3A Boys Preview: Downers Grove North Plants Flag in #1 Position

Downers Grove North remarks on their advancement to the NXN in 2016

1. Downers Grove North
Head Coach: John Sipple
Last year's finish: State Runner Up; NXR Runner Up; 12th- Nike Cross Nationals
Key returners: 

Jacob Ridderhoff (Sr.), 

Ryan Birkmeier (Sr.), 

Nick Chudzik (Sr.), 

Sam McCool (Sr.), 

Matt Moravec (Jr.), 

Miles Christensen (Sr.), 

Brendan Lockerby (Sr.)

Outlook: Downers North made a strong surge during the second half of the season after getting blitzkrieged by Neuqua Valley at the Naperville Twilight Invitational. It was in that meet the Trojans decided they would be the Wildcats pawns. They would significantly close the gap and go on to earn a state runner up trophy and later a strong performance in Portland, Oregon, at the Nike Cross Nationals.                                                                               

This year, the 'Purple people eaters' look to make a big splash on the national level. They have the best returning group in the state lead by Jacob Ridderhoff and four other seniors. The veteran laden group has five runners with multiple trips to the state meet, and experience running at Nike Nationals. This leadership will help the team rise to the occasion, and perform late into the season.

Special recognition has to be given to coach John Sipple who took a promising group and turned them into a dominant force in the state. Another respected coach in the state stated: "Coach Sipple and his great staff have a very deep team, one of the deepest ever potentially. I think they will compete to not only win a state title, but a national title. Those guys do it right and have an amazing culture. They are a model program."

Editor Tony Jones' special note: Downers North will be in a position to not only win their first state championship amid a lion's den, but they should be fighting for a national championship trophy in Portland this December. Coach Sipple is one of the best young coaches in the country and his program is finally getting its just due.

2016 State Meet Top 5 Times 
1Neuqua Valley High School828+14+16+18+26 (29+40)0:22 1-5 Split | 14:44 Avg
2Downers Grove North High School11311+13+24+32+33 (44+58)0:23 1-5 Split | 14:49 Avg
3Lake Zurich High School1815+6+38+43+89 (145+160)1:22 1-5 Split | 14:52 Avg
4Lyons Township High School2222+7+34+71+108 (121+128)1:34 1-5 Split | 14:57 Avg
5Whitney Young High School24117+20+56+68+80 (132+161)0:43 1-5 Split | 15:10 Avg