2A Top Girls Individual Preview: All Eyes Will Be On Skyler

What a difference a year makes… Skyler Bollinger was sort of a mysterious bespectacled freshman who glided her way through a challenging high school schedule.  The end result was a top five finish and her Yorkville team won the state title. For the first time in classification history there is a possibility of three state champions competing at once in November. Two years ago it was Sami Staples of Crystal Lake Central winning it all. Last year, Victoria Clinton (Maple Park Kaneland) surprised the field at Detweiller Park for the title. So, will it be Bollinger this time around?

1. Skyler Bollinger (So.) Yorkville- 5th; 10:36/4:58/2:13- there is doubt who the bosstress is in this classification.  Bollinger may be the second best harrier in all of Illinois behind Glenbard West’s Madeline Perez.  Keep in mind that Bollinger has already ran faster than last year’s state champion Victoria Clinton on the Detweiller course.  The crafty sophomore blazed 16:52 at the Detweiller at Dark meet in July. If she can stay healthy throughout the season the championship should be in the bag along with a hefty amount of post-season awards.

2. Kelsey Schrader (Sr.) Dekalb- 10th (3A); 11:11/5:12- Schrader drops down in classification after a banner season in the big league a season ago.  It was just two years ago that she finished in the runner-up position to former champion Sami Staples (Crystal Lake Central).

3. Maura Beattie (Sr.) Woodstock-17th; 10:55/5:17- The third lineage Beattie sister has an opportunity to stand out this fall after completing a super track season that ended with a 3200m state title.  The confidence that Beattie earned in the spring should pay off this fall.

4. Maryjeanne Gilbert (So.) Peoria Notre Dame- 3rd; 11:00.31/5:09.77- Gilbert will be in good company this season among a fleet of tough young women with the possibility to win it all if Bollinger, Schrader, or Beattie should slip.

5. Victoria Clinton (Jr.) Maple Park Kaneland- 1st; 11:25/5:18- The defending champion is going to have something to say with her feet before the season concludes.  Let’s just say that she has put more stock in cross country than track.  Clinton has concentrated on her first love the triathlon during the spring and summer.

6. Diane Lipa (So.) Glen Ellyn Glenbard South- 10th; 11:17/5:14- Lipa enjoyed a great rookie year in 2012-13 on the grass and track.  The latter netted all-state honors and that should bold well this fall.

7. Allie Sprague (Sr.) Marengo- 46th; 5:07/2:14- Hopefully, this will be the season that Sprague can put it all together and really show how good she is.  In fairness she ran 17:48 at the First to the Finish Invite in early September before getting sideline by injury.  So it’s safe to safe that she would have been teetering on the top 10 door.

8. Sydney Billingsley (Sr.) Normal University- 6th; 5:07i/2:20- Billingsley didn’t contest the longer stuff in track much but did run 11:17 and 11:18 in ’11 and ’12.  It appears that she has positioned herself as a miler type.  But at the end of the day she will be one of the best cross country runners in the classification.

9. Summer Pierson (So.) Yorkville- 8th; 11:04/5:21- The Lady Foxes second runner is more than a complementary piece to Skyler Bollinger. Pierson is one of the classifications best runners placed 16th in the deepest 3200m (3A) in state history.  There is no doubt that Pierson will be a force to be reckoned with this season.

10. Sami Staples (Jr.) Crystal Lake Central- 4th; 11:20/5:08- The former state champion will be slowed initially by stress fracture in her foot.  If she can get back to the 4:56/10:46 running form of two years watch out.

11. Shannan Supan (So.) Normal University- 14th; 11:31/5:23- Part of the duo featuring Natalie Lafayette that will be dangerous.

12. Meghan Carroll (Sr.) Arlington Heights (St. Viator)- 19th; 5:18/2:24- Carroll has been a mainstay since her freshman year competing many times against the likes of tough MSL competition.

13. Caitlyn “Kitty” Allen (Jr.) Marengo- 16th; 11:34- “The third wheel” no more after having a breakout last school year that ended with a 11th place finish in the state 3200m.  Allen will be aiming for the moon alongside teammate Allie Sprague.

14. Alexa Beezhold (Sr.) Lansing (Illiana Christian)-15th; Beezhold has been primarily a middle-distance runner, but deft on the grass as well and ready to lead her team deep into the post-season.

15. Natalie Waters (Jr.) New Lenox (Lincoln-Way West)- 13th; 11:36/5:20- Waters will be a major threat this season.  Count on it.

The best of the rest in no particular order:

Erin Reynolds (So.) Yorkville; Jayme Schlenker (Jr.) Glen Ellyn (Glenbard South); Rebecca Sippel (Jr.) Glen Ellyn (Glenbard South); Natalie Lafayette (Jr.) Normal (University); Kelsey Leedy (Sr.) Yorkville; Mercedes Elliot (So.) Danville