The Moraine Valley Community College women’s cross country team started with one freshman runner last summer and ended with four All-Conference athletes, two of whom competed at nationals.

Because of injuries, all four women couldn’t race together until the end of the season. However, they had success when they did. Annabel Lipkie (Stagg), Mariah Karamagianis (Sandburg), Lizbeth Juarez-Castillo (Sandburg) and Naya Padayao (Sandburg) each earned All-Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference honors after the team finished second overall at the Skyway championship. Lipkie and Karamagianis each ran a personal best at the NJCAA Region 4 championship to qualify for the NJCAA Division II Cross Country Championship in Huntsville, Alabama. The duo competed at nationals on Nov. 11 with each earning yet another personal record to finish the season.

The 2023 Moraine Valley Community College women’s cross country team.

The 2023 Moraine Valley Community College women’s cross country team.

Lipkie was the anchor from the beginning, said Head Coach Dimitri Dimizas, finishing his eighth year leading the program. She was the only runner on the women’s team throughout the summer, which made training difficult, but once she got some teammates, she opened up and showed what she could do. Lipkie was injured the second half of the season but pushed through to earn All-Conference and All-Region honors and gained valuable experience at nationals for next year.

Karamagianis joined the team when school started and had a challenging introduction to college running. “I’m glad she didn’t get intimidated and stuck with it. She had an impressive improvement rate all the way to the end of the season, and there’s a lot of untapped potential there,” Dimizas said. “We’re looking forward to seeing what she can do with some continuous training.”

Juarez-Castillo joined the Cyclones in August, although injuries kept her cross training more than running. “She has a willingness to succeed and wants to get better,” Dimizas commented. “When she puts it all together, she’ll be impressive next year.”

Padayao also joined the team at the start of the school year and dealt with some injuries. “She has such a positive attitude that rubs off on others. That will be important to the team next year,” Dimizas said. “A meaningful offseason will help her reach her potential.”

Because all the runners were freshmen, Dimizas expects them to return stronger while also recruiting reinforcements for a full and healthy team.

“Each of them showed a determination to want to get better, and each of them grew a lot from when I met them. Having all four earn All-Conference honors was a nice accomplishment,” Dimizas said. “I know they all have big goals for next year, and if they put in the work this offseason, and if we can get some quality runners to join next year, they’ll add to the strong legacy of this cross country program.”

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For news media inquiries, contact Maura Vizza, Moraine Valley communications specialist and sports information coordinator, at (708) 974-5742 or