The large classification begins with talented but not ranked teams. Several teams listed have had state appearances over the past year. There are some squads ready to emerge into the fray of the 3A madness.
Head Coach/coaches: Lisa Cook / Steve Ideran, Kelly Yunk
Last year's finish: 9th Place- Hinsdale Central Sectional
Key returners: Morgan Dick (Jr.), Angeles Mendoza (Sr.), Sydney Williams (Sr.), Josslyn Gaona (Jr.), Monica Lopez (Sr.), Grace Praxmarer (Sr.), Meghan Johnson (Sr.), Olivia Van Denend (So.), Ava Saalfeld (Jr.), Emma Berglund (So.)
Newcomers: Julia Burney
Outlook: The Wolves just missed going to the state meet out of the ultra-tough Hinsdale Central Sectional last year. The positive payoff produced a strong track and field season in which the team earned all-state honors in the 4x800m relay. Coach Lisa Cook is pleased to announce some quality members back who may bring another promising season. "We have a very experienced group returning to our team this year," she said. "For the first time, we have two returning state cross country qualifiers and from the all-state relay. We expect the experience of Morgan Dick, Angeles Mendoza, and Sydney Williams to help drive the team from the front this year." The team's most improved runner is Monica Lopez who is expected to be in the top seven. along with Olivia Van Denend.
Head Coach: Ryan Stapinski
Last year's finish: 11th place- Quincy Sectional
Key returners: Claire Carter (Jr.), Ruby Hillegass (Jr.), Ella Maldonado (Sr.), Ceci Nilson (Sr.), Shea Martin (Sr.)
Newcomers: Ava Dughetti
Outlook: The Knights return their top seven which means coach Starpinski has a smile on his face. "I'm excited to build off of last season, especially since we return our entire top seven," he stated. "I know our team is looking forward to battling Lincoln-Way West for the SWSC Red Conference title and improving our finish at the sectional meet. Claire Carter qualified as an individual for State last fall and had a strong track season as well; she's had an outstanding summer and will be a ton of fun to watch this fall."
Starpinski adds: "Look for Ruby Hillegass and Ella Maldonado to add tremendous value which is crucial to pad the top of the pack. .... consistent this summer and had a really strong race at Detweiller at Dark. Between Ella, Ceci Nilson, and Shea Martin we will have a strong senior pack that can help push and lead our team. Freshman Ava Dughetti has shown she will be competing for a varsity spot from the beginning and juniors Ava Tomala and Addie Robitz have had great summers and look to be in the mix for varsity spots as well."
Head Coach/coaches: Tom Patten/ Amy Scott, Den Patten, Austin Peters
Last year's finish: 9th place- Quincy Sectional
Key returners: Allison Ince (Jr), Abigail Ziemer (Jr), Annika Luthe (Sr), Megan Metz (Sr), Rachel Brozenec (Sr) , Claire Fitzgerald (Sr)
Newcomers: Lily Cavanaugh
Outlook by coach Patten: NCHS graduated a good senior class last year, but we have had a lot of experience returning. Ince had a strong track season and is looking to return to form in CC after struggling with low iron last year. Ziemer placed 3rd in conference and missed qualifying for state by one second. We have a quintet of seniors who have all contributed at the varsity level over their careers, and we expect the competition for our top five to be healthy and productive. Lily Cavanaugh placed in the top ten at the IESA state meet and should be in our top three.
Head Coach/coaches: Meaghan Fastert / Natalie Kaminski
Last year's finish: 15th place- Hoffman Estates Sectional
Key returners: Maggie Jortberg (Sr), Maya Malecki (Sr), Tara Wirtschoreck (Sr), Mia Rojas (Sr), Grace Tauber (Jr)
Outlook: There is only one to go for a team that was near the bottom of the sectional ladder, and that is up. The Titans coach Meaghan Fastert is still a very competitive runner in her own respect. "I have enjoyed spending my tie with this group of girls, not only do they push each other, but they also push me to be a better runner and coach right alongside them," she said. "They have been through a lot together as a team and to see them overcome the years of COVID and adapt to change and adversity has truly been inspiring. They are one incredible group of girls that I know will enjoy the journey of running all throughout the season."
Head Coach/coaches: Lindsay DePaul / Rachel Weber, Dino Moran
Last year's finish: 7th place- Libertyville Regional
Key returners: Adeline Gobble (Jr), Nanoko Seki (So), Stella Plendl (Jr), Anna Edgcomb (Jr), Isabel Edgcomb (Jr), Allison Castro (So), Casie Bjork (So)
Newcomers: Minnie Shao, Sophia Pan, Aditi Rawat, Olivia Ruiz
Outlook: "We are expecting to enter the season strong with Adeline Gobble and Nanoko Seki as our lead scoring runners," says coach DePaul. Look for the exciting return of Stella Plendl whose leg-related injuries appear to be behind her. If all things work out well, the Patriots could make some real post-season noise.
Head Coach/coaches: Jacob Buddell/ Louis Klein, Don Proft
Last year's finish: 11th place- Hoffman Estate Sectional
Key returners: Mia Pasha (Sr), Emma Leung (Sr), Victoria Higgins (So), Kylie Florance (Sr), Morgan Vawter (Sr), Grace Wiser (So)
Newcomers: Haley Albarran, Elizabeth Mertz, Shelby Steggerda, Ruhi Mehta, Karolina Wolan
Outlook: "We are returning most of our runners from last year from all levels (Varsity, Frosh/Soph, JV), which is exciting; as we are poised to compete well in the North Suburban Conference," states coach Buddell. It will interesting to see where this will all lead this fall after a great training base. One thing for sure is top runner Mia Pasha will be a low stick at every meet.
Head Coach: Kevin Christian
Last year's finish: 23rd place- State Championship
Key returners: Bailey Schwartz (So), Natalia Maciorowski (Sr), Natali Varela (Sr), Kathleen Kania (So), Madeline Osmanski (Jr), Christina Beyer (Sr), Adeline Gorman (Sr)
Outlook: Jacobs had a tremendous season last year which was fulfilled by a state championship appearance for the first time since 1985. Now, things may be a little rough in the interim. "We graduated four of our top five runners and Bailey Schwartz was top 100 in the state last year and has shown improvement over the summer," said coach Christian. "Natalia Maciorowski has shocked us this summer, taking another big step that could put her closer to Schwartz. The rest of the group has taken a large step, and from what we have seen it will not be a down year after graduating four of our top five from last year."
Head Coach/coaches: Jeff Durlak / Jeff Harvey
Last year's finish: 9th place- Hoffman Estates Sectional
Key returners: Brianna Osmon (Sr.), Nevada Holm (Jr.), Melissa Ketter (Sr.), Amelia Szopinski (So.), Andrea Szopinski (So.), Kennedy Kilmer (Jr.), Lucia Enciso (Sr.)
Newcomers: Ashlyn Bartlett (Fr.), Lili Oplawski (Fr.)
Outlook: Five of the top seven returns that competed in last year's postseason. One lost major piece is star Aly Negovetich who is now in college at Belmont University. The team will be in good hands on the strength of Brianna Osmon's experience and will step up into more of a frontrunner role this season.
"The group behind our top three last season improved tremendously throughout the course of the season," said coach Durlak. "With a good summer of training and more experience, this group is prepared to make even more positive strides this season."
Head Coach/coaches: Beth Morrison / Chris Palmquist, Jake Kaufman
Last year's finish: 8th place- St. Charles East Regional
Key returners: Mckenna Mertes (Sr), Rebecca Spezzano (Sr), Elise Waldchen (Sr), Agnes Bolender (Jr), Corinne Stanuch (Jr), Lila Storaasli (Jr), Lauren Verdecchia (Jr)
Newcomers: Sofia Borter
Outlook: The girls have worked hard this summer according to coach Morrison. "Our team is small but we'd like to build on what we have. We are looking to improve our conference standing this year and to qualify for sectionals as a team."
Head Coach/coaches: Neil James
Last year's finish: 20th place- State Championship
Newcomers: Saya Spells (Sr)
Outlook: After graduating a bulk of their scoring power, the Panthers will be in a rebuilding process. "We lost four of our top six runners from last year so we have some work to do," said coach James. "I am excited about some of our younger girls who have put in some outstanding work this summer. I expect that it will take us some time to adjust but that we will be a solid team come October."
Head Coach/coaches: Jeremy Kauffman / Jeff Morello
Last year's finish: 10th place -Hoffman Estates Sectional
Key returners: Brooke Johnston (Sr), Luciya Kojenova (Sr), Lindsey Bitzer (Jr), McKenzie Bergfeld (Jr), Bianca Perez (So)
Outlook: The Bears may be a team to watch out for as the season reaches its apex. According to coach Jeremy Kauffman, this could be a great fall. "[This is the] best summer we have had with our incoming frosh and junior high runners as far as numbers and training," he said. "The rest of our team had a great summer with consistency and accountability and we are in the right training place right now due to their hard work."
Note on Brooke per coach Kauffman: "Brooke has put in the best summer of her career after an outstanding post-season track affair (4:49-1600m/ mile & 10:16-3200m) allowed her the opportunity to see just how good she can be as those are very elite times that she can build into her 5k mentality and racing. She is our team captain and is very humble and works at a very high level every day. I am excited to watch her this fall. She really is at another level this summer."