SDSU Men, USD Women Win Summit Cross Country Titles
Jackrabbits Emily Donnay Wins Individual Title
The South Dakota State men’s cross country team had a school-record six all-league performers enroute to winning The Summit League title Saturday at Spring Lake Park in Macomb, Ill.
“I think it went pretty much the way we thought it was going to go on both sides,” said 13th-year head coach Rod DeHaven. “The kids ran well, they ran with enough spirit on the men’s side to get it done. It got a little more tense and tighter than what we would have liked, but the guys responded when they needed to. It wasn’t a perfect day for us, but it was good enough. And you know, 20 years from now they’re not going to remember thinking that they should have maybe finished one spot ahead of where they did. Right now, it’s one of 35 conference championship teams at SDSU in men’s cross country, and we just want to keep the tradition going as much as we possibly can. I think there are some goals that can still be achieved at the regional meet.”
SDSU had six of the top-10 finishers to post a final score of 25 points, narrowly ahead of IUPUI (33 points). Senior Joel Reichow finished runner-up for the second consecutive year, posting a time of 25:19.1 and Ayub Kassim (25:24.1) finished third. Senior Trevor Capra (fifth, 25:32.4), sophomore Kyle Burdick (sixth, 25:41.2)
and redshirt-freshman Chase Cayo (ninth, 25:49.5) rounded out the scoring for the Jacks. Brendan Sage was the sixth Jackrabbit finisher, placing 10th overall and earning second-team all-league honors. Overall, it was the Jacks fifth Summit League title since joining The Summit League in 2007 and first since 2012. Six all-league performers is a school record.
Also competing for the Jackrabbits were Micah Mather (25th, 26:40.3), Lukas Nelson (27:17.1) and Eric Janssen (29:28.5).
The Jacks return to action Nov. 14 when they travel to Lawrence, Kan., for the NCAA Midwest Regional.
South Dakota women’s cross country became the fourth program in history to capture three-straight Summit League Championship titles Saturday morning at Spring Lake Park. The Coyote men finished fourth.
The Coyote women edged North Dakota State with 43 points to the Bison’s 48. It was the narrowest margin of victory for the Coyotes in the past three years. South Dakota State placed third with 55 points and IUPUI took the fourth spot with 101.
“Our women ran extremely well,” said USD head coach Dan Fitzsimmons. “We knew if we could place two in the top five we could control our own destiny in the race and managed to do precisely that. North Dakota State rallied in the final kilometer, but fortunately our points up front were enough to stave them off and allow us to take home the win.”
A quartet of Coyotes earned all-Summit honors on Saturday. Freshman Julia Noah paced the Coyotes with a third-place finish, clocking 21 minutes, 30.4 seconds, for 6,000 meters. Junior Erin Wetzstein followed in fourth with a time of 21:46.0. Noah and Wetzstein both earned a spot on the first team for the first time.
As the top freshman finisher, Noah also took home the Newcomer of the Championship award. A Coyote has taken home three of the last five newcomer awards.
Sophomores Megan Billington and Lindsay Joyce captured second team honors. Billington made the second team for the second-straight season, improving to ninth from her 13th-place finish a year ago. Billington crossed the finish line in 22:01.7. Joyce took 12th in 22:13.3 for her first league award.
The Coyotes were anchored by Madeline Huglen in the fifth position for the fifth time this season. Huglen took 15th, one spot off the second team, with a 22:30.2 clocking.
South Dakota posted a minute time gap between its first and fifth runner.
Redshirt-sophomore Bethany Kozak and freshman Kianna Stewart rounded out the Coyotes’ top seven in 20th and 25th, respectively. South Dakota had the first two runners above seven in the race, with senior Jessica Feldman in 29th and sophomore Liz Bohn in 31st.
Additionally, Fitzsimmons was named the Summit League Women’s Coach of the Year for the third consecutive time.
On the men’s side, South Dakota State captured its first title since 2013 by scoring 25 points. IUPUI dropped to runner-up with 33 points and North Dakota State placed third with 74 points. South Dakota took fourth with 131 points.
Senior Mach Dojiok, a three-time Summit League 800-meter champion, earned his first league honors in cross country. Dojiok placed 14th to earn a spot on the all-Summit League second team. Dojiok paced the Coyotes with his second-fastest 8,000-meter clocking this season in 26:10.5.
“I have been incredibly proud of Mach,” said Fitzsimmons. “He’s an 800 guy who wasn’t sure he could compete at that long of a distance. He’s made great strides on the course this season and graduates as an all-league cross country runner.”
Sophomore Hunter Paulsen and junior Brice Cowman took 22nd and 24th, respectively. Paulsen finished in 26:26.6 and Cowman crossed in 26:38.2. Rounding out the Coyote scorers were sophomores Pierce Libbey and Eldon Warner, finishing together in 35th and 36th, respectively. Libbey crossed the finish in 28:05.9 with Warner a second back in 28:06.4.
The Summit League Championship also decided a pair of points in the South Dakota Showdown Series. With a split in points on the day, South Dakota leads South Dakota State 3-1 in the series.
The Coyotes resume action at the NCAA Midwest Regional on Nov. 11 in Iowa City, Iowa.