Naperville North Girls Coach Dan Iverson Thrilled With Griak Win

It was a few weeks ago that Coach Iverson proclaimed that his team was better than last year's outfit that finished 10th in the Nike Cross Nationals. Well after defeating a national class field at the Roy Griak Invite that contained California super power US#5 Greak Oak, Iverson may be correct. His charges ran a nearly flawless race 1-7 and the dividends will certainly aid Yorkville and Downers South in the NXNR sweepstakes should any questions of strength of schedule come about.

1Naperville North High School1544+9+19+60+62 (107+122)2:01 1-5 Split | 19:49 Avg
2Great Oak High School (SS)1566+17+20+45+68 (108+159)1:56 1-5 Split | 19:54 Avg
3Wayzata High School17710+13+32+52+70 (72+75)1:43 1-5 Split | 19:59 Avg
4Sun Prairie19914+15+26+33+111 (123+148)2:06 1-5 Split | 19:58 Avg
5Saint Michael-Albertville High School21422+23+46+49+74 (93+104)1:14 1-5 Split | 20:17 Avg
6Downers Grove South High School22727+43+50+51+56 (78+80)0:53 1-5 Split | 20:25 Avg
7Yorkville High School22811+18+39+77+83 (96+110)1:54 1-5 Split | 20:14 Avg
8Edina High School24912+40+42+64+91 (128+133)1:55 1-5 Split | 20:21 

- It was a phenomenal effort by the top three teams in Illinois had in Minnesota. Naperville North,  Yorkville, and Downers Grove South completed the tasks. Not it was not the national championship or a regional qualifying meet. The massive Griak could have qualified as one with the amount of great teams that are invited each season. Naperville North has been a staple in recent years, and this time they had some friendly foes to join them. 

Naperville North finally got the job done! For once the team scoring split time did not matter. The Huskies were able to cancel out Greak Oak's high time. Frontrunner Sarah Schmitt (Sr.) ran a gutsy race on a tough course. Her low stick fourth place was probably her best cross country race to date. Teammate Alex Morris (Jr.) would follow up with a 10th place effort and Hannah Ricci (Sr.) finished 19th. The Huskies navigated the arduous course with precision, using the down hills and turns to their advantage. Wagner Osborne (So.) closed things out in the #5 spot with a 62nd scoring finish.

Downers South did not have a runner finish in the top 25 but what did have was a top team effort. Sophomore Brenna Cohoon led the way in 29th place overall. Her effort was able to spawn a 53 second scoring split that enabled the Mustangs finish 6th among 45 other teams. They also beat Yorkville by a point 227-228. In a month from now we could look at this meet as a tremendous spark in the post-season.

Downers South coach Doug Plunkett's thoughts on his team's great performance and experience: 

"I was looking for a new, challenging meet that fit into our schedule to replace the Peoria Central Invite (I wanted to be off that weekend). The Peoria Central meet had also always been our varsity overnight meet, so I also wanted find a meet that allowed us to continue that tradition. The Roy Griak Invite checked all of the boxes. After talking with Yorkville coach, Chris Muth, who was also looking at the Griak meet, we decided to take our teams up to Minnesota together. Our girls had a great learning experience running on very difficult course against some top level competition. It was also a really good experience sharing the bus trip with the Yorkville team. Overall, everyone enjoyed the trip, the meet, and we look forward to doing it again next year."

Yorkville performed well on the strength of Alyssa Edwards (Sr.) 12th place finish. Edwards finished very strong over the final two kilometers as did her teammates. Not knowing the course beforehand did not seem to effect the Lady Foxes race plan as they were able pick off tiring runners in crunch time. Two runners in the top 20 was certainly needed but getting the bottom half of the scoring pack to close things out in the top 90 was a good thing.

Coach Chris Muth's thoughts: 
"We had such a great experience in Minnesota this weekend at the Griak.  The atmosphere is electric and outside of the weather, couldn't have asked for anything more.  Although our team score on the girls side wasn't exactly what we wanted, I thought it was great to experience such a tough course with top competition from around the country.  Unintentionally this turned into a great team bonding experience, and on both the boys and girls teams, we learned some things about ourselves that will greatly benefit us moving forward.  Alyssa Edwards and Helena Kleronomos finishing in the top 20 were outstanding efforts and is something we will very much look to build from. Emily needing to drop out, was scary for sure, but she is safe and was the right call for her. I believe very highly in the character on these teams and was inspired by the effort of both, but specifically excited to see the boys run on a different level then they had all year long.  They really ran like a team running for each other rather than themselves and the results were the best team race of the year and a much higher team finish this weekend than anyone I think expected.  This finally gets our season rolling in the right direction and we now have a feeling of excitement and determination to continue this momentum all the way through into November.  This was an outstanding weekend, one we will surely keep on our schedule and getting to experiencing it with the DGS girls team and my former high school coach, Doug Plunnket, made it that much more of an experience I personally will remember."

Watch the exciting Roy Griak Girls Gold Championship race!