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updated: 8/30/2012 5:12 PM

Girls cross country / Scouting Lake County

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By John Bumbales
Daily Herald Correspondent

North Suburban Lake

Lake Zurich

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Coach: Ian Silverman (14th season)

Last year's record: NSC champions, 18th in Class 3A

Top graduated seniors: Cassie Houghton, Elizabeth Berton

Top returning competitors: seniors Angela Ufheil, Meagan Hughes; junior Meaghan Gelinas (35th in Class 3A); sophomores Katie Fabbrini, Nicole Syverson

Key newcomers: senior Maddie Gelinas; junior Julia Kuhn; sophomore Christina Eddleman; freshmen Kristie Houghton, Caitlin Shepard

Outlook: It will be a tall task after coming up very big at the end of the 2011 campaign. But the Bears hope to repeat as NSC champions while striving for another trip to the state meet. The young duo of Gelinas and Fabbrini are expected to lead Lake Zurich's pack.

Libertyville

Coach: Bill Etnyre (first season)

Last year's record: third in NSC

Top graduated seniors: Lexie Zafiratos (Utah State), Meaghan Polk (Notre Dame), Stephanie Hanagan (Butler), senior Maggie Fiorito (transferred to high school in Kentucky)

Top returning competitors: seniors Nicole Jaffke, Abigail Toohey, Natalie Danckers; juniors Kathleen Graham, Robin Villanueza; sophomores Kristi Del Prato (Class 3A state qualifier, first in NSC), Emily Moroz

Key newcomers: senior Carly Stewart; junior Ali Urbanski;freshmen Hannah Manetsch, Sarah Pirih, Mia Bertaud

Outlook: With Del Prato leading their pack again this season, the Wildcats have some pretty high expectations under new head coach Bill Etnyre, who replaces Joe Roth this fall. Libertyville will miss the presence of key runner Maggie Fiorito, who transferred out of state. But the Wildcats and Lake Forest should be ready to push defending champ Lake Zurich for the NSC crown.

Mundelein

Coach: John Osmanski (ninth season)

Last year's record: fourth in NSC

Top graduated seniors: none

Top returning competitors: seniors Marisa Perreault (76th in Class 3A), Claire Naughton, Steph Johnson, Ellie Palacios; junior Emily Schlebecker;sophomore Kelsey Loar

Key newcomers: seniors Elise Erickson, Hannah Smith

Outlook: With a group of four experienced seniors returning to lead their pack, the Mustangs are poised to make another strong showing in the NSC this fall after placing fourth in the conference in 2011. Perreault returns as a great front-runner for Mundelein after reaching state as the final at-large qualifier out of the rugged Schaumburg sectional.

Stevenson

Coach: Don Proft (14th season)

Last year's record: seventh in NSC

Top graduated seniors: Kara Ballard, Emily Cunningham

Top returning competitors: seniors Mackenzie Levy (10th in 2009), Sarina Jain, Melissa Engel; junior Becky Callen

Key newcomers: sophomores Jessie Goldberg, Rachel Cole;freshman Liz Horitz

Outlook: Not having sophomore Kya Suzuki (sixth in NSC) back due to travel soccer will be a huge loss for the Patriots' pack this fall. But Stevenson senior Mackenzie Levy has been helping the Pats put together a solid group of runners this season with hopes of being very competitive in the NSC.

Warren

Coach: Brett Heimstead (2nd season)

Last year's record: fifth in NSC

Top graduated seniors: Andrea Saigh, Dana Eness, Jolyn Achs

Top returning competitors: seniors Meg Tully, Rachel Shoemaker, Molly Casey; juniors Courtenay Krause, Christine Storli; sophomore Becky Haight

Key newcomers: junior Greta Doden; freshman Emily Jahn

Outlook: Besides their top two runners in Tully and Haight returning, the Blue Devils have a strong foundation to build around with four of their top seven back in 2012. Warren is among the many NSC teams hoping to move up in the conference standings this fall.

North Suburban Prairie

Antioch

Coach: Chris Bailey (fourth season)

Last year's record: 10th in NSC

Top graduated seniors: Haedyn Smith, Pam Rodriguez

Top returning competitors: seniors Alyssa Aschenbrener, Megan Borries; junior Ashley LaPointe

Key newcomers: junior Leanne Johnson;freshmen Desiree Giamarusti, Kayla Schmid

Outlook: "In the Prairie Division I think it's going to be between Lakes and Vernon Hills," said Bailey. "I thought the girls ran solid in our first meet and they (Aschenbrener and LaPointe) have really been doing a great job of leading the team."

Grant

Coach: Jeff Durlak (sixth season)

Last year's record: 11th in NSC

Top graduated seniors: Jill Sales, Kacie Wodek, Tara Cwiak, Kassie Stimpson

Top returning competitors: seniors Kyra Schmidt, Sarah Guzior; juniors Lindsey Lewis, Laura Mejia; sophomores Jenna Pecorini, Katerina Dague

Key newcomers: junior Hannah Cassiday; freshmen Madison Romig, Adrianna Costilla

Outlook: The Bulldogs have all-conference/all-county runner Lewis leading their pack. But the loss of many key seniors to graduation will probably put Grant in a rebuilding situation this season. If some of the younger runners progress as the season unfolds, the Bulldogs could be competitive by regionals.

Lakes

Coach: Keith West (ninth season)

Last year's record: second in NSC

Top graduated seniors: Hannah Wittman (18th in Class 2A, Belmont University), Kathryn Dean (19th in Class 2A, Olivet Nazarene University)

Top returning competitors: senior Amanda Timmerman; sophomores Danielle Griesbaum, Brittani Griesbaum, Fiona Floden

Key newcomers: senior Paige Coddington; freshmen Kortney Schardt, Maeve Tuley

Outlook: The Eagles soared to second place in the NSC last fall behind now graduated Class 2A all-staters Wittman and Dean leading the way. It will be a much tougher road for Lakes without that duo. The Eagles are rebuilding this year with some great momentum from a solid summer of training. Vernon Hills could pose a major challenge to Lakes in the Prairie Division.

Round Lake

Coach: Kevin Brady (eighth season)

Last year's record: 13th in NSC

Top graduated seniors: Celeste Acosta, Sidney Rose

Top returning competitors: seniors Selena Alvarez, Stephanie Perez, Allison Werth; juniors Jessica Arteaga, Stephanie Arroyo

Key newcomers: seniors Miriam Reyes, Bianca Orteaga; sophomores Vicky Villa, Nayeli Hernandez

Outlook: The Panthers are hoping to develop a closer pack this season in order to move up in the NSC standings. Round Lake has many experienced runners back in its lineup.

Vernon Hills

Coach: Suzanne Richert (eighth season)

Last year's record: sixth in NSC

Top graduated seniors: Danielle Fiarito (Carthage College), Abbie Letts

Top returning competitors: seniors Ali Marks, Tara Rooney, Kristen Whitney; junior Cassie Lira; sophomores Melanie Rogers, Samantha Hershman

Key newcomers: freshmen Shannon Skeoch, Lexi Reich

Outlook: The Cougars did lose their No. 1 runner in Fiarito to graduation, but they are poised to improve last season's finishes in the division (second), NSC (sixth), regionals (second), and sectionals (eighth). With experience and some key newcomers, Vernon Hills is pushing to reach state as a team for the first time in school history.

Wauconda

Coach: Al Willhoit (34th season)

Last year's record: 12th in NSC

Top graduated seniors: Megan Mikenas, Alex Schorr, Emily Dorolek

Top returning competitors: seniors Lexi Brunn, Tara Mraz, Becca Michelau, Krystal Morris; juniors Ashley Heath, Rachel Thimpson; sophomore Maren DeWyze

Key newcomers: junior Kelly Stanley; sophomore Daisy Ortiz; freshman Hannah Sundquist

Outlook: The Bulldogs will have their work cut out for themselves if they hope to move up the NSC standings. But Wauconda is optimistic that it can make a return trip to the Class 2A sectionals again in late October.

East Suburban Catholic Conference

Carmel

Coach: Jim Halford (26th season)

Last year's record: Class 2A sectional qualifier

Top graduated seniors: Sarah Myss (Carthage College)

Top returning competitors: seniors Caitlin Murphy (66th in Class 2A), Clarine Stevens, Kasey Duffy; juniors Nicole Bitter, Theresa Gray; sophomores Riley Felicicchia, Kally Morozin

Key newcomers: seniors Katee Housner, Erika Schoenfeld

Outlook: The Corsairs will be hoping for a top-four finish in the powerful ESCC while aiming for another trip to the Class 2A sectionals. With a year of experience under her belt, Murphy has the potential to be an all-state (top 25) runner for Carmel.

Fox Valley Fox

Grayslake Central

Coach: Jim Centella (fourth season)

Last year's record: fourth in FVC, third in Fox Division

Top graduated seniors: Becky May

Top returning competitors: seniors Elsie Rehberg, Jordan Larson, Mia Gomez; juniors Kia Gomez, Maggie Wehde, Callie Calamia

Key newcomers: senior Jamie Mara; junior Jamie Brew; sophomore Jackie Wardin

Outlook: With four of their top five runners back and some key newcomers, the Rams hope to build on last year's success. The Rams will try to match their four all-conference runners from 2011 and ultimately try to emerge out of the rugged Class 2A Belvidere sectional.

Grayslake North

Coach: Brandon Boyd (eighth season)

Last year's record: fifth in Fox Division

Top graduated seniors: Kiera Kram

Top returning competitors: seniors Daniela Padilla, Emily Lyon; junior Erin Llanes-Smith

Key newcomers: junior Erin Parro

Outlook: The Knights' squad has some good numbers this season and they are ready to show what they can do in the Fox Division. Grayslake North will face some real tests in the FVC, but it has a solid nucleus of runners to build around.

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