Wildcat cross-country teams expect more excellence
It's another year, another potential top-10 finish for the Neuqua Valley boys' cross-country team.
The Wildcats — who have a streak of 11 straight top-10 state-meet finishes ongoing, according to neuquaxctf.com — have eight of their top 12 runners back from last season's third-place squad.
Senior Scott Anderson leads the way after finishing 34th in the state last season, according to ihsa.org.
Classmates Matt Milostan (40th), Jake McEneaney (47th) and Jackson Jett (60th) also return.
“Our whole team has really keyed off their energy, and it’s been moving to see them unite their very different temperaments in service of a common goal,” Head Coach Paul Vandersteen said.
Also figuring into the mix this year are senior Josh Mollway, juniors Ryan Kennedy and Danny Winek, and sophomore Zach Kinne.
Meanwhile, the Neuqua Valley girls' cross-country team is hoping for a better finish for its 2016 season than its 2015 campaign.
The Wildcats finished 15th in Class 3A last season, but injuries to top runners Caitlin Horn and Sofia Medina shortly before the state meet hampered their chances.
Horn, a senior, and Medina, a junior, are back this season, along with fellow state-meet competitors juniors Corrina Pena and Keara Ginell, and senior Caroline Johnson.
“We've got most of our squad back, and we've got another year of training under our belts,” Head Coach Tim McCoskey said. “We're stronger and deeper than we were last fall, so we're excited about where this can go."
OSWEGO HIGH SCHOOL
Two 2015 All-Southwest Prairie Conference performers — sophomore Isabelle Christiansen and junior Grace Pagone — lead a group of 12 returning letter winners for the Panthers.
Other letter winners are seniors Megan Choi, Jenna Yakesh, Katie Iverson, Abbie Lemley and Kacie Moran; junior Megan Berg; and sophomores Caitlin Guist, Sydney Luchyn, Jaycie Simon and Ava Weyrich.
“Our expectation is to be a state caliber program, so our goal each season to make the state championship does not change,” Head Coach Eric Simon said.
State-meet competitors sophomore Juliana Stogsdill and junior Megan Patton return for the Tigers.
Also returning are freshman Mariam Hussain, junior Lauren Super and senior Sofi Chartrand. Head Coach Tammy Gummerson said junior Cami Dastrup, senior Brittany Drag and sophomore Caitlin Russell also figure into the mix.
Seniors Justin Suits and Carlos Ibanez, and junior Dan Ford have eight sectional qualifications among them going into this season.
That trio will be joined this season by new varsity runners Tony Franco, Elvis Quiroz and Thomas Rocha.
“These three runners have been working hard to be competitive on varsity, and I look forward to seeing their results this season,” Head Coach Richard Dellamorte said.
State-meet qualifier and All-Southwest Prairie Conference runner Dylan Zangri is the top returner for the Wolves.
Other key returners include Hank DeVries, Gavin Frias, Jake Klancir, Bradley Thornton, Chris Smith, Brandon Bigus, Matt Blanco, Liam Fonseca, Wes Hankins, Chris Luz, Daniel King, Marcus Ochoa, Thomas White, Will Roeder and Lukas Wolf
Notable new additions are Maverick Lange, Luke Wentz and Brad Wiggins, Head Coach James Milner said.
On the girls' side, the Bengals finished second by three points to Plainfield South at the City Championships on Aug. 27. Senior Mary Wojdyla had a team-best third-place finish.
Other key returners on the roster include senior Emma Vasquez, junior Elizabeth Conklin and sophomore Alyssa Suarez
“We need our girls to remain healthy and overcome the invisible walls that limit potential,” Head Coach Daniel Billish said. “The battle is not with other teams, but overcoming each self to step to the next level.”
For the boys, sophomore Emmanuel Angomas qualified for sectionals last season and is joined this season by returning letter winners Julian Del Rosario, Zahid Salodawala, Nick Pedersen, Josh Kayiwa, Gavin Withaeger, Jonathan Gancarczyk, Adrian Manjarrez, Marco Moncada and Carson Porter.
Note: Not all teams returned information requests before this preview went to press.
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