2018 Class 2A Girls XC Preview: The Countdown #25 to #21

Make no mistake about it... cross country in the state of Illinois is good. There are a number of quality teams regardless of classification ready to show they are worthy of being ranked, and more importantly being one of the 25 teams that earn a trip to Detweiller Park in November for the state championship

25. Crystal Lake Central

Head Coach/coaches: Brett Willhoit 
Last year's finish: Belvidere Sectional- 6th place
Key returners: Becca Orvis (Sr), Kylie Smith (So)
Projected top 7: Smith, Orvis, Taylor Fisher, Meghan Easterday, Nadia Sardjev
Newcomers: Hard to say right now.
Coach's thoughts on the team: After losing a few seniors to graduation and losing two more varsity runners to out of state transfers, we will be rebuilding this season.

Head Coach/coaches: Doug Bradley/Bob Vance
Last year's finish: Decatur MacArthur Sectional- 6th place
Key returners: Lily Becker (Sr.), Sarah Kampwerth (Sr.), Sam Hengehold (Jr.), Jessica Borror (So.), Julia Loeh (So.), Grace Meyer (So.) and Paige Schaible (So.)
Projected top 7: Hengehold, Borror, Meyer, Loeh, Schaible, Kate Marti (Sr), Becker, Kampwerth.
Newcomers: Faith Brindley (Fr.), Brtin Machuca (Fr.)
Coach's thoughts on the team: There are three girls on this team that has run in the 18s at the state meet so we have some experience and some talent. The last two seasons we've been strong over the first few positions only to fall prey to those teams with tighter 1-5 gaps. Our success will depend on whether or not we can develop into a formidable pack. Our summer has been productive and we've made pack running a point of emphasis. There are lots of reasons for optimism given the talent, experience, and great work ethic, but this team has more questions than answers. Two of our runners had no spring track season and two have missed significant training this summer due to their recovery from injury. Additionally, given our lack of depth, we'll have to rely on three returning runners who have never broken the 20-minute barrier. It will take a while for this group to gel, but by October we could be putting a pretty competitive unit out on the course.

23. Burlington Central

Head Coach/coaches: Vince Neil
Last year's finish: Kaneland Sectional- 8th place 
Projected top 7: The girls listed above will have a huge impact on our top 7
Newcomers: Fiona Pedone Faith Cassata
Coach's thoughts on the team: The girls will have a very nice pack this year. They push each other and challenge one another to race. The attitude and talent are there to have a great season. Many of the girls listed above had a great track season that will carry over into cross country this fall.

Head Coach: Vic Mead
Last year's finish: State- 23rd place
Tony's thoughts: Six of the top seven return from a team that should be much better than at the end of the season than pre-season. Look for the debut and emergence of super freshman Lianna Surtz. She is going to be a big presence this season in Illinois and for her team.

21. Morton
Head Coach/coaches: Joel Zehr/Dave Getz, Joe Zeller 
Last year's finish: Normal Sectional- 6th place 
Key returners: Aspen Gordon (Sr.), Meagan Moreno (Sr), Tenley Dowell (Sr.), Abby Dryden (Sr), Sarah Honegger (Sr.)
Projected Top 7: Gordon, Moreno, Emma Skinner (Fr.), Dryden, Dowell, Honegger, Emily Klopfenstein (Sr.)
Newcomers: Emma Skinner finished 6th in the Girls 3A IESA meet last year and will fit in nicely with Aspen Gordon and Meagan Moreno to round out a very strong top three.
Coach's thoughts on the team: This girls team has great potential for 1-3, Aspen Gordon should be one of the top runners in Central Illinois and will lead our team well. With the senior leadership and experience of Moreno, Skinner will have someone to help her along as she adjusts to racing three miles. If we can find a quality 4-5 for our girls, they may just push past their 6th place finish from last fall.


Head Coach: Kelly MacDonald
Last year's finish: Kaneland Sectional - 18th place
Key returners: Chelsea Gale, Chloe Gale, Delaney Minutillo
Projected top 7: Chelsea Gale, Chloe Gale, Minutillo, Katie Harth, Carsen Forte, Kelly Gende, or one of 5 other Freshman girls who should improve us significantly.
Newcomers: Carsen Forte, Jayden Forte, Emma Defort, Kelly Gende, Katie Gorton, Bridget Jewell, Allie Klauser, Elani Nanos, Sophia Robinson, Leah Walters.
Coach's thoughts on the team: We have had a great summer of running. The girls have worked hard and our eleven new runners have shown some promise and spunk. It will be a lot of fun watching this team develop. With senior leadership coming from Chloe Gale and Gabby Carpenter and strength from All-State runner (10th) Chelsea Gale, the newcomers will have a great team to grow into. Many of these new faces are strong enough to find themselves running on the Varsity level. If everything falls into place, we should improve significantly over last year's finish.

Head Coach/coaches: Chancy Whittington /Katelyn Isbell, Isabella Kosier 
Last year's finish: Normal U High Sectional- 9th place
Projected top 7: see above
Newcomers: Kaitlyn Driskell (Fr), Katie Goldring (So)
Coach's thoughts on the team: We have had a good summer training concentrating on building our base. The girls have really increased their mileage from last year and our paces have been faster. We will be adding a meet the Farmington Invite on August 20th. Claire Wheelwright had a great summer of training and finished it off by going to the University of Wisconsin camp placing 7th out of 77 runners at camp. Eleanor Fournier has been working hard she finished her summer training running a PR of 19:12 at Detweiller at Dark. 

Head Coach/coaches: Andy Brendel/Brian Weiss
Last year's finish: State- 16th place
Projected top 7: TBA
Newcomers: N/A
Coach's thoughts on the team: We are excited to see how this group develops. We have some great returning athletes and a few new faces that could make a positive impact.

Head Coach/coaches: Johann Gonzalez/Kelly McClearn
Last year's finish: State- 21st
Key returners: Alexis Cohn (So), Kate Foley (So), Sylvia Ritzler (So), Bridget O'Bryan (Sr), Hannah Roberts (Sr)
Projected top 7: Cohn, Foley, Ritzler, O'Bryan, Roberts 
Newcomers: TBA
Coach's thoughts on the team: We graduated four out of the seven that ran in the state meet last year. The fortunate thing for us is we got a talented group of freshmen that competed well in their frosh/soph meets. This group will be led by Alexis Cohn, who is coming off a great track season and summer camp. Bridget O'Bryan and Hannah Roberts will help round out the top five along with Kate Foley and Sylvia Ritzler.

Head Coach/coaches: Gene Jones/Pete Bachfischer, Jess Mellican, Dan Herring, Angie Kimbro, Cory Shoopman
Last year's finish: Normal U High Sectional- 12th
Newcomers: Jordyn Hanson, Rachel Fisher, Alannah Hinshaw, Ali Kough, Katie Lalumandier, Olyvia Palacios, & Brooke Ramsey.
Coach's thoughts on the team: Lady Runnin' Red have some veteran talent & youthful talent to develop a good Girls 2A Team. There is excellent talent in the area to compete against during the season to help them get better. I am looking forward to the 2018 Season.