DGS Quad RecapFriday, August 25 2017 - Downers Grove South vs Naperville Central and Oswego
DGSXC opened up the season on Wednesday for the first time hosting Whitney Young, Naperville Central, and Hinsdale South. The weather couldn't have been better and gave us a rare opportunity to race in August in really nice conditions. With this meet being earlier in the season than DGS boys have ever raced, it was really an opportunity for the younger guys to get a taste of what a high school Cross Country meet is like and for the veterans an opportunity to knock the rust off from not racing since May.
The first boys race of the day was a thrilling one as our F/S team made it's 2017 debut. With a lot of new faces and a returning group that has epitomized one of the pillars of our team and culture - CONSISTENCY, we were excited to see what might transpire, particularly against some tough competition.
As the race began, it immediately turned into basically a dual meet between DGS and Naperville Central. In fact, at the end of the race, the first 19 finishers came from just those two schools. With the battle red and blue raging up front, it was important to work as a team and maintain good position. Around the mile mark, sophomores John Heneghan and John Norris made a move to the front. Pushing hard the remainder of the race, they'd finish in those spots going 1-2 with major PRs of 16:29 and 16:33. They were followed by a trio of Redhawks. Canyon Stage ran a great race (and PR) placing 6th in 17:02. Central's 4th runner came in after but was followed by 3 more Mustangs in Ben Skibbe, Nathan Luczak, and Tyler Bleau all running PRs and between 17:11-17:16. The final tally ended up DGS 26- NC 30 for our victory. The real keys to success were obviously having the front runners go 1-2, but despite them beating us on #3 and #4 runners, we managed to put 6 in front of their 5th. The 1-6 split of 47 seconds is a great way to start the year, not to mention the 1-5 average of 16:54. We are definitely excited to get this group rolling in some major invitationals soon!
After our front six we did have a sizeable gap to our next finisher, but the Mustangs came in pretty consistently from there on. After our first 6 being sophomores, our next 5 were all freshmen making their CC debut. Colin Meyer led the way running 18:36. Ben Tunney, Luc Alvarez, Nolan Witt, and Qasim Simba were all in the 19 minute range racing well. Behind those Freshmen we saw a lot of major improvements from our sophomores from where they were a year ago. Also, congrats to the entire freshmen group for completing their first race!
The final race of the evening was the varsity contest. With a couple big names missing from the Whitney Young lineup, this race too turned into what appeared to be a battle of two teams, once again us and Naperville Central. A pair of seniors from Central (Shilgalis and Balutowski) took the lead early with Charlie Nevins of WY and Stephen Pipilas in tow. Slightly off the lead pack were Brett Hafner of Hinsdale South and Eddie Siuda. The next 6 runners included 3 from DGS and 3 from NC so it became clear that it would be a tight battle that would ultimately come down to the race up front as well as the one for places 7-12. During the second mile of the race, Pipilas made a subtle move to the front and kept the pace honest. In doing so, he gradually pulled away to win comfortably in 15:12. Impressively, that time is the 4th fastest ever ran on our home course and the other 3 were certainly not in August, rather when we hosted the Conference Championship two years ago. Siuda was able to work his way up one spot to place 5th in a new PR of 15:39. Unfortunately, the race for 7th-12th didn't go in our favor as a trio of Redhawks finished right in front of our 3-5 runners: James Weigel, Nick Dziedzic, and Luke LaLonde. Ultimately we placed 2nd out of the 4 teams and looked to be comfortably in front of conference rival Hinsdale South who placed 3rd. Other than the top 5 guys, we saw a ton of guys run lifetime bests in the first meet of the season which is certianly a testament to the work put in this summer. Grant Connolly, Sam Kirk, Ben Laurich, David Patel, Matt Peloso, Miguel Saucedo, and Jack Hudec all ran PRs. We also had two great debuts by juniors who are in their first year of CC. Max Wascher ran 17:22 and Michael Sadowski 18:30.
Despite not getting the result we wanted as a team in the varsity race, the huge number of strong performances is a great indicator that our hard work is paying off. We'll be ready to bounce back and race well next week as we have two opportunities to race. Monday we will host Leyden at O'Brien Park and next Saturday we'll travel to Lyons Township for their prestigious invitational.