Naperville North’s Elly DeTurris has ‘heart of a champion’

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Naperville North girls cross county coach Dan Iverson has had an enviable career at the school, crafting multiple team state championships during his nearly two-decade tenure.

But Iverson has had few athletes over the years quite like Elly DeTurris.

“It’s not too often you have someone with that talent and the racing instinct to go along with it,” Iverson said of his returning All-Stater who led the Huskies to second place in Class 3A last year.

“(DeTurris) is special. She has natural racing instincts.”

DeTurris enters her final cross country campaign having been an instrumental figure in the Huskies’ three consecutive trophy-winning seasons.

Naperville North turned back all comers to win the state championship two years ago after a third-place result in 2011.

The Huskies have once again been anointed as one of the top program in the state this fall.

“We worked our butts off last year,” DeTurris said of the Huskies falling ever so short of defending their team title to Glenbard West. “We did the best that we could.”

Individual accolades are virtually meaningless to DeTurris, who constantly adopts a team-first approach.

The senior, who plans to compete in both cross country and track and field at the next level, cannot wait for the season to begin.

“We are very deep this year,” DeTurris said. “It’s honestly the best thing you could ask for with the cross country team.”

Naperville North lost only Maria McDaniel from its state team from a year ago as Claire Hamilton, Kate Shannon, Judy Pendergast, Emory Griffin and Ella Guppy all return.

But competition for the postseason lineup will be as arduous as it is well-deserved among the Naperville North girls this fall.

“We have five freshmen who could be factors by the end of the season,” Iverson said.

DeTurris vividly recalls making an immediate impact on the program, but her perspective has changed with experience.

“It’s definitely different but a good different from the way my high school (training) has changed from freshman to senior year,” DeTurris said.

All three Naperville high schools finished in the top 11 at the state meet last year, and Naperville Central coach Aislinn Hicks’ appreciation of DeTurris’ abilities are far from atypical.

“Elly has the heart of a champion,” Hicks said. “She is a great leader for the Naperville North team over there. She is a great asset to that team.”

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