The Geneva girls cross country program has another crop of promising underclassmen runners, highlighted lately by freshman McKenzie Altmayer.
Altmayer finished sixth overall and first for Geneva at Saturday's St. Charles North Invitational, posting a time of 18:24.
"She was 1 last week, she's been 2 – she's switching around with Brooke Nusser quite a bit," Geneva coach Bob Thomson said. "Kathryn Adelman was up there for a while, then she was sick for a couple weeks. The three of them in practice are almost shoulder-to-shoulder all the time."
Nusser, a sophomore, is healing a foot bruise that has given her trouble at some of the hillier courses in the area.
Thomson said Altmayer displayed her promise with a strong summer of training. She seems to be enjoying her immediate high school success.
"I don't recall her not having a smile on her face," Thomson said. "She's very coachable, very polite, very friendly, so she's very pleasant to have in the program."
The Vikings are scheduled to compete in today's Stampede meet hosted by West Aurora but Geneva's top girls and boys runners will take a pass. That's because, for the second straight year, the Vikings are participating in the 2.62 mile North Side-South Side Challenge on Sunday in downtown Chicago, an event affiliated with the Chicago Marathon.
Thomson said Geneva runners were issued running gear by Nike for the 24-school event. The race is split between North and South teams; the Vikings will run for the South side but Thomson mused that, with parts of Geneva located on either side of Roosevelt Road, the Vikings would be a fit either way.
Dandy diving duo for Saints
Senior Jacqueline Blondin and junior Dana Ritter are providing the St. Charles East swimming and diving team "probably our best diving group we've had in a while," veteran Saints coach Joe Cabel said.
"They push each other," Cabel said. "Both are nice kids. They don't get [down] too bad if they miss a dive. They move right on. They have good composure."
Cabel said Blondin is more of a "power diver" while Ritter relies on finesse.
Scoring big in diving bodes well for a deep East team that is enjoying banner seasons from core swimmers such as Mary Snyder, Nicole Chapko and Shea Hoyt.
Might as well be partners
Batavia tennis standouts Miranda Grizaffi and Liza Fruendt aren't doubles partners but they'd probably have a heck of a lot of fun if they were.
Grizaffi, Batavia's No. 1 singles player, and Fruendt, the Bulldogs' No. 2, have grown tight while sharing leadership roles with the Bulldogs' tennis and basketball programs. The girls helped Batavia tennis to another unbeaten run through the conference dual meet season, capped by Tuesday's 5-2 win against Geneva.
"Me and Miranda are like best friends, so it's really fun to go through everything with her, go through tennis, go through basketball," Fruendt said. "And the rest of the girls – it's really fun. It's a short season but you really get good memories out of it because all of the girls. And winning helps everything be a little bit more enjoyable."
IN THE GROOVE
Jelly Emmanouil-Madi Jurcenko, Kaneland girls tennis
What they did: Emmanouil and Jurcenko, both sophomores, continued their seasonlong dominance, beating teams from Geneva, St. Charles East and St. Charles North on Saturday in an event in which the Vikings, Saints and North Stars shared hosting duties.
Ashley England, St. Charles North, girls cross country
What she did: The junior finished third individually in Saturday's St. Charles North Invitational at LeRoy Oakes, leading the North Stars to a one-point team victory against runners-up Geneva. England finished in 18:04.2.
WHAT WE LEARNED FROM LAST WEEK
Kaneland sophomore girls tennis standout Sammie Schrepferman thinks she's "a lot better" than she was during a terrific freshman season. Schrepferman, whose only No. 1 singles losses this season have come to Geneva's Kirby Einck and Sycamore's Angelina Ye, said she has a steadier temperament this year.
"Last year I would always get frustrated, just yell at myself," Schrepferman said. "This year I kind of hide it when I play and just know how to correct myself instead of waiting."
WHAT WE'LL LEARN IN THE WEEK AHEAD
How the St. Charles East and St. Charles North girls swimming teams stack up.
The Saints and North Stars are scheduled to meet at East at 5 p.m. Thursday in a marquee Upstate Eight Conference showdown.
COACH SLY SAYS
Too bad Batavia and Geneva don't have competitive swimming teams.
With the quality of programs Rosary, East and North have put together, Coach Sly's sure the great rivalries we see in all the other sports in the area would permeate local natatoriums.
As it stands, East-North is the only show in town when it comes to local swimming rivalries. Looking forward to seeing how that one plays out next week.