(MSU Billings release)
MINNEAPOLIS – Ruth Chepsat showed no sign of slowing despite having a fast start to her furthest distance of the season for the Montana State University Billings cross country team at the Roy Griak Invitational Saturday morning at Les Bolstad Golf Course. Chepsat finished the race 38th among Division II competitors, helping the women’s team climb to 16th place in the race.
In men’s cross country, it was Ivan Colmenero again posting the top finish for the Yellowjackets. Colmenero completed his 8K in 35th position in 26:38.0.
Overall, the Yellowjacket men finished the race 11th among 15 Division II teams (27:25.18 average time) while the women came in 16th of 22 teams (25:33.90 average time). University of Mary won the women’s event placing two runners in the top five. Ellie Beiermann (Nebraska Wesleyan) won the race by running 6000 meters in 22:40.9. On the men’s side, it was Augustana coming in first place overall with 56 points, narrowly ahead of Sioux Falls (66 points). Mason Phillips (Sioux Falls) was the individual race winner and ran 8000 meters in 24:53.1.
Chepsat and Colmenero were not the only members of the team to post respectable times at the Roy Griak Invite. Nikki Aiken crossed the line 48th in a time of 23:56.2. She was followed by Kailee Stoppel (122nd), Sierra Durbin (153rd), Maddy Terwilliger (157th), Rachel Hiner (163rd), and Miranda Livingston (176th). For the men, it was Ronald Venema (62nd) who finished second on the team in 27:16.3. He was not far ahead of Carson Jessop (65th), Mark Hovland (77th), Ase Ackerman (94th), Drake Henson (102nd), and Logan Straus (122nd).
COACH WOEHL’S POST-MEET COMMENTS:
On Ivan Colmenero’s 35th place finish…“Ivan had a good day. He really moved up throughout the race, especially in the later part of the run. He just keeps getting better every time we have a meet and this time he gained around 20 positions from the 5K distance to the finish.”
On the men’s 8K game plan…”The men did a nice job moving up the whole way. The guys started fairly conservative and then made their move which was what we wanted to do. Overall they did a great job and it was the best we have competed collectively as a group all year.”
On Ruth Chepsat and Nikki Aiken’s performance…”Top to bottom, I felt that was the best the team has run collectively on the same day. Ruth and Nikki were aggressive from the start and they both ran in the top 20 at different points in the race. Even with the fast start, they didn’t lose too many positioned and it was great to see them both finish in the top 50.
On the women’s finish…“I was also glad to see Kailee, Maddy, Rachel, Sierra, and Miranda run well. They all ran more conservatively in the beginning did not lose many positions to maintain, which what was our plan. For many of them, it was their first 6K race in a long time or ever and they really worked hard in those first 1000 meters. I was proud of how they handled the pressure.”
On the race surface at Lee Bolstad Golf Course…“The Griak Course was very challenging to run. Most of the time you can kind of relax during flat portions but at the Griak you have to maintain focus the entire time. The entire course is either an uphill climb or downhill run and there are a lot of uneven surfaces and turns. Plus when you are competing against around 400 other people, you are never on your own so you are forced to stay in the race mentally.”
On the outlook for the rest of the season…“I am really excited for the last three races given today’s results for both groups. We definitely have more work to do in training but we are in line with the goals we set in the beginning of the year. Now we can really start to pinpoint our potential for the rest of the fall which is exciting.”
THE BUZZ: Carson Jessop was named St. Vincent Healthcare player of the race for men’s cross country. Jessop finished 65th in the men’s 8K. Ruth Chepsat finished in 38th place and was the Yellowjackets’ top finisher.
NEXT UP: Both teams will compete in the NCAA West Region Preview on October 12 at Amend Park in Billings. The race will serve as a preview to the final two competitions of 2018. The GNAC championships are November 3 in Monmounth, Oregon. Then the Yellowjackets host the NCAA West Region Championships on November 17, which will be at Amend Park in Billings once again.