The SDSU men and women placed in the top half of the pack at the conference meet.
One cross country team fell short of expectations, the other lived up to them at the Summit League Championships Oct. 29 in Tulsa, Okla.
The men’s cross country team, expected by some to compete with Southern Utah for first place, finished in third place. The women, viewed as a team destined to compete for third with UMKC and USD, finished in fourth.
Individually, the men were again led by a strong performance from Greg Vollmer, who finished in sixth place at a time of 25 minutes and 16.4 seconds. After Vollmer, Trent Lusignan and Jared Ailts finished 9th and 12th, respectively.
The top three runners for the SDSU men finished within about 30 seconds of each other but the problem for the Jacks was the minute and ten seconds that separated their third and fifth runners. Kyle Schmidt finished in 34th and Kenny Mayer rounded out the effort for the Jacks in 39th.
Head coach Rod DeHaven said this finish was not quite what the team had expected.
“We had a bad day for multiple reasons and that caught up with us. If we would have run to get second, we probably would have been better off. Trent and Jared were in the lead pack for a while but they fell back after a while.” DeHaven said.
Vollmer was named to the All-Summit League first team and Lusignan and Ailts were named to the second team. Lusignan was also named the Newcomer of the Championship, the first time a Jackrabbit has received the award.
“(Lusignan) was far and away the first freshman out of the gate. He’s very deserving of it,” DeHaven said.
The SDSU women turned in a solid performance to claim fourth place as a team. Danielle Burke was the leader of the Jackrabbit pack with a 22-minute, 20.67-second run that was good enough for 14th place. Rounding out the top five for SDSU was Erin Hargens in 17th, Tera Potts in 20th, Danielle McCann in 31st and Laura Wolles in 34th. In all, only 50 seconds separated the Jacks’ first runner from their fifth.
“Truthfully, we could have ended up anywhere from third to seventh. They were consistent just like they have been all season,” DeHaven said.
Burke was the lone all-conference runner for the Jacks, being named to the second team. DeHaven described it as a fitting end to her Summit League career.
“(Burke) has been close lots of times. Usually in track, she’ll be in ninth place in an event and she always ended up hurt during cross country seasons. To see her get all-conference to end her Summit League career was just great,” DeHaven said.
The Jackrabbit cross country teams now look to the Fall Finale in Collegeville, Minn., on Nov. 4 as the final race before the NCAA Midwest Regional, held Nov. 12 in DeKalb, Ill. and the season finale, the NCAA Championships, held Nov. 21 in Terre Haute, Ind.