Girls Track and Field: Previewing 2023 teams from around the Suburban Life area

Lyons Township’s Catherine Sommerfeld competes in the 3A 1600 meter run finals during the IHSA Girls State Championships in Charleston on Saturday, May 21, 2022.

The 2023 girls track and field season is underway. Here are previews of teams in the Suburban Life coverage area.

Downers Grove North

Coach: Matthew Maletich

Top returning athletes: Grace Edwards, sr., shot put/discus; Margaret Fleming, sr., shot put/discus; Amelia Hansen, jr., long jump/triple jump; Allie Steiner, jr., triple jump/hurdles/sprints; Jenny Buehler, so., high jump; Emily Smetana, sr., pole vault/hurdles; Makenna Purgatorio, so., pole vault; Marli Kowalski, sr., triple jump; Kathleen Crilly, so., hurdles/sprints; Dakota Washington, jr., sprints; Emily Wittmer, jr., sprints; Allison Leach, so., sprints/hurdles; Veronica LaSota, sr., sprints; Giovanna Russotiesi, so., sprints/pole vault; Ava Gilley, so., distance; Alayna Todnem, so., distance; Hannah Renner, so., distance; Sarah Paul, jr., distance; Audrey Casten, so., distance; McKenzie Willard, so., distance; Maeve Courtney, sr., distance; Sydney Hnatiuk, jr., distance; Jadyn Wood, so., distance; Claire Pyne, sr., distance; Ava Geiger, sr., distance; Pallavi Fisher, jr., distance.

Top new athletes: Mallory Croft, fr., sprints; Helen Justice, fr., distance; Lily Eddington, fr., distance; Ruby Kowalski, fr., sprints/jumps; Aniya Hubbard, fr., sprints; Mackenzie Maci, fr., high jump; Maya Nicholson, fr., jumps.

Worth noting: The Trojans last year won the West Suburban Silver outdoor championship and a sectional title. Leach won the West Suburban Silver indoor 55-meter hurdles title March 17, and Hansen won the triple jump and was third in the long jump. Downers Grove North also won the 4x200 and 4x800 titles, Edwards and Fleming went second and third in shot put and Eddington was second in the 1,600.

“We feel that we have great depth and also some really high end events,” Maletich said.

Glenbard East

Coach: Molly LeMark

Top returning athletes: Mackenzie Huber, sr., 400/800/high jump; Maddie Michelon, sr., 100/200/4x100 relay/4x200 relay; Catey Carney, jr., shot put/discus; Breonna Ware, jr., 200/4x100 relay/4x200 relay; Emily Fisher, so., 100/4x100 relay/4x200 relay/4x400 relay.

Top new athlete: Aubrey Kitahata, fr., 55/200/4x200 relay/4x400 relay.

Worth noting: The Rams are going for the running Triple Crown this school year. Glenbard East won the Upstate Eight cross country championship last fall and won the conference indoor track and field meet in March. “Beyond that, we would love to have a couple few individuals or even a relay qualify for state,” Rams assistant coach Jordan Flowers said. Graduated is Keeli Dunaway, who took fifth in the state triple jump. Huber took fifth at sectionals in the 400 last year. Michelon, Ware and Fisher ran on the 4x200 relay that took 10th at sectionals last year. Carney took 14th at sectionals in the shot put. Kitahata took third in both the 55 and 200 at the Upstate Eight indoor meet and was part of the 4x160m relay that got second in conference and the conference champion 4x400m relay.

Glenbard South

Coach: Dan Bledsoe

Top returning athletes: Gianna Huerta, sr., hurdles/sprints; Allison Wallner, sr., pole vault; Ella Zeman, jr., long jump; Lorenza Foster-Simbulan, jr., triple jump; Diana Kalvelage, so., 1,600/3,200.

Top new athletes: Kmora Change-Thomas, fr., sprints/long jump; Genevieve Corbin, fr., sprints/sprint relays; Georgia Bryan, fr., sprints/sprint relays; Anna Nesson, fr., sprints/jumps; KaNiyah White, jr., shot put/discus; Zaniyah Lemon, jr., shot put/discus.

Worth noting: The Raiders concluded the indoor season by finishing sixth at the Upstate Eight Conference meet, their same finish at outdoor conference last spring. Huerta took third place in the 300-meter hurdles at state last spring and took sixth in the 100-meter hurdles. Wallner has cleared 2.75 meters in the pole vault, Zeman has gone 4.35 meters in the long jump and Foster-Simbulan has gone 9.08 meters in the triple jump. On the track, Kalvelage has run the 1,600 in 6:20.26 and the 3,200 in 13:52.50.

“We had a lot of fun and growth during our indoor season as we are a fairly young team this season, but everyone has done an incredible job stepping up, working hard and keeping a positive attitude,” Bledsoe said. “We are excited about our outdoor season and preparing for our competition at the sectional.”

Glenbard West

Coach: Kelly Hass

Top returning athletes: Jane Franz, sr., long jump/sprints; Carlin Hass, sr., middle distance; Elayna Boeh, jr., middle distance; Carina Cudzilo, junior, sprints/jumps; Ellie Williamson, sr., high jump; Ally Stortz, so., jumps/sprints; Maggie Hibbard, jr., distance.

Top new athletes: Kennedy Brandt, sr., throws; Mackenzie Gilbert, fr., middle distance; Bea Atkinson, so., sprints/jumps; Maia Kaslewicz, so., middle distance; Parneet Randhawa, fr., hurdles.

Worth noting: Audrey Allman, the 2022 state 1,600-meter champ and a major contributor over four years, has graduated. The Hilltoppers will rely heavily on the field events to earn points, but the steady improvement of sprint and distance squads will balance scoring. Cudzilo, All-State as a freshman on the 4x400 relay team, took second in the long jump and fourth in the triple jump at indoor conference and will be a major contributor this outdoor season. Hass said Williamson, second at indoor conference high jump, is vastly improved, as is Franz. Carlin Hass, All-State as a sophomore on the 4x400 relay, had a rough junior year because of multiple illnesses, but is back in better form and has posted a career-best 1,600 this spring. Hibbard was a state qualifier in cross country and will be tough in the 3,200. Stortz was on varsity as a freshman and already has improved in the triple jump over the indoor season. Brandt is back after sitting out her junior year to focus on basketball and is off to a strong start in the shot put. Atkinson set a sophomore record in the indoor 300 and will be a contributor in events from the 100 to the 400. Kaslewicz is a leader in a small but mighty group of distance runners.

“We will fight to be in the middle of the pack at the outdoor conference meet. We know we have a very talented conference and that in the end, it makes us better,” Kelly Hass said. “Our talent will need to be spread out and athletes will be called upon to run multiple races so we can be at our best. Bringing up some of the underclassmen to the varsity level will help us achieve the goals we have for the outdoor portion of the season.”

Hinsdale South

Coach: Michele Koehler

Top returning athletes: Katarina Petrovic, sr., sprints/sprint relays; Amerie Flowers, jr., throws; Abby Petersen, sr., 1,600; Elena Garcia, sr., 800/4x400 relay/4x800 relay.

Top new athletes: Kennedy Ruff, fr., 400/hurdles; Emilijia Sinkevicius, fr., long jump/triple jump/high jump; Siena Drynan, fr., sprints.

Worth noting: The Hornets are motivated after a stellar finish to the indoor season. Hinsdale South won the eight-team Morton Invite and took second at the West Suburban Gold indoor meet. The Hornets are a young team, having graduated only five seniors off a team that placed fourth in West Suburban Gold outdoors last spring. Petrovic, an Illinois Wesleyan commit, was conference champion in the 100 and 200 last year. Flowers was indoor conference champion in the shot put and placed top 12 last year at sectionals. Petersen only ran indoor last year, but will run outdoors this spring and will be the Hornets’ top 1,600 runner. Garcia, an 800 standout who also runs the 4x800, was part of Hinsdale South’s seventh-place 4x400 relay at sectionals last year. Of the freshmen, Ruff was an IESA state qualifier from Gower Middle School who placed in the top two in the 400 and both hurdles at indoor conference. Sinkevicius also was a state qualifier from Gower Middle School and placed in all three jumps at indoor conference.

“Our team is young. We have many freshmen and sophomore athletes competing on the varsity level and after learning and building during our indoor season, we are finally meshing together as a unified team,” Koehler said. “Even though we are a young team, our sophomores are feeling like they have learned a lot over the past year and our freshmen learned a great deal during indoor. We have a nice mixed schedule coming up, which will give our athletes the motivation and experience they need to be successful.”

IC Catholic Prep

Coach: Robert Cronin

Top returning athletes: Mae Bigane, jr., long jump/hurdles/sprint relays; Kiely Kemph, so., 400/sprint relays; Maren Gibbons, sr., long jump; Megan VanKoughnet, jr., 800/relays; Caitlin Johnson, jr., 800/relays; Lizzie Cook, so., sprint relays; Kelsey Wojtalawicz, sr., distance; Hayden James, sr., distance.

Top new athletes: Peyton Schmidt, so., sprint relays/triple jump; Chloe Brandt, fr., sprint relays; Grace Gildea, fr., distance.

Worth noting: Standout distance runner Carly Manchester, All-State in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 last year, has graduated and is running at Creighton. The Knights are retooling for their best possible state qualifying efforts in their relays. Bigane took sixth in long jump and the 60 hurdles at the Proviso West Invitational. The 4x200 relay took seventh at Proviso West.

“Our girls will work hard toward high conference and sectional placement but we are truly still working on depth and hoping for the best,” Cronin said.


Coach: Tim Plotke

Top returning athletes: Juliette Reyes, sr., hurdles/sprints/sprint relays; Ashley Wrublik, so., shot put; Payton LeFevers, jr., shot put; Jordan Bartman, jr., high jump; Christiana Ostrander, so., discus; Ella Mierzwa, so., sprints/sprint relays; Jordan Cryer, so., sprints/sprint relays.

Top new athletes: Savannah Beasley, fr., sprints/sprint relays; Morgan Sadelski, fr., sprints/sprint relays; Maggie Davey, fr., distance; Cassie Cunningham, fr., distance; Maya Fedko, fr., distance; Niki Tselios, so., distance; Ema Gaidakuvicius, fr., sprints/sprint relays.

Worth noting: Plotke said Lemont is a young team consisting of mostly freshmen and sophomores. Reyes is among the upperclassmen leaders. Lemont finished fourth in the South Suburban Blue last season.

“Our goal is to continue developing as track and field athletes, improve on last year’s conference finish and get as many PRs as possible,” Plotke said. “And hopefully get some girls to qualify for the state meet.”


Coach: Greg Frandsen

Top returning athletes: Catherine Sommerfeld, sr., distance; Scarlett Lestina, sr., distance/distance relays; Anna Bylsma, jr., distance/distance relays; Kristina Findley, jr., distance/distance relays; Shannon Cranny, jr., distance/distance relays; Becky Phillips, sr., sprints/sprint relays; Claire McVady, sr., sprint relays; Emma Kwak, sr., sprint relays; Charlotte Lange, sr., distance; Julianne Melby, jr., middle distance; Madison Findley, jr., 800/4x400; Charlotte Lange, sr., distance; Julianne Melby, jr., middle distance; Madison Findley, jr., 800/4x400, Leigh Ferrell, so., 1,600/pole vault; Annie Heina, jr., high jump; Lucy Lopez, sr., long jump.

Top new athlete: Ella Ormsby, sr., triple jump/long jump.

Worth noting: Lyons, fourth at the West Suburban Silver indoor meet, will be looking to move up during outdoor season in a very competitive league. Leading the way is Sommerfeld, seventh in the 3,200 and 12th in the 1,600 at state last year. Sommerfeld already has broken the indoor school records in the 3,200 (10:45.58) and 1,600 (4:57.90) this spring. Lestina, Bylsma, Findley and Cranny return from the 4x800 relay team that took eighth at state last year. Also back are returning state qualifiers Phillips in the 4x100, 400 and 4x400, McVady in the 4x400 and Kwak in the 4x100, who also will lead the Lions in the 100 and 200. Lange, Melby and Findley are expected to add valuable points. Also contributing will be Ferrell in the 1,600 and pole vault, Heina in the high jump, Lopez in the long jump and newcomer Ormsby in the triple jump and long jump.

“As long as we can stay healthy and keep working hard, we can qualify for state in many events and then see what happens in May at the state meet,” Frandsen said.


Coach: Alex Zasso

Top returning athletes: Lily Townsend, sr., throws; Takeisha Berry, jr., sprints; Sofia Fisher, jr., sprints; Camryn Amouzou, so., sprints; Ava Kehoskie, sr., sprints; Julia Gergen, so., sprints; Katie Gertsen, sr., sprints/triple jump; Ja’Niyah Hall, jr., sprints; Alexi Hernandez, so., discus.

Top new athletes: Sydney Gertsen, fr., distance; Ashlynn Lindt, fr., distance.

Worth noting: The Lady Broncos are looking to build off last year’s big finish, when they qualified their 4x100 and 4x200 relays with a roster of sprinters all in their first year of high school track. Townsend is a returning state qualifier and 2022 sectional champion in the shot put and discus and a two-time GCAC indoor conference champ in shot put who put up a personal record 32 feet, 6 inches this spring to defend her indoor title. Berry, Fisher and Amouzou are returning state qualifiers in the 4x100 and 4x200. Berry also is a returning qualifier in the 200. Kehoskie is a returning qualifier in the 4x100 and Gergen is a returning qualifier in the 4x200. Indoors, the 4x200 placed third at the GCAC conference meet in a sub 1:50 time, just behind 3A powers Loyola and St. Ignatius. Berry, Fisher and Amouzou all placed in the top four in their individual events at GCAC indoor and are strong contenders to make state as individuals in the 100 and/or 200. Katie Gertsen returns after a year lost to injury and will look to make it downstate in the triple jump. Hernandez returns after placing in sectionals last year in discus as a freshman. Sydney Gertsen, Lutheran Sports Association State Champ in middle school, and Lindt seek to add state track to their resumes after making it down in cross country. Gertsen was All-State in cross country and placed second at indoor conference with an 11:32 3200. Lindt placed in the 3,200 at the indoor conference meet.


Coach: Paris Lewis

Top returning athletes: Alayna Plahm, so., 400/4x400; Clare Sandoval, so., 4x400; Neeve Olson, jr., 4x400; Hannah McCarthy, jr.

Top new athletes: Colette Kinsella, sr., distance; Jane McNamara, jr., distance.

Worth noting: Kinsella, All-State in cross country for three years, is running track for the first time. She placed third at the Class 2A Illinois Top Times championship meet and was ranked 20th in the state in the 1,600 at the close of indoor season. Plahm, Sandoval and Olson are returning state qualifiers in the 4x400. Plahm also is a returning qualifier in the 400. McNamara, running track for the first time, has competed in cross country for three years in high school and has shown consistent improvement in the 800 and 1,600.

“The upcoming season look for Colette Kinsella to continue making an impact in the 1,600, Alayna Plahm in the 400 and Clare Sandoval in sprint events,” Lewis said. “Jane McNamara, Hannah McCarthy and Neeve Olson will impact the middle distance events and 4x400 and 4x800 relays. We will see Erin Briars lead us in the long jump.”

St. Francis

Coach: Mike Prizy

Top athletes: Margaret Andrezjewski, fr., middle distance, distance; Laila Donato, fr., sprints; Cate Earl, so., middle distance; Alyssa Falco, sr., middle distance, distance; Becca Heffron, so., sprints; Leann Ringsrud, sr., middle distance; Abbie Sheldon, jr., throws; Kasey Tai, so., sprints.

Worth noting: Prizy will rely heavily on his athletes in the longer races this spring. “The girls team is a distance dominant crew with seniors Falco and Ringsrud leading the way,” Prizy said. Andrezjewski is St. Francis’ acknowledged top newcomer. The freshman finished All-State at the Class 2A state cross country meet last fall. Prizy has an eager but green sprint contingent. Sheldon has high hopes in discus.

-- Kevin McGavin

Timothy Christian

Coach: Kevin Hackert

Top returning athletes: Jenny Lumkes, jr., hurdles, jumps, relays; Ashley Sikkenga, so., sprints to mid-distance.

Top new athletes: Georgie Romano, fr., mid-distance/long jump; Elisabeth Alex, fr., mid to long distance/high jump; Ella Potoshnick, fr., distance.

Worth noting: Timothy Christian is coming off a very successful season – Metro Suburban Conference champions and titles at the CCHS Invitational and Walther Lutheran Invitational – with two relay state qualifiers and two open event state qualifiers. The Trojans graduated 12 seniors, literally half of the team, but have been blessed with 20 freshmen and five upperclassmen who did not compete last year. Lumkes is a returning state qualifier in the 4x800 relay, 300 low hurdles, triple jump and 4x400 relay.

“We are obviously going to be very young, but this surge of signups has us looking forward to another great year,” Hackert said. “Our conference has changed, so we will be facing new competition and we still do not know where we will be going for sectionals, but we have been working hard over the past weeks to be ready for whatever comes our way.”

Wheaton North

Coach: Anne-Marie Lemp

Top returning athletes: Riya Chaudhari, jr., relays/sprints/pole vault/triple jump; Ashley Huang, sr., jumps/pole vault/relays; Emme Smith, so., pole vault; Bella Massaro, sr., distance; Maddie Romaine, so., distance; Abby Huggins, sr., throws; Alana Fomby, so., sprints; Kitty Noland, sr., hurdles; Fonida Khamissi, sr., sprints.

Top new athletes: Autumn Gruenwald, fr., sprints/relays; Lexi Kolomay, so., sprints/relays; Ema Eissler, fr., distance; Siena Keith, fr., distance.

Worth noting: Chaudhari is a returning state qualifier in the 200-meter dash who qualified in the 4x200 relay as a freshman. Huang, also a 2021 4x200 state qualifier, is returning from ACL surgery during the 2022 season. Massaro and Romaine, as well as freshmen Eissler and Keith, were members of the state-qualifying cross country team last fall.

“We’ve had a strong start to our indoor season,” Lemp said. “Looking forward to improving outdoors, with more PRs and qualifying for state on the track and in the field.”


Coach: Amy Lichon

Top returning athletes: Bria Bennis, sr., distance; Brooke Berger, sr., distance; Lily Beerhalter, sr., distance; Katelyn Pratt, sr., sprints; Kalina Ceglinski, sr., pole vault/sprints; Teegan Roach, sr., throws; Ava Glabus, sr., jumps; Charlotte Monroe, sr., jumps; Anna McGrail, jr., distance; Katherine Klimek, jr., distance; Maggie Owens, jr., distance; Maggie Maston, jr., pole vault/sprints; Leila Arzon, jr., high jump/sprints; Elaine Paul, jr., pole vault/sprints; Chloe Peot, jr., sprints; Sophia Stoddard, so., distance; Adell Weseloh, so., distance; Scarlett Moriarty, distance; Norah Peiffle, so., sprints; Allison Poku, so., sprints; Sophia Fidanza, so., sprints; Maddie Valeski, so., sprints; Mia Hanger, so., sprints/jumps; Mia Carone, so., pole vault; Chloe DeClue, so., pole vault/high jump.

Top new athlete: Morgan Navarre, fr., sprints.

Worth noting: York edged Hinsdale Central 120-118 to win the West Suburban Silver indoor title after taking second in both the indoor and outdoor conference meets last year. Bennis, who will run in college at Vanderbilt, placed third at state cross country last fall after taking 19th in the 3,200 at state track last spring. Kentucky commit Berger took fourth in the 800 at state last year and was part of the 4x800 relay with Klimek and Owens that placed third. Beerhalter will run in college at Carnegie Mellon. Maston and Paul are returning state qualifiers in the 4x200 relay. Navarre set an indoor school record this spring in the 300. York broke four indoor school records, two of them 40-year-old marks, and hit seven state qualifying standards. Navarre broke a 39-year-old record in the 300, going 41.78. Paul and Pratt went 1-2 in the 200-meter dash – the first time that’s been done in conference history – and Paul and Ceglinski went 1-2 in the pole vault – the first time that’s been done in school history. Paul broke three school records in York’s first two meets, the first of which stood for 40 years, the second two for 10 years. The events were the 55 and 200, and with her teammates, she led the 4x200 relay team in breaking that school record as well. She also surpassed the state qualifying mark in pole vault in her first meet of the season.

“More than being the first girl on the team to be clocked at 20 mph and the fastest female sprinter in York High School’s history, Lainey is also the most versatile athlete I’ve ever coached on the team,” Lichon said.

Joshua  Welge

Joshua Welge

I am the Sports Editor for Kendall County Newspapers, the Kane County Chronicle and Suburban Life Media, covering primarily sports in Kendall, Kane, DuPage and western Cook counties. I've been covering high school sports for 24 years. I also assist with our news coverage.