Lockport Meet Recap

Wednesday, October 5 2016 - Locktoberfest Invitational

This weekend ushered in the best month of the year, October, and with it we saw the first glimpse of cross country weather. We got extremely lucky at Lockport as the storms (thunder/lightning) held off and we were able to get the 3 races on the day all in. The rain, however, came down in buckets at times and provided the athletes with a slow... but really fun course.
The first race of the day saw our frosh/soph squad place a respectable 10th place out of 24 schools, including a number of top programs in the state. Our boys fought valiantly and put forth some very solid runs on the demanding 5k course. The 10th place must be appreciated even more considering we had our top 4 sophomores running in the varsity race. Had we kept them down at that level, we would likely have walked away with an easy win. In this race, the DGS pack got out conservatively and tried to move up throughout the race. Most did, however, we did see a number of guys fade back in the last mile after the 400m uphill. Brock Royle led the charge with his 30th place finish in 18:10. Only 20 seconds back was freshman John Norris in 42nd. Ben Laurich, Colin Dunn, and Canyon Stage rounded out the top 5 scorers for DGS.
The second race of the morning saw the rain start coming down harder, making the course incredibly soft and muddy (aka... slow).  The Mustangs looked forward to an opportunity to see where we stacked up against a number of teams in our regional and sectional. We placed a respectable 8th without really putting it all together as a team. Stephen Pipilas led the way up front for DGS placing 8th overall with a time of 16:30. Following Stephen was sophomore Nick Dziedzic who was certainly the bright spot of the day in the varsity race. Nick was 32nd and ran a solid 17:04 on the slow 5k course. That would easily convert to a sub 16 minute 3 mile on a typical course in decent conditions, which was a nice breakthrough for Nick. The 3rd and 4th finishers for DGS didn't have their best races but battled nonetheless. Eddie Siuda had a nice last few hundred meters and picked up some spots along the way to run 17:14. Akhil Ghosh got in good position early but faded over the course of the race, particularly the last mile to end up in 51st. Another solid breakthrough was George Willer who continues to improve and stepped up to race well as our 5th man in just his second varsity race. Overall, the varsity race was as mixed bag with a couple important breakthroughs which we believe will ultimately make us more formidable in the coming weeks when things really matter. We were certainly not pleased to finish 8th, especially coming in behind Plainfield South who looked very strong and OPRF. These are two schools we'll need to beat if we want to be racing as a team at state in November. With that said, this is nearly identical to where we were a year ago. We finished behind both DGN and Plainfield South at Lockport and proceeded to beat them both at Regionals, Sectionals, and State. 
The final race of the morning was an exciting one for DGS. In the open race, we saw a slew of hungry DGS runners immediately assert themselves up front and battle from the get-go. Early on Zack Wascher and Marc Alvarez were the duo up front mixing it up with the leaders. By the halfway mark, however, it was Luke LaLonde that had worked his way up to the lead. Luke McGrath was also lurking back in the top 20 and moving up with Grant Connolly doing the same, only a bit further back. LaLonde continued to pull away and made a nice move up the big hill to put a gap between him and the second runner. Unfortunately, Luke ran out of gas on the home straight and was passed by a pair of runners to finish a very impressive 3rd overall. Wascher held on for a top 10 finish in 7th, followed closely by a fast-closing McGrath and Alvarez that were 10th and 11th. Connolly rounded out the top 5 for DGS as he managed a 25th place finish. While there were no official team scores kept for the open race, DGS would have ended up in first out of the 25 teams with a score of 56, narrowly ahead of Naperville North with 64. This is the first time in my recollection that DGS has managed an Open Race win at a major invitational, a testament to the depth on our team and the commitment we've seen in training this year from the entire group.