Girls CC wins 20th WSC Gold title!
Saturday was a Great Day to be a Mustang! The WSC Gold Conference meet was held at a brand-new location (Harvester Park in Burr Ridge) but the result was same as it’s been for the last 20 years…a win for DGS. The weather was perfect for racing and Hinsdale South’s new 3-mile course, although wet in some places, was mostly flat and fast. Our girls ran great, showing how the consistency of all those miles from June to October can pay off. From the beginning of the summer and all through the season, we talk about running our best races when they are needed the most in October and November. That certainly happened yesterday.
The DGS freshmen set the tone early, winning the first race of the afternoon with only 21 points (Leyden was 2nd with 45 points). Renee Kowalski led from start to finish, winning the race and establishing the course record time of 19:58. Sara Homberg came in 25 seconds later in 2nd place. Peyton Horazy, Madolyn Werner, and Emma Lopez secured the DGS win by all placing among the top 8 finishers. Personal Records were the story of the day for our freshmen as 9 of the 14 Mustangs in the race ran lifetime best times. Several girls lowered their best time by 25 seconds or more, including Isabel Bowditch-29 sec, Peyton Horazy-30 sec, Emma Lopez-35 sec, Christine Balcom-50 sec, Ava Nichols-70 sec, and Mariah Peterson-104 sec. I’m very excited to see how much this group can continue to improve over the next 3 years. There is a lot of talent in this freshmen group and that doesn’t even count the four freshmen who ran up in the sophomore, JV, and varsity races. The future of Mustang cross country is in good hands!
As much as the freshmen dominated the competition, our girls in the sophomore race took it to a whole other level. The long blue line of Mustangs looked impressive as DGS took the first 9 finishing places of the race, easily scoring a perfect 15 points to win. Sophia McNerney (Fr) took the lead about 50 meters into the race and never looked back. Sophia has been training with the varsity group all season long and it showed as she won the race by more than 35 seconds. Her finish time of 19:22 also broke the course record set earlier by Renee Kowalski. Gretchen Scheck (Fr) had huge PR of 33 seconds and finished 2nd. She was followed by her sister, Maya Scheck (So), who finished 4th. Renee Nicholson (So) continued the march of Mustangs into the chute with her 5th place finish. Meghan Stapleton (So) finished 6th, Olivia Meyer (So), finished 7th, Saskia Krebbers (So) finished 8th, and Kailey Ferguson (So) finished 9th.
The varsity race was the only limited entry race of the day as we were only allowed to run 7 girls. It will stay this way the remainder of the season. Over the course of the summer and our season we have had a group of 10-15 girls training together and pushing each other to become better. This is probably the most talented and deep varsity group in DGS history and they have pushed each other to work harder all season long. While this is great for the team, it can create challenging situations for the girls individually when difficult decisions need to be made. I’m extremely proud that throughout all of this, the girls have supported each other no matter what.
All of that being said, our varsity had an amazing conference race, scoring 15 points and winning our 20th straight conference championship! Brenna Cohoon (Jr) keeps looking stronger and stronger each of the past few weeks. Brenna took the lead shortly after the gun went off, pushed hard for all 3 miles, and took the win for the 2nd year in a row. Her finishing time of 17:05 was a PR, a new school record, and broke the Harvester Park course record set by Sophia McNerney only an hour earlier. Both Melissa Weidner (Sr) and Erin Reidy (Jr) started off together not far behind Brenna. Melissa, who had been slowed down from being sick the past couple of weeks, seemed restored to full health as she pulled ahead of Erin during the 2nd mile and finished in 2nd place with a PR time of 17:33. Erin, who has been battling some minor injuries of her own, finished in 3rd place with a solid time of 17:55. Together, Melissa and Erin give us a great 2-3 punch and the opportunity to have three All-State athletes in a few weeks. Following them was our outstanding pack of 4 runners, Rebecca Diddia (So), Becky Versaskas (Sr), Kennedy Warden (Jr), and Alex Spang (Fr). On any given day, any one of them could lead this group into the finish chute. On Saturday, it was Rebecca that finished in 4th place in a PR time of 18:04, followed by Becky in 18:07 (5th), Kennedy in 18:09 (6th), and Alex (7th) with a new PR of 18:11. The pack is what makes our team so tough! This was only the 2nd time in DGS history that our team finished 1st through 7th individually at the conference meet.
The JV race was the final display of Mustang domination. For the 3rd race in a row, DGS scored a perfect 15 points to easily win the team title. Olivia Duax (Sr) and Kelsey Casella (Fr) took off at a torrid pace together through the first mile. Olivia created some separation during the second mile and ran a fantastic 18:30 time as she won the race. Kelsey came in soon after her in 18:47. Outside of Naperville North (ranked #1 in the state and top 5 in the nation), I guarantee that no other school in Illinois had two girls run that fast in a JV conference race. Both girls have run among our varsity top 10 all season long and will continue to challenge them as we enter the state series. Allison Calek (Sr) got stuck running much of the race all by herself in 3rd place, but still finished strong in 19:50. Julie LaLonde (Sr) and Michelle Kurcina (Sr) capped off the DGS scoring by placing 4th and 5th places in 20:13 and 20:26. Several other girls ran huge PR’s in the JV race, including Sydney Gaspari (Jr)-31 sec, Grace Schultheis (Jr)-84 sec, Gillian Musial (Jr)-49 sec, Maddie Fross (Sr)-38 sec, and Sami Contreras (Sr)-53 sec. It was a long wait for all of these girls to run in the last race of the day, but it was well worth the wait.
Full results from the meet can be found on the Athletic.net website. Pictures from the meet can be found on the Pictures/Video page.
Next up for us is the IHSA Regional meet on Saturday, October 20th. It will be held at Katherine Legge Memorial Park in Hinsdale. We will be looking to win our 3rd Regional title in a row. The main competition will come from Lyons Township who won the WSC Silver conference title on Saturday. Our two teams are ranked #3 and #4 in the state and it should be a good battle next weekend.