On Saturday, May 21, the DGS girls track team stepped on to the big blue track at EIU to compete in the IHSA State Championship Finals. Only 3 girls and 5 events remained for the Mustangs on the quest for a state trophy.
The first DGS competitor was Katie Stapleton (Jr) in the 3200m run. Katie really needed to PR in the race to have any chance at getting into the top 9 and scoring points. To Katie’s credit, she went after it. She had a great start and first several laps, but began to struggle near the half way point, and finished with a time of 11:26.90. Katie improved on her original seed of #33 to finish 29th overall, but it wasn’t enough to garner any team points.
That left seniors, Michaela Hackbarth and Shaliyah Dixon-Tucker who were each competing in 2 events. Shaliyah was up first in the 100m hurdle finals. She had the top time coming out of the prelims (14.31), but several competitors were very close. Shaliyah was behind out of the blocks, and worked hard to try to catch up (as most of her races went this year). She ended up running her fastest time of the year, 14.01 seconds and caught all but one girls, and finished in 2nd place. It wasn’t the championship that she was hoping for, but it was still 8 points towards the team score.
Thirty minutes later, Shaliyah took to the track for the finals of the 100m dash. Despite having the 2nd best prelim time (12.32), she was relegated to lane 8 for the finals because she finished 2nd in her prelim heat. Shaliyah got a great start this time and equaled her best time of the season, running 12.05 seconds, but finished 4th overall. That place earned 6 more team points, bringing our team total up to 14.
Soon after, it was Michaela’s turn in the 800m run. As the defending state champion, Michaela had run with a target on her back all season long. Up to this point, she had withstood all challenges, remaining undefeated throughout the season. When the 800m race started, Imani Davis (Lane Tech) charged to the front, determined to set a fast early pace. Michaela sat back in 5th or 6th 200m into the race. Davis and another girl still had the lead at the 400m mark with Michaela moving up into 3rd. By the time they hit the backstretch, Michaela had moved into 2nd and was challenging Davis for the lead. Davis fought back, but with about 180m to go, Michaela passed Davis and kicked strong all the way to the finish line and 1st place. Her time of 2:09.91 was a new school record and great way to finish her last 800m as a Mustang! Almost just as important, 1st place brings 10 points with it, bringing our team total up to 24.
Michaela came back about an hour later to run the 400m dash, our final race of the day. She was seeded 6th going into the finals, and ran a great race to improve on her seed. Michaela’s time of 58.09 allowed her to finish 5th overall and add 5 more points to the team total. With 29 points, DGS was sitting in 3rd place with 4 events to go.
It was agonizing to sit in the stands watching the final events unfold and other teams closing in on our position. Unfortunately, the final 2 events gave 2 other teams enough points to squeak past us. Both Oswego East and Hinsdale Central finished in a tie for 3rd place with 30 points, while DGS finished 5th with 29 points. While the result was not what we had hoped for, it should not diminish what has been an outstanding season. We are very proud of all of the girls, the effort they put towards this season, and the many accomplishments they achieved.
Congratulations to the Mustangs for finishing 5th in the state!!