The Yellow Jackets opened the cross country season on a high note with their first competition in Rapid City at the South Dakota School of Mines Invitational. In the men’s race senior Allen Wood (Maple Valley, WA) broke away from the field at the three-mile mark and carried his lead across the finish line, winning the 8,000-meter race in a very good early season time of 26:18. From the gun, it was all Yellow Jackets as Wood and three teammates, Trent Waage (Aberdeen, SD), Cody Bordewyk (Fort Collins, CO), and Mike Nekuda (Hot Springs, SD), opened an early lead and set the pace that carried them to a 1st through 4th finish. Overall, the Yellow Jackets claimed 11 of the top 12 places, with only Jarred Rensvold of MSUB interrupting them in seventh. Other Yellow Jackets ahead of Rensvold included Mark Mazza (Cheyenne, WY), and Jesse Vrooman (Miller, SD). The men’s team finished with a perfect score of 15 and an average 8K time of 27:20. South Dakota Tech placed second followed by Montana State-Billings.
In the women’s race, sophomore All-American Kerry Washburn (Cheyenne, WY) broke to an early lead when she opened a gap between herself and her teammate Wendy O’Lexey (Rock Springs, WY) just before the two-mile mark. Washburn won the race in a time of 19:23, followed by O’Lexey with a time of 19:32. Junior Alicia Verhulst (Ralph, SD) and sophomore Shelli Scheffler (Lovell, WY) finished in the 3rd and 4th positions, and sophomore Katie Cook finished (Cheyenne, WY) 7th overall. The Lady Yellow Jackets finished with a score of 17 and an average 5k time of 20:32. Montana State-Billings placed second followed by South Dakota Tech and Rocky Mountain. Next up, the Yellow Jackets travel to Ft. Collins, Colorado to compete at the Colorado State Classic on September 15th.