The next group of pre-season ranked teams will have ample opportunities to move up throughout the season. Freeburg placed 8th overall last year and will again be a threat to be in the top 10 (Tracy Burmester photo)
20. Rockford Christian
Last year's finish: 7th at the Oregon Sectional
Coach: John Deery
Top returners: Madison Franseen (Jr.), Cecily Holliday (Jr.), Renate Toldo (So.), Annika Peterson (Jr.) Projected top 7: Franseen, then a pack of 7-10 girls
Coach Deery's outlook: "Our girls are looking strong and ready to make a comeback this season. Coming off her second all-state finish in the 1600m in the spring and cross country all-state finish last fall, Madison Franseen looks to lead the girls to another sectional qualification and hopefully a bid at the big show in November. Our pack is deeper than ever, and we will have a lot of inter-squad competition for the six spots behind her. We love the way we are looking, and hope to build off a great spring and summer season of running."
19. Lansing (IIliana Christian)
Last year's finish: 7th at the Wheaton Academy Sectional
Coaches: Deb Top (Head Coach), Luke Fennema (Asst. Coach)
Top returners: Gillian Fiene (So.), Cate Peerbolte (Jr.), Maddie DeYoung (Sr.), Liz VanDrunen (Jr.), Maddie Holesinger (Jr.), Cambrie VanRoekel (Jr.)
Newcomers: Mia Cruz (Fr.) and Abby Mejan (Fr.) Projected top 7: Gillian Fiene (So.), Cate Peerbolte (Jr.), Maddie DeYoung (Sr.), Liz VanDrunen (Jr.), Maddie Holesinger (Jr.), Cambrie VanRoekel (Jr.). Too soon to tell who #7 will be.
Coach Top's outlook: "We have most of our team back from last year. We also moved down to Class 1A so that should be interesting. As for how we do overall, it all depends on how many miles the girls ran in the summer. Time will tell. We would like to place in the top 2 or 3 in our conference (Metro Suburban League--larger division), 1st in Regionals, and in the top 5 in Sectionals. As for Gillian Fiene, after taking 3rd at the state meet in the 800m, she found out she had a stress fracture and just got out of a boot in July and started running. She should be fine by November and we hope for a top 5 finish at the state meet."
Last year's finish: 9th- Effingham St. Anthony Sectional
Coach: Charles Helton
Key returners: Rory Drew (So.), Stasia Nejmanowski (Sr.), Molly Lewis (Jr.), Patty Walch (So.), Mackenzie Harris (Sr.), Rachel Olroyd (Jr.), Skylar Nickel (So.)
Projected top 7: The aforementioned group and some newcomers should be in the mix.
Nick's thoughts on the season: The entire top 7 return from a team that finished 9th in the Effingham St. Anthony Sectional. While none of these ladies has established themselves as a front runner, the team had an impressive 1-5 split of 24 seconds at the sectional meet. The pack will definitely be a strength for the Cavaliers.
Last year's finish: 22nd- State Championship
Coach: Larissa Swanson
Key Returners: Hailey Janssen (Jr.), Alexandria Burchett (Sr.), Madison Janssen (Jr.), Kasey Swanson (So.), Christina Wang (So.), Regina Gianotti (Jr.), Yadi Barazza (Sr.)
Projected Top 7: The aforementioned group and possibly some newcomers will be battling for a top 7 spot. Nick's thoughts on the season: The Bobcats return their top 7 from a team that finished 23rd at state. They should once again be led by Hailey Janssen who finished a very solid 36th as a sophomore and may be in the running for a top 25 medal.
Last year's finish: 23rd- State Championship
Coaches: Steve Wolf (Head Coach), Brian Dunne (Assistant Coach)
Projected top 7: Halle Nash (Sr.), Peyton Nash (Sr.), Lily Arndt (Sr.), Frankie Fabry (Jr.), Ashley Eiermann(Sr.), Hannah Abbatacola (Sr.), Makayla Johnson (So.)
Newcomers: Too soon to tell.
Coach Wolf's Outlook: "We may not be as strong as last year but hope to make the return trip to state based on the strength of the Nash twins. Individually Halle and Peyton should have a good shot at All-State."