The men’s and women’s cross-country teams will be traveling to Minneapolis, Minn. Saturday for the 27th annual Roy Griak Invitational.
This will mark the cross-country team’s longest trip of the season. The Roy Griak Invitational has the potential to be one of the Chippewa’s most significant meets of the season, according to senior Jason Drudge.
“This is one of our more important trips and races to be competing in,” he said. “We don’t drive all the way out here for nothing. This is almost as big as nationals because of the national competition we well be going up against.”
The men’s team will run an 8k race at 1:20 p.m. and the women’s team will run a 6k at 2:10 p.m. The races will be held at Les Bolstad Golf Course in Falcon Heights.
The upper classmen on both teams are looking to lead their respective teams through a significant weekend. Two-time All-MAC runners, Drudge and junior Krista Parks are among those upperclassmen.
“I expect us to work as a pack like we have before, and to match up with the ranked teams,” Parks said.
Director of cross-country Willie Randolph was not pleased with his team’s performances at the Spartan Invitational on Sept. 14, but he is assured they are ready.
“I’m sure they will do fine,” Randolph said. “We have tight competition that will be more difficult than the competition we saw in East Lansing. We have been training well this week, and this experience will help.”
Drudge considers his team on a similar level to No. 16 ranked Minnesota.
“We are atop the rankings, alongside Minnesota,” Drudge said. “We have a good chance to fly under the radar and then we’ll see where we land.”
The Chippewa runners are ready to go and they are excited for the challenges they will face Saturday.
“We are feeling fresh and (the competition) will help solidify who our competition will be and how our work has paid off, so far,” Parks said.
Along with Drudge and Parks, CMU will have seven runners for each team this weekend.
No. 16 Minnesota comes into the weekend as the top-ranked men’s team, while No. 5 Iowa State and No. 16 Weber State are the top-ranked women’s teams.
Other teams competing in the invitational include Augustana (SD), Baylor, Boise State, Connecticut, Drake, Guelph, Illinois State, Iowa, James Madison, Portland, Regina, South Dakota, South Dakota State, Utah State and Utah Valley.