Great Day at Mike Kuharic Invite

Saturday, September 4 2021

Meet recap for LT Invite - 9/4/21


It was an awesome day to be a Mustang. For the first time in nearly two full years we attended a meet as a whole team that had more than one other team. The boys quickly felt the energy and brought much of their own to the excitement. Competing at the LT Invite for the 14th time in my (Coach Caldwell) coaching career, I was absolutely elated to take the team to a big meet. The coaching staff knew we have been working hard and ready for some breakthroughs, but what transpired today was surprising even to us as we had arguably the best whole team performance we’ve had at LT in all of those years.


The JV boys got things started in impressive fashion for us by running an inspiring race. The boys up front took it out from the gun and ran with courage and confidence. Dean Spicuzza and Jeremy Wilczak stamped out the early pace for the race that included 160 participants. An athlete from LT and Mustangs Robert Del Cotto and Logan Rodi worked their way to the top spots. While Robert and Logan were stretched out a bit up front, the rest of the JV squad found teammates and managed to work together throughout the 5000 meter race. Early leaders Dean and Jeremy would still run incredibly well to play a big part in DGS’ fantastic JV race. When the dust settled at the end of the race, the Mustangs won the JV title for the first time with a dominant performance. Robert placed 2nd, Logan 3rd, Jeremy 4th, while in his first ever CC race that involved more than one other school, Dean Golminas was 8th (Logan had only previously ever raced in dual meets too). Spicuzza hung on for 11th to be our 5th man and seal the win. Luke Urban, Nolan Crooks, Michael Joseph, Jordan D’Urso, and Mitchell Reiken all place among the top 25 finishers to provide support. Our team score of 28 gave us the win. Interestingly, if our team this morning in the JV race was scored against all other teams combined, we’d have tied at 28-28. Needless to say, the JV squad got the day started in the right direction and provided the later racers with some motivation and inspiration. 


Our second race of the day was the varsity race. We entered the meet on paper ranked behind a number of other strong teams in the meet. There are some perennial favorites in this meet that include #8 Sandburg, #16 Lyons Township, #25 Maine South, and 2A power Riverside-Brookfield. Our team showed the extent to which we are coming together from a culture standpoint as well as garnering the benefits of some serious hard training. Up front for us was Tim Neumann who bided his time and moved just before the mile mark to take the lead. He would push the pace and lead until about the final 400 meters when all-state 3200 runner Declan Tunney of Sandburg moved just in front of him. They hit the final 200 meters neck and neck. As they both hammered it down the home straightaway, Tim had just enough to put away the Sandburg runner and take the win by around a half second. Tim covered the 5k course in 15:25, which is the fastest 5k in DGS history. Tim’s 1 point was huge for us, but what a race usually comes down to is how well the pack performs. Our other 6 varsity runners found each other right away and worked well together. As the race played out, Jacob Curulewski would emerge as a strong 2nd runner for us placing 19th in 16:37. Shortly after, Nick Motuelle and Joey Puccillo came in in 21st and 22nd places respectively. Shane Hosty rounded out our scoring placing 29th. Our 6th and 7th runners Carter Smott and Jeffrey Spirek provided some back up as they finished right after Shane. As the race finished, we were really pleased with the performance. The coaches were thrilled, noticing huge gains since just a month ago when the season began. We knew Sandburg had won the race, but after that were pretty content that we’d ran well and did our job. We were ecstatic when we discovered that we edged out LT and placed 2nd overall. This is the highest finish for our varsity team in DGS’ lengthy history (that predates the current coaching staff) of attending the meet. 


Our Freshmen raced in the 3rd race of the day. As I write this, I’ve still not seen any official results of the race as there were some timing issues. Former Palatine coach Chris Quick did the timing and assured me we’d see some results at some point once he was able to clear some things up. We, however, didn’t really need to see any results on paper to realize that we saw more heart and effort from this frosh group than we’ve seen thus far. We learned that we have some young guys that have a real competitive edge. They raced their hearts out and we can’t wait to see where this season goes for them. Billy Neumann led the way and was somewhere in the 15-20th place range in the meet. 


Our final race of the day was the sophomore race. With the majority of the team already done racing the atmosphere was festive prior to the race to say the least. Everybody was smiling, having fun while the sophs were ready to go. Josh Poeschel paced the Mustangs with an impressive 3rd place run, posting a time of 16:55 for 5k. Like the two athletes in front of him, he ran fast enough that he would’ve scored for his varsity squad today (he’d have been our 5th runner with that time). Anthony Addante ran tough and moved well around the 2.5 mile mark to solidify a top 10 finish placing 8th overall. After Addante, we had a gap so it was tough to know exactly where we stood as a team, similar to the varsity race. Spencer Schmidt took the race out really hard early and faded in the middle of the race. He hung on, however, with a gutsy performance for 33rd. In front of him were the duo of Richard Gasmen and Zachary Cotner. These two worked throughout the race together and all that separated the two was a big last 400 meters from Richard who placed 25th. Cotner was a little back in 28th. We had a hunch that we’d be in the mix for a top 3 (and a plaque) finish. Ultimately, we finished 2nd behind LT. 


Overall it was an awesome day. Not just because we ran well and took home 3 plaques, which is the most hardware we’ve ever come back from LT with, but also because we saw the team culture in all it’s wacky glory come back strong today.


Our next meet is Monday, 9/13 at Willowbrook HS followed by 9/18 at Detweiler park in Peoria.