Cross country closes out season

Spencer Chase

After a solid fall, the Jacks say goodbye to seniors and look forward to next year.

The cross country season for the SDSU men’s and women’s teams finished with middle of the pack performances at the NCAA Midwest Cross Country Regional in DeKalb, Ill.

The women’s team finished in 16th place behind a strong career-ending performance from Danielle Burke, who finished in 45th place out of 189 runners and ran a time of 22 minutes and 19.76 seconds. Burke was followed by Erin Hargens in 69th, Laura Wolles in 118th, Tera Potts in 122nd and Danielle McCann rounded out the pack in 127th place with a time of 23:26.85. Head cross country coach Rod DeHaven said this was a good ending of a good season for the Jacks.

“Overall, I think it was a pretty good performance. It was good to see Burke run a good race to end her cross country career,” DeHaven said.

The men’s team ended up in 17th place out of 25 total teams that competed. The men were once again led by Greg Vollmer, who finished out his cross country career with a 61st place performance and a time of 32:53.31. After Vollmer was Summit League Newcomer of the Year Trent Lusignan in 67th, Kyle Schmidt in 85th, Jared Ailts in 92nd and Drew Kraft finished in 144th place with a time of 35:09.76. DeHaven said that it was not the way he wished the season would have ended.

“The guys were running on fumes, unfortunately. We had a few guys get sick and a few guys get dinged up, and that really hurt us,” DeHaven said.

DeHaven said the Jackrabbits figure to lose Burke, Hargens, Vollmer, and Schmidt to graduation, but he’s confident that the depth of the program will keep the Jacks competitive.

“Other than those four, we’ll have everyone back that contributed for us. We have some people already in the program that should fill the holes left by graduation, and we’ll also be getting some people back that were deployed or just took a year off,” DeHaven said.

DeHaven also said that possible holes will look to be filled by recruiting, but the Jacks are only interested in a specific type of athlete.

“We have to look at times and see how the kids have progressed, and you have to make sure that interests line up academically, and we have to make sure that they are kids from this region. We don’t have the most pleasant climate, so you have to make sure that the kids are used to it or can easily adapt to it,” DeHaven said.

Even though the cross country season is now over, most of the runners only get a short break before preparations begin for the indoor track season.

“They only get two weeks off and then we start doing workouts and getting ready for indoor season, and we’ll start competing heavily right after Christmas break. Most of these kids run track too, so their season never really stops,” DeHaven said.