Wildcat’s Cross Country Team Prepares For Roy Griak Invitational

Tim Adams

The Wildcats prepare for the 30th annual Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis Minnesota at 10:50 a.m. on Saturday Sept. 24.

Friday at the Spartan invitational, the Wildcats placed seventh out of twelve teams in a meet that featured at least 40 different  schools. Three wildcats placed in the top 75 as Alexis Smith placed 57th, Abby Fifarek placed 63rd, and Katelyn Smith placed 71st.

The Roy Griak Invitational is a very important meet head coach Jenny Ryan said.

“This is a big meet. It’s a celebration of cross country and it’s a well known meet,” Ryan said. “There will be teams from all over the country that will be there.”

The Griak will not be a walk in the park for NMU.

“This is a tough course. There are really great athlete’s there and it’s a big meet,” Ryan said. “It’s really easy to get caught up in the spotlight.”

Ryan told the women to run their own race and to not worry about the other people running. She said it’s great exposure for the women to get used to big races, like the ones that come at the end of the season.

According to Ryan the women have been training hard and it’s paying off.

“They had some strong performances last weekend,” Ryan said. “They are learning about pacing themselves. They work together a lot and they push each other.”

Kieren Becker says she’s ready for action at the Griak, as she placed 61st at the MSU invitational last weekend.

“Last year was muddy and miserable, and although I had a slower time than last year; I’m feeling much stronger,” said Becker.

“I’m really excited for the Griak. I’m hoping to set a new PR, it’s a great course and good competition.”

Last year the Wildcats took second out of the 40 teams that competed in the event.

“I’m excited to see the girls race,” Ryan said. “We are getting back Kameron [Burmeister] who was sick with strep throat and who had a bad cold and we are getting three of our girls that are also on the Ski team.”

“This will be the biggest group of girls to compete all year.”