Championship Day For SDSU & USD At Summit Cross Country Meet
Jackrabbit Men, Coyote Women Repeat As Team Champions
VERMILLION, S.D. — Running on Rushmore State soil proved very good to the South Dakota and South Dakota State cross country teams at the Summit League Championships in Vermillion on Saturday.
The SDSU men and USD women each repeated as team champions, while the Jackrabbits’ Chase Cayo and Rachel King won individual championships. Each schools’ recaps are posted below. Click on the video viewer for highlights!
The South Dakota State cross country teams came away with multiple Summit League accolades Saturday afternoon at The Summit League Championships in Vermillion, S.D., including a men’s team championship and individual championships on both the men’s and women’s side.
The men’s team brought home their sixth championship in the short 11 years they have been a member of the Summit League. The Jacks won it with their second-lowest score in the championship race with 31 points, placing 1-2-4-11-13-17-22 in the top 25 (scored 25 points in the 2016 championship).
The Jacks have won all of their championships in back-to-back seasons (2009-10, 2012-13, 2016-17) and is one of two active Summit League Schools that have won Summit League titles (Western Illinois won a title in 1991). The men’s team has finished in the top two every year since 2012, claiming four titles.
Three Jackrabbits earned first-team All-Summit League performances, which ties for second-most in school history with the 2012 and 2015 teams (2016 had four First-Team All-Summit League performers). As a total, SDSU had five All-Summit League runners, most of any team this year, and tying the 2013 team with the second-most honors (2016 had six).
Not only did the men’s team have the most All-Summit League performers, but they swept the Championship MVP, Newcomer of the Championship, and Coach of the Year Award. It is the second time SDSU has swept the awards (first time, 2013) and the only other school to do it was IUPUI in 2014.
Head coach Rod DeHaven claimed his sixth Summit League Men’s Coach of the Year honor, the most of any coach since 2007 when the Jacks joined the Summit League. He now has seven total coach of the year honors between both men and women.
Sophomore Chase Cayo and junior Kyle Burdick led the whole 8k-race. Cayo pulled ahead of Burdick in the last few meters of the race, winning his first career championship race and earning the Championship MVP and first-team All-Summit accolades. His time of 24:44.78 beat his 2016 league championship time by 1:04.8 minutes and placed him third on the all-time fastest Summit League Championship time.
Burdick finished with a time of 24:47.2, beating his 2016 time by 54 seconds and placing him fourth on the Jackrabbit all-time fastest league race. With his performance, he earned first-team All-Summit honors.
Sophomore Lukas Nelson found himself on the all-time list as well with a 25:12.70 time and fourth place finish. The time puts the first-team All-Summit performer eighth on the list and improves his 2016 league championship time of 27:17.1.
Junior Cal Lawton earned second-team All-Summit honors in his first Summit League cross country championships with an 11th place finish (25:29.18). He just missed beating his personal best 8k-time by two seconds.
Freshman Gabe Peters brought home the Newcomer of the Championship in his first year wearing the yellow and blue. The second-team All-Summit Leaguer was the first Jackrabbit to bring home the accolade since Brendan Sage in 2013. Peters finished 13th with a time of 25:334.93 in the championship race.
Sophomore Sam Ivanecky and redshirt-freshman Ray Munsterman also debuted in their first league championship. Ivanecky finished 17th (25:48.74) while Munsterman finished 22nd (26:25.74). Both improved upon their 8k-times, Ivanecky beating his old time by 4.9 seconds and Munsterman beating his time by 10.7 seconds.
The women’s team finished in the top three of The Summit League Championships yet again with six top 25 runners. That is now six years in a row where they have finished in the top three.The Jacks finished with three All-Summit League performers, tying with North Dakota State for the second-most honors this year. The Jacks have now claimed two straight Summit League individual titles and championship MVP’s (Emily Donnay in 2016, Rachel King in 2017).
Junior Rachel King led the Jackrabbits in Vermillion, winning the race with a time of 20:53.54 and beating her 2016 championship time by 19.2 seconds. The first-team All-Summit Leaguer now has the all-time fastest championship time. With this performance, she earned her first Championship MVP.
Freshman Anna Donnay earned second-team All-Summit League honors in her first career championships race, placing 13th (21:50.76). It is her best 6k-race of the season, beating her previous best by 38.1 seconds and etching her name into sixth place for the fastest Summit League Championship time.
Right behind Donnay was junior Emily Berzonsky, who earned second-team All-Summit accolades by placing 14th (22:01.68). It is her second consecutive year earning all-league honors.
Rounding out the top 25 for SDSU was junior Mackenzie Schell (19th, 22:21.16), freshman Cailee Peterson (22nd, 22:30.08) and junior Renae Dykstra (23rd, 22:31.23). For Schell, she improved her personal-best 6k-time by 43.3 seconds and her championship time by 1:12.9 minutes. Peterson and Dystra also improved their 6k-times in their first championship races (Peterson by 40.2 seconds, Dykstra by 1:07.4 minutes).
Next for the Jackrabbit cross country teams is the NCAA Midwest Regionals in Ames, Iowa on November 10. The men’s team is ranked 11th in the USTFCCCA Midwest Regional poll while the women’s team has been ranked 15th twice during the season so far.
The pack mentality boded well for the South Dakota women’s cross country team as the Coyotes captured the program’s fourth-straight Summit League Championship title on Saturday at The Bluffs Course. The Coyote men finished third with four all-league finishers.
The Coyotes became just the second women’s program in the league’s 26-year history to capture four Summit League titles. South Dakota’s pack of seven runners finished in order from fourth through 10th place and each earned all-Summit League honors.
Junior Megan Billington led the pack of Coyotes for the fifth time this season with a fourth-place finish. Billington clocked in at 21 minutes, 17.37 seconds, just six seconds off of her personal best. A two-time second-team finisher, Billington garners first-team all-Summit honors for the first time of her career.
Junior Lindsay Joyce dropped a personal best time of 21:27.09 to capture fifth place in the race. Joyce improved from her 12th-place finish a year ago. Junior Madeline Huglen and sophomore Kianna Stewart crossed the finish line together in sixth and seventh, respectively, with a time of 21:31. The duo picked up all-Summit first team honors for the first time of their careers and both recorded a new personal best.
Rounding out the Coyote scorers was freshman Laura Nelson in eighth place. Nelson finished the race in 21:34.38 to earn a spot on the all-Summit League second team.
Although they did not count in the Coyote’s team score, USD pushers senior Erin Wetzstein and junior Bethany Kozak also made the all-Summit second team. Wetzstein took ninth in 21:34.96 and Kozak clocked 21:39.30.
Wetzstein becomes the first Coyote to finish her career a perfect 4-for-4 at the Summit League Cross Country Championships. She was a member of the Coyotes’ conference roster in 2014 and 2015 and then posted a breakout junior season where she placed fourth.
Also competing for the Coyote women were sophomore Julia Noah in 16th and senior Nicole Schmidt in 26th.
After a narrow five-point victory over North Dakota State a year ago, the Coyotes extended the lead to 27 points this season. South Dakota captured the title with 30 points to runner-up NDSU’s 57 points. South Dakota State finished third in the team race with 67 points.
South Dakota head coach Dan Fitzsimmons was named the Summit League Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year for the fourth-straight season.
On the men’s side, four Coyotes earned all-league honors as the team finished third with 55 points. South Dakota State captured the men’s title with 31 points and North Dakota State finished runner-up with 42 points.
Junior Eldon Warner led USD for the fourth time this season with a third-place finish. He finished the 8,000-meter course in 24:52.90, a time less than a second off his personal best time from two weeks ago. His time was also three seconds shy of USD’s fastest finish by an individual at the Summit League Championships. Warner earned his first career all-Summit League honors with a spot on the first team.
Senior Brice Cowman clocked a personal best of 25:17.86 for eighth place. Cowman made the all-Summit second team for the first time of his career.
Also making the all-Summit League second team for the Coyotes were junior Nate Wendt in 12th and freshman Luke Bailey in 14th. Wendt finished in a personal best 25:31.37 while Bailey clocked in at 25:40.12.
Freshman Isaac Benz rounded out the Coyote scorers in 18th place. Benz clocked a personal best of 25:51.44.
The Coyotes’ remaining four runners each recorded new personal best times on Saturday. Junior Jacob Simmons took 21st in 26:16.87 and freshman Cole Streich finished 25th in 26:37.22. Freshmen Seth Iverson and Kallo Arno took 27th and 30th, respectively. Iverson clocked 26:57.89 and Arno crossed the line in 27:03.35.
In addition to the second-longest streak in Summit League history, South Dakota moves to seventh on the list of active conference title streaks nationally with four. Women’s programs with longer active streaks include New Mexico (10), Eastern Kentucky (6), Florida A&M (6), Arkansas (5), New Hampshire (5) and Furman (5).
South Dakota toes the line at noon on Nov. 10 for the NCAA Midwest Regional in Ames, Iowa. The top-two teams and top-four individuals not on a qualifying team in each region earn automatic bids to the NCAA Championships.