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Girls’ Cross Country

by Marc Narducci

Bishop Eustace Crusaders
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior Katie Simalchik was a first-team all-conference performer whose best time was 22:23. Sophomore Natalia Marrone was a second-team all-conference choice, with a best time of 22:30. Senior Mikaela Gekas-Robinson ran a best time of 22:42. Sophomore Sarah DiDomenico was injured for much of last year, but ran a 22:12 best time. Sophomore Danielle Cristinzio returns after posting a best time of 24:50. Also adding depth are senior Amelia Garcia and junior Alyssa Perini. Among the newcomers, sophomore Dominique Ceretti showed potential as a distance runner during the spring track season.

OUTLOOK: Coach Chris Threston’s team has been Olympic Conference National Division champs the past three seasons and will contend with rival Paul VI once again. Both teams will also be in the hunt for the South Jersey Non-Public A championship.

Camden Catholic Fighting Irish
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior Liz Giordano and sophomore Kelly McHugh were all-conference performers. Other returning veterans are seniors Alaina Billingham and Natalie Kirch, and junior Caroline Burns. Coach Dennis Quinn says he hopes that junior Alyssa Duffner, a top student who has competed in various road races, will come out for the team. He also says other potential key newcomers are sophomores Kate Merlin and Jessica Griffith, junior Carolina Thomas and freshman Meg Giordano, the sister of Liz.

OUTLOOK: After a 4-2 season, the Irish will again be competitive. If Duffner does indeed come out, that will give the Irish a major upgrade. Like the boys’ program, this one is also on the rise, although the Irish won’t find themselves favored in a division that includes Bishop Eustace and Paul VI.

Cherokee Chiefs
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior Melissa Arnold is a returning first-team all-conference selection, who placed 12th in the S.J. Group 4 championships. Junior Ally Morschi and sophomore Gabby Vassalotti were second-team selections. Morschi was 14th in S.J. Group 4. Others veterans include seniors Melissa Kulcyk and Courtney Stone. Key newcomers include seniors Melanie Sands and Sarah Robbie.

OUTLOOK: The Chiefs are the defending Olympic Conference American Division champs and were among the best teams in South Jersey, but they have lost some quality runners, including Megan Lacy, who will attend Stanford. It appears as if Lenape has a more experienced team in the American Division, but the Chiefs will be a major contender.

Cherry Hill East Cougars
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Madeline Berman was a second-team all-conference performer after placing 19th in the South Jersey Group 4 championships. Other key runners from last year are junior Caroline Sawn, senior Allison Smith, sophomore Isabelle Roncace, and juniors Jenny Gao and Brielle Baker. In addition, sophomore Monica Lee, who placed 12th in the Non-Public A state championships while competing for Paul VI, has transferred to East this season.

OUTLOOK: Despite having a young team, East placed 11th at the S.J. Group 4 meet. With an experienced unit returning, plus the addition of Lee, the Cougars are a candidate to finish in the top five in South Jersey Group 4.

Cherry Hill West Lions
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Seniors Nicolette Graham, Georgie Siller, Kristine Thomas and sophomore Julia Marzocca are the experienced returning runners. Also returning is senior Melissa Malik and juniors Casey Owens and Valerie Wilson.

OUTLOOK: First-year coach Kathleen Madden is excited to be taking over a team that has enough experienced runners to be a competitive unit. The key will be the continued development and leadership from the senior class, which is the strength of this team.

Eastern Vikings
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Sophomore Carly Kenselaar was a second-team all-conference selection. She was Eastern’s highest finisher in the South Jersey Group 4 meet, placing 28th. Senior Alexandra Sobieski was also a second-team choice who placed 39th. Other veterans adding depth to this growing team include juniors Debbie Meskin and Mily Shah and seniors Samantha Wilson and Julia Hutnik. Two former soccer players who ran distance events in spring track and should help the team are junior Emily Davidson and senior Danielle Genay.

OUTLOOK: The Vikings had an extremely young team last year and still placed ninth in the S.J. Group 4 meet. The goal this year will be to move up to the top five.

Gloucester Catholic Rams
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior Julia Hickman was a second-team all-Tri-County Conference selection. Junior Devon Murphy was an honorable mention all-conference choice. Other experienced performers include seniors Bridgette Heisler and Amy Pinardo, juniors Caroline Conte and Madelyn Fee and sophomores Megan Thelen and Jade Broussard. Junior Jamie Ryan, who ran track, will be a welcome addition.

OUTLOOK: Coach Jack Heath (221-87) has a solid returning ground and he says 13 newcomers have also signed up. The Rams went 4-1 and finished second in the division, and this is an experienced enough team to make another run at a division title.

Haddonfield Bulldogs
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior Meghan Malloy is the defending S.J. Group 2 champion and eventually ended up 15th overall in the Meet of Champions last season. Junior Shelby Cain was second in the S.J. Group 2 meet and third in the state Group 2 competition. Senior Cara Rosengard and sophomore Lauren DeCoursey were other all-star performers. Besides the talent up top, another key is the depth. Senior Sophie Martin is one of the captains along with Rosengard and Malloy. Other promising runners on the roster include seniors Molly Bolinger, Juliette Strasser, Nikki Ranieri and Meredith Raphelson, juniors Helene Schlitt, Colleen Meidt, Claire Plunkett, Melissa Meidt and Madison Oskowiak, and sophomores Nadeen Watkins, Olivia Peiffer and Julia Fonshell.

OUTLOOK: Coach Mike Busarello’s squad will be favored to successfully defend its South Jersey Group 2 title and will also contend for a state championship. This is a deep and experienced team that has the ability to take the next step after a stellar 2011 season.

Lenape Indians
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior Natalia Ocasio is among the top runners in South Jersey and was a key performer in helping the Indians win the S.J. Group 4 title. She placed third in the S.J. Group 4 meet. Junior Emily McGee placed fourth in the S.J. Group 4 meet. Other first-team all-conference performers are sophomore Camille Franklin and senior Amanda Restivo. Senior Ana de Las Heras was a second-team choice. Seniors Kiersten Campbell and Leanne Vicente are third-year varsity performers, while senior Brooke Stanley returns after being injured last year. In addition, senior Kiara Jelks had a strong JV season and sophomore Maeve Ryan, who was injured last season, is coming off a strong spring track season where she ran 20:03 in the 5,000.

OUTLOOK: With most of the team returning from last year’s S.J. Group 4 championship, the Indians will be favored to defend their title and should be a major contender for a state championship. Of course, teams such as Cherokee and Southern Regional will present quality competition in Group 4, but if Jack Walsh’s Indians stay healthy, they should be a dynamic team.

Moorestown Quakers
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Sophomore Natalie Cooper was an all-conference cross country selection who enjoyed a strong outdoor track season, running the mile in 5:17 and the 3,200 in 11:29. She is expected to be the Quakers’ top runner after placing 10th in last year’s South Jersey Group 3 championships. Other returning runners include seniors Emily Juliano, Scout Brisson, Maggie Sawin and Kayla Bodine and junior Lizzy Gorman. A newcomer to cross country is junior Alina Voelker, who had a strong outdoor track season where she specialized in the 800 meter.

OUTLOOK: The Quakers were 13-0 and in winning their division and placed third in the South Jersey Group 3 championships and second in the state Group 3 meet. Once again Moorestown will be the team to beat in the Burlington County Liberty and the Quakers are a viable threat in South Jersey Group 3, not the favorite, but a team that can’t be discounted either.

Moorestown Friends Foxes
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Seniors Natalie Respond, Lauren Brown and Ashleigh Cartwright and junior Morgan Stone are the experienced members from last season. Among the key newcomers is freshman Margaux Velucci.

OUTLOOK: The Foxes were 7-5 and third in the Friends League last year. While not a favorite to win the division, another winning season and top four finish are both realistic goals.

Paul VI Eagles
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior Stephanie Hiester, who placed 12th in S.J. and 29th in the state meet, was a first-team all-conference selection. Others who also competed in the state meet include sophomore Alyssa Pajak and junior Alex Franciosa.

OUTLOOK: The Eagles placed sixth in the state Non-Public A meet, right behind Bishop Eustace. These two schools should continue to battle for the Olympic National title and for supremacy.

Seneca Golden Eagles
PLAYERS TO WATCH: The Golden Eagles, who were division champions last year, return six veterans, three in the top three classes. They are seniors Paige Macauley and Abby Saiia, juniors Mara Schiffhauer and Stephanie Flemming and sophomores Kirsten Horn and Ashley Peoples. Schiffhauer placed seventh in the S.J. Group 3 championships, while Macauley was 11th. Junior Bridget Kurp is a returning varsity letter winner. Sophomore Lauren Tocci was injured for much of last season, but according to coach Karen O’Neill, has made tremendous strides.

OUTLOOK: With six of the top seven runners returning, plus a strong freshman and sophomore class, the success should continue for the Golden Eagles. Besides being a favorite to repeat as division champion, Seneca will challenge in a competitive S.J. Group 3 field, where Delsea and Moorestown are among the teams to beat.

Shawnee Renegades
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Junior Shannon Stang was a first-team all-conference selection who placed 15th in the South Jersey Group 4 championships. Classmate Julia Malpass was 57th while sophomore Marybeth Fair was 60th. Other returning letter winners are seniors Aurora Gallagher and Gina Manaresi and junior Alicia Scott. Junior Julia DeSpirito, who had great success running the 800 in outdoor track, is a key new addition.

OUTLOOK: Last season, Shawnee placed fifth in the S.J. Group 4 championships. The Renegades, while not the favorite this year in Group 4, have the ability to earn another strong finish this season.

Washington Township Minutemaids
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Of those who competed in last year’s S.J. Group 4 meet are senior Brooke Liberto, junior Alyssa Ambrosano and senior Melinda Walters.

OUTLOOK: The Minutemaids lost some key runners to graduation including All-SJ performer Dina Iacone. While always competitive, this appears to be a rebuilding season for the Minutemaids.

Schedules

Bishop Eustace Crusaders
9/15 at South Jersey Shootout at GCC, 8:30 a.m.
9/29 at Shore Coaches Invitational, 9 a.m.
10/2 at Olympic Conference Division, 4 p.m.
10/6 at Shore Coaches Invitational at Holmdel State Park, 7 a.m.
10/13 at Camden County Open, 1 p.m.
10/15 at South Jersey Frosh/Soph Meet at GCC, 3:45 p.m.
10/19 at Olympic Conference Meet at GCC, 3 p.m.
10/24 at Haddonfield Sub-Varsity Invitational, 3:45 p.m.
11/3 at Robert Kiessling SJ Parochial Champs, 10 a.m.
11/10 at NJSIAA Group Meet, 10 a.m.
11/17 at NJSIAA Meet of Champions, 11 a.m.

Camden Catholic Fighting Irish
9/12 at GCC, 5 p.m.
9/19 at Batch Meet at GCC, 4 p.m.
9/22 at South Jersey Shootout at GCC, 8:30 a.m.
9/29 at SJ Track Coaches Association Championship at Delsea, 10 a.m.
10/3 vs. Paul VI at GCC, 5 p.m.
10/13 at County Open Meet at GCC, 1 p.m.
10/19 at Conference Championship at GCC, TBA
11/3 at NJSIAA Meet at Delsea, 10 a.m.
11/10 at NJSIAA Group Meet at Holmdel, 10 a.m.
11/17 at NJSIAA Group Meet at Holmdel, 11 a.m.

Cherokee Chiefs
9/8 vs. Cherry Hill East/Cherokee Class Meet, noon
9/11 at Cherry Hill West, 5 p.m.
9/15 at Cherokee Challenge, 9 a.m.
9/20 at Batch Meet at GCC, 4:35 p.m.
10/2 at Cherry Hill West, 5 p.m.

Cherry Hill East Cougars
9/11 at Dual Meet at GCC, 4 p.m.
9/19 at Dual Meet at GCC, 4 p.m.
9/22 at South Jersey Shootout at GCC, 8:30 a.m.
9/29 at Shore Coaches Invitational, 9 a.m.
10/3 at Dual Meet at GCC, 4:35 p.m.
10/6 at South Jersey Open, TBA
10/13 at County Open Meet at GCC, 1 p.m.
10/15 at South Jersey Frosh/Soph Meet at GCC, 3:45 p.m.
10/19 at Olympic Conference Meet at GCC, 3 p.m.
10/24 at Haddonfield JV/Frosh Meet at Haddonfield Memorial, 3:45 p.m.
11/13 at Sectionals at Delsea, 10 a.m.
11/10 at State Group Meet, TBA
11/17 at Meet of Champions, TBA

Cherry Hill West Lions
9/11 vs. Seneca, 4:05 p.m.
9/20 vs. Timber Creek, 4:05 p.m.
10/2 vs. Winslow, 4:05 p.m.

Eastern Vikings
9/12 at Batch Meet at GCC, 4:35 p.m.
9/15 at Cherokee Challenge, 9 a.m.
9/19 at GCC, 4:35 p.m.
9/29 at SJ Track Coaches Association Championship at Delsea, 10 a.m.
10/3 at GCC, 4:35 p.m.
10/6 at Disney Meet at Disney World, TBA
10/13 at Camden County Open at GCC, 1 p.m.
10/26 at Olympic Conference Meet, 3 p.m.
11/3 at NJSIAA Sectional Meet at Delsea, 10 a.m.
11/10 at NJSIAA State Meet, 10 a.m.
11/17 at NJSIAA Meet of Champions at Holmdel Park, 10 a.m.

Gloucester Catholic Rams
9/7 at Gloucester City, 4 p.m.
9/11 vs. Woodstown, 4 p.m.
9/18 at Arthur P. Schalick, 4 p.m.
9/22 at Holy Cross Challenge at Holy Cross, 8:30 a.m.
9/24 vs. Pitman, 4 p.m.
9/25 at Cumberland Regional, 4 p.m.
10/25 at TCC Meet at Cumberland Regional, 3:45 p.m.
11/3 at NJSIAA Sectional Meet at Delsea, 12 p.m.
11/17 at NJSIAA Meet of Champions at Holmdel Park, 10 a.m.

Haddonfield Bulldogs
9/11 vs. Collingswood and Audubon, 4 p.m.
9/15 at Cherokee Challenge, 9 a.m.
9/25 at Gateway Regional and Paulsboro, 4 p.m.
9/29 at SJ Open, 10 a.m.
10/2 vs. West Deptford, Overbrook and Lindenwold, 4 p.m.
10/6 at Shore Coaches Invitational, 9 a.m.
10/9 vs. Haddon Heights, Haddon Township and Sterling, 4 p.m.
10/13 at Camden County Meet, TBA
10/18 vs. Colonial Conference All-Star meet, TBA
11/3 at NJSIAA Sectional Meet at Delsea, 12 p.m.
11/10 at NJSIAA State Meet, TBA
11/17 at NJSIAA Meet of Champions at Holmdel Park, 10 a.m.

Lenape Indians
9/12 at Gloucester County College, 4:35 p.m.
10/2 at Cherry Hill West, 4:05 p.m.

Moorestown Quakers
9/11 Batch Meet at BCIT Westampton, 3:30 p.m.
9/15 at South Jersey Shootout, 3:30 p.m.
9/18 at Batch Meet at BCIT Westampton, 3:30 p.m.
9/25 at Batch Meet, TBA, 3:30 p.m.
9/29 at Shore Coaches Invitational, 9 a.m.
10/2 at Batch Meet at Cinnaminson, 3:30 p.m.
10/6 at SJTCA Track Invitational at Delsea, 3:30 p.m.
10/12 at Burlington County Open at Mill Creek Park, 3:30 p.m.
10/15 at South Jersey Frosh/Soph Meet at GCC, 3:45 p.m.
10/18 at BCSL Divisional at New Egypt, 3:30 p.m.

Moorestown Friends Foxes
9/7 vs. St. Joseph’s Hammonton and Medford Tech, 4 p.m.
9/10 at Cherokee Challenge, 9 a.m.
9/15 vs. Maple Shade, Palmyra and Westhampton Tech, 3:45 p.m.
9/20 at Abington Friends and Friends Central, 4 p.m.
9/27 vs. Shipley, 4 p.m.
10/1 at Shore Coaches Invitational at Holmdel Park, TBA
10/4 vs. Friends Select and Westtown, 4 p.m.
10/9 at South Jersey Open at Delsea, TBA
10/11 at Germantown Friends and George, 4 p.m.
10/14 at Burlington County Open, 3:30 p.m.
10/18 at FSL Champ at Belmont, 3:15 p.m.
11/5 at NJSIAA Sectionals, 10 a.m.
11/12 at NJSIAA States, 10 a.m.
11/19 at Meet of Champions, 11 a.m.

Paul VI Eagles
9/12 vs. Penn Tech & Woodrow Wilson, 5:05 p.m.
9/19 vs. Camden & Bishop Eustace, 4:05 p.m.
10/3 vs. Camden Catholic, 4:05 p.m.
10/26 vs. Olympic Conference Meet, TBA

Seneca Golden Eagles
9/5 vs. Cherry Hill West at GCC, 5 p.m.
9/15 at Cherokee Challenge, 9 a.m.
9/20 at Winslow, 4 p.m.
9/22 at South Jersey Shootout at GCC, 8:30 a.m.
9/29 at SJTCA Championships at Delsea, 10 a.m.
10/2 at Timber Creek, 4 p.m.
10/12 at Burlington County Open at Mill Creek Park, 3:30 p.m.
10/15 at South Jersey Frosh/Soph Meet at GCC, 3:45 p.m.
10/22 at Tournament at Buena Regional High School, 3:30 p.m.
10/23 at Rancocas Valley Regional, 3:45 p.m.
10/24 at Haddonfield Memorial, 3:45 p.m.
10/26 at Olympic Conference Meet at GCC, 3 p.m.
11/3 at NJSIAA Sectionals at Delsea, 10 a.m.
11/10 at NJSIAA Groups at Holmdel Park, 10 a.m.
11/17 at Meet of Champions at Holmdel Park, 11 a.m.

Shawnee Renegades
9/11 at Batch Meet at GCC, 5:05 p.m.
9/15 at Cherokee Challenge, 9 a.m.
9/19 at Batch Meet at GCC, 4:05 p.m.
9/29 at Shore Coaches Tournament at Holmdel Park, 9 a.m.
10/2 at Batch Meet at GCC, 5:05 p.m.
10/6 at South Jersey Open at Delsea, TBA
10/12 at Burlington County Open, TBA
10/15 at SJ Soph/Fresh Meet at GCC, TBA
10/19 at Olympic Conference Meet at GCC, TBA

Washington Township Minutemaids
9/11 at Olympic Conference Batch Meet at GCIT, 4:35 p.m.
9/15 at Cherokee Challenge, 9 a.m.
9/19 at Olympic Conference Batch Meet at GCIT, 4:35 p.m.
9/29 at Shore Coaches at Holmdel, 9 a.m.
10/2 at Olympic Conference Batch Meet at GCIT, 4:35 p.m.
10/6 at South Jersey Open, TBA
10/15 at South Jersey Frosh/Soph at GCC, TBA
10/26 at Olympic Conference Championships at GCC, TBA
11/3 at Sectionals, TBA
11/10 at State Groups, TBA
11/17 at Meet of Champions at Holmdel, TBA

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family’s High School Fall Sports Preview, July, 2012.
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