The Northwestern men’s and women’s Cross Country teams competed in the annual Roy Griak Invitational last weekend on Saturday Sept. 24. The meet was hosted by the University of Minnesota, and took place at the Les Bolstad Golf Course in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Both the Red Raider men and women ran well at the meet, each finishing near the top. The NW men placed 16th overall at the meet, but finished as the top NAIA team, which is their best ever finish.
The NW women placed 30th out of all teams, and got 3rd place out of all the NAIA teams in attendance.
The men were led by senior Will Norris, who finished 11th with a season best time of 26:40. The next Raiders to finish the course were juniors Tanner Goetsch (28:13), Peter Smith (28:16), Ryan Bauermeister (28:49) and Tim Rose (29.23).
Junior Sarah Lunn led the Raider women, finishing in 135th place with a time of 25:57. Freshmen Breanna Harthoorn and Wesley Milligan were the second and third to cross the finish line with times of 26:07 and 28:02 respectively.
Norris enjoyed the meet and thought that the team ran very well in St. Paul, despite difficult conditions.
“It’s awesome to be out at a super competitive meet like that. The Griak is a monster of a meet, with teams from NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA, NJCAA and some unattached runners,” Norris said. “The goal was just to take some chances running hard in fierce competition, and get a feel for the size and intensity of the NAIA national championship race. I think we did that really well.”
Not only did the Raiders perform well at the Griak Invitational, this has also been a very solid season for the team thus far, especially the men’s team. The NW men are currently ranked 16th in the nation for the second week in a row.
They are the highest GPAC team in the rankings, and this is the highest they have been ranked in program history. Norris, who has been leading the team with strong individual performances, is excited to see what the team can accomplish this season.
“It’s pretty inspiring to be on a cross team that is the highest rank in NW’s history. We all work super hard and want it really badly this year,” Norris said. “I’m beyond excited to be running alongside such great guys with high goals, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season has in store for Raider XC.”
The next time the Red Raiders race will be at the Briar Cliff Invite, which is held in Sioux City on Oct. 8.