Gophers Host 28th Annual Griak
Sept. 26, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS -- The University of Minnesota men's cross country team hosts the 28th Annual Roy Griak Invitational this Saturday at Les Bolstad Golf Course in Falcon Heights, Minn.
One of the nation's largest cross country meets, this year's Griak features a total of 10 races (six collegiate, four high school) with around 4,500 runners expected to compete in all divisions.
2012 Griak Recap
Minnesota earned its first-ever Griak team title at the 2012 Roy Griak Invitational, besting a field of 15 with five runners finishing in the top 18 overall. The Gophers' 67 team points last year were the lowest by a team since 2004. Second Team All-Big Ten honoree John Simons crossed the finish line eighth with a time of 25:00.2 to lead Minnesota. Andrew Larsen came in close behind in 10th (25:02.9). Marcus Paulson (25:09.5) and Derek Storkel (25:11.4) finished 15th and 16th, respectively. Pieter Gagnon rounded out the scorers, coming in 18th (25:13.8).
Bringing Back Talent
Minnesota returns four of the top six runners from last year's Griak including Simons -- the top returner overall in front of Larsen in second. South Dakota's Jeffrey Mettler (11th in 2012) and South Dakota State's Trent Lusignan (12th) are the top returning non-Gophers. Minnesota's Paulson and Storkel also return from last year's squad, meaning Minnesota returns its top four scorers from last year's event.
Honoring Roy Griak
The 2013 Minnesota men's cross country season marks the 50th year of service to the University of Minnesota by legendary coach Roy Griak. Griak served as the head coach of the Minnesota men's cross country team from 1963-1996 and led the Gophers to three Big Ten titles (two cross country, one track & field). Griak has remained on staff as an administrative assistant since handing over the reigns of the program to current Director of Men's Track & Field and Cross Country Steve Plasencia.
Success Under Plasencia
Now in his 18th season at the helm of the Minnesota men's cross country program, Director of Men's Track & Field and Cross Country Steve Plasencia has continued to guide the Gophers program to successful season after successful season. During his 17-year tenure, the Gophers have earned 14 NCAA Championship bids as well as three NCAA regional titles. Plasencia has also coached the Gophers to a total of 12 All-America honors, 28 All-Big Ten honors and 85 Academic All-Big Ten accolades. A two-time All-American for the Gophers, Plasencia still holds the school record for a 10-kilometer race.
Three Gopher seniors will represent the team as captains for the 2013 cross country season. John Simons, Andrew Larsen and Derek Storkel will pave the way for the Gophers in their final year of college eligibility.