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updated: 9/5/2013 5:09 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 (15th season)

Last year's record: third in NSC

Top graduated seniors: Angela Ufheil, Maddie Gelinas, Meagan Hughes

Top returning competitors: seniors Meaghan Gelinas (fourth in NSC, 35th in Class 3A in 2011); juniors Katie Fabbrini (12th in NSC), Nicole Syverson (19th in NSC), Laura McNair; sophomore Kristie Houghton (20th in NSC)

Outlook: With their top four runners back from a solid team last fall, the Bears appear to be in a pretty good position to once again compete with the top teams in the NSC this season. Lake Zurich is focusing on a potential repeat of its 2011 season when it won the NSC championship and advanced to the state meet as a team.

Libertyville

Coach: Bill Etnyre (second season)

Last year's record: 5th in NSC

Top graduated seniors: Nicole Jaffke (running track at Marquette), Abigail Toohey (Lake Forest College), Carly Stewart, Natalie Danckers

Top returning competitors: seniors Ali Urbanski, Emily Moroz; junior Kristi Del Prato (43rd in Class 3A, two-time state qualifier, third in NSC); sophomores Hannah Manetsch (29th in NSC), Mia Bertaud, Sarah Pirih

Key newcomers: senior Emily Green, junior Gina Palmeiri; freshman Emily Olson

Outlook: The Wildcats have the largest team ever at Libertyville this season and they return the main portion of their varsity squad from a year ago. The Cats will need some people to step up into a bigger role this fall with the departure of some key seniors. But Del Prato gives the team a great No. 1 runner to set the tone in big races.

Mundelein

Coach: Christy DeVitto (first season)

Last year's record: fourth in NSC

Top graduated seniors: Ellie Palacios (University of Illinois), Claire Naughton (Kenyon College), Lauren Anderson (St. Louis University), Steph Johnson

Top returning competitors: senior Emily Schlebecker (22nd in NSC); juniors Kelsey Loar, Lily Chavez, Jackie Shannon, Ashley Parola; sophomore Crystal Arroyo

Key newcomers: freshmen Marissa Richards, Sarah Ouimet, Victoria Wilman, Claire Bullington

Outlook: The Mustangs did lose three of their four all-conference runners to graduation. But with some new and returning faces putting in a lot of miles over the summer, Mundelein hopes to surprise a lot of people as Christy DeVitto takes over for John Osmanski as head coach this fall.

Stevenson

Coach: Maureen LeVanti (first season)

Last year's record: 10th in NSC

Top graduated seniors: Mackenzie Levy (Emory University), Sarina Jain

Top returning competitors: seniors Jenna Kinwald, Rebecca Callen; juniors Juli Ozmeral, Jessie Goldberg, Amy Lin

Key newcomers: sophomore Jessica Philipp; freshmen Jordan Gregg, Sydney Pacernick

Outlook: The Patriots head into the new campaign excited to compete despite having a pretty young team without a lot of varsity experience to fall back on. Stevenson also has a new head coach to lead its squad as Maureen LeVanti replaces Don Proft, who enjoyed a pretty successful 14-year run at the helm.

Warren

Coach: Brett Heimstead (third season)

Last year's record: 21st in Class 3A, second in NSC

Top graduated seniors: Meg Tully (Iowa State), Rachel Shoemaker (Northern Illinois)

Top returning competitors: seniors Greta Doden (11th in NSC), Courtenay Krause, Tori Nelsen; juniors Becky Haight (14th in NSC), Taylor Weiss, Sammi Nixon

Outlook: The Blue Devils may have lost three of their top five runners from last year's state qualifying team to graduating. But coach Heimstead hopes to reload in 2013 with another solid pack of pretty experienced runners. Warren's squad has the potential to run just as fast as 2012 with a low score if they can run as a pack.

NORTH SUBURBAN PRAIRIE

Antioch

Coach: Chris Bailey (fifth season)

Last year's record: eighth in NSC

Top graduated seniors: Alyssa Aschenbrener, Megan Borries

Top returning competitors: seniors Ashley LaPointe, Katie Holmes, Hannah Bohn; sophomore Kayla Fahey

Key newcomers: senior Rebecca Tompkins; freshman Tessa Furlong

Outlook: The Sequoits did lose two of their top four runners to graduation. But they still have some pretty good depth and experience returning with their second and third runners from 2012 back and ready to make an impact in the NSC Prairie Division.

Grant

Coach: Jeff Durlak (seventh season)

Last year's record: ninth in NSC

Top graduated seniors: Sarah Guzior, Kyra Schmidt

Top returning competitors: seniors Lindsey Lewis (three-time all-conference runner, 10th in NSC), Laura Mejia; juniors Jenna Pecorini, Kaleigh Bauer, Katerina Dague; sophomore Madison Romig (28th in NSC)

Key newcomers: junior Celina Kropiwiec; sophomore Stephanie Zimbru; freshmen Brooke Drabek, Lauren Troemel, Rachael Temple

Outlook: Lewis has been a very consistent performer for the Bulldogs over the past three seasons at the varsity level and she is looking to end her career on a high note. Romig started off her career with an all-conference finish as a freshman and Grant should have more talent and depth in 2013 than any time in recent memory according to Durlak.

Lakes

Coach: Keith West (10th season)

Last year's record: seventh in NSC

Top graduated seniors: Amanda Timmerman

Top returning competitors: juniors Nicole Towne, Fiona Floden, Liz Thompson; sophomore Kortney Schardt (77th in Class 2A, 18th in NSC)

Key newcomers: senior Heather Hurlbut; sophomores Hayley Lettera, Ashley Espinosa, Hannah Savage Cooper

Outlook: The Eagles' goals this season will be trying to get five runners below the 20-minute barrier and continue to compete well in the NSC. Lakes will turn to a sophomore in Schardt for young leadership while Hurlbut is back for her senior season after serving the role of the Eagles' fifth runner in 2010.

Round Lake

Coach: Kevin Brady (ninth season)

Last year's record: 13th in NSC

Top graduated seniors: Bianca Ortega (Aurora University), Selena Alvarez, Stephanie Perez, Miriam Reyes

Top returning competitors: seniors Jessica Arteaga, Nayeli Hernandez; junior Vicky Villa

Key newcomers: juniors Maria Zadina, Anayeli Rosales, Lluvia Chavarria, Mariela Jasso; sophomore Alondra Alvarez; freshman Vanessa Allanach

Outlook: With three of their top four runners lost to graduation, the Panthers will have a number of new faces competing at the varsity level this fall. Round Lake will have many runners trying to break into its top seven as a predominately young squad will look to build for the future.

Vernon Hills

Coach: Suzanne Richert (ninth season)

Last year's record: 12th in Class 2A, sixth in NSC

Top graduated seniors: Kristen Whitney (Lake Forest College, 36th in Class 2A), Ali Marks (Macalester College), Tara Rooney

Top returning competitors: senior Cassie Lira; junior Samantha Hershman (67th in Class 2A, 26th in NSC); sophomores Vivian Overbeck (56th in Class 2A), Lexi Reich (101st in Class 2A, 30th in NSC), Shannon Skeoch (128th in Class 2A)

Outlook: After putting together a great season last fall with a 12th-place finish at state, the Cougars are poised to make a return trip to Detweiller Park in 2013 in hopes of a potential top-10 finish in Class 2A. Whitney and Marks will be missed dearly, but Vernon Hills does have four runners with state meet experience returning and ready to make a big impact.

Wauconda

Coach: Al Willhoit (35th season)

Last year's record: 12th in NSC

Top graduated seniors: Lexie Brunn, Becca Michelau, Krystal Morris, Tara Mraz

Top returning competitors: senior Ashley Heath; junior Maren DeWyze; sophomore Hannah Sundquist

Key newcomers: freshman Erin Levon

Outlook: Losing Brunn to graduation will be a tough adjustment for the Bulldogs to make. But they do have two returning sectional qualifiers back to help build their pack around in NSC Lake Division competition.

EAST SUBURBAN CATHOLIC

Carmel Catholic

Coach: Jim Halford (27th season)

Last year's record: fourth in regionals

Top graduated seniors: Caitlin Murphy (2011 state qualifier), Katee Housner, Clarine Stevens, Kasey Duffy

Top returning competitors: seniors Theresa Gray, Nicole Bitter; juniors Riley Felicicchia, Kally Morozin; sophomores Quinna Phillips, Grace Duffy

Key newcomers: sophomore Lucia Leslie; freshmen Alie Reily, Jilly Johnson, Sarah Speranza, Maddie Cusack, Gianna Day, Lauren Caffarelli

Outlook: The Corsairs lost a really good front-runner in Murphy to graduation. But coach Halford has still set some pretty optimistic goals for Carmel this season with hopes of placing in the top 10 at sectionals and finishing in the top four of the ESCC standings.

FOX VALLEY / FOX DIVISION

Grayslake Central

Coach: Jimmy Centella (fifth season)

Last year's record: 15th in Class 2A, sixth in FVC, second in Fox Division

Top graduated seniors: Miranda Gomez (North Park University), Elsie Rehberg (UW-Parkside), Jordan Larson, Emily Moran

Top returning competitors: seniors Jamie Brew (50th in Class 2A), Korina Gomez (68th in Class 2A), Maggie Wehde (164th in Class 2A), Callie Calamia; juniors Emma Mitchiner, Rachel Biersdorf, Hannah Dwinell

Key newcomers: sophomores Umaiyal Sridas, Sara O'Malley; freshman Megan Girmscheid

Outlook: While the Rams bring back their top two runners from last year in Brew and Gomez, their only other returner is Wehde, who was their seventh finisher at the 2012 state meet. Centella believes Brew and Gomez will contend for individual berths to the 2013 state meet and the team could make a push for Detweiller Park too if the rest of the pack can close the gap on that duo.

Grayslake North

Coach: Brandon Boyd (ninth season)

Last year's record: seventh in regionals

Top graduated seniors: Brooklynn Histle (College of Lake County)

Top returning competitors: senior Erin Llanes-Smith

Key newcomers: freshman Camryn Cowperthwaite, Cindy Alcala

Outlook: It could be a tough road for the Knights' relatively inexperienced team this season, but coach Boyd is hoping to make a push for the sectional meet in early November. Grayslake North does have a veteran runner in Llanes-Smith ready to lead its pack. But the Knights will need the rest of the pack to step up if they hope to be competitive in the FVC Fox Division.

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