Tony Baranek firstname.lastname@example.org | (708) 633-5947 March 22, 2012 8:20PM
- Queen of Peace grad Delilah DiCrescenzo (center), Plain White T’s, at the 2008 Grammy Awards. | File photo
Delilah DiCrescenzo thought it was a pretty funny question.
It centered around how the former Queen of Peace running star will be remembered. More specific, what epitaph will someday be written on her tombstone.
Right now, having a megahit song named after her would seem pretty hard to top.
But she’s got plans on being an Olympian.
The Plain White T’s might have some strong competition.
“You know, I hope being an Olympian is the thing that people lead with,” she said, laughing. “But I think they’ll both be on my tombstone.”
And she’s totally OK with that. After all, “Hey There Delilah” was No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in July 2007 and earned DiCrescenzo a trip to the Grammy Awards with its writer, Tom Higgenson.
But there is more than the satisfaction of being a songwriter’s muse at stake for the 29-year-old, whose return home this week is to include competing in Sunday’s 8K Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle.
DiCrescenzo is in the middle of a comeback. Last year she earned a spot on the U.S. steeplechase squad, only to have a stress fracture cause her to pull out of the world championships.
In June she’s scheduled to compete in the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials. A top-three finish in the steeplechase event would land her in London for the Summer Games.
Now THAT would be a legacy.
“I am glad that my running has evolved to the point where I’m making national teams, and doing things that I created,” DiCrescenzo said. “So I’m a lot happier doing this.
“The song was a great thing and a lot of positives came out of it, but just being the inspiration for it isn’t anything I could take credit for. It wasn’t anything I did.”
One can only think what would have happened had she and T’s frontman Higgenson, who wrote the song in 2004 after meeting her through a mutual friend, actually hooked up. She’d probably have been on the cover of the album.
But anyway …
Homecoming week has been pretty special for DiCrescenzo, a 2001 Peace graduate.
Sunday she was inducted into the Girls Catholic Athletic Conference Hall of Fame for her track and field and cross country achievements. DiCrescenzo finished second in the state in cross country as a junior in 1999 and third in the state as a senior in 2000.
She joined the GCAC Hall of Fame with Seton volleyball, basketball and track athlete Jennifer Hoffman, Seton’s 400- and 800-meter state champion relay squads from 2001, and Mother McAuley’s 1994 and ’95 basketball teams.
DiCrescenzo went back to visit some teachers at Queen of Peace during the week, and was to meet with the track and field team Friday.
“I hadn’t been back in a number of years,” she said Wednesday. “I’ve never had a chance to talk with the team. So I’m excited.”
So, too, is she excited about Sunday’s race, which starts and finished in Grant Park, and includes many street segments from the Chicago Marathon.
“Originally I was just planning on coming in just to attend the (GCAC) event,” she said. “But the way the calendar fell I was like, ‘Well, the way my training was set up, I thought that it made a lot of sense to do this race.’
“I discussed it with my coach and he thought it was a great idea. So instead of just popping in and getting out of the city right away I extended the trip a little bit. It has worked out very well so far.”
Her Olympic dream still lies a couple of months ahead. Based on her 2011 results, it’s well within her grasp.
DiCrescenzo finished third in the steeplechase at the ’11 national championships before going to Europe to continue running in preparation for the World Track and Field championships in Daegu, South Korea.
But things went wrong.
“I was doing some races over there and still ramping up my training, and I think I was pushing the envelope too much,” she said. “I was having some hip pains, and I thought it was just a strain. But when I came back I was unable to run. My coach was finally like, ‘You have to get an MRI.’ ”
The test showed a stress fracture in her left femur. DiCrescenzo missed 10 weeks of running while recovering from the injury.
“It was such a season of highs and lows,” she said. “But it was such a reminder to me to not take anything for granted, and take each opportunity for what it is. So I just really want to focus on doing my best June 25 and 29.”
Those are the dates of this year’s Olympic trials. Delilah’s destiny, if you will.
Hey, that sounds like an interesting title …