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August 12, 2009

2009 Season - Veterans and newcomers spell success for 2009

Veteran Augustana women’s head cross country coach Fred Whiteside is understandably optimistic heading into the 2009 season.  The Vikings return six of their top seven runners from 2008, including a pair of MVP’s from previous years. There are 20 returning letterwinners on the 2009 roster.

“We really feel good heading into this year,” said Whiteside, who is now in his 28th year as the head coach. “We have a good veteran group returning and I think this team has great potential.”

Senior Ellen Adams (Glenbard West HS, Glen Ellyn, Ill.) was the team’s Most Valuable Performer last year after she was the top finisher for the Vikings in all nine meets she competed in. She placed fourth in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin championship. Adams followed up her cross country success with a tremendous track season and she is poised to have an outstanding senior year.

Junior Hannah Hottle (Monmouth-Roseville HS, Monmouth, Ill.) was the Most Valuable Freshman in the fall of 2007 and she set the school record in the 3000 steeplechase last spring.

While Adams and Hottle will lead the Augustana attack, Whiteside thinks his team’s depth will be pretty good. Besides Adams and Hottle the returning top seven performers are seniors Krystal Damiano (Cary-Grove HS, Cary, Ill.), Samantha Laskowski (Reavis HS, Oak Lawn, Ill.) and Samantha Pancamo (Wauconda HS, Wauconda, Ill.) and junior Meaghan Reaney (Lincoln Way Central HS, New Lenox, Ill.).

Seniors Dana Wleklinski (Palatine HS, Palatine, Ill.), Paige Deike (Leroy HS, Leroy, Ill.), Niki Eckdahl (Downers Grove North HS, Downers Grove, Ill.) and Kelsey Unseth (Willowbrook HS, Villa Park, Ill.) will provide a solid core of experienced leaders for the team.

Junior Kristin Sattizahn (Erie HS, Erie, Ill.) struggled in cross country in 2008 but rebounded with a solid track season. Other juniors who will contribute are Anita Maurer (Downers Grove North HS, Downers Grove, Ill.), Hannah Schneider (Downers Grove North HS, Downers Grove, Ill.), Brittany Prazak (Naperville North HS, Naperville, Ill.), Amy Walsh (Cary-Grove HS, Cary, Ill.) and Katie Ries (Iowa City Regina HS, Iowa City, Iowa).

Sophomores Sarah Johnson (Grayslake North HS, Lake Villa, Ill.), Rachael Latham (Burlington Central HS, Elgin, Ill.) and Angela Pisani (York HS, Elmhurst, Ill.) will be in the mix as well.

Whiteside really likes his incoming recruiting class. “We think that the freshmen are really good and will make a difference,” said Whiteside, who has led his Vikings to six CCIW titles during his long and successful tenure. “There are some really good kids from solid high school programs.”

Tara Bistry (Joliet Catholic HS, Shorewood, Ill.) and Theresa Coverick (Stagg HS, Palos Hills, Ill.) both had outstanding high school careers. Sarabeth Jones (Warren Township HS, Wadsworth, Ill.), Jennifer Prazak (Naperville North HS, Naperville, Ill.), Kirstilyn Pohlman (Zion-Benton HS, Winthrop Harbor, Ill.), Emily Byars (Geneva HS, Geneva, Ill.), Nicole Babbin (Libertyville HS, Libertyville, Ill.), Annie Heffner (Oregon HS, Oregon, Wis.), Amanda Johnson (York HS, Elmhurst, Ill.) and Elizabeth Lefelstein (Rosary HS, St. Charles, Ill.) are among those freshmen who could make an impact.

“We are looking forward to the season,” said Whiteside, who also coaches the track & field team in the spring. “I think we have a good mix of veterans and youngsters and it should add up to an interesting and exciting season.”