Jacks race to personal bests

By Andrew Holtan Sportswriter

The South Dakota State Men’s and Women’s cross country teams raced at the Bradley Pink Classic 8K at Newman Golf Course in Peoria, Ill.

The men came into the race with some momentum after they placed second at the SDSU Classic and had the overall winner as Sophomore Brendan Sage came out on top.

SDSU ended up getting fourth out of 26 teams with 164 points this weekend. The only teams in front of the Jacks were Illinois State who won with 119 points, Nebraska with 146 points and Missouri with 146 points.

Sage and Senior Drew Craft came out with top-10 finishes. Sage got fourth place with a time of 24:50.9 and Craft came in seventh with a time of 24:56.6. These were personal bests for both of them.

“Both Brendan and Drew are very big [to the team’s success]” said head coach Rod DeHaven. “Particularly Drew with him being a fifth year senior makes a difference on a day-to-day basis.” 

Sage and Craft weren’t the only Jacks to get personal bests. Five other runners got personal bests too. Sophomores Trevor Capra, Connor Branick, Daniel Pettit, Duane Jongeling and freshman Eric Janssen all had personal bests.

“We had better effort out of our fourth through eighth runners at the meet.” DeHaven said. “The thing about cross country is that our seventh best runner is as important as our second or first guy.”

The SDSU men topped the other Summit League teams that raced. USD came in sixth and IUPUI came in eighth.

The women came into the weekend looking to build off a third place finish at the SDSU Classic.

SDSU came in ninth out of 30 teams in the 6K race. Junior Cheyanne Bowers was on top again for the Jacks, coming in 20th with a time of 21:48.5. This was Bowers first sub 22-minute time of the season. Junior Jessica Eibs was not far behind coming in 27th place with a time of 22:00.8.

The Jacks had a total of eight runners in the top-100 out of a field of almost 300 competitors. Freshman Abby Phillips came in 99th. She ran a personal best 22:53.7, beating her old personal best by a full two seconds.

Illinois finished first with USD getting second and Illinois State getting third.

“We’ve run against USD a lot and we just haven’t closed that gap, they’re a good team and to their credit they’re running well.” DeHaven said.

The Jacks will look to use the momentum gained from this race when they travel to Fargo on Nov. 1. for the Summit League Championship race.

“We can only do what we can control,” DeHaven said. “If we just run our race I think we’ll be fine.”