THIS WEEK: Dakota State opens the 2011 season Saturday morning at Madison Country Club. The Trojans will host its annual home meet, the DSU/Herb Blakely Invitational (in honor of long-time former DSU head coach Herb Blakely). The women's race starts at 10:30 a.m. with the men's to follow at approximately 11:15 a.m.
PARTICIPATING TEAMS: As of Wednesday, the following teams are scheduled to run Saturday: Dakota Wesleyan, Briar Cliff and University of Sioux Falls. South Dakota State will be sending several runners. Dakota State will have some alumni runners as well.
MEN'S LOOK TO DEFEND HOME MEET TITLE: Dakota State had won two straight DSU/Herb Blakely Invitational meet. The Trojans recorded 22 points to claim the 2010 title. Anthony Drealan of DSU Alumni was the 2010 individual men's champion with a time of 25 minutes and 51.46 seconds. DSU women's recorded a third-place finish in last year's home meet. DSU's Stephanie Warnke won the women's individual title in 19 minutes and 41.64 seconds.
THEY'RE BACK: Six men's and five women's runners return back to the Trojan cross country team. Matt Fideler, John Bintliff, Stephanie Warnke and Sara Schultz will be seniors this year. Brandi Gau and Paula Kapperman will be competing in their final year of eligibility. Michael Hoffman, Andy Coy, Andrew Quenzer, Kace Groff, Summer Bronson, Nicole Jurrens and Amber Wiebenga are the upperclassmen that will be returning back to the team. Junior Claire Beck, transfer Nic Penning and freshmen Jacob Cassutt, Cordell Muilenberg, Thomas Ricket and Josh Scott are the newcomers to the team. Derrick Olson is a red-shirt runner.
DSU MAKES TRANSITION TO A.I.I.: This fall, Dakota State makes transition to Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) after competing in their final year competing in the Dakota Athletic Conference last season.
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 school 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.
UP NEXT: Dakota State heads to St. Paul, Minn. on Sept. 24 to compete in the Roy Griak Invitational, hosted by the University of Minnesota. The meet will feature numerous teams from the Midwest, including several teams in the NAIA's Top 25 and NCAA Division II.
Nick Huntimer, Dakota State University Sports Information Director