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Cross country has strong showing at conference meet

Katherine Ho, Correspondent

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The Naperville Central girls and boys cross country teams competed in the Dupage Valley Conference (DVC) meet on Oct. 16 at St. James Forest Preserve in Warrenville. Though both muddy and slippery, the course did not stop the teams from having a strong showing at DVC.

“We set goals to place [at DVC], which we did achieve,” said junior Emily Fetzer, who ran in the open race. “We wanted to be top three. Even though we ended up fourth for two of the races, we were still up there. Our results definitely showed our improvement and determination to stay up there.”

The girls team placed fourth for varsity and for open and second for their freshman-sophomore levels. The boys’ team placed third for varsity, second for open, and first for their freshman-sophomore levels.

Junior Seth Klein-Collins, a varsity runner, enjoys the myriad of competition at DVC.

“It’s really nice having second and third-ranked teams in the state racing alongside you,” Klein-Collins said. “ We placed pretty well, and we were happy to get such a challenge.”

Both teams faced fierce competition at DVC.

The boys team, which is currently ranked 12th in the state, competed against the second and third state-ranked teams, Wheaton Warrenville South and Neuqua Valley, respectively. The girls’ team conference rivals included 2016 3A Girls Cross Country State Champions, Naperville North.

“From the beginning of the summer, there has been a real effort to unite [the] team as a brotherhood and to focus on our goals, which is to return to state together,” said David Ashton, head coach of the boys cross country team.

The camaraderie of both teams is a clear factor in their success. “Bouncing Back” is the mantra uniting the boys this year and is a constant reminder of their goals and the importance to improve from last year.

Assistant girls cross country coach Katherine Ulreich acknowledges the importance of mental toughness as part of the

“This year, we really wanted to focus on the mental aspect of [cross country], like Good Vibes Only, [and] always keeping a positive outlook,” Ulreich said.

The focus on building a strong mentality has been proven beneficial by the multiple individual and team successes at DVC for the boys and girls cross country teams.

On Oct. 21 at Kress Creek Farms in West Chicago, the girls and boys teams placed second out of a total of nine teams at regionals.

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