Aidrus becomes first All-American runner for SMSU


Bashir Aidrus becomes first All-American runner for SMSU at the NCAA Championships
On Nov. 18, 2017, sophomore Bashir Aidrus became the first SMSU runner to earn All-American honors at the 2017 NCAA Division II Championships. Aidrus finished 18th out of 249 runners in the 10K race with a time of 31:31.9. The race was held in Evansville, Indiana at Angel Mounds on Saturday morning. The championship was hosted by the University of Southern Indiana and the Evansville Sports Corporation.
Aidrus, a native of Waite Park, MN, becomes the first SMSU runner to earn All-American honors in school history. and was the second highest finisher among Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference runners in the race. Mason Phillips, the conference champion from Sioux Falls, finished only a couple spots ahead of Aidrus.
Aidrus closed the race with a pace of 5:05 per mile. His 1K split was 3:00.4, while his 2K split time was 6:11.2. At 3K, his split was 9:42.7, followed by 12:27.8 at 4K, 15:22.4 at 5K, 18:55.3 at 6K, 22:10.2 at 7K, 25:49 at 8K and 28:40 at 9K.
Aidrus was the first SMSU athlete to compete at the NCAA Championships in program. SMSU had three previous athletes compete at the NAIA Championships—the last in 1983.
James Ngandu from Tiffin University (OH) won the individual title with a time of 30:18.8. Adams State University (Colo.) won the team championship with 44 points.
The night before the big race, all athletes at the national meet were invited to a dinner which included a speech from Olympic legend Billy Mills. At the 1964 Olympics, Mills became the first American to win the 10,000-meter race. He was also the first Native American to win the race. His appearance was a big inspiration for the athletes, including Bashir Aidrus.
Another source of inspiration for Aidrus came from his teammates. Eight members of the team made the 12-hour journey to see him race. Aidrus said that the support from his teammates was a big part of his success.
Aidrus and the rest of the Mustangs will race again this coming indoor season, starting in December.