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Cross country preview: Returning runners give Lemont shot at state

LEMONT – Both the boys and girls cross country teams from Lemont High School were on the verge of qualifying for the state tournament last year. With several experienced runners back for squads, making the trek to Peoria for the state finals Nov. 9.

Lemont boys

Conference: South Suburban Blue

Head coach: Jon DeGuzman

2012 results: 1st in conference, 3rd in regional, 7th in sectional

Top runners:

Conner Brandt jr.

Peter DeBiase sr.

Evan Ganzer jr.

Luke Heatherington sr.

Chris Konicki so.

Andrew Kramer sr.

Outlook: The Indians are coming off their first conference title in program history and appear to have the athletes in place to make a run at a repeat.

"This season we hope to follow the success of last year," said coach Jon DeGuzman. "With a solid mix of experienced veterans with some young talent, it has been a great summer of training. We are hoping to repeat as conference champions, have a strong showing at the regional and sectional races, and of course, qualify for the state finals as a team."

Though Lemont lost its lone state qualifier, Aaron Oldanie, to graduation, the Indians do return four of their top seven from a year ago in Luke Heatherington, Evan Ganzer, Andrew Kramer and Conner Brandt.

Lemont placed seventh in the Wheaton Academy Class 2A sectional last year, falling two spots short of advancing to state. The Indians were two points from sixth-place and 25 from the top-five.

"Like any season, we face the challenge of injuries and maintaining consistency," DeGuzman said. "However, with proper training and mental focus, I am confident that we can reach our goals."
Lemont girls

Conference: South Suburban Blue

Head coach: Tim Plotke

2012 results: 1st in conference, 5th in regional, 6th in sectional

Top runners:

Taylor Campos so.

Jorie Dybcio jr.

Kelly Fritz sr.

Claire Gagen so.

Lindsey Mazur so.

Cassidy Nyenhuis jr.

Gabby Voltarel so.

Outlook: A year ago, Lemont finished one place away from advancing to the state meet after coming in sixth at the loaded Wheaton Academy sectional, which featured three out of the top four teams in Class 2A.

This time around, the Indians return four of the seven runners who competed in the 2012 state series, including state qualifier Claire Gagen. The sophomore placed 54th a year ago.

In addition to state aspirations, Lemont will be looking to repeat as South Suburban Blue conference champions.

"The girls are focused and already starting to see the results of our summer training," said coach Tim Plotke. "They are a highly-motivated group and aren't afraid [to work hard]. They understand how they need to train and race to be successful and they are excited about this year's journey."

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