Lyons Twp Invite RecapMonday, September 4 2017 - Lyons Township Lions Pride Invitational
Saturday was a historic day for the DGS CC team as we walked away with our best team finish in school history. In three races, we placed as high as we've ever placed in the past and only one position off in the 4th.
The opening race of the day was highly anticipated. Our strong season on the track last year, especially our display of depth where 30 guys ran under 5 minutes made us excited to see the battle of our program's depth against some of the traditional stronger programs in the state. Truly the mark of a strong program is the ability to compete at all levels at every meet. We did this today with our JV guys placing a close 2nd behind Lyons Township. LT just a year ago dominated this race and won with 15 points. This time we were narrowly defeated 39-48 and comfortably ahead of the remaining 13 teams. The top 5 avg. indicated the same with theirs being 17:02 and us 17:04.
George Willer led the way with a nice 3rd place finish as he works himself back into fitness after being limited by injury temporarily. He took the lead in the final mile but didn't have enough down the homestretch to hold off the two guys that passed him in the last 100. Grant Connolly and Ryan Gage also were top 10 finishers placing 9th and 10th. Connolly battled throughout the race to maintain his position, while Gage moved up well in the final mile to snatch that 10th place finish. Both Connolly and Gage ran lifetime bests. Newcomer Max Wascher placed 12th in a PR in his first Invite. David Patel, Matt Peloso, and Brock Royle all finished in the top 25, with David and Matt both running PRs.
The second race was the tough battle in the Varsity race. With a number of ranked teams including Lyons Township, Sandburg, Maine South, Lowell (IN), plus a tough Oswego East squad, it was a good test to see where we are right now against some of the best. While we would've liked to finish a place or two better, we garnered a third place team finish and plaque. This is the first time in my 11 year tenure that we've come home with a plaque from this meet and apparently the first time since 1986. Stephen Pipilas led the way for us placing 5th in 15:02, just off his lifetime best and a great sign this early in the season that he'll be ready to run with the best come October and November. His time was easily the fastest ever by a Mustang at this Invite. Eddie Siuda and Akhil Ghosh spent most of the race together and ultimately finished 11th and 12th. James Weigel and Nick Dziedzic rounded out the scoring for DGS as our 4th and 5th. While we did finish better than we have in a long time and certainly beat some very good teams, our biggest consolation is knowing that we can run quite a bit better than we did on Saturday. We'll get another major opportunity to showcase our talent this coming Saturday at the First to the Finish Invite at Detweiler Park in Peoria.
The third race gave our Freshmen an opportunity to run in their first big HS meet. They stepped up and ran a gutsy race and worked really well together. They placed 5th out of 14 finishing teams which is only 1 spot off the best we've ever had from our 9th graders at this meet. A 35 second split between our first and 5th runners was the key to success without having anyone way up front to score the low numbers. The boys are all showing tremendous improvement and are primed for bigger better things as we move forward. Scorers for DGS included Ben Tunney, Colin Meyer, Qasim Simba, Nolan Witt, and Nick Novotny.
The final race of the day was one we truly hoped to take home the first place trophy in. Despite a valiant effort by the lads, the race didn't turn out our way. We placed a very close 2nd to Sandburg who was able to beat us with some really low numbers up front. The score ultimately was 45-48. Impressively, we placed 6 runners in the top 18, but that wasn't enough as they had 4 in the top 8. The two Johns, Heneghan and Norris placed 4th and 5th individually. First year CC runner Nathan Luczak was our 3rd placing 11th, followed closely by Tyler Bleau in 12th. Ben Skibbe and Canyon Stage went 16 and 18 overall. We'll be looking forward to another opportunity to race the Sandburg sophomore team at the end of the month when we head to Turtlehead Lake for the Joe Mortimer F/S Invite.
Overall, it was a great day to be a Mustang and a nice step in the right direction. This week we'll race twice. On Tuesday we travel to Willowbrook for our Conference meet and then Saturday we travel to Peoria for the huge FTTF Invite.