Peoria Central & Niles West Invites up next!

The DGS girls cross country team will split the squad this weekend to attend two different meets. Seven of the varsity girls will travel back to Detweiller Park for the Peoria Central Invite. The remainder of the team will travel to Niles West HS for the Pat Savage Invite held on the NWHS campus.

The Peoria squad will leave on Friday and stay overnight prior to the 11:00am Saturday race. The Niles West squad will leave DGS at 7:00am before competing in the 9:30am F/S race and the 10:30am varsity race.


DGS wins Naperville Invite!

On Friday afternoon, the DGS girls cross country team made the short trip to the DuPage River Park for the Naperville Girls Invitational meet. This was a 12-team meet hosted by both Naperville Central and Naperville North. It is a rare Friday evening meet that features several quality girls programs from around the area.

Our varsity team has competed extremely well this season and Friday was no different as the Mustangs took 1st place out of 12 teams. DGS scored 42 pts to win easily over #20 ranked Lockport (71 pts) and #19 ranked Naperville Central (77 pts). Katie Stapleton (Sr) and Juliana Stogsdill (Plainfield North) ran side-by-side in the lead for most of the race. They stayed like that for more than 2.5 miles until Stogsdill pulled away with a 4 second win. Katie finished in 2nd place overall out of 104 runners to lead DGS with a valuable low scoring number. Becky Versaskas (So) was able to build on her great performance from last week by moving from an early race 10th place position, all the way up to 4th place by the time she crossed the finish line. The Mustangs impressive 3-4-5 pack closed out the race early to secure the win. Brenna Cohoon (Fr) finished in 1oth place, Melissa Weidner (So) placed 12th, and Kennedy Warden (Fr) placed 14th to give DGS the lowest team score. The final four varsity Mustang runners had a nice pack as well with Olivia Duax (So) finishing in 45th, Gillian Thomas (Jr) placing 50th, Allison Calek (So) placing 52nd, and Kara Petersen (Sr) placing 61st.

In other race action, the F/S team finished in 9th place overall. With several athletes competing varsity and a few more missing the race due to illness, it was a small group of  girls left to represent DGS. Julie LaLonde (So) continued to put together a great season by leading the F/S team as the first scorer. Julie was near the back of the lead pack in about 15th place heading into the wooded section of the course. She ran a great race, steadily moving up throughout the race, to finish in 7th place out of 217 runners. Erin Glennon (Fr) also moved up well over the 2nd half of the race to eventually end up in 23rd place overall. Clare Quirin (So), Marlo Rachie (Fr), and Gillian Musial (Fr) rounded out the F/S scoring finishing in 52nd, 61st, and 137th places respectively.

The JV team ran an inspired race, finishing 3rd out the 12 competing teams. It was the power of the pack that led to this top 3 finish as 4 Mustang athletes crossed the finish line within 15 seconds of each other. Riya Bhasin (Jr) was the first DGS girl to score with her 14th place in the race of 161 runners. Carli Smid (Jr) ran her best race of the season to finish in 15th place. Both girls were followed closely by Hailey Rodden (Jr) in 17th and Victoria Protsyuk (Sr) in 19th place. Amber McCauley (Jr) had a season-best race to round out the scoring with her 27th place finish.

Overall, we had 28 girls race today and 24 of them ran their best time of the season! The difference was due partly to the better racing weather and course conditions, but mostly due to the fact that they went out and competed. We are very proud of the girls and the effort they gave!

DGS individual splits/times/places can be found on the Schedule/Results page. Full meet results can be found on the website.

The Mustangs will split the team next week as the varsity top 7 head to the Peoria Central Invite while the remainder of the team travels to Niles West HS for the Pat Savage Invite.


DGS goes 2-0 in triangular!

The DGS girls cross country team traveled to Katherine Legge Memorial Park on Monday afternoon to face conference foes Hinsdale South and Proviso East. The Mustangs returned victorious, defeating Hinsdale South 25-36, and Proviso East 18-45. These wins evened out our conference record to 2-2 for the season with one dual meet (vs. Morton on 10/3) remaining.

The host school, Hinsdale South had the first 2 finishers in Monday’s race on the challenging 3-mile course. The Mustangs were led by Megan Albers (Sr) and Julie LaLonde (So), who finished in the 3rd and 4th places overall. They were followed by a single Proviso East girl, then 5 more DGS girls finished close together in places 6 through 10 to seal both of the wins. Riya Bhasin (Jr) led that pack, followed by Hailey Rodden (Jr), Erin Glennon (Fr), Amanda Annese (So), and Carli Smid (Jr).  In all, 18 Mustang athletes competed in the 43 girl race.

Season best PR’s were run by Amanda Annese (So), Katie Meyr (Jr), and Gillian Musial (Fr). DGS individual times and splits can be found on the Schedule / Results page.


Minooka Invite Results

The DGS girls cross country team traveled to Channahon Community Park on Saturday to compete in the Minooka Invitational. The F/S and Open races were run in normal invitational style, while the varsity race was divided into 7 separate flights. The competition, like last week in Peoria, was top notch. The girls from Minooka are the defending state champions and ranked #4 in the state this year. For the 3rd time this season, we found ourselves racing against Yorkville, ranked #3 in the state. Other ranked teams included Batavia and Lyons Township among the 14 team field.

The F/S team started off the day with a respectable 6th place finish out of 11 competing teams. While 6th place may not appear to be a great result, it must be tempered with the fact that 6 of our fastest freshmen and sophomores are now competing on the varsity level. With an already small F/S contingent, their absence makes a huge difference. The girls who did run in this race did a great job of competing and leaving everything they had out on the course. Allison Calek (So) moved up steadily through the field and led the Mustangs with her 16th place finish. Julie LaLonde (So) was the next finisher in 26th place. Erin Glennon (Fr), Amanda Annese (So), and Clare Quirin (So) have all improved a lot from the beginning of summer running, so finishing close together in 38th, 42nd, 49th places was not a surprise. Freshman, Marlo Rachie, just joined the team earlier this week and was certainly nervous for her first HS cross country race. But she did a great job finishing in 55th place, just ahead of Gillian Musial (Fr) who finished in 71st place. Together these 7 girls scored 166pts to secure the 6th place F/S team finish.

The next 7 races were the varsity flight races. This format favors teams with great depth because all 7 runners count equally towards the team score. It also provides the unique opportunity of allowing each runner on the team to race near the front and try to win a race. But they are tough races to run. In races this small (14 runners in each flight), the start becomes so critical as the field spreads itself out. On Minooka’s winding course, it’s easy to get separated and then stuck running on your own. We discussed this ahead of time, but sometimes its easier said than done, especially when the boys and girls flights are starting together. Kara Petersen (Sr) was the first Mustang to race in the flights, competing in flight 7. Kara got taken a little by surprise when the boys pulled the lead group of girls out pretty fast at the start. Kara was gapped in the first 1/2 mile, but battled back, ran a strong last 2.5 miles and moved her way up for a 6th place finish. She was followed by Olivia Duax (So) in flight 6 who found herself with a similar fate. Olivia got out a little too slow, allowing the lead pack to separate, but like Kara, she ran a fantastic 2nd half of the race to finish in 5th place. Both of these girls learned from this experience and will continue to contribute great things to the varsity team.

A pair of Mustang freshmen took to the course for flights 4 & 5. Kennedy Warden (Fr), who sat out last week’s Peoria race, ran in flight 5. Erin Reidy (Fr) ran in flight 4. Having witnessed the earlier flights, both Kennedy and Erin were a little more prepared for the fast start and both were able to connect themselves to the lead pack in their respective races. Kennedy ran a fearless race, moving into 2nd place early on in the race. She maintained that position throughout the race, eventually holding off a runner from Lyons Township who pressed her the entire last 1/2 mile to finish in 2nd place. Erin ran a similar style race, running with a lead pack that consisted of herself and runners from Minooka and Yorkville. Erin battled with the two of them for the first 2 miles before falling slightly back to 3rd place. Both of these talented young athletes have been very impressive in their brief high school careers, and I’m very excited to watch them continue to get better and better.

Both Becky Versaskas (So) and Melissa Weidner (So) were in those same positions as stand out freshman last season. Both girls have continued to grow and improve and it showed in todays races. Melissa ran a great race in flight 3. Her preferred racing style is to slowly build throughout the first half of a race and try to negative split the 2nd half, but in these small flight races, you don’t always have that luxury. While Minooka all-state runner, Mackenzie Callahan, and Yorkville all-state runner Maddie Dearborn separated from the lead pack early, at the 1/2 mile mark Melissa was at the back of a 6-person chase pack. By the time the chase pack got to the mile, Melissa had moved to the front of it, taking over 3rd place. She continued to pull away from those girls, finishing in 3rd place about 20 seconds ahead of 4th place. When Becky’s flight 2 race began, she moved immediately to the lead pack with another pair of all-state runners, Emily Shelton (Minooka) and Olivia Borowiak (Yorkville). By the mile mark, Shelton began to pull away, leaving Becky and the Yorkville girl in a fight for 2nd & 3rd. As the race progressed, Shelton’s lead grew, and Borowiak pulled ahead of Becky by about 10-12 meters. As they exited the woods with about 300m left in the race, Becky reached for another gear and started to close the gap. Becky was able to move slightly ahead, before Borowiak’s final push helped her just edge out Becky at the finish line (they were awarded the same finishing times). Becky finished in 3rd place, but her gutsy race and finishing kick left her with the fastest DGS time of the day.

In the championship flight 1 race, Katie Stapleton (Sr) had to battle both a slew of good runners and a bad flare up of allergies that left it hard to breathe. It was a combination that proved tough to overcome. Even so, Katie gave it a valiant effort, racing in 4th place for the first 2 miles of the race. Her breathing struggles were evident, but her effort was never doubted. Over the last mile, she was passed by one runner from Lyons Township, but pulled away from the rest of the field, leaving Katie to finish in a very respectable 5th place.

As expected, Yorkville won the meet with 14 pts, followed by Minooka with 15 pts. Our varsity team scored 27 pts and were just edged out by a talented Lyons Township team that scored 26 pts. Finishing in 4th place behind Lyons Township was a little disappointing, but the way we ran was not. No one can say for sure if it would have changed the final scores, but we definitely missed having Brenna Cohoon (Fr) as part of our varsity team today while she was at home sick.

The final race of the day was the Open race where we had 16 girls take to the course at 12:00 noon in the blazing heat. As the rest of the team did all day, these girls took risks and ran with heart. Gillian Thomas (Jr) was the first DGS finisher. She battled a group of girls from Minooka over the entire 3 mile course moving up as high as 2nd place until eventually finishing in 4th place overall. Megan Albers (Sr) found herself slowly moving up in the field and finally settled on 14th place by the time she reached the finish line. Riya Bhasin (Jr) was the final Mustang medalist, running a strong race alongside Megan for the first 2.5 miles before slipping back to 19th at the finish. The rest of the team pushed hard through the 3-mile course and made no excuses as they gave it all they had.

I’m really proud of all of the girls and what they accomplished today!

DGS individual times and splits can be found on the Schedule/Results page. Full meet results can be found on the Minooka CC website.

Pictures from the meet can be found on the Pictures and Video page.


Minooka Flight Meet Up Next!

On Saturday (Sept 17), the Mustangs will travel to Channahon Community Park to race in the 43rd annual Minooka Flight Invitational. Competition will be fierce with Yorkville, Batavia, Lyons Township, and the host team from Minooka all having excellent teams.

The morning will begin with boys and girls F/S races at 8:30a and 8:35a. After those races conclude, the varsity flight races will start. Each varsity team races one runner at a time against the other schools, starting with the #7 runners. When the #7 runners have reached the 1-mile point of the race, the #6 runners begin their race. This continues until they reach the championship flight where everyone’s #1 runners will face off. It is a unique format that gives each varsity runner equal responsibility for the team score (all 7 runners count toward the score). Following the flight races, the remainder of the team will race in the Open race. You can find more specific meet information and eventual results on the Run Minooka website.

Our bus will leave DGS at 6:30a. The following girls will compete in the F/S race for DGS: Allison Calek, Julie LaLonde, Erin Glennon, Amanda Annese, Clare Quirin, Gillian Musial, and Marlo Rachie.

In the flight races, Kennedy Warden will run flight 7, Olivia Duax – flight 6, Erin Reidy – flight 5, Brenna Cohoon – flight 4, Melissa Weidner – flight 3, Becky Versaskas – flight 2, and Katie Stapleton – flight 1.

All remaining DGS athletes will compete in the Open race that will start 25 minutes after the boys open race.

On Monday (Sept 19), the Mustangs travel to KLM Park in Hinsdale for our 2nd triangular meet of the season vs Hinsdale South and Proviso East.

DGS places 4th at FTTF Invite!

On Saturday, we traveled to Peoria for the ‘First to the Finish’ Invitational. This was a huge meet divided into 3 classes, with many of the best teams from around the state. We competed in the 3A class (largest school division) against 37 other teams. Thirteen of those teams are currently ranked among the top 25 in the state according to DyeStatIL. The course was muddy and sloppy following a week of rain, making it tougher and definitely slower than normal.

The Mustangs more than held their own against this competitive field by placing 4th out of 38 teams. Naperville North (ranked #4 in Illinois) won the meet 81-82 over #3 ranked Yorkville. The defending state champions, Minooka (ranked #2) placed 3rd with 118 pts, while DGS (currently ranked #9) placed 4th with 159 pts. The Mustangs finished ahead of 2 higher ranked teams (#6 Hinsdale Central and #7 Batavia) and all 7 of the remaining top 25 ranked teams.

The only ranking that truly matters is the one following the state meet 8 weeks from now. But this has been a promising start to the season for a team filled with so many younger runners. Being able to go toe to toe with the best teams in the state, beating many of them, is a huge confidence builder.

Katie Stapleton (Sr) continued to lead the team as our top runner, placing 17th overall. Katie has been consistently strong in all of her races so far this season and is just one breakthrough race away from challenging some of the elite runners in the state. Becky Versaskas (So), Melissa Weidner (So), and Brenna Cohoon (Fr) have finished close together in each of our 3 races this season. Their pack has been the strength of our team so far. At Fenton, they all finished within 2 seconds of each other. On Saturday, they were separated by only 15 seconds and 7 places. Brenna finished 29th, Melissa finished 31st, and Becky finished 36th.

An important key to the second half of our season will be having a 5th runner step up to complete our scoring. At Yorkville, Kennedy Warden (Fr) was our 5th scorer while at Fenton, Olivia Duax (So) was the #5 runner. Yesterday in Peoria, Erin Reidy (Fr) stepped up her game and ran a great race to finish 5th for us. Erin placed 48th, and Olivia placed 121st, while Kennedy sat this race out. Also in contention for the varsity positions are Allison Calek (So) who finished 153rd yesterday, Kara Petersen (Sr) who placed 154th, and Gillian Thomas (Jr) who placed 156th.

In the Open race yesterday, Julie LaLonde (So) and Riya Bhasin (Jr) led the Mustangs with their 50th and 53rd place finishes in a field of nearly 600 runners. The two of them showed great teamwork, navigating the muddy course together the entire time, proving that pack running is a key component to cross country. Complete DGS individual times, splits, and places can be found on the Schedule/Results page. Results from the entire meet can be found HERE.

DGS sweeps Fenton Invite!

The DGS girls cross country team took team titles in all 3 levels at the 23-team Fenton Invite! Individual results can be found on the Schedule/Results page.

The varsity team started off the day by dominating the field, scoring 47 pts to runner-up Vernon Hill’s 106 pts. Katie Stapleton (Sr) led the Mustangs with her 2nd place finish on the 3-mile course in 18:07. She was joined by 3 more DGS athletes in the top 10. Becky Versaskas (So) placed 8th in 18:34, Melissa Weidner (So) placed 9th in 18:34, and Brenna Cohoon (Fr) placed 10th in 18:36. Olivia Duax (So) rounded out the DGS scoring by placing 18th in 19:24. Gillian Thomas (Jr) placed 52nd and Kara Petersen (Sr) placed 81st to complete the varsity team.

Freshman, Kennedy Warden, won a hard-fought battle for 1st place in the F/S race to help the Mustangs take 1st overall as a team. She out-kicked a runner from Hersey to win the race with a time of 18:39. The Mustangs scored 77 pts to beat out 2nd place Fenwick with 85 pts and 3rd place Prospect with 86 pts. Erin Reidy (Fr) and Allison Calek (So) also had top-10 finishes, placing 4th and 8th respectively with times of 19:35 and 20:20. Julie LaLonde (So) and Teagan Halik (So) completed the scoring by placing 29th and 32nd with times of 21:21 and 21:41.

The JV girls did not let the mid-day heat slow them down as they rolled to an unofficial team victory in their race. Although Fenton did not post official team scores for the race, our coaches scored it out as a 49-55 victory over Downers Grove North. Megan Albers (Sr) led a pack of DGS runners with her 5th place finish in 20:14. She was followed closely by Carli Smid (Jr, 6th, 21:16), Victoria Protsyuk (Sr, 7th, 21:17), and Riya Bhasin (Jr, 8th, 21;19). Amber McCauley (Jr) was the 5th DGS scoring runner, placing 28th in 22:31.

The entire team travels to Peoria next Saturday for the First to the Finish Invitational meet.