Class 3A Girls Pre Season Preview: The Introduction

Action from last year's Hinsdale Central Sectional was fierce (Steven Bugarin photo)

Unclassified teams-

Unclassified means teams not quite in the top 25 or ranked but on the verge of being noticed by the masses. Unclassified teams are dangerous because they have a chip on their shoulders and will do anything and everything to prove everyone wrong.

Lake Zurich

Head Coach/coaches: Ian Silverman / Lisa Ledbetter 

Last year's finish: Schaumburg Sectional- 8th
Key returners: Emily Burns, Carley Peldiak
Projected top 7: Says Coach Silverman: "Good lord, I couldn't predict that if I had a time machine."
Newcomers: "I never have any idea. After almost 20 years at this I'm always surprised by what happens with the new kids."
Coach Silverman's outlook: We're really looking at rebuilding this year: we lost our top two (especially Caitlin Shepard) and we need to fill a lot of holes. We have real potential on the team, it's just a question of how consistent we've been in the weeks since camp ended, and how much we are willing to push. And we've got a new setup for the revamped NSC conference title, which will change our approach to the season to some degree. So there's that.

Head Coach: Neil James
Last year's finish: 21st - State Championship
Key returners: Brooke Witzel (Jr), Maddie Collins (Jr), Danna Jenkins (Sr), Katie Mank (So), Kaileigh Perrier (Jr), Kylie James (Jr), Annie Roberts (Sr), Mary Kate Porath (Sr), Janelle Vollmer (Sr)
Projected top 7:  Witzel, Collins, Jenkins, Mank, Perrier, Wichlac, Jordan Newcomers: Sophie Wichlac (Fr), Emma Jordan (Fr)
Coach James' outlook: We have a nice core returning with Witzel, Collins, and Jenkins. We had another good summer of training and are looking forward to getting to the season. Obviously we are looking for Brooke Witzel to lead the way as she has for the past two seasons. I expect that it will take some time for some of our runners to gain varsity experience, but think that by the postseason we should have a solid pack.

New Lenox (Lincoln-Way Central) 
Head Coach: Jack Young / Tom Gavin, Becky Cherry
Last year's finish: 23rd- State Championship
Key returners: Madison Smith (Sr), Kelly Robbins (So), Gretchen Zigraitis (Jr), Emily Firtek (Sr), Dana Boucher (Jr), Samantha Waters (So)
Projected top 7: Smith, Robbins, Madison Brownrigg (Sr.), Mackenzie Brownrigg, Gretchen Zigraitis, Samantha Waters, Emily Furtek, Dana Boucher,
Newcomers: Madison Brownrigg, Mackenzie Brownrigg (both transfers from White Plains, MO- who were in the top 7 of their 9th place finishing team for Missouri class 4a cross country). Also, Freshmen Rachel Baumgartner and Lexy Sams will look to make an impact on the varsity team.
Coach Young's Outlook: The team lost one of its top runners, Jenna Diers, to LW west this year with the reduction of schools in the district. The addition of the Brownrigg sisters will help off set the loss of a top runner. We will be deep team with potential to make some noise in the SWSC conference. If the team can stay healthy we will strive for a top 20 finish at the state meet.

Elmhurst (York) 
Head Coach/coaches: Lauren DeAngelis / Ashley Tucker, Keegan Kilrea
Last year's finish: 22nd- State Championship
Key returners: Sarah May (So), Emily Siegenthaler (Jr), Erin Davies (Jr), Julie Biggins (Sr), Bridget Berger (Sr), Sarah Gutierrez (So), Francesca Mordini (So), Katherine Tomaska (Jr), Anna Morley (, Abby Ross, Haley Weiler
Projected top 7 from Coach DeAngelis: Sarah May, Emily Siegenthaler, Erin Davies, Katherine Tomaska, Anna Morley.... I feel there are many girls who can make the top 7 during this season!
Newcomers by DeAngelis: We are a very young team with a lot of new talent and many girls who can significantly make a positive impact.
Coach DeAngelis' outlook: The Dukes look to make a stronger showing during the 2016 XC season after placing 22nd at the state meet last season. The Dukes are a young team who had a strong summer training and are gaining confidence, momentum, and have a lot of potential for many successes this season. The Dukes have five state varsity returnees, led by Sarah May, followed by Emily Siegenthaler, Erin Davies, Julie Biggins, and Bridget Berger, along with many other girls looking to help the Dukes place strongly on each level.