Class 3A Girls Teams: It Is Time For Unclassified

Palatine's Anna Marie Jordan hopes to put her team back among the giants this season


Head Coach/coaches: Peter Anderson/Amy Freeman, Anne Marie Lemp, Hope Turner, Mary Moore
Last year's finish: 6th- Niles West Sectional
Projected top 7: Daigle, Quinn, Spencer, Roe, Kannegiesser, Jeanette, Taylor
Newcomers: Angelina Grimm (FR), Ava Hodel (FR), Chloe Podewell (FR)
Coach Peter Anderson's thoughts on the team: We have lost two of our top seven to graduation, but an experienced core returns. A year of high school training has benefitted the deep sophomore class who are all looking to get into varsity entries.

Head Coach: Shari Hayes
Last year's finish: 8th- Waubonsie Valley Sectional
Key returners: Rachel Price (so), Grace Dorrance (jr), Ella Townsend (jr), Miles Watts (So)
Projected top 7: TBD
Newcomers: Braelyn Rich (Fr), Audrey Sheehy (So), Megan Strong (Fr)
Coach Hayes' thoughts on the team: I expect our team to be stronger than our team was last season. Our team has been working hard. If the new runners are able to fill the shoes of our graduating seniors, we should be a stronger team this year.

Head Coach/coaches: Brad Kaplan, Heather O'Brien
Last year's finish: 11th- Waubonsie Valley Sectional
Key returners: Alice Abbott (Jr), Grace Jackson (Sr), Venezia Munoz (Jr), Gia Klasa (So), Hannah Kilpatrick (So), Faith Piercy (So), Laci Chivari (So)
Projected top 7: Alice Abbott, Jackson, Munoz, Klasa, Kilpatrick, Ava Abbott, Piercy
Newcomers: Ava Abbott, Claire Van Lue
Coach Kaplan's thoughts on the team: Our team returns six of the top seven from last year's sectional team. The girls had good track seasons and have transitioned into summer training well. Alice will lead this young group with only one senior in the top seven projections. The girls are working hard and we'll be using the season to continue to learn to race as a group. If we stay healthy, I like where we could end up come IHSA postseason time.

Head Coach/coaches: Jack Young/Ryan Stapinski, Tom Gavin, Becky Cherry
Last year's finish: 7th- Quincy Sectional
Key returners: Merrigan Allen (Jr), Rachel Baumgartner (Sr)
Projected top 7: Allen, Baumgartner, Lexy Sams (Sr), Catherine Ihrke (Jr), Colleen Erdman (Jr), Carly Shipman (Jr), ???
Newcomers: Ella Maldonado, Ava Paoletti, Shea Martin, Ceci Nilson, Emma Olson
Coach Young's thoughts on the team: We have a good returning core and a good incoming freshmen class. We hope that we have 12-15 girls that will create competition within the team that will push everyone to be better. The girls have worked hard all summer to create a solid base and are ready for the season.

Head Coach/coaches: Jeff Durlak/Nick Nenni, Mike Kennedy, Jeff Harvey
Last year's finish: 15th- State Championship
Key returners: Aly Negovetich (So), Drue Polka (Sr), Laura Bishop (So), Eliza Scoggin (Sr), Taylor Bushman (Sr)
Projected top 7: Too early to say but the returners and newcomers listed here plus a few others have a chance to compete for those spots.
Newcomers: Alya Rangel (Sr.), Brianna Osmon (Fr.)
Coach Durlak's thoughts on the team:
We graduated three seniors (Danielle Osmon, Eva Cardy, Jana Nehila) who really helped grow the program to the level it is at right now and will be difficult to replace. Our summer training went really well for most of our returning runners and our newcomers.

Aly has had a very strong, consistent summer and is looking to build upon her phenomenal freshman season. Drue really came on strong at Regionals and Sectionals last year to help us qualify for the state meet last year. Drue had a great, healthy summer of training and is ready for a breakout senior season. Laura kept improving throughout the season last fall and continued that improvement during the track season so she is ready for a strong sophomore season. Behind those three, it will be interesting to see how things progress and how our lineup develops as the season goes on. Hopefully, we can stay healthy throughout the season to have a chance at repeating for the conference championship and have a strong postseason performance.

Head Coach/coaches: Matt Ihms/Jenny Huffman
Last year's finish: 8th- Hoffman Estates Sectional
Key returners: Janae Dean (Sr), Valerie Daniel (Sr), Alex Carrasquillo (So)
Projected top 7: Dean, Daniel, Carrasquillo, Danielle Giovenco, Harper Funkhouser, Alex Robledo, Alyson Simon
Newcomers: Danielle Giovenco, Harper Funkhouser, Alex Robledo, Alyson Simon, Nicole Vlahov, Arianna Tarallo
Coach Ihms' thoughts on the team: After losing nine seniors, this year's team is truly rebuilding. We have some freshman potential and talented kids that have never competed in a cross-country race before. Week to week we'll see growth and what type of team we're going to be.

Tony's take: Losing longtime coach Kirk Macnider to Schaumburg (boys' program) will hitter than the Eagles will admit. Macnider established a strong program that competed at the highest level in the state's top girls conference (MSL).

Head Coach/coaches: Joe Parks / Ruth Spethmann (nee Allen) / Jenna Stokes 
Last year's finish:  6th- Hoffman Estates Sectional
Projected top 7: Jordan, Roy,  Solano, Seeberger, Churchill… then likely some freshman
Newcomers: Freshman -- Tara O'Sullivan, Caitlyn Whitcomb, Ruth Hall, Adi Cruz, Kaylee Hollis, Caroline Kawiecki

Coach Parks thoughts on the team:

We've had one of our largest and more consistent freshman groups since I've been at Palatine. There is some talent in this group, but hard to say how far they will come along over the season. I wouldn't be shocked to see two, maybe three, a freshman in our top seven when the dust settles. Which had not been the norm for us.  I'm not sure I've ever had more than one freshman per year run for us at state.

Summer has been solid, but I would not say the best we've ever had as a program.  Mainly due to the fact we have a few girls that have had some injury issues over the years, so we've tried to make some accommodations to keep them healthy. What makes this tough is building the same comradery I like to see develop in the summer.  So we will see of all the pieces can come together in the end. 

I always expect to be down in the Peoria come November. Last fall was the first time I had ever been around high school cross country (as an athlete or coach) and not competed in the state meet. It was tough for all involved. Whether or not we continue this trend or make a return really comes down to how bad these girls want that experience. We have a proven formula for success here, but the team has to buy in, do the work, and bring an attitude to competing that they want to be great. Last year we were riddled with injury issues like I've never seen before. It happens, however, we've been very fortunate over the years to avoid something like this, so hopefully, it's an anomaly.

Honestly, with this group, it could go either way. Either our leaders will be determined to make a return or we will race and train in a timid manner that will likely not get the job done. Like I said they have to want it bad enough they are willing the sacrifice for one another day in and day out. We will see. I'm very optimistic and excited to see what type of team this group can develop into.

Head Coach/coaches: Brett Heimstead
Last year's finish: 9th- Hoffman Estates Sectional
Key returners: Raina Rice (So), Taylor Latza (Jr), Madison Juenger (Sr), Hailey Smith (Sr), Brooke Sturt (So)
Projected top 7: Rice, Latza, Juenger, Smith, Sturt, Sophia Iaconis, Chloe Yoder
Newcomers: Not sure at this point…
Coach Heimstead's thoughts on the team:
We are looking forward to another awesome cross country season. We are losing two of our top five, but that retain 13 of our top 15 from last season.
We are returning 2 All-Conference ladies and a hungry group of runners to be the best we can this season. We have had a real solid summer. During our training, the girls have been putting in some good miles and most importantly doing it together. We have been getting in solid long runs of 8-10 miles on some tough courses, such as UW-Parkside and Fox River Park.
The thing that stood out this summer was our consistency and team mentality. Season goals are always the same. Remain one of the best teams in the Conference and be the best we can when it counts at regionals and sectionals. Our theme this year is "energy" and getting the most out of every runner, every day.

Head coach: Tammy Gummerson/Ryan Paymaster
Last year's finish: 25th- State Championship
Newcomers: Taylor Green (Fr) 
Coach Gummerson's thoughts on the team: I am excited to see what this team can do this fall! They had a great summer

Head Coach/coaches:  Amanda Ameling (on maternity leave this fall) Bruyn Yunk (Intermittent Head Coach for 2019 Fall season), Corie Sanders, Arlen McCann
Last year's finish: 7th- Waubonsie Valley Sectional
Projected top 7: Only time will tell. I believe our key returners will make up a good portion of our key returners but I would not be surprised to see some freshmen or sophomores make their way into the top 7 at some point this season.
Newcomers:  We are very fortunate to have a talented freshmen class coming in. Not only are they solid runners but they are also leaders who have bought into the program. We are looking forward to seeing what they can accomplish this year and especially in years to come.
Coach Ameling's thoughts on the team: As we have been going through a culture shift the past few years, we are coming into this year more committed than in the past. Our key returners and newcomers are all healthy, so at this point injuries are at a minimum and hopefully continue to be. We finished last year higher than projected at the Sectional meet, so we finished on a strong note. The girls are coming into this season with tenacity and have set goals that they are hungry to get after. Our focus this season is creating a team culture that fosters greatness in all aspects. If we can successfully do this, we will have an awesome season.

Head Coach: Al Edwards
Last year's finish: 10th at sectional
Key returners: Daphne Murray (so), Stella Ljung (jr), Emma Young (jr), Marley Kravitz (jr)
Projected top 7: Murray, Ljung, Young, Kravitz, Reese Hoffman (fr), Evie Calderon (sr), Alex Burr (sr) Newcomers: Reese Hoffman, Sarah Craft (jr) (swimmer), Charlotte Lawrence (sr) (hockey)
Coach Edwards thoughts on the team: This team has a chance to defend its CPS championship. With only one or two seniors in the top seven, it's going to be interesting to see how leadership emerges from the juniors and how they learn to race together. Very tough to replace Ella Behrens, both as a competitor and the heartbeat of the team. A couple of girls coming off a long track cycle (USATF) could get into the mix by the end of the season.

Head Coach: George Patrylak
Last year's finish: 24th- State Championship
Key returners: Abby Korak (Sr)
Newcomers: Riley Knoyle (Fr)
Coach Patrylak's thoughts on the team: (It) is likely our streak of qualifying as a girls team will come to an end, as we have lost a lot of runners to graduation the past two seasons. 

Individually, Abby Korak looks really strong.  She has increased the volume and intensity of her runs and is the strongest she has ever been.  She has been doing most runs with the boys unless she is with some of the top females in our area during Community Runs.  We are excited to see how things progress throughout the season.  She is much more confident after earning All-State honors in the 1600m during the Spring.  Abby should be one of the top runners in our part of the state and has the ability to crack the top 25. 

For our team to have a chance, Riley will have to be with 45 seconds of Abby and our 3-7 will have to dramatically close the gap.  We have our smallest girls team in the last 10 years.  Unless we get some unexpected reinforcements, it may be a bit of a challenge.  I love the group we have, but we are not quite where we need to be.