Preseason RankingsSunday, August 19 2018
Both the Boys and Girls Cross Country teams will start the season ranked in the top 20. Below are team previews from 2 state media sources (MileSplit & ILXCTF). As a team we don't read too much into the rankings as we know that they are completely subjective and very opinionated. We appreciate the recognition, but know that ultimately our choices and actions are the only things that will actually influence how the final standings will turn out. We plan to embrace the expectations by focusing on our process. What and how we do things will be the key to our success. We will control what we can and be confident that we have done everything in our power to perform at our best. We encourage you to feel pride in our recognition, but know that we ultimately have the final say in how others view Lakes Cross Country.
ILXCTF Girls #4
4 Lake Villa Lakes Community
2017 Finish – 9th, 2A State
Coach – Keith West, Travis Shepherd, Dan Jazo
Top Runners – Brooke Stromsland SO (4, 17:15), Olivia Schmitt JR (58, 18:41), Megan Knuettel SR (88, 19:08), Alex Bryant SO (95, 19:11), Morgan Gillespie SR (122, 19:30), Simone Lippmann SR (129, 19:37), Hannah Grant (174, 20:12), Rae Dwyer SR, Tegan Baker SO, Ashley Whitis JR, Breanna Lippmann SO.
Preview – The Eagles finally made that step to state finishing fourth at the Kaneland Sectional and then ninth the following week at state. They were only 31 points out of fifth. Expectations are high for this team is that all their top seven runners from the state meet are back. “Last year was a breakthrough season for the Lakes Girls,” Keith West said. “We have been knocking on the door steps of a state finals berth for the last 4 years. The girls were not to be denied as they punched their ticket with a 4th place finish in Kaneland. The girls were not satisfied with just qualifying for state and made it a goal to finish on a high note.”
Brooke Stromsland emerged as the top runners in 2A as a freshman finishing fourth at state. Olivia Schmitt was injured for most of the season before coming back to finish 58th at state. At the beginning of the year, the two were only four seconds apart with Schmitt ahead. A healthy Schmitt gives Lakes a strong 1-2 in the front. The pack from their third to fifth runner at state was a mere 22 seconds. The two low numbers in the front will be a definite help. The pack getting all three runners under 19-minutes as well as closing the deficit on the front makes this team dangerous in November.
“We are working on doing all of the little things and taking control of what we can,” West added. “Combining that attention to detail with a desire to compete to the best of our ability will put us in the mix at every meet. They want to build on last year’s performance and have set high expectations. We asked the girls to leave it out on the course each race and we fully anticipate that they will be ready and able to step up in the moment.”
SO – Lake Villa Lakes Community
Notes – Stromsland had a breakout cross-country season as only a freshman. After running 18:49.6 at Detweiller Park in early September, she came back to run 17:15 to finish fifth overall in the 2A State race. Injuries forced her to miss most of the outdoor track season. Before she was forced out, she ran 5:05.12 for 1600-meters at Distance Night in Palatine in April. “Brooke will continue to lead the way up front,” said Keith West. “She had a breakout State series culminating in a 4th place finish at Detweiller. She has elevated the performances of her teammates by her consistent dedication to running and classwork and overall just by leading by example.”
7 – Olivia Schmitt
JR – Lake Villa Lakes Community
Notes – If the Belvidere North duo is not the top twosome up front in 2A this fall, it will then be Schmitt and her teammate Brooke Stromsland. Olivia missed most of the cross-country season going out with an injury at the Minooka Invitational. She came back to help her team at state finishing 58th in the 2A State finals as the team’s second runner. She continued to build during the track season qualifying for the state meet in the 3A 800 Meter Run. Schmitt ran a personal best of 2:16.97 at Palatine in April.
“She trains with Brooke (Stromsland) and should give us a strong 1-2 punch for low team scores,” Keith West said. “Both Olivia and Brooke are motivated to help the team have the best season in school history.”Read more: ILXCTF - Mike Newman - News - Illinois High School Cross Country Previews - 2A Girls Individuals
MileSplit Girls #3
ILXCTF Boys #18
18 Lake Villa Lakes Community
2017 Finish – 7th, 2A Kaneland Sectional
Coach – Travis Shepherd, Keith West, Dan Jazo
Preview – The Eagles came close to making to state last year but fell short. Lakes placed seventh at the Kaneland Sectional missing the trip for Peoria by nine points. The future looks bright in Lake Villa this fall with their top five runners returning from that sectional team. “I think this Summer training was really solid. I was not pleased with last year as there was a lack of accountability and I felt like guys underwhelmed as far as their mileage. We didn't have the leadership that I was expecting. I challenged the top 7 this year to put in the work and leave no stone un-turned. They have responded quite well,” Travis Shepherd said. “What makes this Summer better is the quality of work up front and the quantity of work happening in the background. In addition, we have a 2nd group forming behind the varsity group. While we have had talent the last few years, we have lacked solid depth. We finally have a group of 5 forming behind the top 7. This should not only help push the guys in front, but also prepare our next group to step up when the Seniors graduate.”
Owen Wenberg and Ethan Schommer ran close to each other and should share the top spot. Talon Knauf had a good summer and has closed the gap on the front runners. RJ Migas, Jack Erwin, and Charlie Halberg close the back end of the pack and give this team depth. 43 seconds separated the top five in the sectional race. Moving those five runners close to the front could advance the Eagles out of this sectional.
“We really like to set high targets. We don't shy away from pursuing excellence,” Shepherd added. “Last year we had an expectation to make it to state and finish in the top 15. While I think we were a top 20 team, it just didn't work out for us to race at Peoria. We embrace being in a tough Sectional, so we know it will be a battle to make it Detweiller every year. We have been knocking on the door the last few years and in 2017 we were agonizingly close. We talked with the guys about the race and I was happy with how they responded. We felt like we did everything in our control to be ready to run our best. The guys had good races, but we got beat by other teams who had better days. We let the athletes drive the expectations and they are high again. The target is not just to get to Detweiller, but to do something there. We have such a strong pack (top 5 under 16:20 w/ a 16 sec pack) that should put us in the mix in every race. Teams with an average of under 16 minutes typically finish in the top 15 at the state meet. We have the potential to have an average under 16 and if we can continue to keep our pack tight, we should be right in the mix. This Senior group wants to be the 1st ever team to qualify from Lakes and they want to leave a legacy of excellence. They are an inspired group who are ready to compete each meet. They welcome the spotlight and are pumped when they have an opportunity to compete against good teams. They are diligent in their preparation as they meticulously take care of what is in their control. When the moment is here, they will be ready to strike. A team with this makeup is a delight to work with and I am beyond excited to coach this group.”
MileSplit Boys #14