Freshman Travis Brenner and sophomore Carol Miller paced the University of South Dakota cross country teams to 21st-place finishes on the men's and women's side at the Chili Pepper Festival in Agri Park in Fayetteville, AK on Saturday. Oklahoma State won both team titles at the meet that was considered one of the most competitive in the nation.
The USD men claimed 21st out of 50 total teams, as Brenner (Yankton) covered the 10-kilometer course in 31:55 to finish 116th out of 470 runners. His time was the fastest ever on the course by a USD runner and topped a 32:06 ran by Rob Gregoire in 2008. Sophomore Ethan Marquardt posted his best race this season with a 32:17 to finish 146th as USD's second runner, while freshman Jeff Mettler (Eureka) followed in 164th with a 32:31. Senior Andrew Duba crossed the line in 32:44 and sophomore Mark Hayden was USD's final scorer in 33:31. Freshman Mitch Yaggie (Mission Hill) and junior Eddie Niyonizigiye rounded out the top seven in 33:58 and 34:54, respectively.
The Coyote women earned 21st in the field of 56 thanks to a time of 18:22 over the five-kilometer course by Miller. She finished 100th out of 469 competitors and was followed closely by freshman Megan Hilson (Yankton) in 103rd at 18:22 as well. Freshman Britni Waller and senior Sarah Wickman worked together to run 18:41 and 18:42 for a finish of 138th and 139th, respectively. Sophomore Jessica Brandli was USD's final scorer in 19:01, while sophomore Sigornie Pfefferle and freshman Kristin Steffen (Crofton, NE) rounded out the top seven in 19:11 and 19:25.
South Dakota continues its season at the Great West Conference Championships on Oct. 31 in Edinburg, TX. Hosted by Texas-Pan American, the women run at 8 a.m. followed by the men at 8:45 a.m.