The girls track season is underway. Here are previews of teams from around the Suburban Life coverage area.
Coach: Bill Takahashi (first season)
Top returners: Joy Jackson, sr., 3200; Elisabeth Camic, sr., 400/800; Meaghan Andrews, sr., 800/1600; Kelly Andrews, sr., 400/800; Meghan McGuinn, sr., 400/800; Amelia Parisi, jr., 400/800; Valeria Guerrero, jr., pole vault; Madison Fugiel, jr., triple jump; Elliana Arnold, jr., long jump; Isa Flores, jr., 200/400; Katie Kelly, jr., 100; Morgan Lynch, jr., 200; Mary Weber, jr., 3200; Jackie Yap, jr., 800/1600.
Key newcomers: Delaney Smith, sr., hurdles; Karly Keating, sr., 400; Jaci Budreck, sr., 200/jumps; Audrey Arlis, jr., throws; Kyra Narunatvanich, jr., hurdles; Rese Bastuga, jr., 200/jumps; Shirley Bai, so., hurdles; Jane Deis, so., pole vault/400; Nora Delaney, so., 3200; Louisa Diamond, so., 1600/800; Lucy Fernandez, so., 100/200; Nicole Grimes, so., pole vault/high jump/100/200; Mia Kuceba, so., 100/200; Julia Rodriguez, so., sprints/hurdles; Diana Singzon, so., jumps; Mary Kate Wickstrom, so., throws; Therese Yep, so., sprints/jumps; Grace Andringa, fr., 800/1600; Isabella Olivares, fr., 400; Valerie Sarros, fr., high jump; Ava Strugala, fr., hurdles.
Worth noting: The Redwings will be anchored by arguably the best senior distance class the school has ever produced. NIU recruit Jackson, University of Chicago commit Camic, DePaul recruit Meaghan Andrews and Kelly Andrews were part of the group of runners that won the Class 2A state cross country championship title in 2019 and added a sectional sectional championship this past fall season. Takahashi said Benet will be more dependent on younger athletes in other areas, but said a very large and strong group of freshman and sophomore sprinters, hurdlers, jumpers and throwers will provide more depth in those areas than the program has seen in quite some time.
“With such a short run up to this season, many of these athletes will have to learn on the fly,” Takahashi said, “and a key to the team’s success will be getting them up to speed in time for the conference and sectional meets.
Downers Grove North
Coach: Matthew Maletich
Top returners: McKenna Cinotte, sr., long jump/triple jump; Mia Bowers, sr., pole vault/hurdles; Erin Beatty, sr., shot put/discus; Melissa Jachim, sr., distance; Abigail Streff, jr., sprints/relays; Elisabeth Mooney, jr., sprints/relays; Claire Pyne, so., distance; Ava Geiger, so., distance.
Key newcomers: Allison van de Wetering, sr., distance; Emma van de Wetering, sr., distance; Sydney Hnaituk, fr., distance; Karly Harkness, fr., mid-distance/distance; Emily Wittmer, fr., sprints.
Worth noting: Cinotte, a Ball State commit, leads a handful of Downers Grove North returning state qualifiers with serious state aspirations this spring. Cinotte took sixth place in the Class 3A triple jump in 2019, holds the outdoor school record in both the long jump and triple jump and is currently ranked second in the state in both events. Beatty is a returning state qualifier in the discus. Bowers, a Liberty recruit, is a returning state qualifier with Cinotte in the 800 and 400 relays, has pole vaulted over state qualifying already and also hopes to qualify in the 100 and 300 hurdles. Jachim is a three-time state cross country qualifier who will compete in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200. Streff and Mooney are returning relay state qualifiers from 2019, and Pyne and Geiger state cross country qualifiers. Maletich said that both Allison and Emma van de Wetering are in their first year of high school distance running, but are elite runners that will have a big impact. Hnaituk is the No. 2 distance runner on Downers North’s cross country team.
“McKenna Cinotte has a shot to fight for the state title in the long jump and triple jump,” Maletich said. “This team has great depth and great senior leadership. We expect to compete for a West Suburban Silver Conference title, a sectional title, and we hope to finish as high as we ever have at the state meet. The talent and heart is very real on this team!”
Downers Grove South
Coach: Doug Plunkett (second season).
Top athletes: Sophia McNerney, jr., distance; Kelsey Casella, jr., distance; Alex Spang, jr., distance; Madi Sisson, jr., distance; Rebecca Diddia, sr., distance; Aamari Taylor, sr., sprints/jumps; Saskia Krebbers, sr., sprints; Emma Lopez, jr., sprints/jumps; Na’Kyiah Robertson, so., throws; Sierra Battee, sr., throws.
Worth noting: Plunkett said this is primarily a young team trying to find its identity after several high-achieving seniors from last year, notably Brenna Cohoon and Erin Reidy. The distance crew still should be solid, led by McNerney and Casella. Those two were on the Downers Grove South cross country team that took fifth place at Class 3A state in 2019. McNerney set a course record in cross country this past fall. Diddia was on the Mustangs’ 3,200 relay that took sixth in 2019.
“The sprinters are very young, but getting better each day,” Plunkett said. “Our throwers will be extremely competitive in the shot put this year.”
Coach: Dale Heidloff.
Top returners: Delaney Seligmann, sr., long jump/triple jump/high jump/relays; Maria Quinn, sr., 800/3200 relay; Katie Cahill, sr., 3200; Natalia Kuchinic, sr., 1600 relay.
Key newcomers: Bella Daley, so., distance; Maggie O’Malley, sr., distance.
Worth noting: The Friars in 2019 won their first sectional title in Fenwick program history. Seligmann is a returning state qualifier in the long jump, triple jump, high jump and 1,600 relay, Quinn in the 3,200 relay and open 800, Cahill in the open 3,200 and Kuchinic in the 1,600 relay. Daley hit the qualifying time in the 3,200 at the Lark Park meet. O’Malley is near qualifying in the 1,600.
“Excited about our young team and hope to be in the hunt for the sectional title,” Heidloff said.
Coach: Molly Gstalter (seventh season).
Top athletes: Lauren Huber, sr., 400/800/high jump/300 hurdles; Keeli Dunaway, jr., long jump/triple jump/300 hurdles; Josie Andrews, sr., high jump/100 hurdles; Jayda Whitman, sr., 100 hurdles/300 hurdles; Mackenzie Huber, so., 400/800; Allison Ihms, so., 800/1600/3200; Robin Lenoir, jr., high jump/sprints; Grace Dynako, sr., sprints/high jump.
Worth noting: The Rams return three of their 11 all-conference athletes from 2019. Lauren Huber, who broke Glenbard East’s career scoring record during basketball season and is competing in six sports this school year, was a state qualifier in the open 800, 1,600 relay and 3,200 relay in 2018 and was part of the state runner-up 3,200 relay. She ran a 2:18 800 in her first and last meet of 2020. Dunaway posted state qualifying long and triple jumps during the 2020 indoor season and is also looking to try the 300 hurdles this spring. Three-sport athlete Andrews, all-conference in 2019, is consistently jumping over 5 feet in the high jump and is hoping to break into 15.0 seconds in the in the hurdles. Whitman is part of Glenbard East’s state-qualifying cheer team, Mackenzie Huber is another three-sport athlete and Ihms was a 2019 cross country state qualifier. Dynako, 2019 all-conference, is looking to run at Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
“As a team we are hoping to win our Upstate Eight conference on both levels and have as many all conference girls as possible. We are also hoping for 3-4 state qualifiers,” Gstalter said. Overall we are just SO HAPPY to be reunited with our track family!”
Coach: Daniel Bledsoe (second season).
Top athletes: Abby Knight, sr., distance; Christian Nobles, sr., sprints/hurdles/jumps; Allison Wallner, so., pole vault; Ahrianna Mitchell, so., long jump/sprints; Gianna Huerta, so., hurdles; Amy Winter, jr., sprints; Ella Zeman, fr., sprints; Margaret Riley so., distance.
Worth noting: The Raiders in 2019 brought four relay teams, two throwers, three individual event qualifiers and a pole vaulter to state. Knight and Nobles will be running at the College of DuPage. Bledsoe said Winter and Zeman are demonstrating a strong work ethic and is excited to see their improvement. Riley returns as a distance runner after a strong cross country season.
“We have a small, but well-rounded team,” Bledsoe said. “Our distance runners are veterans of their events and are eager to compete and prove their experience on the track. Our sprint team is younger, but they work hard and are looking for opportunities to race and test their skills against the competition. We are hopeful that we will have at least one relay team qualify for the state meet this year.”
Coach: Kelly Hass (18th season).
Top returners: Audrey Allman, jr., 800/distance; Kyrah Maas, jr., sprints; Ella Maas, jr., sprints; Hailey Whyte, jr., sprints; Avery Potts, jr., sprints; Tessa Kochert, jr., long jump/triple jump; Maggie Flanagan, jr., throws; Katelyn Speck, pole vault; Anna Nickoley, junior, distance.
Key newcomers: Carlin Hass, so., distance; Nina Winter, jr., pole vault; Carina Cudzilo, fr., hurdles; Weronika Jakubczyk, sr., sprints/discus.
Worth noting: Katelynne Hart has graduated and is now a freshman at Michigan – the Hilltoppers will look a lot different and in a rebuilding phase without the seven-time state track champion. Hass said Glenbard West has a young and fairly inexperienced team, like many in the area. Allman was three-time All-State as a freshman in 2019, finishing fourth in the open 800. Kyrah Maas is the Hilltoppers’ top returning sprinter, with the 100 and 200 her top events. Kochert, Flanagan and Speck will lead the field events.
“This is the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced in 35 years of competing and coaching,” coach Hass said. “We have always been a team-first group, but this is a difficult endeavor when staying separate is the new norm.”
Coach: Michele Koehler (first season).
Top returners: Ciniya McCray, sr., sprinter/ relay/shot put; Katerina Petrovic, so., sprinter; Olivia Linkowski, so., sprinter; Kate Haffner, jr., distance; Elena Garcia, so., distance.
Key newcomer: Yulia Drabchuk, fr., distance.
Worth noting: Koehler, who ran for Morton and was the head girls cross country and track coach at Morton for three years, makes her return to the West Suburban Conference after serving as head coach at Riverside-Brookfield for 11 years and then taking time off for her children. McCray will lead the Hornets’ sprinters and relay teams and also compete in the shot put. Koehler noted that Petrovic and Linkowski “have shown dedication and determination from just one short indoor season, and have come back strong to work with Ciniya and out sprinters.” Haffner, who missed the fall cross country season because of injuries, returns as a strong leader of Hinsdale South’s distance group. Garcia, coming off a strong cross country season, will compete in mid-distance races and the 300 hurdles. Drabchuck likewise is coming off a solid cross country season and Koehler is excited about her potential.
“This season will be a little unusual for the Hornets as it will be filled with only triangular meets and quads consisting of schools within the WSC conference,” Koehler said. “Due to Covid and the structuring of the IHSA seasons, we have a small but dedicated group of athletes and I look forward to watching these strong young ladies compete against themselves and their competition.”
Coach: Tim Plotke (28th season).
Top returners: Megan Hunt, sr., long jump/400/200; Jenny Martinez, sr., 400/800.
Worth noting: Plotke said it looks to be a rebuilding year in Lemont, with a number of key contributors having graduated. Standout distance runner Kaylie Politza moved to Indiana and is running at Valparaiso High School. The Indians do have plenty of freshmen out this year.
“There are a number of new girls that came out this year,” Plotke said. “They are getting their feet wet and working hard daily to improve.”
Coach: Greg Frandsen (16th season).
Top athletes: Kate Dickman, sr., distance; Mary Grace Lansing, sr., 800; Madeleine Ryan, sr., distance; Catherine Sommerfeld, so., distance; London White, sr., sprinter/hurdler; Cate Judy, sr., 1600 relay; Lily Sutkus, sr., sprinter; Lillie George, sr., sprinter; Mia Schwarz, sr., sprinter; Ava Kuhlman, jr., sprinter; Emma Kwak, so., sprinter; Rebecca Phillips, so., sprinter; Isabella Mitchell, jr., throws; Kira Krzemkowski, jr., high jump.
Worth noting: The Lions in 2019 had their 3,200 relay place third at state, and the 1,600 relay was sixth at state, with the 400 and 800 relays breaking school records. Illinois recruit Dickman, a returning All-Stater in both track and cross country, is a standout miler who ran on that 3,200 relay, while Judy ran on the 1,600 relay.
“We are looking to have a successful season and hopefully challenge for the conference and sectional championships,” Frandsen said. “With the shortened season we are looking to stay healthy but still get the girls to reach their goals and potential.”
Coach: Daniel Bulster (third season).
Top returners: Esmeralda Sanchez, sr., pole vault; Lisette Heredia, sr., pole vault; Andrea Avila, sr., pole vault; Dena Ahmed, sr., distance; Gianna Torres, sr., distance; Ariel Martinez, sr., distance; Angie Gomez, sr., distance; Azeneth Serrano, sprinter; Lizbeth Rodriguez, sr., thrower; Diamond Esmabe, sr., thrower.
Worth noting: Morton in 2019 finished second in the West Suburban Gold and third at sectionals, with then-senior Zahra Sammour qualifying for state in the triple jump. Bulster said Morton’s team this year is much smaller than in years past due to COVID-19, but return “high-character girls who know our team and know how to work hard.”
“We are hoping for a top two team finish in the WSC Gold conference and to make the trip back down to the state meet,” Bulster said.
Coach: Kevin Hackert (25th season).
Top returners: Caily Schuurmann, jr., middle distance; Kennedi Foster, jr., sprints; Campbell Marshall, sr., high jump; Hannah Schuringa, sr., triple jump.
Key newcomers: Katelyn Leonard, jr., 800; Anna Tinaglia, jr., hurdles; Abigail Betchel, fr., distance; Jennifer Lumkes, fr., middle distance.
Worth noting: The Trojans in 2019 were conference champions and qualified eight athletes for the state meet. Hackert said they were excited about 2020 with so many juniors in the ranks, but the cancellation of that season has made Timothy Christian more eager about this one. Schuurmann ran the 400 in the 1:02s her freshman year, and Foster ran the Trojans’ state-qualifying 400 and 800 relays as a freshman. Marshall was a state high jump qualifier her freshman and sophomore years, and Schuringa went over 31 feet in the triple jump as a sophomore. Among the newcomers, Leonard ran the team’s fastest 800 time at the first outdoor meet, and Hackert said Tinaglia shows real promise if she can avoid injuries. Betchel ran well for the school’s cross country team last fall and Lumkes had a strong first meet in the middle distances.
“Our team is very young and a bit inexperienced compared to past years, but we would still like to make a run for another conference championship and be found in Charleston for what is likely to be a hot state track meet,” Hackert said.
Coach: Leann Philgren (first season).
Top returners: Megan Thompson, sr., middle distance; Ava Gustafson, jr., throws; Mikayla Hickey, jr., distance/pole vault; Celestia Kone, jr., sprints/jumps; Camille Kuru, jr., sprints/long jump; Nora Schlacks, jr., sprints/middle distance; Abby Strohmaier, jr., middle distance; Lizzy Szynal, jr., distance; Jillian MacKinnon, so., throws; Cate McDaniels, so, sprints/middle distance/pole vault.
Key newcomer: Annikah Engstrom, fr., distance
Worth noting: Philgren, in her first season as head coach, was an assistant last year prior to the pandemic shutdown. Thompson, a 2019 state qualifier as a sophomore in the 400 and 1,600 relay, is currently injured. Hickey and Schlack return from the 2019 state-qualifying 3,200 relay, and Hickey was also on the 1,600 relay state team as a freshman.
“The girls’ season looks really promising,” Philgren said. “Besides the talents seen with our sprinters and in our field events, our distance crew is a powerful crew – it is amazing to see how far they have come since junior high cross country running.”
Coach: Daniel Ball (third season).
Top returners: Cora Gregersen, sr., 800/1600; Caroline Kelly, jr., 300 hurdles; Morgan Mayo, jr., 300 hurdles; Sarah Jane Lister, sr., 800/1600; Enya Lopez, jr., 100/200.
Key newcomers: Brooke O’Carroll, jr., 800/1600; Annabelle Glover, fr., 800/1600.
Worth noting: Gregersen, Kelly, Mayo, Lister and Lopez are all returning athletes. Ball said the Warriors are looking to put together a competitive 3,200 relay team.
“We have a decent-sized roster, but we are mostly trying to rebuild a program after the year off,” Ball said.
Source: The Daily Chronicle