Posted on: October 24, 2022 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

Photo by Marcus Collins

Moraine Valley cross country first place winners David Olmos and Natalia Wrobel hold out their Skyway Conference Runner of the Year trophies, with triumphant grins.


By Nick Stulga, Editor-in-Chief

David Olmos stood with one hand on his knees, the other clenching a nearly empty Gatorade cup of water, beads of sweat dotting his forehead as he tried to catch his breath.

Photo by Marcus Collins
Enjoying some shade are Moraine alum Victoria Granz and women’s cross country runners Natalia Wrobel, Jasmeene Guido, and Olivia Wrobel, along with MV student Stephanie Tuscher. Granz and Tuscher both ran cross country at Moraine.

He had just helped the Moraine Valley cross country team earn its third conference title in a row, taking first place after pushing back against uncommonly warm October weather.

The race took place on Moraine’s campus, winding through the nature preserve and finishing on the soccer field.

The women managed to secure the win as well, snagging their second consecutive conference championship to great applause from spectators.

“We don’t have the numbers, but I feel like our one through five is strong,” Olmos said, referring to their five scoring runners. For scoring, the place numbers of the top five are added together.

On the women’s team, only three runners participated: Natalia Wrobel, her sister Olivia, and Jasmeene Guido.

But even with small numbers, Natalia won the whole thing, and Olivia took 3rd. Guido, who was recovering from a pinched nerve in her spine, managed an impressive 6th. 

“I was supposed to be with Nat and Olivia for first and second, but I got injured,” Guido said. “I was just fighting through it this race, so I got a 26 something.”

She’s been trying to beat her personal record, which is 22:19. “I’m trying to get back to that,” she said. She’s hoping to crush that time to make Nationals, which will take place in Tallahassee, Florida, on Nov. 12.

The men had four runners place in the top 10:

  • 1st place – David Almos
  • 2nd place – Brandon Armendarez
  • 6th place – Jack Kajmowicz
  • 8th place – Gavin Hampton

For Ryan O’Connor, one of the contenders on the men’s team, the heat was a struggle.

“Bro, I’m disappointed in how I did. While I was running, I was making excuses to myself,” O’Connor said. “Like, bro it’s so hot, I can’t do this. Honestly, I was thinking, oh man, I’m gonna have to drop out of this race, but I kept going. I fought through.”

Photo by Marcus Collins
The men’s cross country team includes Ryan O’Connor, Tom Diaz, Efrain Alvarez, Brandon Armendarez, David Almos, Jack Kajmowicz and Gavin Hampton.

In the same vein as Guido on the women’s team, some of the men also had injuries they were dealing with.

“Terrible, worst race of my life,” men’s team runner Tom Diaz said. “Last season I was in the 28s. Today I got a 32. This season was terrible for me because I was injured in the beginning and right after I recovered I had surgery.” 

To prepare for these races, the team practices both men and women together.  They do tempo-based workouts, pacing themselves mile by mile with minute breaks in between, according to Natalia Wrobel.

The team did 200-meter and 400-meter sprints to practice for the finish of the race. “And a lot of hill repeats, to get used to the inclines around here,” Wrobel said.

The head coach of Moraine’s men and women cross country is Dimitri Dimizas. He’s been coaching for 7 years and ran at Moraine back in 2009-2010. David Alvarez is the team’s new assistant coach, in his first year.

“I feel super stoked, it feels surreal and exciting and it’s going pretty well,” Alvarez said.

Regionals will take place Saturday at Bryant and Stratton College in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The team has visited the course before and say it’s a tough trek.

“We went to Parkside in Wisconsin, and you are in an open space, and then you go into the forest,” Guido said. “And you’re in the forest the whole time.”

Going forward, the team is looking to make the best of what they have.

“I feel like I’mma do what I gotta do,” 8th place finisher Gavin Hampton said. “Can’t really succumb to pressure. No matter how much pressure’s there, it’s gonna make you a diamond. It’ll make you a diamond or just make you molten whatever. And I’m going for diamonds, not goop.”

Conference Rankings

Women:

Moraine Valley, 29 points, 1st

Waubonsee, 33 points, 2nd

College of Lake County, 44 points, 3rd

Men:

Moraine Valley, 28 points, 1st

Waubonsee, 60 points, 2nd

Oakton, 72 points, 3rd

Morton, 95 points, 4th

College of Lake County. 101 points, 5th