Defending Champion: Knoxville (Mackenzie Pruett, Bailey Harris, Kailee Shreeves, Breena Shreeves), 9:47.15.
Key Returners: Knoxville, DuQuoin, Elgin (Harvest Christian Academy), Rockford (Christian), Saint Joseph-Ogden, Winnebago, Teutopolis.
Outlook: Defending state champion Knoxville is the only returning champion powered with most of its returning talent. The only loss is Mackenzie Pruett to graduation but returns Bailey Harris and the Shreeves', led by Breena, who finished 10th in the 800m in 2019.
DuQuoin, Harvest Christian, Rockford Christian, and Saint Joseph Ogden all return at least three runners from their all-state teams last season. The Indians certainly have the firepower to be the best unit when transformed with senior Gabby Alongi at the helm. In Invitationals, they will no doubt be a force to reckon with. Teutopolis was the fastest team north of 10:00 at state last year.
However, keep an eye on Winnebago, who is emerging as the distance powerhouse. 'Bago ran five girls in the top 26 in cross country, so there may be lots of young 800-meter talent this year.