Women’s cross country prepares for Summit race

Zach Anderson

Zach Anderson

The SDSU women’s cross country team will head to the Summit League Championships on Nov. 1. The Jackrabbit women will take on Oakland, Oral Roberts, Southern Utah, Western Illinois, North Dakota State, UMKC, IPFW, IUPUI and host Centenary in a 6k race.

The race will take place on a frisbee disc golf course along the banks of the Mississippi River in Shreveport, La.

The women’s team has a little extra motivation since losing by one point to Southern Utah and IPFW – who tied with 67 points – a year ago in the 2007 Summit League Championships.

On Oct. 18, the Jackrabbit women placed first out of 25 teams, edging Minnesota out, 81-82. Caitlin Berry placed eighth and Claire Steinke placed 15th, followed by Ashley Storm in 16th and Nicole Davis in 17th.

SDSU’s conference and longtime rival NDSU tied for fourth with University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, scoring 154 points each. NDSU is a strong Summit League team, so if the Wisconsin meet was any indication, the Jackrabbit women should have a good chance.

“The women’s team had one goal this fall, and that is to win the league. After losing by a point a year ago, I believe that was the driving force behind much of their training during the summer and fall. A week ago, we performed very well in Wisconsin, where we really separated ourselves from NDSU, who had our number earlier in the season. It will be a very close race between IPFW, NDSU, Southern Utah and ourselves. If we perform like we did a week ago, I like our chances,” SDSU coach Rod DeHaven said.

Seniors Berry and Steinke will try to pace the Jacks, along with Davis, a junior, and sophomore Kelsey Aune. Storm, a junior, will try to find her early season form after being hampered with a sprained ankle at the SDSU Classic on Hobo Day.

Storm’s injury will be the injury that will impact the team the most.

“The women are healthy for the most part; Ashley Storm sprained her ankle badly at the home meet on Hobo Day but ran well at Wisconsin considering the swelling she still has in her ankle,” DeHaven said. “If she regains her early season form, it makes the women that much stronger.”

DeHaven added that the Jacks will be in pretty good shape if they run like they are capable of, especially with the senior leadership of Steinke and Berry.

During the season the SDSU women have recorded two third-place finishes, each one was out of 15 teams, and the Jackrabbits placed second out of three teams at the Bison Invitational, losing to NDSU but beating Minnesota State, Moorhead.

If the Jacks perform well enough to advance, they could compete at the NCAA Midwest Regional at Stillwater, Okla., on Nov. 15.