Lowery leads runners in Minnesota

Michael Pecha

Michael Pecha

Brad Lowery led the fourth-ranked SDSU Jackrabbit men’s cross country team to victory last weekend at the University of Minnesota-Duluth Invite.

Lowery won the 10 kilometer race in 31:59.

Kevin Doe followed closely in second with a time of 32:04. Greg Darbyshire and Matt Pearson claimed third and fourth places, respectively.

“These four guys continue to be a powerful front-running group,” said head coach Paul Danger.

Danger was just as excited about the performance of the number five through 12 runners.

“Andy Blau, Kevin Bjerke, Chris Gruenhagen and Mike Pecha moved up very well this weekend,” said Danger. “Joel Teachout and Scott Roby also had good races. This group will be vital to our performance at the NCC championships.”

Other Jackrabbits finishing in the top twenty include: Bjerke, seventh in 33:13; Blau, ninth in 33:19; Guenhagen, 11th in 33:26; Roby, 14th in 33:39; Pecha, 17th in 33:47; and Teachout, 18th in 33:55.

Twenty men run for the Jackrabbits this season, but only 12 get to run at Conference.

Danger said that he is very confident with the 12 runners he will take to Conference.

The women’s team claimed second place at the invite, only one point behind conference rival University of North Dakota. UND is ranked sixth in the nation.

“Our women’s team ran the best they have all season,” Danger said. “We knew UND was a good team, so we would need everyone to step up. Megan Poppens, Krystie Ratzlaff and Erin Foss ran the best races of the year.”

The lady Jacks ran without top runner Sheena Dauer, who was attending a wedding over the weekend.

Erin Woolley was the top Jackrabbit finisher in fourth, with a time of 23:02 over the six kilometer course. Poppens was close behind in fifth, at 23:08.

Ratzlaff and Foss finished sixth and seventh in 23:46 and 23:47, respectively.

Danger said that he is looking forward to Conference just as much for the women’s team as he is for the men’s team.

“Both teams had strong performances, but what was most important was the continued advancement of many individuals that we will need as we head into Conference,” he said. “I am confident that our teams will be ready to put forth the effort needed to perform at the highest level.”

The Jacks take this weekend off. They run next at the NCC Championshipsin Vermillion on Oct. 19.