Krsnak shines for Jacks at cross country NCAA Midwest Regionals

Dustin Veurink

Dustin VeurinkSportswriter

The men’s cross country season is over, but it was one to remember.

Ranked 11th going into the NCAA Midwest Regional, the men beat out Nebraska and Kansas to place eighth.

Leading the way was junior Michael Krsnak, who placed 16th with a time of 30:22:.07. His 16th place finish was good for all-region honors.

“It feels great to run against some of the best runners in the nation,” Krsnak said. “I can’t really describe how it feels to be all-region.”

Coach Rod DeHaven was very satisfied with Krsnak’s performance

“Mike had an epic run, initially I thought that he had bitten off more than he could chew by going out with the leaders, but he just kept hanging on,” DeHaven said.

Krsnak, a Rapid City native, fell just short of being selected to compete at the NCAA Championships.

Krsnak needed Minnesota and Iowa State to receive at-large bids to be chosen as the four individuals in the region not from a qualifying team, but only Minnesota received an at-large bid.

Krsnak described what it would have meant to him to race in the Championships.

“For me to race in the NCAA championships would complete half of a career goal,” Krsnak said. “The other half would be to compete well in the championships.”

Krsnak described the competition he was running against.

“Most of those kids will end up being professional runners someday,” Krsnak said

Amazing is a simple way to put the year that Krsnak had.

He had four top-three finishes this year including wins at the Ron Pynn Classic and Oz Memorial to start of the year. Krsnak was named Summit League Athlete of the Week after his run at the Oz Memorial. He was also named to the Summit League all-league first team.

Junior Anthony Bongard finished off his great season with a 48th place finish with a time of 31:15.98.

Seniors Greg Vollmer and Marshall Kambestad finished their year with 63rd and 68th place finishes. Their times were 31:38.85 and 31:46.91. Junior Eddie Stenger finished closely behind for 73rd with a time of 31:51.12.

“The men ran with tremendous heart,” DeHaven said. “They were running for respect and I think they accomplished that.”

The men’s team won three meets this year including the SDSU Classic and the Summit League Championships.

Sophomore Erin Hargens finished her great season with a 55th place finish with a time of 21 minutes and 29.65 seconds.

“I felt like I could have raced smarter, but overall I had a good time and enjoyed regionals,” Hargens said.

Hargens, a transfer from Oklahoma, reflected on her first season as part of the women’s team.

“My first season as a Jackrabbit went well,” Hargens said. “I still have a lot of room to grow and improve, but I am happy with the season and how our team is continuing to better itself.”

Hargens, a Sioux Falls native, had three top-ten finishes on the year. She was also named to the Summit League all-league first team.

Sophomore Tera Potts finished 140th with a time of 23:00.02. Brooke Wyffels rounded out the top-three for the Jackrabbits with a time of 23:25.44 good for 157th place.

The women were short-handed this week, but coach DeHaven was pleased with the team’s performance.

“We ran without Kelsey Clausen and Mariah Hofer, our 2nd and 3rd runners at the conference meet, but we had some folks step up to help the team out,” DeHaven said.

The women finished 23rd out of 27 teams.

The women’s lone meet win of the year was at the Herb Blakley Invitational in Madison, SD.