Coach: Carolyn Smrz (13th season)
2012 accomplishments: DeKalb finished third in its sectional and had three girls qualify for the state meet, including Jasmine Brown and Kelsey Schrader, who qualified in two events each.
Key returners: Brown, sr., jumps; Schrader, jr., distance; Stephanie Milroy, sr., jumps; Monica York, jr., distance; Aslim Nachman, jr., sprints; Kara Alvarez, so., high jump/sprints
Impact newcomers: Savannah Long, fr., hurdles/pole vault; Courtney Patrick, sr.
Outlook: Brown should be one of the state’s top jumpers in both the long jump and triple jump and will look to improve upon her top-10 finishes at state last season. Schrader, who won the Northern Illinois Big 12 cross country title, will be one of the area’s strongest distance runners.
DeKalb has a lot of returning athletes in a number of events and Smrz said they have 50-plus girls on the roster.
Smrz’s take: “We’ve got a bunch of girls from girls basketball. A couple of them are great leaders for us. We’re really excited for that.”
Coach: Barry Schmidt (13th season)
2012 accomplishments: Danielle Neisendorf placed seventh in the high jump at state.
Key returners: Neisendorf, sr., high jump/sprints/pole vault; Brianna Kramer, jr., hurdles/sprints; Renae Kurpius, sr., distance; Vanessa Garza, sr., jumps/sprints
Impact newcomers: Carly Fischer, fr., throws; Briana Campbell, fr., middle distance
Outlook: G-K will continue as a Class 2A school and it will be tough for the Cogs to compete in the Big Northern Conference. Schmidt likely will rely on a couple of girls to score points in multiple events for G-K.
Schmidt’s take: “We have a core group of veterans to provide leadership to the rest of the team who are very inexperienced. Our sectional is tough once again, with many quality programs who place many athletes at state.”
Coach: Greg Burks (12th season)
Key returners: Beth Klein, sr., high jump, 400; Kristen Clark, jr., middle distance; Katie Hoffman, jr., middle distance, 300 hurdles; Emily Clark, so., distance
Impact newcomers: Bridgette Edmeier, sr.; Lexy Seierstad, sr.; Courtney Carls, fr.; Andrea Curry, fr.; Madison Davies, fr.; Madison Kibling, fr.; Sophia Peters, fr.
Burks’ take: “We have a hard working core of four returners and some new faces to mix in this year also.”
Coach: Dane Bell (ninth season)
2012 accomplishments: Kalia Foster set numerous school records in distance events and Chantel Kyler qualified for Class 1A state meet in high jump.
Key returners: Kyler, so., high jump; Emily Schilling, so., distance; Ariel Russell, sr., long jump; Kate Thuestad, sr., throws
Impact newcomers: Alex Van Whye, fr., hurdles
Outlook: Indian Creek got a nice surprise last season when Kyler, only a freshman, cleared 5-4 to qualify in the high jump.
Bell said the Timberwolves have a good number of girls out for the team. There are a few holes, but Indian Creek should have good depth in numerous events.
Bell’s take: “It looks to be a pretty good season for us, and if all goes well, we could send a handful of girls to state.”
Coach: Doug Ecker (fourth year)
2012 accomplishments: Kaneland took fourth place as a team in a sectional and qualified two relays and three athletes for the state meet, with two individuals advancing to Saturday’s finals.
Key returners: Sydney Strang, jr., 800; Lauren Zick, jr., 400; Amanda Lesak, sr.; Maggie Brundige, sr.; Jessica Kucera, so.; Kaltrina Ismaili, so.; Ashley Castellanos, sr., triple jump/sprinter
Impact newcomers: Victoria Clinton, so., distance; Brianna Bower, fr., distance; Allie Heinzer, fr., sprints; Olivia Galor, fr., sprints; Elle Tattoni, so., throws
Outlook: Strang took 11th at state in the 800 and Zick made it down state in the 400. The 4x800 and 4x400 relay teams return from last season, meaning Kaneland should possess a number of quality athletes throughout the running events.
The Knights also will get a boost from Clinton, who won the Class 2A cross country championship in the fall.
Ecker’s take: “We actually go five or six deep in quality sprinters. In the past, we haven’t been able to do that. We don’t have a whole lot of depth in the field events, but we have some individuals scattered around those events.”
Coach: Joe McCormick
2012 accomplishments: The Spartans’ 4x800 and 4x100 made it to state while senior Lake Kwaza took second in the 100.
Key returners: Maggie Lalowski, jr., distance; Stephanie Cole, jr., distance; Morgan Morreale, jr., distance; Lilia Edwards, so., hurdles/jumps; Brianna Iwans, jr., 400; Sarah Grant, jr., throws
Impact newcomers: Paige Wogen, so., jumps/sprints; Alyssa Feuerbach, fr., throws
Outlook: Sycamore lost Kwaza to graduation, but hopes to make up her points with a strong corps of sophomores and juniors. Edwards already has put up impressive marks in the triple jump and Sycamore returns a nice complement of distance runners.
McCormick’s take: “I’m pretty excited about the jumps. Our field events are probably going to be our strongest events.”
– Ross Jacobson, email@example.com