BHSU X-C seeks to build on success in Walkinshaw’s final year at the helm

Black Hills State University cross country coach, Scott Walkinshaw, was recently inducted into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame, in Gulfshore, Ala. He is set to retire at the end of the season. Photo courtesy BHSU Sports Information Department

SPEARFISH — The Black Hills State University men’s and women’s cross country teams look to continue their success from the 2018 cross country season, in Scott Walkinshaw’s final year at the helm of the program.

This will be the 22nd and final season for Walkinshaw, who is set to officially retire following the 2019 cross country season, for health reasons. 

Walkinshaw said he is the director of cross country this fall, with Scott Foley serving as head coach. 

As director, Walkinshaw will oversee the program and help where needed.

 “I think I’ve done about everything we can possibly do here,” Walkinshaw said about his pending retirement.

Walkinshaw earned induction into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame summer.

When Walkinshaw started at Black Hills State in 1998,  there were just just two men and five women on the cross country team. 

However, by 1999, the women’s team won the South Dakota Iowa Conference, with the men placing second in the final year of the conference. 

That year, the South Dakota Sports Writers selected Lisa Bomengen (Reynolds) as the 1999-2000 South Dakota College Female Athlete of the Year. The 2000-01 men’s cross country team was named the South Dakota Sports Writers Collegiate Team of the Year, and Coach Walkinshaw was named the 2000-2001 Collegiate Coach of the Year.  

The same year he was named the NAIA National Coach of the Year.

In 2000, the Yellow jackets became a member of the Dakota Athletic Conference, where Walkinshaw developed Black Hills State into a cross country and track and field force to be reckoned with. 

From 2000-2010, the Yellow Jacket women won 10 of 11 conference team titles, while the men were first nine of the 11 years, finishing second the other two seasons.

Overall, during the NAIA era under Walkinshaw, the Yellow Jackets had 13 individual conference champions in cross country, while 69 women and 71 men earned All-Conference honors after placing top-15 at the conference meet. 

Nationally, Walkinshaw coached four National Meet Runner-Up Teams, and Green and Gold teams finished in the top-10 nationally 17 times. 

From 2000-2008, BHSU was the only school to qualify both the men’s and women’s cross country teams for the national meet, and 32 runners earned All-American honors under coach Walkinshaw.

Walkinshaw led the combined men’s and women’s cross country teams to the NAIA Combined Team National Championship in 2000, and followed that up with a second place combined finish in both 2001 and 2002. The combined teams were third in 2005 and 2006, fourth in 2010, and fifth in 2003.

Walkinshaw’s NAIA cross country teams also excelled academically. The Yellow Jacket women’s team earned All-Scholar Team honors five times (2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2009), while the men earned the accolade in 2009. Individually, 25 BHSU runners earned NAIA Academic All-Scholar Honors under Walkinshaw.

As head coach of the Yellow Jacket track and field teams, Walkinshaw led the Yellow Jackets to 14 top-10 team finishes. He coached nine individuals and two relay teams to NAIA National Championships.

In his 22 years at BHSU, Coach Walkinshaw has coached student-athletes to 234 All-American Honors in cross country and track and field. 

From 1999-2010, he has earned 39 various coaching honors, highlighted by the 2000 NAIA Coach of the Year award. He was named the Dakota Athletic Conference Coach of the Year 24 times, and was the NAIA Regional Cross Country Coach of the Year on seven occasions.

Black Hills State’s cross country women’s and men’s rosters feature eight women and 12 men’s runners this year.

“Both teams are very excited for the upcoming season,” Foley said. 

Both squads qualified for the 2018 NCAA Division II National Championships; several return this fall.

The Yellow Jackets had a historic 2018 with both the men’s and women’s squads qualifying for nationals for the first time since the athletic program joined the NCAA in 2012.

In the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference preseason coaches poll, the men’s team were selected to finish sixth in the RMAC, while the women were picked to finish fifth in the conference.

Foley said theys don’t tput much stock in preseason rankings. 

“We just kind of take it as it comes,” said Foley. “We get the schedule knocked out and take it day by day.”

Senior leadership is a strength of this season’s teams, according to Foley. 

He said a lack of depth is a concern and added.

“We might not have quantity, but we have a lot of quality.”

Foley said confidence is the biggest thing the teams can take from last season into 2019.

“Every team’s goal everywhere is to get to the big dance,” Foley said. “Now, it’s more that it’s a standard, and now our goal is how well can we perform there.”

The women’s team is a small group, but with all the members having collegiate experience, they know what it takes to make it back to nationals.

Black Hills State is lead by senior Nicolle Allerdings, who finished 32nd at the Division II National Championships last season to earn All-American honors. 

The women’s team finished 17th, with Xiomara Robinson and Abbie Fredrick gaining valuable experience running at nationals to help the team this year.

The men’s team lost All-American Jonah Theisen, but will bring back three Yellow Jackets who ran at the national meet last year, helping the team to a 16th-place finish. 

Jake Iverson was the second BHSU finisher at the meet, followed by Jordan Theisen, and Keith Osowski. 

The Yellow Jackets open the season at Rocky Mountain College Sept. 13. 

On Sept. 20, Black Hills State will host the Fourth Annual Gage McSpadden Memorial at Spearfish Canyon Country Club, with the Sheriff 5K Community Run to be held the following morning in Spearfish City Park. 

The RMAC Championships will be held in Grand Junction, Colo., on Oct. 26, with the Division II National Championships scheduled for Nov. 23 in Sacramento, Calif.

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