Cross country teams hope to keep lock on conference titles

Skyler Jackson, Co-Sports Editor (He/Him)

With the regular season over, the SDSU cross country teams prepare for the Summit League Cross Country Championships Saturday at 11 a.m. in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

The women’s team is aiming to win its third straight Summit League title, while the men’s team looks to extend its league record with its seventh consecutive conference title.

“I think a lot of young men and women have experienced that feeling, and I think that should give them confidence,” coach Rod DeHaven said. “Not only that they can perform the day of the race, but the training that we have set up, being fairly similar to what we’ve done in the past, should give them an opportunity.”


The SDSU women’s team has won the last two Summit League championships, narrowly winning the conference title last year by one point over North Dakota State.

Leah Hansen also repeated as individual champion last year and is aiming for her third-straight individual title.

DeHaven said that NDSU will be a challenging opponent again this year and that a third-straight conference title may not be an easy task for the women this year.

“Hansen has to do her job and she has to come out on top, that’s a huge thing,” DeHaven said. “And Mya Kizer and Caitlin Bright have run well, but you’ve got North Dakota State athletes right there as well, so those would be key positions.”

The women’s last meet was in Peoria, Illinois, Oct. 15 at the Bradley Pink Classic. They competed in two races. The first was the 6k White Race, and the team finished sixth overall. The second one was the 6k Red Race, and the team finished 10th place in the team standings.

Other highlights throughout the team’s season were first-place finishes at the Augustana Twilight and SDSU Classic earlier in the year, an 11th-place finish at the Roy Griak Invitational in Minnesota and finishing second at the Briar Cliff Invite in Sioux City.


The SDSU men’s team dominated its way to a Summit-League-record sixth straight conference title a year ago, including six Jackrabbits finishing in the top seven spots.

As the men’s team attempts to make even more history, DeHaven said that with all their winning, they may have a target on their backs.

“I think teams probably are tired of seeing these same group of guys be a part of sweeps on the track or being individual conference champions,” DeHaven said. “So certainly the target is on their back and that can be difficult at times, especially in a smaller meet.”

The men’s team had their last meet Oct. 15, where some athletes were sent to Stillwater, Oklahoma, for the Weiss-Crockett Invitational, finishing sixth overall. Other athletes competed in the Bradley Pink Classic for the 8k Red Race the day before, finishing 23rd overall.

The men’s team has had three first-place finishes this season at the Augustana Twilight, the SDSU Classic and the Briar Cliff Invite. They also finished eighth out of 17 teams at the Roy Griak Invitational.