Cross country takes on Summit League Championship
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Cross country takes on Summit League Championship

Coming up Saturday, the USD men’s and women’s cross country teams are competing in their first Summit League Championship since 2019.

The USD cross country team didn’t compete in the 2020-21 season due to the season being moved to the spring, which is also during the track and field season. This year, the cross country team returned to a fall season.

The Coyote women have placed in the top five in all but one race this season. The Coyotes won the Augustana Twilight and the Briar Cliff Invitational. USD also placed fourth in the Woody Greeno invitational in Lincoln and fifth at the Bradley Pink Classic.

Sophomore Ella Byers has paced the Coyotes in three of their five meets this fall. Byers led the Coyotes at the Woody Greeno Invitational, the Roy Griak Invitational and the Briar Cliff Invitational. Byers won the Briar Cliff invitational with a time of 17:39.22.

The Coyote women have been ranked in the regional rankings of the U.S. Track and Field & Cross Country Coaches Association’s Midwest region. The Coyotes are ranked No. 13 from the week of Oct. 18. The Coyotes were ranked three different times this fall, with 13 being the highest ranking of the fall. South Dakota State is ranked one spot ahead of the Coyotes.

Merga Gemeda has led the Coyote men in all five races this fall, and has earned the Summit League Runner of the Week award for each performance. Gemeda won the Briar Cliff Invitational and led the Coyote men to a team win at the race. 

The Coyote men placed fourth in the Augustana Twilight and sixth at the Woody Greeno Invitational. Gemeda’s five weekly honors ties the Summit League record for most in a season. 

The Coyote men have placed third in the last three Summit League Championships they competed in (2017-19) and have finished second twice (2012-13). The Coyote women have found more success in the championships, winning five of the nine years the team competed. After winning five straight from 2014-18, the Coyotes placed runner-up in 2019.

The Coyotes compete in the Summit League Championships in Tulsa, Okla. Saturday at 10 a.m.