Youth and inexperience are the themes for this year’s men’s cross country squad. Only one of the seven runners who placed on last year’s Independent Championship winning team returns to the Jacks this fall. The Jacks lost four runners to graduation, including the Independent Champion Brad Lowry. The Jacks also lost one runner to a transfer and one to student teaching.
“We knew it was going to be a little rough going into the year,” said Head Coach Rod DeHaven.
The Jackrabbits will rely on sophomore Jared Beinlein to lead the way for the young runners. He is the one returnee from last year’s championship squad. Beinlein finished 11th at last year’s Independent Championship.
In addition to Beinlein, seniors Josh Klawitter and Ryan Egeberg will look to make an impact on the team this year. Klawitter was the track team’s top 3,000-meter steeplechase in the spring. Egeberg has battled injuries throughout his career, but is ready to go this season.
Sophomore Zach Frohling also looks to play a larger role on the team this season. He was a top-seven runner for the Jacks last season until injuries sidelined him. DeHaven said Frohling has run well so far this year and when he gets a chance to rest his legs, he will be able to run at the level his fitness allows him.
With what looks like to be a rebuilding year for the Jackrabbits and with the final transition toward NCAA eligibility, Coach DeHaven has decided to redshirt some of his quality recruiting class.
Marshall Kambestad leads the freshman class. He won the South Dakota State AA cross country championship the last two seasons, as well as winning the 1,600 and 3,200-meter track races. Kambestad finished third and 14th in the first two meets this season, though his place did not count in the team standings.
Bryan Kegley, freshman from Hutchinson, Minn., was originally set to redshirt, but will run this year due to the stress fracture Matt Heiser suffered.
With a new squad, the Jackrabbits have fared decently in their two meets this season. They began the year in Fargo, N.D. at the North Dakota State Invitational. The men finished second in that meet.
The second meet of the year was the Woody Greeno/Nebraska Invitational in Lincoln, Neb. The Jacks came home with a third place finish from that meet.
The next two weekends will feature home meets for the Jacks. On Saturday, Sept. 22, the Jacks host a meet for Division-II schools. The meet should provide an opportunity for many of the young and inexperienced runners to gain valuable meet experience.
The following day, Sept. 23, the Jacks run in the Roy Griak Invitational at the University of Minnesota. Coach DeHaven said the Jacks will only send their top six runners to the meet.
The Jacks host the SDSU Classic on Sept. 30. The meet features Division-I schools like Nebraska, University of Northern Iowa and North Dakota State.