QUICK RECAP: Roy Griak Invitational
NEW ORLEANS — For the 31st year, the Roy Griak Invitational brought together some of the best teams and individuals in NCAA Division I Cross Country.
From a team standpoint, Saturday proved to be a coming-out party for both Portland teams as they swept the team titles in convincing fashion.
Individually, Colorado State’s Jerrell Mock and Boise State’s Brenna Peloquin made their case to be considered national contenders come November 19 in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Men’s Race: No. 19 Portland, Colorado State’s Mock Win
Don’t call it a comeback.
After missing NCAAs last year — one year after finishing third — the Portland Pilots are back with a vengeance.
Under overcast skies in Minnesota on Saturday, 19th-ranked Portland rolled to a team title at the Roy Griak Invitational. The Pilots scored 69 points and put four runners inside the top-20, led by Jeff Thies’ fifth-place finish.
Colorado State’s Jerrell Mock captured the individual crown in 25:07. Mock was runner-up to teammate Jefferson Abbey last year.
Abbey and Mock become the first teammates to win in back-to-back years since Arizona’s Stephan Sambu and Lawi Lalang in 2010 and 2011.
Portland packed up early in a race loaded with eight ranked teams and only got stronger from there. Thies never lost contact with the leaders, while Nick Hauger (11th), Tim Ball (12th), Stephen Mulherin (16th) and Caleb Webb (25th) made sure they wouldn’t leave Les Bolstad Golf Course without the team title.
Early on the individual race, Furman’s Frank Lara dueled with Michigan’s Aaron Baumgarten and Michigan State’s Ryan Robinson. Lara fell off the pace in the last 3K, while Baumgarten and Robinson were joined by Mock and Boise State’s Yusuke Uchikoshi.
Down the stretch, Mock’s strength proved to be too much for Baumgarten. Minnesota’s Matt Welch also kicked past Baumgarten on the final straightaway for second place. Baumgarten settled for third.
Robinson, Thies, Obsa Ali of Minnesota, Uchikoshi, Ferdinand Edman of UCLA and the Southern Utah duo of Kasey Knevelbaard and Aidan Reed rounded out the top-10.
Finishing behind Portland in the team race was RV Iowa State, 14th-ranked Boise State and 17th-ranked Michigan. 30th-ranked Michigan State took fifth in the team standings.
Women’s Race: Second Title Contender Emerges For Boise State
Many expected a standout performance from a Boise State sophomore this afternoon in the Jack Johnson Women’s Gold Competition at the Roy Griak Invitational.
They got one — but not from the Bronco they thought it would be.
With preseason national title favorite Allie Ostrander on the sideline, it was Brenna Peloquin who wowed the Griak crowd. Peloquin won 13 seconds over Michigan’s Erin Finn after going step for step with her through a majority of the 6K race.
This was the first XC win of Peloquin’s collegiate career. Peloquin was 11th at this meet last year and helped Boise State to a shocking team victory.
Another year, another surprise team winner as the 30th-ranked Portland Pilots completed the sweep. Lauren Larocco (3rd) led three Portland runners in the top-6 as the squad scored 74 points, compared to 127 for runner-up and ninth-ranked Michigan State. Other Pilots in the top-6 were Anne Luijten (5th) and Parkes Kendrick (6th).
13th-ranked Penn State, sixth-ranked Boise State and 10th-ranked Michigan were third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the team standings.
Fourth place overall went to Arizona’s Claire Green, while Eastern Washington’s Sarah Reiter followed that Portland duo in seventh. San Francisco’s Charlotte Taylor finished eighth, Penn State’s Jillian Hunsberger took ninth and Iowa State’s Perez Rotich rounded out the top-10.