The Men and Women’s cross-country teams might have faced their toughest competition of the season thus far Saturday afternoon at the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, Minn.
Sophomore Kyle Stacks and senior Jason Drudge both finished in the top-35 in the men’s 8k for CMU, while junior Krista Parks finished in the top-40 leading the pack in the women’s 6k race.
The men’s team finished ninth of 15 teams with a score of 214 in the first scored meet of the season. The women’s team finished 11th of 19 teams with 283 points.
Director of cross-country Willie Randolph wasn’t pleased with the overall performance this week, and said he saw a lot of things that the team could improve on.
“We expected a lot more and we learned a lot as we continue to work with a young team,” Randolph said. “ I think we are getting closer to where we need to be for Pre-Nationals in two weeks. We will take away some good things with us … we have to continue to press toward being aggressive and having that mindset the whole race, all the way to the finish line.”
Stacks was the first runner across the line for CMU, finishing 29th with an 8k time of 25:31.9. He was followed closely by Jason Drudge, who finished 32nd and recorded a 25:36.2 time.
Stacks was as high as 13th place at the 3k mark, but couldn’t hold that pace for the remainder of the race, while Drudge worked his way back after dropping to the 83rd position at the 1k point.
“This wasn’t exactly the best race I could have had,” Stacks said. “I was trying to play catch-up throughout the race, which was upsetting. We can learn a lot from this race, and use it for our race in two weeks.”
Stacks repeated the team’s philosophy of keeping close during races.
“Getting out into a good position to start the race and sticking together throughout the race are always important,” Stacks said.
Other notable runners on the men’s side were sophomore Ethan Lievense (25:51.9), senior Matt Lutzke (26:06.4) and sophomore Ben Wynsma (26:14.9), finishing No. 42, 55 and 64, respectively.
Parks finished 37th for the women’s team, running a 22:20.2 6k. She worked back after falling back to 89th place during the first kilometer of the race.
“It wasn’t out best race, and we didn’t finish as good as we wanted,” Parks said. “ We’re looking to the future as we continue to improve and learn from our mistakes.”
The rest of the women runners that were scored for CMU finished within 18 seconds of each other. The pack was led by junior Shelby Thren (23:17.9), who finished 86th.
Redshirt freshman Alyssa Dyer finished 96th, senior Maddie Ribant finished 98th, and freshman Bailey Parmelee finished 101st to round out the field for CMU.
Senior Kelly Wiebe of Regina won the men’s 8k with a time of 24:18.8, while Minnesota claimed the men’s team title with a score of 67.
Betsy Saina led the way for the women in the 6k with a time of 20:50.5 and led her Iowa State Cyclones to the team title with 43 points.
The Chippewas will have next week off and will compete the following week at the Pre-National Meet in Louisville, KY Oct. 13. Louisville will also play host to the National Championships on Nov. 17.