The Dickinson State cross country teams had a chance to run at home on Monday afternoon at Heart River Golf Course.

The men’s and women’s teams both battled, while the women came in first edging out Valley City state and the men placed second behind the Vikings.

Several teams weren’t able to bring five runners to the race, but both the Blue Hawks and Vikings were close with Dickinson State’s men’s team scoring 33 points to Valley City State’s 27.

The Blue Hawks women scored 23 points to the Vikings 35.

“As far as today went, this is a fast course,” Dickinson State head cross country coach Shayne Wittkopp said. “This is definitely an improvement on two weeks ago and we are trending in the right direction. Valley City State had a great effort today and their girls ran fantastic.”

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Several Dickinson State runners set personal records including freshman Piper Perez and Ali Cunningham who placed second and third, respectively.

Perez ran a 19:28.8 and was nearly 18 seconds behind Valley City State’s Jasmine Barnes who won.

In seventh through tenth place were Alexius Miller, Haylie Oberlander, Sarah Griffis and Emily Kuehn.

Wittkopp said that Kuehn, who ran a 20:27.7, took two minutes off her time from a couple weeks ago, while Griffis and Oberlander also set personal records.

“We had a lot of girls PR and we can’t be disappointed with that,” Wittkopp said. “The main thing is we just competed.”

Hunter Flynn was the top finisher for the Dickinson State cross country team on Monday. (Jake Wright / The Dickinson Press)
Hunter Flynn was the top finisher for the Dickinson State cross country team on Monday. (Jake Wright / The Dickinson Press)

For the men, they were without Will Flowers who was their top runner in their last race, and Hunter Flynn paced them with a third place finish and time of 27:12.8.

“Hunter’s time of 27:12 is pretty good,” Wittkopp said. “For him the benchmark is trying to get under 27 minutes, so that was painfully close.”

Delano Lilly placed fifth and Jake Smith, who missed the Blue Hawks last race, came in sixth.

Tristan Hilgart ran about 30 seconds faster than his previous race with a time of 29:22.5 which was good for a tenth place finish.

Rounding out the Blue Hawks finishers was Mitch Honeyman with a 17th place finish in his first race in a long time.

“It was a good effort (by Mitch). He is a really good shorter to middle distance sprinter…,” Wittkopp said. “He had run cross country before but we are asking him to do some things that aren’t right in the middle of his wheelhouse.”

Wittkopp was pleased with his squad’s performance, and the hope is that they keep continuing to get better and peak near the conference tournament.

“If you are taking 30 seconds to a minute off your times every two weeks, then you’ll get better and better…,” he said. “For me, cross country is about being comfortable being uncomfortable. There is no substitution for going out there and putting your hand in the fire. That is what they did today.”