SDSU women runners lose to SIU and IPFW 68 to 67

Travis Kriens

Travis Kriens

The SDSU men’s and women’s cross country team ended their season last Saturday with the Summit League Championships. The men finished fourth out of 10 teams while the women finished third, only a single point away from a three-way tie for first.

Southern Utah and IPFW finished tied for first with 67 points, but Southern Utah was awarded the championship because their sixth and seventh place runners finished ahead of IPFW’s.

Junior Caitlin Berry was the top woman finisher for the Jacks, placing fifth overall in the 6,000-meter race. Coach Rod DeHaven said that Berry ran an “amazing” last kilometer to move from eighth to fifth. Junior Claire Steinke ended up in ninth place in the event. Emily Smith and Ashley Storm ran very solidly and did exactly what DeHaven expected. Sarah Hanson ran the best race of her career, but in the end it was not enough for SDSU’s first Summit League title.

Coach DeHaven said that he was very proud of the way the women’s team ran and many members had their best races of the season. The difference between claiming the conference title and finishing a close third was that SDSU’s fifth runner was not as close to the third and fourth runners as in previous races.

An error with the timing system originally had the Jacks in first place by one point. However, upon further review of the videotaped finish by the officials, SDSU was in a three-way tie. Then just before the team trophies were awarded, the Jacks were told that the officials had missed a runner between the fifth-runner from IPFW and the fifth place runner for SDSU. That ended up pushing the Jackrabbits back a point where they finished third.

On the men’s side, Marshall Kambestad, a redshirt freshman, finished fifth overall in the 8,000 meter with a time of 25 minutes and 33 seconds. Senior Andrew Van Nurden finished a close sixth just five seconds behind. The Jacks’ third runner, Joe Roby, came down with a case of food poisoning the night before the race. Roby still competed, but did not finish the race. DeHaven said that with a healthy Roby, the men would have finished third for sure and that second place was a real possibility.

Van Nurden said, “It was tough to stomach losing a third place finish by a margin of three points; however, the circumstances of the day and the efforts displayed during the race made it easier to bear. The entire coaching staff worked diligently preparing us physically and mentally for the race. Week after week throughout the season, they have worked hard to give us the best opportunities to compete and achieve success.”

Kambestad’s strategy was to go out with the leaders right away and to see how long he could hold on. At around the 4K mark he was worried that he would fade, but the runners catching up to him made him pick up the pace. His time of 25:33 was a season best by 23 seconds. Kambestad received first team all conference honors for his performance.

Southern Utah was victorious on the men’s side as well, finishing with 40 points, 42 points ahead of second place Oakland.