NORTH SUBURBAN PRAIRIE
Coach: Dan Oslage (12th season)
Last season: 13th in NSC meet, eighth in Class 2A Grayslake Central sectional
Key losses: Erin Hogan, Rikki Moncrief, Alyssa Aschenbrenner, Abby Augustin
Top returnees: So. Alexis Duehr (sprints), Jr. Carly McCameron (high jump), Sr. Paige Gallimore (hurdles, triple jump), So. Courtney Coleman (sprints), Jr. Maddie Brost (jumps), Natalie Nielsen (sprints, hurdles), Sr. Ashley LaPointe (distance), Sr. Monica Supple (sprints)
Newcomers: So. Jatiyah Childs (high jump), Fr. Ashley Reiser (sprints), Emma Miller (sprints)
Outlook: Despite a modest eighth-place finish at sectionals, the Sequoits were represented at state thanks to its 400-meter relay, which returns sophomore Alexis Duehr. Junior Carly McCameron placed third in the Class 2A Grayslake Central sectional in the high jump (personal-best 5 feet). Senior Paige Gallimore, who was the county's leading girls basketball scorer this past winter, returns to compete in hurdles, relays and the triple jump. Sophomore Courtney Coleman was third at sectionals in the open 400. "Several girls just missed qualifying last year by taking third at sectionals," coach Dan Oslage said. "They are now hungry to get that state mark and qualify this year. Our team is young and will need to look for leadership from the few remaining seniors and upperclassman." Oslage's captains are senior Monica Supple, senior Ashley LaPointe, senior Katie Holmes and junior Maddie Brost.
Coach: Jackie Randall (sixth season)
Last season: fifth in NSC meet
Key losses: Melissa Dunham (Dartmouth)
Top returnees: Sr. Lindsey Lewis (middle distance, distance), Jr. Dana Nozime (sprints, jumps), Sr. Julia Sangster (hurdles), Sr. Emily Troemel (hurdles), So. Delaney Basala (middle distance), Sr. Aerial Darby (throws), Jr. Georgia Rinda (jumps), So. Madison Romig (distance)
Newcomers: Fr. Allie Schweinberg (sprints), Fr. Brooke Drabek (distance), Fr. Lauren Troemel (distance), Fr. Rachael Temple (distance), So. Taylor Skinner (hurdles)
Outlook: The Bulldogs finished second to Lakes in the 30-plus team Lake Michigan indoor invite last weekend, and good things figure to be ahead outdoors this spring. Senior middle-distance veteran Lindsey Lewis is headed to Illinois State as a preferred walk-on. Senior Emily Troemel (300 hurdles) and sophomore Delaney Basala (400 meters) were NSC runners-up last year. The Bulldogs graduated all-state thrower Melissa Dunham (third in discus). Coach Jackie Randall says her girls "have been training hard indoors in order to make a run at the division and conference titles" and is "more well-rounded than past years." She thinks her Bulldogs should be strong in relays, hurdles, middle distance and throws.
Coach: Justin Cooper (first season)
Last season: 6-1 in NSC Prairie (first), fourth in NSC meet, first in Class 2A Grayslake Central sectional
Key losses: Rachel Terry
Top returnees: Jr. Danielle Griesbaum (sprints, middle distance, high jump), Jr. Brittani Griesbaum (sprints, middle distance, long jump), So. Maeve Tuley (pole vault), Sr. Heather Hurlbut (middle distance), So. Kortney Schardt (middle distance, distance), Sr. Mia Bennett (throws), So. Evelyn Felipez (wheelchair)
Newcomers: Jr. Fiona Floden (middle distance, distance), Jr. Ashley Espinosa (distance), Sr. Emily Webster (throws), Fr. Shannon Taylor (sprints), Fr. Toyin Jackson (long jump), Sr. Devin Kirkland (sprints, jumps)
Outlook: Justin Cooper takes over a squad from Matt Rife, who left to become Harvard's athletic director, and has to love the returning talent, which is led by two of the state's best clutch performers -- twins Brittani and Danielle Griesbaum. Cooper, who's been in the program for the last four years, says his team should be a well-rounded. Last May, the Griesbaums helped the Eagles win the Class 2A state championship in the 3,200-meter relay for the second year in a row. The two other members of that relay, senior Heather Hurlbut and sophomore Kortney Schardt, also return this season. Brittani Griesbaum earned a state medal in the long jump (fifth), as well. She was the 400 meters champ at sectional, while Danielle won the high jump. Schardt also qualified for state in the 1,600 run. Sophomore Maeve Tuley was a state qualifier in the pole vault, and senior Mia Bennett went downstate in the discus. "The girls have worked extremely hard in the off-season," Cooper said, "and are hoping their hard work and dedication will pay off with major success come May."
Coach: Steve Pichman (second season)
Last season: 12th in NSC meet
Returnees: Sr. Destiny Brown (sprints), Sr. Justice Clark (sprints)
Outlook: The Panthers could be improved this season, but they figure to have their hands full in the loaded NSC Prairie.
Coach: Jason Rush (fifth season)
Last season: 5-2 in NSC Prairie, eighth in NSC meet, third in Class 2A Grayslake Central sectional
Key losses: Alli Tran, Ali Peacock, Tara Rooney, Kristen Whitney, Taryn Rawles
Top returnees: Sr. Ali Pearson (sprints), So. Vivian Overbeck (distance), Jr. Samantha Hershman (distance), Sr. Cassie Lira (distance), So. Shannon Skeoch (distance), So. Lexi Reich (distance), Sr. Mallory Rose (distance), Jr. Mia Polisky (throws), Jr. Kasey Firnbach (throws), Sr. Shannon Healey (sprints, jumps), Sr. Hunter Ruder (jumps), Jr. Kiara Schuh (sprints), So. Molly Wasserberg (sprints), Sr. Jen Parker (sprints), Jr. Christine Tsai (sprints)
Newcomers: Sr. Brittney Prather (sprints), So. Samantha Mendenhall (throws), Fr. Emily Carido (sprints)
Outlook: Alli Tran, one of the best female athletes in the school's history, graduated after a stellar four-year varsity career that she capped with an all-state performance in the 300 hurdles (eighth). But the Cougars boast fellow 2013 state qualifiers Cassie Lira (1,600 meters), Ali Pearson (1,600 relay), Lexi Reich (1,600 and 3,200 relays), Samantha Hershman (3,200 relay), Vivian Overbeck (3,200 relay) and Kasey Firnbach (discus). Additionally, the Cougars "stunned the state," coach Jason Rush said, by taking third in the state meet last fall. "So our distance crew is very good," Rush said. "This is a solid team. We have returning state qualifiers in distance, throws and sprints that can help us in big meets like the NSC and sectionals. Our varsity knows that we expect big things in the postseason, and I know this is a group that will rise to the occasion in May."
Coach: Ali Luetschwager (second season)
Last season: 10th in NSC meet, sixth in Class 2A Grayslake Central sectional
Key losses: Andrea Lichterman, Jamie Buechner, Lexie Brunn, Nicole Egorov
Top returnees: Jr. Christina Meinhard, Sr. Dani Sturm, So. LeAnne Sakowicz, So. Alison Beeman
Newcomers: Fr. Erin Levon (distance, hurdles)
Outlook: Junior Christina Meinhardt returns after qualifying for state for the second year in a row in the shot put. She placed 10th downstate with a throw of 38-3.75. Senior Dani Sturm also qualified for state in the shot put. "We have a very young team this year," coach Ali Luetschwager said. "The senior leadership on the team is outstanding. The younger ladies have great role models to follow in regards to leadership and hard work. We hope to have more records broken, more ladies get on the top ten list, and have girls place in the top nine at state."
NORTH SUBURBAN LAKE
Coach: David Antczak (first season)
Last season: 3-4, sixth in NSC meet
Key losses: Lindsey Moritz (Navy), Teagan Hough, Madeline Jordan, Angela Ufheil (Drake)
Top returnees: Jr. Becca Dorfman (throws), Sr. Mandy Papke (hurdles/sprints), Sr. Shelby Peshek (pole vault), Sr. Tricia Edelmann (jumps), Jr. Gabriella Bendfeldt (sprints), Nicole Syverson (distance), Sr. Kali Hough (sprints)
Newcomers: Fr. Becca Kubin (sprints), So. Kim Souther (jumps), So. Alexa Ocampo (hurdles/sprints), Jr. Laura McNair (distance), Sr. Megan Prince (jumps), So. Caitlin Shepard (distance), So. Kristie Houghton (distance)
Outlook: David Antczak replaces longtime coach Lance Pacernick and inherits a program that graduated four state qualifiers, including three members of its state-qualifying 800-meter relay team: Lindsey Moritz, Teagan Hough and Madeline Jordan, as well as Angela Ufheil (3,200 run). The other member of that relay team, Gabriella Bendfeldt, is back for her junior year. Senior Amanda Papke placed third in the 300 hurdles and fourth in the 100 hurdles at conference last season. Papke qualified for state in the 300 hurdles. "Our biggest goal for the season is to come together as a family and experience the ups and downs of this sport together," Antczak said. "We are a young team, lead by a group of upper class 'women' that are working hard to establish a culture of discipline and an indomitable spirit to constantly grow and get better each day."
Coach: Tom Bizosky (seventh year)
Last season: third in NSC meet
Key losses: Nicole Jaffke (Marquette), Haley Becker (Illinois State), Carly Stewart
Top returnees: Sr. Rachel Metcalf (jumps), Jr. Jasmine Turner (sprints), So. Lily Moore (sprints), Sr. Emily Green (middle distance), Jr. Kristi DelPrato (middle distance, distance), Sr. Katie Sackett (hurdles), So. Kelly Waldvogel (hurdles, jumps)
Newcomers: Fr. Niya Mitchell (sprints), So. Sarah Pirih (middle distance), Jr. Gena Palmieri (distance), So. Mia Bertaud (distance), Fr. Audrey Paglia (distance)
Outlook: The Wildcats graduated state qualifiers Nicole Jaffke (pole vault), Haley Becker (high jump) and Carly Stewart (800 meters). In Rachel Metcalf, however, they boast the reigning conference champ in the triple jump.
Coach: Kurt Rutz (second season)
Last season: ninth in NSC meet
Key losses: Ellie Palacios (Illinois), Marisa Perreault, Lauren Anderson, Claire Naughton, Emily Zagula, Morgan Lohr, Elise Erickson, Hannah Smith
Top returnees: Sr. Emily Schlebecker (middle distance), Jr. Ashley Parola (middle distance) Jr. Kelsey Loar (distance), Jr. Katie Stanczykiewicz (high jump, hurdles), Jr. Kelsey Toland (high jump, pole vault), Jr. Hannah Gustason (middle distance), Jr. Andriana Cyprian (throws), Carina Morales (throws), So. Haley Zwiefka (sprints), Sr. Clarissa Montiel (sprints)
Newcomers: So. Abby Grein (distance), Fr. Marissa Richards (distance), So. Crystal Arroyo (distance), Jr. Amy Proper (sprints), So. Lauren Owens (sprints, high jump), Fr. Kallie Majewski (sprints, hurdles), Fr. Alexandra Maldonado (throws), Fr. Megan Schlebecker (sprints, jumps)
Outlook: The Mustangs lost Ellie Palacios, who's running at Illinois after placing fourth in the 3,200 meters at state last May. And while Marisa Perreault and Lauren Anderson also graduated, senior Emily Schlebecker and junior Ashley Parola return from the state-qualifying 3,200 relay. Junior Katie Stanczykiewicz tied for fifth in the high jump at conference. Junior Kelsey Toland (high jump, pole vault) is coming off knee surgery in December. "We're looking to improve on our (ninth-place) conference finish from last year," coach Kurt Rutz said. "We lost a great distance squad to graduation, but I think we'll be more balanced. We should score well in the throws, 400, 800 and 4-by-400 relays and high jump. We have a good group of freshmen and sophomores coming up. The big question is if Kelsey Toland can come back from knee surgery."
Coach: Emma Degen (first season)
Last season: 3-4, seventh in NSC meet
Key losses: Mackenzie Levy, Rebecca Feltman-Frank, Shannon Legge
Top returnees: Sr. Jackie Setina (high jump), So. Janine Fajardo (hurdles, sprints), So. Lily Marks (sprints), So. Charlotte Langbo (sprints, jumps), Jr. Masha Feingold (sprints), Jr. Jessie Goldberg (distance), Sr. Jessica Karluk (hurdles, sprints), Sr. Andie Keane (sprints, jumps), Jr. Amy Lin (distance), Jr. Julide Ozmeral (distance), Sr. Lindsay Pontello (distance), So. Jessica Phillip (distance), Sr. Asha West (throws), Jr. Borchueh Wu (sprints), Jr. Diana Kowalski (throws), Jr. Bianca Ji (sprints), Sr. Claire Marvet (sprints), Sr. Sammy Mizock (sprints), Jr. Alexis Santiago (sprints), Jr. Rachel Cole (distance)
Newcomers: So. Amy Atkinson (throws), Jr. Ashley Chai (sprints, jumps), Fr. Jocelin Estrada (distance), Jr. Emily Etienne (sprints), Jr. Sydney Evans (sprints), Sr. Rawan Harb (sprints), So. Bridget Huston (sprints), Fr. Juhi Jhaveri (sprints), Sr. Michelle Liang (sprints), Sr. Ashley Norris (sprints), Fr. Sydney Pacernick (distance), Fr. Paige Peterson (sprints, hurdles, jumps), Fr. Abby Pucek (distance), Fr. Abby Sise (throws), Fr. Eliza Sullivan (distance), Jr. Megan Toni (sprints), So. Lauren Williams (distance), Fr. Hannah Yan (sprints)
Outlook: The Patriots lost a strong group of seniors last year, but first-year coach Emma Degen says they are looking to be much more competitive in all events than they have been in the past. The Patriots will be led by NSC and Lake County high jump champion Jackie Setina. A strong group of sprinters includes sophomore hurdler Janine Fajardo, sophomores Lily Marks and Charlotte Langbo, junior Masha Feingold and seniors Jessica Karluk and Andie Keane. The distance crew will be led by returners Lindsay Pontello, Amy Lin, Jessica Phillip, Jessie Goldberg, Rachel Cole and Julide Ozmeral. The Patriots have added a strong group of newcomers, including Paige Peterson, Juhi Jhaveri, Megan Toni, Jocelin Estrada, Sydney Pacernick, Abby Pucek and Lauren Williams. Newcomers Amy Atkinson and Abby Sise will be great additions to veteran throwers Asha West and Diana Kowalski, Degen said. The Patriots are hoping to have junior sprinter Borchueh Wu back for the season after an ACL injury brought her 2013 season to a halt.
Coach: Ryan Dunn (eighth season)
Last season: 7-0, first in NSC meet, third in Class 3A Palatine sectional, tie for 16th at state
Key losses: Meg Tully, Rachel Shoemaker
Top returnees: Jr. Brittny Ellis (sprints), Jr. Keely Knobbe (throws), Jr. Autumn Santos (sprints), So. Brynn Santos (sprints), Sr. Greta Doden (distance), Jr. Becky Haight (middle distance), Sr. Marquesa Daniels (sprints)
Outlook: The reigning NSC champs boast the reigning Class 3A state champ in the 400 meters, and as long as Brittny Ellis is running, the Blue Devils will be chased by the opposition. Ellis has won the 400 at state in each of her first two high school seasons. She isn't the Blue Devils' only speedster. Ellis, Autumn Santos, Brynn Santos and Marquesa Daniels comprised Warren's state-qualifying 400 relay. Ellis also took third in the 200 dash at state. Keely Knobbe went to state last year in the discus. "Our hope is to remain competitive in the division and have a strong showing at the conference meet (top 3) -- goals that will certainly be challenged by some other very competitive teams," coach Ryan Dunn said. "We also expect to see a number of state qualifiers in both running and field events."
FOX VALLEY FOX
Coach: Shawn Murphy (second season)
Last season: second in FVC Fox, second in Class 2A Grayslake Central sectional
Key losses: Claire Haggerty, Elsie Rehberg, Cara Engel, Jamie Mara
Top returnees: Sr. Leah Kloss (sprints), Sr. Kia Gomez (distance), So. Alexa Schmitt (hurdles, high jump), So. Sara O'Malley (sprints), So. Maddie Jacobs (sprints)
Newcomers: Sr. Maggie Nielsen (sprints), So. Umaiyal Sridas (distance), Fr. Margaret Girmscheid (distance), So. Katie Schroeder (pole vault)
Outlook: The Rams graduated distance stars Claire Haggerty (fourth at state in 1,600 meters) and Elsie Rehberg (11th), but the 2013 sectional runner-up returns plenty of talent. Senior Leah Kloss won the 200 dash at sectionals last May, while taking second in the 100. She also ran on the victorious 800 relay, which also included current sophomores Sara O'Malley and Maddie Jacobs. O'Malley, senior Kia Gomez, Rehberg and Haggerty comprised the state-qualifying 3,200 relay. Also back for the Rams is sophomore Alexa Schmitt, who qualified for state in the high jump. Kloss (60 and 200 dashes), Schmitt (long jump, high jump), sophomore Katie Schroeder (pole vault) and freshman Margaret Girmscheid (3,200 run) all qualified for this year's Prep Times indoor meet. "Last year was an amazing year for our girls with multiple school records and state place finishers, which is a huge credit to our amazing coaching staff," coach Shawn Murphy said. "Even though we lost a lot of senior leadership, I believe we have a chance to be a stronger and more balanced team. ... Our goals this season are focused on improving our team performance at county, conference and sectionals. If we can do that, I believe we will improve our showing at the IHSA state finals."
Coach: Jesse Wolter (first season)
Last season: fourth in FVC Fox, ninth in FVC meet
Key losses: Sarah Schmitke, Lexa Koepke, Heather Morrison, Pam Bazan, Joanna Guhl
Top returnees: Sr. Chelsee Wilson (sprints, middle distance, So. Allie O'Connell (sprints, hurdles), So. Amelia Robinson (sprints, middle distance), So. Milan Stubblefield (sprints, middle distance)
Newcomers: So. Kennedy Krieg (high jump, pole vault, triple jump, relays), So. Madison Helm (long jump, triple jump, relays)
Outlook: Sophomore Allie O'Connell made program history last year, becoming the Knights' first state qualifier, as she advanced downstate in the 100-meter high hurdles. The Knights' experience rests with the sprint events. "We are extremely young, with the majority of our varsity team being underclassmen," first-year coach Jesse Wolter said. "However, we have a lot of talent and are excited to see how much we can improve throughout the season. Our goal is simply to compete and to give ourselves a chance to qualify (for state) a couple more girls than last year."
EAST SUBURBAN CATHOLIC
Coach: Jim Halford
Last season: sixth in ESCC meet, 12th in Class 2A Grayslake Central sectional
Key losses: Dana Wegge, Katee Housner, Izzy Schneider (Illinois Wesleyan), Clarine Stephens
Top returnees: Jr. Riley Felicicchia (middle distance), Jr. Hasana Huff (jumps), Jr. Marianne Smith (sprints), So. Megan O'Toole (jumps), So. Lauren Cheslog (sprints), Sr. Rachael Hewson (jumps)
Newcomers: Fr. Lauren Caffarelli (sprints, middle distance), Sr. Kelly Palecek (sprints, middle distance), Fr. Jilly Johnson (sprints, middle distance), Fr. Jaclyn Psenka (sprints, middle distance), Fr. Katie Smith (sprinter)
Outlook: It was only two years ago that the Corsairs, led by Megan Paul and Shannon Baucus, finished eighth at state. By the team struggled last season, failing to qualify any individual or relay for the state meet. Actually, the 3,200 relay ran state-qualifying at the sectional but was disqualified. "It was one of those kind of nights," coach Jim Halford said. The Corsairs are looking to bounce back with a group led by juniors Riley Felicicchia, Hasana Huff and Marianne Smith, sophomores Megan O'Toole and Lauren Cheslog and senior Rachael Hewson. "Last year we had extremely low numbers," Halford said. "This year they're much better. We're really hoping to qualify (for state) in the (3,200 relay) and the (1,600 relay) and get a couple of individuals too." Huff won the triple jump in the ESCC meet last season. "She should qualify (for state) this year," Halford said. "We're hoping for 35-36 feet." Smith placed third in the 100 meters at sectionals last year. Smith and Hewson were all-ESCC high jumpers. Freshman Lauren Cafferelli is a softball player. "Very gifted," Halford said. "She can run anything from the 100 up to the 800." Senior Kelly Palecek is a former soccer player and is new to track. "She's run really, really well," Halford said. "She'll probably end up running our mile relay and 4-by-8 (relay), as well. I just have that gut feeling about her."