3A Girls Team Preseason Preview: #25-11

Expect it to be a long run to Peoria in November for this group of emerging teams. The first item from a vanity point of view is to excel and get notoriety in the rankings.


25. Geneva
Head Coach/coaches: Peter Raak
Last year's finish: 6th- Waubonsie Valley Sectional
Key returners: Andrine Larsen (Sr), Sarah Pratt (Sr), Lauren Hasty (Jr), Kayla Stone (So), Lily Ryan (So)
Projected top 7: The trio of upperclassmen, Andrine, Lauren, and Sarah will lead the way for the team. We'll see how the underclassmen fair and adjust to their new roles on the team with a year of experience under their belts.
Newcomers: Mckenna Mertes (Fr)
Coach Raak's thoughts on the team: This team has tons of potential. While we lose lead runner and All-State athlete, Sophia McDonnell, this team returns the next 5 with other returners waiting in the wings. This team will be a team that relies on pack racing hoping to keep the 5th runner close to the number 1 runner on the team.

Head Coach/coaches: Matt Blondell/Aislinn Hicks, Sarah Braun
Last year's finish: 10th- Waubonsie Valley Sectional
Key returners: Emily Scott (Sr), Kayla Zimmer (Sr), Althea Foster (Sr), Haley Engels (Jr), Cora Marcet (Jr), Thrisha Bandepallee (Jr), Noelle Veome (Sr)
Projected top 7: It is possible that the six mentioned above will all be back in the lineup at some point. We have at least a handful of others who have the potential to make our final top seven line-up.
Newcomers: We are very excited about our freshmen class. It is a very committed group who put in a lot of hard work during the summer.
Coach Blondell's thoughts on the team: I am excited about the upcoming season! I believe we will be better than we were last season. The girls have set some excellent team goals. We have a solid core group of seniors who will be hungry to improve upon last season's team finish.

Head Coach/coaches: Lisa Cook/Steve Ideran, Kelly McNeely
Last year's finish: 7th Place- Oswego East Regional
Key returners: Maddie Zarembski (So), Morgan Ede (Sr), Naylah Allen (Jr), Kara Webb (Sr), Ana Barroso (So), Maddi Amer (So)
Projected top 7: Zarembski, Ede, Allen, Webb, Barroso, Amer, Leah Allgaier
Newcomers: Grace Praxmarer, Veronica Hamilton, Monserrat Tago

Coach Cook's thoughts on the team:

We have the potential to have a very strong group this year.  We have key returners with sectional racing experience (Maddie and Morgan), and Maddie returns as a sophomore with state experience.  We have seen a lot of growth over the summer and will be working to close our gaps between 2-3 and 3-4 throughout the season. Katherine Sim and Elyssa Gall were great leaders and graduated from our top 7 last year, but we return several sophomores to our varsity lineup, as well as some juniors and seniors to lead the way.  Other key upperclassmen to show tremendous improvement throughout the spring and summer, Emma McKillip and Angie Goduto, could work their way into the top 7 as well.

As a team, our depth is improving each year, as we expect to have over 20 girls competing for a top 14 spot. Last year's team finish left a chip on our shoulders, so we expect our team to come out and fight for every team point possible.  We can't wait to see what this group can accomplish!  

Our number two runner will be freshman, Riley Knoyle. Riley was an IESA All-State runner and has been working hard. She is not ready to be with Abby but is ahead of the rest of our girl's team. We have been trying to be cautious with her mileage, but I expect her to improve throughout the season. She will have a chance to be an individual qualifier by the end of the year. 

Head Coach/coaches: Regan Cronholm/Tammy Baranowski, Courtney Krieger
Last year's finish: 22nd- State Championship
Key returners: Josephine Bober (Jr), Madison Polinski (Sr)
Projected top 7: Bober, M. Polinski, Alexandra Polinski, Anna Kozak, Abbey Kozak, Grace Mildice, Sammie Weisner
Newcomers: Freshmen- Monica Skibicki, Hannah Miller, Kayla Shea, Caroline Turner
Coach Cronholm's thoughts on the team: After summer running and Detweiller at Dark, I am excited to see what this team does. We've been trying out new things and I am interested to see how they put everything together.

Head Coach: Mark McCabe
Last year's finish: 17th- State Championship
Key returners: McKenna Revord (Sr), Taylor Wagner (Sr), Lucy Fischer (Sr)
Projected top 7: We will have to wait and see!
Newcomers: Emma Watcke (Sr), Catie McCabe, Louisa Brorson
Coach McCabe's thoughts on the team:
Each year's team has its own special and unique personality and our 2019 team is certainly no exception. We are a "new team" even more than usual, having lost a great deal of excellent senior leadership to graduation, including Kayla Byrne, Bella Pisani, Melanie Chafen, and Caitlin Chval.

Those four seniors have been succeeded by four others this year. McKenna Revord, Emma Watcke, Lucy Fischer, and Taylor Wagner. As we like to say, "tradition never graduates." As is typically the case, we've had an outstanding summer of training and a great team trip to Wisconsin. We set our goals on that trip and will keep those to ourselves. One thing I will say is that we are excited and look forward to being the very best we can be this fall!

Revord returns after finishing 14th in the state (her second all-state honor) and setting big PR's on the track this past spring. She has a great training partner in Watcke who transferred in from Ohio during the indoor season. Watcke would place second in the 3200m state meet. We will have a formable 1-2 punch. We are talented but not deep and will be very careful in staying healthy this fall. 

Head Coach: Alison Reifenberg
Last year's finish: 13th- Hoffman Estates Sectional
Key returners:  Bree Ponchak (So), Annalese Chudy (Jr), Lyann Tam (Jr), Grace Mudd (So), Katharine Meyer (So)
Projected top 7: Ponchak, Chudy, Tam, Meyer, Grace Kraft, Sheila Tucker, Katherine Thomey
Coach' Reifenberg's thoughts on the team:

We expect to be competitive in our conference and regionals. We would love to compete for the title of both races and to move up in our sectional race.

Milesplit IL outlook: An interesting but inconsistent squad in 2018 may have prevented the Wildcats from advancing to state. For example, a tough finish at sectionals was not indicative of the team that competed well in some big invites. Perhaps, it was losing its spark plug Brielle Rochester down the stretch played a huge role. Rochester on the surface appears to want to concentrate on club fall soccer. Expected a mature 'Cats squad to really impress this fall.

Head Coach/coach: Paul Hass / assistant coach Dan Kim
Last year's finish: 13th- State Championship
Key returners: Katelynne Hart (Sr), Delaney Engel (So), Anna Nickoley (So), Audrey Allman (So), Jules Billings (Sr), Haley Yeager (Sr), Ava Powell (Sr) Olivia Cline (Jr).
Projected top 7: Hart, Allman, Delaney Engel, Nickoley, . . . ?
Newcomers: Hannah Moffatt (Fr), Kaylee Lange (Fr)
Coach Hass' outlook:
Several girls on the team have enjoyed good summers and logged many miles; most notably, senior Katelynne Hart, sophomores Audrey Allman. Anna Nickoley, Delaney Engel, and senior Jules Billings.

However, the difference between our team making it to state and being competitive at the state meet will ultimately rest upon the shoulders of those who fill the three spots behind our four returners from last year's top seven. Fortunately, we have some girls motivated to fulfill these key roles and the challenge will be to close the split between Katelynne and the next four runners, whoever they are, by the end of the season. 

Katelynne Hart enters her final campaign just as driven as she was as a freshman to prove herself against state and national competition -- with the added ingredient of heightened confidence after her tremendous performances in track (& as the Runner-up in the Footlocker Championships). Audrey Allman had a breakout track season and is fully committed to erasing memories of last season, where she suffered through a mid-season stress fracture and returned as our sixth runner at state. Delaney Engel and Anna Nickoley are in better shape now than they were last year at this time and, after solid XC and track seasons are starting to figure out what it takes to succeed against state competition. Of course, the possibility exists that a talented freshman or newcomer to the team enters the varsity squad at some point this fall, that scenario will only reveal itself as training progress and remains to be seen. 

As always the goal over the summer -- as well as the season -- is to have each girl remain healthy and focused upon improving upon their past season's training and meet performances. The girls completed the fall campaign with a solid 10th place finish at NXR and are even more committed to improving upon last season's team performance in the state series and post-season opportunities. Needless to say, we are looking forward to the 2019 season which we believe holds enormous potential for the lady Hilltoppers.

Head Coach/coaches: Tim McDonald/Matt Maletich/Bob Calder
Last year's finish: 23rd- State Championship
Key returners: Melissa Jachim (Jr.), Eva Bednard (Sr.), Ellie Gross (Sr.), Katie Figliomeni (Jr.), Rylan Gaspar (Jr.), Ashley Novak (So.), Gianna Ferraro (Sr.)
Projected top 7: We have the top 7 back from last year's state meet, but I am sure there will be a lot of competition for the top 7 spots.
Newcomers: Assuming everyone comes out for the team, we have our largest freshman class in a number of years. There is a lot of depth, our frosh-soph team should show a lot of improvement over last year, but it is still too early to say if or how many could have an impact on the varsity level.
Coach McDonald's thoughts on the team: The summer started out a little inconsistent between vacations, non-running health issues, & just getting back into shape. Things have settled down and the team is starting to take shape. I think we have more depth than a year ago and that will make for a more competitive team on all three levels at invites. Once the season begins, vacation season is over, and we have the whole team training together on a daily basis I am excited to see what this team can become over the course of the cross country season.

Head Coach: Danielle Freeman
Last year's finish: 20th- State Championship
MileSplit IL outlook: 2018 was a rebound year of some sorts for the Huskies. They were among the best in the tough MSL and that ultimately led to them going to state. With five of the top seven scorers returning including lead runner Katie Fredian, makes this team dangerous. It is plausible to see a scoring split under 1:00 all season.

Head Coach/coaches: Joseph Marcin/Rachel Scianna
Last year's finish: Hoffman Estate Sectionals-6th
Projected top 7: Ban, Beaupre, Finegan, LaDuke, Markham, Odle, Norah Odle
Newcomers: Nishika Girish, Shannon Kaleta, Yejee Lee, Amanda Markham, Emily Price, Hannah Rosen, Claire Vozas
Coach Marcin's thoughts on the team: The girls have put in consistent hard work this summer and are determined to improve on last season's finish. To begin the season, the top 7 will be composed of upperclassmen. As newcomers gain experience, an athlete or two may make a run into the varsity line-up. All runners return from last season's sectional team.

Head Coach: John Burnside
Last year's finish: 7th- State Championship
Projected top 7: Braband, Dieffenbacher, Forbes, Fradkin, Ryan; others
Newcomers: Colleen Charchut, Katie Holmberg, Sam Fellman
Coach Burnside's thoughts on the team: We lost a lot of talent and leadership to graduation. Fortunately, the returning athletes have used the track season and this summer to develop a culture and group personality that is extremely positive. This season we expect to see our top runners take the next step, competing with some of the best Illinois has to offer. There will be a lot of opportunities for the younger runners to compete on the varsity level. We are excited to see how this combination can work together to improve throughout the season.

Head Coach/Coaches: Alex Lyons/Callie Pogge, Luke Taylor, Greg Frandsen, Jess Roessler, Jack Hostettler Last Year's Finish: 4th- State Championship
Newcomers: Charlotte Lange (Fr), Scarlett Lestina (Fr), Catherine Sommerfeld (Fr), Niamh Griffin (Fr), Maddie Grayson (Fr), Maia Rudofski (Fr)
Projected top 7: We have no idea what our projected top 7 will be at this point.
Coach Lyons' thoughts on the team: The girls are having a solid summer. They are awesome kids and we're excited to spend the season working with them.

Head Coach/coaches: Mark Anderson/Tom Smith
Last year's finish: 19th- state meet
Projected top 7: Mason, Dieschbourg, Blohm, Williams, Ada Saletnik, Natalie Warren
Newcomers: Ada Saletnik
Coach Anderson's thoughts on the team: Great group of kids, very hard working and the upperclassmen are real students of the sport. They ask great questions. We're going to take our time putting everything together, making sure we do it right and are ready to run our best at the end of the season.

Head Coach: Lauren DeAngelis/Nicole Alfano, Allison Aupperle, Jimmy Kolb, Alaina Nebel
Last year's finish: 16th- State Championship
Projected top 7:  Too early to tell as there is a lot of talent going for those top 7 spots.
Newcomers: Brooke Berger, Bria Bennis, Kate Pratt, Mo Buhrfiend, Bella Swanson (injured last season) Coach DeAngelis' thoughts on the team: This season should be extremely exciting as we have a lot of young talent that has dramatically developed since last season lead by many talented upperclassmen. The team was extremely dedicated to their summer training and has put in a lot of hard work and miles to prepare for the 2019 season. We have many new faces who will add to the Lady Dukes strength in a push to finish strong on all levels of the Western Suburban Silver Conference and to improve on last year's state finish.

Head Coach: Neil James
Last year's finish: 18th- State Championship
Projected top 7: Since we return out top 7, I would expect them to be there again with 2 or 3 other girls pushing for those spots
Coach James' thoughts on the team: We had a good summer of running and return our entire lineup from last year. Our top runners are very focused and determined to improve upon last year's finish. We are excited for this year and look forward to the challenge.