Runners earn top finishes, prepare for November

The SDSU men’s and women’s cross country teams were in action last Friday, capturing fourth place and third place respectively as both teams competed in the Oz Memorial at Les Bolstad Golf Course in Falcon Heights, Minn.

The men’s team lost a tie-breaker to the University of Northern Iowa, resulting in the men finishing fourth out of four teams.

Aside from top-10 performances by sophomore Brendan Sage and senior Drew Kraft who came in third and sixth, head coach Rod DeHaven said the rest of his team could have performed better as a unit.

“We had some good performances, and some that we probably could have taken advantage of the situation maybe a little bit more than what we did,” DeHaven said. “We really got beat by the middle of the pack or very average teams from the Missouri Valley Conference. It’s a little disappointing but it is also very early in the season.”

On the women’s side, solid performances from two juniors helped the women’s team claim third place out of five teams.

“Cheyanne Bowers and Jessica Eibs had really solid races,” DeHaven said. “I think it was their best times on that particular course.”

Along with good performances from Eibs who took twelfth and Bowers who took fourth, DeHaven said that the freshman competitors raced well, and he expects them to make a positive impact on the team as the season progresses.

“We had some freshmen handle that course,” DeHaven said. “First time seeing it, it is probably one of the more difficult courses we will be on all year, and [the freshmen] did a really good job with it, and we hope that their improvements continue and they can end up being contributors for us during the season.”

Although only two competitions have been concluded thus far, DeHaven said his teams must learn from this meet and prepare for what will be a stretch of intense training prior to their next meet.

“We get to the point in the season when we can start working out harder, and now we are at that point,” he said. “The next two weeks are pretty critical towards building for the more important meets late in October and obviously November.”

October and November meets will be the final test for the men’s and women’s teams. It is in those two months where each athlete’s hard work will pay off and show.

However, much like a test in academics, one must study, or prepare, for the test. Both teams must ‘study’ and put in the work in order to grade out where they want to when October and November arrive.

The final test is a ways off yet, but there are other tests along the way that will mark how much each team is improving, and the men’s and women’s team have an extensive period of time before their next challenge, allowing them to get better every day.

 “I think we all need to get better,” DeHaven said. “We will have the opportunity to run the same course in three weeks, which will give us a very good test.”