Bartlett HawksCoach: Erin Haggerty
Top returning athletes: Senior Mariah Brown (distance), Juniors Jenna Johnson (high jump), Juanita Smiley (200, 400), Emily Dowden (distance), sophomores Fran Westberg (sprints), Gabrielle Murdoch (distance)
Key newcomers: Junior Megan Coffinbargar (hurdles, 400), sophomore Savanna Gottschalk (shot put), freshmen Kristen Leever (middle distance), Nicolette Zolecki (200, 400), Morgan Kelly (distance), Coral McFarland (distance), Kayla Garrigan (distance)
Season outlook: The Hawks have a mix of returning varsity contributors and a good amount of promising underclassmen. "We are looking to improve our conference standing this year," said coach Erin Haggerty. Haggerty is assisted this year by Beth Morrison, John Glorioso and Samantha Bass.
Burlington Central RocketsCoach: Vince Neil (3rd season)
2013 conference finish: First-place tie with Byron Big Northern Conference
Top returning athletes: Seniors Hannah Zipoy (distance), Katie Bush (distance), juniors Jasmine Castillo (hurdles), Bryce Weinrich (hurdles), Karli Chmelik (jumps), Liz Spencer (sprints), Ali DeTamble (pole vault), sophomore Brenna Williams (throws)
Key newcomers: Sophomore Rachel Gaydos (middle distance), freshmen Jaden Hodges (sprints, jumps), Rachel Langtim (sprints), Megan Goehrke (sprints, jumps)
Season outlook: Castillo is a returning state qualifier in the 300 hurdles (13th place). Central is coming off a first-place tie with Byron last year at the Big Northern Conference meet. "Our goal is to win the BNC meet and send relays and individuals Downstate," said Neil. "We expect to have several girls placing at the state meet, earning medals and all-state honors. This team is very young, but we think we have the makings for a competitive team covering all events. In the past, we have been strong in one area, but not necessarily 'complete.' With some of our newcomers and our upper class girls now a year older and stronger, we expect big things from them this season." Neil is expecting a competitive conference once again. "The Big Northern is quite strong in girls track," he said. "We expect Byron, Marengo, Rock Falls, Winnebago and Richmond to put together strong teams. There are other teams as well that have many quality athletes returning."
Cary-Grove TrojansCoach: Mark Anderson
2013 conference finish: Fox Valley Conference and sectional runner-up
Top returning athletes: Seniors Erika Sternard (jumps), Faith Flurio (sprints, jumps), Natasha Geiger-Powell (distance), Lauren Schoepke (sprints), Sarah Kramer (pole vault), juniors Eva Burk (sprints, hurdles), Morgan Schulz (sprints), Olivia Roehri (throws), Delaney Perrone (jumps, sprints), Talia Duzey (distance), Gretchen Price (distance), Bobbie Buerer (jumps), Jill Sikora (sprints), Magalie Baker (distance), sophomores Maggie Cherveny (jumps), Nicole Robins (sprints, jumps), Allie Renner (sprints), Sabrina Mishall (jumps, pole vault), Nikki Freeman (throws), Sarah Riley (distance)
Key newcomers: Junior Bridget Lauritsen (sprints), Nicole Myerson (sprints), Lauren Betz (distance), freshmen Sarah Caesar (distance), Linnea Yokup (distance), Megan O'Reilly (distance), Annie Psenka (sprints), Steph Pierson (sprints), Liz Rathje (jumps), Sheridan Taylor (sprints, jumps), Alyssa Abrams (sprints)
Season outlook: Cary-Grove returns a number of individual state qualifiers in Furio (12th in the long jump), Freeman (7th in discus), Roehri (11th in discus) and Sternard (high jump). Cary-Grove's 800 relay team also placed 10th in the state last year. Anderson said the team's sprinting depth is looking good in the early going as are the team's younger members. "Our younger kids are working hard," he said. "They want to contribute to the team." Anderson added the team has enjoyed a strong indoor season. "All things considered with the weather, indoor has gone well for us," he said. "They haven't let this winter get them down. Our goals are to be competitive in every meet we compete in, send as many athletes to state as possible and go to state and compete for medals."
Crystal Lake South GatorsCoach: Matt Dunker (5th year)
Top returning athletes: Senior Malgorzatra Waz (distance), juniors Gaby De Jesus (sprints, relays), Kianna Clark (sprints, relays, shot put), Kathleen Pencak (sprint relays), Natalie Boorom (hurdles, middle distance), sophomores Leah Geallis (triple jump), Andie Kobrick (distance)
Key newcomers: Senior Taylor Schau (sprints, hurdles, relays), junior Kiley Britten (middle distance-distance), freshman Caitlin Bruzzini (distance)
Season outlook: Dunker likes the team's short- and long-term prospects. "We have a very young team looking to improve across the board," he said. "We should be competitive at most events. I'm really excited about this year and the future." Dunker said Cary-Grove is a team to keep an eye on in the Fox Valley Conference.
Dundee-Crown ChargersCoach: Christine Hopkins-Muehl (2nd season)
2013 conference finish: 12th place Fox Valley Conference
Top returning athletes: Seniors Emily Michalski (high jump, long jump, triple jump, 400), Kyra Flynn (sprints, long jump), Anabel Aguirre-Michel (middle distance), juniors Mandy Mosher (throws), Anette Woolf (throws), sophomores Kayla Lawrence (hurdles, sprints, high jump, long jump), Maggie Himmel (middle distance)
Key newcomers: Freshmen Olivia Scarpelli (hurdles, jumps, pole vault), Lily Brunner (hurdles, jumps, pole vault), Karly Livengood (jump)
Season outlook: Lawrence was a conference runner-up in the 100 hurdles as a freshman and took fifth in the 200. Michalski was fourth in the high jump and sixth in the long jump and 400 dash. Himmel was a conference runner-up in the 800. "We are very excited to have more than 80 girls out for the track team," said Hopkins-Muehl. "We have some strong senior leadership provided by our three captains, Kyra Flynn, Emily Michalski and Anabel Aguirre-Michel. We have a lot of girls out for track for the first time as sophomores, juniors and seniors." Hopkins-Muehl said the team is hoping to be more competitive, especially in field events. "We're hoping for some pleasant surprises," she said. "We have the quantity and now we need to develop the quality of our program. We are slowly rebuilding and we are looking forward to achieving individual and team personal bests. We are obviously facing obstacles from the weather just like everybody else and we are trying to utilize our time and practice space wisely."
Elgin MaroonsCoach: Dave Borg
Top athletes: Maggie Powers, Abigail Pierre-Louis, Amelia Westberg, Lauren Alexander, Nyeli Cisneros, Aneli Cisneros, Megan Alexander.
Season outlook: Borg is excited about this season, but said injuries could eat into his team's progress. "We have some talent, but injuries could be a factor," he said. Borg noted Powers and Pierre-Louis have knee ailments. "Those two with Amelia Westberg and Lauren Alexander would have been our 800 and 400 relays," he said. "They have the talent and experience to make it." Borg added Megan Alexander could be a surprise in the 400. "We have huge numbers this season," he said. "Our new girls are all raw and unrefined, but are athletic. They are great girls who work hard. The future looks pretty good." Qualifying athletes for state is at the top of the list. "That is our goal," said Borg.
Elgin Academy HilltoppersCoach: Adrian Ayala
2013 conference finish: 4th place Independent School League
Top returning athletes: Senior Susanna Cain (400), Tori Telk (100)
Key newcomers: Junior Kaitlyn Pearson (200, jumps), freshmen Maisy Feeley (middle distance), Alex Schafer (throws)
Season outlook: Ayala said the trio of first-time throwers Corinne Lam, Schafer and Catherine Palmer are making great progress. "While standing as our No. 3 thrower, Catherine has the potential for some huge gains," said Ayala. "Corinne has spent a lot of time in the off-season working on her mechanics and strength training. As competitions get going, it should all start translating to quality running and throwing." Sprinters also are improving. "Our sprint starts have been our biggest improvement since the start of practices," said Ayala. "We've put in a lot of hard work. I look forward to it translating to the 100." Ayala likes the team's prospects this season. "This is the overall most well-rounded team I've had since I started coaching," she said.
Hampshire Whip-PursCoach: Patti Nihells (18th season)
2013 conference finish: Fox Valley Conference Fox Division champions
Top returning athletes: Seniors Elizabeth Pagan (long jump, 400), Caitlyn Graff (hurdles and sprints), Anna Baxter (throws), juniors Rebecca Freund (pole vault), Jessica Flatland (pole vault), Natalie Sztukowski (1,600), sophomore Elizabeth Evans (800), Trish Dumoulin (triple jump, middle distance, sprints), Nikki Dumoulin (triple jump, middle distance, sprints)
Key newcomers: Freshmen Morgan Richer (distance), Alexis Nguyen (middle distance, sprints), Aimee Jarvis (sprints)
Season outlook: Hampshire enjoyed postseason success last year in the 1,600 relay, the 400 and the shot put. The Whip-Purs, who lost sprinter Ashley Fouch (Eastern Illinois), shot-putter Jennifer Dumoulin (basketball ECC) and hurdler Angela Wozniak to graduation, still have plenty of talent on this year's roster. "We want to do our best and fill the shoes of our seniors from last season," said Nihells.
Harvest Christian Academy LionsCoach: Steve Bland
2013 conference finish: NAC champions
Top returning athletes: Senior Sydney Doby (throws), Anneliese Herman, juniors Valerie Richter (800, 400, 3,200 relay), Whitney Donaldson (3,200 relay), Kylee Knox (100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, triple jump), sophomore Hannah Nelson (3,200, 1,600, 3,200 relay)
Key newcomers: Juniors Abby Hibionada (200), Gabi Rodriguez (400, long jump)
Season outlook: Harvest won the Northeast Athletic Conference title and had a host of girls qualify for the Class 1A state meet (Doby, Nelson, Richter, Herman and Donaldson). All of those girls are back. Nelson qualified for the 1A finals in the 1,600 -- the only freshman to do so. "We should be balanced and have a strong showing in each area," said Bland. "Sydney will be strong in the throws, Hannah is strong in the distance events, Valerie in the middle distance, Kylee in the hurdles and jumps. Under the direction of Susan Elliot, our sprint coach, our sprinters are showing much improvement. We've put more emphasis on strength and speed this year and thus have changed our lifting program. It's something we think will pay dividends as we get into May." Bland said Richter continues to make progress. "This year Valerie is off to a strong start, posting a personal record in the 800 in her second race of the indoor season," said Bland. "She had a great cross-country season and built her endurance and has trained consistently since then. This could be a breakthrough season for her." Knox, without much experience in the event, placed fourth in the 100 hurdles at sectional last season. "With a full season we expect she might be able to advance to state," said Bland. The coach once again expects Harvest to be in the mix for the NAC title. "Our first goal is always to win conference," he said.
Huntley Red RaidersCoach: Shawn Nordeen (16th season)
2013 conference finish: 2nd place Fox Valley Conference
Top returning athletes: Delaney Lyman (pole vault), Macy Tramblay (hurdles, jumps, sprints), Emily Schmidt (hurdles, sprints), Tina Driscoll (jumps, sprints), Alyssa Bushman (sprints), Kate Mitchell (distance), Nicole Zielinski (jumps, sprints), Tess Miller (jumps, sprints), Sabrina Celli (distance)
Key newcomers: Kelly Meehlieb (distance), Jerissa Chan (distance), Kiera Daly (distance), Morgan O'Connor (jumps)
Season outlook: Nordeen said the team's roster is rounding into form. Distance will be a key strength. "With this year's team, we look to the strength of our returners and our depth in the distance races," he said. "We are looking to fill some of our relay spots with the void left from our graduating class. These spots will be filled nicely with the girls that did a great job at our JV level last year. We are focusing on what it takes as an overall effort as a team to fulfill our team goals as the season goes on." Nordeen said teams such as Cary-Grove, Crystal Lake South and Hampshire will be teams to keep an eye on in the FVC this year.
Jacobs Golden EaglesCoach: Ryan Lemanski
Top returning athletes: Senior Kayla Giuliano (400, 800, 1,600, relays), Erin Jameson (jumps), juniors Lauren VanVlierbergen (800, 1600, 3,200, relays), Molly Barnes (400, 800, relays), Taylor Bradford (sprints, relays), Kira Whittier (throws, sprint relays), sophomores Caliegh Walsh (long jump, hurdles, sprint relays), Lindsey Farrissey (throws)
Key newcomers: Seniors Jasmine Marthel (sprints), Kelly Grady (400), sophomore Tess Virgilio (jumps), freshmen Rachel Holstein (high jump, long jump, hurdles, sprints), Julia Tokarz (jumps)
Season outlook: VanVlierbergen took fourth in the state in the 1,600 and was part of the 3,200 relay team that placed fifth. "Lauren sets the standard in all mid-distance events," said Lemanski. The coach added that Barnes adds depth in mid-distance and "sets the pace for everyone else in the conference to follow." Holstein, a freshman, already has cleared 5-feet in the high jump. Walsh and Jameson give Jacobs two strong jumping options. Bradford and Whittier were lauded for their leadership roles. "With a few additions to the team, we are looking to score in just about every event at the conference meet," said Lemanski. "We will be competitive in all the events. With the concentration we have had with our sprint relays, I believe there was a confidence boost in our team." Jacobs has more than 80 girls on the team this season. "There is great depth in every event," said Lemanski. "All the returning athletes know what the expectations are at large meets and are hungry for the competition."
Larkin RoyalsCoach: James Henk
Top returning athletes: Seniors Sarah Fischer (800), Edrikka Nelson (shot put, discus), junior Damaris Fuentes (hurdles)
Key newcomers: Seniors Lyric Summage (hurdles), Keara Toombs (long jump, relays), freshman Dianne Cruz (800)
Season outlook: Henk's team will feature a lot of new faces this season. "We have a lot of newcomers to our team this year in both sprints and field events," he said. "The additions to the team will help make us a more well-rounded team. Our field events teams have grown in numbers and the abilities of those returners have greatly improved." Summage has made progress in the hurdles. "Lyric is new to the team this year, but her natural ability in the hurdles will benefit her this year," said Henk. Toombs is another athlete to keep an eye on in the 400. "We want to improve on the previous year as we have done and qualify for state in some events," said Henk. "The girls are committed to the team and learning. They are very coachable and willing to do extra work to get it right and help each other out."
Streamwood SabresCoach: Nicole Osolin
Top returning athletes: Juniors Gabby Juarez (distance), Addie Kelly (distance), Samantha Harding (distance), Aaliyah Winters (sprints)
Key newcomers: Freshmen Amber Thompson (sprints), Claudia Karaluch (sprints), Jeriann Gumila (sprints), Kandace McGill (sprints)
Season outlook: Juarez was a state cross-country qualifier this past fall. "Distance will be our strongest area," said Osolin. "We have a great core of girls who have been running together for a few years Gabby qualified for state in cross country and is looking to make waves Downstate this spring." Osolin said depth on the team has increased. "I believe our strength and depth have improved across the board," she said. "We have more numbers out and we did not lose any of our essential runners from last year. We'd like to get a few girls Downstate and finish in the middle of the conference. The girls get along great together and are fun to work with."
South Elgin StormCoach: Jorie Bartholomew
Top returning athletes: Seniors Taylor Warrick (distance), Taylor Withers (high hurdles, relays), Imani Ward (100, relays), juniors Janese Bibbs (400, relays), Caroline Muller (high jump), sophomores Bridgette Williams (shot put, 100, relays), Emalee Smith (triple jump, long jump, high jump, relays)
Key newcomers: Freshmen Kennedy Wells (200, relays), Laureen Toussiant (400, relays)
Season outlook: Field events are improved at South Elgin this season. "We will have some strong field events this year," said Bartholomew. "We have some girls that are getting better with each meet on their event and we are hoping the trend only continues into the outdoor season. I also feel some our sprinting events are strong this year such as the 1,600 and 400 relays." Williams will help the Strom in a number of areas. "Bridgette is an all-around strong athlete," said Bartholomew. "She can throw and she can run fast. She is a strong competitor." Bartholomew said another key aspect has been a focus on the team. "We're focusing on having an all-around strong team bond," she said. "We are working on getting the girls to make goals for themselves and the team and then we are holding the to those goals. With track being a sport where everyone is spread out doing their own event, sometimes we tend to not focus on the team part. We are working hard this year to bring the team together. I really like our team dynamics this year. We have our biggest team yet and we have a lot of new girls that have never been on a truck team but are catching on and working together."
Westminster Christian WarriorsCoach: Adriana Armstrong
Top athletes: Senior Alexis Guttilla (400, 800, 1,600)
Outlook: The Westminster track program mainly is comprised of male athletes. Guttilla will compete in the 400, 800 and 1,600. "While most of the team members are new to the sport, the veterans are being great role models and examples," said Armstrong.
St. Edward High School did not provide information for this preview.