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January 8, 2010

2009-2010 Season - Optimism is high for women's track & field

After finishing the 2008-09 season ranked 12th in NCAA Division III, according to the U.S. Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association, the Augustana Vikings of veteran head coach Fred Whiteside are optimistic once again as the 2009-10 campaign looms. Augustana is coming off a tremendous year in 2009 as the Vikings won the Early Spring Opener, the Viking Olympics and the Augustana Invitational and finished fourth in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin.

Senior Marissa Banks (Ames HS, Ames, Iowa) earned NCAA Division III all-American honors in the discus with a third place finish in the national meet. Augustana counted four individual national qualifiers and one relay team in 2009. A pair of school records also fell last year and one of those school record holders, junior steeplechaser Hannah Hottle (Monmouth-Roseville HS, Monmouth, Ill.) returns.

“Our team outlook is once again very strong since we have some very talented athletes in every event,” said Whiteside, who has guided the Vikings to a total of 12 CCIW team titles in his outstanding coaching career. “We have the largest roster in school history (81 team members) and also have a nice balance between upper class and freshmen athletes.”

Whiteside also like the leadership that will be provided by Marissa Banks (Ames HS, Ames, Iowa), Valerie Bustle (Geneseo HS, Geneseo, Ill.), Ainsley Fedler (Burlington HS, Burlington, Iowa), Samantha Laskowski  (Reavis HS, Oak Lawn, Ill.) and Caitlin Quinn (Metamora HS, Metamora, Ill.).

SPRINTS – Seniors Fedler and Kai Frazier (United Township HS, East Moline, Ill.) were members of the 400 relay team that hit the NCAA Division III qualifying mark last spring. They will lead the sprint contingent. Seniors Paige Deike (Leroy HS, Leroy, Ill.) and Angela Baumgartner (Princeton HS, Princeton, Ill.), junior Ella Mathieson (Lyons Township HS, LaGrange, Ill.) and sophomores Katie Bedene (Grayslake North HS, Lake Villa, Ill.), Rachael Latham (Burlington Central HS, Elgin, Ill.) and Morgan Gale (Oregon HS, Oregon, Ill.) all showed promise last spring. Latham was voted the team’s Most Valuable Freshman in 2009. A freshman contingent of Valerie Bach (Palatine HS, Palatine, Ill.), Jennifer Garrett (Glenbard North HS, Carol Stream, Ill.), Lexie Kramer (Peoria Notre Dame HS, Dunlap, Ill.), Megan Larkin (Middleton HS, Middleton, Wis.), Alyssa Quamme (Northfield HS, Dundas, Minn.) and Katie Dinkel (Maharashi HS, Fairfield, Iowa) will be counted on as well.

HURDLES – Junior Allison Schaley (Cary-Grove HS, Cary, Ill.) is the defending CCIW champion in the 400 hurdles. She will be joined by junior Amy Walsh (Cary-Grove HS, Cary, Ill.), senior captain Valerie Bustle (Geneseo HS, Geneseo, Ill.) and freshman Emily Margosian (Neuqua Valley HS, Naperville, Ill.).

MIDDLE DISTANCE – Junior Hannah Hottle (Monmouth-Roseville HS, Monmouth, Ill.) and Samantha Laskowski (Reavis HS, Oak Lawn, Ill.) spearhead the middle distance group. Both were conference placewinners a year ago. Seniors Krystal Damiano (Cary-Grove HS, Cary, Ill.), Dana Wleklinski (Palatine HS, Palatine, Ill.) and Nicole Eckdahl (Downers Grove North HS, Downers Grove, Ill.), junior Hannah Schneider (Downers Grove North HS, Downers Grove, Ill.) and Meaghan Reaney (Lincoln-way Central HS, New Lenox, Ill.) and sophomore Angela Pisani (York HS, Elmhurst, Ill.) provide qualify depth. Freshmen Sarabeth Jones (Warren Township HS, Wadsworth, Ill.), Jennifer Prazak (Naperville North HS, Naperville, Ill.), Theresa Coverick (Stagg HS, Palos Park, Ill.) and Emily Byars (Geneva HS, Geneva, Ill.) are poised for big things.

DISTANCE – Senior Ellen Adams (Glenbard West HS, Glen Ellyn, Ill.) leads the distance runners. She has been the top cross country runner each of the last two seasons. Seniors Samantha Pancamo (Wauconda HS, Wauconda, Ill.), Kelsey Unseth (Willowbrook HS, Villa Park, Ill.) and Sara Blyth (Palatine HS, Palatine, Ill.), juniors Kristin Sattizahn (Erie HS, Erie, Ill.) and Katie Ries (Iowa City Regina HS, Iowa City, Iowa) and sophomore Kaitlin Profita (York HS, Elmhurst, Ill.) all have experience. Freshmen Tara Bistry (Joliet Catholic HS, Shorewood, Ill.) and Annie Heifner (Oregon HS, Oregon, Wis.) have made great strides during the cross country season. Hottle is the school record holder in the 3000 steeplechase and sophomore Sara Johnson (Grayslake North HS, Lake Villa, Ill.), junior Anita Maurer (Downers Grove North HS, Downers Grove, Ill.) and junior Brittany Prazak (Naperville North HS, Naperville, Ill.) will lend depth in the steeplechase.
THROWS – Banks is clearly the leader in the throwing events. She is the three time defending conference champion in the shot and the discus outdoors and holds the indoor and outdoor shot and discus school record. During her career she has also held the school record in the 20 pound weight throw indoors and the hammer outdoors. Sophomores Amber Gruber (Rolling Meadows HS, Arlington Heights, Ill.), Melanie Battistoni (York HS, Elmhurst, Ill.), Patricia Stoker (Niles West HS, Lincolnwood, Ill.) and freshman Bethany Siwek (Woodstock HS, Woodstock, Ill.) will handle the shot, discus and hammer throw.  In the javelin it will be seniors April Calderone (Sherrard HS, Matherville, Ill.) and Brooke Sebek (Mother McAuley HS, Oak Lawn, Ill.), junior Nicole Szulc-Cieplicki (Libertyville HS, Green Oaks, Ill.) and Danielle Kilberry (Kaneland HS, Elburn, Ill.) and sophomore Catherine Foreman (St. Joseph-Ogden HS, St. Joseph, Ill.).

JUMPS – In the jumps juniors Ella Mathieson (Lyons Township HS, LaGrange, Ill.) and Megan Lecander (Sherrard HS, Sherrard, Ill.) along with freshmen Ceara Campos (Sterling HS, Sterling, Ill.) and Samantha Bazely (Rock Island Alleman HS, Coal Valley, Ill.) will compete in the long and triple jump events. Senior Megan Timmerman (Mundelein HS, Mundelein, Ill.) junior Kristin Klouda (West Chicago HS, Winfield, Ill.) will handle the high jump. Seniors Caitlin Quinn (Metamora HS, Metamora, Ill.) and Libby Geison (Bloomington HS, Bloomington, Ill.) are the top pole vaulters on the squad. Klouda, sophomore Alicia Koepke (Lake Park HS, Roselle, Ill.) and freshman Taylor Tjardes (Gibson City/Melvin/Sibley HS, Gibson City, Ill.) will also compete here.

HEPTATHLON – Junior Brittany Bennett (Annawan HS, Annawan, Ill.) and senior Kyle Baird (Grant HS, Lake Villa, Ill.) both handled the heptathlon duties last year. Tjardes (Gibson City/Melvin/Sibley HS, Gibson City, Ill.) will also try her talents in this event.