to Campus Currents
BHSU cross country evolution runs on
By Antonia Kucera, University Communications
They run with blood, sweat and tears; they run in
rain, sun and snow; they are the Black Hills State University cross
country teams and a new season warms up as they prepare to make another
run for nationals in 2002.
In just his fifth year running the cross country
teams at BH, head coach Scott Walkinshaw is optimistic that the season’s
challenges can be overcome and both the men and women have a chance to
A legacy has begun at BH for the cross country teams
to continue to build on. The men and women were the National Association
of Intercollegiate Athletics combined team national champions in 2000 and
runner up for the same title in 2001. Both teams are ranked in the top 25
in the 2002 NAIA pre-season ratings. Last year was the women’s third
consecutive conference championship and the men’s second. The women
finished fifth at nationals in 2001, and the men finished ninth despite
losing their top runner to injury.
“The (Dakota Athletic) Conference is the big
obstacle,” Walkinshaw said. “[DAC-10] is a challenging conference and
competes well nationally. We’re going to try and qualify both teams for
nationals – that’s part of the goal and the challenges.”
The teams will have some tough competition to face in
the DAC-10 this year according to Walkinshaw. The conference is loaded
with national caliber teams as well as talented individuals, and
Walkinshaw does not think BH will be favored this year.
Another challenge to overcome for the 2002 season is
that this year’s teams consist of more than half new recruits. Over the
past four years, Walkinshaw built a crew of dedicated athletes, now
veterans, who will mingle with the rookies.
“[The team is] young and inexperienced right
now,” he said. “A big part of our strength is going to be our
Most of the strong runners are returning to fill that
role this year. The men lost seniors Rob Marney, Stephen “Scooter”
Hayes and Mike McDaniel, who all contributed significantly to the team’s
wins last year; Marney finished third at nationals, the highest finish in
Walkinshaw will work with seniors Nikki Underwood,
Brookings, Jesse Palczewski, Reeder, N.D., Dennis Newell, Billings, Mont.,
and Tim Bishop, Lindsborg, Kan., as veteran runners in their final season
at BH. He looks to them as the team leaders.
“[The seniors] know the program. Day in and day
out, they know what it is like,” Walkinshaw said. “They have a good
idea what is expected of them and that helps tremendously.”
Also returning this season is, for the women’s
team: senior Lisa Collogan, Hot Springs; senior Ashley Cordell, Camp
Crook; junior Kristi Knudsen, Kenai, Ark.; sophomore Cassie Knutson, Ft.
Collins, Colo.; and sophomore Vailferree Brechtel, Hot Springs; and for
the men’s team: senior Pat Moriarty, Phillip; senior Greg Starr, Box
Elder; junior Andy VanDeest, Lead; and junior Anthony Kitchens, LaPorte,
Walkinshaw will have his hands full this year with a
long list of new recruits. Joining the women’s team is: Barb Amen,
Douglas, Wyo.; Rachel Hilgemann, Eureka; Chelsey Anderson, Glenrock, Wyo.;
Crystal Hostetter, Thermopolis, Wyo.; Jamie Hahn, Spearfish; and Kristen
Pigg, Saratoga, Wyo. Joining the men’s team is Derrick Brown, Dickinson,
N.D.; Scott Dannenbring, Yankton; Brandon Bertram, Fargo, N.D.; Ryan
Cowger, Cody, Wyo.; Zachary Kintzey, LaPorte, Colo.; and Luke Watkins,
Rapid City. Jesse Coy, Hill City, is a junior transfer from the University
of South Dakota.
When the head coach hunts for new cross country
runners, he also keeps the track season in mind because the athletes
usually compete in both sports. Most of the new recruits have been
successful in competitions previously but will face some new challenges at
BH. Besides the normal adjustments of joining a different team, the new
cross country members will find an increase in the distances they are used
Nothing that a strong training regiment in the right
location can’t fix. Walkinshaw tells his recruits that the Black Hills
are a training Mecca. Spearfish has the right elevation, good running
surfaces and excellent facilities. The program takes advantage of the
geography that lends to the runners’ success.
“As a coach, it’s great to see individual
improvement,” said Walkinshaw, who has seen the cross country teams grow
from just five women and two men when he joined in 1998 to a large
combined team 26 members strong for 2002. “Cross country is a true team
sport. You run individually, but the result is for the team.”
Walkinshaw takes pride in his teams and the cross
country program he helped elevate at BH.
“I like how the program has evolved,” he said.
“I like the runners, their attitude – I like the sacrifice they make
for a chance to be successful. The spirit and desire of the athletes makes
me want to do the very best job I can do as a coach.”
BHSU cross country team ranks high in preseason
poll - Top
The Black Hills State University men’s and women’s cross country
teams are both ranked in the top ten of the NAIA preseason poll.
The women’s team is the top-ranked Dakota Athletic Conference
(DAC-10) team with a third place ranking. The University of Mary, ranked
13, is the only other DAC-10
team in the top 25.
The BHSU men’s cross country team is ranked sixth. Other DAC-10
schools in the top 25 include Minot State (first) and the University of
The BHSU cross country teams begin their season Sept. 14 in Rapid City.
See 2002 Schedule
Back to Campus