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Article posted: 9/7/2012 12:01 AM

New-look Schaumburg steps it up

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By Michael Eaken

Schaumburg's girls cross country team may be young, but the Saxons are showing some fight.

Sophomore Caroline Kurdej and sophomore Erin Falsey set the pace on Thursday at Macnider Cross Country Course at Hoover School.

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Kurdej (19:40) and Falsey (19:49) went 1-2 in helping Schaumburg nip Barrington 26-29 for a Mid-Suburban West victory.

Sophomore Ali Gutt (20:16) took fourth to put some bite in a young Saxons attack.

Barrington freshman Lauren Conroy (19:57) took third to pace the Fillies.

"We have a lot of new girls learning new roles, a lot of girls are becoming more established," said Schaumburg coach Jason Beer of an up-and-coming squad. "It was definitely a nice win, but it's a long season and we'll continue to grow."

Kurdej has made quite a leap since last season. She capped a fantastic track season by winning the MSL 3,200 title and finishing 18th in Class 3A.

This year the Saxons sophomore continues her climb.

"It really boosted my confidence," said Kurdej of her freshman track season. "It was a little overwhelming, but I got a taste of it last year."

Schaumburg was missing senior Hannah Coombs on Thursday and trailed Barrington at the 2-mile mark, but junior Debra Sodimu (21:34) and senior Karyn Baldwin (21:47) made a surge in the final mile to take 9th and 10th place.

"We've been working well as a team, and have been pushing each other," said Kurdej.

Conroy helped push a Barrington attack that is missing its top returning runner in Rebecca Batliner; she finished 10th in Class 3A in 2010.

Batliner did not run track last season due to a foot injury, and will miss a chunk of this cross country season as she recovers from mono.

But the Fillies showed some fight of their own as junior Cary Reynolds (20:36), senior Rachel Simon (20:40), senior Ashleigh Kleinjan (20:53), and senior Haley Wells (21:09) strung together a fifth-through-eighth place finish to pressure the Saxons.

"We've been working hard all summer, and I think it will come," said Reynolds of a Fillies squad that finished seventh in Class 3A last season.

"They are coming around," added Barrington coach Deb Revolta. "We have plenty of races left and we're hoping to be there."

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