Lusignan leads SDSU to home win

Spencer Chase

The SDSU men’s and women’s cross country teams competed at their only home meet of the season, the SDSU Classic, in dominating fashion Sept. 14 at Edgebrook Golf Course in Brookings.

The men dominated the 8K circuit, taking three of the top four spots individually and claiming first place as a team by a 35-point margin. Trent Lusignan was the top Jackrabbit in competition, taking the top spot in the race followed by teammate Michael Krsnak in second. Jared Ailts was edged by Clayton Foster of Minnesota State University-Moorhead at the finish line to finish in fourth place, followed by Drew Kraft in 9th and Kenny Mayer in 12th.

Lusignan says this win was a good way for the men to assert their supremacy atop the Summit League.

“We’re coming out here to see if we can win our own meet,” Lusignan said. “Our team is probably the best team we’ve had since 2010, and we just wanted to show people that we’re it and we’re ready for conference here in a month.”

Head coach Rod DeHaven says the men’s performance is a good indicator of how he hopes the season will progress.

“It’s one of those meets where you come in and really don’t know the level of competition you’ll get,” DeHaven said. “We know North Dakota State is maybe not at full strength yet. I think our guys ran super aggressive early on, which we wanted to see. We wanted to test ourselves to get ourselves ready for the bigger meets later in the season where you’ll have to come out a little harder.”

The women recorded a second-place finish behind a dominating showing from the University of Minnesota, which scored a perfect score and took 11 of the top 12 spots. The Jacks finished 58 points behind the Gophers but 27 points ahead of third-place North Dakota. The Jacks were led by Laura Wolles, Tera Potts and Erin Hargens, who finished consecutively to take 16th, 17th and 18th place, respectively. Cheyanne Bowers finished 20th and Laura Lawton took 23rd to round out the Jackrabbit top five.

Wolles thought SDSU fared well against U of M despite the lopsided results.

“I think we held our own,” Wolles said. “They’re pretty intimidating, but you’ve just got to go with your gut and run your hardest.”

There were also several factors that made this year’s Classic unique from years in the past. It is traditionally a Saturday meet held early in the day instead of Friday evening, as was the case with this year’s meet. There were also fewer teams than in the past, something DeHaven says is simply a coaching technique.

“Minnesota has a huge meet two weeks from now,” DeHaven said. “In cross country, a lot of schools go on a 14-day racing cycle, so if we would have kept the meet (on Saturday), we would have had zero teams show up. … It hurt us being on this day, because normally we would have gotten a handful more teams.”

The Jacks now have a week off before they head to the Griak Invitational, one of the largest meets on their schedule, on Sept. 29, hosted by Minnesota.