South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

Star freshman track and cross country athlete Noecker attributes success to ‘little things’

Megan Ives
Carson Noecker competes in the Summit Leauge Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Oct. 28 in Brookings at the Edgebrook Golf Course. Noecker, a freshman from Hartington, Nebraska, will lead the Jackrabbits into the NCAA Midwest Regional this Friday in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

For Carson Noecker, it’s the little things that the freshman track and cross country athlete attributes to his early success in his career at South Dakota State University.

The four-time Nebraska high school state cross country champion has proven to be a key addition to the SDSU men’s squad, leading the men’s team to its latest Summit League Championships Oct. 28 with his first-place finish at Edgebrook Golf Course.

Noecker credits his success to many factors, but his background and faith have led the way.

“I was blessed to be able to compete the way I do,” Noecker said. “And I’ve got to be thankful, thankful to God and thank all the people and teammates around me that have been supporting me and helping me to become the person I am today.”

Heading into the Summit League Cross-Country Championships, Noecker and the team were confident in their abilities and the work they put in.

“There’s definitely going to be a weather change, but it’s going to be changed for all the other teams out there competing,” Noecker said before the championship. “We know we trust in the work we put in, and we trust in each other as teammates. And we know that when we get out there, we’re going to execute to the best of our ability.”

The Jackrabbits ended up winning their eighth straight Summit League crown, with multiple runners awarded individual accolades. Noecker claimed the individual crown, Championship MVP and Newcomer of the Championship awards, as well as all-league first team honors. He also finished with a dominant 20 second lead over the competition.

“All those individual awards are good and all, but at the end of the day, it was being there and winning with the team that I really enjoyed,” Noecker said. “There’s been a lot of tough times throughout the season. But we worked hard together as a team and we were able to push through and secure the conference title.”

Josh Becker, who crossed the finish line fifth, was one of three Jackrabbits to finish in the top 10, he also secured all-league first team honors.

“We’ve got a special team this year, and I thank God that I get to be a part of it,” Becker said. “The race went well for the team, we all fought hard together and for each other. The results sort themselves out.”

The team finished with 46 points, tying with North Dakota State. But the Jackrabbits were named conference champions in accordance with NCAA tiebreaker guidelines.

Now the team shifts its attention to the NCAA Midwest Regional this Friday, in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Noecker and Becker shared the team’s anticipation for the upcoming race.

“There’s a lot of excitement buzzing around the team as we head into the regional meet,” Becker said. “With how we are positioned this year we have a lot to run for and nothing to lose. That’s a fun place to race from.”

“We weren’t supposed to come into this year doing big things, but we’ve proved everyone wrong,” Noecker said. “It’s really a testament that it doesn’t matter the size of your school or your big, flashy colors. We’re just gonna go out there and we’re gonna let our hard work speak for itself and just race.” Noecker got his start running at Cedar Catholic High School in Hartington, Nebraska.

While cross country wasn’t huge in a small town like Hartingon, Noecker wasn’t new to the sport.

“My brothers did it (running) before me,” Noecker said. “So I had them to watch before me and I followed in their footsteps.”

Since arriving at SDSU, Noecker has proven to be a powerful runner, placing 

first in his debut four-mile race in the Augustana Twilight in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and his debut 8k at the SDSU Classic. But, Noecker didn’t realize he wanted to compete at the next level until his junior year of high school.

“I never thought I’d be where I am today,” Noecker said. “I went on trying it (cross country and track) and found some success and kind of fed off that. And it kind of was like a spark started within me.”

The change as an athlete from the high school to the college scene wasn’t easy for Noecker. 

But consistency and hard work have helped ease the transition. Noecker says the small things are what really allowed him to transition so smoothly. Managing his free time well and staying focused on school and athletics.

“In a sport like cross country, small things start to build up and can be the difference between getting injured and not, but also just help you grow,” Noecker said. “It’s really those small things, and the consistency of doing those small things day from day.”

For Noecker, those small things include eating healthy and getting enough sleep. 

Another is consistently putting in hard work at practice, which Noecker contributes to the team’s success this season. 

“I really like to put in the work,” Noecker said. “Those good, hard, difficult practices when I might not have a good day, but we all push each other as a team to be better. I definitely couldn’t get through it without the team.”

Becker, a junior and a veteran runner for the team, highlighted the person behind the performances when describing his teammate Noecker.

“Many people see his performances and focus on those incredible feats. I would like to shift that focus to the invaluable character of Carson,” Becker said. “He is a humble, hard-working and caring teammate who strives to be his best, and that rubs off on everyone he is around.”

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    DianeNov 8, 2023 at 7:48 pm

    Wow Great article