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Autumn athletes are on the move

Central's boys cross country, girls swimming and volleyball teams aim high


Last updated 9/4/2019 at 5:36pm | View PDF

The Hinsdale Central boys cross country, girls swimming and girls volleyball teams are all working to get their seasons off to a strong start, with hopes of an even stronger finish come state playoff time. (file photos)

This is the third and final installment in our series previewing Hinsdale Central High School's fall sports teams.

The boys and girls golf teams and football squad and were featured in the Aug. 22 issue, and girls cross country, boys soccer and girls tennis were spotlighted Aug. 29. Those articles are available online at

Boys cross country

First meet: Aug. 27 Red Devil Tri (vs. Benet & Fenwick)

Last year: 4th in regional, 5th in sectional, 11th in state

Head coach: Jim Westphal

Seasons as head coach: 15

No. team members: 92

Team strengths: The boys are hard workers, disciplined, inclusive and great role models.

Areas for growth: We face incredibly tough competition all season starting with our first invite, the Hornet-Red Devil. Several of the top teams in the state will be there. It will be a good measure as to how good we are at the moment as a program.

Who to watch: All of the athletes. No matter the talent level or age, they all work hard and strive to improve every day.

Outlook: We are hopeful to get back to the state meet. We are in a tough sectional and about three to four teams will be battling for that coveted fifth place. Furthermore: The kids are great to work with, and I feel very fortunate to be involved with all of the athletes and their supportive families.

Girls swimming

First meet: Aug. 30 vs. St. Charles North (V wins 107-79)

Last year: 16th at state

Head coach: Bob Barber

Seasons as head coach: 20

No. team members: 78

Team strengths: We have a really nice breakdown of groups. We have 78 active athletes and three team managers. Twenty=tow girls are training with me and 29 in JV, 13 in JV 2, 12 are divers. We have a really nice balance. We have an incoming freshmen class that's capable of filling some holes created by graduation.

Areas for growth: I think were excited to see a freshman class that has sprint freestyle ability as a key component. Nine of the 22 on varsity are freshmen, and 10 of those on varsity are new to my level. We still have to figure out where everyone fits in. We have a very versatile high school lineup, we just haven' figured out how to fill all the spots yet. I really don't know what this freshman class is capable of. We still have a lot of kinks to work out in order for the team to set themselves up to be successful as a group.

Who to watch: It's going to be exciting to see Anna Gruvberger in her senior year. She holds multiple school records, and she's off to Cornell University next year. We're also eager to see junior Melanie Quinones grow from her year last year both in relays and individual events, and to see sophomore Lauren Biegel keep growing from her freshman year last year. Three freshman are also expected to have an immediate impact: Kendall Pickering, Kit Snyder and Kari Kramer.

Outlook: I think we still have to get our feet under ourselves and make sure everyone is focused on the same goal to begin putting ourselves in the position that we've been talking about. We have the potential to be competitive at multiple events and to do well in our conference and in sectionals, for sure.

Girls volleyball

First meet: Aug. 28 @ Bolingbrook (V lost 21-25, 11-25)

Last year: 16-18, lost in regional semifinal

Head coach: Tracey Marshall

Seasons as head coach: 2

No. team members: 13

Team strengths: We have individuals with power that can get after the ball. Senior middle hitter Lauren Ridgway is committed to DePauw University, and many others have prospects. I expect big things from our junior class this year with two up-and-coming outsides, Nikolette Nedic and Brooke Cooper.

Areas for growth: We had a total of eight seniors in the program that played a significant role throughout last year. We are anticipating six returners to step in as upperclassman and make a similar impact; however, they will require support in some key areas, mainly setting and passing. We are missing solid six rotation players that can hit and pass and a quarterback setter that can run a smooth system. Filling in those gaps will be key in order for us to be successful longterm in the season.

Who to watch: senior middle hitters Ridgway and Maggie Huber; junior outside hitters Cooper and Nedic; and senior defensive specialists/libero Natalie Newmann and Payton Webber.

Outlook: I anticipate this year's squad to look much different than last season. The theme of the 2019 season is GRIT. If one is judging based on the summer participation, and seeing how hardworking they were, it would be easy to say this year will bring about a refreshing twist for HCHS volleyball. There were many who showed up every day over the course of the summer and we were able to see a tremendous progress and we are excited to see how this season unfolds. This year we added some out-of-conference competition that we haven't faced previously. New to the schedule this year will be Whitney Young. In addition to that, we have a heavy tournament schedule with high-caliber competition and new to that will be the Nike Challenge at Mother McCauley.

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 630-323-4422, ext 103


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