NORTH SIOUX CITY, SD – South Dakota won both individual races and the men’s and women’s cross-country teams each took team titles during the Briar Cliff Invitational held at the Adams Nature Preserve on Friday.
Ella Byers, a sophomore Redshirt student, won the women’s 5km race in a season best of 17: 39.22, while Redshirt junior Merga Gemeda won the men’s 8km race in 24: 56.84.
The Coyote women placed all five scoring runners in the top 10, all season bests, and all seven scoring runners in the top 12 to score 25 points to defeat Nebraska-Kearney (55 points) and South Dakota State (68 points) .
The men of South Dakota meanwhile placed all seven runners in the top 20 and finished the race with 21 points to easily outperform NAIA’s Concordia (Nebraska) with 93 points.
Byers became the first coyote to cross the finish line for the third year in a row and claim her first college single race title.
Abrielle Jirele, a newcomer to Redshirt, and Melanie Pankow, a real newbie, were the next two Coyotes to cross the finish line in third and fifth, both breaking the 18-minute mark for the first time in their careers. Jirele, who scored five points for the third match in a row, ran 17: 58.88 while Pankow was right behind with 17: 59.53.
McKenna Herrmann, a Redshirt newcomer, was hot on Pankow’s heels and finished sixth in a season best time of 18: 00.43. Herrmann and Pankow were with the Coyotes this fall and scored five in all four matches.
Haley Arens, a Redshirt junior, completed the rating five with a 10th place in 18: 30.07.
The two coyotes in the race were the Redshirt newcomer Renee Thompson and the Redshirt student Helen Gould, who finished in 11th and 12th respectively. Thompson ran a season best of 18: 38.66, while Gould crossed in 18: 38.80.
A little more than a minute and a half separated the first five runners of the Coyote men in the 8K race, as the first three of Gemeda, Charlie Babcock and Alec Atwood finished the fourth race in a row in that order.
Gemeda, a native of Sioux City, Iowa, who ran on his home course, was the only runner in the 133-man field to break the 25 minutes while taking his first college win.
Babcock and Atwood, a pair of sophomore Redshirt students, finished second and fourth when Babcock 25:08:05 and Atwood set a season best of 25:40.83.
Jarek Glenn, a Redshirt novice, finished eighth in a season best of 25: 56.46, while the last South Dakota runner was Redshirt student Jacob Waymire, who finished 15th in 26: 35.44.
The Coyotes Seven were rounded off by Redshirt runner-up Braden Peters, who finished in 26: 44.01.
The Coyote men and women will return to the course on Friday October 15 for the Bradley Pink Classic in Peoria, Illinois.