Athletes to watch: Tessie Hoge, Sr.; Danielle Nehmer, Sr.; Julieanne Salmen, Jr.; Taylor Adams, So.
Outlook: Beecher's 2012 campaign culminated in a trip to state. Coach Adam Depew hopes that the current season will produce similar results, especially since four runners from that state-qualifying squad are expected to be back. The return of senior Christina Vaughan after a one-year absence should benefit the Ladycats, too. "One of the main things we are really focusing on is closing the gaps in our top pack of runners, which will not only lead to better times but also higher placing as a team," Depew said.
Athletes to watch: Gina Narcisi, Sr.; Sullibet Ramirez, Jr.
Outlook: Andrew Schmitt, who takes the reins from long-time Bloom coach Huey Johnson this season, will oversee a roster of young but talented runners. Narcisi and Ramirez, both of whom were 2012 sectional qualifiers and put in extensive summer training, will be expected to make greater strides as athletes and leaders for the Blazing Trojans. "I believe both (girls) have the right attitude to qualify for state,"Schmitt said. "That's what their goals are."
Athletes to watch: Chastity Powell, Sr.; Latris Daniels, Sr.; Ashley Hobbs, Sr.; Milea Foy, Sr.; Tineja Foy, Jr.
Outlook: The Warriors turned some heads last season after capturing a conference championship and making a sectional appearance. With the return of the top five runners, including conference and regional runner-up Powell, good things could happen again for coach Lisa Werner's group.
Athletes to watch: Megan Magurany, Sr.; Mia Guzynski, Jr.; Holly Hughes, So.; Matea Larrieu, Jr.; Courtney Coleman, So.
Outlook: The Vikings' roster was hit hard by graduation as four valuable runners from last year's team have departed. Therefore, coach Rob Assise is looking for several of his underclassmen to rise to the challenge of being competitive on varsity this season. "We've closed the gap among teams in our area during the past two seasons," Assise said. "If we are able to continue to do that, this season will be a success." Magurany is also expected to serve as a team leader for H-F.
Athletes to watch: Alexa Beezhold, Sr.; Emma Pawlowski, Sr.; Alex Clausing, Sr.; Monica Smits, Sr.; Brittany Groen, So.; Elyssa Patricks, So.
Outlook: Last year, Illiana was able to add more honors to its already-lengthy list, most notably a regional championship, fourth-place sectional finish and state appearance in Class 2A. More of the same could be in store with the return of four top runners, including regional champ Beezhold. Coach Deb Top also hopes underclassmen Groen and Patricks can contribute to the Vikings' winning formula. "With four of our top seven returning, we should have a strong season again," Top said. "A lot will depend on who will be running in spots 5-7 for us and how they progress throughout the season."
Athletes to watch: Caitlin Henry, Sr.; Danielle Sovereign, Sr.; Katie Serba, So.; Ariana Arriaga, So.; Zaria Sydnor, So.
Outlook: Graduation was not kind to the Spartans, as five key contributors from last season's team have moved on. This year, coach Tim Sovereign will look to his top sophomore talent to fill in the vacancies on varsity. Henry and Danielle Sovereign should provide solid senior guidance for an otherwise-young Marian team.
Athletes to watch: DeaJunique Brewer, Jr.; JaySharie Cheers, So.; Kyra White, Sr.
Outlook: The Falcons are essentially starting from scratch this season, in more ways than one. The majority of coach Tashanna Gillenwater-Catron's roster is not only new, but also fairly inexperienced in cross country. Therefore, it will be key for veteran runners Brewer, Cheers and White to regularly deliver strong performances.
Athletes to watch: Karina Perez, Jr.; Yanet Mendez, Jr.
Outlook: Thornton secured a place at the sectional in 2012 and Perez and Mendez, were part of that qualifying squad. They will be expected to take on leadership roles this season as the 'Cats attempt to duplicate last year's accomplishments said coach Vince McAuliffe. "(Karina and Yanet) have been varsity-level athletes since day one (and) their experience and hard work should allow them to have a huge breakout season," McAuliffe said.
Athletes to watch: Monica Munoz, Jr.
Outlook: Munoz, who competed at sectionals as a freshman, returns for the Meteors after sitting out last season. North's new coaches Kalente Jackson and Erik Perez, both of whom ran in college, express optimism about the prospect of Munoz replicating — or even surpassing — her earlier feats. "We have a lot of new girls coming out for cross country this year and (we) are looking toward Monica to lead our young girls to a successful season," Jackson said.
Athletes to watch: Lily Leopardo, So.; Olivia Velasquez, Sr.; Alexis Garcia, Sr.; Brianna Martin, Jr.; Lysette Garcia, Fr.; Isabel Carrillo, Fr.
Outlook: South's lone sectional qualifier in 2012, Jessica Fierce, has graduated, but coach Steve Nelson still has plenty of capable newcomers to work with this year. The leadership of Velasquez and Alexis Garcia will be imperative to the success of a Rebels team that is the largest in several years.
Athletes to watch: Misty Rogers, Jr.; Deondre Stokes, Jr.; Jaleesa Bowers, Jr.; Pita Camacho, Jr.; Janaia Carter, Jr.; Maryam Fanyi, Jr.; Ariel Bolling, So.
Outlook: Late last season, Thornwood coach Roy White bumped his frosh-soph group up to varsity status, a decision that resulted in four girls qualifying for sectionals. Three of those individuals — Rogers, Bowers and Fanyi — will return for this season's campaign. First-year runners Stokes and Bolling could also make a difference for the Thunderbirds.
— Compiled by Kenny Karrson