2012 was the deepest year on record for the girls at the state championship that saw an amazing 87 girls break 18:00 for three-miles. As well there two home land teams that qualified for the Nike Cross Nationals in Winnetka New Trier (11th) and Naperville North (15th)- a fantastic year on the girls' side for both for individuals and for teams to say the least. This season should see more of the same. Let’s take a peek into the pre-season outlook:
Head Coach: Rob Harvey
Last year’s finish: state- 7th (237pts)
Key returners: Kendall Laveen (So.)- 158th, Mary Erdman (So.)- 191st, Tori Adomshick (Jr), Natalia Boettcher (Jr.), Holly Eyrich (Sr.), Melinda Franke (Sr.), Stephanie Gorski (So.), Hannah Koropp (Sr.), Katie Popejoy (Jr.), Emma Schroer (So.), Allison Strong (Jr.)
Projected top 7: TBA
Newcomers: We have a few freshmen that will make an impact.
Insight on team by Coach Harvey: “We had a great summer of training. The team is positive and looking forward to carrying on the tradition established. We are a very young team, but we have a lot of potential to be great. It will be a fun ride hopefully ending in Peoria on November 9th!”
Other teams to watch (in no particular order): Wheaton North, Wilmette (Loyola Academy), Chicago (St. Ignatius), Chicago Lane Tech, Lake Zurich, Chicago Whitney Young, Oak Park-River Forest, Cary-Grove, New Lenox (Lincoln-Way Central), Frankfort (Lincoln-Way East).
23. Gurnee (Warren)-
Head Coach/coach: Brett Heimstead
Last year’s finish: state- 21st (496pts)
Key returners: Greta Doden (Sr.), Becky Haight (Jr.)
Projected top 7: Doden, Haight, Tori Nelsen (Sr.), Taylor Weiss (Jr.), Courtenay Krause (Sr.), Christine Storli, Sammi Nixon (Jr.)
Coach Heimstead’s Season outlook:
“The solid training groups for summer trainings were focused and dedicated. After losing the #1, #3, and #4 runners from last year, we are looking to re-load with a tight pack of runners; running as a team will be important. We are looking to hold our position in the conference as a top contender. We will be seeking improvement throughout the season is always our goal – peaking at the right time. It’s always tough to lose three of the top five but the girls have the potential to run just as fast with a low score if they run as a pack.”
22. Algonquin (Jacobs)-
Head Coach: Kevin Christian
Last year’s final finish: 7th - St. Charles Sectional
Key returners: Lauren Van Vlierbergen (Jr.), Alex Lorenz (So.), Kayla Giuliano (Sr.), Courtney Eubanks (Jr.), Taylor Bona (Jr.), Molly Barnes (Jr.).
Projected top 7: Van Vlierbergen, Lorenz, Giuliano, Barnes, Eubanks, Kathryn Van Vlierbergen, Bona
Newcomers: Molly Barnes (Fr.), Kathryn Van Vlierbergen (Fr.)
Coach Christian’s team outlook: “The girls put in a solid summer of training. Due to some overuse injuries last season the girls added cross training this season instead of adding mileage and are more fit then they were last year. After Molly Barnes led off fifth place state 4x800 relay last season, she put in a huge summer and is ready to drop some big times. Kayla Giuliano is healthy after an injury plagued junior season and should be one of the best running in the Fox Valley. Lauren Van Vlierbergen put in a tremendous amount of cross training and is in better shape than last season when she had to alter some of her training last season and still finished seventh in the state.
21. LaGrange (Lyons Twp.)-
Head Coach: Stetson Steele
Last year’s final season finish: state- 20th (491pts)
Key returners: Lexy Rudofski (Sr.)- 107th, Natalie Jaramillo (So.)- 153rd, Kate Heinz (Sr.)- 174th, Elaine Smith (Sr.)- 181st, Katie Hamor (Jr.), Claudia Lundgren (So.).
Newcomers: Hannah Dutler (So.).
Team outlook: The Lions should be able to return to Peoria despite those of some quality runners the past year including top runner Haley Prokaski. Lexy Rudofski will lead a team that must rely on pack running because the lack of a true front runner. It will be interesting to see how the Lions square off during conference time in the WSC Silver meet.