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Girls' Cross Country

by Marc Narducci; Photo by Tim Hawk

BISHOP EUSTACE CRUSADERS

PLAYERS TO WATCH: To put it simply, senior Holly Bischof is one of, if not the best distance runner in the state. Last season, she finished second in the NJSIAA Meet of Champions. During the spring, Bischoff won the NJSIAA Non-Public A state title in the 3,200 meters and then placed fifth in the 5,000-meter race at the Scholastic National Track and Field Championship in North Carolina. Not far behind is senior Courtney Kelly (pictured), a three-time all-conference selection and a two-time All-South Jersey performer. Fellow seniors Rachael Weiss and Melanie Klekotka were also first-team all-conference selections. Other key returning veterans are senior Hannah Hoag and junior Mikaela Gekas-Robinson. Returning letter winners include senior Mary Kate McMullen and juniors Katie Simalchik, Amelia Garcia and Catherine Lavell. Senior Alexa McGrath, a former soccer player, is a welcome addition after a strong spring track season.

BIGGEST COMPETITION: This team is so outstanding, their biggest competitors are one another. The runners will push themselves to excel each day in practice.

OUTLOOK: The Crusaders are two-time defending Olympic National champions and are favored again this year. With experience, talent and depth, coach Chris Threston’s Crusaders have a legitimate shot at being the No. 1 team in South Jersey.

CHEROKEE CHIEFS

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Three key returning runners are seniors Alyssa Litty, Erin O’Leary and Jamie Kehoe. All three were second-team all-Olympic Conference American Division choices. Among the other runners looking to compete in the top seven are senior Taylor Ahern and juniors Melissa Arnold, Courtney Stone, Sarah Robbie and Melissa Kulcyk.

BIGGEST COMPETITION: Defending American Division champion Lenape is the team to beat.

OUTLOOK: The Chiefs lost some key performers but should continue to have a competitive program—they’re just not the favorite in the American Division or South Jersey Group 4.

CAMDEN CATHOLIC FIGHTING IRISH

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Among the veterans are seniors Margaret Patchin, Elizabeth Ellick, Caroline McIntyre and Ting Pan, junior Alaina Billingham and sophomores Caroline Burns and Meredith Jacobs. Newcomers Elizabeth Giordano and Alyssa Duffner, both juniors, are promising.

BIGGEST COMPETITION: Bishop Eustace is the team to beat in the Olympic National Division.

OUTLOOK: Bishop Eustace is the team to beat in the Olympic National Division.

CHERRY HILL EAST COUGARS

PLAYERS TO WATCH: The Cougars have four varsity returnees: seniors Danielle Impagliazzo and Rebecca Ohnona, junior Allison Smith and sophomore Jenny Gao. In addition, junior Sarah Riches is a key returning letter winner. Two newcomers to watch are junior Rachel Seigmeister, who is new to the sport, and sophomore Maddie Berman, a former soccer player who ran a 5:40 mile during the spring.

BIGGEST COMPETITION: Defending division champion Lenape will be among the top teams in South Jersey.

OUTLOOK: The Cougars will be a competitive team, but won’t have the depth to compete with Lenape (and neither will many other teams). This is a good combination of youth and experience, and it will be interesting to see if Berman can translate her success from the spring into her first cross country season.

CHERRY HILL WEST LIONS

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior captain Lynn Juan was usually the Lions’ No. 2 runner last year, while junior Nicolette Graham was the Lions No. 1 runner. Senior captain Lynn Juan was a top runner. Junior Georgie Siller has among West’s top runners, but was slowed by injuries.

BIGGEST COMPETITION: Seneca will be the Lions’ top competitor.

OUTLOOK: If Siller is healthy, this is a team that should bring back its top three runners. And with that as a foundation, it makes West a solid club.

EASTERN VIKINGS

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior Alex Sobieski is expected to be the Vikings’ No. 1 runner, followed by sophomore Debbie Meskin. Another key veteran is junior Samantha Wilson, who could be in the No. 3-4 range for Eastern, which must replace three of last year’s top seven runners.

BIGGEST COMPETITION: Cherokee and defending Olympic American champ Lenape remain the teams to beat.

OUTLOOK: Coach Mike Fulton feels that if some incoming freshmen develop, then Eastern will have shot to be among the top five in South Jersey Group 4 and qualify for states.

GLOUCESTER CATHOLIC RAMS

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Sophomore Julia Hickman shone as an all-Tri-County Conference performer last year, and is poised to be a strong leader on her return this fall. This young team has many other returning athletes, too, including seniors Catherine Dougherty and Kristen Kispert; juniors Bridgette Heisler, Sarah Cox, Lauryn Munn and Amy Pinardo; and sophomores Devon Murphy and Caroline Conte. Five freshmen newcomers will add depth, along with sophomores Maddie Fee and Jamie Ryan.

BIGGEST COMPETITION: Woodstown and Schalick are among the Tri-County teams to beat for Gloucester Catholic.

OUTLOOK: Improvement is expected for Gloucester Catholic, one of the younger teams in Tri-County. Hickman enjoyed an outstanding freshman season and should be even stronger this year.

HADDONFIELD BULLDOGS

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Haddonfield’s team leaders are two of South Jersey’s up-and-coming sophomores: Shelby Cain and Molly Bollinger. Cain, who was 52nd in last year’s Cross Country Meet of Champions, won the South Jersey Group 2 title in the 3,200 meters during the outdoor track season.

BIGGEST COMPETITION: Haddonfield remains the class of the Colonial Conference.

OUTLOOK: Haddonfield is the defending South Jersey Group 2 champion and figures to again be a major contender, despite having to replace so many key graduates, including Group 2 individual champion Mia Spinelli.

LENAPE INDIANS

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior Natalia Ocasio placed second in last year’s South Jersey Group 4 meet and was, along with sophomore Emily McGee, an all-South Jersey selection by the South Jersey Track Coaches Association. Junior Amanda Restivo was a first-team all-conference performer. Other seasoned veterans include senior co-captains Meghan Henry and Cara Cuiule, and juniors Brooke Stanley, Kiersten Campbell and Leanne Vicente. Newcomers to watch include junior Olivia Kopec along with Ana de las Heras, a transfer from Madrid.

BIGGEST COMPETITION: The Indians are the defending division champs, but Cherokee remains a major threat.

OUTLOOK: The Indians remain the ones to beat in their conference and could make a run at their first South Jersey Group 4 title.

MOORESTOWN QUAKERS

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior Tara Monihan was the team’s No. 1 runner last year, and she is coming off a successful spring season. Twins Alexis and Emily Juliano, fellow junior Kayla Bodine and sophomore Lizzie Gorman are the other returning veterans.

BIGGEST COMPETITION: The Quakers will be the favorites again in the Burlington County Liberty Division. In Group 3, Seneca is among the challengers.

OUTLOOK: Moorestown is the defending South Jersey Group 3 champion; this is shaping up to be another big season for the Quakers.

MOORESTOWN FRIENDS FOXES

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior Carolyn Chelius was a first-team all-Friends League choice. Other veteran runners include seniors Kelcie Evans, Rachel Wissel and Shouli Tung, and juniors Trinh Son, Natalie Respond, Ashleigh Cartwright and Lauren Brown. They’re joined by sophomore Morgan Slone, who has displayed potential.

BIGGEST COMPETITION: Germantown Friends is the defending champion and won’t relinquish its title easily.

OUTLOOK : The Foxes have the ability to match or exceed last year’s 5-4 record.

PAUL VI EAGLES

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Seniors Sara Gilson and Aimee Abbott are the leaders, while sophomore Stephanie Heister is an up-and-coming performer. Monica Lee leads what is expected to be a talented freshman class.

BIGGEST COMPETITION: The Eagles will need to best defending Olympic National Champion Bishop Eustace.

OUTLOOK : While this is a young team, the Eagles have the foundation for a good future. This program has experienced a couple of difficult seasons, but now the prospects seem to be looking up.

SENECA GOLDEN EAGLES

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior Cate Wobbe missed most of last season due to appendicitis, but is now recovered and ready to rock. Two of the front-runners from last season include junior Abby Saiia and senior Monica Paulson. Returning letter winners include sophomores Mara Schiffauer, Stephanie Fleming and Sydney Randolph. Junior Paige Macauley, who was one of the top distance runners in winter and spring track, will be out for cross-country for the first time. Another newcomer to watch is incoming freshman Kirsten Horn.

BIGGEST COMPETITION: Seneca will be a tough team to beat. The team won last year’s Olympic Conference Patriot Division with a 5-0 record.

OUTLOOK: Despite graduating five of its top seven runners, this could be an even stronger team, according to second-year coach Karen O’Neil. With Wobbe returning to form, and the addition of Macauley and other talented newcomers, the Golden Eagles hope to contend for a sectional title.

SHAWNEE RENEGADES

PLAYERS TO WATCH: The Renegades are led by their four captains—seniors Renee Leventon, Katie McGowan, Ashley Piatkowski and junior Gina Manaresi. This is a program with a good turnout, and other returning runners from last season include seniors Jordan Patterson, Leanna Schuck and Kata Tabor; juniors Jackie Pezzato, Erin Doyle and Victoria Ro and eight sophomores. Three seniors making a comeback from two years ago are Allison Kimenhour, Anna Durek and Michelle D’Armi.

BIGGEST COMPETITION: Seneca and Shawnee should wage strong competition for Olympic Conference Patriot Division supremacy.

OUTLOOK: The Renegades must replace several key graduates, but should remain a very competitive team.

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP MINUTEMAIDS
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior Dina Iacone, who advanced to the Meet of Champions as a sophomore, could be among the stronger runners in the area. She is coming off a strong outdoor track season. Senior Sarah Strucko is a fourth-year varsity performer. Juniors Brooke Liberto and Kelly Laible are in their third season of varsity. Other returning varsity runners are senior Kristen D’Allessandro and sophomore Kaley Van Zoeren.

BIGGEST COMPETITION: Defending Olympic American Division champion Lenape remains the team to beat.

OUTLOOK: The Minutemaids may not be a favorite in the division or South Jersey Group 4, but this should be a dangerous team, certainly one capable of finishing among the top 20 in South Jersey.

2011 GIRLS' CROSS COUNTRY SCHEDULES

BISHOP EUSTACE CRUSADERS
9/10 at Cherokee Challenge
9/13 at Batch Meet, GCC, 4 p.m.
9/20 at Batch Meet, 5 p.m.
9/27 at Gloucester County College, 5 p.m.
10/5 at National Divisional Girls, 4:30 p.m.

CAMDEN CATHOLIC FIGHTING IRISH
9/10 at Cherokee Challenge
9/13, Batch Meet at GCC, 4 p.m.
9/17 at SJ Shootout, 8:30 a.m.
9/20, Batch Meet, 4 p.m.
10/5 at Divisional Race, 5 p.m.
10/8 at SJTCA Championship, 12 p.m.
10/17, SJ Fresh/Soph Meet at GCC, 3:45 p.m.
10/21 at Olympic Conference Meet, 3 p.m.
11/5 at NJSIAA Sectionals, 10 a.m.
11/19 at Meet of Champions, 11 a.m.

CHEROKEE CHIEFS
9/10 at Cherokee Challenge
9/13 at Olympic Conference Batch Meet
9/17 at S.J. Shootout
9/20 at Olympic Conference Batch Meet
9/27 at Olympic Conference Batch Meet
10/1 at Shore Coaches Invitational
10/5 at Olympic Conference American Division
10/8 at Walt Disney Invitational
10/14 at Burlington County Open
10/21 at Olympic Conference Championships
10/27 at Haddonfield Invitational
11/2 at NJ State JV Championships
11/5 at NJSIAA Sectionals, 10 a.m.
11/12 at State Championship, 10 a.m.
11/19 at Meet of Champions, 10 a.m.

CHERRY HILL EAST COUGARS
9/13 at Olympic Conference Batch Meet, 4 p.m.
9/10 at Cherokee Challenge, 9 a.m.
9/20 at Olympic Conference Batch Meet, 4 p.m.
9/24 at South Jersey Shootout
9/27 at Olympic Conference Batch Meet, 4 p.m.
10/1 at Shore Coaches Meet, 9:00 a.m.
10/5 vs. Division Championships at GCC, 4 p.m.
10/8 at SJ Open, 8:30 a.m.
10/15 at Camden County Meet, 8:30 a.m.
10/17 at SJ Frosh/Soph Meet, 3:45 p.m.
10/21 at Batch Meet
10/26 at Haddonfield Freshman Meet
11/5 at NJSIAA Sectionals, 10 a.m.
11/12 at State Championship, 10 a.m.
11/19 at Meet of Champions, 10 a.m.

CHERRY HILL WEST LIONS
9/13 at Olympic Conference Batch Meet, 4 p.m.
9/17 at S.J. Shootout, 4p.m.
9/20 at Olympic Conference Batch Meet, 4 p.m.
9/27 at Olympic Conference Batch Meet, 4 p.m.
10/4 at Olympic Conference, 4:30 p.m.
10/8 at SJ Open, 8:30 a.m.
10/15 at Camden County Meet, 8:30 a.m.
10/21 at Olympic Conference Meet, 3 p.m.
11/5 at NJSIAA Sectionals, 10 a.m.
11/12 at State Championship, 10 a.m.
11/19 at Meet of Champions, 10 a.m.

EASTERN VIKINGS
9/10 vs. Cherokee Challenge, 9 a.m.
9/13 vs. Olympic Conference Meet, 3:55 p.m.
9/17 vs. Briarwood Meet, time TBA
9/20 vs. Olympic Conference Meet, 3:55 p.m.
9/24 vs. Great Adventure Safari Meet
9/27 vs. Olympic Conference Meet, 5 p.m.
10/1 vs. Shore Coaches
10/5 vs. Olympic American Division Meet, 4 p.m.
10/9 vs. SJ Open at Delsea, 9 a.m.
10/15 vs. Camden County Meet, 3:30 p.m.
10/21 vs. Olympic Conference Meet at, 3 p.m.
10/26 vs. Haddonfield, 3:50 p.m.
11/5 vs. NJSIAA Sectionals, 10 a.m.
11/12 vs. NJSIAA Group Meet
11/19 vs. NJSIAA Meet of Champions

GLOUCESTER CATHOLIC RAMS
9/9 at Woodstown, 4 p.m.
9/10 at Cherokee Challenge
9/13 vs. Arthur P. Schalik at Haddon Lake Park, 4 p.m.
9/17 at SJ Shootout, 8:30 a.m.
9/20 vs. GCIT at Haddon Lake Park, 4 p.m.
9/27 at Gloucester City, 4 p.m.
10/1 at Shore Conference Meet
10/8 at SJ Open at Delsea, 8:30 p.m.
10/11 vs. Pitman at Penns Grove, 4 p.m

HADDONFIELD BULLDOGS
9/10 at Cherokee Challenge
9/13 vs. Haddon Twp., 4:10 p.m.
9/17 at Belmont Plateau, 8 a.m.
9/20 vs. Audubon, 4:10 p.m.
9/20 at Batch Meet, 4 p.m.
9/24 at Belmont Plateau, 8 a.m.
10/1 at Shore Coaches Meet, 9 a.m.
10/4 at Gateway Regional, 4:10 p.m.
10/4 at Paulsboro, 4:10 p.m.
10/11 vs. Overbrook, 4:10 p.m.
10/11 vs. Lindenwold, 4:10 p.m.
10/11 vs. West Deptford, 4:10 p.m.
10/17 at SJ Fresh/Soph Meet, 3:45 p.m.
10/20 at Colonial Conference, 4 p.m.
10/26 vs. Haddonfield JV Meet, 4 p.m.
11/5 at NJSIAA Sectionals, 10 a.m.
11/19 at Meet of Champions, 11 a.m

LENAPE INDIANS
9/13, Batch Meet, GCC, 4 p.m.
9/17 at Briarwood Invitational, TBA
9/20 at Batch Meet, GCC, 4 p.m.
9/24 at Six Flags Invitational, 8:15 a.m.
9/27, Batch Meet at GCC, 4 p.m.
10/1 at Shore Coaches Invitational, 8 a.m.
10/5 at American Division Girls, 4 p.m.
10/14 at Burlington County Open
10/21 at Olympic Conference
10/26 at Haddonfield JV Meet, 4 p.m.
10/27 at Haddonfield Invitational
11/5 at NJSIAA Sectionals,10 a.m.
11/19 at Meet of Champions, 11 a.m.

MOORESTOWN QUAKERS
9/10 at Cherokee Challenge
9/13 at New Egypt, 3:30 p.m.
9/17 at SJ Shootout, 9 a.m.
10/1 at Shore Coaches Invitational, 9 a.m.
10/4 at N. Burlington, 3:30 p.m.
10/8 at SJ Open, 9 a.m.
10/14 at Burlington County Open, 3:30 p.m.
10/ 17 at SJTCA Fresh/Soph Open, 3:30 p.m.
10/20 at BCSL Divisional , 3:30 p.m.
10/25 at Rancocas Valley Regional, 3:30 p.m.

MOORESTOWN FRIENDS
9/7 vs. St. Joe’s, Hammonton and Medford Tech,? 4 p.m.
9/10 at Cherokee Challenge
9/15 vs. Maple Shade, Palmyra and Westampton, 3:45 p.m.
9/20 at Abington Friends, 4 p.m.
9/24 at Holy Cross
9/25 at Holy Cross, 8:30 a.m.
9/27 at Shipley, 4 p.m.
10/1 at Shore Coaches Invitational, 9 a.m.
10/4 vs. Friends Select and Westtown, 4 p.m.
10/11 at Germantown Friends School, 4 p.m.
10/14 at Millcreek Park
10/18 at Belmont, 3:15 p.m.
11/5 at NJSIAA Sectionals, 10 a.m.
11/19 at Meet of Champions, 11 a.m.

SENECA GOLDEN EAGLES
9/10 at Cherokee Challenge
9/13 at Batch Meet, GCC, 4 p.m.
9/20 at Batch Meet, GCC, 4 p.m.
9/24 at Six Flags Invitational, 8 a.m.
9/27 at Batch Meet, GCC, 4 p.m.
10/1 at Shore Coaches Invitational , 9 a.m.
10/4 at Olympic Patriot Championships, 4:30 p.m.
10/8 at SJTCA Championships, 12 p.m.
10/14 at Burlington County Open
10/17 at SJTCA Fresh/Soph, 3:45 p.m.
10/21 at Olympic Championships, 4 p.m.
11/5 at NJSIAA Sectionals , 10 a.m.
11/12 at State Championship, 10 a.m.
11/19 at Meet of Champions, 10 a.m.

SHAWNEE RENEGADES
9/10 at Cherokee Challenge
9/13 at Division Meet, 5 p.m.
9/17 at SJXC Shootout , 8:30 a.m.
9/20 Division Meet at GCC, 5 p.m.
9/27 at Division Meet at GCC, 4 p.m.
10/1 at Shore Coach Invitational
10/4 at Olympic Conference Division Championships, 4:30 p.m.
10/8 at SJTCA Championships, 12 p.m.
10/14 at Burlington County Open, 3:30 p.m.
10/17 at SJTCA Soph/Frosh, 3:45 p.m.
10/21 at Olympic Conference Championships, 4 p.m.
10/25 at Burlington County Frosh/Soph, 3:45 p.m.
11/5 at NJSIAA Sectionals, 10 a.m.
11/12 at NJSIAA States, 10 a.m.
11/19 NJSIAA Meet of Champions, 11 a.m

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP MINUTEMAIDS
9/10 vs. Cherokee Challenge, 9 a.m.
9/13 vs. Olympic Conference Batch Meet, 5 p.m.
9/20 vs. Olympic Conference Batch Meet, 5 p.m.
9/24 vs. South Jersey Shootout at GCC, 9 a.m.
9/27 vs. Olympic Conference Batch Meet, 4 p.m.
10/1 vs. Shore Coaches
10/5 vs. Olympic Conference Batch Meet, 4 p.m.
10/8 vs. South Jersey Open
10/15 vs. Gloucester County Championship, 3:30 p.m.
10/21 vs. Olympic Conference Championship , 4 p.m.
11/5 vs. NJSIAA Sectionals
11/12 vs. State Championship
11/19 vs. State Meet of Champions

Photo: Bishop Eustace runner Courtney Kelly

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family’s High School Fall Sports Preview, August, 2011.
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