Perfect ‘storm’ helps SDSU soar to top of summit league

Travis Kriens

Travis Kriens

The Jackrabbit women’s cross country team battled from the back of the pack and from an equipment malfunction to win the 2008 Summit League Cross Country Championship on Nov. 1 in Shreveport, La.

“I saw the heel of Ashley Storm’s shoe tucked underneath her foot, so she just kicked the shoe off,” said SDSU head cross country coach Rod DeHaven.

“At that point, you start to think that it might not be our day.”

Despite running with only one shoe, the junior from Yankton was the top-finishing Jackrabbit as she took seventh place with a time of 21 minutes, 39 seconds.

DeHaven asked Storm if she ever thought of stopping and putting her shoe back on, and she said no. After a while, she did not even notice it.

SDSU edged preseason favorite IPFW who finished tied for first last season (losing the tiebreaker).

The Jacks totaled 60 points, and the Mastodons finished with 63.

Even though the sister duo of Crystina and Crystal Martinez from IPFW finished first and second, the Jacks secured four of the top 11 spots.

Junior Nicole Davis finished ninth with a time of 21:55, followed by seniors Claire Steinke in 10th place at 21:26 and Caitlin Berry in 11th place at 21:57.

IPFW’s next three runners finished 19th, 20th and 21st to give SDSU a three-point victory.

As a result of their finishes, Storm earned first-team all-league honors with Davis, Steinke and Berry landing on the second team.

DeHaven also was named the Summit League Cross Country Coach of the Year on the women’s side.

“The tough thing was that they wouldn’t tell us the results right away,” said DeHaven.

“The Summit League e-mailed the results to the schools first, so people back in Brookings knew that we won before we did. It wasn’t a deal where we got done and knew we had won. The team was pretty upset thinking that they had lost.”

This is the ninth overall conference title for women’s cross country and the second since the move to Division I.

SDSU won the 2006 Independent Championships in Fort Wayne, Ind.

The Jackrabbits get a week off before travelling to Stillwater, Okla., for the NCAA Midwest Regional on Nov. 15.

“We are probably in the toughest region in the country,” said DeHaven. “We hope to finish ahead of some of the Big 12 teams and run with some of the better teams in the Missouri Valley.”

#1.882222:1179770459.jpg:Ashley_Storm_Cross_Country_Women.jpg::Courtesy of Sports Information