North Suburban Lake
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Coach: Ian Silverman (13th season)
Last year's record: third in NSC
Top graduated seniors: Amy Polhemus, Audrey Smith, Linnea Christ
Top returning competitors: seniors Andrea Adams, Elizabeth Berton, Cassie Houghton; juniors Maddie Gelinas, Meagan Hughes, Angela Ufheil
Key newcomers: sophomore Meaghan Gelinas; freshman Katie Fabrini
Outlook: With a strong nucleus of runners returning, the Bears hope to close the gap on defending champion Lake Forest and runner-up Libertyville in the NSC. Lake Zurich's lineup looks very impressive with three of the top 26 runners in the NSC back.
Coach: Joe Roth (third season)
Last year's record: second in NSC
Top graduated seniors: Erika Danckers, Erin Jaffke, Megan Ryan
Top returning competitors: seniors Lexie Zafiratos, Stephanie Hanagan, Meagan Polk; juniors Nicole Jaffke (ninth in NSC), Maggie Fiorito (12th in NSC), Abigail Toohey, Natalie Danckers; sophomore Emily Moroz
Key newcomers: junior Carly Stewart; freshman Kristi Del Prato
Outlook: The Wildcats will have some big shoes to fill with the loss of two four-year varsity runners and team captains from last year. But there is a silver lining with four key runners coming back along with track standout Stewart and newcomer Del Prato joining the already successful group.
Coach: John Osmanski (eighth season)
Last year's record: eighth in NSC
Top graduated seniors: none
Top returning competitors: seniors Lisa Nootbaar, Katie Schlebecker; juniors Marisa Perreault (sixth in NSC), Ellie Palacios, Claire Naughton, Lauren Anderson, Steph Johnson, Morgan Lohr; sophomore Emily Schlebecker
Key newcomers: junior Hannah Smith; freshmen Sophia Presutti, Kelsey Loar, Natalie Lawrence
Outlook: After battling through the 2010 campaign with very little experience at the varsity level, the Mustangs return with an abundance of depth and talent to fall back on. Perreault should continue to shine as Mundelein's No.-1 runner with great support from her much-improved teammates.
Coach: Don Proft (13th season)
Last year's record: fourth in NSC
Top graduated seniors: Anna Franke, Tessa Lancaster
Top returning competitors: seniors Kara Ballard, Emily Cunningham; juniors Mackenzie Levy (10th in 2009), Melissa Engel, Sarina Jain, Emily Top, Lily Walker; sophomore Becky Callen
Key newcomers: sophomore Jenna Kindwald; freshmen Kya Suzuki, Jessica Goldberg
Outlook: The Patriots will have some new faces in their top seven this season as they try to integrate the younger runners with the returning varsity squad. Levy should be a great front-runner for the Pats after placing 10th in the state as a freshman and she could really benefit from the presence of newcomer Suzuki.
Coach: Brett Heimstead (1st season)
Last year's record: fifth in NSC
Top graduated seniors: Gabby Nystrom (Judson College), Victoria Knauf, Julie Wienerslage
Top returning competitors: seniors Andrea Saigh, Jolyn Achs, Dana Eness, Jessie Buhmann; junior Meg Tully (second in NSC), Molly Casey, Amanda Harper; sophomore Christine Storli
Key newcomers: junior Rachel Shoemaker; freshman Becky Haight
Outlook: New head coach Heimstead was left with a pretty good returning squad from former coach Cheryl Anderson, as Tully is an elite runner with the potential to reach the state meet. The Blue Devils hope to at least hold onto fifth place in the NSC if not do even better this season.
North Suburban Prairie
Coach: Chris Bailey (third season)
Last year's record: 12th in NSC
Top graduated seniors: none
Top returning competitors: senior Haedyn Smith; sophomore Ashley LaPointe
Key newcomers: seniors Gwen Moser, Hannah Jennrich, Tonya Sippy; juniors Lisa Godee, Sara Kitterman, Laura Riordan; sophomore Sara Young
Outlook: The majority of the Sequoits' varsity squad will consist of inexperienced sophomores and juniors. But Antioch will have the luxury of a good senior leader in Smith to set the tone for its young pack.
Coach: Jeff Durlak (fifth season)
Last year's record: ninth in NSC
Top graduated seniors: Trisha Palmieri
Top returning competitors: seniors Kacie Wodek, Tara Cwiak, Jill Sales, Kassie Stimpson; junior Kyra Schmidt; sophomore Lindsey Lewis (fourth in NSC)
Key newcomers: sophomore Laura Meija; freshman Jenna Pecorini
Outlook: The Bulldogs have a lot of experienced runners returning led by Lewis, who turned in a great freshman season in 2010. Lewis should be even more effective in the big meets this year with great support from four senior teammates.
Coach: Keith West (eighth season)
Last year's record: sixth in NSC
Top graduated seniors: none
Top returning competitors: seniors Hannah Wittman (10th in NSC), Kathryn Dean (15th in NSC); junior Amanda Timmerman; sophomore Marisa Franson
Key newcomers: freshmen Danielle Griesbaum, Brittani Griesbaum, Fiona Floden
Outlook: With the senior duo of Wittman and Dean leading their pack, the Eagles are striving to capture their fourth straight Prairie Division crown. The remainder of Lakes' team is pretty young, but West hopes the Eagles can make a push for top three in the NSC.
Coach: Kevin Brady (seventh season)
Last year's record: 13th in NSC
Top graduated seniors: Elena Briones, Kasandra Campa, April Barroso, Vanessa Garcia, Maria Acosta
Top returning competitors: seniors Celeste Acosta, Sidney Rose; juniors Rachel White, Allison Werth, Stephanie Perez
Key newcomers: junior Selena Alvarez, Stephanie Arroyo
Outlook: The Panthers lost a large core of their varsity team to graduation and replacing them will be difficult. But they do have sectional-qualifier Acosta back to lead their inexperienced squad into action.
Coach: Suzanne Richert (seventh season)
Last year's record: seventh in NSC
Top graduated seniors: Kelley Gallagher (SIU)
Top returning competitors: seniors Danielle Fiarito, Abbie Letts;junior Ali Marks
Key newcomers: juniors Kristen Whitney, Tara Rooney; freshmen Samantha Hershman, Melanie Rogers
Outlook: The Cougars will need to find some new leadership after losing Gallagher (27th in Class 2A) to graduation. But with a solid pack of five returning and running together, Vernon Hills hopes to push three-time defending champ Lakes for the Prairie Division title.
Coach: Al Willhoit (33rd season)
Last year's record: 11th in NSC
Top graduated seniors: Liz Michelau
Top returning competitors: seniors Megan Mikenas, Lexi Brunn, Alex Schorr, Emily Dorolek; juniors Tara Mraz, Becca Michelau
Key newcomers: freshman Maren DeWyze
Outlook: With six of their top seven runners returning to the 3-mile grind, this is shaping up to be a promising campaign for the Bulldogs. DeWyze should be a good addition for a squad hoping to make a return trip to sectionals.
East Suburban Catholic Conference
Coach: Jim Halford (25th season)
Last year's record: sixth at sectionals
Top graduated seniors: none
Top returning competitors: seniors Sarah Myss, Kelley Dodge; junior Caitlin Murphy; sophomore Nicole Bitter
Key newcomers: senior Clarine Stevens; juniors Kasey Duffy, Erika Schoenfeld, Crystal Knauf; freshmen Riley Felicicchia, Mary Beth Murphy
Outlook: The Corsairs have a great 1-2 punch in Murphy and Myss ready to lead their pack again as they will be aiming for a top-three finish in the ESCC. Now competing in Class 2A this season, Murphy and Myss will have an even better shot at qualifying for the state meet in early November.
Fox Valley Conference
Coach: Jim Centella (third season)
Last year's record: 9th in FVC
Top graduated seniors: Erika Garcia
Top returning competitors: seniors Becky May, Stefani Canadzic; juniors Elsie Rehberg, Miranda Gomez; sophomores Korina Gomez, Maggie Wehde
Key newcomers: junior Jordan Larson; sophomore Callie Calamia
Outlook: With state meet contender Korina Gomez as one of their leaders, the Rams have the potential to finish in the top third of the rugged FVC. Central hopes to challenge for the 2A regional crown as well as a top-five finish at sectionals.
Coach: Brandon Boyd (seventh season)
Last year's record: 12th in FVC
Top graduated seniors: Kimmy Denikas, Jill Petracek
Top returning competitors: senior Kiera Kram; juniors Sabrina Karas, Daniela Padilla, Erin Llanes-Smith
Key newcomers: senior Maggie Stojak
Outlook: The Knights are looking forward to another building year after showing steady improvement over the past two seasons. Stojak should provide a boost to the lineup after moving from soccer to cross country this fall.