Girls cross country: Schaumburg sectional scouting
Girls cross country / Class 3A Schaumburg sectional
Where: Busse Woods
When: Saturday, 10 a.m.
What to know: Top five teams and the top seven runners from non-qualifying teams advance to the Class 3A state meet at Detweiller Park in Peoria on Nov. 7.
Quick picks: Prospect, Barrington, and Palatine will battle for sectional title. Prospect junior Brooke Wilson is coming off a Mid-Suburban League title run and is primed for a big run on Saturday.
Team outlook: Prospect, Barrington, and Palatine are looking to collide in a three-way battle for the Schaumburg sectional title on Saturday. Prospect edged Barrington 66-68 for the MSL title on Oct. 17, with Palatine finishing in third with 85 points. Prospect has really turned it up since finishing 20th at the Palatine Invitational in late September. Wilson has set the tone for the Knights and has been aided by the emergence of junior Aileen White. Prospect has also been helped by the infusion of young talent, including freshmen Julia O'Grady, Jenna Baltes, Cori Drew, and sophomore Mikayla Olsen in securing the MSL title and Hoffman Estate regional title. Prospect has been without its No. 2 runner freshman Marissa Valentini the past two weeks, but the Knights have not been fazed. Valentini has been dealing with a foot injury but may be available on Saturday. Barrington has been consistent from start to finish this season. The Fillies just missed an MSL title two weeks ago and came back to secure the Palatine regional title last Saturday. Sophomore Jocelyn Long will power the Fillies. Senior Lauren Conroy and junior Samantha Samaryczew have established themselves as the 2-3 runners for the Fillies, with freshman twins Sophie and Eve Hoeltgen anchoring the back end. Last year Barrington missed qualifying for the state meet by finishing sixth at the Schaumburg sectional, so the Fillies will be looking to erase that disappointing finish on Saturday. Palatine will be operating with a full deck on Saturday after missing key runners the past two weekends. Senior Kelly O'Brien finished second in the MSL and will key the Pirates attack on Saturday. Senior Sam Lechowicz missed the MSL meet but returned last weekend to solidify the Pirates' attack as the No. 2 runner. Senior Sabina Yosif and junior Anna Buckstaff also have had solid seasons and will be major contributors on Saturday, while senior Rebecca Duran has made steady progress all season. This matchup is too close to call but will definitely entertain the crowd at Busse Woods. Lake Forest will also be a team to watch; the Scouts won the North Suburban Conference title and also their own regional. Also keep an eye on Schaumburg. Sophomore Maddie Marasco paced a Saxons attack that finished second at the Hoffman Estate regional, 3 points behind Prospect. Hoffman Estates, Grant, Stevenson, and Hersey will also be in the mix for the final qualifying spot.
Brooke Wilson, Prospect -- Wilson has been running with an edge this season. The Knights junior clipped Palatine junior Kelly O'Brien at the finish for the MSL title and then cruised to the Hoffman Estates regional title. She is running confidently and will be tough to beat.
Kelly O'Brien, Palatine -- O'Brien is a two-time state medalist, including finishing third in Class 3A last season. The Pirates senior offers plenty of big-meet experience and seems to be peaking at the right time. She will definitely challenge for the title on Saturday.
Jocelyn Long, Barrington -- Long got off to a fantastic start this season and has not slowed down. The Fillies sophomore will be among the leaders on Saturday and has the talent to pull off the victory.
Caitlin Shepard, Lake Zurich -- The Bears senior is coming off a pair of big victories. Shepard took first at the NSC meet and followed it up with a title run at the Palatine regional. She has definitely elevated her performance this season and will be in the top group on Saturday.
Isabelle Sparreo, Stevenson -- The Patriot sophomore made a major statement in winning the Palatine Invitational in late September defeating Wilson, O'Brien, Long, and Shepard. Sparreo is coming off a victory at the Lake Forest regional and will be in the hunt for a sectional title on Saturday.
Other runners to watch:
Prospect: Aileen White, Julia O'Grady; Barrington: Lauren Conroy, Samantha Samaryczew; Palatine: Sam Lechowicz, Anna Buckstaff; Schaumburg: Maddie Marasco, Ellie O'Connell, Lauren Kubinski, Valerie Schacketon; Conant: Sydney Davis; Hersey: Hailey Bowes; Grant: Madison Romig, Danielle Osmon; Hoffman Estates: Meagan Biddle; Buffalo Grove: Kaitlyn Ko; Lake Forest: Emma Milburn, Lauren Garriques, Katie Condon; Libertyville: Melissa Manetsch; Highland Park: Charlotte Nawor, Crystal Lake South: Caitlin Bruzzini.