Jackrabbits host 11 cross-country teams in SDSU Invitational

Will Oliver

Will Oliver

After two out-of-state meets, the SDSU Cross-Country team hosted its first home meet Saturday at the Edgebrook Golf Course.

The competition drew teams from 11 colleges. Nebraska, Iowa State, Drake, Minnesota, Northern Iowa, North Dakota State University, University of South Dakota, Minnesota State-Mankato, University of Mary, Black Hills State and the University of Sioux Falls were all in attendance at the SDSU Invitational.

“It’s great to have a competitive meet for once,” said cross-country runner Kevin Bjerke. “It makes you rise to the occasion-a little more motivation.”

Bjerke, a senior majoring in exercise physiology, said that it is nice to have a meet in Brookings.

“There’s a lot of family support, community support. Both my parents are here,” Bjerke said, “Pretty much everybody’s parents are here.”

One family in attendance Saturday, to the surprise of no one close to the cross-country organization, was junior Becka Mansheim’s family. Furnishing the team with blue Jello jigglers after the race, Becka’s mother Connie-along with Becka’s two sisters, brother, father, nephew, and 90-year-old grandparents-was proud to say, “We’ve been to them all.”

The Mansheims, who reside in Brookings, miss only one meet each year due to hunting season. They fly at every possibility to the other races.

As enthusiastic as Connie and her daughters are to travel to cheer on SDSU, they agree with their mom, to have a home meet is great.

“There are a lot of different schools that have never been here before,” Connie said. Racing against higher competition “shows our kids how well they can do.”

“In the past, we’ve had one or two teams [at our meets],” said Head Coach Rod DeHaven. “To me, it was very important to put together a large, meaningful meet.”

Although the team has been on the road, DeHaven believes “jet lag” from travel plays little to no role in the team’s performance.

“At this point in the season, runners have adjusted to traveling,” DeHaven said.

The team usually arrives at an away meet the evening before a race, able to give 100 percent the next day. Even so, home meets have their advantages.

“It’s good to be at home because we know our own course very well,” said sophomore Kate Boris. “What really makes the difference is the crowd.”

DeHaven, in his second year as the Jackrabbits’ head coach, said that events like Saturday’s gather needed support for the team.

“For the cross-country and track programs, it’s the only visibility in Brookings, which helps with alumni.”

All in all, DeHaven said he was “happy with the way the meet came off.”

The men’s team, led by senior Brad Lowery’s first place finish, took home the team title. The women’s team finished third, led by junior Becka Mansheim’s seventh place finish amidst what DeHaven said to be fierce competition.

The cross-country team travels to the Jim Drews/Tori Neubauer Invitational in La Crosse, Wis. Oct. 15.

#1.884985:4235578828.jpg:crosscountry02_tc.jpg:SDSU hosted its first home meet of the season Saturday at Edgebrook Golf Course.:#1.884984:1929038383.jpg:crosscountry01_tc.jpg:A large field of women competed in the 5,000 m run in the SDSU Invitational. SDSU´s women´s team finished third.: