For the first time in almost two years, the South Dakota State University cross country teams are preparing for a home meet.
On Sept. 13, 2019, the SDSU Classic will be held at Edgebrook Golf Course.
While head cross country coach Rod DeHaven isn’t necessarily looking for a win, he wants to see runners improve on their performances from late August’s Bison Open.
“Early season is about finding improvement, not expecting huge things. But increasing distance tells us about the team as a whole,” DeHaven said.
But there’s more than meet-to-meet improvement on DeHaven’s mind. The entire coaching staff is in the process of identifying factors for long-term success.
“We look to execute, and we’re looking to find different ways of engaging the team,” DeHaven said. “The men’s team is looking for ways to keep the top group together through the race, and the women’s team is trying to keep up with North Dakota State.”
At the Bison Open, the men’s team took first place with six of the top ten spots occupied by SDSU runners. This included the top individual performance turned in by junior Micah Mather, who won Summit League Athlete of the Week for his efforts.
The women’s team finished in third place, missing second by only eight points. On the women’s side, SDSU was paced by Anna Donnay taking third and Ellie Friesen taking eighth.
DeHaven thinks that both teams match up well against the competition they’re facing this week. Meet attendees will include the University of South Dakota, University of North Dakota, North Dakota State University, Northern State University and five other schools. The SDSU alumni team and SDSU running club will also be attending.
Normally, a home meet would lead to an advantage and a competitive edge for the home school’s athletes, but DeHaven is looking at it from a different standpoint.
“It’s nice to be home and it’s good to not have to travel, but it isn’t a huge advantage,” DeHaven said. “It means there is no excuse for not being ready to perform.”