(MSU Billings release)
BILLINGS – On a blustery, crisp, fall day, the Montana State University Billings cross country team hosted its’ first of two meets this season; the NCAA Division II West Region Preview Friday morning at Amend Park. In the men’s 10K race, Black Hills State dominated the field of four teams which included Black Hills State, Dawson Community College, and South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.
BHSU had four of the top five finishers in the race but MSUB’s Ivan Colmenero broke up the top five sweep when he crossed the line fifth with a time of 33:10.92 (5.21/mile pace). The Yellowjacket men came in third place as a team with 58 points.
Ruth Chepsat finished sixth (23:25.82) for the Yellowjackets in the women’s 6K event and was the only runner not a member of Black Hills State to finish in the top ten. The MSUB women’s cross country team came in second in the three team field that included South Dakota School of Mines & Technology and Black Hills State. Nikki Aiken crossed the line in 12th position in 23:56.57.
“I thought everyone showed good effort today, and that’s really the most important thing,” said head cross country coach Jon Woehl after the race. “The resulted weren’t exactly what we wanted to have but the effort is there and even with it being windy today, it was a good day to run. I thought everybody ran as well as can be expected considering what we’ve done for training this week has been tough. We’re have some tired legs right now but we’ll have time to get back to training before the GNAC Championships.”
For the men, Ronald Venema finished eighth in 33:35.47. Mark Hovland was 14th with a time of 34:23.83. Ase Ackerman was 16th and crossed the line in 34:33.00, and Carson Jessop finished 20th in 34:58.61. Drake Henson came in 26th in 25:29.92 and Logan Straus finished 31st in 36:18.99. The men’s field was made up of 39 participants.
In the women’s race, Kailee Stoppel had the third best time on the Yellowjackets roster. Stoppel came across in 16th position with a time of 25:29.77. Behind her was Sierra Durbin (18th, 26:19.47), Rachel Hiner (20th, 27:09.34), Maddy Terwilliger (21st, 27:35.45) and Miranda Livingston (22nd, 28:02.88).
“I think racing on this course again later on is going to be a good boost for our team,” said Woehl. “We are out here once a week doing a workout but we don’t always run the full course. Now that we’ve done it in a race, they have been able to figure out where the tough spots are and that should help us stay mentally tough in the future. There are a lot of long straight stretches that you can tend to talk yourself out of running fast in, so now they can prepare for that.”
The Yellowjackets two remaining races will be the most important of the season. On November 3 the team travels to Monmouth, Oregon for the GNAC Championships. They then return to Amend Park for the NCAA West Region Championships on November 17.
“We are still getting better and now we have two more weeks to keep improving,” Woehl said. “To be able to train without interruption for two weeks will be nice. We really just tried to mimic what we did on the road today too so it feels more like meet day even though we didn’t have a long bus ride somewhere. I think we’ll do well in the last two meets.”
THE BUZZ: Rachel Hiner was tabbed for St. Vincent Healthcare player of the race for MSUB women’s cross country while Carson Jessop earned the distinction for the men…Last season the Yellowjacket men placed seventh at the GNAC Championships while the women finished 11th in the 11 team field.