THIS WEEK: Dakota State prepares for the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) Cross Country Championships on Saturday. The Trojans will travel to San Marcos, Calif. to compete in the first-ever independent meet. The men's race will get started at 9 a.m. (Pacific Time)/11 a.m. (Central Time), followed by the women's race at 10 a.m. (PT)/12 noon (CT).
A.I.I. CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS: The A.I.I. meet, hosted by Cal State San Marcos University, features eight teams that include a couple nationally-ranked teams in each race. The event will take place at the Mangrum Track and Soccer Field on the campus of Cal State San Marcos. The women's will run a 5,000-meter course, while the men's will run an 8,000-meter routine. Besides host-team Cal State San Marcos, the field includes Dakota State, British Columbia (Canada), Arizona Christian, Soka (Calif.), Johnson and Wales (Colo.), Jamestown and Valley City State.
WHAT ANTHONY DREALAN SAYS: "Our men and women have been working very hard all year for this weekend," said DSU's assistant cross country coach Anthony Drealan. "We are healthy and ready to challenge some of the nation's top runners at the A.I.I. Championships this weekend."
LAST TIME OUT: Dakota State had a strong showing in the Mount Marty Invitational on Oct. 22 that featured numerous NAIA schools in the Midwest. The men's team finished fourth with 94 points. Andy Coy finished second with a time of 25 minutes and 41.31 seconds for the men's team, just one second off behind the nationally-ranked team runner from Concordia (Neb.). Matt Fideler was fourth (25:54.26). The women's placed 12th with 304 points. Stephanie Warnke was 29th in 19:38.15.
NATIONAL RANKINGS: Two men's teams from the A.I.I. are ranked in the top 25 national poll - No. 8 Cal State San Marcos and No. 22 British Columbia. Dakota State received recognition to the national poll. On the women's side, two teams from the A.I.I. are ranked in the top three - No. 2 Cal State San Marcos and No. 3 British Columbia. The winner of the A.I.I. Cross country Championship meet will receive an automatic bid to the NAIA Cross Country National Championship as a team on Nov. 19 in Vancouver, Wash. The final national cross country poll, which will be released on Nov. 6, will help determine the at-large bids for the national meet. Individual national qualifiers are based on the outcome of the A.I.I. meet on Saturday. They have to be in the top 15 individuals in their respective races. In addition, they have to be in the top five individual runners that are not on a national qualifying team.
COACHES' CORNER: Buzz Stevenson returns back to head cross country coach this fall. He has been involved in sports since his high school days in Ipswich, S.D. and has been a coach and teacher for 45 years. While at DSU, Stevenson has garnered 14 South Dakota-Iowa Conference Coach of the Year titles and two NAIA Great Plains Athletic Region Cross Country Coach of the Year awards. Stevenson has accumulated 14 SDIC championships and his athletes have produced 57 All-American honors. Anthony Drealan is in his first year as an assistant coach in cross country. He competed for the Trojan cross country and track teams. He holds numerous records and was a two-time NAIA All-American athlete. Drealan also helped DSU win its first-ever Dakota Athletic Conference championship in cross country during the fall of 2009.
WHO'S RUNNING: Buzz Stevenson will run the athletes listed below on Saturday:
|John Bintliff||Claire Beck|
|Jacob Cassutt||Summer Bronson|
|Andy Coy||Nicole Jurrens|
|Matt Fideler||Paula Kapperman|
|Kace Groff||Sara Schultz|
|Michael Hoffman||Stephanie Warnke|
|Nic Penning||Amber Wiebenga|
UP NEXT: Dakota State continues their postseason action on Nov. 19 at the NAIA Cross Country National Championships in Vancouver, Wash.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director