MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota– Michigan Tech’s men’s and women’s cross-country teams performed at the historic Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Friday afternoon. Michigan Tech’s No. 15 men made history by winning their first-ever men’s Jo Rider Maroon Race. The women improved five places from last year and finished fourth as a team.
“Our ladies and gentlemen are currently going all out,” said head coach Kristina Owens. “On both sides, the teams have shared a shared vision of excellence and you can see it in the way they race towards the common goal together. We are delighted to take home the men’s team win, a first in program history at this storied gathering!
“The sports department has also invested in advanced mental skills training via the Restoic app and we have integrated this into our weekly training. We hear from many athletes that this makes a crucial difference in their performance mentality.”
The men started the day when the sky cleared just before the starting gun sounded. The Huskies did well with a top three within the top 11 places and finished fourth in the team race.
The race began to settle down at the next mark at the 3,000m point, with Drew Kolodge moving up to third and Senior Clayton Sayen also moving up five places to seventh. As a team, the Black & Gold moved up to second place.
A monumental jump occurred at the 5,000-meter mark, with the Huskies having the lowest overall score as a team at 62 points as Kolodge and Sayen moved up to third and fourth places, respectively. Sam Lange moved up seven places to 13th.
Notably, the Huskies’ top 5 were all in the top 25, with Tucker Ringhand (20th) and Nick Mckenzie (25th). The duo moved up several places in the 2,000m since the last marker.
Though the scoring runners switched positions in the final 3,000m, the scoring stayed the same, giving Michigan Tech their first Roy Griak Invitational win.
Division III Wisconsin La Crosse, most recently fourth in the USTFCCCA national poll, ranked second with 77 points, 15 behind the Huskies. Central region contender Sioux Falls rounded out the top 3 with 96 points.
Sayen, the 2021 Jo Rider men’s Maroon Race champion, was close to victory on the day but improved on his time from last year to finish second in 25:11.1. Kolodge was close behind and finished in third place (25:13.3), Lange’s performance in eighth place (25:40.6) featured three Huskies in the top 10. The scorers for Black & Gold would finish in the top 30 , where Ringhand would be number one Fourth for the Huskies in 22nd place (26:09.2), Nick McKenzie was eight seconds back in 29th place (26:17.8).
The average time of the top 7 runners was a staggering 25:42.4.
After the impressive performances of the men, the women took to the starting line for their race under a persistently clear sky.
The women achieved an impressive fourth place with 132 points. The Huskies’ fourth-place finish was highlighted by defeating two nationally-ranked teams in No. 14 UMary and No. 27 Minnesota State.
“Our women also rode well and finished 4th, tying our historic best result from 2018. They beat a couple of high-level teams from the central region, which should help us move up the rankings and help us bid for the national championships,” added Owens.
Senior Michelle Bollini was the low stick for the Huskies, staying in the top-17 throughout the race and crossing the finish line in 13th place (22:57.3). Senior Sam Kurkowski rode with Bollini for most of the race and finished 10 seconds back in 17th place (23:07.8).
Jesse Jacobusse was the Huskies’ third runner that day, finishing 26th overall in 23:33.8. Student Elsa Huckles completed the course in 23:38.5 and placed 30th overall and fourth for Black & Gold. Hannah Loughlin rounded out the standings for Michigan Tech, falling under 24 minutes (23:59.5) to 47th overall.
The first seven of the Huskies finished in the top 65, with Anabel Needham (24:08.1) and Cedar Gordon (24:18.1) finishing 56th and 65th, respectively.
The average time for the huskies over the 6,000 meter course was 23:27.4.
The Huskies return to action in two weeks and travel to Romeoville, Illinois for the Lewis Crossover on Saturday, October 8th.