Sage runs down USD’s Haase for win as men take 2nd, women 3rd

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 The SDSU men’s and women’s cross country teams raced in the 10th annual SDSU Classic at Edgebrook Golf Course in Brookings on Saturday.

The mens team looked to bounce back after finishing 26 out of 31 teams at the Roy Griak Invitational in Minnesota. The women also looked to bounce back after finishing 33rd out of 35 teams at Roy Griak.

The men came out with the individual winner as sophomore Brendan Sage passed USD’s Brant Haase with 200 meters to go. Haasse led for most of the race but Sage caught him in the stretch. Sage finished with a time of 25:23.95, which was a personal best and Haase finished with a time of 25:25.40.

“The key was to be a little more conservative with the first three miles and at about four miles try to push the pace,” Sage said. “It just kind of fell into my lap there and I had a chance to win it and I just tried to use my speed”

A jackrabbit has now won the individual race four out of the last five years.

“It was a nice step forward,” said head coach Rod DeHaven. “It was a nice win for Brendan [Sage].”

Overall, the men placed second behind NDSU who won their first ever SDSU Classic championship.

On the women’s side, the Jackrabbits didn’t fare quite as well. Minnesota took it’s 10th straight first place finish at the challenge. No other team has ever won it. The Golden Gophers had six runners in the top 10 including the first and second place finishers. USD took second place and SDSU took third.

“We wanted to do a little better than we did,” DeHaven said. “Last week it may have been the heat but this week we clearly needed to do better.”

Junior Cheyanne Bowers finished in ninth overall with a time of 18:15.78. Bowers is the first SDSU runner to get a top ten finish since 2010, but she thought she could have done better.

“I wasn’t really happy with it [the race],” Bowers said. “I should’ve gone out smarter, I went out a little too hard and let the excitement get to me.”

The weather was a lot different from the previous week and runners could tell the difference. Last week it was 80 degrees at the Roy Griak Invitational and on Saturday the temperature was in the low 30s.

“It was a factor in a good way,” Sage said. “I’m not really good in the hot so today I was excited because it was a lot colder out.”

Bowers also enjoyed the cooler temperatures.

“Last week we had a couple girls drop out from the heat, so 50 degrees cooler definitely makes a difference,” Bowers said. “It makes it a lot easier to breathe.”

The Jacks next head to Peoria, Ill. for the Bradley Pink Classic on Oct. 17 hosted by Bradley University. Then they will go to the Summit League Championships in Fargo, N.D. on Nov. 1.

“At the end of the day the season all boils down to running well at the conference meet,” DeHaven said. “Hopefully we’re in the position where three or four weeks from now we’re a lot better than what we are today.”