Marian cross country growing in size, confidence
Marian Central Catholic High School’s boys and girls cross country teams look forward to the start of the 2012 season at the McHenry County Meet Saturday, Aug. 25. Second-year boys head coach Jon Lakemacher will take over leadership of the girls squad in an effort to spur both teams to improved Suburban Christian Conference and postseason results.
“It is already an exciting season, as we have 32 kids out for the team,” Lakemacher wrote in an email. “The girls team returns almost everyone from last season’s team that took fourth in conference and regionals, and eighth at sectionals.
“The boys hope to pick up on and improve from where last year’s team left off.”
Boys team co-captain and senior Danny Edwards feels the Hurricanes will make up for the loss of top 2011 runners Ty Balduf and Tommy Frederick with an incoming group of five freshmen. He said there has been a different attitude toward preparation for the season that should help his team stay focused on the goal of state qualification, even when competing against bigger schools.
“Every year we’ve had an issue with our confidence because we are a small school,” said Edwards. “Our coach has really enforced that we need to have confidence in ourselves to win. That set in pretty well when we faced some very large schools. Even if we don’t place first, having four or five more kids [in the freshmen squad] up top will lower our score and help us out in those meets.”
Key returnees include senior co-captain Danny McConnville, junior Alex Cetera and sophomore Mike Lyons. Top newcomers to the lineup include senior Kevin McEvilly and freshman Justin Santopadre.
The roster also includes senior co-captain Mike Sherwood; juniors Tim Bryan, Jack Rhodes and Ryan Wray; sophomores Bryce Struttman, Eric Ifner and Sam Gulbrandsen; and freshmen Liam Knudsen, Shamus Sergesten, Andrew Payton and Ryan Dipetro.
While the girls don’t have quite the same additions of underclassmen, they do have a lot of varsity experience. Senior Meg Van Der Bosch will lead as co-captain a returning pair of juniors in Caroline Hellman and Brie Baumert (co-captain), as well as four sophomores in Emma Baumert, Olivia Dineen, Marisa Monbrod and Therese Hughes.
“Once we get the mental part down that we can compete, it’s really going to help a lot,” said Baumert, who learned from past seasons that it can be tough facing schools nearly twice the size of Marian at larger meets. “This year we’re really emphasizing getting the miles down, so we can come into the season smoothly and where we need to be conditioning-wise.”
“If the team stays healthy, they should challenge for a top spot in conference,” Lakemacher said, noting the girls placed fourth in the conference in 2011.
The girls team also followed up their conference laurels with a sectional qualification last year. Key newcomer Jessica Biggins, a junior, may be an additional factor in helping the Lady ’Canes extend their season past sectionals to the IHSA state finals.
Adding to the ranks for the Lady ’Canes will be senior Hanna Caselton; juniors Candace Scurto (co-captain), Caitlin Prisching, Alex Fahey, Rebecca Palmero and Bridget Keane; sophomore McKenzie Ridenour; and freshman Monica Juarez.
The McHenry County Meet will take place Saturday, Aug. 25, at McHenry Township Park, Johnsburg. The Ryan Byrne Festival featuring Marian, Woodstock and Woodstock North high schools will run Saturday, Sept. 15.