PRINCETON: Newcomers aid girls XC growth

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Pictured are members of the Stuart Country Day School cross country team

By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor
While many of the top finishers from a year ago on the Packet-area girls cross country teams have moved on, there are still plenty of talented runners that have returned for this season.
At Montgomery High, Julia Han leads a talented group of runners that return for the Cougars. The junior joins seniors Gianna Tedeschi and Sarah McGowan who are both experienced varsity runners. Meanwhile, junior Jenny Huang and sophomores Carla Musto and Sarah O’Shea are expected to move up to the next level. Other runners who should contribute right away include promising freshmen Emma Noyelle and Sarah Witt, as well as senior Robyn Wright.
“As always we’re looking forward to an exciting season of cross country competing against some of the best teams in the state,” Montgomery coach Tom Huelbig said.
At West Windsor-Plainsboro North, Matthew Warren takes over as the head coach and has a talented group to work with this season. The Knights posted wins over Steinert and Hightstown in their opening meet on Tuesday.
Senior Veda Donthireddym who was the top finisher on Tuesday, returns along with senior Anupama Kandasamy and juniors Julia Grande and Sarah Liu. Newcomers who could become part of the top seven include Elisabeth O’Connell, Emma Faivre, Sophia Terrell, Kyra Ellwood, Sophie Cherayil and Niha Kompella, who all have track experience and are new to cross country, as well as freshman Salini Iyer.
“Our team feels like a family,” Warren said. “They really love each other. There is power in that. Our four varsity returners are great leaders and our newcomers, who are mostly sprinters, have great potential. I think we could be a big surprise come late October.”
WW-P South, which won the Mercer County title last year, looked strong in it season-opening meet on Tuesday as the Pirates topped Robbinsville and Hamilton. Sophomore Julia Mao was the top finisher for the Pirates, second overall. Kelsey Kobus was the second finisher for the Pirates, followed by Elizabeth Petro, Haley Rich and Kavya Tummalapalli to round out the top five.
Princeton was second at the Mercer County meet last year, when the Little Tigers had underclassmen Chloe Taylor, Annefluer Hartmanshenn and Izzy Trenholm among their top runners.
Stuaert Country Day returns senior Casey Nelson, who was first team Prep B last year, along with a solid core that includes Sonia Mohandas, Allie Burgess, Allie Rounds and Grace Sheppard.
“With Casey leading this group which was undefeated in dual meets last year we are looking to improve in our finish in the Prep Championship this year,” Stuart coach Len Klepack said. “We also have the help of newcomers Emily Rounds, Elizabeth Mele and Kerstin Carroll, as well as veterans Jada Postadan, Milan Kainer, Diana Tian and Sharon Song that add to the strength of this year’s team.”
The Hun School girls opened the season by finishing seventh at last weekend’s Newark Academy Invitational. 
“Our girls are lead by seniors Amelia “Mia” Cura and Doris Chen,” Hun coach Kate Butler said. “Cindy Qin is another returning varsity member. New to the team are Tarah Sipos and Sophia Davis. We look forward to having our largest girl’s roster in recent Hun history, with 13 girls between varsity and JV.”