3A Girls preseason preview: #25 to #15 cannot be discounted

The uncertainty of 2020 brought the best out of everyone involved. It had to. Meet directors had to do things in a new fashion in terms of managing meets. Coaches had to figure out lineups in the flight style invitationals or regular meets. Parents had to govern their children in a way unimaginable. The student-athletes had to navigate through a mental and physical maze virtually every day. All in all, it was something that we had never been a part of, and hopefully, it has made us all better.

*2020 Shazam XC Championship material


Head Coach/coaches: Katie Paski /Greg Frey 
Last year's finish: 2A Chicago Latin Sectional Champions
Key returners: Nora Delaney (Jr.), Louisa Diamond (Jr.), Kailey Frangella (So.), Audrey, Giedraitis (Jr.), Laura Mansour (Sr.), Amelia Parisi (Sr.), Mary Weber (Sr.), Terese Tully (So.)
- After having a tremendous amount of success in 2A, the Redwings find themselves back in the big leagues. They have always enjoyed a very competitive race schedule over the years so there should not be any shock to the system. "We were fortunate to have had a great deal of success the past two years in 2A," said coach Paski. "With us moving back into 3A this year we know that it will be a new challenge for many of our runners as our senior class is the only members of our team who have competed in 3A in the state series, but it is one we are looking forward to and we are excited about all this season has to bring." 

Returning from last year's top seven are Louisa Diamond and Amelia Parisi; having graduated five of last year's top seven means a relatively young team will have to grow up very fast. 

Head Coach/coaches: John Burnside
Last year's finish: Hoffman Estate Sectional- 5th place
Newcomers: Eva Scarborough, Hannah Falk
-It was a rather disjointed 2020 season that saw New Trier finding its way. Coach Burnside will rely on a pack running formula in order to find success this fall. The Trevians have plenty of bodies to find the right formula this season. 

Head Coach/coaches: Rob Harvey/ Sarah Bikulcius-Smith
Last year's finish: Shazam Championship- 17th place
-Coach Harvey will need to be a little more patient this season than in the past. Some key graduation losses of which Sam Poglitsch is the most notable. But Harvey is a veteran coach whose program will reload quickly. "It was very refreshing to get back to a more normal training and practice routine for our summer training," he said. "We spent a lot of time focusing on getting stronger and building our very aerobic strength after a speed-focused track season." 

Anne Macabobby appears to be the top runner and leader of a team mixed with young talent. If you know the Tigers program, you know they will rub shoulders with the state's best at the end of the season.

Head Coach/Coaches: Tom Patten, Amy Scott, Den Patten, Austin Peters
Key returners: Ali Ince (So), Olivia Hartke (Sr), Abigail Ziemer (So), Annika Luthe (Jr), Rachel Brozenec (Jr), Megan Metz (Jr), Claire Fitzgerald (Jr), Brianna Conley (Sr)
Newcomers: Carina Engst (Sr), Jojo Griffin (Sr), Kaitlyn Ringler (Fr) 
-The initial thought of the Iron women program is the uber-talented Ali Ince. She is going to do her magic at every course that she touches. But keep an eye on Olivia Hartke. She has had tremendous success in the past. There are several other runners to check out. "[Abigail] Ziemer and [Annika] Luthe both took time off to recover from track season stress fractures but should be ready to race well by mid-season at the latest," concluded Patten. As with any program, it will all depend on the fifth runner. There will be several candidates to fill that void.

Head Coach/coaches: Bruyn Yunk/Corie Sanders, Jackie Svetich
Last year's finish: ShaZam XC Club Championships- 14th place
Newcomers: Sienna McEneaney (Fr) 
-Coach Yunk will return four of his top seven runners who took 14th at the Shazam Championships. "Ashley Robinson is coming off a good track season and has been very strong all summer. Carissa Hamilton is back with us after missing the last track season and she will immediately impact our team for the better," he said. Grace Anderson and Megan Huynh are expected to have great seasons along with newcomer Sienna McEneaney, who could make the top seven.

Head Coach/coaches: Tony Pena
Last year's finish: Shazam Championship- 16th
Key returners: Ava Giblin (So), Lily Molloy (So), Katie Roche (So), Faith Murphy (Sr), Abbie Vaughan-Lee (Jr), Raegan Howaniec (11), Klaudia Sieczka (So)
Newcomers: Julia Bieszke-Parzuch (Fr), Gabby Dittmer (Fr), Kayla Siefert(Fr)
Coach Pena on his team: "We feel really good about our runners Ava Giblin, Lily Molloy, and Katie Roche. They give us a really nice start to a top seven. Faith Murphy has improved tremendously since starting her career as a runner during her sophomore year. She already posted a personal best time at Detweiller at Dark this summer. I am confident she will continue to drop time and end up being a strong contributor for us. The story of our season will be if we can find 5-7, especially a scoring #5 runner. We have numerous candidates, but time will tell if any of them can get to the level of our top four and to a level where we can compete with the top teams in what will likely be a loaded Sectional."

Head Coach/coaches: Tim McDonald /Matt Maletich, Bob Calder 
Last year's finish: Whitney Young Sectional- 3rd place
Key returners: Sydney Hnatiuk (So.), Karlyn Harkness (So.), Ava Geiger (Jr.), Claire Pyne (Jr.), Ashley Novak (Sr.), Maddie Casey (Jr.)
-After finishing well at the Whitney Young Sectional last year, it would have been interesting to see where the Trojans would place at the Shazam Championships. The proud program did well during the track season, placing third in the state championship 4x800. With success, it usually breeds talent as 26 freshmen runners reported at summer camp.
 "I am excited about the fact that we will be a complete team this fall," said McDonald. "We will be competitive on all three levels thanks to the depth of this group. As far as the varsity squad goes, I think we will be a team that steadily improves over the course of the season. We will be a competitive varsity team initially and if a few newcomers develop, we could be pretty good by the end of the season."

Head Coach: Debbie Revolta
Last year's finish: Hoffman Estates Sectional- 3rd place
Key returners: Gaby Andrews (Sr), Kari Drage (So), Maddy Ziebarth (So), Ella Holterman (So) 
Newcomers: Scout Storm, Claire Thome, Kelsey Parkinson, Hannah Blue
-Coach Revolta usually downplays her team but she may be correct this time. "We will be very young this year with only obe returning senior," she said. The Fillies are indeed short on experience and maybe the big numbers of the past. But they have a tremendous tradition and great coaches who will get the best out of each girl this fall. 

17. Oswego
Head Coach: Colleen Predl
Last year's finish: Shazam Championship- 18th place
Newcomers: Amaya Houston, Addison Richter, Samantha Ventura, Maggie Voller (Fr)
-Brand new coach Colleen Predl takes over for the departed Eric Simon who is now at Lyons Township. It appears as though the team has not missed a beat. "The team has been working hard during summer training," she said. "We graduated two from our top seven, leaving those spots open for our newcomers. We are excited to (hopefully) have a normal season this year and are looking to advance the team onto the state meet."

Head Coach/coaches: Head Coach-Jeremy Kauffman,-Jeff Morello 
Last year's finish: Shazam Championship- 9th place
Newcomers: Ashley Fearday (So), Sophia Babcock (Sr)
-There will be a lot to ponder for coach Kauffman whose program enjoyed a great 2020-21 campaign. 
Coach's thoughts: "With the track season state series going into June, it has been a summer of slowly and patiently building the mileage correctly. This is a team that has two outstanding runners leading the way in Brooke Johnston and Kristin Loftus; however, we also have lost our #3-5 runners to graduation and will be relying on many runners that have never run on the varsity level." Look for the juniors and seniors of the program to lead the charge and possibly make a top 10 run at the end of the season.

Head Coach/coaches: George Patrylak, Dustin Davis, Maggie Dust
Last year's finish: Shazam Championship- 13th place
Newcomers: Emily Nuttall
-Expect another good year for one of the most consistent programs coming out of the southern sector of the state. Taking things back from the late spring when the girls qualified in the 4x800 and earned medals, it has left a smile on coach Patrylak's face. "With State being pushed so far back, the majority of our team started their summer running several weeks later than normal," he said. "I know this is the case for everyone. As far as summer training, we take a minimum of two weeks off after track." 

Despite the fact that Riley Knoyle was diagnosed with a stress fracture after the state meet. She has made it back along with a mental break in her hand. A big transfer fell in the Tiger's lap in Emily Nuttall, who transferred from Olney. Expect her to race with the top girls on the team this fall.