Girls swimming: Scouting Fox Valley
St. Charles North coach Rob Rooney was certainly happy with a fourth-place finish at last year's state swim meet.
Rooney has loftier goals for his North Stars in 2019.
With defending 100 backstroke state champ Megan Armstrong returning, the North Stars are hoping to be in the hunt for a state championship.
St. Charles North returns 15 state qualifiers including Armstrong and fellow seniors Sydney Maxwell, Mary Ellen Wolff, Hailey Olsen, Mary Kate Phillips and Ava Atkins. Other returning state qualifiers are juniors Payton Baxter and Izabella Del Rosario along with sophomores Angelina Messina, Jillian Wilson, Paige Armstrong, Quinn Bike Caitlin Suda and Julia Fifer.
"This is the deepest team I have ever had," said Rooney. "We strive for excellence and want to be in the hunt for a state title."
In Aurora at Rosary, Glenn Brown replaces Bill Schalz who guided the Beads to 7 state titles. Brown must replace 7 seniors but has a solid returning corps led by junior Jessica Geriane, who was fifth in the backstroke and seventh in the 100 freestyle at last year's state meet.
Other returning state qualifiers are juniors Izzy Patel and Elyssa Brault. The future looks bright with freshmen Meghan Eng, Sarah Murphy and Kennedy Grosklaus.
"We are very young," said Brown. "We will be better as the years go on. We are hoping for a top 5 state finish and maybe a third-place finish and a team trophy."
St. Charles East, second in the DuKane Conference and 23rd in the state a year ago, return 6 state qualifiers. Seniors Mary Jania, Hannah Murray and Brianna Sypolt, juniors Madison Supple and Lauren Swartz along with sophomore Sophia Mruk are hoping to return to the state finals for Saints coach Julia Oelslager.
Rose Jania and Tess Walsh are hoping to make a splash in their freshman campaign for the Saints.
West Aurora is hoping for a strong performance in its inaugural season in the Southwest Prairie Conference.
The Blackhawks will be led by returning state qualifiers senior Sophie Baston and sophomore Annabel Olivo.
Other returnees for the Blackhawks are seniors Haley Atkins, Celine Azem, Jeanelle Castro, Elizabeth King, Abigail Kuhn and Chloe Leonard, junior Emma Leslie and sophomores Lydia Hansen, Ashley Heetland, Kailey Lundberg, Gabriella Lutzenkirchen, Morgan Parkhurst and Alyssa Tietje.
"We had a successful 2018 season and we hope to build on that," said West Aurora coach Chris Ranallo. "The kids are really pumped and ready to go. One of our strengths will be our senior leadership."
The Bartlett-Streamwood co-op returns six solid swimmers led by senior Sydney Kelly who was eighth in the state in the 500 freestyle.
Other returnees include seniors Kelsie Kritsch and Abby Hultquist along with juniors Hania Bandzou-Pedilla and Olivia and Emily Regula. Freshman Rosemarie Erben is vying for swim time as a freshman.
Cary-Grove, led by 10th-year coach Scott Lattyak, is hoping to be in the hunt for a Fox Valley Conference title.
Lattyak welcomes back 10 swimmers with varsity experience including seniors Ayden Donfris and Payton Walsh along with juniors Emily Marks, Olivia Wills and Anna Meehan.
Sophomores Elizabeth Fournier, Audrey Boldwyn, Molly Gilbert, Lauren Veseau and Maddie Dolezal gained valuable varsity experience as freshmen,
Lattyak is counting on contributions from freshmen Jessi Williams, Paige Walsh, Kelsey Harmsen and Cody Marcks.
"We have the talent, depth and potential to have an exciting season and challenge for the FVC title," said Lattyak.
The Jacobs-Hampshire co-op guided by Emily Peterson is led by junior Jenny Tokarz, a 2-time state qualifier. Juniors Julia Koltuniuk, Sydney Skertich and sophomore Kate Trembly are back.
Peterson is high on sophomore Abigail Murphy, a transfer from Elk Grove, and freshman Emma Tipton.
Huntley sophomore Ella Young, a state qualifier, is the top Red Raider back. Other returners are seniors Emma Bolas, Allison Garrard and Sydney McGuire along with sophomores Caitlyn Gooden, Abby DeVries, Alyssa Tramuto and Emma Gribbens.
"The girls have set high goals for the season including winning the conference and beyond," said Huntley coach Jenna Gaudio.
The West Chicago co-op with Batavia and Geneva is led by Batavia senior Kelly Sego, who was ninth in the 200 intermediate and eighth in the 100 backstroke at the 2018 state meet. Batavia freshmen Ashley Sego and Sarah Michael along with Geneva freshman Christine Kelly hope to contribute for Nick Parry's crew.
Fox Valley girls swimming at a glance
Top teams: Jacobs (Hampshire-coop), Rosary, West Aurora, Bartlett-Streamwood co-op, Cary-Grove, St. Charles East, West Chicago-Geneva-Batavia co-op, Huntley, St. Charles North
Top swimmers: Megan Armstrong, St. Charles North, sr.; Ava Atkins, St. Charles North, sr.; Sophie Baston, West Aurora, sr.; Emma Bolas, Huntley, sr.; Elyssa Brault, Rosary, jr; Ayden Donfris, Cary-Grove, sr.; Jessica Geriane, Rosary, jr; Abby Hultquist, Streamwood-Bartlett, sr.; Mary Jania, St. Charles East, sr.; Sydney Kelly, Streamwood-Bartlett, sr.; Kelsie Kritsch, Streamwood-Bartlett, sr.; Sydney Maxwell, St. Charles North, sr.; Hannah Murray, St. Charles East, sr.; Annabel Olivo, West Aurora, so.; Hailey Olsen, St. Charles North, sr.; Izzy Patel, Rosary, jr; Mary Kate Phillips, St. Charles North, sr.; Kelly Sego, Batavia, sr.; Briana Sypolt, St. Charles East, sr.; Jenny Tokarz, Jacobs, jr; Payton Walsh, Cary-Grove, sr.; Mary Ellen Wolff, St. Charles North, sr.; Ella Young, Huntley, so.
Season skinny: St. Charles North, fourth in the state a year ago, certainly has the talent to compete for a state title. Rob Rooney, in his 20th year as the North Stars coach, has loads of talent led by senior Megan Armstrong, who is the defending 100 backstroke state champ. In total the North Stars return 15 state qualifiers including Armstrong and seniors Sydney Maxwell, Hailey Olsen, Mary Kate Phillips, Mary Ellen Wolff and Ava Atkins. Rosary, with new head coach Glenn Brown, is hoping for the same type of success in the pool his predecessor Bill Schalz attained. The Beads, 3-time state champs from 2015-2017, finished second last season in Schalz's final campaign. The retired Rosary coach guided the Beads to 7 state titles. Brown must replace 7 graduated seniors from the 2018 state-runner up team. Junior Jessica Geriane, who finished fifth in the 100 backstroke and seventh in the 100 freestyle, is the top returning swimmer for Rosary. Juniors Izzy Pytel and Elyssa Brault also qualified for the state meet as sophomores. St. Charles East, 23rd in the state a year ago and second in the DuKane Conference, returns 6 state qualifiers including seniors Mary Jania, Hannah Murray and Brianna Sypolt. West Aurora, which leaves the Upstate Eight Conference for the Southwestern Prairie, returns 15 swimmers including state qualifiers senior Sophie Baston and sophomore Annabel Olivo. The Bartlett-Streamwood co-op is led by senior Sydney Kelly, who was eighth in the state a year ago in the 500 freestyle.