LARAMIE, Wyo. – With the 2016 cross country season now in full swing, the University of Wyoming cross country team heads to Falcon Heights, Minn., for the 31st annual Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday. Hosted by the University of Minnesota at the Les Bolstad Golf Course, the Griak Invitational is one of the largest and most competitive meets in the country. The meet is named for former Minnesota cross country and track & field coach Roy Griak, who coached for the Gophers from 1963-1996 and passed away in 2015.
The Griak Invitational features a tough field of talented Division I teams from all across the nation. Wyoming will face a number of nationally ranked foes in both the men’s and women’s races in Minnesota. The women’s 6K field includes No. 6 Boise State, No. 9 Michigan State, No. 10 Michigan, No. 17 Iowa State, No. 20 San Francisco, No. 25 Minnesota, No. 29 Mississippi State, and No. 30 Portland. The men’s 8K field includes No. 13 Penn State, No. 14 Boise State, No. 17 Michigan, No. T-19 Oklahoma, No. T-19 Portland, No. 22 Furman, No. 24 Colorado State, No. 26 Southern Utah, and No. 30 Michigan State.
Led by Audra DeStefano, the Cowgirls took eighth place at the 2015 Roy Griak Invitational. DeStefano placed 17th overall, while Aaron Derner took 23rd in the men’s race to lead the Cowboys to a 10th-place team finish.
The men’s race begins at 11:20 a.m. MT on Saturday while 12:35 p.m. MT is the scheduled start time for the women’s race. Fans can watch the race live via a paid subscription to FloTrack.
Cowgirls Seventh, Cowboys 13th in Latest USTFCCCA Regional Rankings
The Wyoming Cowgirls are on the move in the Sept. 19 edition of the USTFCCCA Regional Rankings, jumping up to seventh in the Mountain Region after a third-place finish at the MSU-Bozeman Running Company Invitational. Utah and Weber State, the only teams to finish above the Cowgirls in Bozeman, traded places in this week’s rankings. Utah moved up to fourth while Weber State dropped to fifth. The Cowgirls are third among MW teams in the Mountain Region and have a 5-2 record against regional opponents.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys dropped to 13th from a ninth-place ranking last week. After being unranked, MSU-Bozeman Running Company Invitational team champion Utah State entered the rankings at No. 9 in the Mountain Region while Weber State, the only other team to beat the Cowboys in Bozeman, stayed at No. 10 in this week’s rankings. Wyoming is ranked fifth among MW teams from the region while currently sporting a 4-2 record against regional foes.
Wyoming has a three-week break from competition before heading to Terre Haute, Ind., for Pre-Nationals on Oct. 15. Pre-Nationals is the last meet before the 2016 Mountain West Cross Country Championships, which will be held in Kuna, Idaho on Oct. 28.