Boys Cross Country: Plainfield South eyeing another three-mendous season
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media August 27, 2013 7:52PM
Plainfield South boys cross country coach Jason Crowe leads his team in warmups on the first day of practice. | Tim Tierney~For Sun-Times Media
Boys Cross Country 2013
1. Plainfield South: Returns two of top three individuals from its sixth-place Class 3A team, led by senior Dan Lathrop. Defending Southwest Prairie Conference champion could have another standout season if a couple of runners emerge.
2. Plainfield East: Led by All-State junior Joseph Suarez, the top runner in the area who was 19th in the state last season (14 minutes, 44 seconds). Cody Hughes, Sergio Llanes and Harris Jordan should be key contributors.
3. Lincoln-Way Central: Good potential with just one runner graduated from state-qualifying squad. Senior Chris Kaminski leads group that includes Joey Nelson, Tommy Kolacki, Kevin Fabian, Ben Zibricky, Andrew Robbins and Ian Peterson.
4. Minooka: Graduated four of top five from 16th-place state team, but “Minooka, they just reload,’’ one coach said. Andy Geldean, Kyle Swanson, Henry Bugajski, Ethan Milles and Gabe Ceballos are expected to be strong.
5. Lockport: Looking to improve on last year, Porters can count on senior leader Will Giroux, who was third in the 2012 SouthWest Suburban Blue meet and a state qualifier.
(in alphabetical order)
Kevin Fabian, Lincoln-Way Central, Sr.; Will Giroux, Lockport, Sr.; Cody Hughes, Plainfield East, Sr.; Chris Kaminski, Lincoln-Way Central, Sr.; Ryan Kennedy, Lincoln-Way West, Sr.; Tommy Kolacki, Lincoln-Way Central, Jr.; Dan Lathrop, Plainfield South, Sr.; Salvador Lazaro, Joliet Central, Sr.; Joey Nelson, Lincoln-Way Central, Sr.; Kenny Peters, Plainfield South, Jr.; John Principato, Plainfield Central, Sr.; Steve Sismelich, Providence, Sr.; Joseph Suarez, Plainfield East, Jr.; Misael Tobias, Plainfield South, Sr.; Ben Zibricky, Lincoln-Way Central, Sr.
Updated: September 29, 2013 6:45AM
The top 25 individuals in Class 3A were being announced after the state cross country meet last year as Plainfield South coach Jason Crowe listened and looked ahead to 2013.
“We’ve got three guys coming back next year and I guarantee you all three are going to be hungry to improve on this,’’ Crowe said at the time.
Plainfield South had just finished sixth at Detweiller Park, cracking the top 10 for the first time in school history.
With Dan Lathrop, Misael Tobias and Kenny Peters back from that group of seven runners, Plainfield South should be the top Joliet-area squad this season and the team to beat in the Southwest Prairie Conference.
“We’re really strong through three,’’ Lathrop said before the team’s first workout at Plainfield South. “We just need someone to step up in that four and five role. If we do that, which I think we can with the depth we have, we can have another really good year.’’
Lathrop was Plainfield South’s top runner as a junior last season, finishing 28th at the state meet in 14 minutes, 51 seconds.
Lathrop said he ran between 700 and 800 miles this summer after a two-week break after the track season. That total was up from the 650 or so miles he put in last year before the season.
“I was running a lot of miles last year, too, but I definitely wanted to take it a step up this year,’’ he said.
The example Lathrop shows his teammates is appreciated by his coach.
“I know it sounds cliché, but he’s a coach’s dream,’’ Crowe said. “He’s everything you want in a student-athlete. He’s an excellent student. ... He does everything you ask as far as an athlete.
“At the same time, he went up to a new freshman in his first day and shook his hand and welcomed him. Not too many do that.’’
Not too many will keep up with Plainfield South as long as a leg injury doesn’t become a problem for Tobias and Peters, a junior, continues to develop.
“The summer was really good,’’ Tobias said. “We ran more miles than last year. We all have really big goals in mind.’’
Crowe said he also expects seniors Bailey Zink and Jake Lorenz and sophomore John Partee to be important contributors this season.
They all know equaling or surpassing what the 2012 team accomplished won’t be easy.
“Yeah, but that’s why we compete,’’ Crowe said. “That’s what makes it fun. We’ve had some successful teams come through here the past three, four years, and they keep raising the bar.’’
The goal is to improve as the season goes on and finish strong.
As Crowe said after the 2012 state meet: “We’ve got a good young group of guys who are seeing what it takes to be successful.’’