Lady Hilltoppers have one of state's best runners back
Glenbard West girls' cross-country head coach Paul Hass said the team was looking forward to this season, but opponents probably aren't in agreement.
The Lady Hilltoppers return a lot of experience and talent — including Class 3A state runner-up Lindsey Payne — from the squad that claimed sixth place at the state meet and won the West Suburban Silver Conference title.
“As a team last year, we enjoyed a satisfying regular season and conference meet, but did not end our season the way we would have liked,” Hass said. “Consequently, this fall the girls are committed to improving themselves individually and hope to improve upon last season’s team performances, particularly in the state series.”
Payne, a junior, isn't the only one with state-meet experience. Sophomore Katie Hohe finished 68th last year, with senior Janie Nabohlz finishing 103rd and junior Claire Kenwood coming in 115th. Other returners from last season include junior Marika Tammaru, and sophomores Chloe Connolly, Nicole Kaiser and Abby Hoffman.
Freshmen Katelynne Hart, Emma Hall and Haley Yeager are the newcomers.
On the boys' side, head coach Kyle Nugent said he has a young team after a lot of seniors graduated last season. Senior Will Buechner, and juniors Cam Benes and Kalen Yeager are returning varsity members.
Nugget said the team has “a great group of sophomores” that includes Ian Repking, Stephen Moody and Rory Cavan. Buechner, and fellow seniors Michael Setzke and Sean Nickoley are the team captains.
"We've had a few injuries and sick kids as school started up again," Nugent said. "If we can stay relatively healthy from here on out, we could have a memorable season."
State-meet qualifier Abby Schlenker leads nine returning letter winners for the girls' team, which won the Metro Suburban Conference crown in 2015.
Schlenker, a senior, also is one of three Raiders who came into this season with 2015 all-conference honors, along with junior Ava Childs and senior Courtney Knight.
Other returning letter winners are seniors Alyssa Flores and Lauren Washington; junior Katie King; and sophomores Gisela Hagedorn, Elizabeth Cizek and Julia Clingen.
“The girls have worked hard, and have established some individual and team goals,” Head Coach Mark Tacchi said.
The Raider boys also have a lot of key runners back from the squad that finished 21st at the state meet.
Christian Hilliard returns from an all-conference season and running in the state meet. Also back with state-meet experience are Joey Wood, Ethan Sowl and Andy Fearn.
Weskey Jedlicka, Johnny Faragoi and Orlando Gamboa also could help the squad this season, in which the program will drive for a conference crown and a seventh-straight state-meet berth, Head Coach Doug Gorski said.
“We have our work cut out for us this season if we want to meet these goals,” he said.
Head Coach Jay Ivory said this season will be interesting.
“We have a mix of experience and youth. The question is, will the youth be ready to step up?” he said.
Senior Julie Kupiec was an All-DuPage Valley Conference honorable-mention pick last year. Junior Jenny Ayala also is expected to lead the team.
The Warrior boys' team is coming off a fourth-place finish in the West Suburban Conference.
“We are working on improving from last year's finish, but it will be challenging,” Head Coach Terry Artman said.
Senior Casey King and junior Mike Isaacson will be looked at to lead the squad.
Note: Not all teams returned information requests before press time.