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updated: 10/24/2013 9:05 PM

Scouting girls cross country regionals / Northwest

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By Michael Eaken
Daily Herald Correspondent

Scouting girls cross country regionals

What to know: The top six team and top five runners from non-qualifying teams Saturday advance to the sectionals. Rankings below are from the Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Poll.

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Class 3A

Hoffman Estates regional (10 a.m. at Busse Woods)

Advancement: Schaumburg sectional, Nov. 2.

Outlook: This nine-team field consists entirely of Mid-Suburban League schools. No. 15 Hoffman Estates and No. 13 Schaumburg will meet once again and will battle for the top spot. Hoffman Estates has come out on top in three of the four meetings, but it has been close. Senior Solome Haile paces a Hawks attack that had an off week at conference but still finished third. Ali Gutt should be back to help strengthen the Saxons' attack, with freshman Elie O'Connell hoping to continue her strong October showing . Prospect has come on strong after a slow start and will be a factor. Fremd junior Ayako Higuchi opened a few eyes last week by taking second in the MSL, and keep an eye on Rolling Meadow senior Vanessa Sanchez.

Palatine regional (10 a.m. at Deer Grove East)

Advancement: Schaumburg sectional, Nov. 2.

Outlook: No. 4 Palatine cruised to the MSL title last weekend with a 63-point cushion, and there's no reason to expect the Pirates to slow down Saturday. Sophomore Kelly O'Brien and senior Liz Cox spurred Palatine. No. 11 Barrington took second last week, and the Fillies seem to be gearing up for a strong postseason run behind the solid running of senior Caroline Reynolds. Senior Megan Gelinas took second at the North Suburban Conference meet, helping propel Lake Zurich to second. McHenry junior Lauren Opatrny and Cary-Grove junior Morgen Schulz went 3-4 in the Fox Valley and will be among the leaders on Saturday.

Libertyville regional (2 p.m. at Adler Park)

Advancement: Schaumburg sectional, Nov. 2.

Outlook: Host Libertyville finished third in the NSC, and the Wildcats have to be considered favorites on the challenging Alde Park course. Senior Ali Urbanski will lead the Wildcats' attack. Buffalo Grove will challenge, and look for Bison sophomore Kaitlyn Ko, the individual MSL champion, to cruise to the regional title.

Fenwick regional (1:30 p.m. at Schiller Woods)

Advancement: Lake Park sectional

Outlook: No. 3 Glenbard West will be the favorite in this nine-team field. Defending Class 3A state champion Madeline Perez ran her first cross country race of the 2013 season last weekend, leading the Hilltoppers to a first-place finish at the West Suburban Silver meet with a second-place finish. Estefania Ramirez was the top finisher for Leyden at the West Suburban Gold conference meet.

Niles West regional (2 p.m. at Niles West)

Advancement: Lake Park sectional

Outlook: No. 2 New Trier will be the team to beat here. Junior Mimi Smith leads the Trevians attack. Senior Gigi Ortiz will pace Maine West.

Class 2A

Wheaton Academy regional (1 p.m. at Kress Creek Farms)

Advancement: Wheaton Academy sectional

Outlook: St. Viator will compete in the 10-team field at Wheaton Academy. Senior Megan Carroll has had a strong season for the Lions; she finished third at the East Suburban Conference Meet.

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