USD competed in the Bradley Pink Classic on Friday afternoon. No. 15 Iowa State won the women’s event with 54 points, while USD finished with 143 points, one place ahead of Illinois at 147 points. 39 teams participated, including 13 regionally ranked teams.
Coyote senior Madeline Huglen led USD with a 13th place finish and a time of 21:07.4. This time was her personal best and the sixth fastest time by a Coyote at this event.
South Dakota senior Megan Billington completed the course in 18th place with a time of 21:17.5. Her time is the ninth fastest time by a Coyote at the Bradley Pink Classic.
Billington said the weather impacted the course conditions during the race.
“In the morning it was snowing, kind of rainy. The course was pretty muddy so you had to watch where you ran. It was kind of strategic, which we don’t usually have to do,” Billington said.
Also running for USD, sophomore Jonna Bart shaved 40 seconds off her personal best, as she finished in 21:35.6, good for 37th place. Right behind her in 38th was junior Kianna Stewart with a final time of 21:38.3. Sophomore Kelsi Kearney concluded the scoring five for USD, as she knocked 36 seconds off her personal best, with a finishing time of 21:40.5, good for 40th place.
For the men’s team, senior Eldon Warner placed in 14th with a time of 24:52.9. Warner tied his personal best time from last year.
“It’s very interesting, especially because it was so muddy on the course. I was surprised I was able to run the exact same time,” Warner said.
Freshman Merga Gemeda finished in 79th with a time of 25:52.4, improving his personal best by 51 seconds. Sophomore Kallo Arno finished in 111th place with a time of 26:10.5, a 17-second improvement from his personal best.
The men’s team finished in 20th with 527 points. Head coach Dan Fitzsimmons said he was pleased with the men’s performance.
“It was probably the best race the men had this season,” Fitzsimmons said.
Eldon Warner noticed the team has not been nearly as scattered in the last few meets.
“The amount of camaraderie that we’ve had throughout the past few meets we’ve had, our team finished a lot closer to each other. It’s no longer like polka dots, where there’s every once in a while one of our runners will come in,” Warner said. “It’ll usually be a small group within a minute or two.”
Even though several runners set new personal bests, Fitzsimmons believes that they all could have run faster if the weather was different.
“It would not be an overestimation to think that we could have ran 20 seconds or faster on each of the races per person,” Fitzsimmons said. “It’s a lot easier to run on grass than through mud, so it turned out to not be as fast a course as we would have liked it to have been had it been dry.”
Despite the conditions, this course was still significant to the runners.
“It’s the Pink Classic, so they give you a bib in memory of or in honor of someone who had cancer or breast cancer, so it’s pretty fun and makes you think about other things while you’re running” Billington said.
Fitzsimmons said that the Coyotes will run this course again later in the year.
“It’s the course we have to run the region meet on, so it gave us a better idea of what we’re going to maybe face a month from now,” Fitzsimmons said.
The Summit League Championships will be at the Miracle Hill Golf Course in Omaha, Nebraska on Oct. 27.