2023 IHSA State XC Championships Preview - 3A Girls


By Michael Newman


Class 3A Individual Runners to Watch


Scout Storms, Barrington; Liv Phillips, Naperville Central; Julie Piot, Naperville North; Veronica Znajda, Prospect; Nicole Poglitsch, Wheaton-Warrenville South; Lily Eddington, Downers Grove North; Meg Peterson, Prospect; Lily Ginsberg, Prospect; Brea Counihan, Lincoln-Way Central, Danielle Jensen, McHenry; Mia Sirios, Barrington; Michaela Quinn, York; Maggie Owens, York; Tessa Russo, Plainfield North, Sofia Keeler, Yorkville; Morgan Dick, Oswego East.


Class 3A Individuals Preview


Scout Storms, Liv Phillips, Julie Piot, and Veronica Znajda are the runners to watch up front. Nicole Poglitsch and Tessa Russo could be big surprises in this race.


IL XC Speed Ratings State Meet Projections

Teams Previews


Read about the 28 teams that will race in the 3A Girls race.


Elmhurst (York)

Sectional Runners – Michaela Quinn SR, Maggie Owens SR, Anna McGrail SR, Maggie Quinn SO, Katherine Klimek SR, Sofia Galiano-Sanchez SO, GiGi Hill SO.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (2nd)

Overview – The key for the success for the Dukes this fall has been togetherness. It is a glue that other teams in Class 3A have seemed not to figure out yet. When the top four teams in the state faced off at Palatine Festival of Champions, York had a 23 second split in winning the team title. Theor split in winning the WSC-Silver Meet was 28 seconds. Last week in a dominating performance at the Lake Park Sectional where York only scored 27 points, their top five split was just 20 seconds. Their trip to Detweiller Park comes off last year’s second place finish in one of the most memorable performances by two teams. York scored 58 points buy finished second behind Prospect’s 39 points team. It is a result that the York runners have kept in the back of their minds. There is no real top runner on this team. You could say they have five #1 runners. Last week, it was Michaela Quinn that stepped up as the team’s top runner followed by Maggie Owens two seconds behind. Anna McGrail was another nine seconds back with Maggie Quinn and Katherine Klimek rounding off the top five. It is hard to see if one of the other three teams can catch York. It is not a never proposition for this team. They deemed that at the start of this season.



Sectional Runners – Scout Storms JR, Mia Sirois FR, Sabrina Roach JR, Abby Lewis SO, Angelica Hil FR, Kaleigh Burns SR, Sydney Sukel SR

Last State Meet Appearance -  2022 (17th)

Overview – This weekend sets up with the Class 3A team race being even better than the one that we witnessed last year. Barrington stepped up early this season to throw their hat in the ring with a dominating with a win at First to the finish Invitational. The Fillies finished two points behind Prospect 33-35 two weeks ago at the MSL Championship. They won ahead of Prospect last week 33-56 making a state meet heading to Peoria. Scout Storms had an impressive win last week after finishing second at the MSL Championships. Mia Sirois had her best race of the year and will look for a repeat of that on Saturday. Sabrina Roach finished in the top 10 last week and leads a pack that includes Abby Lewis and Angelica Hil. Barrington can get close to York, but can they pass them. The two teams have faced each other twice this season with York having the advantage both times. Key is focusing on the Fillies split between Sirios and Hil which was 63 seconds last week. That still might not be enough in facing York, Prospect, and Downers Grove North. Barrington slicing their five runner split down to 65 seconds from 75 seconds. The Fillies in this meet can finish anywhere between first and fourth.


Mt. Prospect (Prospect)

Sectional Runners – Veronica Znajda JR, Meg Peterson SO, Lily Ginsberg SR, Ireland Wildhart JR, Sophie Fransen JR, Kaitlin Skelton SR, Bridget Derengowski SR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (1st)

Overview – It seems this season after Prospect has a “down” race, they fight back hard and run super. The Knights did not have their best race at Palatine but fought back to win at Nike XC Town Twilight. Their sectional race was not their best of the season. What will we see from the defending state champions on Saturday. The Knights will need to get their top three runners at least among the top 10 runners in this race and close together. Veronica Znajda won at Richard Spring and at MSL Championships. She finished third last week and could challenge for the win on Saturday. Meg Peterson and Lily Ginsberg were within 19 seconds of each other last week and will need to close that gap by 10 seconds in this race. Ireland Wildhart was 21 seconds from Ginsberg, 40 seconds of Peterson last week. If she can stay within 30 seconds of the top three, it would be a good thing. Sophie Fransen and Kaitlin Skelton are interchangeable in the fifth and sixth spots. Keeping one of those runners within 15 seconds of Wildhart puts them in the trophy conversation.


Downers Grove (North)

Sectional Runners – Lily Eddington SO, Ava Gilley JR, Alayna Todnem JR, Sarah Paul SR, Hannah Renner JR, Sydney Hnatiuk SR, Audrey Casten JR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (5th)

Overview – The sectional race at Hinsdale Central last Saturday was not their best of the season even though they were the team championships. The race itself should give the Trojans confidence heading into the 3A four team challenge Saturday afternoon. The key in last week’s race was they moved up considerably in the second half of the race. Lily Eddington was the team’s top runner moving from seventh to end up placing third. Watch for to be among the front runners on Saturday. Ava Gilley stayed within 15 seconds of Eddington last week. Alayna Todnem and Sarah Paul stayed within two seconds of each other giving the team a split of 30 seconds. The key for North at Detweiller Park on Saturday is closing down the split on their top five. The overall split in Hinsdale was 81 seconds with Hannah Renner finishing 51 seconds behind Paul. Audrey Casten’s race last week was a rustbuster as she got injured during the Naperville Twilight Invitational. Casten or Renner moving to within 15 seconds of the pack would be a good thing for this team and improve chances in winning a trophy on Saturday.


Naperville (North)

Sectional Runners – Julie Piot SR, Rianna Tandon SO, Shania Tandon SO, Bridget Kacedan SR, Brynn Pfeiffer FR, Anika Lovisa JR, Emma Berres JR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (3rd)

Overview – The Huskies ran their best race of the year so far last week at Hinsdale Central finishing eight points behind Downers Grove North. Julie Piot was aggressive in her racing at KLM staying close to Liv Phillips throughout the race. Piot could be one of the top five runners in this race. Rianna and Shania Tandon will be closer to Piot at Detweiller. The two were within 14 seconds of each other last week. That type of effort could push them into the top 25 conversation. Any of the next four runners could step into the final two scoring spots. Bridget Kacedan, Brynn Pfeiffer, and Anika Lovisa were within six seconds of each other. Emma Berres did not have her best race last Saturday. Look for a bounce back race from her this weekend.



Sectional Runners – Sophia Keeler JR, Annabelle Reeder SO, Ashley Schraeder SO, Allegra Triner SR, Liliana Camargo JR, Mia Evans FR, Nicole Kraus FR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (9th)

Overview – Yorkville has used the strategy most of this season of pushing the pace hard from the start and maintain until they cross the finish line. It worked well last week as they won the Granite City Sectional by 18 points. Sophia Keeler has been Yorkville’s top runner most of this season with hopes of finishing in the top 15 individually. Annabelle Reeder finished eight seconds behind Keeler and could be among the first 25 runners. The Lady Foxes had a 36 second split on their top five with Ashley Schraeder, Allegra Triner, and Liliana Camargo all within eight seconds of each other. Yorkville will take the pace out early in this race. Keeping their top five runners within 34 seconds could position this team to finish in the top five.


Arlington Heights (Hersey)

Sectional Runners – Margaretha Grabske JR, Alexa Izenstark FR, Elizabeth Waltz SO, Sofia Donner FR, Madeline Bialko JR, Martyna Makowski FR, Emily Lifka SR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (14th)

Overview – A good team that has been hidden in the MSL shadows created by Barrington and Prospect. A better than normal race from Hersey could place this team in the top five. Margaretha Grabske has been the Huskies top runner this season. All her work throughout could get her into the first 25. Freshmen Alexa Izenstark and Sofia Donner along with sophomore Elizabeth Waltz and junior Madeline Bialko gives Hersey a solid pack that ran within 45 seconds last Saturday at Busse Woods. It is a team that surely should be in the top 10 bettering what they ran last fall. Just one senior in their top seven means a lot of good things a re still ahead of this team.


Plainfield (North)

Sectional Runners – Tessa Russo SO, Marlie Czarniewski FR, Elsie Czarniewski JR, Kaitlyn Ward SR, Emaan Hussain SO, Nora Rudakas SR, Keely Williams SR

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (28th)

Overview – One of the hottest teams in this field that includes one of the hottest runners. The Tigers finished within 18 points of Yorkville placing second last week at the Granite City Sectional. Their top 5 split last week was 100 seconds. That might not matter the three runners they have up front. Tessa Russo was running 19 minutes to start the season. Her time has dropped to in the 17 minute range finishing sixth in the SPC Meet, and then winning her regional meet and last week at Granite City. A runner we should see in the top 10 on Saturday. Marlie Czarniewski finished fourth last week 31 seconds behind Russo. The two runners could be closer together also finishing in the top 25. Do not be surprised if Elsie Czarniewski is close to finishing in the top 30. Kaitlyn Ward and Emann Hussain solidify the top five for this team. Ward was within 10 seconds of the top three last week. The overall 100 second split is not a difference maker if their first three runners finish within the top 30 in the front. A top 5 team possibility.


Naperville (Central)

Sectional Runners – Liv Phillips SR, Lola Satre-Morales JR, Abby Mogg SR, Ava Hendren SR, Brynn Miller JR, Becca Liaw SR, Allie Opalka JR.

Last State Meet Appearance -  2022 (6th)

Overview – A top 10 team with no idea whether the Redhawks finish between fifth and tenth. Liv Phillips is the top runner for this team in contention for a state title. The split to keep an eye on of 43 seconds of Central’s second runner Lola Satre-Morales. The split from Satre-Morales to Abby Mogg and Ava Hendren was 14 seconds last week. There is a 29 second gap before Brynn Miller. Their 2-5 split is a comfortable 43 seconds.



Sectional Runners – Maya Ledesma JR, Natalie Nahs FR, Taya Gummerson JR, Kylie Myers SR, Cassie Brushaber JR, Liana Blount JR, Paige Joachim FR

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (4th)

Overview – A young team that has only one senior in their top seven. Ran a good race last week and primed to take one step up this Saturday at Detweiller Park. Maya Ledesma and Natalie Nahs ran side by side last week with Taya Gummerson within 13 seconds of the two. That could get the Indians in a good position to be in the top 10 with Ledesma a possibility of finishing in the top 25. Minooka has a tight pack from four to five. The gap off the top three runners last week was 42 seconds. Cutting that split in half could get Minooka among the top 10 teams.


Orland Park (Sandburg)

Sectional Runners – Lindsey Gerhardstein SO, Ava Giblin SR, Katie Roche SR, Faith Miller SR, Lily Molloy SR, Klaudia Sieczka SR, Emma Kanagy SO.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2012 (13th)

Overview – It seems this team was on a mission especially with five seniors among their top seven. The Eagles’ Girls team made it to the state meet for the first time since 2012 after finishing fourth at the Hinsdale Central. Lindsey Gerhardstein is Sandburg’s top runner. She finished fourth last week and could be in position to finish among the top 15 at state. Ava Giblin has been a strong second this season including finishing tenth in the sectional race. She finished 29 seconds behind Gerhardstein. The team has a tight three runner pack behind their top two led by Katie Roche that was only 10 seconds. Sandburg could finish in the top 10 only if Roche moves up with the pack within 20 seconds of Giblin.


Wheaton (North)

Sectional Runners – Maddie Romaine JR, June Rectenwald FR, Emily Offutt FR, Ceres Moraitis FR, Ema Eissler SO, Annika Carlson FR, Sienna Keith SO.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (26th)

Overview – This team took a big leap forward to the next level with the addition of four freshmen to the top seven. Emily Offutt has been the top runner for the Falcons in most of their races this season. She did not have her best race at the Lake Park Sectional but will bounce back on Saturday. Maddie Romaine and June Rectenwald were the 1-2 runners last week when they finished second behind York. The team had a 69 second split on their top five runners. Ema Eissler has been one of the top three during races this year. She could give this team a boost to get within the first 10 teams.


New Lenox (Lincoln-Way Central)

Sectional Runners – Brea Counihan FR, Nadia Bowden SR, Mia Forystek FR, Ava Dughetti SO, Claire Carter SR, Jillian Davies FR.

Last State Meet Appearance -  2019 (22nd)

Overview – Lincoln-Way Central made it to the state for the first time since 2019 finishing fourth in the Granite City Sectional four points ahead of Minooka. Two freshmen have stepped up to give Central a boost. Brea Counihan finished second in her sectional race and could finish in the top 10. The Knights have a good 2-5 split of 23 seconds led by Nadia Bowden and freshman Mia Forystek. The split between Counihan and Bowden last week was 68 seconds. That split could narrow in this upcoming race. Central should be among the top half of the field on Saturday.


Oswego (East)

Sectional Runners – Morgan Dick SR, Macy Dick FR, Olivia Van Denend JR, Emma Berglund JR, Annie Schlitz JR, Josslyn Gaona SR, Ashley Gumm SO.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (18th)

Overview – Sisters Morgan and Macy Dick are the reasons why the Wolves are making a return trip to the state meet. Morgan is having a great season that includes winning the SPC Championship and finishing third last week at the Granite City Sectional that helped Oswego East finish third in that meet.  Macy Dick is running her best heading into the state meet. She finished seventh in the sectional race and should be among the top 25 finishers. Olivia Van Denend led the second pack that included Emma Berglund and Annie Schlitz that had a 30 second split



Sectional Runners – Madison Popelar SO, Antonella Popelar SO, Emma Patrick SR, Olivia Coll SR, Emma Thompson FR, Maya Lueking SR, Ava Horsfall FR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (12th)

Overview – The Tigers will look to improve on last year’s 12 place finish after finishing sixth at the Granite City Sectional. Edwardsville has thrived this season with some good pack running. Sophomores Madison Popelar and Antonella DeAvila have been the top runners coming down the stretch to state. Popelar was 18 seconds ahead of DeAvila last week. Their overall split was 46 seconds at Granite City. It could go as low as 39 seconds in Peoria.


Hinsdale (Central)

Sectional Runners – Pola Dygon SR; Lily Hodneland SO, Camden Griffin SR, Kennedy Boyd SR; Ella Satre FR, Evelyn Skay FR. (Note: Gabby Thanos JR Ran in regionals, not in sectionals)

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (8th)

Overview – Hinsdale Central started out this season slow but as built up their performances in every week. The Red Devilettes lost three of last year’s top runners to graduation. They still made it back to state by finishing fifth at their own regional. The pack running that they have exhibited shows how strong this team is. They will need that considering they will not have a big gun challenging up front. Pola Dygon was the top runner last week that led a 34 second split on their top five. Lily Hodneland is running for the first time in the fall, and she has grasped it as the team’s second runner. Gabby Thanos did not run on Saturday getting her ready for this Saturday’s race. She could give this team a boost.


LaGrange (Lyons Township)

Sectional Runners – Madison Findley SR, Julianne Melby SR, Anna Bylsma SR, Jenna Lally SO, Shannon Cranny SR, Lauren Bohringer SR, Leigh Ferrell JR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (7th)

Overview – The Lions again to the state meet finishing sixth at the Hinsdale Central. This team does not have the star runner that they might have in other years. They need to achieve things in racing with a tight pack. Their pack was in action on the rolling terrain of Katherine Legge Memorial with a 21 second split led by the 19-20 second finish from Madison Findley and Julianne Melby. The team getting off to a faster start and maintaining that type of split could move ahead of teams that were ahead of them in past weeks.



Sectional Runners – Haley Rahman FR, Ava Allison SR, Cory Klivinger SO, Morgan Sauber FR, Aspen Maldonado SO, Mackenzie Billard JR, Ava Berardi JR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (13th)

Overview – Huntley made it back to the state even after three of their top runners from last year graduated. The Red Raiders finished third last Saturday at the Lake Park Sectional using some great pack running to get them to this Saturday’s state meet. Haley Rahman has been the team’s top runner almost all season. The freshman ran 18:21 to lead this team. Four seconds separated Ava Allison, Cori Kilvinger, and Morgan Sauber in the second through fourth spots. The split on five runners was 57 seconds in last week’s race.


Wheaton-Warrenville South

Sectional Runners – Nicole Poglitsch JR, Jenna Bachara SR, Frida Martinez JR, Abby Barrett SO, Claire Siebert SR, Kate Rodakowski FR, Mackenzie Armstrong JR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2021 (17th)

Overview – The Tigers were disappointed last year missing qualifying for the state meet. Their determination showed last Saturday as they finished fifth to advance to the state meet from the Lake Park Sectional. Nicole Poglitsch has won her past three races and could finish in the top five on Saturday. South had a nice split behind Poglitsch led by Jenna Bachara and Frida Martinez. Bachara ran 18:43 while Martinez was 16 seconds back. The 2-5 split for the Tigers last week was 47 seconds. The pack behind Poglitsch has improved throughout the season and could lower their split down to 30 seconds. It could mean a top 15 team finish.


Frankfort (Lincoln-Way East)

Sectional Runners – Maura Hanrahan SR, Kara Waishwell JR, Katie O’Brien SR, Olivia Launius FR, Kate Roberts FR, Ava Conway SR, Makayla Kelly SR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2016 (25th)

Overview – It seems over the past number of years that Lincoln-Way East has failed to make it to the state meet. They accomplished that last Saturday finishing seventh at the Granite City Sectional. The last time that the Griffins made it to the state meet was in 2016. Maura Hanrahan stepped up as the top runner in this meet nine seconds ahead of #2 runner Kara Waishwell. It help that they had a 47 second split on their top five to help them make this trip.


Park Ridge (Maine South)

Sectional Runners – Olivia DeLuca SR, Tessie Bradley FR, Sofia Arcuri JR, Ryan Mullarkey SR, Sophie Jaroch SR, Sophia Iniguez FR, Lucia Fuentes SO.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (19th)

Overview – Maine South make a return trip to the state meet after finishing fourth last week at Lake Park. Olivia DeLuca again was the team’s top runner finishing ahead of Tessie Bradley and Sofia Arcuri. The split on the three runners was 22 seconds. Arcuri has missed most of the season due to an injury. The junior running in the regional and sectional races will give the Hawks a boost on Saturday. Their top five split last week was 70 seconds.



Sectional Runners – Gwendolyn Krodel FR, Madeline Cassidy SO, Claire Deppe FR, Madison Wnek JR, Avery Hacker FR, Olivia Gebhardt JR, Chloe Kammes SO.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2021 (11th)

Overview – The Bulldogs redeemed them self from last year not making the state meet by finishing sixth at the Lake Park Sectional and advancing to Saturday’s State Meet. It helped during the year of three freshman earning their way into the top seven runners. One of them was Gwendolyn Knoedel who was the team’s top sectional runner finishing 36th. This team is young with five sophomores and freshmen in the top seven. Tight pack running helped with an eight second split on their top four runners. Their overall top five split was 28 seconds. That type of race could benefit them at Detweiller Park.


Gurnee (Warren Township)

Sectional Runners – Kaylee Wilson FR, Finley Jezuit FR, Kate Mondejar SO, Emily Towson SR, Addison Filipowicz SO, Emma Leung SR, Joselyn Schenk JR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2012 (12th)

Overview – The Blue Devils made it back to the state meet for the first time in 11 years by  finishing fourth at the Hoffman Estates Sectional. This team is young with four of their top five runners underclassmen. Freshman Kaylee Wilson had a big meet last week finishing seventh overall. We could see her among the top 25 on Saturday afternoon. Another freshman, Finley Jezuit, was 26 seconds behind her teammate,  should be in the first 35, maybe in the top 25 with a great race. Their top five split last week was 151 seconds.


Glen Ellyn (Glenbard West)

Sectional Runners – Maggie Hibbard SR, Maddie Morgan SR, Mackenzie Gilbert SO, Sophie Mitra SR, Moira Ahern SR, Ella Demchinski SO, Alexa Novak SO.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2021 (18th)

Overview – It was close at the end for the Hilltoppers as they finished seventh and qualified for the state meet ahead of eighth-place Hampshire by five points. Glenbard West was successful through some great pack running that got them back to Detweiller Park after missing last year’s state meet. Their top five of Maggie Hibbard, Maddie Morgan, Mackenzie Gilbert, Sophie Mitra, and Moira Ahern were separated by just 16 seconds.


Aurora (Metea Valley)

Sectional Runners – Julia Hannon SO, Kamea Baker SR, Maya Hall SR, Brooke Horning SR, Zoe Kirkman SR, Isabella Sieben SR, Keira Nelson SR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2016 (8th)

Overview – The Mustangs navigated the tough waters of the Hinsdale Central Sectional and came away with a seventh place finish and a trip to the state meet. The Girls team has not raced at Detweiller for state since 2016. The team needed a 48 second split in their top five runners to accomplish that. Julia Hanson was the team’s top runner for Metea Valley with teammate Kamea Baker 19 seconds behind her.


Winnetka (New Trier)

Sectional Runners – Josie Cahill JR, Hannah Falk SR, Sadie Abbott JR, Sawyer Vyas SO, Nina Holroyd SR, Kayla Ritchie FR, Lauren Moutvic SR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2021 (12th)

Overview – After a year’s absence, New Trier is back racing at the state meet after finishing fifth at the Hoffman Estates Sectional. Josie Cahill finished 25th to lead het team. Senior Hannah Falk was just 17 seconds behind Cahill. The Trevians had a 12 second split from their third through fifth runners to help them advance to this weekend’s meet.


Lake Zurich

Sectional Runners – Celia Blaylock FR, Polina Krupsky SO, Lindsey Bitzer SR, Hannah Gillhaus SO, Bianca Perez JR, McKenzie Bergfeld SR, Avery Buhr FR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2014 (15th)

Overview – The Bears advanced out of sectionals for the first time since 2014 finishing seventh at the Hoffman Estates Sectional. This team from the North Suburban Conference is young with five underclassmen runners out of their top seven. Celia Blaylock had one of her best races of the season finishing 21st. The freshman could surprise some fans on Saturday finishing in the top 40. Lake Zurich had an 83 second split in their top five runners. The split off second runner Polina Krupsky last Saturday was 32 seconds.


Wilmette (Loyola Academy)

Sectional Runners – Jane Lynch JR, Katie Mueller SO, Ana Kimball JR, Lauren Woodward SR, Erin Gibbons SO, Presley Zimmerman FR, Elle Anderson JR.

Last State Meet Appearance – 2022 (10th)

Overview – The Ramblers came on strong at the end of the season and surprised some by finishing sixth at the Hoffman Estates Sectional. Jane Lynch, who finished 44th in last year’s state meet, was the top runner for her team finishing 19th. She could be a top 25 finisher on Saturday with one of her best seasonal races. Katie Mueller is the team’s second runner who led a 43 second split on their next four runners at Busse Woods.