Look for fast and furious action all day long at historic Detweiller Park
3A Girls: #1 Naperville North, #3 Yorkville, #4 Barrington, #5 Batavia, #9 Lyons Twp., #12 Lockport Township, #17 Naperville Central, #19 Cary-Grove, #20 New Trier, #22 Minooka, Jacobs, Evanston, Hononegah, Libertyville, Wheaton North; 2A- #15 Lakes
-Although this is expected to be a very competitive team affair there are some notable changes. First, it is ACT Saturday which means a number of athletes will be absent. Downers Grove South is not in the field. The Mustangs have adjusted their schedule a bit this year...
Naperville North comes in as the state's top program and defending meet champions. The Huskies are very good but they do have some question marks. One key item is junior Campbell Petersen not competing for the second weekend in a row. Head Coach Dan Iverson has a veteran group back led by a fleet of juniors. Maggie Gamboa and Audrey Mendrys placed 1-2 in the season's first meet in Iowa. It certainly was a feel-good moment and hopefully, it can continue this weekend.
Yorkville will officially begin its season on Saturday. The Lady Foxes had one cancellation on its calendar and its assumed they were back in the lab training. It gives this powerful program time to create a monster even without senior Kailey Fox. She is still mending from a stress fracture. As for the rest of the team, they have always worked with tough frontrunners followed by a strong closing pack. It is going to take time for that to form. In the meantime, look forward to watching junior Helena Kleronomos lead the way.
The depth of the field will be determined by who actually runs. As we said in the beginning, this is college testing weekend and we don't actually know who is going to race until race day. If all goes according to the form charts teams like Barrington, Lyons Twp, and Lockport would like to establish themselves as great teams. They, of course, will need full cooperation from their pack runners down the stretch.
Junior Brooke Stromsland of Lakes and her teammates will compete in the 3A division. Stromsland has an opportunity to win the race. In her last two Detweiller Park visits, she has two wins. It could be three but smart and aggressive racing has to be the plan. Gamboa, as well as junior Molly Fitzpatrick of Barrington, should dictate the pace at all key checkpoints. Argo senior Abby Lopez is back after a sickness recently. She certainly is someone who can either win it or place very high.
Key teams: #2 Belvidere North, #3 Dunlap, #5 Vernon Hills, #7 Chicago (Latin), #10 Burlington Central, #11 Mahomet-Seymour, #12 Lemont, #16 Washington, #17 Wheaton (St. Francis), #18 Grayslake Central, #22 Triad, #23 Mt. Zion, #25 Metamora, Geneseo, Glenbard South, Trinity, Chicago Northside Prep; 1A- #7 St. Joseph-Ogden
Defending state champion Belvidere North has been in a spot where they are looking up at who is #1. The Blue Thunder have nearly all of their runners back from last year. Top runner Madison Diercks is now a senior. She will lead the charge upfront along with long-time teammate senior Gianna Sagona. Two or three potential lowsticks is great but they need their #5 runner to close things out.
Dunlap has reloaded its pack over the past several years and now appears to be a force to reckon with. Freshman Saniya Mathew has shown to be the team's go to runner.
Vernon Hills lost virtually its entire unit to graduation but so far on the early part of the season, it has been a team united with youth has gotten the job done. They have a freshman as well as the top runner in Rose Sheridan.
The race to first could be a classic with freshman Tatum David of Olney Richland and sophomore Ava Parekh of Latin as the main competitors. Believe it or not but they have both raced against one another. It took place in late July here at the Detweiller at Dark meet. David placed third by three seconds over Parekh in 16:55.
Key teams: #1 Winnebago, #3 Normal (University), #4 Rock Falls, #9 Urbana (University), #10 El Paso-Gridley, #11 Rockford (Christian), #14 Tremont, #15 Eureka, #16 Aurora (Central Catholic), #17 Stark County, #18 Duquoin, #20 Elmwood, #21 Williamsville, #22 Bloomington Central Catholic, #23 Stanford-Olympia, #25 Seneca, Kewanee-Weathersfield, Decatur (St. Teresa), Chicago (University), Roxana, Elgin (Harvest Academy), Chicago (University)
There were new sheriffs crowned this past weekend. Winnebago is the new #1 and they will face off against a deep field that will determine some early bragging rights. The 'Bagos' produced a great effort last weekend in their season opener. The Indians are led by freshman Grace Erb. Three other runners were under 20:00 at the Oregon Open.
Pre-season #1 Rock Falls should be at full strength on Saturday and ready to battle for the title. The Rocks have a solid scoring pack to challenge Winnebago and Normal U-High.
Individually, Lydia Roller of Staunton is the favorite should she run. The junior standout has been very solid on the season.