DSU NOTEBOOK: Blue Hawk runners anxious to get season startedDickinson State junior Brittany Young just wants to lace up her running shoes and race.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Dickinson State junior Brittany Young just wants to lace up her running shoes and race.
“I’m really excited,” Young said with a wide smile. “It’s always tough coming off an offseason or going from track, taking the entire summer off, not racing and putting in mileage. I always get really anxious to race right around this time of year. “
DSU runs just four regular-season races.
The first, the Wiley Wilson Memorial cross country meet hosted by Minot State at Wildwood Golf Course in Burlington, begins at 4:30 CDT p.m. Friday. The Blue Hawks will compete against a field comprised mostly of former Dakota Athletic Conference foes.
“It’s going to be like almost an old DAC meet in a sense,” DSU head coach Mike Nekuda said. “It’s a good way to start.”
Nekuda, who is just about as excited for the race as Young, will be on the sidelines holding a stopwatch and gauging how far off the Blue Hawks are from the Frontier Conference championship races on Nov. 2.
“If we don’t run exactly how we want to, we’re not going to hang our heads,” Nekuda said. “It’s not a win-loss column for us. It’s how good can we get by Nov. 2. It’s how can we build and what can we learn from each race to get there.”
Nekuda believes the men’s team has a chance to contend for the team victory and expects junior Denis Patrick to compete for the individual win in the 8K race.
“It’s the first race, so I’m hopefully shooting to win as a team and as an individual,” said Patrick, a native of Sudan.
Patrick, a transfer from Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix, set the pace in DSU’s team time trails with a time of 15 minutes, 35 seconds in a 5K run Aug. 30.
“It was kind of hard because I had nobody next to me,” Patrick said. “My teammates are not at the same level as I run at, but I’m pretty sure they’ll be there at the end of the season.”
Nekuda said the younger women’s team is up a tough task.
The University of Mary, which boasts Dickinson native Dakota Wolf as one of its standouts, is expected to be at the meet. The Marauders are ranked No. 4 in the NCAA Division II coaches preseason poll.
“You’re running against some of the best girls in the country at this meet,” Nekuda said.
Rodeo season begins as Hawks travel to Wisconsin
There are no vacations in rodeo — especially for the collegiate contestants.
As the professional and amateur seasons begin wrapping up, the DSU rodeo team prepares to open the fall part of its season at the Falcon Frontier Days Rodeo in River Falls, Wis.
The two-day Great Plains Region rodeo begins Friday and Blue Hawks head coach Eudell Larsen is enthusiastic about his team’s prospects.
“It is a young team, we don’t have a lot of seniors this year,” Larsen said. “But we do have a lot of returners.”
Even the Blue Hawks’ most trusted veteran hand, Bobbi Grann, is only a sophomore in rodeo eligibility.
Grann, a Sheyenne native, was the Great Plains Region women’s all-around and barrel racing champion last year. She took second in the goat tying.
“We’re really pleased with Bobbi because of her rodeo eligibility she has left,” Larsen said.
The Blue Hawks lost Great Plains champions Riley Knoll (saddle bronc riding) and Laura Waldo (goat tying) but bring back a host of talented cowboys and cowgirls.
Sophomore Blake Smith and senior Jordan Pelton finished in the top five in the region bareback riding standings last season and junior steer wrestlers Cody Hilzendeger and Caleb Strecker are in line to make a run at the College National Finals Rodeo.
On the women’s side, junior Victoria Netzer was the 2011 Great Plains barrel racing champion and sophomore Michaela Kathrein showed promise in her first season.
Larsen also believes DSU’s freshmen could lend a hand.
The Blue Hawks brought in Halliday’s Skye Schaper, last year’s state high school breakaway roping champion, saddle bronc champion Dalton Rixen and bull riders Camren Decoteau and Coleman Entze.
“You know, it’s all about experience,” Larsen said. “They come here and a lot of the kids that college rodeo, they’ve had success at high school and the amateur associations and now we’re just trying to build on the abilities they already have.”
DSU volleyball heads into challenging weekend
The best thing about the DSU volleyball team’s first Frontier Conference road trip is the Blue Hawks are accustomed to sitting on a bus for hours on end.
The Blue Hawks (2-7, 0-1 Frontier) visit No. 19-ranked Carroll College (10-5, 0-1 Frontier) in Helena, Mont., at 7 p.m. Friday. They then trek back to Havre, Mont., to face Montana State-Northern (7-8, 1-0 Frontier) at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Of the nine matches DSU has played, eight have been on the road, none of which were closer than Mayville — located on the opposite end of the state.
“I think our preseason definitely got us ready for it,” DSU head coach Maura Bronte said. “That’s one nice thing about not really being home the first three weeks.”
Bronte said this weekend presents a difficult challenge. Carroll is ranked, but lost their Frontier opener to MSU-Northern last Saturday.
“It just shows you the competitiveness of the conference,” Bronte said. “Anyone can win on any given day.”