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Menís Cross Country Squad Looks Ahead To Conference Challenge

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
         
Release: October 26, 2011
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Sophomore Omet Kak, Junior Charlie Lapham and Freshman Conor Wells
Courtesy: Drake Athletics
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What's Ahead: The Drake men's cross country team, after claiming its fifth team title of the season, will head to Terre Haute, Ind., to compete in the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Cross Country Championship on Sunday (Oct. 30). The 8,000-meter race at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course will start at 9:30 a.m. CT.

Drake Picked Third In MVC Poll: The Bulldogs were tabbed to finish third at the 2011 State Farm MVC Cross Country Championship according to the pre-meet coaches poll released on Tuesday (Oct. 25).

Drake earned 68 points in the poll and garnered one first place vote. The Bulldogs were also pegged to finish third during the preseason coaches poll conducted in August.

Southern Illinois was picked to win with 73 points and four first-places votes, while Indiana State finished with 70 points and three first-place votes. Wichita State was fourth gaining 59 points and one first-place vote, Illinois State was fifth finishing with 44 points, while Bradley was sixth with 31 points. Rounding out the poll were UNI (26), Evansville (21) and Creighton (13).

Last Time Out: Led by the sophomore duo of Brogan Austin (Boone, Iowa) and Omet Kak (Des Moines, Iowa), Drake squad won another team title at the Bradley Classic Friday (Oct. 14) moving its total to five team victories this fall.

Austin nabbed his second runner-up finish in as many weeks concluding the 8,000-meter course at the Newman Golf Course in 24:21.7, which was less than one second behind race winner Ross Clarke of Butler. Austin's time is the best mark posted in the Missouri Valley Conference this season in the 8,000-meter race.

Kak's time of 25:09.0 earned a seventh-place finish against a field of 188 runners from 19 schools across the Midwest.

Drake wrapped up the meet with a team score of 76 points, edging out conference foe Wichita State with 111 points.

Senior Colin Hagan (Wichita, Kan.) was 11th finishing in 25:14.6. Rounding out the top five for the Bulldogs were junior Charlie Lapham (Golden Valley, Minn.) and freshman Conor Wells (Des Moines, Iowa) who were 27th (25:38.4) and 29th (25:41.5), respectively.

A Year Ago: Drake placed fifth in the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Cross Country Championship in Augusta, Kan.

Head coach Dan Hostager left the meet, pondering what could have happened if three of his team's runners had finished the race.

Omet Kak, Brogan Austin and Charlie Lapham withdrew at various stages of the 8,000-meter race costing Drake at least two places in the final team standings.

Indiana State won the meet with 25 points followed by Southern Illinois with 61, Illinois State with 75, Northern Iowa with 87 and Drake with 155 in the 10-team meet.

Kak was among the front group leaders before withdrawing at the 7,000-meter mark. Austin was among the top 20 runners at 5,000 meters before suffering side cramps which affected his breathing.

Colin Hagan was Drake's top finisher, placing 24th in the 8,000-meter race in 26 minutes 8.79 seconds.

Then Drake junior Ben Jaskowiak (Madison, Wis.) was 26th in 26:14.29.

Mike Bumgarner, who was Drake's lone competing senior, placed 28th in 26:22.41, while then freshman Doug Brady (Englewood, Colo.) was 29th in 26:25.01.

Drake Ranked 9th In USTFCCCA Midwest Regional Poll: After claiming its fifth team title of the season at the Bradley Classic on Oct. 14, Drake climbed back into the top-10 of the United States Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association Midwest Region poll with its ninth-place ranking on Oct. 17.

The Bulldogs joined conference foe Southern Illinois in the top-10, as the Salukis are eighth. The Bulldogs remain ahead of conference rival Wichita State, and also moved ahead of Iowa, South Dakota State and Nebraska in the weekly rankings.

The next USTFCCCA regional rankings will be released on Oct. 31.

Austin Wins Second Conference Accolade: For the second time this season, the MVC announced that Drake sophomore Brogan Austin has been named the State Farm MVC Men's Cross Country Athlete of the Week on Oct. 18.

Austin ran the eighth fastest 8,000-meter time in Bradley Classic meet history on Oct. 14 with a time of 24:21.7 to earn second-place accolades. Austin's mark is the best in the Missouri Valley Conference in the 8,000-meters this fall and helped the Bulldogs claim their fifth team title of the season. Austin also finished in second earlier this month at the Walt Disney Cross Country Classic in Orlando, Fla.

NCAA Midwest Regional Prize Opportunities: Drake will be competing at the NCAA Midwest Regional championships in less than three weeks. Fans can win great prizes by entering in the NCAA Midwest Regional Social Media Contest.

Bulldog supporters have two opportunities to win prizes. Facebook users can click "Attending" on the 2011 NCAA Midwest Regional Facebook page while those on Twitter can tweet the hashtag #NIURegional when they tweet about the Drake cross country teams, or anything else related to the event.

Each Thursday leading up to the event one Twitter user and one Facebook user will be selected to win free admission, free VIP parking and NCAA Championship apparel. Entrants may tweet multiple times to help their chances and Facebook users can increase their odds of winning by sharing the event page and inviting their Facebook friends to attend. Prize winners will be contacted through their Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Up Next: The Bulldogs will compete against 32 other schools from the Midwest at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship hosted by Northern Illinois University on Nov. 12 in DeKalb, Ill. The 10,000-meter race will be held at the NIU North 40 course.

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