After the finish of the Girls 1A state meet at Detweiller Park, Decatur St. Teresa’s Coach Todd Vohland stood by the starting line in total shock. Maybe it was total amazement. His team had four all state runners and the fifth/ sixth runners were in the top 30. Their margin of victory last year was an amazing 128 points. Could they make it look that simple again?
Monticello, Elmwood-Brimfield, and Rochester all would like to stop St. Teresa if possible.
Here is a look at the top Girls 1A cross country teams in Illinois for the 2012 season.
Illinois Girls 1A XC Previews
1. Decatur St. Teresa
2011 Finish – 1A State Champion
Coach – Todd Vohland
Top Returnees – Megan Burgener SR(7, 17:52), Ivy Handley SR (10, 17:57), Rachel Dervereux JR (11, 18:04), Camila Dayson SR (27, 18:27), Audrey Vandercar JR (28, 18:30), Caitilin Jerger JR, Kelsie Wujek SR. Bree Tschosik SO, Emily Burgener SO.
Notes – Expectations again will be high for the defending state champions. “I’m sure expectations will be high, but with the loss (via graduation) of two key runners and injuries to two others we need to be reasonable early,” said Coach Todd Vohland. “ The hope is by the end of the year we can be in the trophy hunt.”
The Bulldogs have 5 runners returning from that state team of last year. All of the returnees placed in the top 30. It is hard to argue about that depth and if any other team can match that. Seniors Megan Burgener and Ivy Handley will lead this experienced team.
2011 Finish – 3rd 1A State Meet
Coach – Jeff Butler
Top Returnees – Hannah Houska JR (13, 18:15), Maggie Utgaard SO (24, 18:23), Madison Tutich SO (77, 19:16), Hannah Remmert SR (82, 19:20), Emily Foley JR (107, 19:44), Audrey Duncan SO (173, 21:05), Annie Docherty SR, Allison McPike SR.
Notes – One the teams that hope to challenge St. Teresa. Coach Jeff Butler returns five from last year’s 3rd place squad. Hannah Houska should be the top runners for the Lady Sages. Last year, she finished 13th at state. She could be in the top 5 this season. The key for this team is if a 5th runner can step up. This team will have two runners in the top 15 (Houska and Maggie Utgaard), but will need to have a strong 3-5 pack with a minimal gap.
2011 Finish – 4th 1A State Meet
Coach – Gregg Meyers
Top Returnees – Mariah Dunniway JR (59, 19:03), Olivia Althiser SR (73, 19:13), Jordan McCoy SR (74, 19:14), Katelyn Fricke SR (94, 19:37), Kendra Gorham SO (96, 19:39), Hannelore Book SO (109, 19:46), Taylor Armbruster SO, Becky Delaney SO, Gab Nelson JR, Elise Vrchota SO.
Notes – The Lady Trojans would like to get on stage in November to accept a trophy. With six runners returning from last year’s 4th place team, Coach Gregg Meyers has the talent to do so. Look for this team to have a tight pack led by Junior Mariah Dunniway and Seniors Olivia Althiser and Jordan McCoy. Even though this team does not have all-state returnees, a team with a tight pack is a dangerous one. Two runners in the first thirty at Detweiller in November could have Elmwood returning home with a trophy.
4. Bloomington Central Catholic
2011 Finish – 8th 1A State Meet
Coach – Bill Rhodes
Top Returnees – Alex Van Hoof SR (2, 17:18), Faith Wieland SO (8, 17:52), Sarah Allen SO (121, 19:57), Meghan Allen SO (134, 20:12), Abby Rhodes SR (180, 21:23), KK Brady SO, Addison Ely SO, Shannon Muttram SO.
Notes – The Saints have two of the top runners in 1A returning in Alex Van Hoof and Faith Wieland. Both of these talented runners should be in the top 5 in 2012. The key will be the gap between the first two and then the 3-5 runners. Looking at it right now, the gap could be over 2 minutes. This needs to come down if Central Catholic wants to be in the hunt for a trophy. What could help Coach Bill Rhodes is a strong freshman class coming in. “Workouts are going well and there are no injuries to speak of,” said Rhodes. “With no major injuries we hope to qualify for State again and place in the top 10 again.”
2011 Finish – 15th 1A State Meet
Coach – Bill Owens
Top Returnees – Krissy Finley JR (20, 18:19), Amanda Nelson JR (57, 19:02), Allison Nowakowski SR (99, 19:41), Kinzey Stoll SR (127, 20:06), Emily Blankenship SR (141, 20:17), Nicole Tabatabai SR (156, 20:36), Erin Lindstrom SR, Stephanie Roth JR, Meagan McNicholas FR, Taylro Bartolozzi FR.
Notes – When I contacted all the coaches at the beginning of the month in regards to expectations of their team, perhaps the best reply was from Rochester Coach Bill Owens : “Watch for Meagan McNicholas!” I saw the Metro East Lutheran Debut Meet last Saturday and I could see what Owens meant. The talented freshman won her high school invitational by twelve seconds. Add returning all state runner Krissy Finley to the mix, you get a strong 1-2 punch that gives the Rockets a chance to be among the best in 1A. It will help this team (who has 6 runners returning from 2011) that they are in a tough Central State 8 conference with some strong 2A teams. It is a team to watch this year. When the state series comes around, this squad could be dangerous.
6. Rockford Lutheran
2011 Finish – 11th 1A State Meet
Coach – Trey Fisk
Top Returnees – Julie Buzzard SR (22, 18:19), Emma Fenelon JR (61, 19:04), Claire Mesa JR (102, 19:42), Michaela Heit SO (113, 19:53), Kayla Hicks SR (116, 19:53), Kelli Holcomb SR (151, 20:30), Abby Berke SO, Paige Bradley SO, Fallon Cassidy SO, Sheridan Jones JR, Michaela Richardson SO.
Notes – 6 runners return from last year’s 11th place team for Coach Trey Fisk. This team will be as strong as their 2-5 pack is. Julie Buzzard should be a runner that could place in the top 15 this year. Emma Fenelon leads a pack that needs to stay within a minute of Buzard and stay within 30 seconds of each other.
7. Rock Falls
2011 Finish – 6th 1A State Meet
Coach – Mark Truesdell
Top Returnees – Jessica Wind SR (62, 19:04), Katie Anderson JR (68, 19:10), Aubree Johnson SR (71, 19:13), Paige Davis SR (111, 19:48), Sandra Gomez JR (126, 20:05), Katlyn Denning SR (165, 20:52), Taylor Ashley SO, Azy Cid SO, Emma Miller JR, Emily Wyckstandt JR.
Notes – A veteran squad returns for Coach Mark Truesdell including 6 runners with state meet experience. Seniors Jessica Wind & Aubree Johnson along with Junior Katie Anderson form a strong front pack. “We had lots of miles and a good recruiting year with 25 girls on the squad,” said Truesdell. “We are looking for a productive year with an experienced senior group leading the way.”
8. Downs Tri Valley
2011 Finish – 7th 1A Elmwood Sectional
Coach – Todd Schneider
Top Returnees – Jess Clarke JR (15, 18:17), Athena Kulb SR, Annie Crumbaugh SO, Katie Saulcy SO, Erin McDannold SR, Ericka Hayes SR.
Notes – This is a team that could surprise some later in the year, but many things will need to happen for this team that placed 7th at sectionals in 2011. Jess Clarke will lead this team after she finished 15th at state last year. She has the ability to place in the top 10 in November. The key will be moving the second through fifth runners closer to Clarke. “The girls training was the best in my 15 years of coaching,” said Coach Todd Schneider. “I think their attitudes are really good and their expectations are pretty high.”
9. Mt. Zion
2011 Finish – 13th 1A State Meet
Coach – Bill Harbeck
Top Returnees – McKayla Harder SO (3, 17:29), Megan Bailey SO (42, 18:44), Sarah White JR (114, 19:53), Madeliene Gierach JR (124, 19:59), Nasrin Hosseini JR (139, 20:16), Hannah Jordan JR (140, 20:17), Briana Reif FR
Notes – The expectations were high going into the summer training season for Coach Bill Harbeck and the Lady Braves. The big news is that McKayla Harder has a stress fracture in her right foot. According to Harbeck, she will be out indefinitely. It does not help that their third returning runner Sarah White is also out with an injury. The Lady Braves will fight through this adversity with Sophomore Megan Bailey leading the way.
2011 Finish – 2nd 1A State Meet
Coach – Steve Wolf
Top Returnees – Chloe Marshinski SR (14, 18:17), Maggie Arndt JR (52, 18:58), Maureen Bailey SR (98, 19:39), Alayne Cross JR, Karen Todd SR.
Notes – It could be a big rebuilding year for veteran coach Steve Wolf and his Sentinel squad. Only two runners return from last year’s second place team led by Senior Chloe Marshinski and Junior Maggie Arndt. “We graduated five of our top seven and three of our returnees did not come out this year so we are rebuilding for sure,” said Wolf. “ We do have two very talented individuals back though.”
2011 Finish – 14th 1A State Meet
Coach – Joe & Janet Erb
Top Returnees – Rachel France JR (50, 18:56), Cheyenne Moore JR (51, 18:58), Jorie Smith SR (93, 19:36), Lizzy Leden SR (130, 20:10), Cassie Gray SO (159, 20:41), Gracie Caltagerone SO, Kelli Johnson SR, Emily Walden SO.
Notes – Five runners with state meet experience return for Coaches Joe and Janet Erb. Juniors Rachel France and Cheyenne Moore should lead the way for this team. If this team wants to place in the top 10 this year, it will need to keep their 1-5 split under 60 seconds.
12. St. Joseph-Ogden
2011 Finish – 7th 1A State Meet
Coach – Kristin Allen
Top Returnees – Alyssa Pridemore JR (65, 19:06), Loren Brooks JR (105, 19:42), Brittany Baker SO (123, 19:59), Veronica Brooks SO (132, 20:10), Jessica Kassuelks SO (148, 20:26), Abby Fisher SO, Sam Fleming SR, Hannah Gawthorp JR, Remi Smetzer SR.
Notes – Even though state champion Chelsea Blaase has graduated, the Spartans should still have a strong team returning five from last year’s state meet for 1st year coach Kristin Allen. This is a team that could have a sub 65 second 1-5 split this year. Expect Junior Alyssa Pridemore to be the top runner on this squad along with having the ability to place in the top 25.
13. Champaign St. Thomas More
2011 Finish – 6th 1A Decatur St. Teresa Sectional
Coach – David Behm
Top Returnees – Theresa Welle SR (37, 18:42), Caroline Dodds JR, Randa Harshbarger JR, Nicole Nussel SO, Sophie Collard SO, Natalie Hittmeier SO, Quinn Bolliger SO, Sian McBride SO, Courtney Boyer JR, Michaela Ward SO (transfer from Ohio), Gabby Wszalek JR, Regan Kelly JR, Caroline Dodds JR (also plays golf).
Notes – This could be a team that should be on the verge of doing something great. They just missed out of going to Peoria finishing 6th at the St. Teresa Sectional, the toughest 1A sectional in the state. Theresa Welle qualified individually for her 3rd state meet last year. She would like to have her teammates beside her on the starting line at Detweiller. The talent is there to do it. “Summer running went pretty well. Three of the girls went to the Bradley University Cross Country camp and had a great time,” said Coach David Behm. “Our team goal this year is to make it to state as a team and to be top 15. The girls want to go as a team for Senior Theresa Welle who has qualified as an individual the past three years. Last year we missed it by one spot and the Decatur Sectional that was loaded with tough teams.”
14. Stanford Olympia
2011 Finish – 9th 1A State Meet
Coach – Michael Neisler
Top Returnees – Naomi Springer JR (31, 18:34), Bailey Bauer SO (78, 19:18), Rachel Koch SO (97, 19:39), Haleigh Clark JR (174, 21:08), Klair Hartzold SR.
Notes – Four runners from last year’s 9th place team return for Coach Michael Neisler. Junior Naomi Springer will lead the way for the Lady Spartans. She finished 31st last fall and has the talent to place in the top 20 in November.
2011 Finish – 5th 1A State Meet
Coach – Carl Florczyk
Top Returnees – Olivia Von Bokel SR (67, 19:08), Morgan Mense SR (142, 20:20), Emma Farley JR (147, 20:26), Lindsey Mank SO (168, 21:00), Emily Kilibrew JR, Lauren Mank SO, Emily Marler SO, Katie Mirly SR, Sarah Mueller SR. Taryne Knuckels SO.
Notes – It seemed like Kristen and Caitlin Busch had been at Freeburg forever. Both runners have graduated, but Coach Carl Florzyk still has a good nucleus to build from. Sophomore Taryne Knuckles was the first runner at Edwardsville last Saturday followed closely by Senior Olivia Von Bokel. If they can keep the split under 70 seconds, this team could be in the top 10 at state.
2011 Finish – 18th 1A State Meet
Coach – Lynn Ahlgrim
Top Returnees – Shelby Hunter SR (81, 19:20), Jenn Rogers SR (158, 20:38), McCahl Sanders JR (170, 21:01), Sam Judge SR (189, 22:14), Kelci Foss JR (192, 22:38), Kimmie Janke JR, McCahl Sanders JR, Amber Tucker SR.
Notes – The Lady Hawks would like to build off of last year’s 18th place finish with 5 runners returning from last year’s team. Senior Shelby Hunter should lead the team on the course and off for Coach Lynn Ahlgrim. The key for success to get back to Peoria is keeping their 1-5 split between 60 and 90 seconds.
17. Urbana University
2011 Finish – 7th 1A Decatur St. Teresa Sectional
Coach – Doug Mynatt
Top Returnees – Gabby Kozlowski SR, Carman Gewirth SO, Mara Dolan JR, Lara Orlandic JR, Alice Trellakis SO, Katie Tender FR, Berit Hudson-Rasmussen FR, Athena Feng FR.
Notes – Coach Doug Mynatt lost 3 runners due to graduation along with #1 returning runner Sarah Vaughen deciding to play club soccer and #2 returnee Jaki Vipond transferring to Champaign Centennial. It will be more of a rebuilding year than he expected. Still, this could be a pretty good team. Senior Gabby Kozlowski to step up and lead this team. The addition of a good freshman class led by Katie Tender could help things a little. “Nothing outstanding happened (in regards to summer training), but our top runners are holding up well in the early season,” said Mynatt. “Our first meets of the season this week will tell a lot.”
2011 Finish – 24th 1A State Meet
Coach – Heather Webb
Top Returnees – Aurora Breeden SO (85, 19:26), Nina Skinner SR (145, 20:25), Joanna Bean SR (155, 20:36), Anna Spoerre JR (196, 22:35), Ashtyn Hunt JR (200, 22:58), Taylor Simmonds SO (203, 23:18), Kelly Adams SO, Brooke Hewlett SO, Kelli Hicks JR, Miranda Meyer JR, Nina Skinner SR, Maggie Yewell JR, Kami Hankins FR.
Notes – The big addition for the Lady Lions to move them up to the next level will be freshman Kami Hankins, who was their #1 runner at the Debut meet in Edwardsville. Along with Hankins, six runners with state experience return led by Sophomore Aurora Breeden. The success of this team will depend if they can keep their split to 90 seconds during the duration of the season.
2011 Finish – 16th 1A State Meet
Coach – Mike McHale
Top Returnees – Brooke Holloway SR (110, 19:48), Ashley Dinges SR (120, 19:56), Kenzie Wild SR (129, 20:08), Kaitlyn Buck SO (175, 21:09), Whitney Franklin SO, Chloe Olson SR, Melisa Svoboda SR, Abby Dinges SR.
Notes – Four runners return for Coach Michael McHale for a team that has hopes of making it back to Peoria in November. Their pack up front will be dominated by seniors led by Abby and Ashley Dinges, Brooke Holloway, and Kenzie Wild. This squad could be tough if the pack moves up more and the split remains low.
20. Petersburg PORTA
2011 Finish – 12th 1A State Meet
Coach – James Brauer
Top Returnees – Mackenzie Griffin SR (46, 18:48), Taylor Ivey SO (138, 20:14), Devon Burris SO, Emily Churchill SO, Allison Cummings SO, Ashley Ramos SO.
Notes – Two runners return from last year’s team but do not let this lack of experience fool you. This program traditionally rises to the top the time the state series rolls around. Senior Mackenzie Griffin will be the lead runner for Coach James Brauer. She could be a runner in the top 25 at Detweiller in November.
21. Aurora Christian
2011 Finish – 17th 1A State Meet
Coach – Priscilla Copple
Top Returnees – Anna Pape SR (89, 19:30), Becca Wert SO (90, 19:31), Teresa Murray SR (101, 19:42), Abbey Abbatacola SO (162, 20:45), Caroline Henrichs SR (197, 22:36), Ivy Oleson SO, Carson Pape SO, Ripley Vonhoff SO.
Notes – Expect this team to be back in Peoria in November. 5 runners return from last year’s state team. They only have seven runners out this fall, but could be tough. Seniors Anna Pape & Teresa Murray along with Sophomore Becca Wert should lead the way for the Eagles.
2011 Finish – 8th 1A Elmwood Sectional
Coach – Jeff Trask
Top Returnees – Kaley Lobb SR, Hollie Sinn, JR, Allyson O’Neal JR, Nicole Bonnel SR, Shirley Estes SO, Adrianna Petrie SO.
Notes – Could contend in getting into the top 5 at the always difficult Elmwood Sectional. Kaley Lobb should provide senior leadership for Coach Jeff Trask. This could advance to Peoria is Lobb is in the top 10 in major invitationals along with the pack staying close to a 70 second spread.
2011 Finish – 23rd 1A State Meet
Coach – Scott Edwards
Top Returnees – Tori Fulham SR (80, 19:19), Sarah Stogsdill JR (153, 20:34), Jessica Baggett SO (169, 21:00), Alyson Henseler JR (188, 22:11), Savanah Stogsdill SO (191, 22:19), Marissa Thomas SO (204, 23:34), Tabi Deshotel JR, Katie Kreutztrager SO, Katrina Oldendorph JR, Jodi Sido JR, Kali Sido JR.
Notes – The Shells made their first state meet experience in the school’s history last year. They would like to make it two in a row. Coach Scott Edwards returns six from last year’s team. Tori Fulham was all-state her first two years. Last year, she was a disappointing 80th. She should be towards the front again in 2012. “Well, we are bringing back 6 out of my top 7 last year….but due to injuries & sickness we had only 2 out of the 6 run in our first meet this past Saturday at Metro East Invite,” Edwards said. “Our goal is to go back to state and break the top 20 this year.
24. Mt. Carmel
2011 Finish – 8th 1A Decatur St. Teresa Sectional
Coach – Steve Perry
Top Returnees – Tyra Buss JR (40, 18:43), Elise Thompson SO, Lou Tennis SR, Jennifer Sutton SO, Christina Copes SR, Peyton Farmer JR, April Dorney SO.
Notes – In the toughest sectional in the state, could this team climb into the top 5 and advance to Peoria? It is a good possibility. Senior Tyra Buss leads Coach Steve Perry’s team. Buss does have the talent and ability to place in the top 25 at state,
2011 Finish – 6th 1A Elmwood Sectional
Coach – Dave Tapp
Top Returnees – Meaghan Beatenhead SO, Quincy McSweeney SO, Kayla Hilligoss SR, Kinsey Herrman JR.
Notes – This could be a very young team where the top 5 right now is freshman and sophomores. Sophomore Meaghan Beatenhead will be the leader of this young squad that would like to get back to Peoria in November.