Girls cross country: Scouting DuPage County and Fox

The York girls cross country program may have been overshadowed by their legendary boys program over the years with the boys bringing home a state-record 28 first-place trophies.

But the Dukes' girls squads have had an impressive run of their own lately, with nine top-three trophies overall, including a first in 2021, and a second in 2022 for coach Lauren Deangelis. The team also won the WSC and Waubonsie Valley sectional last year.

York lost three key seniors to graduation in Bria Bennis (third in Class 3A, Vanderbilt), Brooke Berger (26th, Kentucky), and Lily Beerhalter (27th, Carnegie Mellon University).

Returning all-state seniors Michaela Quinn (seventh) and Katherine Klimek (ninth) will be huge factors for the Dukes while sophomores Maggie Quinn (28th) and Lillian Bianchi (58th) also ran downstate. Senior Maggie Owens is joined by teammates Sophia Galiano-Sanchez, Anna McGrail, and Gigi Hill to set up another potential showdown with defending state champion Prospect for the 2023 state title.

Addison Trail:

The Blazers lost Lettia Hoda (Lake Forest College) and Ximena Juarez (Ripon College) to graduation. But they have four senior leaders back in Monserat Abarca, Natalie Lupa, Jackie Tecuanhuehue, and Gia Garza ready to help lead their pack. Junior Sandra Olascoaga is ready to be Addison Trail's lead runner while teammates Katelyn Ford and Zuzanna Kwasniewski are hoping to push their squad farther up the standings in the West Suburban Gold and regionals this fall.


The Redwings graduated top runner Louisa Diamond (22nd in Class 3A, West Point), and Makenna Jedlicka following their 25th-place finish at state. Now moving down to Class 2A for the next two seasons, coach Katie Paski has a lot of experience back including seniors Grace Andringa and senior newcomer Ashley Donovan. Returning runners with state meet experience are Andringa, Delilah Helenhouse, Keira Jenke, and Aniela Gaudio. Freshmen Payton Mathelier and Faye Ferrell are key newcomers along with teammates Sophia Olivares, Kailey Frangella, Terese Tully, Liliana Pervan, Carlin Kelly, and Emma Greco. Benet won the ESCC last year, and it is hoping to return to the state meet again in November.


The Bison placed ninth at the Class 2A Hinsdale South regional as seniors Tania Miranda and Danna Melendez were lost to graduation. Sophomore Anastasija Jankovich was Fenton's top runner last year in the postseason. Competing in the Upstate Eight Conference should provide the Bison with a lot of big challenges again this fall as the team should be much more experienced in 2023.

Glenbard East:

The Lady Rams are coming off a first-place finish in the UEC last fall and they are hoping to repeat that accomplishment this season. Sophomore Kathleen Nevels was Glenbard East's top finisher last year at the conference meet with a 10th-place finish followed by junior teammate Brissa Sarabia in 13th. Seniors Maya Reinheimer (17th), Anabelle Stevension (21st), Erica Long (22nd), and Sammy Kelly (24th) displayed outstanding pack running at the UEC meet, and they hope to continue that trend as the upcoming campaign unfolds.

Glenbard North:

The Panthers lost a real superstar to graduation in Notre Dame-bound Grace Schager, who rolled to the Class 3A title in 16:40 to beat Glenbrook North runner-up Juliet Frum by a whopping 36 seconds. Schager was also a two-time state champion in the 3,200-meter run in track and her leadership and presence will be missed dearly. Coach Eric Day said that the post-Schager era will be a period of rebuilding and growth as senior Avery Abderhalden and sophomore Peyton Marshall will be among the leaders for the Panthers' young and inexperienced squad this fall.

Glenbard South:

Sectional qualifiers senior Lauren Price and junior Diana Kalvelage are hoping to take their running to an even higher level this season as the Raiders' young team continues to grow despite a lack of great depth or experience returning. Juniors Taylor Koenig and Simone Witort will be key scorers at the varsity level as will senior teammate Mary Kate Pinkelman for coach Dan Bledsoe's rebuilding squad in the UEC.

Glenbard West:

The Hilltoppers lost state qualifier Carlin Hass to graduation from a team that placed fourth in the West Suburban Silver and ninth at sectionals. Glenbard West has many seniors back to rely on including Maggie Hibbard (52nd in Class 3A), Maddie Morgan, Moira Ahern, and Sophie Mitra. Sophomores Ella Demchinski, Alexa Novak, and Mackenzie Gilbert (all-state in 800-meter run) will also be keys to success. The Hilltoppers will try to return to the state meet after missing a trip downstate for the first time in 12 years last season.

Lake Park:

The Lancers will really miss Jade Benavides (71st in Class 3A, Elmhurst University) as well as several seniors who played key roles on the varsity team. Senior Maya Seger is a returning leader while junior teammate Brynn Ellenbecker narrowly missed qualifying for state last year. Coach Jay Ivory is looking to grow their team numbers, finish in the top half of the DuKane Conference, and qualify for the sectional meet.


The Lions were really short-handed last year as they only had two runners compete in their own Class 1A regional meet held at Lisle Community Park. The duo of freshman Anya Kutkoski and sophomore Piper Waggoner were Lisle's only runners as Rosary (third in Class 1A) rolled to the team title by a comfortable 41-87 margin over runner-up Willows Academy. Lisle will be more experienced this season as it will try to move up in the Illinois Central Eight Conference standings.

Metea Valley:

With consistent, captain-led runs on the weekends, the Mustangs turned in a great summer of training. They have an abundance of seniors back in Maya Hall, Zoe Kirkman, Brooke Horning, Kamea Baker, and Keira Nelson. Hall and Kirkman are back with state meet experience under their belts. Teammates Julia Hannon and Bella Sieben are coming off strong track seasons which should help them round out the front of Metea Valley's pack. Coach Eric Anerino saw Hall and Kirkman reach the state meet last year, now he is hoping that the entire team can earn a trip downstate to run on the fabled 3-mile Detweiller Park course.


The Broncos placed fifth at regionals and 12th at sectionals despite not having a single senior in their seven-runner lineup last fall. While Montini did not advance to the state meet as a team last year, it did have an all-stater in freshman Sydney Gertsen (21st in Class 1A), and a state qualifier in freshman Ashlynn Lindt (72nd) compete at the state meet. The Broncos will face a lot of competition during the regular season in the GCAC as they will have to go up against teams like Fenwick, Loyola Academy, Mother McAuley, and Providence Catholic.

Naperville Central:

The Redhawks will be without the services of graduated Addison George (Elon University), who was a multiple state qualifier in cross country and track. Naperville Central placed sixth in Class 3A and it has five runners back with state meet experience in seniors Liv Phillips (59th, all-state at 3,200 meters), Ava Hendren (48th), Abby Mogg, Becca Liaw, and junior Lola Satre-Morales (83rd). Junior Lydia Park will be joined by sophomore Eloise Graft to give coach Matt Blondell's team a chance to turn in another outstanding performance at the state meet. The Redhawks are aiming for a third straight trip to Detweiller Park. Senior Kate Tueting (57th) was their No. 2 runner at state, but a lingering foot injury is expected to keep her sidelined until she hopefully returns for the track season.

Naperville North:

After bringing home the third-place trophy in Class 3A, the Huskies will have to replace graduated senior Logan Brennan (55th, University of Kentucky) this season. Naperville North is the defending DVC champs, it took first at regionals, and second at sectionals. The Huskies have six runners back with state meet experience including all-stater Julie Piot (20th), Shania Tandon (33rd), Rianna Tandon (56th), Sennah Rashidian (125th), Anika Lovisa (131st), and Lexi Pera (156th). Senior Kayla Marx and junior Emma Berres give Naperville North added depth to make a run for the 21st top-three trophy in school history. Coach Dan Iverson has been North's coach for nine of their 10 IHSA titles which is a state record for Class 2A or Class 3A teams, including four crowns in a row from 2016 to 2019.

Neuqua Valley:

The Wildcats placed fourth in the DVC and seventh at regionals while losing state qualifier Gretchen Leland (69th in class 3A) to graduation. Seniors Grace Anderson, Ava Stipp, and Manasi Karat are back while juniors Elizabeth Hall (sectional qualifier), Maggie Kalish, Sienna McEneaney, and Katelyn Shen will be keys for coach Matt Johnson's team. Sophomores Olivia Dalson (sectional qualifier) and Natassa Papadakis will be a part of Neuqua Valley's push to improve upon last year's DVC finish and qualify for sectionals.

St. Francis:

The Spartans placed 20th in Class 2A behind all-state sophomore Margaret Andrzejewski's 22nd-place finish and junior Cate Earl's 81st-place run. Coach Jason Accardi's squad also returns junior Diya Khatau (190th), sophomore Ashley Spahn (191st), and junior Nella Ksiag (217th). Freshman Ali Sheldon is among a group of strong young runners competing for St. Francis with teammates Elena Mamminga, Sienna Schwan, Erin Hinsdale, and Amelia Whitacre putting the team in the mix to bring home a trophy in early November according to Accardi.

Waubonsie Valley:

The Warriors placed 10th at the Class 3A Hinsdale Central regional as Lily Baibak advanced to Waubonsie Valley's own sectional meet with a 15th-place finish in that meet as a sophomore. This season the Warriors will once again face a lot of the top teams in the state in the DuPage Valley Conference, including Naperville North (third in Class 3A), and Naperville Central (sixth in Class 3A).

Wheaton Academy:

The Warriors will be in a rebuilding situation this season as they move up to Class 2A while also moving into the Chicagoland Christian Conference this year. Coach Chris Felinski has junior Rachel Nelson as his top returning runner after Nelson just missed earning the final individual at-large berth to the state meet by one place last fall. Freshman Addie Painter is Wheaton Academy's top newcomer on the scene; she will try to help the Warriors finish in the top two in their conference and qualify for sectionals.

Wheaton North:

The Falcons qualified for the state meet for the first time since 2006 last year while also winning their first regional title since that same season last year. Wheaton North did lose three of their top seven runners to graduation. But it has the junior trio of Maddie Romaine, Hannah Tebbe, and Rebecca Farrell returning and ready to make an impact. Sophomore Ema Eissler is a returning runner to watch while sophomore teammate Sienna Keith ran downstate last year. Other runners aiming for the top seven spots are Mackenzie Skidmore, Brigitte Noyes, Gianna Carroll, Emily Offutt, and Annika Carlson.

Wheaton Warrenville South:

The Tigers have two individual state qualifiers back in the lineup in juniors Nicole Poglitsch (31st), and Frida Martinez (76th) as the team finished second in the DuKane Conference and third at regionals. Coach Rob Harvey's strong senior class includes Jenna Bachara, Haley Phillips, and Claire Siebert while WWS lost three key seniors to graduation. Harvey said that the team has used a very successful track season as a springboard into a very good summer which he hopes will translate into an outstanding 2023 season. The squad has numerous juniors and sophomores who are ready to make an impact on the varsity level.

West Chicago:

The Wildcats placed eighth at the Class 3A St. Charles East regional as sectional qualifier Vanessa Munoz was a very key leader that graduated. West Chicago's Sneha George had a strong freshman campaign last year as did sophomore teammate Helena Jankowska in 2022. West Chicago will hope that its young core of runners can keep improving against some tough competition this fall in the UEC.


The Warriors placed seventh at the Class 3A Lyons regional as Amelia Barrington was a key runner that graduated. Willowbrook did have two sophomores advance to the Waubonsie Valley sectional last year, including Amelie Ojeda and Malin Meeker. The Warriors will hope that their young nucleus of runners will allow them to move up the leaderboard this season in the West Suburban Conference.



The Hawks took third place in the UEC last year as many of their runners earned all-conference honors in the meet. This season Bartlett will be counting on Kristin Farabaugh and Francesca Bove for senior leadership. The Hawks' young squad also features four sophomores in Alyssa Gregory, Venice Lopez, Allison Fluder, and Emely Villafuerte. Coach Christina Karbowski is hoping the team can move up the UEC standings before making a run for the sectional meet in late October.


The Lady Bulldogs won their sixth DuKane Conference title in the past nine years before just missing a berth to the state meet by five points last year at sectionals. Graduated seniors Liliana Bednarek (75th in Class 3A, Carthage College), Ava Thomas (Marquette), and Brook Silbernagel will be missed. But sophomore Maddie Cassidy (80th) is poised to step into a bigger role for Batavia. Coach Chad Hillman will turn to seniors Alli Olson and Taylor Schaffer for experience while juniors Liv Gebhardt and Maddy Wnek should be top runners in the pack. Sophomore Chloe Kammes will gain valuable experience on varsity as Batavia hopes to peak at the end of the season.

Burlington Central:

The Rockets finished third at regionals and 11th at sectionals as junior Abby Burke finished 58th in Class 2A last year. This fall, Burlington Central's young squad will also feature junior Teagan Cathcart and the sophomore foursome of Emie Davis, Carmie Winkelhake, Aanya Vyas, and Ivy Didomenico. Coach Vince Neil said that Burke is hoping to make a bid for the all-state (top 25) team with Cathcart and Davis joining her to give Burlington Central a strong top-three trio of runners that can go deep into the postseason.


The Trojans placed third at regionals, fifth at sectionals, and 11th in Class 2A as Jocelyn Onstot, Ada Saletnik, Juliana Ferrara, and Kathleen Apaez all graduated. Cary-Grove placed fourth in the McHenry County meet last weekend behind seniors Kate Aniolkowski, Charlotte Hastings, Aeryn Costello, and Zoe Hubka. Cary-Grove coach Mark Anderson's squad will be facing some tough competition in the FVC as usual this season against the likes of defending FVC champion Huntley, Crystal Lake South (fourth in Class 2A), and Hampshire to mention a few. Sophomores Claire Brown and Avery Boone competed at the county meet as the team prepares its lineup for the long season.

Crystal Lake South:

The Gators had a great 2022 season as they just missed bringing home the third-place trophy in Class 2A by a 150-154 margin to Washington. That team did lose seniors Isabella Gonzalez (20th, Santa Clara University), Gianna Pinta (49th), and Anna McDermott to graduation. The Gators also placed second in the FVC before winning regional and sectional titles. Abby Machesky (46th), and Colette Bacidore (146th) will provide senior leadership for coach Ken Greenfield's team along with juniors Olivia Pinta (37th), and Victoria Pinta (48th). Senior Brie James has been running with the top four in practice while teammates Carly Gorman, Lexi Brooks, Natalia Banasik, and Kelsey Kos have all shown flashes of being able to contend for top-seven spots. Newcomers Laynie Ripley, Lily Brooks, Cece Piemontese, and Sedona Semradek provide a great future for the squad.


The Chargers lost three of their top four runners to graduation in Kaylee Brodie, Lydia Anderson, and Jacqueline Juarez as the team competed at the powerful Class 3A Palatine regional last season. Dundee-Crown will have its work cut out to compete in the rugged FVC. But seniors Yvonne Castro and Val Ortega are expected to be among the top runners for coach Matt Michalski's squad this fall as the Chargers are currently going through a rebuilding process.


The Maroons' top returning runner is sophomore Xenia Salas while senior Gabby Bautista was the No. 2 runner on the team in 2022. Elgin will have a very young and inexperienced team competing with freshman Teagan Culver, sophomore Emma Valdivia, and sophomore Tala Okasha ready to compete in the UEC. Coach Alicia Knoll is excited about the hard workouts the team is going through together, and the Maroons are hoping to qualify for the sectional meet for the first time in school history.


The Vikings have the luxury of sophomore state qualifier Sofia Borter (78th in Class 3A) returning after they placed 11th at sectionals last year. Geneva did lose two of its top seven runners to graduation, but it does have Agnes Bolender and Lila Storaasli back to provide senior leadership. Other potential varsity athletes for the Vikings and coach Beth Morrison will be the sophomore trio of Gretchen Drexler, Lucina Lechtenberg, and Taylor Peahl as the team hopes to better their standing at the sectional meet. Geneva won back-to-back state crowns in 2007 and 2008.


The Whip-Purs have their top nine runners returning this season from a team that placed third at the Harlem regional and 13th at sectionals last year. Coach Ryan Hollister believes his incredibly strong pack led by senior Ella Perrone, sophomore Annabelle Haskins, and junior Hudson Szymonik should have a chance at qualifying for the state meet if they can stay healthy. Juniors Hannah Jones and Kassidy Papa will be joined by sophomores Kaley Byhre and Alyssa Garcia to round out the top seven runners. The team of Perrone, Szymonik, Jones, and Garcia qualified for the state track meet in the 4x800 relay last spring.


After taking first place in the FVC, regionals, and sectionals last year, the Red Raiders will have to move forward without Breanna Burak (12th in Class 3A, Illinois State), Brittney Burak (21st, Indiana State), and Molly Allen (43rd). Huntley's 13th-place state meet team returns five of their top eight runners including senior Ava Allison. The sophomore trio of Aspen Maldonado, Cori Kilvinger, and Gabby Sweeney are also back. Juniors Mackenzie Billard, Maddie Stien, and Ava Berardi will be keys along with sophomore Izzy Ciesla. Freshmen Haley Rahman and Morgan Sauber should have an impact on varsity. The Red Raiders took the state by storm last spring when they won the Class 3A state track title behind graduated superstar Alexandria Johnson (Arizona State).


Jacobs was hit very hard by graduation as it lost five seniors from their second straight state qualifying team, including Natalia Maciorowski (92nd in state, University of South Florida), Adeline Gorman (184th), Alyssa Madera (200th), Natali Varela (205th), and Christina Beyer (219th). The Golden Eagles have juniors Bailey Schwartz (46th) and Kathleen Kania ready to lead their pack along with senior Madeline Osmanski (180th). Sophomore Matylda Maciejczyk, Hannah Hedrick, Megan Retzer, and Fernanda Banuelos will all be in the mix after putting in a ton of miles this summer according to coach Kevin Christian.


The Knights will really miss graduated senior Lindsey Andrae (Marquette University) after the team placed second in the Interstate Eight Conference. The Knights will turn to seniors Abby Fitts and Olivia Pastovich as leaders along with juniors Abigail Lechocki, Jade Unzueta, and Audrey Walker. Sophomores Danielle Bower and Graycen Cole will also be keys while freshman teammate Natalie Atenco will add depth on varsity as Kaneland returns six of its top seven runners.


The Royals lost Heather and Hannah Durrant (University of the Cumberlands) and Jinni Jimenez (Governors State University) from a team that placed fifth in the UEC, fifth at regionals and 15th at sectionals. Larkin has some young leaders returning for first-year coach Ezra Steffen's team, including junior Caitlin Sweeney, sophomore Makayla Preuss, and sophomore Brinlee Jimenez. Coach Steffen is hoping to see his pack run closer times together this season while making a return trip to the sectional meet.


The Royals are coming off a banner season as they held off Winnebago 198-202 to capture the third-place trophy in Class 1A for their first state trophy in school history. Senior Annie Hathaway (Elmhurst College) graduated, and Rosary has now been bumped up to Class 2A. Coach Vic Mead's squad has their top four runners back in junior Chiara Surtz (16th in Class 1A), senior Olivia Kunio (34th), senior Vivian Wyller (44th), and junior Natalie Goettsch (69th). Freshmen Kayla Garcia and Caroline Grottsch join the team as the Royals will be aiming to get as many runners downstate as possible.

South Elgin:

The Storm lost 2021 state qualifier Angelica Harris and Roberta Morales to graduation from a team that placed fourth in the UEC last year. After losing the majority of its varsity runners the past two years, South Elgin will look to junior Janeth Ortega for leadership this season on varsity. But coach Jorie Bartholomew said that for the first time in a long time the remainder of the varsity spots will be up for grabs this fall with any number of individuals on the team right now ready to step into much bigger roles this fall.

St. Charles East:

The Saints lost graduated runners Morgan Sandlund (St. Louis University), and Lauren Lewison, who were both on St. Charles East's 4x800 all-state relay team. Senior Marley Andelman will try to lead the Saints (22nd in Class 3A) back to state while sophomore Amalia Im and freshman Nicole Mayer should be front of the pack runners. Juniors Ally Walker, Kendall Crossen, and Kaitlyn Kreeger will be key factors along with senior Colleen Thumm. "Our team will be very new to the varsity level as we graduated five varsity members from last year's state team," said coach Brad Kaplan. "It will be a season of learning to race up at the new varsity level and that's great. We're going to take our time and be ready to run when it counts later in the season." The Saints won back-to-back state titles in 1997 and 1998.

St. Charles North:

The North Stars finished seventh in the DKC, fourth at regionals, and 10th at sectionals without a single senior on the varsity roster. St. Charles North is lucky to have two state qualifiers back in junior Norah Dorrance (67th in Class 3A), and senior Camille Sabau (157th). Sophomore Paiten Kruse is expected to be another top runner for the North Stars as are senior Zoe Ulaszek, and junior Tia Kilroy. Senior Liza Kudyschak gives coach Shari Hays' team more experience to go along with sophomores Rachel Watts, Skye Santiago, and freshman Gwen Hobson as the team will thrive to finish higher in the state series.

St. Edward:

The Lady Wave's team had little depth or experience to fall back on in 2022 as freshman Sophie Holland and sophomore teammates Liz Leadley and Madeline Sasis were their only competitors at the Class 1A Lisle regional. St. Edward will be focused on improving their times and placing higher this fall in the Chicagoland Christian Conference.


With Ashley Harrison now graduated, the Sabres are going to lean heavily on the experience of Sophia Baumert, who is a two-time all-conference runner as well as a two-time sectional qualifier. Baumert was also the UEC champion in the mile run last spring in track, and coach Dylan Lau said that she is a great leader who is ready to step up and take the next leap to make the state meet. Jazlynn Castelan and Alin Candia are other runners who are expected to be leaders on the young and new look Sabre team.

West Aurora:

The Blackhawks placed eighth at regionals as Darragh Creaney was the only runner in their top five that graduated. A lot of young runners paced West Aurora's pack last year including freshman Abbey Hauser, and sophomore Avery Littlejohn. Freshman Itzel Figueroa and sophomore Baylee Geni were also a part of the Blackhawks' top-four pack last season. West Aurora will face a lot of tough competition again with many big challenges in the Southwest Prairie Conference.

Batavia's Madeline Cassidy and Geneva's Sofia Borter, pictured at the 2022 DuKane Conference cross country meet in Roselle, are two of the key returning runners at their respective schools. Karen Naess/for Shaw Local
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