Trying to figure out who is the best team is nearly impossible without running any races, but OHRunners has tried to do just that, (solely based on last year's results and returning runners). This is even tougher on the girls side because of how much of an impact freshman can make come post-season time. Today we take a stab at the Preseason Division 2 Top 10 Girls Teams, Preseason Regional Top 5 Teams and the Top 10 Returning Times.
Revised - August 16th, 2008 - 10:30pm
1. Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy
Last year's State Meet runner-up returns all of their post-season runners to take a shot at taking home the title. Last year's fourth place individual finisher, senior Katie Gillespie will look to take home the individual title, but at the very least should be the first team scorer to cross the line in November. Sophomore standouts Joy Talbott and Irene Frangos will look to go low-to-sub 19:00 this year to add a formidable 1-2-3 punch for CVCA. This team's average time is nearly 18 seconds faster than any other team's average time amongst returners.
After finishing fifth in a region that placed two team in the top five and three in the top nine at the State Meet, Tipp will look to find a way to get to Scioto Downs. This is a team thats strength isn't in having front runners score single digit points, but rather in having their pack cross the line together. Tipp could place all six of their returning runners within a minute of each other and could be a contender come post-season. Sophomore Katie Landwehr will look to pull Tipp's pack along at a steady pace.
Seventh place last November at Scioto Downs, Woodridge returns every runner from their state team. Lead by possible single digit state scorers, seniors Emily Sabo and Erin Mercer, Woodridge's state title hopes will rest on their 3-7 runners. If woodridge can find two or three runners to right around or sub 19:30 they may have a shot at competing with regional rival CVCA in the post-season.
4. Springfield Northwestern
Northwestern is a young team with only one senior in their top eight returning runners. And this young team is also an experienced team as they return all of their runners from last years ninth place state team. Senior Kasey Hosier will be the lead runner for the Northwestern pack. While Northwestern doesn't have a real low scoring threat in any sub 19:00 returning runners, what they do have is a group that could finish all five scoring runners within a minute of each other on the right day.
5. Canal Winchester
CW is another team that returns everyone from their post-season teams. After finishing twelfth last year at Scioto Downs, CW could ultimately be battling for a top five team finish come November this year. Juniors Kaitlin Smith and Emily Pifer will be counted on to lead the team to a likely regional title and a good finish at the State Meet.
While Salem loses its two and three runner from their seventh place state team last year, this team will still have a shot at making some noise at the state meet level. Salem's hopes rest a lot on how junior Bethany Huston and sophomore Betsy Yuhaniak improve this year. If these girls put the time in during the offseason and are healthy, Salem has an outside shot of having four girls under 20:00.
7. Rocky River
Fifth in their region last year, Rocky River looks like they will be able to compete on the state level this year. While they do lose their third and fifth runners from last year, RR returns a mix of senior leadership and young talent that many coaches love to work with. Sophomore Jen Pease will be out to prove that her Tiffin Regional time was not a fluke and that she is capable of being a low-to-sub 19:00 runner. Senior Paige Nagy will look to push the pace of the pack for Rocky River and put them in contention for a regional championship and a solid state finish.
8. Archbishop Alter
2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 1st. This is what Alter has done over the past four years at Scioto Downs. Last years State Champion loses four from its state meet team. To most this would sound like a rebuilding year, but Alter always seems to find runners to fill in and help field a quality team come post-season time. With three runners with state meet experience, and all of them sub 20:00 runners, Alter already has some pieces of the team puzzle in place.
Seventh place in their region last year, if Perry can make it out of their region this year they will get a chance prove to the state that they are worthy of a top ten finish at Scioto Downs. Super Sophomore, Abbie Clifford, is poised and ready to show that she is one of the best at both the mile and the 5k. Clifford went 18:30 as a frosh, the biggest question is "how low can she go this year?" If junior Mar Baranauskas and senior Meredith Schuette are primed to peak in the post-season, Perry could make a run at a top five finish at Scioto Downs.
This was the hardest spot to pick because their are many teams that could be considered for the top 10 this year, and instead of choosing just one, OHRunners has decided to do a small preview of each team and the reasons why they could be considered a top 10 team.
Wauseon - This team finished eleventh last year at the State Meet, and loses its four, five and seven runners from last years team. But the biggest thing that Wauseon has going for it is the three Bairds, senior Holly, junior Alexis and sophomore Marin. These three girls are all under 20:00 and will carry Wauseon into the post-season, the only question will be "how far?" The answer to the question will really come from how Wauseon can fill in spots 4-7 on their roster.
Milton-Union - After finishing fifth last year at state, Milton Union will have to reload after losing its three, four and six runners to graduation. Senior Angela Klimkowski and sophomore Nicole Klimkowski, both of whom will look to go sub 19:00 this year should carry this team back to Scioto Downs. How they finish in November will depend on who they can find to replace the graduating seniors.
Beaumont - After finishing third at the State Meet and losing their top two runners who had both gone sub 19:00, Beuamont's biggest challenge this year will be making it out of the regional meet. And if they make it to Scioto Downs again this year, they could very well finish in the top half of the team scoring. Junior Jane Lodwick and seniors Susan Coffey and Alyssa Jeswald will look to go sub 20:00 and pull the rest of the pack along.
Marietta - I missed this team at first glance, as they are classified D1 because of their boys program, but they are a team that shouldn't be overlooked so easily. Marietta doesn't lose anyone from their state qualifying team a year ago. Marietta is a young team, having only two seniors, a junior and four sophomores making up their returning group. Senior Kylie Iadicicco and sophomore Olivia Vanoster will both to look to go sub 20:00 and lead this young group back to Scioto Downs
(Assuming all teams that can choose their Region go to the same Region as last year)
Youngstown Region 5
1. Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy
Tiffin Region 6
1. Rocky River
Returns four runners from a tenth place state team a year ago. Lexington's best years could be ahead of them as none of this years returners are seniors, and only one is a junior. If they have a solid freshman class look for them to challenge at Scioto Downs in the near future.
If Edison can find a few girls to run between 20:00 and 20:30 they will be a team to contend with. Sophomores Abbigail Plunkett and Sarah Wallace should lead this team that could make some noise come November.
Last years fourth place state team still has some pieces in place after losing their top two runners to graduation. If Defiance can put together the rest of the puzzle, meaning, that they find some girls that can be their 4-7 runners, then they will have a good shot at a return trip to Scioto Downs.
Pickerington Region 7
There are some teams that could be in this region that traveled to Troy last year, if those teams decide to go to Pickerington this year, this region could really be shaken up a bit. St. Francis DeSales-Columbus and Granville, both of whom ran at Troy last year, would probably have a better shot at advancing from this region, rather than the tough southwest region held at Troy.
1. Canal Winchester
Returns all seven from their fifth place regional finish a year ago. Look for this experienced group of junior and seniors to punch their ticket to Scioto Downs.
4. Gallia Academy
While they do lose their four, five and six runners from last years regional team, on paper Gallia looks like a team that could contend at the Pickerington Regional. Their top three are all back, lead by Lauren Adkins, who will be out to prove that she is a low-to-sub 19:00 runner.
5. St. Clairsville
Only loses their fifth runner from last years sixth place regional team, the members of this team are well dispersed across all grade levels. Juniors Katie Hodgson and Jamie Garbash will look to lead St. Clairsville to Scioto Downs.
Troy Region 8
2. Springfield Northwestern
3. Archbishop Alter
5. Springfield Shawnee
The ninth place team from the regional race last year return their top five runners to make a deep post-season push this year. Senior Amanda Tingley and junior Kristina Davis will look to carry this team to the state meet.
Top 10 Returning Times