GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Following the 15th annual UND Ron Pynn Classic Open, run in front of a hearty gathering of alumni on Homecoming weekend, North Dakota head coach Dick Clay held a lengthy team meeting with his cross country squads.
The meet, held at Ray Richards Golf Course, was the final tune-up for the Fighting Hawks prior to the Big Sky Conference Championship, and Clay wanted to make sure his young runners gained useful knowledge from today’s race after both the men’s and women’s teams dropped duals to North Dakota State.
“It wasn’t our best race, but it wasn’t the worst race, either,” said Clay. “It was just a good race going into the conference (championship).”
Senior Drew Campbell was the most effective individual today for the Fighting Hawks, placing fifth in the men’s 8K race with a time of 26 minutes, 0.1 seconds. The visiting Bison placed the top four runners in the race. NDSU’s Elliott Stone finished first with a time of 25:24.5.
“A couple people got out a little faster than what they’re used to, but I’d rather have them do that than not be in it at all,” said Clay. “If we don’t test ourselves a little bit right now, you’re not going to be in it at the conference meet.”
“We have a few things to work on but we’ll taper now and hopefully run well at the conference meet,” said Clay.
On the women’s side, an inexperienced squad had six freshmen running in their first collegiate home meet and UND got off to a slow start.
“We just really struggled the first mile,” said Clay. “We’d been working on that and the team just didn’t perform well. They didn’t get into it at the beginning. That’s something we really have to work on and talk about, because when we get to the conference meet in two weeks, if we run the way we did today, we’re not going to be in it at all.”
Senior Larissa Juelich was the top finisher for the UND women, placing eighth with a 5K time of 18:58.2 NDSU’s Brittany Brownotter took medalist honors with a time of 17:45.9
“It’s a young team, I get that,” said Clay. “At the same time, you can’t forget the things you’re learning in practice. The team knows that.”
UND now turns its attention to the Big Sky Conference Championship on Oct. 28 in Moscow, Idaho.