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2014 girls' cross country preview PHOTOS

  • Photo by Dave Chapman Allen Park’s Amber Castoreno is expected to have another strong season for the Jaguars this year with hopes of getting back to the state meet.
  • Photo by Dave Chapman Maggie Pawelczyk was one of two Roosevelt freshmen last year who came out and shocked the Downriver League in the first jamboree and continued the success all season. Now just a sophomore, Pawelczyk is looking for more of the same in 2014.
  • News-Herald File Photo
Wyandotte



The Bears have big goals. They also have the talent, experience and Coaching to accomplish all of them.

“Our entire varsity team is returning,” said Coach Dave Lustig. “And the effort put in over the summer was great. We want to stay healthy, be competitive at our big invites and run in November at the State Finals.”

Lustig, who begins his fifth year running the Bears, took the team to a second-place finish in the Downriver League last year. They also were News-Herald champions.

Sophomore Robyn Loselle is back for the Bears. As a freshman, Loselle was a D1 MHSAA state qualifier, league champion, News-Herald champion, Warrior Classic champion and Monroe Jefferson Invite champion.

Sophomore Maggie Pawelczyk also returns. She was a D1 MHSAA state qualifier, league runner-up, News-Herald runner-up and Warrior Classic runner-up.

Junior Alyssa Harlow, a D1 MHSAA state qualifier, third-place finisher in the league and an All-Area selection, and senior Brittany Cini, an All-Area selection, also return for Roosevelt.

Junior Liz Raupp and sophomores Julia Kanack and Melanie Farley also are returning varsity runners and expected to make an impact this season.



Woodhaven

The Warriors are clearly going for it this year. And Coach Rebecca Jablonski isn’t keeping her team’s high expectations a secret. Check this out:

“We want to continuously develop and evolve into a strong and supportive team, continue reign as Downriver League champions, earn an opportunity to run as a team at the MHSAA state finals and have the best MHSAA state finals finish in Woodhaven girls’ history,” said Jablonski.

That last one is worth repeating: “Have the best MHSAA state finals finish in Woodhaven girls’ history.”

Jablonski, who is entering her fifth season as Coach of the Warriors, is very excited about her team this year. The roster features a combination of youth and experience that could just run away with big things this season.

“Coming off a record number attending our team camp (20 athletes) the team looks to have one of the most successful seasons in the history of Lady Warrior cross country,” said Jablonski, stressing the point. “With a strong group of senior athletes welcoming one of the best incoming ninth-grade groups in the state, a committed team mentality has arisen, demonstrating the potential for a record-breaking season.”

Woodhaven won two of three DRL Jamborees and the final league meet making them outright Downriver League champions last season. It was the Warriors’ fifth straight championship. Woodhaven accomplished all of this without a senior on the roster. Senior Alyson Trapp and sophomore Chloe Hoye were state qualifiers on last year’s team.

This year’s senior class features Trapp, Kendra Cook, Melinda Dietz, Tea Greca and Karina Villalobos. “All of these ladies will play a very important role in the leadership and success of this 2014 squad,” said Jablonski. “They all have taken turns on the varsity team and hope to make this season their most memorable.”

The junior class features Rianna Castelow, Hannah Henson and Savannah Rutkey. The sophomore class features Hoye, Jessica Hawkins, Christi Kent, Peyton Ratusznik and Chloe Watters.

New to the mix is a talented and deep freshman class, setting up the Warriors for huge success for years to come. Freshmen Isabella Dimilia, Clarissa Hoye, Lauren Lyons, Natalia Milanowski, Jerica Parker, Arianna Wegienka and Macee Wilson could help Woodhaven rewrite the record book.

“As eighth graders, these ladies proved to be one of the best middle school teams in the state and are excited to make their mark as high school runners,” Jablonski said. “They should make an immediate impact on the performance of the Lady Warriors.”

Senior Brianna Dimilia also is new to the team and is excited to run with her sister Isabella.



Allen Park

Tim Collins is taking over the girls’ cross country team at Allen Park.

“At this point we have no freshmen on the team, none came out,” said Collins, who hopes to change that before the season takes off. “Freshmen are needed.”

The Jaguars do have senior leadership with Emily Lovasz and Ammy Rosales both back on the roster.

“Emily is helping a lot to get things going for the team,” Collins said. “Amber Castoreno is running really well to get back to the state finals this year. We are looking for Courtney Murray and Allie Cayo to make waves once again in the league.

“I'm very excited to have the additions of Haley Powell, Savannah Thomas and Rubi Serrentino. I believe we just need to focus on the team to be good.”



Anderson

The Titans hope to bounce back after a sixth-place finish in the league last year. And they have the experience to do just that.

Top returnees include seniors Morgan Fantow, Hallie Tingstad and LeAnna Richards along with juniors Nichole Lapkewych and Sydney Martin.

Top newcomers feature freshmen Lauren Buckner and Jacqueline Parks.

“We will be the surprise team this year,” says Coach Lisa Fast. “Our new talent is very solid. It is creating more competition within the team than we have had for a while. It's going to be a very exciting season.”



Trenton



Melissa Lambert takes over the girls’ team at Trenton and so far she likes what she sees from the young Trojans.

“They put in the work over the summer and are a very dedicated group,” said Lambert. “They’ve really looked good and I’m impressed with the attitude and the results so far.”

Junior Zoe Van Hauken and sophomore Victoria Hebda both return for Trenton. Senior Brooke Thanasiu didn’t run cross country last year but is expected to be a big contributor this season for Coach Lambert.

The Trojans open the season next Saturday at the Detroit Titan Invitational at Cass-Benton Park.



Lincoln Park



Samuel Breen is taking over a new girls’ cross country team at Lincoln Park this season.

The rails will be led by Shaina Cox and Breen expects both the boys and girls to be competitive.

“We have group of kids that have been running all summer, getting ready to compete this fall,” he said. “Our goal is to see how we stack up against the rest of the league and see if we can make a splash in our first year back.”



Truman/Kennedy



A combination of new faces and old veterans are what the Truman-Kennedy unified team will bring to 2014.

Debbie Hansen will be leading the girls squad throughout the year .

“Not only is she hard-working and determined, she is also one of the most positive and inspiring forces on our team,” Coach Amber McNew said.





Grosse Ile



It’s time for another cross country season on the island and the Red Devils are looking to build off of last year’s success.

The Grosse Ile girls come into the season as the defending Huron League and regional champions and have big goals for this year.

“Of course our ultimate goal is to return to the state finals and improve our place overall,” Coach Larry Swick said. “In order to do that, we need to focus on the area meets and prep for regionals. There are a lot of good runners in our league, region and area.

“We just have to get better and I feel we are off to a great start.”





The team will also be looking to chase after Roosevelt and Woodhaven at the annual News Herald meet to improve off of last season’s third-place finish.

The Red Devils lost captain and a top-placer for points when Megan Swick graduated, but she turned her captain role over to now senior sister Morgan and little sister, Freshman Madison also joins the squad.

Fresh off a great week at camp, Coach Swick said the team put in a lot of miles and hard work over the summer.

He is also excited about the leadership from Morgan.

“She is a good motivator and she is leading by example,” he said. “Morgan pushes herself in practice and therefore it pushes everyone else.”

Other key returnees include juniors Sydney Kreger and Maria Gedris, who Swick said were the backbone of the team last season.

Kreger was the first Grosse Ile girl to ever win a regional title.

“Both girls have their work cut out for them this year,” Swick said. “There are a lot of respected runners coming up.

“However, Sydney and Maria are winners. They push to the head of the pack and they like to compete. I look forward to seeing what they can bring to the table.”

Sophomore Maddy Davis also returns to help the team’s rankings.

Last fall Davis ran on the shoulders of Kreger and Gedris and her efforts were key to the Red Devils’ success.

“We needed her (as a freshman) to step up and that is what she did,” Swick said. “Maddy has that ‘eye of the tiger’ now.

“She knows what it feels like to win and I feel she is going to work very hard to maintain that.”

Also returning are seniors Destini Pugh and Emily Tyburski, both four-year veterans and runners who Swick says are strong leaders.

Junior Emily Reich and sophomores Valerie Christou, Maya Pandya, Marie-Soleil Sawka, Sam Weslin and Abby Wozniak round out the returners.

“All of these ladies are assets to the team,” Swick said. “Any one of them have the potential to move into a top position.”

New runners include sophomore Jullian Drizinski and freshman Katheryn Kasztowny, Saachi Mittal, Diana Nunez, Madison Smith and Madison Swick.

Overall, Swick is looking forward to the season, whatever the outcomes may be.

“We are constantly referring to cross country in real life situations and how much they relate,” he said. “The kids learn discipline and determination quick when running cross country.

“Runners always have the uniform support from their teammates and opponents. It is a great sport to Coach and great to see athletes mature and improve their times.”

Riverview



The Riverview girls’ cross country team will bring some experience back to the field this season.

The Bucs return three runners from a team that qualified for the state meet in 2013 in the form of seniors Kaylee Kozlowski and Marina Goocher as well as junior Mackenzie Hand .

“We’re hoping that those three can lead by example and show the younger runners on the team how to train and work hard,” Coach Aaron Shupe said. “Hopefully we will have some younger runners fill in where we have lost seniors and we will be a competitive team.”





Flat Rock



Coach Dave Merkel “runs” both the girls and boys teams at Flat Rock. He will be a recruiter though when school starts next week.

“We only have five girls on the team right now,” he said. “We hope to get a few more to come out.”

One girl back is Katie Rainey. The sophomore qualified for the state meet last year as a freshman and should be among the head of the pack all season for the Rams.

Flat Rock will run Division 3 this season, moving down from Division 2 last year.

The Rams hit the starting line on Tuesday at Whiteford.

Last Updated: 8/25/2014 5:15:59 PM EST

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