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The Antelope

Men’s CC sets sights on National Meet

photo of the UNK men’s cross country team

Dedication, hard work, and determination are three ways, to sum up, the Unk men’s cross-country team. After finishing seventh at regionals and narrowly missing the national meet a season ago, the team of 26 men comes back more determined than ever to accomplish the feat of qualifying for nationals.

“We trained hard this summer so that we can compete well in Division II,” said Corbin Hansen senior co-captain on the team. “Regionals is always a goal and if we work hard and take it race by race hopefully, we can do well at conference and be in the top three at regionals.”

UNK returns experience from the national meet in Corbin Hansen. Last season he finished seventh at regionals in a time of 30:32. At the NCAA championship meet at Schenley Park in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania he came in 31st with a time of 33:14.

Fellow senior Shane Burkey and redshirt junior Tejai Clausen also look to help lead the charge for the Lopers in 2019. Burkey finished in 60th at the MIAA Championships in 2018 with a time of 32:15 while Clausen took a redshirt last season.

“A goal for me is definitely qualifying for Nationals and become an All-American again and I know Shane and Tejai are more than capable of qualifying for nationals with me. This being my senior year, it would be really cool to make nationals as a team,” said Hansen.

Like most sports, the MIAA is one of the premier conferences for men’s cross country. Leading the way is defending conference champion Missouri Southern along with an improving Northwest Missouri State and Fort Hays State.

The Lopers hope that a strong work ethic and a great summer of running will help them close the gap with the best in the MIAA.

“We have a lot of guys that work hard every day and that put in a lot of miles over the summer,” said Hansen.

One barrier the Lopers look to overcome is the transferring and bringing in of foreign talent by the top MIAA and Division II schools in the country. For example, Northwest Missouri State added a distinguished runner from junior college Iowa Central, one runner from Division II Shaw University, and three runners from the Division I rank.

UNK primarily relies on runners within the state. Of the 26 members on the Lopers men’s cross-country team one runner is from out of state.

“We are all a bunch of guys from Nebraska, we don’t really have the widest talent pool here,” senior co-captain Shane Burkey said. “We aren’t bringing guys from other states and other countries like some schools.”

Even with the setbacks, the Lopers look to even the playing field with up and coming talent. One runner to look out for this year is sophomore Eli Frasher. He ran in two meets last

year for the cross-country team but is coming off a solid track season in which he finished tenth at the MIAA Outdoor Championships in the 5,000 meters in a time of 15:03.

“Eli Frasher had a good track season and really came on strong. I would expect him to have a really good cross-country season this year,” said Burkey.

The Loper men’s cross-country season will begin on September 6 at the Augustana Twilight Invitational in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

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