Palatine Meet of Champions RecapSunday, September 23 2018
Saturday was an incredible debut by the Mustangs at the Palatine Meet of Champions. This was the first time we’ve attended this meet and we lived up to the expectations of Palatine’s Coach Quick who graciously invited us as a team that could come and compete on all levels.
The first race of the day was the Freshman Race. This was the first time all season that our freshmen got to show what they could do in a field of just other freshmen. They ran an excellent race against a number of very established programs and showed that they are a solid group this year with huge potential going forward. What I liked most from a coaches perspective was that they did not race like freshmen, rather, they raced intelligently and like they’d been doing this for years. They did not get swept up by the adrenaline early on and spent most of the race working their way up through the field. In the end, they placed a solid 10th out of 22 complete teams. Joey Puccillo led the way with his 20th place finish in a time of 14:04. His pace of 5:37/mile would have definitely given him a shot to be under 17 minutes had they contested the full 3 mile race instead of the 2.5. Nick Motuelle was 2nd as he moved up smoothly throughout the race. Close behind Nick was Robert Del Cotto as our #3. Michael Joseph and Jordan D’Urso rounded out the top 5 and the scorers for DGS.
The second event was the Sophomore race. Our sophomores took 15th behind their solid 20 second 1-5 time split. Sam Hudec led the way for DGS placing 81st. Following close behind were a slew of teammates that all ran between 17:43-18:03. The scorers were Hudec, Colin Meyer, Luc Alvarez, Nick Novotny, and Ben Tunney. While I really liked to see the 20 second spread, this group will definitely need to put themselves nearer to the front in the future to have success. The great thing is that once they start breaking through, it should be the group of them doing so together.
The main event of the day was the varsity race. DGS entered the race unranked (after our dismal performance in Peoria) in several of the polls and facing a deep field of teams that were ranked ahead of us in Illinois, plus a pair of very good out of state squads. The Mustangs showed the type of team we will be going forward with a very strong showing. After the race, we had a feeling that we ran well, but still far from a truly great race. We were pleased to see that, even though we still have room to grow, we placed 5th out of 30 and beat a number of very good teams. Hersey was clearly the class of the field winning comfortably. They were followed by SLUH from Missouri, then Oswego East, then St. Xavier from Kentucky, then DGS. We were the 3rd team from IL which was a big improvement from our 15th place finish at First to the Finish. Edwin Siuda led us today with his 6th place finish in 15:00. This was a second off his PR from last year and he did so looking very smooth and comfortable. He ran a very conservative race, probably as far back as 50th at the half mile and worked his way up. After the race, he remarked he had a bit too much left. Next weekend at Peoria should be an excellent opportunity to dip well under the 15 minute mark. John Norris was our #2 with a PR in 15:32, followed by George Willer who also ran a lifetime best and continues to race well for us. Our 4th and 5th were John Heneghan and Matt Peloso. Heneghan continues to get back to 100% fitness after a slow start to the fall, while Peloso ran another personal best but knows there is still way more to go.
The final race was the JV race. DGS went in with high expectations knowing that our team certainly boasts a great deal of depth. From the gun, DGS has a trio that moved towards the front and bided their time. Senior, James Weigel is one of the top runners on the team, but has been dealing with some illness as of late so was held out of the varsity race to work on some different racing strategy. The move paid off as Weigel patiently waited until the mile and a quarter to move out front. From there he continued to put the field away as he won the race by 20 seconds in 15:36. Brock Royle ran a personal best to place 6th, followed by Stephen Nicholson in 14th. Nathan Luczak and Ben Skibbe worked together and moved well throughout the race probably moving up as many as 40 spots over the course of the race to finish in the 30s. Ultimately, we finished 4th, just 2 points out of 3rd. In this race, there were simply too many other excellent performances to list. One interesting take away that our staff (and a few coaches from other schools) noticed was that with Weigel in the Varsity Race, we’d have placed 2nd in this meet.
Overall, it was a huge step in the right direction for the Mustangs and a fun day at a beautiful course. The coaches and certainly the underclass athletes are already looking forward to returning next year!
Next up for DGS is a triangular meet with Leyden and Proviso East at Leyden, followed by a F/S invite at Turtlehead Lake Park on Thursday and splitting the team on Saturday with the top 7 travelling to Peoria while the rest head to Lockport’s Dellwood Park.