South Dakota men’s and women’s cross country travels to Indiana’s Coaching Tree Invitational held Friday at the Sam Bell Cross Country Course in Bloomington, Indiana. The women’s 6,000-meter race begins at 9 a.m. with the men’s 8,000-meter race to follow at 9:45 a.m. Both times listed are Central.
South Dakota faces some of the stiffest competition the program’s seen in its Division I era this week. The Coyote women remain ranked No. 15 in the Midwest region entering the week. A limited squad competed at the Augustana Twilight with sixth-year senior Abby Ripperda and third-year sophomore abrielle jirele leading the way in the opener. Ripperda, named a Summit League Runner to Watch, clocked 17:38.62 for the 5,000-meter course and fourth place. Jirele was just behind in fifth place. Fifth-year senior Because of Gemedaalso named a Summit League Runner to Watch, was 10th in the men’s field.
A unique group of teams from across the nation will descent on Indiana this weekend, including several ranked programs.
The lineup on the men’s side includes No. 1 Northern Arizona (1st Mountain), No. 17 North Carolina (3rd Southeast), No. 23 Goergetown (3rd Mid-Atlantic), Indiana (6th Great Lakes), Columbia (6th Northeast), Miami – Ohio (10th Great Lakes), Vanderbilt (11th South), George Washington (14th Mid-Atlantic), Elon, and Ohio.
The lineup on the women’s side includes No. 13 North Carolina (2nd Southeast), No. 19 Georgetown (1st Mid-Atlantic), No. 21 Northern Arizona (6th Mountain), receiving votes Villanova (5th Mid-Atlantic), Vanderbilt (6th South), Indiana (7th Great Lakes), Columbia (9th Northeast), George Washington (9th Mid-Atlantic), Miami – Ohio (10th Great Lakes), Elon (10th Southeast), and Ohio (11th Great Lakes).
One Last Thing
Each team competing on Friday is coached by someone who either ran for or worked with Indiana head coach Ron Helmer. Helmer plans to retire following this year. USD’s first-year head coach Nolan Fife graduated from Indiana in 2015 and was a member of the Hoosiers’ 2013 Big Ten title.