NORTH SUBURBAN PRAIRIE
Coach: Dan Oslage
Last season: 12th in NSC meet
Top returners: Sr. Abby Augustin (high jump/triple jump), Jr. Andrea Sodt (long jump/sprints), So. Carly McCameron (high jump), Sr. Alyssa Aschenbrenner (distance), Sr. Erin Hogan (middle distance), Sr. Rikki Moncrief (sprints), Jr. Ashley LaPointe (distance)
Newcomers: Fr. Courtney Coleman (distance), Fr. Desiree Giamarusti (sprints), Fr. Alexis Duehr (sprints), Fr. Mikayla Christian (throws), Fr. Kelly Johnson (sprints), Jr. Paige Gallimore (sprints)
Outlook: The Sequoits' new athletes include one who's showed off her athleticism on the varsity basketball court the last two winters. Junior Paige Gallimore, an all-conference guard for the basketball team, is competing track for the first time. She along with several other first-year varsity competitors will look to provide a boost. "We will be a young team looking for several freshmen and newcomers to make an impact at the varsity level," coach Dan Oslage said. The Sequoits will be led by the jumping trio of Abby Augustin, Andrea Sodt and Carly McCameron, along with middle-distance runners Erin Hogan, Alyssa Aschenbrenner and Rikki Moncrief. "Our goal is to improve on last year's performance at conference and sectionals," Oslage said. "The key will be keeping everyone healthy and receiving some help from Mother Nature with some warmer weather."
Coach: Jackie Randall
Last season: fifth in NSC meet, fourth in Class 3A Rockton Hononegah sectional, 32nd in state meet
Returnees: Sr. Melissa Dunham (throws), Sr. Sydney Moore (throws), Jr. Emily Troemel (hurdles), Jr. Julia Sangster (hurdles), Jr. Lindsey Lewis (distance), So. Dana Nozime (sprints), Jr. Beka Couch (middle distance), So. Georgia Rinda (jumps)
Newcomers: Fr. Delaney Basala (middle distance), Fr. Jasmine Sangster (sprints), Madison Romig (distance)
Outlook: Bolstered once again by the throws, the Bulldogs hope to compete for the NSC Prairie championship this season. Returning a young team, the Lady Bulldogs are training to put up a fight, said coach Jackie Randall, whose squad is led by Dartmouth-bound Melissa Dunham, the defending Class 3A state runner-up in the discus. Besides Dunham, junior Emily Troemel (300 hurdles) competed at state last spring. After a successful season indoors, qualifying four individuals (Dunham, Troemel, Sydney Moore and Julia Sangster) to the Illinois Top Prep Times meet, Grant expects to flush out the team with distance runners Lindsay Lewis, Madison Romig and Beka Couch and middle distance newcomer Delaney Basala. Hurt by the loss of graduated senior Kim Heersche (state finalist in high jump and qualifier in triple jump), the Bulldogs hope the underclass jumpers step up and snag some points at the dual meets.
Coach: Matt Rife
Last season: sixth in NSC meet, second in Class 2A Vernon Hills sectional, tie for 21st at state
Returnees: Jr. Mia Bennett (throws), So. Brittani Griesbaum (sprints/jumps), So. Danielle Griesbaum (sprints/jumps), Jr. Devin Kirkland (sprints/jumps), Sr. Carly Prais (pole vault), So. Erica Terry (sprints/jumps), Sr. Rachel Terry (sprints)
Newcomers: Jr. Heather Hurlbut (distance), Fr. Lauren Rausch (sprints/pole vault), Fr. Kortney Schardt (distance), Fr. Maeve Tuley (pole vault/sprints)
Outlook: Don't let the youth fool you. The Eagles return sophomore twins Brittani and Danielle Griesbaum, who burst onto the scene last spring. The Griesbaums along with then-seniors Hannah Wittman and Grace Dean won the Class 2A state championship in the 3,200 relay. Danielle Griesbaum also earned a sixth-place state medal in the high jump. Brittani was a sectional champ in the long jump, while Danielle was the sectional runner-up in the high jump. Both won conference championships in their respective jumping events. Danielle Griesbaum and freshman Kortney Schart qualified for the state cross country meet last fall. "We have a good amount of depth this year, but we are very young," coach Matt Rife said. "We are hoping to win the division title, the conference meet and the sectional meet."
Coach: Jason Rush
Last season: first in NSC Prairie, second in NSC meet, first in Class 2A Vernon Hills sectional, tie for 13th in Class 2A state meet
Returnees: Sr. Alli Tran (sprints/jumps/relays), Sr. Ali Peacock (sprints/hurdles/relays), Sr. Kristen Whitney (distance), Jr. Shannon Healey (jumps/sprints/relays), So. Kiara Schuh (sprints/relays/hurdles), Jr. Hunter Ruder (jumps), So. Samantha Hershman (distance), Sr. Tara Rooney (distance), Jr. Jen Parker (sprints/relays), Jr. Liz Parker (sprints/relays), So. Mia Polisky (throws), So. Kasey Firnbach (throws), Sr. Taryn Rawles (jumps)
Newcomers: Fr. Vivian Overbeck (distance), Fr. Shannon Skeoch (distance), Fr. Lexie Reich (distance), Jr. Starbrina Sharples (throws)
Outlook: This is a winning collection of talent. The Cougars boast one of the best relay closers in the state in senior Alli Tran and fellow state veteran Ali Peacock. Shannon Healey, Mia Polisky and Kasey Firnbach were all members of the varsity basketball team that took second in the Class 3A state tournament this winter. Additionally, from the state-qualifying cross country team come senior veteran Kristen Whitney, sophomore Samantha Hershman and freshmen Vivian Overbeck, Shannon Skeoch and Lexie Reich. On the track last May, the Cougars shined downstate, placing second in the 1,600 relay, fifth in the 800 relay and seventh in the 3,200 relay. All 3 relays clocked school-record times. "We hope to repeat as a top three in the conference meet, to win the Prairie Division and have as many all-state athletes as possible," coach Jason Rush said. Last year, the Cougars boasted four all-state performances and eight all-state athletes. "I believe we are a great postseason team as nobody had us picked to take second at conference, but we did despite being the second-smallest school of the 14-team conference," Rush said. "We'd like to repeat as sectional champs." The Eagles' sectional championship was their second in three years.
Coach: Ali Luetschwager
Last season: ninth in NSC meet, fifth in Class 2A Vernon Hills sectional
Returnees: Sr. Andrea Lichterman (hurdles/sprints), So. Christina Meinhardt (throws), Sr. Jamie Buencher (sprints), Sr. Ariana Koehler (pole vault), Sr. Becca Michelau (800), Jr. Dani Sturm (throws)
Newcomers: So. Angela Cruz (middle distance/distance), Fr. Lexi Meyer (long jump), Fr. Corrina Vaughan (throws/sprints), Fr. Amber Head (middle distance, distance), Fr. Alison Beeman (sprints)
Outlook: Senior Andrea Lichterman qualified for state in the 300 hurdles and also ran on the state-qualifying 1,600 relay. She is the NSC's defending 300 hurdles champ. Sophomore Christina Meinhardt was a welcome addition last year, as she placed 10th in the shot put at state, while also qualifying in the discus. "The team has a lot of talent," said first-year coach Ali Luetschwager, who's the wife of boys basketball coach Scott Luetschwager. "It will be exciting to watch their improvement and see how far their hard work takes them. Many of the girls are looking to set school records and not only qualify for the state meet, but place as well."
NORTH SUBURBAN LAKE
Coach: Lance Pacernick
Last season: seventh in NSC meet, ninth in the Class 3A Grayslake North sectional
Returnees: Sr. Lindsey Moritz (sprints, hurdles), Sr. Teagan Hough (sprints), Sr. Madeline Jordan (sprints), Sr. Maria Pavlou (high jump), Jr. Amanda Papke (hurdles), So. Rebecca Dorfman (throws), Jr. Shelby Peshek (sprints), Sr. Angela Ufheil (distance), Sr. Anna Powers
Newcomers: Fr. Kristie Houghton (distance), Fr. Caitlin Shepard (distance), Fr. Isabella Murin (sprints), Fr. Kim Souther (jumps), Fr. Alexa Ocampo (sprints)
Outlook: The Bears won the NSC meet two years ago, before slipping to seventh last season. They look to bounce back with a group that has the potential to do well, especially in the relays. Seniors Lindsey Moritz (Navy commit), Teagan Hough, Anna Powers and Madeline Jordan serve as team captains. Moritz ran on three state-qualifying relays as both a freshman and sophomore, before being shut out last year. Jordan came into last season with state-meet experience but missed the entire outdoor campaign after getting injured in an indoor meet. "She's back healthy and running really well," Pacernick said of Jordan. "We're very excited about that." Junior Amanda Papke qualified for state last season in the 300 hurdles. The Bears won the 400 relay at conference last season with Moritz, Hough, Shelby Peshek and the since-graduated Kelly Tufano. Freshman Kristie Houghton is the sister of former Bears captain Cassie Houghton, and fellow freshman distance runner Caitlin Shepard had a strong cross country season. "I think we have a record number of freshmen (21) out for the team," Pacernick said. Lake Zurich's coach likes his squad, which includes several runners who've competed at state. "I think we got a great group," Pacernick said. "We have a great mix of young and old. ... We will be strong in the events we're usually strong in."
Coach: Tom Bizosky
Last season: fourth in NSC meet, eighth in the Class 3A Grayslake North sectional
Returnees: Sr. Haley Becker (high jump/ sprints/ middle distance), Sr. Nicole Jaffke (pole vault/distance), So. Kristi DelPrato (distance), Jr. Rachel Metcalf (100/200/relays), Sr. Molly Shanahan (hurdles), Sr. Julia Smagacz (long jump/triple jump/high jump), Sr. Carly Stewart (800), Jr. Maddie Hansen (throws)
Newcomers: Fr. Erin Dunleavy (sprints/middle distance), Fr. Kelly Waldvogel (high jump/sprints), Sr. Megan Henderson (sprints), Fr. Hannah Manetsch (distance), So. Jasmine Turner (sprints), Jr. Raissa Spencer (sprints)
Outlook: The Wildcats head into the season with a pair of Division I recruits in high jumper Haley Becker (Illinois State) and pole vaulter Nicole Jaffke (Marquette). They both qualified for state last year, as did 800 runner Carley Stewart. But the Wildcats will have their work cut out for them in the sprints and relays, especially in the formidable NSC. "It will be a tough year with a lot of young blood and such a good conference," coach Tom Bizosky said. "After our showing at Carthage (indoor invite this month), I would say we will hold our own, but have been stronger in the past. It will definitely be a building year, but that's not all bad because building leads to stronger future squads, and we're pretty optimistic about the team's future. We're excited to work, ready for the season and definitely hungry to tackle the challenges ahead of us."
Coach: Kurt Rutz
Last season: 11th in NSC meet, 14th in the Class 3A Grayslake North sectional
Returnees: Sr. Ellie Palacios (distance), Sr. Claire Naughton (distance), Sr. Lauren Anderson (distance), Sr. Emily Zagula (distance), Sr. Marisa Perreault (distance), Jr. Emily Schlebecker (middle distance), So. Kelsey Loar (distance), Sr. Hannah Smith (distance), Sr. Morgan Lohr (middle distance/sprints), Sr. Elise Erickson (distance), So. Ashley Parola (sprints/middle distance), So. Katie Stanczykiewicz (jumps), So. Kelsey Toland (jumps), So. Darlice Bouzi (throws), So. Carina Morales (throws)
Newcomers: So. Hannah Gustafson (sprints/jumps), So. Andriana Cyprian (throws)
Outlook: Ellie Palacios signed a letter of intent to run for the University of Illinois. She is the reigning NSC champ in the 3,200 meters, and her best racing seems to be ahead of her. At last weekend's indoor state meet, she placed fourth in the 3,200. "She has turned into an elite athlete," said first-year head coach Kurt Rutz, a former assistant coach for the Mustangs. "She was a sleeper when (Illinois) signed her, I think. I don't think they recognized how good she was going to get." Since the end of last season, Palacios has just continued to get better. "Every time she's run the two-mile since April of last year, she's dropped her PR. I've never seen anything like it." Palacios leads a veteran group of distance runners that also includes seniors Lauren Anderson, Claire Naughton, Emily Zagula and Marisa Perreault. "I expect us to do very well in the distances," Rutz said. "That's our strong suit and has been for a number of years. That's not going to change anytime soon. I think our big improvement this year is going to be the field events." Sophomores Hannah Gustafson, a transfer from Texas, Katie Stanczykiewicz and Kelsey Toland should lead the way in the jumps. Sophomore Darlice Bouzi and Carina Morales will get their chance to throw the discus and shot.
Coach: Don Proft
Last season: eighth in NSC meet, 11th in the Class 3A Grayslake North sectional
Returnees: Sr. Chloe Brim (sprints), Sr. Rebecca Feltman-Frank (sprints), Jr. Jessica Karluk (hurdles), Jr. Andi Keane (hurdles), Sr. Mishani Kulugamman (distance), Sr. Agnes Kwon (sprints), Sr. Shannon Legge (throws), Sr. Mackenzie Levy (distance), Jr. Sami Mizock (long jump/triple jump), Jr. Jackie Setina (high jump), So. Borcheuh Wu (sprints)
Newcomers: So. Rachel Cole (distance), Fr. Janine Fajardo (hurdles/sprints), So. Mariana Feingold (sprints), Jr. Sofia Godoy (distance/throws), Sr. Bari Kesner (sprints), Fr. Lily Marks (sprints), So. Juli Ozmeral (distance), Fr. Jessica Philipp (distance), So. Katherine Xie (sprints)
Outlook: The Patriots are traditionally strong in the field events, and this spring appears will be the same. Junior Jackie Setina has already high-jumped a school record 5 feet 5 and qualified for state in the event last spring, finishing 12th. "The attitude and enthusiasm with our early-season workouts has been tremendous," coach Don Proft said. "I believe our depth will be a factor moving into our outdoor season."
Coach: Ryan Dunn
Last season: third in the NSC meet, second in the Class 3A Grayslake North sectional, 20th in state meet
Returnees: So. Brittny Ellis (sprints), Jr. Marquesa Daniels (sprints), So. Autumn Santos (sprints), Sr. Alyssa Phillips (long jump)
Outlook: The state champ is back after treating track fans to a fantastic freshman season. Brittny Ellis won the 400 dash at state last spring and also medaled in the 200 (sixth). She anchored the Blue Devils' ninth-place 400 relay, as well. Ellis captured the 200 and 400 dashes at sectionals and won the 100, 200 and 400 at conference. Her classmate Autumn Santos was the sectional runner-up in the 100. Santos and junior Marquesa Daniels also ran on the 400 relay at state. With Ellis leading the way and several other fast runners, the Blue Devils look to capture the NSC championship and shine downstate.
FOX VALLEY FOX
Coach: Shawn Murphy
Last season: seventh in Class 2A Vernon Hills sectional
Returnees: Sr. Elsie Rehberg (middle distance), Sr. Miranda Gomez (distance), Sr. Claire Haggerty (middle distance/distance), Sr. Miranda Adams (sprints), Jr. Korina Gomez (middle distance), Sr. Kara Engel (sprints), Jr. Maddy Arnold (sprints)
Season outlook: The Rams have a new head coach in Shawn Murphy and some running talent, which includes senior Elsie Rehberg, who has signed with the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Senior Claire Haggerty has signed to swim with Illinois State. Murphy coached Grayslake North's boys track team last spring after several years at Libertyville.
Coach: Brian Hamlett
Last season: 13th in the Class 3A Grayslake North sectional
Returnees: Jr. Michelle Babula (jumps), Sr. Pam Bazan (sprints/relays), So. Kaitlyn Christiansen (throws), Sr. Joanna Guhl (throws), Sr. Brooklynn Hisle (distance), Sr. Lexa Koepke (sprints/relays), Sr. Megan Landry (sprints/relays), Jr. Erin Llanes-Smith, Sr. Yohana Lara (hurdles), Sr. Heather Morrison (sprints/relays), Sr. Sarah Schmitke (sprints/relays), Jr. Chelsee Wilson (sprints/relays)
Newcomers: Jr. Courtney Mensah (throws), Fr. Allison O'Connell (hurdles), Fr. Megan Reinhart (sprints/jumps), Fr. Amelia Robinson (sprints), Jr. Sam Schaefer (distance), Fr. Abbey Stinner (throws), Fr. Milan Stubblefield (sprints), Jr. Carly Williams (throws)
Season outlook: The Knights graduated only three girls who were varsity scorers, so experience is on their side this spring. They return 16 letter winners and 10 school-record holders. "This will be the deepest and most talented team we have had here at North ever," coach Brian Hamlett said. "When I first started at North we finished with 23 girls total. This year we have 25 seniors alone." At sectionals last year, junior Chelsee Wilson finished fifth in the 100 dash and fourth in the 200, while senior Sarah Schmitke took fifth in the 200. "These two ladies," Hamlett said, "have a great opportunity to become the first girls in North history to qualify for the state meet."
EAST SUBURBAN CATHOLIC
Coach: Jim Halford
Last season: tie for third in ESCC meet, sixth in Class 2A Vernon Hills sectional, eighth in state meet
Returnees: Sr. Dana Wegge (sprints/middle distance/relays), Sr. Katee Housner (sprints/middle distance), Sr. Izzy Schneider (pole vault), Sr. Clarine Stephens (middle distance), So. Riley Felicicchia (sprints/middle distance), So. Caroline Yacano (sprints/middle distance), Sr. Crystal Knauf (sprints/middle distance), Sr. Megan Busky (hurdles)
Newcomers: So. Hasana Huff (jumps), Fr. Megan O'Toole (jumps), So. Marianne Smith (sprints), Fr. Lauren Cheslog (sprints), Jr. Jessica Heinz (sprints)
Season outlook: The Corsairs graduated one of the best sprinters in Illinois the last four years in Megan Paul (Arkansas), who capped her senior year by medaling in the Class 2A state meet in the 400 (second), 200 (third) and 100 (fourth) dashes. The Corsairs have their share of experience in the running events, but numbers are not on their side. "It's a very small team," coach Jim Halford said. "It's the smallest turnout we've ever had, so depth will be a problem. I think we're going to be real strong in the jumps, we got a real good pole vaulter (Izzy Schneider), and a couple of our relays have a good shot at making it downstate." Sophomore Hasana Huff is new to track. "Without ever jumping before, she's already triple-jumped 32-and-a-half feet," Halford said. "She'll probably jump in the range of 35 feet." Another newcomer, sophomore sprinter Marianne Smith, is a transfer from Oregon. The senior group includes Schneider, Dana Wegge, Katee Housner and Clarine Stephens. Wegge was the ESCC runner-up in the triple jump last year. "I think we'll hold our own in (Class) 2A," Halford said. "I think it's a real good group and, especially with the new kids coming in, we'll be OK."