Friday, August 24, 2001

Girls cross country preview

Colerain chasing fifth-straight title

By Dave Schutte
Enquirer Contributor

        The Colerain girls cross country team has won nine consecutive league and district championships and four consecutive Division I regional and state titles.

        Can the Cardinals make it a five-peat in 2001?

        “We have the ability and the personnel to do it,” Colerain coach Ron Russo said. “We never focus on other teams. We know if our kids run certain times, they will win.”

        Colerain received nine of the 11 first place votes in the Cincinnati Enquirer's preseason poll followed by Turpin, Anderson, Sycamore and Mercy.

        Wyoming surfaced as the team to beat in the Divisions II-III poll with Badin, Kings, Taylor and Madeira rounding out the top five.

        The following is a look at the Cincinnati-area's top teams for the 2001 season.

        Division I

        1. Colerain: There's good reason for Russo's optimism.

        Besides all-staters Andrea Maas and Shelly Dickinson, the Cardinals also return Kristin Kiger and Laura Kreuter along with junior Rachel Bensman and senior Jen Schmidthorst.

        Russo also is high on Brittany Detzel, a freshman who has performed well in preseason drills.

        “You'll hear a lot about Brittany,” Russo said. “We also have Rachel and Jen who both had good track seasons and now see the opportunity to be part of winning five straight championships.”

        2. Turpin: Although Colerain is the favorite, don't count out coach Steve Nester's talented Spartans.

        “We have tremendous depth which will help us,” Nester said. “We're cautiously optimistic but the team to beat is Colerain.”

        Sophomore Carolyn Rauen (18:40 last year), heads the returning list of nine veterans that also includes Melanie Price (19:09), Kate Woebse (19:41) and Corey Randall (19:42).

        “We have every runner back from the team that finished ninth at the state meet last year,” Nester said. “We're at a disadvantage because we're the smallest Division I.”

        3. Anderson: Coach Andy Wolf's 21st year as girls head coach could turn out to be one of his best.

        The Redskins will rely on all-state performer sophomore Jenny Homan (18.22 at state meet) along with Heather Ross (19.24) and Elaine Bundus (20.01).

        “We have good front runners but our depth is unproven,” Wolf said. “The seniors need to step up for the team to be successful.”

        4. Sycamore: The Aviators ranking is well deserved based on the return of the Bridgewater sisters, Jenna and Chelsey, and Jenna Bittner and Katie Wells.

        Coach Scott Popoff will also look to the supporting cast of Christine Chernausek, Kerry Rockwood, Jessica Preglow and Susan Shuller.

        “We have 64 girls out and it's been a hard working group,” Popoff said. “Our goal is to be competitive and as the season goes on, we'll determine our ultimate goals.”

        5. Mercy: The Bobcats will field a veteran team with Cari Maly, Emily Kroner, Emily Dietrich, Chelsea Hautman, Mary Besl, Sarah Corbett and Ann Schoenfeld the top returning runners.

        “This is the largest (35 runners) and best conditioned team I've had at Mercy,” coach Scott Ridder said. “The talent and conditioning is there, and the girls need to believe in themselves.”

        6. Lakota East: Although the Thunderhawks lost Lindsay Zinn (state champion) and Jaime Wyckoff (31st at state) to graduation, coach Jason Lindsey returns several talented runners.

        Jessica Piispanen and Corrie Whisner should step to the forefront along with returning letter-winners Jessica Arriens, Amy Flege, Carly Pierson, Andrea Reeves and Melissa Brankamp.

        7. Fairfield: State qualifier Annie King is the top returning starter with Stacie Bish and Michelle Rais leading the way for a team that could quickly move up in the rankings.

        Also look for Terrie Franklin, Natalie Crain, Kari Bish and Stephanie Tubbs to perform well.

        8. Seton: Depth and senior leadership are the strengths of a Saints team favored to win the Girls Greater Cincinnati League championship.

        Heather Mastin and Karen Korte, runners who cracked the 20 minute barrier last year, will lead along with Karen Berling and Melinda Niederhausen.

        9. Ursuline: Coach Bill Wunderlich will build the Lions around returning veterans Gretchen Dammel, Kathryn Harlow, Gig Wilton, Stephanie Jansing and Katie Hickey.

        10. Middletown: Tiffany Nicholson, a talented transfer from Lemon Monroe, adds depth to a veteran team that is expected to perform well this season.

        Coach Scott Dalton will rely heavily on juniors Ashley Turner, McKenzie Rose and Maggie Spring and sophomores Anne Weingartner, Corrie Pleska and Kathleen Batliner.

        Divisions II-III

        1. Wyoming: This could be the season the Cowboys challenge for the Division II state championship.

        “We have everyone back from last year's team that finished fifth at the regional,” coach Mike Jacobs said. “We had a great summer and the girls are stronger and faster.”

        Alexis Schmitt (20:31) is top returnee but the senior is being pushed by Charlotte Ruddy (21:09), Emily Spadafora (21:02) and Caitlyn Fey (21:41).

        “We missed qualifying to state last year by 41 points,” Jacobs said. “Our goals are to repeat as league champs (Cincinnati Hills League) and qualify for state.”

        2. Badin: The Rams qualified for the state meet last season with five sophomores and two freshmen in the starting lineup.

        Coach Steve Smith's team also is blessed with several strong freshmen and sophomores who will push the veterans.

        Sophomore Julie Hoekzema and Jackie Saurber, along with juniors Beth Jolivette, Jenny Meehan, Ann Graf, Kara Keating and Megan Wiegand will be challenged by Ashley Andes, Kim Lysaght and Jackie Reed.

        3. Kings: Coming off a fourth place finish in the Division II state meet, coach Lynn Brant will rely on returning letter winners Kellie McClung, Kristyn Allen, Amanda Simmons and Lindsey Olivia,

        “We have a solid pack of four runners,” Brant said. “But we lost depth with three graduating seniors and we must stay injury free.”

        4. Taylor: Sophomore Carrie Crofford, 28th at the state meet with a time of 19:37, will anchor a Yellowjackets team that could have a break through season.

        5. Madeira: Coach Bob Kitchen will build the team around veterans Sarah Luthman, Susan Weisbrod, Kristine Bishop, Lindsay Groll and Amanda McKenzie.


Sports Stories
Girls soccer preview: Div. II-III
Girls soccer preview: Div. I
Boys soccer preview: Div. II-III
Boys soccer preview: Div. I
- Girls cross country preview
Boys cross country preview
Cincinnati volleyball preview
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