the way, Von Steubens top 8 consists of 7 juniors and 1 freshman.
Danny Rosen(sr) of Northside Prep won another invitational by taking the Leyden Invitational last Saturday.
Danny Rosen(sr) of Northside Prep followed up his 14:43 8th place finish at the First to the Finish Invitational in Peoria with an individual title win at last Saturday's Leyden Invitational. As long as he keeps running as he has been running he will enter the CPS meet as the favorite to win the individual title.
At the Fight to the Finish Meet he beat out Whitney Young's #1 runner Clayton Mendez(so) by 19 seconds. He also ran 23 seconds faster that CPS Meet individual runner up Walmer Saavedra(sr) of Lindblom who ran in the Class 2A race.
Speaking up beating Saavedra, Jamie Marcos(jr) of Von Steuben finished ahead of Saavedra for the first time in his career at last Saturday's ZI Invitational. Whitney Young freshman Sam Rivera(fr) is also coming up strong as he finished 4th overall at ZI with a time of 15:29-just 2 seconds behind Saavedra.
Von Steuben finishes 1-2-4-8-12 to win the boys race. Von Steuben is looking to improve on last year's 6th place boys varsity finish at the CPS meet. A top 4 or 5 finish is within reach. Or higher?
Morgan Park sophomore Levontes Wilson(so) comes up with a surprise 3rd place finish with a time of 10:34. Combine his finish with Christian Bradford(so) 21st overall place finish and you got the makings of a powerful 1-2 punch for Morgan Park at the sophomore level.The pair finished 1-3 out of all sophomores. Morgan Park also had two freshman finish in the top 10 for freshman. Watch out for these young Mustangs in track?
Julian Higueros(fr-above) ran a 16:08 at the Richard Spring Invite in Peoria last Friday. That is one of the fastest times for a Lane freshman in a while and almost certainly the top CPS freshman 3 mile time so far this season.
Lane also had a strong showing from the rest of their team. Tennis player KC Pruitt(so) ran a 16:42. . Tommy Scholle(fr) –brother of Lane #1 girls runner Maggie Scholle(fr) ran a 17:25.
Lane’s frosh-soph performance at Richard Spring Invite
1. Julian Higueros(fr)- 16:08 2. KC Pruitt(so)- 16:42 3. Tommy Scholle(fr)- 17:25 4. Michael Noonan(so)- 17:34 5. Kyle Haile(so)- 17:58 6. Alberto Ramirez(so)- 18:13 7. Joel Reyes(so)- 18:26 8. Steven Yee(so)- 18:43 9. Daniel Julius(so) – 18:57 10. Saafir Palmes(fr)- 19:02
"They all like each other and enjoy training and racing together," said Lane Tech asst coach Tony Jones.
Erick Wong(jr) of Jones on his way to a 4th place overall finish at the Boys JV Race at Lake Park last Saturday. He ran a 16:33 for 3 miles.
One measure of a strength of a cross country program is how the freshman, sophomore, and junior varsity performs- not just varsity.
By that measure, Jones boys cross country team is a complete success as they finished 2nd in the JV race, 2nd in the frosh-soph race, and 3rd in the boys varsity race at last Saturday's Harvey Braus Invitational at Lake Park. Keep in mind this is a large invitational with almost exclusively established suburban programs like St.Charles East, Schaumburg, and Lake Park.
Their first JV finisher was Erick Wong(jr) who finished 4th with a time of 16:33. Any CPS program would love a guy like Wong. He is running a 16:33 at the JV level. Top frosh-soph finisher was David Ruiz(so) who finished the 2 mile mostly flat but some uphill incline course in 10:35. Jones entire top 5 at the frosh-soph level was under 11 minutes.
Danny Rosen(sr) of Northside Prep wins the individual title. In this picture he takes a commanding lead over the rest of the field just 3/4 of the mile into the race. I am not sure what his time was, but it was really fast - I would estimate an equivalent of low's 15's for a 3 miles. Rosen ran a 15:37 to finish 11th at the CPS meet last year. He will run much faster than that this year.
Robel Yemane(sr) of Mather was a comfortable 2nd. I liked his race strategy, He kind of held back the first mile then picked it up the last two miles. In previous races, I've seen him go out too fast and not finish as strong. He seems to have improved on his game. The word is that Yemane has had a great summer of training and is much improved over last year when he finished 16th in the city with a time of 15:51. A strong source tole me he feels Yemane "will be all-state in class 2A for sure."
Lane Wins (Unofficially). The team race was tight. It appears Lane won it led by #1 runner Augustin Alfaro(left, sr- 32nd at CPS Meet last year). Lane's #5 runner Marc Hill finished ahead of #5 runners from Northside and Mather. Northside and Mather were close but I think Northside squeaked it out.
Taft showed signs of life. After not even fielding a freshman or a sophomore team at the CPS meet last year, Taft shows up with 6 runners in their frosh-soph team. They are all projects, but for Taft it is a good start.
Front pack at the 3/4 mile mark.
Lane Wins Team Race. KC Pruitt(right, so. 17th at CPS freshman meet last year) and a new freshman named Julian finish 1-2 for Lane Tech. More on Julian in future articles, but word is he went to the Taft Academic Center and decided to goto Lane instead of Taft or other schools. Mather had two runners unofiically finish in the top 10, but I think Northside beat them out.
Front pack of the girls frosh-soph race at the 3/4 mile mark. #1 runners from Taft, Marian Catholic, and Northside run side by side ahead of everyone else. The Northside runner won the individual race.
Lane wins the frosh-soph girls title. Unofficially Lane finishes 5 runners in the top 12 to take the title. Pictured above are their top 3 runners.
Taft showed some strength. Taft had a few girls near the front. In this picture Taft's #1 and #2 runners surround Lane's #1 with 1/4 mile to go.
Northside Takes Girls Varsity Race. 3 Northside runners at the front pack of the girls varsity race 3/4 mile in. Lane sat out several of their top varsity runners including defending city champion Maggie Scholle(jr). I am not sure who won the race As Northside, Marian, and Mather's Yarely Robledo(jr- 6th at last years' CPS meet) were all in it.
Jones vs Whitney Young Clearly the top two teams going into the seasons. Jones is the defending champions at all levels. But Jones graduated 4 of their top 5 runners from their varsity city championship team of last year. Those 4 all finished in the top 10 individually. This leaves some hope for Whitney Young who return all 7 of their top 7 varsity city runners. That team consisted of 1 freshman, 3 sophomores, and 3 juniors. All are now one year older and presumably better.
Clayton Mendez(so) leads the Dolphins. He finished 3rd at the CPS meet last year as a freshman and goes into this season as a pre-season favorite along with Walmer Saavedra(sr) of Lindblom. (see Walmer vs Clayton). Supporting Mendez will be returning all-city varsity finishers Keduse Worku(jr- 12th at city), Evan Radomski(jr, 15th at city), and Sam Wischnewski(Sr, 19th at city).
Jones will put together a solid 5 by the time city and state comes up. At the top of their top 5 will likely be sophomore city champion Jeremy Adams(jr) and Nikolas Merten(sr- 8th at city).
Both teams are very deep at all levels. Both teams enter the pre-season with high hopes. Whitney Young has the stud runner in Mendez. Jones finished 5 runners in the top 9 at the sophomore level. A couple of them will break out and make solid contributions to their top 5. One of the key for Jones is how much their sophomores from last year developed after another year in the Jones distance system.
Whitney Young has a more defined top 4. One of their keys will be to keep their top 4 healthy and to develop 5th through 7th runners.
I really like this Jones vs Whitney Young match up. What I like about cross country is that this sport is also about developing a program. One team will emerge as the city champ.
Nobody's talking Lake View this year. But Lake View did finish in the top 10 at city last year and lost by only 3 points to Mather at the boys varsity level. Lake View returns 5 of their top 7 from that team:
The top 7 teams that will get most of the pub this year will be Whitney Young, Jones, Lane, Von Steuben, Northside, and Lindblom (and maybe Mather). Lake View will be in the conversation after that first group of 7. No one admits the times from their returning runners are blazing, but I challenge any team outside of the top 7 that can find a 5th runner that has run as fast as the 18:35 that Lake View's 5th top returning runner Owen Leon(sr) has? There are not that many.
Lake View still has to develop as a program. They could use more numbers - like almost every team in the CPS. They also lack a legit stud number 1 that can challenge for all-city liek graduated #1 runner Ryan Reynolds did last year when he finished 29th (16:24). What they do have is a decent pack of 5 returning. In cross country that is all you need - 5! So their success this year will much their pack of 5 improves from last year and can they build up their lower levels so they can look to the future.
Walmer Saavedra(sr-left) of Lindblom and Clayton Mendez(so) of Whitney Young are the top two returnees from last year's CPS Cross Country Meet. They enter this coming up cross country season as two definite runners to watch for the CPS individual title. Many people (myself included) feel that the pair are the pre-season favorites for the title.
Walmer Saavedra of LIndblom's junior yearhighlights last season 2nd at CPS cross country meet with a time of 15:09.89 15th at Class 2A IHSA state meet with a time of 14:58
Clayton Mendez of Whitney Whitney Young's freshman year highlights last season 3rd at CPS cross country meet with a time of 15:19.55 4th at IHSA Niles West Class 3A sectional with a time of 14:58 58th at IHSA Class 3A state meet with a time of 15:10
Other CPS meet top returnees 8. Nikolas Merten(sr)- Jones 11. Danny Rosen(sr)- Northside 12. Keduse Worku(jr)- Whitney Young 14. Nico Moreno(sr)- Jones 15. Evan Radomski(jr)- Whitney Young 16. Robel Yemane(sr)- Mather 17. Maurico Galvan(sr)- Kennedy 19. Sam Wischnewsky(sr)- Whitney Young 20. Bukuru Anaclet(jr)- Von Steuben
Sophomore Meet champion 1. Jeremy Adams(jr)- Jones
Nick Schoessling(jr-left) will be one of the key pieces in a new era of rebuilding for Lane.
Lane has had a great run in cross country for the last several years. Names like Pavlo Hutsalyuk, David Schmieg, David Timlin, and others will forever be in Lane Tech distance lore due to their contributions. However, all good things eventually come to an end. Even York has not been as dominant statewide the last couple of years.
Lane graduated their entire top 5 from a team that included individual CPS city champion Pavlo Hutsalyuk and 4 other seniors that helped upset Whitney Young 67-68 to take 2nd at last year's CPS meet.
Returning for Lane this year will be their 6th and 7th men from last year's city varsity team Augustin Alfaro(sr)(32nd at city last year) and Pedro Fernandez(sr)(35th last yr). Colin Boyle(sr) and Marc Hill(sr) are also expected to contribute this year.
Beside those 4, the key for Lane will be the continue development of their freshman and sophomores from last year - who are now juniors and sophomores. One standout from that bunch is junior Nick Schoessling. He showed great improvement in track - finishing 6th at the CPS Sophomore track meet with a time of 10:40 and ran a 10:23 in the 3200 meter run at sectionals. I expect bigger things from Schoessling in cross country and who knows he may even emerge as Lane's #1 by the end of the year.
Two sophomores to watch are Michael Noonan(so) and KC Pruitt(so). The pair finished all-city in last year's CPS freshman cross country meet. They continued their development in track. Noonan has a 1600 meter PR of 5:00.48. Pruitt has run a 5:07.
In the case of Lane, it will impossible to replace the stars of the past - nor is it even fair to judge this year's teams to the past. Catching Jones or Whitney Young is probably not realistic this year. What is realistic, is that Lane has an opportunity to continue to develop its quality depth. I think if they do that to the max, I can see a situation where they can get 5 guys finishing in the top 35 at city. If they do that a top 3 or 4 finish is more than possible.
Historically, Lane is not down too often. If you want to catch Lane, this may be the year to do that. This is the time for teams like Northside, Lindblom, and Von Steuben to catch up to Lane. But they better hurry, because I know one thing for certain.....Lane is running outside right now!
...Luwane Pipkins of Bogan. Pipkins led Bogan to a 47-42 upset win over much favored Simeon for the CPS boys basketball title. Pipkins will be playing basketball for the University of Massachusetts next year.
Nothing against Pipkins, but the following two athletes could have also easily won the award.
Pavlo Hustalyuk(sr) of Lane Tech. He won the CPS cross country title and won state in the 1600 meter run. His state winning time of 4:08 is an all time school and CPS record in that event. He also holds the Lane Tech school record in the 800 meter run and has an All-American medal in the 4x800 meter relay. He will be attending the University of Iowa to run track.
Mossimo Chavez(sr) of Whitney Young. That's right a swimmer! Not just any swimmer. Chavez is likley the most decorated swimmer in Whitney Young history. He has too many CPS championships to count. He finished second in the state by .01 of a second in the 50 yard free style and has 4 all state finishes for Whitney Young- most by anybody in school history. Not only that but Chavez holds as many state medals as the entire Public League (minus Whitney Young) COMBINED in the last 20 years. Chavez will swim for Ohio State next year.