Duo goes 1-2 at NDSU

Spencer Chase

The SDSU men’s and women’s cross country teams opened up their respective seasons against familiar opponents on unfamiliar territory at the NDSU Dual Aug. 31 in Fargo.

In the meet’s double dual scoring format, SDSU fell to North Dakota but defeated NDSU as all three schools saw their first action of the season. SDSU had never competed at Rose Creek Golf Course, the site of the meet, but both the men’s and women’s teams compiled team scores that earned them second place in their respective races.

The men were led by two runners with unique paths to this season’s competition. Michael Krsnak and Drew Kraft finished first and second, respectively, in the race to lead SDSU to a second place finish behind North Dakota. Krsnak is running his first race since 2010 after redshirting last season, and Kraft is making a comeback of sorts after a disappointing freshman season.

Head coach Rod DeHaven said Kraft could potentially have a breakout year with his training schedule not being disrupted before this season.

“(Kraft) was on pace for a pretty special year last season, but unfortunately he had a farm accident and suffered a broken nose and orbital. That kept him from running for four-six weeks. Hopefully this year will be different for him as he gets to a part of a training regimen again,” DeHaven said.

Kenny Mayer rounded out the top-five finishers for SDSU with a 6th place finish, followed by Ross Nelson and Lars Mattison in 15th.

The women fought against a strong showing from NDSU as the Bison claimed six of the top seven spots in the race, a streak interrupted by SDSU’s Tera Potts in 5th. DeHaven says the women’s race was “way more competitive” than the men’s contest, partially due to NDSU holding out some of their strongest men’s runners, but he says SDSU responded well considering the state of their training.

“We haven’t done a lot yet as far as training, so we haven’t done a lot of our harder workouts yet,” DeHaven said. “(The results) could have been worse because you don’t know how hard North Dakota State ran, but I think the first meet is a pretty good way for us to gauge where we’re at.”

After Potts’ 5th place performance, Erin Hargens, Lora Wolles, and Courtney Neubert finished 9th, 10th and 11th, respectively, and Andrea Weeder capped off the SDSU top-five with a 13th place finish.

DeHaven says the first meet is also a good way for those rebounding from injuries, such as Hargens, to get used to competitive running again.

“It’s not like they didn’t run…but they sometimes forget how fast the competition seems,” DeHaven said. “The good thing about someone like Erin is she only has one direction to go, and that’s up.”

SDSU will now prepare for the Oz Memorial in Falcon Heights, Minn., Sept. 7, and their only home meet of the season, the SDSU Classic, Sept. 14, in Brookings.