Naperville Invite/Griak Invite meet report

This past weekend, the DGS girls cross country split up the team and headed to two different meets. The varsity team traveled to Minnesota to compete in the Roy Griak Invitational against some of the best teams from across the country. The JV and Frosh-Soph teams competed on Friday night at the Naperville Invite. Both teams fought through unseasonably hot temperatures, but still fared well in both meets.

The varsity placed 6th out of 45 teams at the Roy Griak meet. Brenna Cohoon (So) once again led the Mustangs with her 29th place finish on the hilly, 5K course with over 400 runners in the race. Melissa Weidner (Jr) stepped up as the #2 runner for DGS, finishing in 47th place. She was followed closely by Becky Versaskas (Jr) and Rebecca Diddia (Fr) who placed 55th and 56th respectively. Erin Reidy (So) finished out the scoring with her 62nd place finish. Other Mustang finishers were Olivia Duax (Jr) in 84th, Kennedy Warden (So) in 86th, Kelley Hackbarth (Sr) in 117th, Gillian Thomas (Sr) in 136th, and Allison Calek (Jr) in 287th. The 6th place finish was impressive considering the level of competition at the Griak meet. The top 3 finishing teams (Naperville North, Great Oaks, Wayzata) are all ranked in the top 10 nationally. The only other 2 teams that finished ahead of DGS were Sun Prairie (WI#1), and St.Michael-Albertville (MN#3). DGS finished ahead of IL#2 Yorkville and MN#4 Edina, as well as a host of other highly ranked teams from the Midwest.

Both the Frosh-Soph and JV teams placed 3rd out of 12 teams at the Naperville Invite. In the F/S race, Maya Scheck (Fr) led the Mustangs with her 13th place finish. Renee Nicholson (Fr) placed 15th, followed by Olivia Meyer (Fr) in 24th, Kailey Ferguson (Fr) in 27th, and Meghan Stapleton (Fr) in 28th. In the JV race, Julie LaLonde (Jr) was the top DGS finisher in 3rd place. Riya Bhasin (Sr) also cracked the top 10 with her 9th place finish. Hailey Rodden (Sr), Teagan Halik (Jr), and Carli Smid (Sr) rounded out the DGS scoring with 17th, 18th, and 32nd place finishes.

On Monday, October 2, the Mustangs will host our final home meet of the season at O’Brien Park. The F/S and JV teams will take on Morton and Addison Trail at 4:45pm.

On Wednesday, October 4, all levels will return to Naperville North HS for the Twilight Invite. This meet will be a high powered state meet preview featuring most of the top ranked teams in Illinois, including #1 Naperville North, #2 Yorkville, #3 DGS, #4 Glenbard West, #5 Hinsdale Central, #7 Wheaton-Warrenville South, #9 Minooka, #16 Naperville Central, and #24 Plainfield North. This will be the final test for the varsity team before the state series begins on October 21.

Mustangs 3rd in Peoria!

The DGS Girls Cross Country team traveled to Detweiller Park in Peoria for the First to the Finish Invitational on Saturday. This highly anticipated meet featured 9 of the top 11 teams in the state going head to head. The Mustangs held their own against the state’s best teams, placing 3rd out of 38 total teams. Top ranked Naperville North won the meet with 83 points, followed by #3 ranked Yorkville (109 pts). #5 ranked DGS scored 123 points to finish ahead of #7 Edwardsville (143 pts), #4 Hinsdale Central (143 pts), #6 Barrington (190 pts), #9 Minooka (193 pts), #11 Batavia (213 pts), and #8 Lyons Township (258 pts).

The Mustangs were led again by Brenna Cohoon (So) who placed 11th out of 319 runners in a great time of 17:43. Brenna challenged an accomplished field of runners, running between 8th and 10th most of the race. Although she was passed by 1 runner right at the finish line, Brenna’s emergence as one of the state’s top runners really gives the Mustangs an important piece of the puzzle. Becky Versaskas (Jr) continues to show great improvement as our #2 runner and is running with much more confidence. Becky finished 22nd overall and led our pack most of the way through the 3.0 mile course, finishing in 18:18. The ‘pack’ has become the DGS calling card and the strength of our team. Saturday was no different, as 4 more Mustangs finished within 5 seconds of each other to secure our team score. Erin Reidy (So) finished in 28th in 18:27 fighting the heat of the day, but finishing very strong over the last 400m. Kennedy Warden (So) ran consistently within the pack to finish 30th in 18:31. She was followed by Melissa Weidner (Jr) who has made huge strides over the last 3 weeks to position herself in the midst of the pack. Melissa finished 32nd in 18:32. Our pack of 5 girls grew stronger on Saturday when Rebecca Diddia (Fr) pushed the total to 6 girls. Rebecca ran a huge PR and stayed with the pack the entire race, finishing in 33rd place in 18:32. We were able to run 10 girls in the varsity race, so joining the others were Olivia Duax (Jr) in 68th place with a time of 19:03, Kelley Hackbarth (Sr) who placed 113th in 19:31, Oliva Meyer (Fr) who finished 150th in 19:57, and Allison Calek (Jr) who placed 162nd in 20:05. Overall, 9 of the 10 varsity runners ran season best times. But more importantly, the team took another step towards establishing themselves as a trophy threat at the end of the season.

The remainder of the DGS team competed in the Open race in Peoria. The field was massive with over 800 runners competing in the 3.0 mile race. The Mustangs ran well finishing 7th out of 48 teams competing. Natalie Olsen (Sr) led the team with an impressive 19th place in 20:09. Julie LaLonde (Jr) was the next Mustang across the finish line as she finished 44th in 20:35. She was followed closely by Maya Scheck (Fr) in 47th place in 20:36. A pair of seniors rounded out the scoring for the JV team when Hailey Rodden (Sr) finished in 73rd place in 21:12 and Alyssa Taglia (Sr) crossed the line in 92nd place in 21:26. The Mustangs had 34 girls racing in the Open race and despite the heat and the enormous number of total girls, they all ran well with 13 of them running season best times.

Full meet results can be found on the website while all DGS individual splits/times can be found on the Schedule/Results page. Pictures from the meet and video highlights from the varsity race are linked on the Pictures/Video page.

The JV and FS girls will compete next on Monday, Sept.18 in a triangular meet hosted by Hinsdale South at KLM Park in Hinsdale. They will then race on Friday, Sept.22 at the Naperville Invite on the campus of Naperville North HS. The Varsity will be traveling to Minnesota to compete next in the Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday, Sept.23.

Mustangs win Fenton Invite!

The DGS Girls Cross Country team had a great performance at the John Kurtz ‘Early Bird’ Invitational hosted by Fenton HS on Saturday. The varsity team dominated the competition by scoring only 32 points to take 1st place out of 23 teams. The Mustangs were led by Brenna Cohoon (So), who placed 1st overall in 18:09. Brenna took sole possession of the lead by the first mile mark, and never looked back. She was followed by 4 more teammates finishing in the top 10 with equally amazing performances. Becky Versaskas (Jr) ran a great race to finish in 6th with a time of 18:35. She was followed closely by Erin Reidy (So) in 7th (18:41), and Kennedy Warden (So) in 8th (18:45). Melissa Weidner (Jr) completed the scoring with her 10th place finish in 18:50. Olivia Duax (Jr) was close behind our scoring pack in 15th place with 19:04. Gillian Thomas (Sr) was the final Mustang finisher, running 19;32 for 31st place out of a total of 156 runners. As was the case last season, the strength of this DGS team will be its ability to pack together the scoring runners. Yesterday’s 1-5 split was 40 seconds. If that split continues to improve, the Mustangs will be extremely competitive with all of the top Illinois teams. It won’t take long to test out that theory as DGS travels to Peoria next Saturday for the First to the Finish Invite. The field in Peoria will include the majority of the top 10 ranked teams in state.

The Frosh-Soph team placed 5th out of 21 teams at Fenton. Although the team finished was slightly disappointing, there were some outstanding individual performances. Following Brenna’s lead from the varsity race, Rebecca Diddia (Fr) took 1st place out of 234 runners! Rebecca took charge from the gun, and pushed the pace through the first mile to build a 5 second lead. She was able to stay ahead of the chase pack and reach the finish chute with a time of 19:08. Olivia Meyer (Fr) ran a strong race to finish in 13th place in 20:10. The remaining scoring runners were led by Meghan Stapleton (Fr) who finished 29th in 21:23. Marlo Rachie (So) and Renee Nicholson (Fr) finished with identical 21:52 times in 41st and 42nd places. The 1-5 split for the F/S team was 2:44. The time must drop significantly to be in contention in larger meets.

The JV team had the final race, and faced the toughest conditions of the day with the weather getting warmer all day. The team smartly when out a little more conservative in the first mile and picked up the pace as the race continued. While there were no official team scores, The Mustangs easily outdistanced all of the competition by placing 5 runners in the top 9. Allison Calek (Jr) completed the DGS individual trifecta by taking 1st place overall out 252 runners in 20:10. Allison ran a great tactical race, moving from 3rd up to 1st throughout the first 2 miles, and bravely holding off two Vernon Hills runners behind her. Kelley Hackbarth (Sr) also moved up throughout the race, eventually finishing in 4th place in 20:32. Kelley was followed closely by Julie LaLonde (Jr) in 6th with 20:38. Natalie Olsen (Sr) and Riya Bhasin (Sr) rounded out the scoring with 8th and 9th places finishes with 20:58 and 20:59, respectively.

Full meet results and be found on the website. Individual splits/times can be found on our Schedule/Results page. Pictures from the races and the awards ceremony can be found on the Pictures/Video page. This was the first time DGS has won all 3 individual races in a large invitational meet. Congratulations to Brenna, Rebecca, and Allison for making that happen. While those individual races were very exciting, we are even more excited for the potential of our team places in the upcoming weeks!

September Racing is here!

On Saturday, the DGS Girls Cross Country team travels to Fenton HS in Bensenville, IL for the first large invitational meet of the 2017 season. Despite the fact that we’ve already had a couple of smaller dual/triangular meets, the first weekend of September is widely viewed as the beginning of competition season in Illinois cross country. After training all summer, and a low key warm-up meet with Oswego and Naperville Central, I’m extremely excited to get things started at Fenton. We have high expectations for our team this season, and Saturday will be the first real test to see if those expectations are warranted.

The John Kurtz ‘Early Bird’ Invite hosted by Fenton will have 25+ girls and boys teams competing in multiple races. Our first race of the day will be the Girls Varsity race at 9:00am. We are looking to defend our varsity team title from last season with a similar effort this year. Brenna Cohoon (So) will look to lead a strong pack of Mustangs against an improved field of competition. Vernon Hills looks to be the main competition in the team race. The Cougars return all 7 runners from their 3rd place IHSA 2A state finish. If we want to prevail over Vernon Hills, our pack of Erin Reidy (So), Becky Versaskas (Jr), Kennedy Warden (So), Melissa Weidner (Jr), Olivia Duax (Jr), and Gillian Thomas (Sr) must stay close to Cohoon and keep a tight 1-5 split.

Our second race will be the Girls Frosh/Soph race at 10:40am. We are looking to also repeat as team champions in this race as well. The Mustangs should be led by a strong group of freshmen including Rebecca Diddia, Olivia Meyer, Meghan Stapleton, Madison Wies, Kailey Ferguson, and Renee Nicholson. These young runners will face their first test against a large field and should be in contention for a trophy.

While they do not post official team scores in the JV race, our team will be defending a first place effort from last season. The Mustangs will have several varsity caliber athletes competing in this final race of the day. Hopefully the weather will be kind to this group as they head to the starting line at 11:45am. All of the following DGS runners could find themselves in the top 10 of this race:  Allison Calek (Jr), Julie LaLonde (Jr), Kelley Hackbarth (Sr), Riya Bhasin (Sr), Hailey Rodden (Sr), and Natalie Olsen (Sr).

Following this weekend, the team will compete at Willowbrook on Tuesday, and then travel to Peoria next Saturday for the ‘First to the Finish’ Invite.