Idaho State University Sports Information
OGDEN, Utah – Jenica Dodge secured second place with a 17:23.0 finish in the women’s 5k race at the Big Sky Conference Cross Country Championship held on the Riverside Golf Course Saturday afternoon. She helped the women’s team to a seventh-place finish and Wyatt Didericksen led the men’s team to a sixth-place finish.
“I thought Jenica did great,” said Head Cross Country Coach Nate Houle. “She ran the race I would have expected and even though she didn’t win, I had her ranked third going in so second, I would say, was an improvement.”
Dodge matched the pace of the leaders through the first half of the race before surging to the front at the 3k mark. She led the race for a few minutes before ceding to Northern Arizona’s Paige Gilchrist who won the race with a 17:12.1 finish.
Dodge finished higher than any ISU runner since Bradi Hutchison placed second in 2011. Her time is the third-fastest ISU mark at a Big Sky Conference Championship.
Dodge is the fourth female runner for ISU to earn all-conference honors in back-to-back seasons (Bradi Hutchison 2010-2011, Jordan Vaughn 1998-1999 and Gretchen Carr 1994-1995).
Samantha Johnston had the best conference championship finish of her career in 14th with a time of 17:56.3. The senior shaved over two minutes and 45 positions from her performance in 2016.
“Team-wise I think we could’ve done better and we were really close because Sam Johnston had a great day,” Houle said. “We were missing a couple pieces, but other than that it was pretty solid.”
Freshman Reagan Badger scored 29 points for the Bengals with an 18:18.0 finish. Her 29th-place finish is the highest for an ISU women’s team freshman since 2013.
Ashley Sondag and Rachel McGovern rounded out the scoring for the Bengals in 48th and 53rd respectively. Both finished just inside the 19-minute mark. In 2016, McGovern crossed the line with 21:05.9 on the clock in 91st.
The women’s team finished seventh in the team standings with 142 points, improving by 123 points and four positions in one season.
“I feel like we were within inches of having a huge day,” Houle said. “It was really tight from second to where we were. Unfortunately, we were on the back end of that. We had a couple misfires on the day and that was enough to set us back to there. It was a close enough that a couple spots made a huge difference.”
No. 26 Northern Arizona won the women’s title with 51 points. Montana State claimed second with 83 points and Idaho finished third with 95 points.
Wyatt Didericksen was the first ISU runner across the line in the men’s 8k. He started near the front, but fell to 29th halfway through the race. He passed 14 runners in the final 3k for a 25:00.2, 15th-place finish.
Ricky Kuciemba and Joseph Petty finished just after the 26th-minute in 42nd and 43rd respectively. Petty improved the most compared to last season’s conference championship. The sophomore finished 83rd with a time of 28:14.6 in 2016.
The men’s team finished sixth with 159 points.
“I had us ranked fifth going in so we were one spot off of that,” Houle said. “As I was telling the guys, I don’t feel like we ran badly. I honestly just feel like Montana State had a really solid day. It’s tough to run well and finish worse than you expected so that’s tough to swallow.”
The No. 1 team in the nation, Northern Arizona, won the meet with 24 points. No. 12 Southern Utah took second with 36 points and Weber State rounded out the podium with 82 points. NAU’s Tyler Day won the meet with a 23:21.0 finish.
Idaho State returns to Utah in two weeks for the NCAA Division I Mountain Region Championship.