2017 Pre-Season Preview: Countdown Begins With Class A Girls Unclassified

Clifton (Central)

Last year's finish: 24th- State Championship

Coach: David Ladehoff

Key Returners: Katie Kleinert (Sr.), Kaleigh Ladehoff (Jr.), McKenna Goldtrap (Jr.), Makayla Caspary (Jr.), Katlin Gerrard (Jr.)

Nick's thoughts on the season: The Comets return five of their top seven from a team that finished 5th in the competitive Lisle Sectional and 24th at state. Their top returners will be Kayleigh Ladehoff and Katie Kleinert who both have state meet experience.

Du Quoin

Last year's finish: 25th- State Championship

Coach: Eric Kirkpatrick

Key Returners: Gabby Alongi (So.), Chloe Hill (Jr.), Andrea Lopez (Sr.), Olivia Cravens (Sr.)

Coach Kirkpatrick's thoughts on the season: "At this point in the year we are just trying to remain consistent in what we are doing. We lost our #3 runner from last year, Quinn Kirkpatrick, and our #5 runner, Grace Bailey. Kate Smith was another member of our top 7 that we are going to have to replace because of graduation. That is a lot of experience and leadership that we have to replace. We are hoping some of the newcomers can come in and work hard to push for those varsity spots."


Last year's finish: 9th- Elmwood Sectional

Key Returners: Maya Stovall (Jr.), Maggie Swanson (Sr.), Halle Evans (So.), Emma Wohlstadter (Sr.), Sophie Whitford (Sr.)

Nick's thoughts on the season: The Bombers will once again rely on four-time all state performer Maya Stovall to lead the team. Maya already has 9th and 11th place finishes at Detweiller to her credit. The team returns all seven of the runners who finished 9th at the Elmwood Sectional. The success of the team will depend on whether the 2nd through 7th runners can help Maya by closing the gap.


Last year's finish: 10th- Effingham St. Anthony Sectional

Coach: Erin Atherton

Key Returners: Hannah Crawford (Sr.), Holly Johnston (Sr.), Bailey Eschbach (Jr.), Paige Brandel (So.), Reilly Fitzpatrick (Jr.), Gracie Pakula (So.), Emma Brandel (So.)

Coach Etherton's thoughts on the season: "Hannah Crawford and Holly Johnston are seniors this year and continue to be standouts. Hannah finished 3rd in the Sangamo conference meet last year and Holly finished 5th. Both share team captain duties this year and should have strong performances throughout the season."


Last year's finish: 8th- Oregon Sectional

Coach: Creston Fenn

Key Returners: Whitney Johnson (Jr.), Rachel Gomez (Jr.), Rachel Cook (Jr.), Kaliegh Nimrick (Sr.), Brooklynn Carpenter (Jr.)

Coach Fenn's thoughts on the season: "We are a very young team that lost 3 prolific seniors, but those seniors have instilled a great work ethic into the next generation of Lady Titans. I have been so very proud of their summer. Because this group is so young, there are a lot of unknowns. I think that is exciting though. The best years the Titans have ever had were the years that the group had no idea what they could do. Whitney Johnson will lead the charge for us after finishing 17th in state last year. After her, I think we can have a tight pack of girls. Getting hard working and dedicated new comers like Cora Rusk and Katie Parez will help solidify that pack that will no doubt be pushed by Rachel Gomez and Rachel Cook. I am also excited about Brookylnn Carpenter and Kaliegh Nimrick's potential this year. They have looked the best they ever have during the summer. Newcomers Chiara Hendrix, Emily McClelland, and Aimee Moore have the potential to fight for those top 7 spot. I think we have a great group of girls that will most definitely be in the hunt for a spot at the state meet."

Bloomington (Central Catholic)

Last year's finish: 10th at the Elmwood Sectional

Coach: Bill Rhodes

Key Returners: Abby Lewis (Jr.), Noelle Ghrer (Sr.), Olivia Brownlee (Jr.), Kaitlyn Dappen (So.), Elizabeth Morris (Sr.), Ana Isaac (Jr.)

Nick's thoughts on the season: The Saints return 6 of their top seven from a team that finished 10th at the Elmwood Sectional. Abby Lewis will once again be expected to lead the team. She finished 30th at statelast year as a sophomore and will be making a bid to crack the top 25.

Decatur (St. Theresa)

Last year's finish: 8th- Effingham St. Anthony Sectional

Coach: Todd Vohland

Key Returners: Veronica Hein (So.), Pamela Tacud (Sr.), Sade Oladipupo (So.), Lauryn Rowe-adams (Sr.)

Nick's thoughts on the season: All 7 runners return from a team that finished 8th in 1a's toughest sectional. The Bulldogs were only 18 points from a state bid. The top 4 was pretty solid at sectional led by Veronica Hein (who finished 43rd at state last year). If someone can step up and close the gap between the 4th and 5th runner, they have a very good chance to get back to Detweiller as a team this year.


Last year's finish: 8th- Edwardsville Metro East Lutheran Sectional

Coach: Val Tepe

Key Returners: Abby Reichmann (Jr.), Megan Cook (So.), Madison Hackstadt (Sr.)

Nick's thoughts on the season: The Lady Rockets finished 8th at the Edwardsville (Metro-East Lutheran) Sectional a mere 19 points from a state qualifying spot. The team will once again be led by Abby Riechmann who gained state meet experience and finished 98th in her first visit to Detweiller.

Belleville (Althoff Catholic)

Last year's finish: 6th- Edwardsville Metro East Lutheran Sectional

Coach: Mike Sanders

Key Returners: Tiffani Siekmann (Jr.), Gabby Siekmann (Jr.), Claire Hill (Jr.), Hanna Ertel (So.), Andersyn Foster (Jr.), Kyra Humbert (Jr.), Rebecca Potje (Sr.)

Coach Sanders thoughts on the season: "Last year we had a pretty good run to the championships and we believe we have another good shot at it...it would be a dream come true for this team! We've been working pretty hard in our conditioning this summer and hope to stay injury free but if not, we adapt and roll with the depth that we have. Of course, even though we look forward to the opportunities, we recognize and are so very thankful that we can glorify God in each and every element of what we are doing, from training to racing and all that is in between in fellowship with one another...that's really our main focus!"