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Fall Sports Preview: Girls Cross Country

by Matt Cosentino


RUNNERS TO WATCH: Katy Storti had quite a debut for Bishop Eustace, as she was crowned the South Jersey Non-Public champion, took fourth at states and 40th at the Meet of Champions. She also placed fourth in Camden County and third in the Olympic Conference, and it will be exciting to watch what she can do as a sophomore. But she wasn’t the only freshman phenom for the Crusaders last year, as Clare Morelli and Suzanne Picciano both placed in the top 10 at the county and sectional meets and the top 40 at states. Junior Abigail Gilson’s solid year included an eighth-place finish at sectionals, and other returners include junior Brielle Bianchini and senior Christine Adams.

OUTLOOK: The Crusaders shined at all of the major races in 2015, taking first at sectionals, second in the county, fifth in the conference and seventh at states. They also won the Division I title at the South Jersey Open. They plan on contending again with their super sophomores leading the way.

Fighting Irish

RUNNERS TO WATCH: Junior Melissa Rodriguez returns as the No. 1 runner for Camden Catholic after placing 18th at sectionals and 36th at the Camden County meet. She’s joined at the front of the pack by sophomore Kimberly Powers, who finished in 33rd at sectionals. Other returners are junior Kristen Sampson and seniors Cindy Liu and Daniela Galvan.

OUTLOOK: The Irish hope to increase their numbers this year and develop a strong core around Rodriguez.


RUNNERS TO WATCH: Gabrielle Moraschi’s impressive freshman campaign included top-20 finishes at the Burlington County and Olympic Conference meets, and she also placed 24th at sectionals. It will be interesting to see how she follows it up as a sophomore this fall. Freshman Kate Rathman is another talented youngster who could push Moraschi for the No. 1 spot. Other runners who should contribute are seniors Sophie Scheiner, Julianne Gallagher and Gabby Ciotti and juniors Shannon Young and Sophia Eick.

OUTLOOK: The Chiefs placed third in the county, fourth in the conference and seventh at sectionals in 2015. Despite the loss of No. 1 runner Jess McAdams, they expect to remain competitive.


RUNNERS TO WATCH: Senior Taegan Field is back to lead Cherry Hill East after taking 10th in Camden County and 25th in the Olympic Conference. Sophomore Dani Lazarus was the team’s highest finisher at sectionals in 44th place and also placed 11th in the county. Senior Alexa Happ and junior Jill Westman were in the top 20 of the county race and seniors Rachel Allen and Carrie Baeckstrom are other key returners. The Cougars are also excited to welcome in sophomore Sarah Pierce, who ran a 5:25 mile in the spring and is coming out for the cross country team for the first time.

OUTLOOK: The Cougars took third in the county, eighth in the conference and 13th at sectionals and should move up a few notches with all of their top runners back.


RUNNERS TO WATCH: Mirasha Williamson was West’s top finisher at sectionals as a fresh- man and hopes to build on that performance as a sophomore. Junior Keller Bean is another strong competitor who took 29th in the Camden County meet and 32nd at sectionals. Other returners are senior Safeyyah Aly; juniors Cassaundra Hoch, Sally Johnston, Emily Santana, Danielle Rash and Melissa Palladino; and sophomores Elizabeth Santana, Katie Chance and Mady Engelman.

OUTLOOK: The Lions have a solid core returning from a team that placed sixth in the county and eighth at sectionals and hope to make their presence felt at the major races.


RUNNERS TO WATCH: There was no sophomore jinx for Julia Rothstein in 2015, as she followed up a terrific debut with another strong season. She took second at the Tri-County Conference Championships and third at the Gloucester County meet before taking 16th at sectionals and 69th at states. Rothstein will lead the pack along with senior Kaitlin Donahue, who placed 33rd at sectionals, and junior Rachel Doring, who was in the top 20 at the county and conference races. Senior Catherine Tistan and sophomore Gabrielle Beske-Somers are other important returners, and junior Magdalene Henry is a varsity newcomer who won the county JV race last year.

OUTLOOK: The Pioneers had another fine season last fall, taking second at both the conference and county meets, placing fourth at sectionals and moving on to states for the second straight year. Expect the recent success to continue.


RUNNERS TO WATCH: Seniors Nicole Meskin and Irene Nam were the top two runners for Eastern last fall and are hoping to end their careers on a high note. Meskin placed 23rd at the Camden County meet and Nam wasn’t far behind in 37th. Sophomore Kristaileen Quinones finished strong in her freshman campaign and will be another key runner, along with senior Archana Mupparapu. Juniors Caitlin Hargrave and Adena Cohen, as well as senior newcomers Karina Goldberg and Jaden Grisso, should add depth to the squad.

OUTLOOK:After a rebuilding season in 2015, the Vikings hope the experience they gained pays off this year.


RUNNERS TO WATCH: Gloucester Catholic graduated its top runner but brings back sophomore Lauren Young, an all-conference selection, and junior Liz Heath, who were two of the most consistent competitors last year. Sophomore Nikki Reed and junior Caroline Marinari are other returners who hope to lower their times this fall. The Rams also have a group of underclassmen who have a lot of promise, including sophomores Devon Tindley, Mia Simila and Ciara Mondel and freshman Ayana Tate.

OUTLOOK: The Rams were extremely young last fall but hope to continue their progress in 2016.


RUNNERS TO WATCH: It seems like only yesterday that Briana Gess was bursting onto the scene and becoming the third freshman in state history to win the Meet of Champions. Now she is a senior and look- ing to end her remarkable career with a bang. Last year, Gess claimed her second state title and her third crowns at both the sectional and Colonial Conference meets. She went on to place third at the Meet of Champions with a time of 18:25 and will be in contention at all of the major races this fall. Gess is joined by several other standouts, including senior Meg Schroeter (top 10 in the conference and sectionals, 25th at states); junior Izzy Miller (top five in the conference and sectionals, 29th at states); and junior Lilly Minor (third at sectionals, sixth in the conference). Seniors Alexa Gostovich, Lauren Lynch and Anna Haley are fierce competitors and part of a senior class that has gone undefeated in dual meets throughout its career.

OUTLOOK: The Bulldawgs claimed their sixth straight sectional title and took third in the state in 2015. They will be a force again this fall, and it will certainly be exciting to see how Gess ends her career.


RUNNERS TO WATCH: Kingsway is loaded with talent and it all starts with senior Rachel Vick, who repeated as the champion in Gloucester County and the Tri-County Conference last year. She also ran 18:46 at sectionals to place fourth and advance to states for the third year in a row, and she will be one of the area’s premier runners this year. Right behind Vick is junior Alexis Mullarkey, who would be the clear-cut No. 1 runner on most teams. Mullarkey ran cross country for the first time last year and had top-five finishes at the county, conference and sectional meets and went on to take 15th at states and the Meet of Champions. Other standouts are seniors Destiny Stanford and McKenzie Nugent and sophomore Morgan Robinson, who all placed in the top 10 at the county and conference meets. Stanford also placed sixth at sectionals, while Robinson took 12th and Nugent finished 18th. Sophomores Lauren Krott and Laurel Hannigan also return after placing in the top 20 at the county and conference races.

OUTLOOK: The Dragons won county, conference and sectional championships in 2015 and placed sixth at states. They should be one of the favorites at those meets this fall.


RUNNERS TO WATCH: Patricia Thomas, a senior, and juniors Talia Hartman and Meghan Vizzard—Lenape’s three captains—will be the key runners for the Indians this year. Sophomores Hayley Conway and Erin Scioli also have the potential to shine following solid freshman campaigns. Lenape is also hopeful that a large group of promising freshmen will provide much-needed depth to help the team become a contender.

OUTLOOK: The Indians took eighth at the Burlington County Open and ninth at the Olympic Conference Championships last year and have set a goal of moving up and contending at both of those races this fall.


RUNNERS TO WATCH:Moorestown graduated a solid senior class but brings back No. 1 runner Tara Thornton, who enters her senior year with high hopes. She took 10th in Burlington County, third in the BCSL Liberty Division and ninth at sectionals before ending her season at states. Charlotte Lewis is another senior leader who placed 12th in the Liberty Division and 26th at sectionals. Junior Sam Haymore and senior Jamie Wun should also be part of the top five and several JV runners will look to move into the varsity lineup as well.

OUTLOOK: The Quakers won the Liberty Division team crown, took second at sectionals and fourth at the county meet. Thornton will look to keep them among the top teams.


RUNNERS TO WATCH: Sophomore Felisa Patel showed potential as a freshman and could possibly take over as the new No. 1 runner for Moorestown Friends. She placed 35th at sectionals last fall. Junior Samantha Ghazal is another key returner and the senior leaders include Maura DiVentura, Meredith Aristone, Camille Aguilar, Katie Schuyler and Mattie Sloan. Other runners hoping to contribute are junior Caroline Cook and freshmen Jillian Mackuse and Jasmine Phillips.

OUTLOOK: The Foxes graduated a solid senior class and will be looking to develop some new runners around their talented returners.


RUNNERS TO WATCH: Sophomore Annie Skiles emerged as the top runner for Paul VI last year and was one of several freshmen to have an immediate impact. She took second at both the South Jersey Non-Public meet and the Camden County Championships, seventh in the Olympic Conference and 38th at states. Senior Ann Foley also returns to the front of the pack after taking fifth at sectionals, seventh in the county and 16th in the conference. Other sophomores looking to build on stellar freshman sea- sons are Miranda Zevallos, Amelia Smith, Sarah Schultes and Carly Schmidt.

OUTLOOK: The Eagles’ status as one of the premier non-public programs in the area didn’t change last fall, as they were county champions, placed sixth in the conference, second at sectionals and ninth at states. This year’s young and talented squad should add to the list of accomplishments.

Golden Eagles
RUNNERS TO WATCH: Senior Kayla Martin and junior Sydny Warner form a terrific one-two punch for Seneca and should push each other to big things this fall. Last year, Martin ran 19:18 to take fourth at sectionals and also had top-10 finishes at the Burlington County Open and Olympic Conference Championships. Warner placed seventh at sectionals and was the Golden Eagles’ highest finisher at states in 16th. Both turned in strong performances at the Meet of Champions, clocking in at below 20 minutes. Senior Jessica Sprague was in the top three at the end of last season and took 15th at sectionals. She is coming off terrific seasons in winter and spring track. Junior Carley Tool was injured at the end of last season but is expected to be in the top five, and sophomore Reilly Ritter is another key returner who placed 14th at sectionals. Sophomore Jordan Guerrera will also strive to be in the top five, and sophomores Annie Rollins and Anna Vosler add depth.

OUTLOOK: The Golden Eagles repeated as South Jersey Group III champions in 2015 and went on to place third at states and seventh at the Meet of Champions. This program has established itself as one of the most successful in South Jersey in recent years and that should continue this fall.


RUNNERS TO WATCH: Kara Bonner seamlessly stepped into the No. 1 position for Shawnee last year following the graduation of sectional champion Nina Bendixen, and should be in store for a fantastic senior season. Bonner was the Burlington County and Olympic Conference champ as a junior, took second at sectionals and fifth at states to qualify for the Meet of Champions. She’s joined by a pair of standout juniors in Claire Rankin and Georgia Larzelere, who were both in the top 10 at the county and conference races. Larzelere also placed 10th at sectionals and Rankin was 13th. Sophomore Grace Kearns and juniors Laura Mavracic and Victoria Vricella are other key contributors.

OUTLOOK: The Renegades will be one of the favorites at the county and conference meets after winning the team titles again last year. They’ll also look to reclaim the sectional crown after taking second behind Kingsway in 2015.


RUNNERS TO WATCH: Junior Rebekah Leone had a breakthrough season in 2015, placing fifth in the Olympic Conference and sixth in Gloucester County to lead Washington Township. She also ran 19:08 at sectionals for 11th place, just miss- ing out on a trip to states. Junior Julia Reilley placed in the top 20 at the county and conference races, while junior Katherine Taylor and sophomore Bella Marchese took ninth and 20th, respectively, in the county meet. Christina Fath is another member of the talented junior class and senior Kate Merrill is a senior contributor.

OUTLOOK: The Minutemaids placed third at both the county and conference meets and eighth at sectionals and have all of their top runners back. They should fare well at the major races again.

To see a complete list of our girls cross country sports schedules, click here to go to our digital edition.

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 5 (July, 2016).
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