DGS 3rd at NXR Midwest!

On Sunday, 22 members of the DGS girls cross country team traveled to Terre Haute, Indiana to compete in the NXR Midwest Regional meet. The DGS contingent raced under the moniker Downers South Distance Club. The meet drew runners and teams from five different states: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Missouri and served as a qualifier for the NXN National meet. In the championship race, the top 2 teams automatically qualified for national meet held in Portland, Oregon on December 1st.  Naperville North and Yorkville took the 1st and 2nd places with 69 and 84 points respectively to earn the auto-qualifying spots. DGS placed 3rd with 128 points, while Davidson, Ohio placed 4th with 223 points. Teams that finish 3rd or 4th are eligible to be selected for an at-large bid to the national championship meet. So, now the girls will have to wait until all 9 of the regional meets have concluded on November 24 to find out if they have been selected. Brenna Cohoon (Jr) was the first Mustang into the chute with her 19th place finish. Melissa Weidner (Sr) came through next in 43rd place. Erin Reidy (Jr), Rebecca Diddia (So), and Kennedy Warden (Jr) completed the scoring by finishing 57th, 61st, and 64th out of the 283 runners. Becky Versaskas (Sr) and Alex Spang (Fr) finished in 96th and 152nd place.

In the Frosh/Soph race, the freshmen from DGS moved up steadily through the field as the race progressed. By the end, the Mustangs had scored 59 points to win the team title ahead of teams from all 5 states! Sophia McNerney (Fr) led all DGS runners with her 8th place finish. Kelsey Casella (Fr) was close behind in 11th place and Renee Kowalski (Fr) also cracked the top 20 with her 19th place finish. Sara Homberg (Fr) came into the chute in 34th place and Gretchen Scheck (Fr) completed the scoring with her 83rd place finish. Madi Sisson (Fr), Madolyn Werner (Fr), and Isabel Bowditch (Fr) also competed for the Mustangs.

In the Open race, Olivia Duax (Sr) led the Mustangs with her 27th place finish in the race of more than 500 runners. Our Open team  was made up of seniors and sophomores and finished in 28th place overall. Allison Calek (Sr) finished in 168th, Maya Scheck (So) finished in 245th, Michelle Kurcina (Sr) finished in 282nd, and Saskia Krebbers (So) completed the scoring with her 293rd place finish. Also racing for DGS were Chloe Dawson (So) and Maddie Fross (Sr).

This meet potentially marks the conclusion of the most successful girls cross country season in school history! This team won the Fenton Invite, the Naperville Invite, the WSC Gold Conference, the IHSA Regional, and the IHSA Sectional. We placed 2nd at FTTF Invite, 3rd at the Roy Griak Invite, 3rd at the Naperville Twilight Invite, 3rd at the IHSA State Championship meet, and 3rd at the NXR Midwest Regional. The only teams that defeated DGS this season were Naperville North and Yorkville who are both ranked in the top 5 in the nation. We also defeated Yorkville once and both of the national qualifiers from the NXR Heartland Region (Wayzata, MN & Edina, MN). DGS has been ranked among the top 10-20 teams in the nation all season long. Overall a remarkable season! This is a team deserving of an at-large bid to nationals, but it’s now in the hands of the selection committee. If we are fortunate enough to be selected for an at-large bid to the national championship meet, the varsity top 7 will get to run one more race. Either way, I am extremely proud of these girls and all that they have accomplished. Great job ladies!

DGS Girls 3rd in State!

History was made on Saturday as the DGS girls cross country team brought home its first ever trophy with a 3rd place finish at the IHSA State Championship meet. Naperville North (80 pts) and Yorkville (87 pts) took 1st and 2nd places, while DGS scored 127 pts for 3rd. Lyons Township was the next closest team with 191 points in 4th. Full meet results can be found at Athletic.net.

The Mustangs were led again by Brenna Cohoon (Jr) and her 8th place finish. Brenna’s time of 16:40 smashed her own school record of 17:01 set last week. Her top 25 place earned All-State honors for the 2nd year in a row. Melissa Weidner (Sr) was next into the chute for DGS. Melissa ran 17:15 (only 2 seconds off of her PR) to finish in 29th place. Erin Reidy (Jr) was 11 seconds behind Melissa, finishing in 39th place with a PR time of 17:26. Two more PR times were run by Kennedy Warden (Jr) and Rebecca Diddia (So) as they placed 43rd and 46th respectively. Kennedy ran 17:33 while Rebecca ran 17:35 to complete the team scoring. Becky Versaskas (Sr) ran a PR time of 17:47 to finish in 60th place. While Alex Spang (Fr) was only 4 seconds off her PR) with her 99th place finish in 18:10. Overall, the Mustangs had seven great races leading to the 3rd place team finish!

It was a really fast meet from the top 3 teams. The total 1-5 team times from Naperville North and Yorkville rank 1st and 2nd in state history. The DGS team time is 10th on the all time list. Both Naperville North and Yorkville are ranked in the top 5 nationally and are the only 2 teams to defeat the Mustangs all season long. The three teams will square off again next weekend at the Nike Cross Regional meet in Terre Haute with the prize being a trip to the national championship meet in Portland.


Mustangs 3rd at Roy Griak Invite!

The DGS girls cross country team traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota to compete in the prestigious Roy Griak Invitational meet this weekend. The Mustangs came home with the 3rd place trophy among a loaded field of 49 teams including several nationally ranked squads. Teams traveled from as far away as California and Georgia to compete against the best of the Midwest. It was a great display of the talent from the state of Illinois as Yorkville, Naperville North, and Downers Grove South finished in the top 3 places. Yorkville scored 104, Naperville North scored 113, and DGS scored 170 to all finish ahead of the nations #1 ranked team, Wayzata, MN (185 points). All three Illinois teams are ranked among the top 25 in the country and will likely improve on those rankings after this race. All three will face off again this coming Wednesday at the Naperville Twilight Invite where 8 of the top 10 teams in Illinois will battle it out.

The 5K course at Les Bolstad Golf Course in Minnesota is a challenging, hilly course that does not give up very many fast times. And while conditions were excellent on Saturday, its tough to compare finishing times to any other course. As it should be with cross country, it’s all about places and DGS placed very well. Brenna Cohoon (Jr) led the Mustangs with her 14th place finish among the field of 455 runners that included several nationally ranked individuals. Brenna flirted with a top 10 finish as she moved between 9th and 15th throughout the race before crossing the line in 14th. Erin Reidy (Jr) continued her rise to the front of the pack with her 19th place finish. Erin started out well and slowly moved up throughout the race going from 26th at the 1 mile mark to 19th at the end. Melissa Weidner (Sr) has been a top DGS finisher all season long. On Saturday, as she was still recovering from an illness, Melissa ran a strong race to finish in 42nd place for the Mustangs. As soon as she returns to 100% health, our team will have a formidable top 3 group of runners.

Over the past few years, the strength of the DGS team has been our tight pack and small 1-5 split. While that has continued to be the case so far this season, on Saturday, our pack got split up early on in the race. The girls were left to run as individuals, which is considerably more difficult. Yet, despite this unexpected circumstance, we still have several strong finishes to help the Mustang cause. Becky Versaskas (Sr) finished closely behind Weidner in 46th place. Becky was in 62nd place at the mile and steadily moved up as the race went on. Rebecca Diddia (So) also moved up well during race. She went from 79th at the 1-mile to 67th at the finish to complete the DGS scoring. Alex Spang (Fr – 76th place), Kennedy Warden (Jr – 82nd place), Kelsey Casella (Fr – 107th place), Olivia Duax (Sr – 111th place), and Sophia McNerney (Fr – 133rd place) rounded out the final five DGS positions.

As our varsity team wraps up the regular season over the next couple of weeks, it looks to be a very exciting post-season ahead of us!


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!