South Dakota State men, South Dakota women favorites for The Summit League title

South Dakota State men and South Dakota women were tabbed as the favorites for the 2018 Summit League Championship title.
South Dakota State men and South Dakota women were tabbed as the favorites for the 2018 Summit League Championship title.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – In a poll of The Summit League's cross country head coaches, South Dakota State's men and South Dakota's women were picked as the preseason favorites to earn the title of the 2018 Summit League Cross Country Champions.

The reigning 2017 Summit League Champions South Dakota State totaled 36 points and received six of seven possible first-place votes. The Jackrabbits return five All-Summit honorees, including 2017 Championship MVP Chase Cayo and Newcomer of the Championship Gabe Peters (13th).  North Dakota State placed second with 31 points and the remaining first-place vote, while South Dakota took third with 26 points.

On the women's side, South Dakota garnered 48 points and six first-place votes to anchor the poll. The Coyotes captured their fourth-consecutive Summit League Championship and return five of their seven top-ten finishers from the 2017 championships – Megan Billington (4th), Madeline Huglen (6th), Kianna Stewart (7th), Laura Nelson (8th) and Bethany Kozak (10th).

South Dakota State (41 points) edged North Dakota State (40 points) for the No. 2 spot as both teams received a first-place vote. The Jackrabbits return three All-Summit League recipients one of which is 2017 Championship MVP Rachel King who won the title last season. North Dakota State returns two of its three All-Summit League honorees, including 2017 Newcomer of the Championship Kelby Anderson (3rd at 2017 Summit League Championship).

The cross country season opens on Sept 1., and The 2018 Summit League Championships hosted by Omaha are set for Oct. 27.

2018 Summit League Men's Cross Country Preseason Poll

Rank

School

Points (1st)

1.

South Dakota State

36 (6)

 

2.

North Dakota State

31 (1)

 

3.

South Dakota

26

 

4.

North Dakota

19

 

5.

Purdue Fort Wayne

14

 

6.

Western Illinois

12

 

7.

Oral Roberts

9

 

 

Men's Athletes to Watch (selected by league head coaches)

Chase Cayo | South Dakota State | Junior

  • Won the 2017 Summit League Championship with the ninth fastest time posted by a league champion
  • Clocked the best 8K time and second-best 10K time in the league last season

Kyle Burdick | South Dakota State | Senior

  • Earned All-Summit First Team honors by finishing second at the 2017 Summit League Championship
  • Was one of the top-two Jackrabbits to cross the finish line at each meet last season

Elliott Stone | North Dakota State | Senior

  • Placed fifth at the 2017 Summit League Championship and earned All-Summit First Team accolades
  • Among NDSU's top-five finishers at all six meets he entered last season

Eldon Warner | South Dakota | Senior

  • Logged a third-place finish at the 2017 championship to earn All-Summit First Team recognition
  • Individually led the Coyotes at five of six meets during the 2017 season 

Jacob Henne | North Dakota | Junior

  • UND's No. 3 runner at the Big Sky Conference Championship
  • Finished third for the Fighting Hawks and earned a personal record at the regional championship

Logan Kitchen | Purdue Fort Wayne | Senior

  • 2017 All-Summit Second Team honors
  • Finished 10th at the 2017 Summit League Championship

Lucas Lingle | Western Illinois | Senior

  • Placed 24th at the 2017 Summit League Cross Country Championship
  • Marked a career-best time in the 10K at the NCAA Division I Midwest Region Cross Country Championships

Bryce Choate | Oral Roberts | Senior

  • In the league, notched the ninth-best race time for the 6K last season
  • Was the first Golden Eagle to cross the finish line at the 2017 championship and led ORU in three of the five meets last season

 

Women's Summit League Women's Cross Country Preseason Poll

Rank

School

Points (1st)

1.

South Dakota

48 (6)

 

2.

South Dakota State

41 (1)

 

3.

North Dakota State

40 (1)

 

4.

North Dakota

28

 

T5.

Purdue Fort Wayne

21

 

T5.

Omaha

21

 

7.

Western Illinois

15

 

8.

Oral Roberts

10

 

 

Women's Athletes to Watch (selected by league head coaches)

Megan Billington | South Dakota | Senior

  • Garnered All-Summit First Team honors with a fourth-place finish at the 2017 Summit League Championship
  • Led the Coyotes at five of six meets during the season

Kianna Stewart | South Dakota | Junior

  • Earned All-Summit First Team accolades after finishing seventh at the 2017 Summit League Championship
  • Placed in the top seven at all six meets last season, scoring in three of them

Rachel King | South Dakota State | Senior

  • Claimed the victory at the 2017 Summit League Championship and earned the title of Women's Championship MVP
  • Earned 2017 All-Summit First Team honors

Kelby Anderson | North Dakota State | Sophomore

  • Was named the 2017 Women's Newcomer of the Championship after placing third
  • Brought in the fourth-best 5K time in the league and second-best time in the 6K while being the top finisher for the Bison in five of the six meets she entered

Hannah Oscarson | North Dakota | Juniors

  • Was the first runner to cross the line for North Dakota at the 2017 Big Sky Conference Championship and the regional meet
  • Was in the top-three runners for UND in four of six meets last season

Emma Rafuse | Purdue Fort Wayne | Senior

  • Posted the league's best 5K time and the fifth-best 6K time last season
  • Finished runner-up at The Summit League Championship and was named to the All-Summit First Team

Abigail Richter | Western Illinois | Junior

  • Placed 24th at the 2017 Summit League Cross Country Championship
  • Clocked her career-best time in the 6K at the 2017 championship

Jessica Romero | Oral Roberts | Junior

  • Led the team at each of the five meets of the 2017 season
  • Was the first Golden Eagle to finish at the 2017 Summit League Championship

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ABOUT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE

Through 36 years of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of nearly 115,000 at nine institutions, including three located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), the University of North Dakota, North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), Oral Roberts University, Purdue Fort Wayne (Purdue University Fort Wayne), the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced 12 NCAA Champions along with over 100 Academic All-Americans, nearly 125 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level. For more information about the league, visit www.thesummitleague.org website, follow The Summit League on Twitter @thesummitleague.

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