SIU Cross Country team looks forward to upcoming season behind new head coach, Brian Biekert

September 11, 2022

This past off-season, the Salukis hired Brian Biekert to be its new head cross country coach. He said he is fully prepared to take on the challenge here with the Dawgs. 

“I am excited for the opportunity from [Director of Track and Field/Cross Country Rosalind] Joseph and the staff to help contribute and build upon the storied history of the program,” Biekert said. 

He has coached at Syracuse, Iowa State, and Brown before landing at Tulsa, where he worked as an assistant coach. The Golden Hurricanes won their 8th American Athletic Conference Championship last season behind Biekert’s assistance. 

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Coming into a season with a new coach, the Salukis were not sure what to expect. Senior runner Rachel Anderson said the team has been pleasantly surprised. 

“It’s been really positive. It seems like everyone is on the same page about winning and doing well in the conference,” she said. 

After the day-to-day struggle of not having an event coach present and not knowing what to expect from a new head coach, the Salukis are relying on their determination and perseverance. 

“Training has been going really well,” junior runner Dawson Smith said, “It was a tough transition not knowing what to expect, but it’s been great.”

Looking ahead, Biekert has a record of helping teams produce a winning season. The Salukis took on their first meet of the season Friday, September 2 at the Redhawks Cross Country Invite. 

“We want to bring home the win for both teams. It should be a really good rust-buster and a fast 4k course,” Anderson said before-hand.

Saturday the Salukis men’s cross country team finished 1st at the Redhawks Invite. Rachel Anderson placed 1st and Josie Brown finished 2nd.

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The season may seem short, having only six meets spread out from the beginning of September to the middle of November, but Anderson said the reasoning behind that is the increase of pressure placed upon the body. In high school, shorter races meant more meets. 

“Coming out of high school you expect more meets, but once you understand the preparation and time you have to put in, plus the wear it puts on your body, you understand why there are fewer meets and it’s so spaced out,” Anderson said. 

In the introductory press conference, Joseph made it clear she has very high expectations for Biekert and the program moving forward. She believes Biekert has a responsibility to uphold SIU cross country’s legacy.

“With a storied tradition of national excellence in the sport, I’m confident that with Coach Biekert’s experience and enthusiasm for success, the Salukis are primed to continue with that tradition,” Joseph said. 

Looking forward to improving off of last season, Smith said, “He felt like we’ve been ranked too low, so he really wants us to go out there and win conference.”

It doesn’t stop there, Smith said.

“After that, we hope to do well in regionals, and hopefully send a couple of guys all the way to nationals,” he said.

Assistant Sports Editor Cole Daily can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at cdaily_de. To stay up to date on all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter 

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