Blue Hawks runners pleased at time trial
Under the lights of the Biesiot Activities Center, a crowd of Dickinson State athletes, coaches and fans cheered as the men and women's cross country teams finished their final laps.
The runners competed in the second DSU Twilight Time Trial Thursday night, an event head coach Michael Nekuda created to evaluate his runner's progress, showcase his team's talent to the general public and for the runners to just have fun competing against each other.
"A lot of (runners) will come up to you and say 'coach, I had a little bit left in me' and that's what this is, to shake out a little rust before we go to Black Hills State," Nekuda said. "This is a learning tool and it's a good place to do it out here by ourselves on a track so we can make the mistakes now instead of in the race. I'm pleased."
The women's team ran a 3,000 meter race and freshman Ashley George finished first. Although the team ran well, they didn't meet their personal expectations.
Junior Stormie Sickler understands this was the first meet and used it as a learning experience for how to approach the first official meet on Sept. 13 at BHSU.
"Our first lap we went out a little fast, so now we know next race that our first quarter of a mile not to go out too hard so that way we can kick harder," Sickler said. "It's a big learning experience and part of our training."
On the men's side, the team ran a 5,000 meter race and senior Denis Patrick finished in first. For half the race, Patrick and sophomore Dante Carter ran at the same pace, but at the mile marker, Patrick went ahead and Carter, who finished in second, wasn't able to catch up. Carter was in high spirits at the end of the race because this time last season he was injured and couldn't run a 5K, but was also disappointed that he wasn't able to stick with Patrick for very long.
"It's an accomplishment for me, but my main goal was to stick with him," Carter said. "It'll take me a couple hours until I celebrate but I know that I lost to a great athlete."
The runner's times were not official and just rounded off. To Nekuda, this event was about having fun and getting a feel for how far along each runner was in their training. With the Time Trial over, Nekuda and his teams know where they are and know how to prepare for BHSU.
"This sport is not about fundamentals but it's about effort and if somebody wants to do it and everybody out there gave a good effort," Nekuda said. "We did look a little flat on both sides but that's because we're training really hard right now. We're not supposed to be fast on Sept. 5; we're supposed to be fast Nov. 23."