exThe 20th Griak Invitational
The Roy Griak Invitational, hosted by the University of Minnesota, will celebrate its 20th anniversary on Saturday, Sept. 24. A record number of athletes are expected to compete in the event this year, making the Griak annually one of the largest cross country meets in the nation.
2005 Roy Griak Invitational
Saturday, Sept. 24
Les Bolstad Golf Course
9 a.m. Women’s Maroon III Race
9:45 a.m. Men’s Maroon Race
10:35 a.m. Women’s Maroon II Race
11:20 a.m. Men’s Gold Race
12:10 p.m. Women’s Gold Race
12:55 p.m. Boys’ Gold High School Race
1:40 p.m. Girls’ Gold High School Race
2:25 p.m. Boys’ Maroon High School Race
3:10 p.m. Girls’ Maroon High School Race
A Minnesota Legend
The Roy Griak is named after a living legend, former Golden Gopher cross country and track coach Roy Griak. Griak has spent the last 41 years with the Minnesota Athletics Department, 33 of those coaching. Since his retirement from the coaching ranks in 1996, Griak has served as the administrative assistant for the men’s cross country and track programs. Griak will celebrate his 82nd birthday on Oct. 5.
The Price of Admission
Ticket prices for the 2004 Griak are $5 for adults and $2 for youth. Children under 6 years of age are free. No pets will be allowed on the course.
And the Winner is...
Team and individual results of the 2004 Griak Invitational will be placed on two websites: gophersports.com and onlineraceresults.com.
The Golden Gophers
The Minnesota men’s and women’s teams head into the Griak, the second meet of their respective seasons, on the heels of impressive season-opening performances.
The Gopher men have advanced to the NCAA Championships for a school-record eight consecutive seasons and expect 2005 to be season number nine. Minnesota opened its season by placing second at the BYU Autumn Classic two weeks ago. While the Gophers placed second to the perennial power Cougars, head coach Steve Plasencia noted the performances of a couple of young Golden Gophers heading the pack. Sophomore Justin Grunewald finished third overall and posted his first career number-one finish in the Gopher lineup. True freshman Chris Rombough, a high school All-American, embarked on a very promising collegiate career with a sixth-place showing overall.
The Gophers will mold their talented youth around several veteran performers with plenty of postseason experience. Senior Ryan Malmin captured All-America honors a year ago and will serve as the team captain with fellow senior Erik Grumstrup. Junior Antonio Vega is coming off back-to-back all-region seasons and is expected to play a major role in the Gophers’ fortunes as well.
The Minnesota women have high goals for the 2005 season, returning to the NCAA Championships for the first time in three years among them. Head coach Gary Wilson, in his 21st season at Minnesota, has built his program on youth the past two season and expects the dividends to be paid this season. The Gophers lost only one runner from last year’s squad which placed fourth at both the Big Ten Championships and the NCAA Midwest Region. The leader of the pack returning is all-region and second-team All-Big Ten senior Lauren Williams. Pushing Williams for the team’s number-one spot is sophomore Ladia Albertson-Junkans, who finished one place from both All-Big Ten and all-region accolades last season.
The Largest Griak Expected
Entries indicate the 2005 Roy Griak Invitational will be the largest in the 20-year history of the event. An anticipated 3,000-plus athletes will compete over the nine races on Sept. 24. The record stands at 275 teams and 2,627 finishers in 2004.
Honorary Referees Named for 2005
The Roy Griak Invitational will have two honorary referee oversee race day. The honorary referee for the collegiate races is Marty Stern, the retired Villanova women’s cross country coach that led the Wildcats to several NCAA titles. The honorary referee for the high school races will be Patty Percival, the person most responsible for the high school competitions being added to the Griak schedule.
The Griak Gold Race Field
A total of 60 NCAA Division I teams are set to compete in the Gold Races. Twenty (20) schools (Arizona State, Baylor, Boston College, Butler, Iowa State, James Madison, Kansas, Marquette, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota State, Providence, South Dakota State, Southern Utah, UCLA, Utah Valley State, Weber State, Wisconsin, and Wisconsin-Milwaukee) are expected to compete in both the men’s and women’s Gold Race events. An additional seven schools, including BYU, Cal Poly, Michigan and Ohio State, are only competing in the men’s race. North Carolina, Princeton, Rice and Oklahoma State lead a group of 13 schools sending just their women’s teams to this year’s Griak.
The Returning Champions
Three of the five collegiate races will feature teams looking to defend Griak titles. Wisconsin won its 11th Griak Men’s Gold title in 2004 and enters the 2005 Griak as the top-ranked team in the nation. Providence won the 2004 Griak Women’s Gold title and used that momentum to go on to a runner-up finish at the NCAA Championships last season. Wisconsin-LaCrosse will battle to defend its crown in the Griak Men’s Maroon Race.
All five collegiate races will crown new champions in 2005 as the 2004 winners were seniors or will not run this season due to injury.
This meet was first contested in 1986 and was named the Minnesota Invitational from 1986-94 and the Norstand Invitational in 1995-96, until it was renamed the Roy Griak Invitational in 1997. The meet has grown from 220 finishers in 1986 to a record 2,627 competitors in 2004.
Griak Notes of Interest
• Only three runners has been able to win the Griak Men’s Gold Race title twice. Providence’s Ben Noad won back-to-back Griak titles in 1997 and 1998 while BYU’s Kip Kangogo won in 2003 and 2004. Wisconsin’s Matt Tegenkamp won the title in 2001 and again in 2004.
• The Griak Women’s Gold Race has also had only two repeat champions, Fran Ten Bensel (Nebraska) in 1991 and 1992, and Kim Smith (Providence) in 2003 and 2004.
• Other two-time Griak champions are Vladimir Golias (Central Missouri State) - Men’s Maroon in 1997 and 1998; Sarah Anderson (Wisconsin-Superior) - Women’s Maroon in 1997 and 1998 and Jonah Kiptarus. Kiptarus won the 1994 Men’s Maroon title as a member of the Barton County squad, then returned as a Nebraska runner to win the 1996 Men’s Gold crown.
• Minnesota has two Griak titles to its credit, both on the women’s side, with wins in 1988 and 2000. The best finish for the Minnesota men was third in 1997.
• The only Golden Gopher to win the individual title was Rasa Michniovaite in 1998. The highest finish from the Golden Gopher men’s team was a sixth-place showing by Andrew Carlson in 2004.
• Brigham Young’s Kip Kangogo set a new Griak record over an 8-kilometer course, winning in a time of 23:38.9 in 2002.
• The Women’s Gold Race was lengthened from 5K to 6K in 2000. The 2004 champion, Providence’s Kim Smith set the 6K record with a time of 20:10.
• Wisconsin leads the way with 11 Griak men’s titles. The women’s event has had 11 different teams win in the Griak’s 19-year history with Providence’s four team titles leading the way.
• Wisconsin is the only school to win the men’s and women’s Griak titles in the same year, doing so in 1997.
• Of the 31 men’s teams that competed in the NCAA Championships in 2004, eight of them ran in the Griak Invitational. Nine (9) women’s teams that competed in the Griak also advanced to the 29-team NCAA Championships.
• Roy Griak has missed only one Griak Invitational in its 19-year history. In 2000, Griak missed the meet to attend a once-in-a-lifetime reunion of World War II Army veterans. Griak will be an award presenter at the meet again this year.
• Minnesota women’s head coach Gary Wilson in is his 21st year with the Golden Gophers. But several coaches bringing teams from the state of Wisconsin have ties to Wilson from his successful coaching stint at Wisconsin-LaCrosse prior to coming to Minnesota. Wisconsin-LaCrosse’s men’s coach Don Fritsch, Wisconsin-Platteville’s Tom Antczak and Wisconsin-Whitewater coach Jeff Miller are former athletes of Wilson’s at LaCrosse.
• Golden Gopher head men’s coach Steve Plasencia and BYU men’s head coach Ed Eyestone were two of the three athletes ( Illinois head coach Paul Pilkington is the third) who made up the U.S. marathon contingent to the 1995 World Championships in Gottenburg, Sweden.
• Four teams have used Griak Gold Race titles to help propel them to NCAA Division I team championships: the Wisconsin men in 1988, the Iowa State men in 1989, the Villanova women in 1989 and the Providence women in 1995.
• Five individuals won Griak titles in seasons in which they won the NCAA crown: Villanova’s Vicki Huber in 1989, Iowa State’s John Nuttall in 1989, Wisconsin’s Kathy Butler in 1995, Providence’s Keith Kelly in 2000 and Providence’s Kim Smith in 2004.
• The most athletes to compete in any single Griak race was in 2001, when 508 athletes competed in the Women’s Maroon Race. The race was split into Maroon II and Maroon III the next year (2002).
• Iowa State won the Men’s Gold title in 1989 with 15 points, the only perfect team score in Griak history.
• Griak individual titles have been decided by just one second a total of eight times in the past 17 years. The most recent was in 1999 when Sheela Agrawal (Duke) edged Lisa Aguilera (Arizona State) for the Women’s Gold title. Minnesota’s only Griak medalist, Rasa Michniovaite, also won her race by just a second in 1998.
• The two high school races were added to the Griak Invitational in 1994 and split into Gold and Maroon Races in 2004.
Griak Champions — Women Gold
2004 Providence 2003 Arizona State 2002 Michigan State 2001 Arizona State 2000 Minnesota 1999 Providence 1998 Arizona State 1997 Wisconsin 1996 Providence 1995 Providence 1994 Oregon 1993 North Carolina State 1992 Wisconsin 1991 Virginia 1990 Oregon 1989 Villanova 1988 Minnesota 1987 Iowa 1986 Nebraska Griak Champions — Men Gold
2004 Wisconsin 2003 Wisconsin 2002 Oregon 2001 Wisconsin 2000 Providence 1999 Wisconsin 1998 Providence 1997 Wisconsin 1996 Wisconsin 1995 Wisconsin 1994 Wisconsin 1993 Iowa State 1992 Adams State 1991 South Florida 1990 Iowa State 1989 Iowa State 1988 Wisconsin 1987 Wisconsin 1986 Wisconsin Griak Invitational Participation
(Numbers reflect full teams and actual race finishers, not entries)
Year Teams Runners 2004 275 2,627 9 Races - 2 H.S. Races added 2003 242 2,310 7 Races 2002 220 2,071 7 Races - W. Maroon III added 2001 240 2,233 6 Races 2000 212 1,922 6 Races 1999 188 1,718 6 Races 1998 149 1,434 6 Races 1997 162 1,602 6 Races 1996 154 1,653 6 Races 1995 144 1,514 6 Races 1994 96 1,040 6 Races - 2 H.S. Races added 1993 63 575 4 Races - M. Maroon added 1992 68 628 3 Races 1991 65 565 3 Races 1990 56 491 3 Races 1989 41 385 3 Races - W. Maroon added 1988 36 350 2 Races 1987 35 310 2 Races 1986 27 255 2 Races Totals 2,473 23,683