Mustangs 2nd at First to the Finish Invite!

On Saturday, September 8, the DGS Girls Cross Country team traveled to Detweiller Park in Peoria to compete in the First to the Finish Invite. This was a huge meet with many of the best teams in Illinois in attendance, including 6 of the top 7 ranked Illinois teams. The Mustangs more than held their own against this top level competition by placing 2nd out of the 37 schools competing. Two time defending state champion, Naperville North (ranked #1 in Illinois and #3 nationally) took first place with 58 points. Downers South (ranked #3 in Illinois and #25 nationally) finished second with 92 points. Yorkville (ranked #2 in Illinois and #8 nationally) placed third with 93 points.  Minooka placed a distant fourth with 182 points, followed by the remainder of the field.

The Mustangs were led by returning All-State runner, Brenna Cohoon (Jr). She ran an aggressive race against a talented field and finished 5th out of 309 runners. Brenna’s time of 17:07 on the rain soaked 3-mile course bettered her own school record (set at last year’s State meet) by 1 second. Melissa Weidner (Sr) continued her inspired senior season by placing 16th in a PR time of 17:44. Erin Reidy (Jr) also stepped up her game and ran a PR with her 18th place finish in 17:50. Becky Versaskas (Sr) and Kennedy Warden (Jr) ran persistent, mentally tough races, and rounded out the Mustang scoring finishing in 26th and 27th places with times of 17:59 and 18:02. This meet allowed 10 varsity runners per team and DGS showed some great depth with their line-up. Rebecca Diddia (So) placed 42nd in 18:23. Kelsey Casella (Fr) placed 44th in a PR time of 18:24. Alex Spang (Fr) also PR’d with her 18:26 time and 48th place finish. Sophia McNerney (Fr) placed 56th with a PR time of 18:37. And Olivia Duax (Sr) rounded out the Mustang ten with her 66th place finish in 18:55. This was an incredible team performance and DGS was only team to have all 10 runners finish under 19:00.

Downers South also placed 2nd among all of the teams in the JV race! Renee Kowalski (Fr) continued her fantastic freshman season by leading all of the Mustangs into the chute with her 14th place finish in a race of more than 700 runners. Her time of 19:51 was a PR. Michelle Kurcina (Sr) was close behind in 19:52 and 17th place. Allison Calek (Sr) ran a great race, often times leading our front pack, and finished 22nd in 19:59. She was followed closely into the chute by Sara Homberg (Fr) who finished with the same 19:59 time, placing 23rd. Sisters Maya Scheck (So) and Gretchen Scheck (Fr) were the next Mustangs to cross the finish line in 34th and 50th places (20:15 and 20:36) respectively. Ria Patel (So) placed 66th in 20:55 and Renee Nicholson (So) placed 67th in 20:56.

When all was said and done, DGS had 40 girls race on the Detweiller Park course. Of that group, 21 ran lifetime PR times and all 19 of the other girls ran season best times! Full meet results can be found at and all individual splits and times can be found on the Schedule/Results page. Video highlights from the varsity race can be found on the Pictures/Video page.

The Mustangs compete next on Monday, Sept 10 at Willowbrook in a JV dual meet and again the following Monday Sept 17 at home vs Morton and Hinsdale South. All levels will compete on Friday, Sept 21 at the Naperville Invite.




Mustangs win Fenton Invitational!

The DGS girls cross country team overcame multiple weather delays and a muddy, sloppy course to place 1st out of 17 teams at the Fenton Invite on Saturday. Because of the weather, all 3 levels were combined into one extremely large girls race with 431 runners. The Mustangs showed why they are regarded as one of the best teams in the state with a victory over several other top 25 ranked teams. DGS finished with 7 runners in the first 11 places and scored 26 points to easily out-distance the 2nd place team from Prospect with 115 points. Brenna Cohoon (Jr) placed 2nd overall in 18:15 over the 3-mile course. Melissa Weidner (Sr) and Erin Reidy (Jr) placed 4th and 5th respectively with times of 18:45 and 18:55. Alex Spang (Fr) and Becky Versaskas (Sr) completed the DGS scoring with their 7th and 8th place finishes in 18:59 and 19:00. Rounding out the varsity top 7 were Kennedy Warden (Jr) and Kelsey Casella (Fr) finishing in 10th and 11th places with matching times of 19:07. One of the unfortunate consequences of combining all the levels into one race is that there were no standings or awards for a F/S or JV race. It’s obvious that DGS would have done very well on both levels both individually and as a team. Rebecca Diddia (So) and Sophia McNerney (Fr) finished 16th and 17th overall. Olvia Duax (Sr) was 52nd, Renee Kowalski (Fr) was 65th, Sara Homberg (Fr) was 70th, Allison Calek (Sr) was 79th, Michelle Kurcina (Sr) was 83rd, and Julie LaLonde (Sr) was 86th. After taking out all of the varsity runners in the race, these individuals would have all finished in the top 10 of their respective F/S or JV races. DGS competes next Saturday, Sept.8th at the First to the Finish Invite in Peoria.

Five Mustangs earn All-State medals!


The DGS Girls Track & Field team traveled to EIU in Charleston last weekend for the IHSA State Championship meet. The Mustangs competed in 3 events, earning top 9 finishes in 2 of them. The team scored 10 points and finished in 37th place overall.


Maddie Manganiello (Sr) competed in the long jump for the 4th straight year in a row. On Friday, her prelim jump of 15′ 8.5″ earned her 38th place and unfortunately did not advance her to the finals. After finishing 7th in the state a year ago, this was a somewhat disappointing finish to this season, but Maddie had already cemented her position as one of the DGS all-time greats. Her school record jump of 19′ 6″ will likely stand for a long time. We are very proud of Maddie!



On Friday, the 4x800m relay team of Kelley Hackbarth (Sr), Becky Versaskas (Jr), Gillian Thomas (Sr), and Erin Reidy (So) won their prelim heat with a time of 9:17.60 to advance to Saturday’s finals. This was a hard fought win as the Mustangs battled from behind for much of the race. Erin Reidy took the lead for the first time with 200m to go (much like Sectionals) and finished strong for the victory. The prelim time was a little slower than the school record time of 9:12.83 that the quartet set the previous week, but it was good enough to advance as the #3 time going into finals.



On Saturday, the 4x800m relay ran a slightly faster 9:17.20 time that earned them 3rd place in the State! Following the relay team was Brenna Cohoon (So) in the 3200m run. The heat and humidity was cranked up, but that didn’t stop Brenna from running a fantastic race that netted her a 7th place and All-State honors! Her time of 10:49.59 was a PR and sophomore school record.



All 5 girls that raced on the track, left with a medal and All-State honors! We are very proud of all of them!


On Friday night, EIU hosts a race under the lights. Traditionally all of the girls who come to support the team, and alternates for the state meet compete in the various races. As you can see, fun was had by all.







Thanks for a great track season!

Girls Track is State Bound!

The DGS girls track & field team competed at the IHSA Plainfield North Sectional on Thursday. The Mustangs qualified several individuals and a relay team to next week’s IHSA State Championship meet.

Maddie Manganiello (Sr) led the march to Charleston with a 5th place finish and state qualifying leap of 17′ 7.5″ in the long jump. Maddie has qualified for state in the long jump for 4 straight years. Last season she placed 7th in the state and will be looking to improve on that finish next week.  Brenna Cohoon (So) was the next individual qualifier for DGS with her 3rd place finish in the 3200m and a qualifying time of 10:54.34. Brenna finished 16th in this event at last year’s state meet. Kelley Hackbarth (Sr) finished in 4th place in the 800m run, but her time of 2:19..34 was under the qualifying standard which earned her a trip to state. She will be joined by 1600m qualifier, Erin Reidy (So). Erin finished in 5th place, but met the qualifying mark by running 5:08.81.

Both Kelley and Erin were also part of the DGS state qualifying 4x800m relay. They were joined by Becky Versaskas (Jr) and Gillian Thomas (Sr) as they took 1st place in the hotly contested event. The Mustangs battled with Hinsdale Central, Naperville North, and Naperville Central for much of the race. On the 3rd leg, Hinsdale Central took the lead with DGS close behind, but with both teams pulling away from the Naperville teams. Erin Reidy took the lead with about 200m left in the race and held on for the first place finish with a team time of 9:12.83. The Mustang quartet smashed the previous school record (9:21.84) that was set back in 1988 by Becky Mizener, Mindy Sick, Nicole Molzhan, and Tina Stec. Heading into the state meet competition, DGS currently has the fastest time in Illinois and the #16 time in the nation.

The Mustang distance runners had several other great performances at the sectional meet. Kennedy Warden (So) barely missed qualifying for state in the 1600m with her 6th place finish, while Melissa Weidner (Jr) met the same fate with her 6th place in the 3200m. Both girls ran PR times, but came up just short of the qualifying standards. Rebecca Diddia (Fr) finished 7th in the 800m run with a time of 2:25.28. Gillian Thomas (Sr) and Olivia Duax (Jr) finished 9th and 16th respectively in the 400m dash with season best times. The 4x400m relay team of Becky Versaskas (Jr), Kelley Hackbarth (Sr), Alisha Macas (Jr), and Erin Reidy (So) placed 5th and narrowly missed the qualifying time.

The sprint crew finished the season with several great season best races and top 6 finishes.  The team of Alexus Allen (Sr), Mya Rouse (Fr), Ariel Johnson (So), and Clarice Maes (Jr) placed 6th in both the 4x100m and 4x200m relays. Izzy Taylor (Sr) who was new to the hurdles, ran a great 300H race to finish in 6th. Kamile Dirzys (So) was not far behind her finishing in 10th place. Maddie Puccillo (Jr) and Gianna Lukacik (Jr) finished 10th and 15th respectively in the 100m hurdles.

In the field events,  Ariel Johnson (So) leaped to 7th place in the triple jump and finished 10th in the long jump. Lillian Dempsey (Jr) placed 9th in the pole vault and Brianna Johnson (Sr) placed 12th in the high jump.

The Mustang qualifiers will conclude the 2018 season next Friday and Saturday at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. Let’s bring home some hardware!


May 16 Awards Banquet Time Change

The DGS Girls Track & Field team Awards Banquet will be on Wednesday, May 16th at 7 pm in the cafetorium. This is a change from the previously published 6 pm time.
All members of the track team and their parents are invited. We will celebrate the successes of all of our athletes along with a video slideshow of all of the wonderful pictures Laura Duffy has taken this year. We will be serving appetizers and drinks instead of a full meal.
We are asking that the members each particular class brings an appetizer or drink to share. The assignments are as follows:
  • Freshmen: Appetizers (eg. chips, dips, salads, cheese, crackers)
  • Sophomores: Drinks 
  • Juniors: Appetizers
  • Seniors: Fruit 
We greatly appreciate all of the hard work that has been put in by the athletes and parents throughout the season and look forward to celebrating. Thank you and please let Coach Sanders know if you have any questions! 

Sign up for Summer Yoga!

Summer Yoga is available again for both DGS Cross Country & Track athletes.

Location:  Power Yoga, 5223 Main St, Downers Grove.

Instructor:  Coach Alison Swade

Cost:  $50 for 6 sessions

Dates & Time:

  • Thu, June 28, 2:00 pm
  • Thu, July 5, 2:00 pm
  • Thu, July 12, 2:00 pm
  • Thu, July 19, 2:00 pm
  • Wed, July 25, 2:00 pm
  • Thu, Aug. 2, 2:00 pm

How:  We need 10 girls to commit to attending for the class to occur. Please email Coach Alison Swade ( if you want to reserve a spot in the class. Once we have the minimum number, she will email further instructions.

Why:  Studies have shown that yoga squashes stress, aids weight loss, eases pain, helps people stick to an exercise routine, and even improves running times. The strength and flexibility you develop on the mat–namely in the core, quads, hamstrings, and hip flexors–can help you run more efficiently and stay injury-free.

Additionally, holding challenging poses builds tenacity that’ll pay off on the road. Lauren Fleshman, a two-time national outdoor 5000-meter champion, started practicing yoga after breaking her foot in 2008. But the poses gave her more than just foot strength: “Yoga helps me control my emotions while I’m in discomfort on the road,” she says. “Enduring an intense pose is a lot like enduring a long run or tempo run.”

DGS Girls Track Awards Night on May 16th

The DGS Girls Track & Field team Awards Banquet will be on Wednesday, May 16th at 7 pm in the cafetorium. All members of the track team and their parents are invited. We will celebrate the successes of all of our athletes along with a video slideshow of all of the wonderful pictures Laura Duffy has taken this year. We will be serving appetizers and drinks instead of a full meal.
We are asking that the members each particular class brings an appetizer or drink to share. The assignments are as follows:
  • Freshmen: Appetizers (eg. chips, dips, salads, cheese, crackers)
  • Sophomores: Drinks 
  • Juniors: Appetizers
  • Seniors: Fruit 
We greatly appreciate all of the hard work that has been put in by the athletes and parents throughout the season and look forward to celebrating. Thank you and please let Coach Sanders know if you have any questions! 

Summer Camp Registration is OPEN!

Registration for DGS summer camps is now open on the Online Registration page. Girls Cross Country & Track will have the following camps available:

  • HS Cross Country Camp Grades 9-12 (Mon-Tue-Wed-Thu 7:00-9:00am, June 11 – July 25).
    • This camp is for those girls planning on participating in the Fall cross country season. The focus will be improving endurance and fitness through distance running. No experience necessary.  All CC camp participants are highly encouraged to also sign up for the Strength Training camp as it will be a crucial part of our upcoming season.
  • HS Cross Country/Track Strength Training Grades 9-12 (Mon-Wed-Thu 9:00-10:00am, June 11 – July 25).
    • The purpose of the strength camp is to provide another valuable component to our training this summer. Athletes will perform exercises to focus more on coordination, and hip & core strength. Strength training will be very beneficial to us over the summer to support running higher mileage. In addition to strength training, there will be teaching of running mechanics.
  • Jr. High Cross Country Camp Grades 5-8th (Mon-Tue-Wed-Thu 7:30-9:00am, July 9 – July 26)
    • This camp is for girls who are at the beginning stages of distance running. The instructors will introduce endurance running in a fun, low key environment. No experience is necessary.

You can access more information on the CC Summer Camp page or the Online Registration page.

You may also register for the 2018 CC Camping Trip on the Online Registration page.

Mustangs head to Top Times meet in 8 events!

On Saturday, March 24, the DGS girls track & field team will compete at the Illinois Top Times meet. This meet (held at Illinois Wesleyan University) serves as the unofficial indoor state meet in Illinois. The top 12-15 athletes in each event are invited to compete in the final indoor meet of the season. The Mustangs were fortunate to have 6 individuals and 2 relay teams invited to compete.

Maddie Manganiello (Sr) was invited to compete in the long jump. Maddie struggled somewhat at the beginning of this season to regain her all-state form, But she has shown great resilience, and her jump at conference of 17′ 7″ was a huge boost in the right direction. Maddie is seeded 11th out of 13 jumpers, and expects to move up the list with an improved season best.

The DGS distance crew has had many outstanding performances during the indoor portion of the season that have earned multiple invitations to this prestigious meet. Brenna Cohoon (So) has a season best time of 11:10.65 in the 3200m run and is seeded 8th among the talented field of 15. Brenna is fresh off an all-state season in cross country and could challenge for a top 5 finish on Saturday.

The Mustangs had two athletes invited to compete in the 800m run. Both Kelley Hackbarth (Sr) and Becky Versaskas (Jr) will race among a loaded field of 12 runners. Kelley has competed as part of a relay at Top Times before, but her 800m time of 2:19.81 earned her first opportunity in an individual event. Becky’s time of 2:20.73 earned her a chance to compete in the 800m for the 3rd year in a row.

We also have two athletes competing in the 1600m run. Erin Riedy (So) is seeded 5th with her indoor school record time of 5:05.76. Kennedy Warden (So) completes the talented 15-person field with her time of 5:13.17. Both Erin and Kennedy expect to improve on their times and seed places. The favorite in the event is Katelynne Hart (Glenbard West) who recently won the HS mile national championship in New York.

DGS will compete in two relays on Saturday. The 4x800m relay team consists  of Becky Versaskas (Jr), Kelley Hackbarth (Sr), Rebecca Diddia (Fr), and Erin Reidy (So).  The Mustangs winning time from the Mustang Relays meet of 9:25.32 is seeded 1st among 12 relay teams. This team is definitely capable of breaking the DGS indoor school record of 9:23.10 or even challenging the meet record of 9:18.8. The 4x400m relay team will look very similar to the 4×800 with Becky Versaskas (Jr), Kelley Hackbarth (Sr), Alisha Macas (Jr), and Erin Reidy (So) all taking part. Their season best time of 4:07.15 gives the Mustangs the #7 seed among the 12 relay teams competing.

Illinois Top Times Schedule of Events

Class 3A Girls & Boys Meet Program

All of these athletes and those not competing will begin the outdoor portion of the season at home on Wed, April 4th. DGS will host the Mustang Invitational on Saturday, April 7th.