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Boys cross country previews: Dukes in state title hunt again

IC, TC led by returning runners

Published: Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013 1:10 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, July 25, 2014 4:50 a.m. CDT

Cross country season is getting started for local teams, which means York is chasing another state title. The Dukes claimed state title No. 28 last fall and are among the contenders to win again. Elsewhere, IC Catholic and Timothy Christian are hoping returning talent can result in a better season.

York Dukes

Conference: West Suburban Silver

Head coach: Joe Newton

2012 results: 1st in regional, 1st in sectional, 1st in state

Top runners:

Alex Bashqawi sr.

Kyle Mattes sr.

Nathan Mroz sr.

Matt Plowman jr.

Outlook:

The defending state champs look primed to compete for a 29th state title. Kyle Mattes, Alex Bashqawi and Matt Plowman are three returners from the top seven last year, but Nathan Mroz will give the Dukes another fast runner at the top of the lineup after returning from injury. Mroz sat out fall cross country season, but returned in the spring track season and was a state qualifier in the 1,600-meter run.

Mattes was an all-state runner last fall after finishing 23rd in the state. Bashqawi also cracked the top 30 in 27th.

That provides a strong core, and as usual the Dukes have plenty of depth. Senior Connor York, junior Nathan Dale and sophomore Jon May will be pushing to crack the lineup.

Timothy Christian Trojans

Conference: Metro Suburban

Head coach: Dick Zylstra

2012 results: 5th in regional, 11th in sectional

Top runners:

Michael Larkin so.

Isaac Nunez so.

Noah Pavlakos so.

Outlook:

Most of the top seven runners from last season's sectional qualifying team are gone, but there are some young runners filling those spots

Sophomores Isaac Nunez and Noah Pavlakos are the two returners from last year's regional lineup. Fellow sophomore Michael Larkin was the Trojans' fastest runner at the Christian Schools Invitational, which was a 5,000-meter run.

IC Catholic Knights

Conference: Suburban Christian

Head coach: Jeff Fredrickson

2012 results: 12th in regional

Top runners:

Christopher Marroquin jr.

Nicholas Moore jr.

Phillip Roberto jr.

Outlook:

Phillip Roberto has been the Knights' top runner early in the season and will be pushing to make it to sectionals as an individual. Fellow juniors Christopher Marroquin and Nicholas Moore round out the top three for IC.

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