The Running Yellow Jackets left Spearfish, SD on Thursday, and headed to Kenosha, Wisconsin with a major purpose. One goal the Yellow Jackets always have entering the National Championships is to finish higher than they were rated entering the meet. The men's team entered the meet tied for 5th in the ratings, while the women were rated #22. The results concluding the Championship meet had a different story as the Lady Yellow Jackets posted three personal bests out of their seven competing runners and finished in the 8th position in the team scoring. Wendy O'Lexey (Rock Springs, WY) was the top finisher for the Lady Jackets, taking All-American honors by finishing 9th, with a personal best 17:58, in a field of 268 runners. Teammate Kerry Washburn (Cheyenne, WY) also earned All-American status finishing in the top 30 runners when she posted a 5,000 meter time of 18:24, which was good for 29th place. After coming back from a late season injury, junior Alicia Verhulst (Ralph, SD) managed to put a solid race together finishing right ahead of teammate Shelli Scheffler (Lovell, WY). The pair both posted times of 19:04 and finished in the 88th and 89th positions. Katie Cook (Cheyenne, WY) was the fifth runner for the Lady Yellow Jackets finishing in 125th. Katie posted a personal best time of 19:23. The final two runners for Black Hills State were Kaila Ivers (Wray, CO) and Kayla Ferguson (Eaton, CO) finishing in the 197th and 222nd positions. The Lady Yellow Jackets tallied a team score of 255 points giving them an 8th place finish out of 29 teams. The championship race included 268 individual runners.
The men's team race was very competitive up front with only 38 points separating the 2nd and 6th place teams. The Yellow Jackets managed to put together a team score of 202 points giving them a runner-up finish at the National Championships. Black Hills State had three All-Americans led by senior Allen Wood (Maple Valley, WA) 11th, Cody Bordewyk (Livermore, CO) 18th, and Trent Waage (Aberdeen, SD) 24th. “I believe this was the first time we’ve had three All-Americans in the same national meet,” stated Coach Walkinshaw. “These three were instrumental in helping our team finish second.” Mike Nekuda (Hot Springs, SD) was the fourth finisher for the Yellow Jackets, finishing 94th in an 8,000 meter time of 26:12. Birch Haraden (Billings, MT) rounded out the team scoring in the men's race in a 133rd place in a field of 258 participants and a time of 26:31. Tyrone White (Eagle Butte, SD) and KC Fiedler (George, IA) were the final two finishers for the Yellow Jackets in the 143rd and 161st positions. The runner-up finish at the national championships is the third time for the Yellow Jackets men's squads in the past eight seasons.
In addition, the men and women's teams were also honored in the combined team scoring with a 3rd place finish behind Malone College of Ohio and Simon Frasier University of British Colombia, Canada. Kerry Washburn and Trent Waage earned academic All-Scholar honors.