Full speed ahead toward NCAA tournament

Dustin Veurink

Dustin Veurink Sportswriter

The Jackrabbit women are hampered by injuries and the men will lean on Bongard and Krsnak at regionals.

After repeating as Summit League champions, the men’s cross country team now focuses on performing strong at the NCAA Division I Midwest Regional.

“For the men, our goal is to exceed our current regional ranking of 11th,” said head coach Rod DeHaven. “For us to move up and beat Kansas, Nebraska or Southern Illinois, we will have to run very well and have one or two guys in the top 50.”

The men’s team will need to rely on their top runners Michael Krsnak and Anthony Bongard to finish well in the standings.

“The other schools all have front runners that we will need to match for us to have a chance to do that,” DeHaven said. “I believe that Mike and Anthony have that capability.”

Krsnak is the Jacks’ top returning finisher from last year, finishing 73rd in last year’s field. A junior, Krsnak talks about preparing for the regional meet.

“I don’t do anything different; really the whole season has been building to this point,” DeHaven said.

The men will be racing in a 10K instead of their regular 6K.

“The length is not a big deal either, if anything it helps me out,” Krsnak said.

Krsnak has high hopes for himself and the team at regionals.

“A great turnout would be an All-Region finish for me (top 20) and a top-ten finish for the team,” Krsnak said.

Last year, the men placed 13th out of 25 teams.

“I think that the guys will be better prepared for the race than they were a year ago,” DeHaven said.

The women’s team continues to deal with injuries. According to DeHaven, Kelsey Clausen and Mariah Hofer will not be competing.

Clausen was the Jacks’ second-best runner from last year’s regionals with a 67th place finish.

The women will be competing on the same course as they did on Oct. 15 at the Bradley Invitational.

“For those that do run, it should be a good opportunity to see if they have improved since the Bradley Invitational,” DeHaven said.

Sophomore Erin Hargens has had a phenomenal year for the Jacks and coach DeHaven has high hopes for her at regionals.

“I believe she has the capability of finishing in top 40 (all-region) and possibly break 21 minutes for 6K, which has never been done by an SDSU student-athlete,” DeHaven said.

The Midwest Regional will take place Nov. 13 in Peoria, Ill.