Cross country teams eye Summit crown

Spencer Chase

The men seek another Summit team title, while the women will enter coming off their top finish of the year.

The Jackrabbit cross country teams turned in some of their best performances of the season in the final race of the regular season Oct. 14 at the Bradley University Cross Country Classic in Peoria, Ill.

The SDSU men turned in a respectable performance, finishing in third place as a team and placing three runners in the top 20. Senior Greg Vollmer set the pace for the Jacks with a time of 25 minutes and 3.5 seconds. Vollmer’s time was also good enough to place him fifth overall in the meet. Following Vollmer was Jared Ailts and Trent Lusignan who finished just two places apart at 17th and 19th, respectively. Kyle Schmidt crossed the finish line just 14 seconds behind Lusignan to take 26th, and Greg Beesley rounded out the effort for the Jacks by finishing 59th overall.

Head cross country coach Rod DeHaven said that the men entered the race with hopes of winning the meet, but fell just short due to a few unfortunate circumstances.

“[Vollmer] is still suffering a little from being sick, and [Ailts] ran really aggressively in the beginning of the race, and that probably cost him 5 or 10 places in the end. We also still have the problem of getting five good performances,” DeHaven said.

The women’s cross country team ran one of their best races of the season to claim 8th place in team competition. The Jacks women were led by Danielle Burke, who finished in 24th place with a time of 22 minutes and 9.47 seconds, followed by Erin Hargens, 27th, Courtney Neubert, 33rd, Tera Potts, 72nd, and rounded out by Danielle McCann, 73rd.

“That was one of our better performances in the last couple years. Even though that wasn’t the highest level of competition we’ve faced, I’m very pleased with the performance,” DeHaven said.

What impressed DeHaven the most was the attitude of the Jackrabbit women after the meet.

“Right after they were done, they all had this look like ‘Yeah, that’s good, now what do we have to do to get better?’ That’s the kind of attitude that you want to see as a coach.”

The trip to Peoria was the final meet for both the men and women before the Summit League Championship. DeHaven has high aspirations for the men’s and women’s teams and hopes to challenge for at least one title.

“NDSU and Southern Utah should battle it out for the women’s title. UMKC looks strong and USD looks good. I think if we run well, we could compete for third place.” DeHaven said of the Jackrabbit women.

On the men’s side, many see this as a two team race for the Summit League title between SDSU and Southern Utah. DeHaven emphasized that for the Jacks to have a chance, they will need a solid effort from top to bottom.

“If we run hard with our top five, I think we have a very good chance of winning (the Summit League Title). But even it we put our top five in front of [Southern Utah’s] top three, it will still be tough.” DeHaven said.

The Summit League Championship is Oct. 29 in Tulsa, Okla., hosted by Oral Roberts University.