Last Saturday, the women’s and men’s cross country teams traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to compete at the Roy Griak Invitational where they placed 11th and 22nd, respectively.
There were more than 300 runners in the women’s 5K and the men’s 8K Div. II races.
Although the meet is a little farther than the team usually travels, head coach Tim Schwegler says it offers a lot of competition he said he hopes will pay off at Conference and Regionals.
“[When] you run against some really good people … it forces you to compete harder and kind of teaches you what the situation is going to be like so when you get to the conference meet you know what to expect,” Schwegler says.
The only team from the GLVC present at the meet was the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, which they beat on the women’s side. UW-Parkside won the men’s Div. II race with 90 points.
On the women’s side, there was a pack of four girls who came in behind lead runner sophomore Laura Tarantino within 23 seconds of each other. Including Tarantino, the spread between the five scoring runners was 1:04.
The men’s team was more spread out with a 1-5 spread of five minutes.
Schwegler says his goal for the men’s team is to improve every week and get to the Conference meet and see how they do.
The only senior member of the team, Brad Hart, finished 13th with a time of 26:47 for an 8K, landing him a spot on the podium.
“He ran a smart race,” Schwegler says. “It was nice to have somebody up on the podium and I think he was excited to get up there.”
Hart says he was happy with his performance at Roy Griak, even though the time was a little bit slower than he wanted.
Freshman Jordan Wheeler came in second on the team with a time of 27:31, placing 50th overall. He said he felt pretty good about his race, but it was his first 8K, and he didn’t know what to expect going into it.
Wheeler said the Griak course was the hardest course he’s ever run on, noting the hills, constant turning and competition level.
“The competition was pretty tough,” Wheeler says. “It’s because there were so many schools and so many runners … It’s kind of a good overview of how Div. II is and how you stack up.”