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Girls Cross Country
2020 High School Sports Preview

by Staff

RUNNERS TO WATCH: Arianna Cane turned some heads with her performances as a rookie and should only get better in her second season at Bishop Eustace. She placed 10th at sectionals with a time of 21:22.97 and also took 31st at both the state and Olympic Conference meets. Elena Cicchini is another talented sophomore who placed right behind Cane at sectionals in 11th. She could also challenge for the No. 1 spot. Senior Charlotte Gottilla is a key veteran and other contributors are junior Emma Berger and sophomore Charlotte Faulk.
OUTLOOK: The Crusaders have several young standouts in the program and expect to make their presence felt at the big races this fall.

RUNNERS TO WATCH: Emma Shannon has shown potential in each of her first two seasons and could be ready to move into the No. 1 spot for Camden Catholic. She placed 37th at the Camden County Championships and 34th at sectionals last year. Vicki Wang is another talented junior who could lead the pack after finishing 30th at sectionals as a sophomore. Senior Brynn Levins is another key veteran and sophomore Winnie Wang will look to build on her promising freshman season.
OUTLOOK: The Fighting Irish don’t have the same numbers as other programs, but their core consists of hard-working runners who should continue to improve this fall.

RUNNERS TO WATCH: Cherokee graduated one of South Jersey’s premier runners in Kate Rathman, but junior  Nicole Clifford is more than ready to move into the No. 1 role on the team. She clocked an 18:57.55 at the Burlington County Open to finish second behind Rathman, and also placed in the top 10 at the Olympic  Conference and sectional meets. It will be interesting to see what she  can accomplish as an  upperclassman. Kelsey Niglio’s impressive rookie season included a 10th-place finish at the county open and top-20 showings at the conference and sectional meets. Senior Kayla McAdams is another important returner and other seniors looking to contribute are Adriana Sommese and Meghan Carroll. The deep sophomore class also includes Paige  Jackson, Francesca Corona, Surina Leszkowicz and Maddie Whipple. Freshmen who could make an immediate impact are Lainey Bromley, Kerry O’Day and Alli Rathman.
OUTLOOK: Last season was a memorable one for the Chiefs, who were county champions, took second at the conference and sectional meets and placed ninth at states. Rathman will surely be missed, but Clifford and the other returners will continue to aim high.

RUNNERS TO WATCH: Three runners who placed in the top 20 at sectionals are back to pace Cherry Hill East. Leading the way is senior MaryKate McCurdy, who clocked a 19:26.80 to place 13th in South Jersey Group IV. She also took fourth at the Olympic Conference meet and 46th at states. Sophomore Alexis Tepper and junior Madison McNiff finished within a few seconds of each other at  sectionals, taking 14th and 17th, respectively. Both also shined at the conference meet, with McNiff taking 11th, one spot ahead of Tepper. Senior Isabel Slimm also placed in the top 20 at the conference meet and 25th at sectionals, while seniors Sabrina Rounds and Jane Cai and junior Emily Volin round out the top seven. Other runners who broke 22 minutes last year are senior Leah Gallagher and sophomore Inesa Grace Linker.
OUTLOOK: The Cougars repeated as Olympic Conference champions last season before taking third at sectionals and 12th at states. With most of the roster returning, they will set the bar high in 2020.

RUNNERS TO WATCH: Megan Faucett has been a top runner for Cherry Hill West  in each of her first two seasons and is primed for a big junior season. She placed ninth at the Camden County meet last year and also ran a 21:43.30 at sectionals to place 31st, the Lions’ best finish. Junior Sarah Davidson is another key veteran who had a top finish of 24th at the county race. Sophomore Lizbeth Reyes will look to ride the momentum of a promising rookie year, and other returners to keep an eye on are senior Theresa Boulos and junior Madison Rowen.
OUTLOOK: With a strong runner like Faucett at the front of the pack, the Lions have a good chance of improving on their 10th-place finish at sectionals from last year.

RUNNERS TO WATCH: Clearview is paced by three  talented returners: sophomores Abigail Kotran and Lana Grelli and senior Katherine Byrne. Kotran’s impressive rookie year featured a time of 19:46.02 at the Tri-County Conference meet for fourth place, along with a sixth at the  Gloucester County meet and a 28th at sectionals. Byrne had the Pioneers’ best time at sectionals, a 19:54 for 26th place, and also finished in the top 20 at the county and conference races. Grelli was consistent at all of the major meets, taking ninth in the conference, 11th in the county and 31st at sectionals. Ava Grelli is a senior leader who had top-20 showings in the county and conference, while senior Jordan Beckman and sophomore Abigail Waddington are other top returners. Senior Amelia Alaqua and junior Mira Switzer are also expected to contribute.
OUTLOOK: The Pioneers were runners-up at the county and conference meets and took sixth at sectionals in a strong 2019 campaign. With most of the roster returning, hopes are high this fall.

RUNNERS TO WATCH: Lauren Kenselaar consistently ran in the low 20-minute range last year during her sophomore campaign, and then broke through with a personal best of 19:39.50 at sectionals to place 19th. She also took 16th at the Olympic Conference Championships and is poised for a big junior season. Senior Morgan Bromley, a stalwart of the program since her freshman year, is another top returner who placed 14th in the conference and 38th at sectionals. Senior Sierra Feeney will look to create a formidable trio with Kenselaar and Bromley. Other veteran varsity contributors include senior Lauren Baldosaro and sophomore Sophia Gambescia. Seniors Shan Chen and Grace Devakos and junior Arianna Morales are all eyeing a spot on the varsity squad.
OUTLOOK: The Vikings took fourth in the conference and seventh at sectionals last year, and expect to make noise again at those races with a strong core in place.

RUNNERS TO WATCH: Gloucester Catholic had just two runners compete in the major races last year, and both are experienced upperclassmen who will look to shine this fall. Junior Libby Dockett clocked a time of 23:13.88 at sectionals to place 24th and is expecting to crack the top 20. She also had solid showings at the Tri-County Conference and state meets. Senior Lucea Hutchinson also returns after placing 48th at sectionals.
OUTLOOK: The Rams’ two veterans are hoping to take some youngsters under their wing and build a foundation for the future.

RUNNERS TO WATCH: Senior Sarah Naticchia switched from field hockey to cross country last fall and had a dazzling debut season. She was the Colonial Conference and sectional champion before placing third at states and 15th at the Meet of  Champions (MOC). She will be in the mix for another individual title or two in her final campaign. Naticchia is far from the only standout, however. Senior Payton Weiner is another stellar returner who took second in the conference, ninth at sectionals, 11th at states and 25th at the MOC. Twin sisters Allison and Lindsay Colflesh both placed in the top five at sectionals, with Allison taking second and Lindsay finishing fifth. Allison went on to place 21st at states and Lindsay took 37th. The senior class also includes Olivia Stoner, who placed 13th at sectionals, and Georgia Nussey, who had top-15 showings in the Camden County and conference races. Junior Jess Goode and sophomore Helene Usher are other talented returners.
OUTLOOK: Not only did the Bulldawgs capture their 10th straight sectional title last year, but they also cemented themselves as one of the best teams in New Jersey with a second-place finish at states and a fourth at the MOC. A  special senior class will keep them among the elite squads in 2020.

RUNNERS TO WATCH: Ashlynne Burke has put together a memorable career at Kingsway and is hoping to cap it off with a huge senior season. Last year, she repeated as the Gloucester County champion and also claimed the Tri-County Conference title before taking fifth at sectionals. She went on to finish 30th at states and 36th at the Meet of Champions (MOC). Burke will look to defend her county and conference crowns while adding a sectional championship to her résumé. Four other returners also placed in the top 20 at  sectionals. Sophomore Aubrey Pierontoni clocked a 19:04.10 to take seventh and followed up with a 31st at states in her rookie campaign. Junior Allison MacFarland is another standout who placed third in the county and conference, 11th at sectionals and 29th at states. Senior Sydney Watts and junior Allison Helkowski both finished in the top five at the county meet and took 15th and 20th, respectively, at sectionals.
OUTLOOK: Kingsway continues to live up to its reputation as one of South Jersey’s best programs, as the Dragons won the trifecta of county, conference and sectional championships for the fifth year in row last season while also placing third at states and seventh at the MOC. They will set the bar high once more in 2020.

RUNNERS TO WATCH: Grace Boltz is coming off a promising sophomore season in which she consistently ran in the low 20s and placed 26th at the Burlington County Open. She will be one of the candidates to move into the No. 1 spot on the team. Anna Ruley, Nicole Ficken and Krisha Mahajan are key seniors who will also run near the front of the pack. Junior Katie Skidmore is another veteran expected to be in the top five. Other returners hoping to have an impact are seniors Sofia Delvecchio and Mansi Patel, juniors Gabrielle Stanley, Mariam El-Badawi, Delaney Scheidell and Casey Cofsky and sophomore Madison Riley.
OUTLOOK: After placing sixth in the county, ninth in the conference and 13th at sectionals last year, the Indians will be looking to move up a few spots at the major meets.

RUNNERS TO WATCH: Most of the top runners are back for Moorestown, including  No. 1 Kate Inglis, a senior.  A standout since her freshman season,  Inglis took second at the Burlington County Scholastic League (BCSL) meet last year and clocked a 20:34 at sectionals to place 12th.  Leah Rivenburgh and Anu Bezwada are other senior leaders who placed 28th and 33rd, respectively, at sectionals. Bezwada also placed ninth  at the BCSL meet and Rivenburgh took 11th. Maggie Goettle and Claire Bodine are also veterans in the deep senior class who will have an impact. Junior Kaitlyn Eagles and seniors Annabelle Jin and Robin Lee will also look to contribute.
OUTLOOK: The Quakers finished in the top five at the county and sectional meets last year before taking 13th at states. Inglis and the rest of the seniors should keep them in the mix at the big races again.

RUNNERS TO WATCH: Kat Johnson emerged as Moorestown Friends’ No. 1 runner last year and should be even  better in the role as a senior. Named the team’s MVP, she posted a time of 24:25 to place 39th at sectionals and will look to run in the early 20s this fall. Seniors Amy Yin and Jamie Neff finished within seconds of each other at the Friends Schools League Championships and are other key veterans, along with senior Cadence Roy, who was awarded most improved last season. Sophomores Eva  Vanterpool and Ava Savino both showed promise as freshmen, while other runners hoping to contribute are seniors Gabby Makar, Sara Coppola and Abigail  Dawson and sophomores Vivian Messina, Sarah Mitchell and Natalie Vana. Kira Patel, Hannah Puc and Luz Siaca Sanchez are freshmen to watch.
OUTLOOK: The Foxes have a lot of senior leadership and that will be crucial as they set the tone for the younger runners in the program.

RUNNERS TO WATCH: Paul VI brings back No. 1 runner Katie Sparks, a senior who had a long list of accomplishments in 2019. After clocking a 19:21.72 at the Olympic Conference meet to finish fifth, she went on to place second at sectionals and ninth at states before capping things off at the Meet of Champions. She is primed for a big final campaign. Three sophomores made the top  25 at sectionals as rookies: Kamryn Cieslik in 12th, Anna Dougherty in 15th and Samantha Swearington in 23rd. They will look to take things up a notch in their second year. Juniors Carlyann Carey and Sunni Cromwell and sophomores Mia McNally and Lauren Berke are other returners expected to have an impact.
OUTLOOK: Last year was another successful one for the Eagles, who captured their third straight sectional title, placed sixth at states and fifth in the conference. With Sparks leading a veteran lineup, more of the same can be expected in 2020.

RUNNERS TO WATCH: Emma Klouchek returns as Seneca’s No. 1 runner and is looking forward to a big senior season. She posted a time of 19:50.10 at sectionals  to place fourth and also took sixth at the Burlington County Open and eighth at the Olympic Conference Championships. Emma Daniels and Emily Vosler are other seniors who will help set the pace. Daniels took 32nd at sectionals and Vosler placed 48th. Sophomores Danielle  Shoemaker and Danielle Wheeler made progress as rookies and other contributors are juniors Ali Weir and Jennifer Barton.
OUTLOOK: The Golden Eagles graduated some key seniors from a team that placed third at sectionals and 15th at states to go with a fourth in the county and a sixth in the conference. But there is enough talent in place for Seneca to make its presence felt at the big meets again this fall.

RUNNERS TO WATCH: A program that consistently turns out stellar runners has found its latest standout in sophomore Kate Ruona. Her fantastic rookie season featured a time of 18:14.60 at sectionals for third place, followed by an eighth at states and a 33rd at the Meet of Champions. She also took second at the Olympic Conference Championships and third at the Burlington County Open and will look to keep the momentum going in her second season. Sydney Kiernan is another talented sophomore who was the Burlington County JV champion before making a major contribution on varsity with a 26th-place finish in the conference and a 43rd at sectionals. She also competed at states. Junior Madison Koveloski had several strong performances, including a 12th at the county meet, and senior Melanie  Hasson is another solid veteran. Seniors Ashley Olson, Kaitlyn Burton and Meghan Hickey are other experienced returners.
OUTLOOK: The Renegades finished in the top five at the county, conference and sectional meets last year before finishing eighth at states. They always seem to be in the mix at the major races, and that should be the case again this year under new head coach Jason Kendall, with Ruona contending for individual titles.

RUNNERS TO WATCH: After playing field hockey in her first two years at Washington Township, Maura Keane switched to cross country last fall and had an immediate impact. Her accomplishments included a runner-up finish at the Gloucester County meet and a time of 18:53.60 at sectionals for sixth place. Keane,  who also placed seventh at the Olympic Conference meet, went on to place 22nd at states and qualified for the Meet of Champions, where she clocked a time of 19:49 at Holmdel’s challenging course. It will be exciting to see what she can do as a senior. Senior Rachel Meloni, junior Mackenzie Cochran and sophomore Maggie Hunt all placed in the top 35 at the county meet and will be key runners this fall. Other top competitors are seniors Ashton Wisely and Mackenzie Sozio and juniors Faith Cardente and Jade Figueroa, while junior Veronica Kelly and sophomore Katelyn Arnold will also look to contribute.
OUTLOOK: Keane’s emergence last year helped the Minutemaids place third in the county, seventh in  the conference and 10th at sectionals. They should be a team to watch at those races again in 2020.

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 5 (July 2020).
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