FARGO, N.D. – With sophomore standouts Erica Eades and Madison Overby sidelined by injuries, classmate Hannah Oscarson stepped to the forefront in the University of North Dakota’s cross country opener on Friday.
Oscarson completed the 4K Bison Open women’s race in 14 minutes, 36.5 seconds to lead UND and finish third overall in the individual standings.
Oscarson’s time was two seconds behind runner-up Kelby Anderson of host North Dakota State, and three seconds off the pace set by medalist Annika Rotvold, also of the Bison.
Prior to the meet, UND head coach Dick Clay said others would have the opportunity to establish themselves in the absence of Eades and Overby. One such runner was freshman Ellyssa Peterson. Peterson was UND’s No. 2 runner today, finishing 15th overall with a time of 15:23.2.
On the men’s side, the Fighting Hawks were paced by freshman Matt Bakken. The Bismarck, N.D., native was UND’s top runner and placed ninth overall with a 6K time of 19:35.7.
With junior Connor Danielson, UND’s top runner a year ago, redshirting this season, performances like Bakken’s will be critical in 2017.
“Matt Bakken ran a really good race,” said Clay. “For a freshman to come in and do that right away and be our top runner, that was really encouraging.”
Teammate Cataldo DiDonna was right behind Bakken in 10th place, charting the course in 19:40.6.
UND dropped its duals to both NDSU and South Dakota State in both races, but Clay’s focus on this day was on the individual efforts in the absence of some key runners.
“We have some strong individual performances on both the men’s and women’s sides,” said Clay, “and that was great to see.”
UND returns to action Sept. 16 at Montana State’s Bozeman Running Company Invitational.