2023 IHSA State XC Championships Preview - 2A Girls


By Michael Newman


Class 2A Individual Runners to Watch


Becca Heitzig, Lincoln; Natalie Bierbaum, Normal University; Sundara Weber, Sandwich; Annika Swan, St. Ignatius College Prep; Hadley Ferrero, Crystal Lake Central, Ali Londrigan, Normal University; Ali Londrigan, Chatham-Glenwood; Juliana Gamboa, Fenwick; Ava Boyd, Mahomet-Seymour; Emily Stecky, DePaul College Prep; Niki Tselios, Lemont; Delilah Helenhouse, Benet Academy; Izzy Bing, Mundelein Carmel; Ava Henne, Grayslake Central, Sara Armstrong, Grayslake Central, Madison Twarling, Lakes Community; Ashlyn Chopra, Chatham-Glenwood. Sophia Ramirez, Washington.


Class 2A Individuals Preview


Becca Heitzig has put up some fast times the past two meets at Jacksonville including a course record. She will have company up front with Sundara Weber, Annika Swan, and Natalie Bierbaum all chasing after a state title.


IL XC Speed Ratings State Meet Projections


Teams Previews


Chatham-Glenwood has the quality up front to make them the favorite in this meet. Washington should be challenging, but will they have their entire top seven in place? Grayslake Central cannot be discounted after winning two state titles. St. Ignatius could surprise all three of thee teams.


Read about these teams listed below.


Chatham (Glenwood)

Sectional Runners – Ali Londrigan FR, Ashlyn Chopra SO, Sophie Rentmeister FR, Ally Knudson SO, Brennan Sloman FR, Lydia Gurnsey SR, Addie Hamrick FR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (9th)

Overview – Fans took notice of the Titans at the start of the season with a great race at Granite City and then a dominating win the following at the First to the Finish Invitational. They have rolled from that point readying themselves for Saturday’s race at Detweiller Park. Glenwood finished a disappointing ninth at last year’s state meet. The addition of four runners from their state champion middle school team in 2022 has given this team a boost. Ali Londrigan has been their top runner most of the season. She finished fourth last week at Jacksonville and could finish in the top 10 on Saturday. Their pack behind Londrigan was dynamic with a 2-5 split at just 20 seconds. Ashlyn Chopra, Sophie Rentmeister, and Ally Knudson only had 10 seconds separating them with Brennan Sloman another 10 seconds back. Glenwood won by 81 points ahead of an impressive Mt. Zion team last week in their sectional race and will look for another great race at the mecca of Illinois High School running.. This team does not have a chip on their shoulders especially with four of last year’s top seven not even on that roster at that time. What Glenwood has is confidence that could drive them to a state title with four all state runners and a fifth runner placing in the top 35.



Sectional Runners – Jayne Hermann SO, Madeleine James SO, Olivia Nordheilm JR, Bailey Butler SO, Allison Woolever JR, Addison Hooste SO, Crista Baker JR. (Note: #1 runner Sophia Ramirez did not run at sectionals)

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (3rd)

Overview – Washington was in control in their sectional race last week winning by 35 points ahead of Dunlap. The Panthers did that without their #1 runner Sophia Ramirez who was not in their lineup last Saturday. With Ramirez in the lineup, this team will be up front challenging for a state title. Jayne Hermann and Madeline James were the team’s top two runners separated by four seconds. Olivia Nordheilm and Bailey Butler were behind by 16 seconds and 13 seconds separating the next two. In some of the races this season, Sanchez has been 25 to 40 seconds ahead of the group in some races this season.. It would put Washington in a good position to finish in the top three. Ramirez is the factor in this race for this team. Without her in the race, they could be among the top five teams. Sanchez leading them puts an entirely different perspective and challenging for a state title.


Chicago (St. Ignatius College Prep)

Sectional Runners – Annika Swan SO, Ella Hwang SR, Meghan Semmer SR, Lizeth Montes JR, Mary O’Reilly FR, Courtney Beatty SO, Sara Fitzgerald JR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (5th)

Overview – One thing should be remembered is that St. Ignatius College Prep finished fifth in last year’s state meet. They accomplished that without their top runner Annika Swan who did not run in that race. The sophomore has been running better in the last year and especially this fall. She will be in position to challenge for an individual state title, Her teammates are looking for hardware of their own. Swan was 62 seconds ahead of the head of their pack that was led by Ella Hwang and Meghan Semmer. Those two runners were separated 18 seconds. The next pack of Lizeth Montes and Mary O’Reilly were 20 seconds behind the first pack and within 14 second seconds of each other. The Wolfpack’s 2-5 split was at 52 seconds. In this state meet, the second split of 58 seconds needs to shrink by 20 seconds for this team to contend for a top three trophy especially a state championship trophy.


Grayslake (Central)

Sectional Runners – Sara Armstrong SR, Ava Henne SO, Isabella Domier SR, Soffia Witt SR, Jordan Sutter SO, Violet Rowe SO, Bryanna Domier SO.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (1st)

Overview – This is another race for the Rams. They have read this story before winning the past Class 2A team championships. It seems that Grayslake Central has run every race perhaps a little bit differently to get to this moment on Saturday morning. Sara Armstrong and Ava Henne were separated by seven in last week’s race at Woodstock. Isabella Domier, Sofia Witt, and Jordan Sutter were separated by 22 seconds. The Rams top five split was a little higher than their average due to the course at Emricson Park. It was 60 seconds last week compared to the average of 52 seconds they have run this fall. Their split should end up in between 45 to 50 seconds. That could be good enough to claim their third straight state title.



Sectional Runners – Cameron Crump JR, Danielle Mudd SR, Angelynn Kanyuck SR, Ava Rau JR, Calla Espenschied SO, Emily Lepp JR, Kamryn Rader JR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (13th)

Overview – The Bulldogs finished third last week at Jacksonville behind Mt. Zion by 12 points. With more runners in this race and a strong top three to complement that, Waterloo could have the edge to finish in the top five. Cameron Crump and  Danielle Mudd give the team a solid top two in the front that could finish in the top 20. Thei third runner Angelynn Kanyuck was another 17 second back but still could threaten to finish among the first 30 runners. The split on the first three runners to the rest of the pack last week was 67 seconds, then another 24 seconds on their 4-5 runners. Waterloo could be the surprise team in this meet but will need to cut their middle split from 67 seconds to 44 seconds for good things to happen for the Bulldogs.


Mt. Zion

Sectional Runners – Renee Ballard SR, Avery Sommer SO, Ellie Fritzsche SR, Camille Mavis SR, Brooke Doyle SR, Maddie Akers SR, Abigail Grunden FR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (18th)

Overview – The Braves finished second last week at the Jacksonville Invitational and have sights on a top five finish in this meet. Renee Ballard has been her team’s top runner throughout the season with hopes of finishing among the top 25 runners. Their split from their 2-5 pack last week was 45 seconds. Avery Sommer, Ellie Fritsche, and Camille Mavis were separated by 18 seconds and 25 seconds behind Ballard. The top five split for the team last week was 80 seconds. Moving that gap under 60 seconds could mean good things for this team on Saturday.


Crystal Lake (Central)

Sectional Runners – Hadley Ferrero JR, Skyler Ferrero FR, Emma Macke SR, Brynn Matthaei JR, Jacqueline Orvis SO, Sophia Parks FR, Hope Ferrero SR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (24th)

Overview – The story was different for the Tigers a year ago when their top runner Hadley Ferrero did not run. Central finished 24th in that race. Things should be different on Saturday for this team. They are definitely a top 10 team in Class 2A after a strong second place finish last week at Woodstock closing in on Grayslake Central. Ferrero started the season slowly so much to the point that her freshman sister Skyler stepped into the first spot. Hadley responded and is now one of the top runners in Class 2A finishing second behind Sundara Weber last week. Skyler finished 38 seconds behind her sister and could finish in the top 35 in this race. Emma Mackie, Brynn Matthaei, and Jacqueline Orvis were separated by 28 seconds in the third through fifth spots and could give the Tigers a boost if they can stay within 20 seconds of the second spot on this team.


Crystal Lake (South)

Sectional Runners – Abby Machesky SR, Olivia Pinta JR, Colette Bacidore SR. Victoria Pinta JR, Lily Brooks FR, Cecelia Piemontese FR, Laynie Ripley SO.

Last State Meet Appearance - 2022 (4th)

Overview – It was a disappointing end to the season as Crystal Lake South’s team  walked to the award ceremony that they finished fourth in the Class 2A State race. It should be different in a positive way for the Gators. Abby Machesky and Olivia Pinta have been a solid 1-2 for this team. Both runners will challenge for top 25 finishes. Colette Bacidore gives South a strong third runner. The Gators top five split has averaged 82 seconds this season. It was 83 seconds last Saturday. The split just dropping by 3 seconds a runner puts this team in a good spot to challenge for a trophy.


Wheaton (St. Francis)

Sectional Runners – Elena Mamminga FR, Erin Hinsdale FR, Margaret Andrzejewski SO, Alicen Sheldon FR, Addy Wordekemper FR, Siena Schwan SO, Ashley Spahn SO.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (20th)

Overview – The Spartans were not expected to make it to the state meet at the beginning of the year. The addition of four good freshmen into their top five put them in position to finish fourth at the Woodstock Sectional. Their top four runners have been interchangeable in the front of the pack. The sectional race had Elena Mamminga 25 seconds ahead of Erin Hinsdale. Margaret Andrzejewski was all-state as a freshman last year. Any of these three runners could finish in the top 25 on Saturday. The front three have defined how this team will run. 37 seconds separated them last week. The team’s overall split was 126 seconds last week. Closing their split under 100 seconds gets the Spartans among the top 10 teams.



Sectional Runners – Katie Sell JR, Abby Tudeen JR, Josie Kroll FR, Kate Robertson JR, Claire Sack SO, Ellie Spanhook FR, Mia Williams SO.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (6th)

Overview – Dunlap was ranked in the top 10 two weeks ago. It shows how tough Class 2A. Too many teams so close together to challenge for a position in the top five. The Eagles finished second behind Washington last week and could be one of those teams running a great race. Katie Sell was the team’s top runner 29 seconds last week ahead of Abby Tudeen. Kate Robertson has been among the top runners this season and could be with Sell and Tudeen in this race. The Eagles had a 99 second split last week. A lower split puts them among the top 10 teams in this race.



Sectional Runners – Avery Braker JR, Sophie Krueger SR, Brielle Hopkins SO, Kerrigan Vandel SR, Taygen Beyer SR, Ava Burgess SO, Sariah Hoffman JR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (19th)

Overview – A one thing to keep an eye on for Morton on Saturday is if one of their top runners Isabella Grieder is on the starting line. Grieder has only race once in the past month when she finished fifth in the Mid-Illini Conference Meet. She did not run in regional and sectional meets. Avery Braker stepped into the #1 spot last week in her sectional race finishing third. Sophie Krueger finished 28 seconds behind Braker. Their top five split from last week is a concern at 116 seconds. It will be something to watch for from this team on Saturday.


Normal (University)

Sectional Runners – Natalie Bierbaum SO, Zoe Carter JR, Lana Alcorn SO, Talia Luallen SR, Jocelyn Lewis FR, Josie Wamsley FR, Eve Whitlow JR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (21st)

Overview – The Pioneers have two of the top runners in Class 2A with Natalie Bierbaum and Zoe Carter that could be among the top five runners in this race. The big addition for U-High was Lana Alcorn returning after missing a month of the season. Alcorn was the team’s third runner in the race and could give the Pioneers a boost. Ignore the top five split in this race since Bierbaum and Carter are so far in front. The split in the 3-5 split last week including Alcorn was at 56 seconds. The inclusion of Alcorn in their pack could get this team among the top 10 teams.


Lisle (Benet Academy)

Sectional Runners – Delilah Helenhouse JR, Payton Mathelier FR, Keira Jenke SO, Faye Ferrell FR, Terese Tully SR, Ashley Donovan SR, Aniela Gaudio JR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (3A-25th)

Overview – The Redwings have improved this fall in their first season back in Class 2A. Delilah Helenhouse finished second behind Annika Swan last week. The junior is a runner to watch finishing in the top 25. The pack led by Payton Mathelier is 95 seconds within their four runners. The teams overall split at Lewis University was over two minutes. Benet Academy could be among the top ten teams in this race if they can keep their top five split under 98 seconds.


Lake Villa (Lakes Community)

Sectional Runners – Madison Twarling SR, Brianna Gara JR, Paige-Elicia Caruth SR, Hannah Salbilla FR, Kate Catalano FR, Rachel Colwell SR, Diksha Guganathan SO.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (2nd)

Overview – The return of all-state runner Paige-Elicia Caruth for their final three meets will give the Eagles a big boost. Caruth had missed most of the season since running 17:53 to finish fifth at First to the Finish at the beginning of September. She has run in regionals and sectionals finishing 25th. Madison Twarling has stepped into the team’s top spot finishing fourth last week at Woodstock. Brianna Gara was 17 seconds ahead of Caruth. Good races getting closer to Twarling helps this team in this race. Twarling could be among the top 15 runners individually in this meet.


Champaign (Centennial)

Sectional Runners – Farah Scott FR, Brooklynn Sweikar SR, Brenna Hooper FR, Molly Pate SO, Kaylee Sweikar JR, Lauren Kleber FR, Annika Blackburn SR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2009 (17th)

Overview – The Chargers make their first appearance in the state meet in 14 years after finishing fifth at the Jacksonville Sectional. Farah Scott and Brooklynn Sweikar ran together last week as will challenge for the top two places in this race. Breanna Hooper was close to a minute behind their front duo. Scott and Sweikar could be among the top 35 runners in this race. The team’s top five split was close to two minutes last week.


Chicago (DePaul College Prep)

Sectional Runners – Emily Stecky FR, Katherine Radich SO, Abigail Arseneau JR, Claire Duman SO, Piper Houghton JR, Gabrielle Walker SR, Simrin Anderson SO.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (1A-2nd)

Overview – DePaul Prep makes it to state in their first year in Class 2A by finishing third at the Trinity Sectional. Freshman Emily Stecky has stepped up as the team’s top runner. She finished fourth in her sectional race and two weeks before that at the GCAC Championships. The Rams again will rely on a tight split to help them to race higher to the top. The team had a 26 second split on their next four led by Katherine Radich and Abigail Arseneau. We should see a big race from this team on Saturday.


Lake Forest

Sectional Runners – Lucy Schlachtenhaufen SR, Sophia Lane SR, Elis Miller SR, Paige Gibbons SR, Shalini Krishnaswamy JR, Kate McCann SO, Emma LeGrand FR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (12th)

Overview – It was a close call for the Scouts last week at the Woodstock Sectional. Both Lake Forest and Rosary scored 202 points last week tying for seventh. Eight team advanced out of this sectional including those two teams. Lake Forest has a good top runner with Lucy Schlachtenhaufen who finished seventh last week. She could be all-state in this race. Sophia Lane leads the pack that was 77 seconds behind Schlachtenhaufen with the second through fifth runners separated by 61 second split last week.



Sectional Runners – Ashley Zeibert SO, Brooke Zeibert JR, Natalie Nichols SO, Maria Olson JR, Jillian Conlon SR, Madelyn Killion FR, Amara Kaeding FR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (7th)

Overview – The Rockets advance to the state meet in back to back tears after finishing sixth last week at Jacksonville. A pack of three runners and along with two runners are the nucleus to this team. Ashley Zeibert , Brooke Zeibert, and Natalie Nichols were separated by 13 seconds in the sectional race. The three averaged a 38 seconds this season. Maria Olson and Jillian Conlon were within 27 seconds of each other in sectional. The gap between the two packs is 91 seconds which will need o come down in this state race.


Rockford (Boylan Catholic)

Sectional Runners – Natalie Tekampe JR, Reese Kohnle JR, Johanna Hawley JR, Ava Galluzzo FR, Jocelyn Ayala JR, Vanessa Tekampe FR, Evelyn Rozanski SO.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2004 (AA-28th)

Overview – One of the bigger surprise teams in Class 2A this fall. Boylan Catholic made it to the state meet for the first time since 2004 by finishing sixth at Woodstock. Natalie Tekampe was the top runner last 26 seconds ahead of teammate Reese Kohnle. The team has a 48 second split on their first three runners. Their top five average this season has been 158 seconds. The Titans showed promise at the end of the season. All seven runners that will toe the line on Saturday are underclassmen.



Sectional Runners – Audrey Heil SR, Callie Sturgell JR, Kayla Alderson SR, Audrey Hodgen SR, Izzy Olson FR, Ruthie Stamm JR, Madi Marsh JR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (26th)

Overview – Metamora made large strides towards the front during the second half of the season getting them to state finishing sixth at Geneseo. Audrey Heil and Callie Sturgell finished in the top 20 to make it to state with both able to finish in the top 50 at Detweiller Park. Their split at Geneseo was over two minutes which has been close to their average all season.



Sectional Runners – Jessica Larsen JR, Baylee Summers SO, Drew Reis FR, Morgan Springer JR, Audrey Wagoner SR, Kyra Hazelton SR, Haddie Hill JR

FIRST State Meet Appearance

Overview – It was a big day for Effingham’s Girls Cross Country team as they qualified for the IHSA State Meet for the first time in the program’s history. The Flaming Hearts finished seventh making it to state by four points. Jessica Larsen and Baylee Summers were separated by 14 seconds finishing in the top 30 in that race. The top 5 split was at 99 seconds last week. It should drop down lower this Saturday.


LaGrange Park (Nazareth Academy)

Sectional Runners – Sophie Towne FR, Jane McNamara SR, Allie O’Halloran FR, Hannah McCarthy SR, Julie Parkes FR, Sarah Owen JR, Ashley Kenna FR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (17th)

Overview – The Roadrunners were just one point behind DePaul College Prep finishing fourth at the Trinity Sectional. Their pack running improved during the season. Their split lowered down to 69 seconds in their sectional race led by freshman Sophia Towne. Jane McNamara and Allie O’Halloran were within two seconds of each other and 22 seconds behind Towne. Nazareth Academy averaged 62 seconds on their top 5 most of the season. It should come down lower in this state race.



Sectional Runners – Makensi Martin JR, Danica Martin JR, Aubrey Lines FR, Leah Ortiz JR, Hope Emmerich SO, Paityn Valentine JR, Zara Lungo SO.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (14th)

Overview – Morris made it to state in back to back years finishing fourth at the Geneseo last Saturday. Makensi Martin was all-state last season. The junior has a good chance to repeat that finishing in the top 15 in this race. Her sister Danica Martin leads the pack that ran a 58  second split from their second through fifth runners. .


Aurora (Rosary)

Sectional Runners – Vivian Wyller SR, Olivia Kunio SR, Chiara Surtz JR, Ellie Gengler JR, Caroline Goettsch FR, Kayla Garcia FR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (1A-3rd)

Overview – Rosary makes their appearance back in Class 2A finishing tied for seventh at the Woodstock Sectional with Lake Forest. Both team advanced to the state meet. Vivian Wyller moved up as the top runner for the team followed by the pack led by Olivia Kunio and Chiara Surtz. The top five split was just under two minutes in last Saturday’s race. The Royals could drop that split down to get them close to a top 20 team finish.



Sectional Runners – Rhylee Wade SR, Delia Block SO, Jaz ‘Mya Castaneda FR, Laney Zuithoff SO, Connie Ibarra JR, Lainey Block SR, Emma Anderson SR

Last State Meet Appearance – 2003 (AA-30th)

Overview – Sterling made it to state for the first time in 20 years by finishing sixth at the Geneseo Sectional. The Golden Warriors had three runners finish in the top 21 in the sectional race led by Rhylee Wade finishing 14th, Delia Block finishing 16th, and Jaz’ Mya Castaneda finishing 21st. Sterling’s split in the sectional race was 132 seconds.


Oak Park (Fenwick) 

Sectional Runners – Julina Gamboa FR, Anna Scholtens SR, Lily Kotyenek FR, Allison Austin FR, Romy Bergetz SO, Kyra Miller JR, Emma Brennan JR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2019 (4th)

Overview – The Friars make it back to state for the first time in four years after finishing fifth at the Trinity Sectional. Freshman Juliana Gamboa has emerged as one of the top runners in Class 2A this fall. It won’t be a surprise if Gamboa finishes among the top 10 runners. Their split on their top five runners is big at 3 min 43 sec. Anna Scholtens ran 68 seconds back of Gamboa and could finish in the top 50.


Chicago (Payton College Prep)

Sectional Runners – Isabel McCarthy SR, Dominique Bennett JR, Fiona O’Toole SR, Emily Cheng JR, Ianna Rusu FR, Victorie Berton FR, Cyriana Lara JR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2021 (13th)

Overview – The Grizzlies missed making it to state in 2022. They made the trip back finishing fifth at the Trinity Sectional. Isabel McCarthy has been the top runner for her team most of the season. The junior finished 18th last week. Dominique Bennett and Fiona O’Toole were separated by two seconds in that race.



Sectional Runners – Nikki Tselios JR, Maggie Davey SO, Cassie Cunningham SO, Julizabeth Martinez FR, Maya Fedko SO, Nell Fedko FR, Margaret Sinnett SO.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2019 (12th)

Overview – Lemont has not raced at this meet since 2019. They could have a big day on Saturday especially Niki Tselios and how she has raced this fall. Tselios ha a convincing individual win last week at the Geneseo Sectional. The junior could be among the top 10 runners in the 11 AM race. Maggie Davey was almost two minutes behind Tselios as the team’s second runner. The split off Davey in the sectional was over two minutes.


Burbank (St. Laurence)

Sectional Runners – Jadie Chavez SR, Sophia Velazquez JR, Sophia Vera SO, Emma Raftery SO, Maggie Bertalmio FR, Olivia Guzman SO, Sasha Sobrevilla FR.

FIRST State Meet Appearance

Overview – It will be the first state meet for the Vikings after finishing seventh at the Trinity Sectional. St. Laurence made it to state by four points ahead of Northside Prep. Jadie Chavez is the top runner for this team. The senior finished eight last week at Lewis University and could be among the top 50 at Detweiller Park.