(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)
PORTLAND, Ore. – For the second time this season, Montana State University Billings cross country runner Ase Ackerman won Great Northwest Athletic Conference Runner of the Week honors for another strong performance last week. Ackerman split the award with Simon Fraser’s Aaron Ahl, who placed third at Western Washington’s Bill Roe Cross Country Classic.
Running MSUB’s home course at the Yellowjacket/Battlin’ Bears XC Open last Friday, Ackerman smashed his previous-best 8-kilometer time and placed third with a 25:10.3 – the fifth-fastest 8K in MSUB men’s cross country history. His finish helped the Yellowjackets place second behind Montana.
“Ase has really been running consistently well in workouts and races,” MSUB assistant cross country coach Kevin Bjerke said. “It is refreshing to see him be acknowledged for his hard work and consistency. His momentum really began last spring, and he has simply carried that mentality and work ethic through the summer and fall.”
In last Friday’s race, Ackerman took it out strong with the leaders and held on for the first four miles. The front pack opened the first mile at around five minutes flat, then Ackerman kept a steady pace, averaging 5:04 miles throughout the course. At the four-mile mark, Ackerman was on pace to break 25 minutes, yet his 25:10 was a PR by several minutes.
This marks the first time since Robert Peterson’s 2014 season that the MSUB cross country team has had one runner win the conference’s weekly award multiple times in the same year.
“I am grateful to receive the award for a second time this season,” Ackerman said. “Knowing that I’m having similar success as Robert gives me a lot of confidence going forward into the postseason, as I’ve looked up to him and his results ever since I was a freshman.”
Last week’s race set several program firsts for the men’s side, which saw all six runners set new lifetime bests in the 8K. Between Ackerman and Carson Jessop – who finished in fourth with a 25:29.6 – MSUB had multiple runners go under 26 minutes for the first time since the 2016 GNAC Cross Country Championships.
MSUB cross country heads to Saint Martin’s for the 2021 GNAC Cross Country Championships on Oct. 23. The men’s race will start at 11 a.m. MT, then the women will follow at noon MT.