Girls Cross Country

Girls Cross Country ...From the pages of Suburban Family Magazine's Fall High School Sports Preview...

Bishop Eustace Crusaders
Players to watch: Seniors Natalia Marrone and Sarah DiDomenico were both Olympic Conference National Division second-team all-stars in 2013 and lead the list of returners. Marrone also took 23rd in Division I at the South Jersey Open, while DiDomenico was 34th. Senior Maureen Walsh and juniors Christen Piccioni and Caitlin Reyes were also consistent runners for the Crusaders a year ago. Other contributors are senior Kara Moy, junior Ally Hohman and sophomores Christine Adams and Rebecca Clements.

OUTLOOK: The Crusaders placed seventh at the Camden County Championships, second at the South Jersey Non-Public Championships and 12th in the state in Non-Public A. After graduating just a few runners, they have the potential for a solid 2014 season.

Camden Catholic Fighting Irish
Players to watch: Senior Kelly McHugh is coming off a strong junior season in which she placed 10th in the conference, 12th in the county and 20th in the state in Non-Public A. She was also an all-conference first-teamer along with sophomore Kelsey Crouse, who placed 42nd at states as a rookie. Other top returners include juniors Meghan Giordano and Jada Wade and sophomores Julia Portland, Kelsey Collarin and Stephanie Zane.

Outlook: The Fighting Irish have all of last year’s best runners back and are likely to improve on their 10th-place showing at the Olympic Conference meet.

Cherokee Chiefs
Players to watch: Although Cherokee’s top runner last year was Ally Moraschi, who graduated, most of the team was young and will be back this fall. Sophomore Breanna Gleason came on strong at the end of the year and placed 24th in South Jersey Group IV, while junior Hailey Bookwalter was 33rd at the same event and sophomore Keirsten Montenero took 43rd. Gleason and Montenero also had strong showings at the Olympic Conference Championships and Bookwalter was the JV conference champion. Senior Gabby Vassalotti (pictured) was in the top 30 at the conference and county meets, and the junior class is also strong with Kassie Kromish, Izzi Moraschi and Carly Larosa.

Outlook: Last year’s young squad posted top-five finishes in the conference, county and South Jersey Open, while taking sixth at sectionals. The Chiefs should only get better with most of the team returning.

Cherry Hill East Cougars
Players to watch: The graduation of Camden County champion Maddy Berman is a tough loss, but the Cougars still have a lot of talent returning. Senior Monica Lee took third in Camden County and 21st at both the South Jersey Group IV and Olympic Conference meets. Sophomores Taegan Field, Greer Field and Carrie Baeckstrom all scored points at the state meet, and the Fields were both solid at the county meet, as well. Senior Rebecca McCormack and juniors Jill Raines and Soverno Chen are other key returners.

Outlook: The Cougars are coming off a successful season in which they took second in the county, fifth at the conference and sectional meets and 20th at states. Despite losing Berman, 2014 is shaping up as another terrific season.

Cherry Hill West Lions
Players to watch: Junior Gabrielle Rash placed 20th at the Camden County Championships and senior Julia Marzocca wasn’t far behind in 29th. Marzocca also finished in the top 50 at the Olympic Conference meet for the second straight year. Sophomores Alyssa West and Danielle Graham had solid rookie seasons and Kristen Holloway is a returning senior.

Outlook: The Lions took sixth in the county last year and hope to move into the top 10 at the conference and sectional meets.

Clearview Pioneers
Players to watch: Juniors Emily Schaeffer and Julia Stumpf have been varsity contributors since their freshman years and are now taking over leadership of the team. Schaeffer placed in the top 15 in both the Gloucester County and Tri-County Conference meets and took 42nd in South Jersey Group IV. Stumpf took 14th in the county, 24th in the conference and 54th at sectionals. Kaitlin Donahue is a sophomore returner who had an impressive freshman campaign. She was the Pioneers’ highest finisher at sectionals (27th) and the conference meet (ninth) and also placed 22nd in the county. Catherine Tistan is another key sophomore who took 30th in the conference. Other returners include juniors Megan Jones and Madi Beske-Somers and sophomores Sara Reddy and Lauren Maher.

Outlook: The Pioneers bring back almost the entire team after a season in which they made the top 10 at the sectional, conference and county meets. Expect more of the same in 2014.

Eastern Vikings
Players to watch: The Vikings return a pair of talented seniors in Melanie Edwards and Carly Kenselaar. Edwards finished in the top 20 at both the Camden County and Olympic Conference meets and just missed in South Jersey Group IV, placing 22nd. Kenselaar was eighth in the county, 23rd in the conference and 39th at sectionals. Sophomore Nicole Meskin (19th) and junior Danielle Hess (42nd) also turned in strong performances in the county and Nisha Baghchi is an important senior.

Outlook: Eastern took third in the county last fall—a year after winning the title—and took seventh in the conference and eighth at sectionals. With strong senior leaders, they’ll be contenders once again.

Gloucester Catholic Rams
Players to watch: Gloucester Catholic graduated its top two runners but is led by returning senior Jade Broussard. Other seniors are Megan Thelen, Caitlyn Hill and Cara Rabatin. Sophomores Haley Finley and Liz Heath are also key returners, while freshman Emma Billings is expected to have an impact right away.

Outlook: The Rams are hoping a solid group of returners will help them improve at the conference and sectional meets.

Haddonfield Bulldawgs
Players to watch: On a deep and talented roster, the obvious place to start is with Briana Gess, the latest in a long line of Haddonfield distance stars. All she did as a rookie was become just the third freshman ever to win the Meet of Champions individual title with a time of 17:45. She also set a freshman course record of 18:16 to win the Group II state title, joining the earlier championships she claimed in South Jersey and the Colonial Conference. Gess went on to take fifth at the Foot Locker Northeast Regionals and 13th at nationals, which was tops among freshmen. It will be exciting to see what she can do as a sophomore and for the rest of her career. Gess was just one of several standout freshmen for the Bulldawgs a year ago, as they took the top five spots at the conference championships and four of them were rookies. Alexa Gostovich, Lauren Lynch and Meg Schroeter all joined Gess in the top five, and they also placed in the top 10 at sectionals and the top 30 at states. Anna Haley is another impressive sophomore who placed eighth in the conference. You can’t forget about seniors Lauren DeCoursey and Julia Fonshell, either. DeCoursey took 20th in the state to go with top-five finishes at sectionals and the Colonial meet, while Fonshell placed 23rd at states.

Outlook: The Bulldawgs won their fourth straight sectional championship and 22nd overall last year while taking second at states and fifth at the Meet of Champions. With the dominant Gess at the front of the pack, look for them to contend for their first state crown since 2008.

Kingsway Dragons
Players to watch: Rachel Vick leads an outstanding group of sophomores who all contributed on varsity as freshmen. She placed fourth in the Tri-County Conference and fifth in Gloucester County—with all seniors ahead of her—and went on to take 15th in South Jersey Group IV and 41st at states. Mackenzie Nugent and Marissa Heino are other sophomores who finished in the top 20 in the conference, while Nugent also took 12th in the county and another sophomore, Erin Murphy, placed 21st in the county. Kingsway also has a pair of terrific seniors in Claudia Wells and Kara Clark. Wells was fifth in the conference and top 20 at both the county and sectional meets, and Clark was 17th in the county, 26th in the conference and 28th at sectionals.

Outlook: The Dragons took first in the conference, second in the county and third at sectionals in 2013. With Vick setting the pace, they have the potential to claim titles at all of those meets this year.

Lenape Indians
Players to watch: Camille Franklin is primed for a huge senior season after taking second in South Jersey Group IV and 16th at states as a junior. The returning team captain also placed seventh in the Olympic Conference. Senior Maeve Ryan is another important returner who was 28th in Burlington County, 30th at sectionals and 34th in the conference. Other returning seniors are Brenna Vicente, Eryka Colucci and Lizzy Restivo, and sophomore Dana Duffield is coming off a promising freshman campaign.

Outlook: The Indians couldn’t pull off their third straight South Jersey title in 2013, but that doesn’t mean the season wasn’t a success. They took fourth in the county, sixth in the conference and seventh at sectionals and appear ready to improve on those marks this fall.

Moorestown Quakers
Players to watch: Senior Natalie Cooper missed most of last season after a standout sophomore year in which she placed fourth in South Jersey Group III. She hopes to return this fall for a fitting end to her high school career. If she can, she’ll join fellow senior Genevieve Cickavage to give Moorestown an awesome 1-2 punch. Cickavage took fourth in Burlington County, seventh at sectionals and 33rd at states last year. Juniors Heather Warren and Claire D’Antonio and sophomore Tara Thornton round out an impressive top five.

Outlook: The Quakers took third in the county and were also third at sectionals for the second year in a row. If Cooper can return to form, they are a team to watch in 2014.

Moorestown Friends Foxes
Players to watch: Junior Julia Levine was the Foxes’ highest finisher at states and junior Margaux Vellucci is a three-year varsity runner. Returning seniors are Hannah Creighton and Sabrina Patel, while junior Marirose Aleardi is also back. Coach Sarah Slack is also excited to have junior Breanna Riddick and senior Alyia Williams returning after they were injured last season. Senior Vivian Bao, an exchange student who practiced with the team last year but was unable to compete, is another key runner. Newcomers include juniors Sirrea Mills and Anisha Pande, sophomores Maura DiVentura and Leah Gimeno and freshmen Samantha Ghazul, Charlotte Stern, Meredith Aristone and Roja Ponnappan.

Outlook: Unlike last year, the Foxes have several experienced runners returning to the squad, and that experience should lead to more progress as a team in 2014. With a total of 16 runners, a large number for a small school, the future for the program looks bright.

Paul VI Eagles
Players to watch: Despite graduating No. 1 runner Stephanie Hiester and another key runner in Emma Cerveny, the Eagles bring back a lot of talent, including three all-conference first-teamers in junior Michaela Urbach and sophomores Ann Foley and Haley Karcher. Urbach took ninth in Camden County, 25th in the Olympic Conference and 63rd at Non-Public A states, while Foley was 10th in the county, 26th in the conference and 31st at states. Karcher added an 18th-place effort at the county meet and a 43rd-place showing in the conference. Key juniors also include Molly Gallagher, an all-conference second-teamer, Lucy McGrew and Rachel Cerveny. Senior Gabrielle Marino and sophomore Julliet Romantini also return.

Outlook: The Eagles were champions at the South Jersey Non-Public meet, Camden County and Division 2 at the South Jersey Open. They also took third in the conference and eighth at states. They have a proven track record and will continue to contend for titles despite the graduation of their top runner.

Seneca Golden Eagles
Players to watch: Mara Schiffhauer, the star of last year’s team who was the Burlington County champion and took 12th at the Meet of Champions, has graduated, but the Golden Eagles have no shortage of talented returners. Junior Joey Webb ran cross country for the first time last fall and responded with top-five finishes in South Jersey Group III, the Olympic Conference and the county to go with an 18th-place effort at states. Senior Kirsten Horn and junior Lindsay Hoffman both placed in the top 20 at the county, conference and sectional meets. Sophomore Jordan Hall had a solid freshman campaign highlighted by a 32nd-place performance at sectionals, and senior Ashley Peoples is another key runner.

Outlook: Seneca was in contention at all of the major meets in 2013, taking second at states, sectionals, the Olympic Conference and Burlington County. The Golden Eagles also placed 10th at the Meet of Champions. While Schiffhauer is irreplaceable, the talent remains to keep this a top team in South Jersey.

Shawnee Renegades
Players to watch: A pair of seniors and a pair of sophomores highlight the returners from a special 2013 season. Senior Nina Bendixen took fourth in South Jersey Group IV and 26th at states, as well as fourth in the Olympic Conference and sixth in Burlington County. Her classmate, Morgan Arena, was in the top 10 in the county and sectionals and placed 25th at states. Kara Bonner enjoyed an outstanding debut season, placing second in the county, fifth in the conference, 12th at sectionals and 43rd at states, and Cara Keevey was another freshman star, with top-20 efforts at the sectional, conference and county meets. Other runners who could contribute on varsity this year are senior Marybeth Fair, junior Sabrina Romanko and sophomore Blaire Brinster.

Outlook: Last year was a memorable one for Shawnee, which claimed championships in South Jersey Group IV, the Olympic Conference, Burlington County and the South Jersey Open. The Renegades also took fourth at states and seventh at the Meet of Champions. They graduated several standouts, including conference champ Julie DeSpirito, but have a strong core to keep them in contention.

Washington Township Minutemaids
Players to watch: The graduation of Lexie Taylor is a big loss for the Minutemaids. Leading the list of returners are senior Jennfier Klavens and junior Megan Heston. Klavens took 25th at the Gloucester County meet and Heston placed 33rd, while both runners were in the top 50 at the Olympic Conference Championships. Marisa Ragone and Megan Kenderdine are sophomores who showed promise as freshmen, and Emilee Schipske is a returning junior.

Outlook: The Minutemaids won’t be among the elite teams in the area but they should post solid finishes at the premier events.—M.C.

For this year’s Boys and Girls Cross Country schedules, click here

Photo: Cherokee’s Gabby Vassalotti

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family’s High School Fall Sports Preview, July, 2014.
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Author: Matt Cosentino

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