SMSU Cross Country competes at championship

On Saturday Oct. 21, the SMSU XC teams competed in the NSIC Cross Country Championships in Moorhead, Minnesota. The championships were held by the University of Minnesota, Moorehead, and took place at the Moorehead Soccer Complex. The men’s team placed ninth out of 12 teams and the women’s team finished twelfth out of 15 teams.

In the men’s race, Bashir Aidrus led the Mustangs with an outstanding sixth place finish in the 111-runner field with a time of 24:55 to earn first team All-NSIC honors. It’s the highest finish ever for a Mustang runner at the NSIC Championships at the Division II level and the first to earn All-NSIC accolades since SMSU reinstated the program in 2012. He is the first Mustang men’s runner to record all-conference honors since 1990. Aidrus made a huge jump from his previous finish at conference, placing 59th the year before.

“I was ready to fight for a personal best and maybe top 20 in the conference. The gun goes off and I go through the first mile at 5:02, thinking I’m going be dead after this! But by mile three I started passing people, pushing myself to a 6th place finish. I achieved a personal best in the middle of the race at the 5k (3.1 miles, 15:27) as well as the 8k (5 Miles, 24:55) mark. Seeing my results at the end was the best feeling I’ve ever had after a race,” Aidrus said following the sixth place finish.

For the rest of the men’s squad, Logan Knutson was the second to cross the finish line with a time of 27:13 to finish in 73rd place. Clayton Hartle finished 77th with a time of 27:23, Ben Broze was 80th with at 27:30, Joe Bustrak recorded a time of 27:50 for 86th, and Evan Bonneson ran 28:33 to finish in 92nd place.

Mason Phillips from the University of Sioux Falls won the 8,000-meter race with a time of 24:06. Augustana captured the team championship for the ninth straight season.

On the women’s side, Kayla Jansky was the top finisher placing 60th in the 137-runner field with a time of 23:41. Emily Daniels was the second SMSU runner to cross the finish line with a time of 24:16 to finish in 79th place. Emily Gillingham finished 100th with a time of 25:06, Abby Schotter was 105th with a time of 25:20, Kristin Weber recorded a time of 25:46 for 112th, with Meghan Sullivan finishing in 115th with a time of 25:51. Avery Lester placed 124th with a time of 27:07, while Kaedyn Chamberlain ran 29:07 to finish 132nd.

Alexis Zeis from the University of Mary won the 6,000-meter race with a time of 20:49. It was her second career NSIC individual championship. U-Mary won the championship as a team for the second year in a row.

The mustangs will compete in the NCAA Regional Championships in Kearney, Nebraska, held by the University of Nebraska-Kearney, on Nov. 4th.