Coach: Mike Wolf (16th season)
2012 accomplishments: Finished third in Northern Illinois Big 12 meet and 12th in Class 3A St. Charles East Sectional. Marc Dubrick won regional championship and placed 93rd at state.
Key returners: Isaac Hietanen, Sr.; Paul Fielder, Jr.
Key newcomers: Nick Rigas, So.; David Buller, So.; Brandon Anderson, So.; Cameron Shotton, So.; Alex Wang, So.; Richie Sakharouk, So.; Ben Martin, So.; Chris Boyes, So.; Nate Wellendorf, Jr.; Josh May, Jr.; Thomas Wuchte, Fr.
Outlook: DeKalb graduated an impactful senior class, the biggest part of which was Dubrick. He was a state qualifier in both cross country, swimming and track and field, consistently placing near the top.
Now the Barbs transition to being a less experienced group and will rely on a number of underclassmen moving forward. Hietanen could be primed for a breakout season as the Barbs’ top runner.
Wolf’s take: “We had six seniors run for us at sectional last fall, so the door is open for our younger group of runners. We have a big group from last years’ frosh/soph squad looking to contribute.”
Coach: Tiffany Thurlby (second season)
2012 accomplishments: Zach Herrman qualified for sectional meet
Key returners: Justin McLean, Sr.; Kevin McLean, So.; Andy Voltz, So.; Justin Campbell, So.
Key newcomers: C.J. McPherson, Fr.; Ethan Bode, Fr.
Outlook: Like the girls team, the Cogs will be a younger group that might struggle early, but could get better toward the end of the season. Varsity experience for the underclassmen will be valuable down the line.
Thurlby’s take: “Last year the boys finished 13th in the conference meet and this year we are hoping to finish in the top eight.”
Coach: Chad Clarey (19th season)
2012 accomplishments: Knights finished 13th in Class 2A state meet, including fifth place at sectional, second at regional and fourth in the Northern Illinois Big 12.
Key returners: Kyle Carter, Sr.; Luis Acosta, Sr.; Nathaniel Kucera, Sr.; Ryan Bower, Sr.
Key newcomer: Brock Robertson, Sr.
Outlook: Kaneland returns a strong group of seniors that come off a strong outdoor track season. Carter, Acosta and Kucera were part of the Knights’ 4x800 team that won a Class 2A state title. Carter and Kucera also ran on the second-place 4x400 relay.
Clarey’s take: “We need our seniors healthy at the end of the season, and if that’s the case, we would like to be in the mix for one of the final qualifying spots in our ever-deep sectional up in Belvidere. There always seems to be eight to 10 state-worthy teams battling for the five places that earn berths to finals. We feel like we are in that mix, starting the season.”
Coach: Michael Lambdin (16th season)
2012 accomplishments: Spartans placed fifth in Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference meet and ninth in Class 2A Belvidere Sectional. Mark Stice qualified for the state meet.
Key returners: Mark Stice, Sr.; Adam Millburg, Jr.; Kendryk Rand, Sr.; Jordan Peterson, Sr.; Nick Aase, Sr.; Jason Ruetten, Jr.; Michael Lerohl, Jr.
Key newcomers: Eric Aurand, So.; Brian Johnston, So.; Sam Zurbuch, So.
Outlook: Stice returns as one of the area’s most talented and experienced runners after qualifying for the Class 2A state meet in track and field last spring.
Adam Millburg also was an all-conference performer, but the Spartans will have to fortify the back end of their starting seven.
Lambdin’s take: “If we are going to compete with the elite teams in the [NI Big 12], we will need a solid pack of runners who can stay within one minute, 15 seconds of our No. 1 runner.
– Ross Jacobson, email@example.com