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Girls track and field previews: Perez leads Glenbard West

Glenbard West's Madeline Perez recently set the 1,600-meter record at the Illinois Top Times indoor meet. File photo by Bill Ackerman -
Glenbard West's Madeline Perez recently set the 1,600-meter record at the Illinois Top Times indoor meet. File photo by Bill Ackerman -

Glenbard West

Coach: Kelly Hass

Top returners:

Madeline Perez, jr. (distance)

Lisa Luczak, so. (distance)

Emma Reifel, sr. (mid. distance)

Emma Gombol, so. (triple jump, sprints, hurdles)

Cynthia Mote, sr. (hurdles)

Grace Walker, sr. (high jump)

Nina Fraticola, sr. (throws)

What to watch: The Hilltoppers are strong in the distance and middle-distance events, led by cross country individual state champ Madeline Perez. She recently set the 1,600-meter race record at the Illinois Top Times meet with a clocking of 4:53.9.

Lisa Luczak is coming off a win in the 3,200 at the Top Times and will be a factor all spring in both distance events. Emma Reifel, who won the 800 at the Top Times meet, is another major contributor.

"What we are good at, we are very good at," said Glenbard West coach Kelly Hass, "and that will probably carry us through a lot of meets. Distance is our strength and we are working hard in bringing in a good sprint group and also field events."

A year ago, Glenbard West finished third in the West Suburban Silver conference behind Lyons Township and York. To move up, the squad will need contributions from some new faces as well.

"We really have to hope our underclassmen step up and help us nickel and dime some points," the coach said. "And I think they can do that. I feel very positive about our young group."

Glenbard South

Coach: Mark Tacchi

Top returners:

Taylor Blohm Bivins, so. (sprints)

Kasia Gniatczyk, sr. (sprints)

Sarah Johnson, sr. (sprints)

Katelyn Hill, jr. (sprints, hurdles)

Sam Howard, sr. (throws)

Jayme Schlenker (distance)

Diane Lipa (distance)

What to watch: Big expectations abound for an experienced Raiders team that dominated the Metro Suburban Conference indoor meet.

"We will rely on this senior heavy team to score points," said coach Mark Tacchi, "but more importantly, leadership. We lost some huge points in the pole vault and jumps to graduation and look to others to step up."

Glenbard South finished in a tie for 40th place at the Class 2A state meet last spring. Sam Howard is back after a sixth-place finish in the discus along. The entire 4 x 400-meter (Taylor Blohm Bivins, Kasia Gnaitczyk, Sarah Johnson and Katelyn Hill) and 4 x 800 (Monica Byrne, Katie James, Jayme Schlenker and Shannon Cadagin) relay teams return after placing seventh and 11th, respectively.

Tierra Wilson (discus), Hill (100) and Byrne (1,600) are come back with state-meet experience.

"Right now the distance girls are as good as any who have run for the Raiders," the coach said. "The sprinters have some work to do to return to last year's form. The field events are anchored by Sam Howard and Tierra Wilson in the shot and discus and Nicole Jordan in the high jump, but we need to find ways to score in pole vault and long and triple jump.

"Katelyn Hill makes her debut in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles and could be a force.  We will need our sprinters to step up and join the distance girls and the throwers if we are going to be a top team come sectional time."

St. Francis

Coach: Scott Nelson

Top returners:

Jenna DiValerio, sr. (distance)

Amanda Nunley, jr. (sprints, hurdles, jumps)

Ali Frost, sr. (sprints, jumps)

Meghan McShea, jr. (mid distance, distance)

What to watch: The Spartans had a pair of state qualifiers last spring.

Jenna DiValerio, who is now a senior, advanced to the Class 2A state meet in the 3,200-meter race after placing fifth at the Fenwick sectional with a time of 11:47.71.

Also moving on was Amanda Nunley in the 100 high hurdles following a second-place time of 15.82 seconds in the 100 high hurdles.

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