Cross country: Teams face crowded pack at Griak meet
The Roy Griak Invitational is unlike any meet the Rosemount and Farmington cross country teams will compete in the rest of the season.
Thousands of runners from hundreds of high school and college teams from around the country competed in 10 races the 28th-annual event Saturday at Les Bolstad Golf Course. The large number of entrants and the difficult course can make it hard for coaches to gauge their team’s performance one way or the other.
“It was an adventure! Given the change in distance (the girls ran a 5K instead of the usual 4K), the rainy weather and the hilly terrain, I think they did very well,” Farmington coach Heidi Revels said.
The highest finish among area teams went to the Rosemount boys, who finished 21st out of 51 teams for the second year in a row.
“The Griak is a different animal with nearly 500 runners (in the boys Gold Competition),” Rosemount coach Chris Harder said. “The places of the scoring runners get magnified with such a large field.”
The Irish boys scored 643 points. No. 1-ranked Wayzata outscored No. 4 Edina 116-159 for the team title, with teams from Missouri, North Dakota and Iowa rounding out the top 10.
Alex Berhe led Rosemount with a 55th-place time of 16:57. Teammate Sam Ivanecky came on strong late in the race and finished two seconds back to place 58th.
Cody Sedbrook served as the No. 3 runner and placed 135th in 17:32. Ryan Brumm was 177th in 17:45 and Clayton Smith supplied the final counting score with a 218th-place time of 18:04.
Ryan Condon (225th, 18:08) and Sam Karlson (262nd, 18:25) also competed.
“We still need to close the 4-5 gap. We made some strides in that direction, but we need to run a better team race than we did at Griak,” Harder said. “With a smaller field, we should be able to do that. We have the guys that can get it done over the course of the next few weeks.”
The Farmington boys finished 41st as a team, but had the highest area individual finisher in Justin Hyytinen. The junior clocked in at 16:45 to place 38th out of 494 runners.
A pair of sophomores followed for the Tigers. Alex Hart was 227th in 18:08 and Devon Webb 282nd in 18:35. Hunter Sevenich (290th, 18:42) and Sean Dougherty (310th, 19:03) rounded out the top five.
“The results of the race didn’t reflect the hard work the boys have put into this week and the past 30 days,” Farmington coach Lisa Lippold said. “Our focus is on the championship races and I feel we are putting in the work to be successful at the end of the year. The boys learned a little about racing in a big meet and they will come back stronger from the experience.”
In the girls race, Rosemount and Farmington both finished in the middle of the 50-team field. The Irish were 26th with 664 points and the Tigers 33rd with 841 points. No. 1 Wayzata topped Cherry Creek 58-163 for the team championship.
The experience was a whirlwind for the Irish girls. Just before race time, they received a pep talk from Roy Griak himself, who will celebrate his 90th birthday this week. Griak coached Irish coach Chris Harder during his 33 years guiding the Gopher track and cross country programs.
After completing the race, the Rosemount girls ran their cool-down straight to waiting vehicles so they could get back to Rosemount in time for Saturday’s Homecoming festivities.
“The girls had Homecoming on their mind and the weather was foul at best, but then coach Griak himself gave them a pep talk just before the race. After that, the weather calmed, the wind died down, the rain ceased and the girls toed the line and competed,” Harder said. “Then they had the fastest cool-down in the history of Rosemount cross country. They hit the finish line and kept on running to our camp and then to their ride.”
Hannah Grim broke the 20-minute barrier for the Irish, clocking in at 19:58 on the 5,000-meter course to place 55th out of 460 runners. Teammate Sydney Hansen was just six seconds back in 67th place.
Briana Cleveland placed third for the Irish and 155th overall in 21:05. Liz Evenocheck was 181st in 21:23 and Sydney Regalado placed 206th in 21:37.
Naomi Alvarez (228th, 21:53) and Rachel Schow (247th, 22:02) completed the varsity lineup.
The Farmington girls had a strong 1-2 punch of their own in seventh-grader Lauren Peterson and senior Maricia Pacheco. Peterson finished in 20 minutes flat to finish 62nd and Pacheco was 16 seconds back in 78th place.
The young Tigers also had two other seventh-graders provide counting scores. Anna Palodichuk was 178th in 21:21 and Emma Schaffer placed 251st in 22:08.
Sofia Chadwick turned in the team’s fifth score with a 272nd-place time of 22:28.
“To place 33rd out of 50 teams I think is quite commendable with such a young team,” Revels said. “It was a good experience.”