Boys’ cross country off to promising start

RUNNING+FOR+THE+RANKING%3A+The+boys%27+cross+country+team+starts+their+watches+at+the+beginning+of+the+St.+Charles+Leavey+Invite+on+Sept.+3+in+St.+Charles.+The+watches+help+the+boys+pace+themselves+throughout+the+race+and+push+them+to+beat+their+personal+bests.+The+team+finished+first+with+a+total+of+73+points.

RUNNING FOR THE RANKING: The boys’ cross country team starts their watches at the beginning of the St. Charles Leavey Invite on Sept. 3 in St. Charles. The watches help the boys pace themselves throughout the race and push them to beat their personal bests. The team finished first with a total of 73 points.

Natalie White, Editor-In-Chief

This year boys’ cross country is coming out of the gates with a goal to be the best, and nothing less than the best. The team is ranked second in the state by Milesplit, a running ranking website. They are lead by senior Alec Danner, junior Ryan Birkmeier, junior Jacob Ridderhoff and junior Nick Chudzik. Additionally, out of the top seven runners on the team, only two are seniors, giving DGN a young team at a varsity level.
“Something that is in common with some of the good teams we’ve had in the past is that they are all more focused together on a single thing than it being more individualized. That single thing being trying to be as good as we can at a state or national level,” head coach John Sipple said.
The team won the St. Charles Leavey Invite on Sept. 3 by a margin of 73 points, with the difference between second and third being only nine points. The team finished third, fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth in scoring positions. The boys ran an average time of 15:45.7 which bettered second place’s average time by .77 seconds.
Sipple was happy with boys performance, but not surprised due to the level of competition at the meet.
“To be honest with you, for me, it was like we did what we should’ve done. If the guys have these high level expectations, then we should make those teams [we beat] look [not very good],” Sipple said. “We should be dominate and look impressive in front of those teams. A couple of those teams were ranked in the top 20 of the state, but if we’re going to be really up there we need to perform that way.”
The team gave a group effort to win The First To The Finish at Detweiller Park on Sept. 10. The team finished 21 points ahead of second place. Some competitors consider this meet a mock state meet. Junior Nick Chudzik has usually been running in the fourth place spot this year for DGN.
“It was a confidence booster for sure. We previously knew that we had a legitimate chance to win the invite but once we did, once we beat two of our rivals, we knew how strong of a team we have and how much depth we have. We know what it takes to win state,” Chudzik said.
Being a young team is is not a weakness in the team’s eyes and gives them hope for the future.
“It’s really motivating for next year because we’ll still have a lot of our guys,” Birkmeier said.
The runners each have different expectations, but all of them are stiving to be ranked in the state. Birkmeier hopes for the team to make it to the national meet and get top two in state. Junior Jacob Ridderhoff would like to make the all-state team individually and for the team to finish top ten. The team is right on track to meet these goals, with hopes of an injury-free season and consistent training.