2020 Class A Girls XC Preview: The Countdown #25 to #21

So we begin with team subjective rankings. These are teams that are on the bottom spectrum of the ranking system, but in no way are we saying these squads are bad. In fact, don't be surprised if several of these squads step up and surprise some of the so-called elite programs by season's end.

----- ----- ----------

25. El Paso-Gridley

Head Coach: Michael Melick
Last year's finish: Elmwood Sectional- 8th
Key returners: Ruby Slightom (Jr.), Jenna Kent (Jr.), Tori Witzig (Sr.), Hillary Gramm (So.), Annabelle Younse (So.)
Quick thought: Coach Melick's team has the potential to be solid again as five of the top seven returns including state finalist Ruby Slightom. But a key concern is the impact of Covid-19 on the program. Melick has not had a chance to run his group through practices this summer. Be as it may, a goal to get at least five girls under 20:00 at the same spot is on the docket.

24. Tremont

Head Coach: Mike Lynn
Last year's finish: State Championship- 19th
Key returners: Alida Proehl (So.), Sara Scheuermann (Jr.), Ava Pflederer (Sr.)
Quick thoughts: This team got to the finish line last season and placed in the top 20. Now, with some key veterans having graduated such as Lizzy Freidinger, the challenge for Coach Lynn will be adding some solid replacements. Proehl and Scheuermann will form a strong tandem.

23. Springfield (Sacred-Heart Griffin)

Head Coach: Josh Bluhm
Last year's finish: Elmwood Sectional- 7th
Key returners: Kaitlyn Lee (So.), Ashlyn Nicoud (Jr.), Vivian Rahmel (So.), Sophie Billingsley (So.), Paige Mattiuz (So.), Sterling Scarlette (So.)
Quick thoughts: In arguably the toughest sectional in the state, the Cyclones just missed out on the state finals sweepstakes. Now with six returners back, this is a team that has the potential to be very dangerous. The experience of battling so many good squads down the stretch will be key for the Cyclones.

22. Stanford-Olympia

Head Coach: Michael Neisler
Last year's finish: State Championship- 17th
Key returners: Savanah Beavers (Sr.), Maddie Litwiller (Sr.), Ellen Springer (Sr.), Anna Bieber (So.), Ellen Springer (Sr.)
Newcomers: Abby Litwiller (So.), Rachel Andris (Fr.)
Coach Neisler's thoughts: Savanah ran 11:31 and 5:16 recently at the IL Meet of Champions [which bodes well for her as a #1 runner]. We will take one day at a time, understanding that things can and probably will change. They have worked pretty hard so far this summer and we will hopefully be ready for whatever the season will bring. As far as rankings go: there are several good teams around the state, I hope we are one of them, but I will leave the rankings up to you guys.

21. Chicago (University High)

Head Coach: Josey Mintel
Last year's finish: State Championship- 21st
Key returners: Amanda O'Donnell (Jr.), Sophia Park (Jr.), Vivianna Glick (Sr.), Sana Shahul (Sr.), Iris Xie (Sr.), Karina Escobedo (Sr.)
Quick thoughts: This was one of the most improved teams in the classification last year. With six returners back, look for continued prosperity for the Maroons. In addition, top girl Amanda O'Donnell is ready for the next level as far as the low stick is concerned. O'Donnell has rolled PR's 11:28 and 5:11 at the IL MOC. She has the possibility of becoming a top tier all-stater this year.