FARGO, N.D. – Perfection.
The South Dakota State men won their fourth consecutive team title and eighth all-time in dominating fashion at the Summit League Cross Country Championships on a chilly Saturday at Rose Creek Golf Course.
The Jackrabbits posted a perfect score of 15. They occupied the top six spots individually – led by medalist Joseph Minor-Williams -- and had seven all-league performers, including six on the first team. All nine of their runners placed in the top 18.
“Obviously, it went well. They did a really good job of working together and kind of just putting people away the last half of the race,” said Jackrabbit Sports Hall of Fame member and SDSU head coach Rod DeHaven. “It was a hard effort, obviously, but there was only like a 15-second spread between our first and fifth guy – I know we’re capable of a little bit more than that.
“But, yeah, it was a really satisfying day and the guys did great.”
Minor-Williams clocked an 8K time of 24 minutes, 43.6 seconds to earn Championship MVP honors. The sophomore from Minneapolis was Newcomer of the Championship last year.
Micah Mather, a junior from St. Paul, was runner-up in 24:46.5.
Senior Lukas Nelson (24:51.5) placed third, senior Chase Cayo (24:57.1) fourth and sophomore Thomas Breuckman (25:02.3) fifth to complete the team tally.
Junior Gabe Peters (25:07.6) was sixth, as he also earned first-team all-league recognition.
North Dakota State was second in the team standings with 64 points – 49 behind SDSU.
South Dakota (74), North Dakota (120), Purdue Fort Wayne (142), Oral Roberts (176) and Western Illinois (177) were third through seventh, respectively.
The Bison’s Alex Bartholomay (25:10.8) ended up seventh and was the final all-league first-team honoree.
Earning second-team recognition were Jackrabbit sophomore Andrew Rush (11th, 25:17.5), the Bison’s Tim Heikkila (ninth, 25:13.7) and Isaac Huber (13th, 25:28.6), the Coyotes’ Merga Gemeda (eighth, 25:12.9) and Clayton Whitehead (10th, 25:13.8), the Golden Eagles’ Emmanuel Kipngetich (12th, 25:23.6) and the Fighting Hawks’ Luke Labatte (14th, 25:30.6).
Whitehead was Newcomer of the Championship.
Also for SDSU, freshman Lukas Pierson (25:37.7) was 16th and sophomore Alexander Auch (25:45) 18th.
• Cayo was a four-time All-Summit League performer in cross country. He won the race in 2017 and was runner-up in 2018 to make the first team and placed ninth in 2016 to earn a spot on the second team.
• Nelson is an all-league first-team honoree for the third year in a row. He placed fourth as a sophomore and sixth as a junior. Nelson finished 25th in the event as a freshman.
• Peters made it 3-for-3 on the all-league team. He was on the first team a year ago after taking seventh and was a second-team performer as a freshman following a 13th-place showing.
• Mather placed fifth in 2018 and was a first-team selection.
• Minor-Williams and Breuckman were on the second team as freshmen, finishing eighth and ninth, respectively.
• SDSU is the second team in league history to post a perfect score. Southern Utah did it in 2006 to win by 60 – a league record. The Thunderbirds’ sixth runner did not crack the top 14.
• The Jackrabbits totaled a then-program-best 23 points last year to finish 37 ahead of the Bison. SDSU had a record eight all-league performers, including five on the first team.
• Joining Minor-Williams and Cayo (2017) on the champions list are Trent Lusignan (2013, 2015) and Michael Krsnak (2012).
• SDSU also won league titles in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017 and 2018 while taking second in 2014 and 2015, third in 2011, fourth in 2007 and fifth in 2008.
Kelby Anderson was medalist and led NDSU to the team title.
The Bison totaled 45 points and five-time defending-champion USD was second at 48.
The Jackrabbits totaled 73 points in third. UND (84), Omaha (127), WIU (176), PFW (206) and ORU (222) were fourth through eighth, respectively.
Anderson, a junior from Bismarck, completed the 6K trek in 20:35.1. She was Newcomer of the Year after placing third in 2017 and was runner-up as a sophomore.
SDSU’s Anna Donnay placed second in 21:02.3. The junior from Kimball, Minnesota, took 13th in 2017 to earn second-team all-league honors.
Rounding out the first-team all-league performers this year were the Mavericks’ Emily Johnson (21:19.2) in third, the Coyotes’ Abby Ripperda (21:24.7) and Jonna Bart (21:29.2) in fourth and fifth, and the Fighting Hawks’ Madison Overby (21:34) and Hannah Oscarson (21:38.8) in sixth and seventh, respectively.
Jackrabbit Ellie Friesen, a sophomore from Cresco, Iowa, placed 13th in a time of 21:55.2 to earn second-team all-league recognition. She took 18th in 2018 to earn Newcomer of the Championship.
Also making the second team were NDSU’s Brynnan Covington (eighth, 21:47.5), Jen Dufner (ninth, 21:50) and Kaleesa Houston (12th, 21:53.4), USD’s Kianna Stewart (10th, 21:50.3) and Kelsi Kearney (11th, 21:51.8) and UND’s Erica Eades (14th, 21:56.3).
Completing the Jackrabbits’ team tally, freshman Leah Hansen (22:11.8) crossed in 17th, sophomore Cailee Peterson (22:19.8) 19th and senior Kendra Dykstra (22:28.4) 22nd.
“North Dakota State and USD really came out hard and we just aren’t quite there yet,” said DeHaven. “We have a young group and they beat us pretty good.
“Anna Donnay had a great run to get second. It was really outstanding. And Ellie Friesen to be all-conference – good run for her.
“It’s not like we had a bad day, we just didn’t have as good of a day as those other two teams. And we still have some more season – we have another meet, at least, and we’re thankful for that.”
Also for SDSU, Emma Nelson (22:31.3) finished 25th, Jessica Christoffer (22:44.4) 28th, Anna Fasen (22:51) 29th and Kayla Christophersen (22:53.9) 30th in the 67-runner field.
Notes: It marked NDSU’s fourth title but first since completing a three-peat in 2013. The Bison took second in 2009, 2014, 2017 and 2018.
The NCAA Division I Midwest Regional Championships are Friday, Nov. 15, at the Oklahoma State University Cross Country Course in Stillwater. The women’s 6K race begins at 11 a.m. and the men’s 10K race begins at noon.
“With the women, try to be in the top 15 – that’s kind of the litmus test every year. If you’re in the upper half of the region, then that’s pretty good,” said DeHaven. “And then for the guys, I’ll probably have a better idea of what we’re capable of after I take a little bit better look at some of the results in the Big Ten, Big 12 and Missouri Valley. But I think we go in there thinking we want to finish in the top six, which would match our highest finish ever at a regional.
“Who knows, some weird things could happen. Oklahoma State’s multi-million dollar cross country course they’re debuting for the NCAA regional and it will be challenging. Hopefully we’ve trained to be ready for a 10,000-meter race. … You go up to 10K and that certainly can separate some teams from other teams. I feel good about where our group’s at on the men’s side with a 10K race.”
Big 12 Championships
WACO, Texas – Brookings native Addison DeHaven, a senior at Iowa State, placed sixth in the Big 12 Cross Country Championships on Saturday at Cottonwood Creek Golf Course.
He had a 23-minute, 55.4-second clocking in the 8K.
The Cyclones – led by medalist Edwin Kurgat (23:36.3), a senior – raced to the team title with 34 points and Oklahoma State was second at 58.
Chase Johnson (23:58.1), Milo Greder (24:00.5) and David Too (24:03.4) went 8-9-10, respectively, to complete ISU’s team tally.
DeHaven was a five-time Class AA All-State performer for the Bobcats, winning titles in 2012 and 2013.
He attended Wisconsin in 2014 and redshirted before transferring to Boise State.
DeHaven was the Broncos’ fifth scorer at the national meet in 2015, taking 167th.
He missed 2016 due to an injury.
DeHaven was an All-American in both 2017 and 2018, placing 31st and 28th, respectively, at nationals..
He won the 3,000-meter run at the Mountain West Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships in 2019.
DeHaven transferred to Iowa State for his final year of eligibility.
ISU competes in the NCAA Division I Midwest Regional Championships on Friday, Nov. 15, in Stillwater, Oklahoma.