Track and field teams complete memorable season


After a very successful cross country season, boys and girls track and field looked towards an exciting wrap up of their season downstate.  

The girls track team made school history this year, qualifying more people to go to state than ever before, in a wide range of events. The qualifiers were the following: Liv Del Valle, Allison Larson, Vivian Lightfoot and Olive McNamara in the 4×200 relay; Grace Moller in the 3200m run; Lorelei Travers in the 1600m run; McKenzie Kelly in the long jump and hurdles; and Abbey Arseneau, Gabi Walker, Kate Radich, and Izzy Shifrin in the 4x800m relay. Walker also took on the 800m run and 400m run, and Arseneau qualified for the 800m run.

Down at Eastern Illinois University, even more accomplishments were made. The 4×800 squad — Walker, Shifrin, Radich and Arseneau — placed 6th at the meet. In doing so, they broke a school record with a time of 9:46. Additionally, Junior Gabi Walker finished in 3rd place all-state in the 800m run with a time of 2:15.06. This placement and her success throughout the season earned Walker the GCAC Player of the Year award in Track and Field. 

Walker spoke on her experience with DePaul Prep track and the past season, remarking that her favorite event is the 800.

“I typically run the 4×800 relay, the 800 and sometimes the 400,” Walker said. Her personal best in the 800 is a 2:14.06. 

Reflecting on her favorite moments of the 2023 season, Walker recalled a specific memory of indoor track. Her favorite memory was, “winning indoor conference and winning GCAC athlete of the meet.” Walker had said that her goal for the state meet was to go all-state in all three events that she qualified for, meaning placing in the top nine runners for each event. Although she fell short of this goal in the 400, Walker shattered expectations in her sweet spot event, the 800. 

Walker is someone to watch during the upcoming cross country season and her senior running career. 

Boys track season special for recent Marquette U. commit

Boys track saw key returners gear up for the upcoming state meet as well, including college commits Mac Kittrell (Boston College) and Charlie Richardson (Marquette U.).

After a recent commitment to Marquette University, Richardson reflected on his final season with DePaul Prep. 

Richardson’s most cherished memory this year was “qualifying for nationals at St. Ignatius in the rain with three other teammates. As a senior, being able to compete in one of the biggest meets in the country feels like the perfect way to end my high school career before moving onto college.” 

With a sport like running, there are highs and lows. Richardson sustained an injury last track season and has dealt with the challenge of trusting himself to compete at the level he knows he is capable of.

However, with this hardship comes the most reward.

“I was still adjusting to training and getting back up to speed,” Richardson said. “But it all came back after winning the indoor conference 800, running a nearly perfect race and setting a new PR right before spring break. This was one of the most rewarding events of my running career, behind winning cross country state.”

Richardson is a prime example how in the sport of running, the lowest of lows tends to lead to the greatest reward. 

With departure to college looming, Richardson gave advice to some of his younger teammates.

“As long as you remember why you’re doing this sport and maintain a love for it, good results will follow,” he said. Richardson claims that it is easy to get caught up in times and hitting your personal best. However, he added, “as long as you remember why you’re running, you’ll find tremendous success.”

Going forward, Richardson is “excited to take my abilities to another level and compete against the best runners in the nation at the Division 1 level.” He even has set specific hopes for his future at Marquette, stating he hopes to “place in the Big East championship and eventually move onto nationals.”