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Blue Hawks perform well at MSU-Billings Invitational

BILLINGS, Mont. -- The Dickinson State cross country team failed to meet head coach Mike Nekuda's expectations two weeks ago at the Roy Griak Invitational.

But Nekuda couldn't be more pleased with his men and women team's performances at the Montana State University-Billings Invitational Saturday afternoon.

The men's team placed fourth overall with a score of 94, but was only a point away from University of Mary (93) and five points behind Black Hills State (89) who placed third and second respectively. MSU-Billings took first on the men's side with 52 points.

"A lot better performance this week, I'm very proud of the guys they deserve the credit they went out and ran well," Nekuda said. "I wish we could have knocked off Mary and BH, but it was so close you couldn't tell."

The top runner for the Blue Hawks was sophomore Dante Carter, who placed seventh with a time of 25 minutes, 3.2 seconds. On the women's side, freshman Meleah Leiss finished in the top place at 27th (19:32.4), which is a personal best. The one runner which stood out to Nekuda was Shelby Snare. The senior runner -- who joined the team last year and is primarily competes in a track and field -- finished 38th and improved her time at the course by nearly three minutes.

The Blue Hawks have two weeks to train for their final meet of the season, the Mount Marty Invitational in Yankton, S.D., on Oct. 26. From the beginning of the season, Nekuda and his team have been focused on the Frontier Conference Championships and the NAIA Championships, but are definitely not overlooking Mount Marty. Over 20 different NAIA teams will be competing and the goal, as always, is for the men to win it and the women to finish in the middle of the pack. For the men, who won the tournament last year, the meet will be a determining factor for rankings going into the conference championships.

"It's going to have a huge impact on our men's side with rankings because we're going to run against some GPAC schools that are ranked," Nekuda said. "We almost are viewing this as important as conferences. We're putting as much emphasis on this meet as we do for conference."

MSU-Billings Yellowjacket Invitational

At Riverfront Park, Billings, Mont.


Team scores: MSU-Billings 52, Black Hills State 89, University of Mary 93, DSU 94, Rocky Mountain College 108.

Individual top 10: 1, Cesar Mireles, unattached, 24:26.3. 2, Noah Kiprono, Rocky Mountain, 24:39.5. 3, Mitch Kraft, Black Hills State, 24:42.8. 4, Chris Jessop, U-Mary, 24:51.1. 5, Robert Peterson, MSU-Billings, 24:53.6. 6, Michael Luhr, MSU-Billings, 24:56.5. 7, Oliver Lange, Westminster, 24:58. 8, Jamon Rodrigues, MSU-Billings, 25:01.3. 9, Dante Carter, DSU, 25:03.2. 10, Kyle Olson, Rocky Mountain, 25:07. 5.

Other Dickinson finishers: 14, Jeffery Segovia 25:24.1. 18, Denis Patrick 25:41.1. 22, Dustin Sandbak 25:51.7. 33, Eddie Meneses 26:21.2. 40, Delano Lily 26:41.8. 47, Riley Malcom 26:57.


Team scores: U-Mary 29, MSU-Billings 81, Rocky Mountain 97, MSUB Alumni 117, Black Hills State 135.

Individual top 10: 1, Jennifer Agnew, U-Mary, 16:51.8. 2, Erin Leier, U-Mary 18:09.9. 3, Kayla Carlson, U-Mary, 18:12.9. 4, Jinsie Osborne, MSU-Billings, 18:23. 5, Renae Hepfner, MSU-Billings, 18:24.3. 6, Sarah Lord, MSUB Alumni, 18:25.2., 7, Makala Diggs, Gillette, 18:27.3. 8, Corinne Evans, UNA-Great Falls, 18:28. 9, Megan Breeding, rocky Mountain, 18:29.3. 10, Mary Owen, MSUB Alumni, 18:32.2.

Other Dickinson finishers: 27, Meleah Leiss 19:32.4. 29, Stormie Sickler 19:52.4. 38, Shelby Snare 20:32.7. 56, Camille Ness 21:58.5. 61, Shayna Tonderum 22:36.4.