Boys cross country: Neuqua's Dovalovsky, DGS' Neumann shine
As the weather begins to cool down, boys cross country runners are beginning to heat up.
Two of the top performances of the season were turned in last weekend by Neuqua Valley's Nicolas Dovalovsky and Downers Grove South's Tim Neumann.
Dovalovsky, a senior who was 23rd in the state last year, matched that state finals performance with a 14:46.3 at a triangular meet Saturday at Neuqua Valley in Naperville.
Dovalovsky did not run cross country his freshman year. After a successful track season that year where he was an alternate on a state finals relay team, he was hooked. He went out for cross country as a sophomore and has embraced the sport.
"I really like how supportive the community is," Dovalovsky said. "It has been a very positive experience for me."
Although he finished 23rd last year, Dovalovsky knew that he could have done better,
"I did not have as strong of a finish as I was capable of," Dovalovsky said. "I was kind of burned out at the end. But I have been building myself up this season."
Neuqua Valley coach Paul Vandersteen said he likes how well Dovalovsky competes.
"He is a very conscientious, hard worker," Vandersteen said. "He is intelligent and a fierce competitor. Nicolas is much stronger aerobically than last year. He is relatively new to the sport and just turned 17 in August. The sky is the limit for him."
Neuqua is off to a strong start this season. Last Friday the Wildcats scored 25 points to finish ahead of Naperville North's 30 points and Waubonsie Valley which scored 80 points.
Neuqua is also getting strong running from Aidan Syone, who was second last Friday in 15:08.35. Austin Burke, Noah Schalliol, Stephen Smilie and Vasant Fong lead the senior-dominated lineup.
"We have run well so far but have room to improve," Vandersteen said. "We have had some guys train consistently since the track season ended and their work is paying off."
Naperville North was led by Tommy Paltzer (15:12.25), Julian Head (15:15.21) and Chase Burrell (15:15.64), who finished third through fifth. Gabe Ryan and Nick Williams also ran well for the Huskies.
Mamadu Diallo led Metea Valley with his 12th place finish.
Downers South unbeaten in WSC Gold:
Neumann, who is a junior and was a state qualifier last year, ran a career best 14:53 last Friday in a dual meet at Hinsdale South that began at 8 p.m. and was run on the track. It enabled the Trojans to improve to 3-0 with a 19-44 win over Hinsdale South. Neuman, who also made the switch from soccer to cross country after his freshman year, has made huge strides this season for the Mustangs.
"Tim is extremely driven and motivated and has a competitive streak in him that is pretty exceptional." Downers Grove South coach Brian Caldwell said. "Once shifting to becoming a runner full time, he's gone all-in and really does everything I could ask of a runner to be successful. He is also a very gifted student who excels academically as well as his athletic ability."
Caldwell expects Neumann to continue his improvement.
"With last fall being his first season of cross country, he actually trained a lot better than he raced," Caldwell said. "While it didn't manifest itself with fast times in the fall, that work carried him into the winter months where he got some really solid and, again, consistent work in."
Joey Puccillo, Axel Huerta, Caleb DeBoer, Luc Alverez, Sam Hudec and Carter Smott were also top finishers for the Mustangs. Hinsdale South was led by Julian Watson, Adam Fournier, Aaron Koehler, Jake Schilling, Kayden Miller, Owen Atkinson and Mason White.
Warren wins for Dawson:
One week after the death of head coach Bill Dawson, Warren was able to prevail in a dual meet with Grayslake Central with a 23-38 win.
Luke Wiley led the Blue Devils in a time of 15:12. Max Zeilser, Cole Kaether, Carlos Villa, Nathan Garcia, David Lara, Ryan Moats and Owen Skoraczewski finished 4-10 for Warren.
Grayslake Central was led by Bryan Vale, who was second in a time of 15:52 and Trey Sato, who was third in 16:00. Christopher Purgol, Holden Rhomberg and John Vagnoni completed the top five finishers for the Rams.
Benet wins easily:
Benet captured four of the top six spots to win a 5-team meet last Saturday in Lisle. The Redwings scored 31 points to easily outdistance Marmion, which was second with 52 points.
Niklas Anderson (15:08.7) was second, Sean Donnelly (15: 42.7) was third, Ryan Amidei (15:44.3) fourth and Dominic Ullmer (15:48.4) finished sixth to lead the way for Benet.
Marmion was led by Mitchel Gratz (15:53.2), who was seventh and Jack Schokora (16:01.6) who finished ninth.