The Nebraska cross country team competed today at the highly competitive Roy Griak Invitational in St. Paul, Minn. The men’s team placed 16th out of 24 teams behind meet champion BYU, while the women’s team placed 24th(28 teams) behind women’s champion Arizona.
Head Coach David Harris believes that today’s meet at the Roy Griak was just what the young group of Husker runners needed. Harris noted that the meet boasted a talent-rich field with some of the best runners in the country, and was good to see the NU runners compete at a high level in the meet.
“I think this was a great meet to come to, I think we need to be in a meet like this in September. We need to be tested and we were certainly tested today.” Harris said, “We beat some teams in our region that are ranked ahead of us, and we are getting a little bit of respect, but not as much as we want. I think coming to the Griak was perfect for us.”
Leading the way for the men’s team was senior co-captain Trevor Vidlak. Vidlak, a Lincoln Northeast graduate placed 57th overall, running a time of 25:21 in an 8k. Sophomore Jacob Olson continued his success on the course, placing 77th, with a time of 25:35. Olson was the second Husker to cross the finish line.
Harris was impressed with the overall times of the men’s runners, noting that anytime you run close to 25 minutes flat it is a good race. Harris also mentioned that he wants the men’s team to compete better during the middle of the race, a place where Harris believes today the Huskers struggled in.
“The times are good, they are good and I am pleased with them running times of 25 minutes, but everyman should be able to run better place wise here.” Harris said, “We got out in this race really well, but we didn’t extend ourselves in the middle enough. We did not race as hard in the middle.”
Sophomores Matt Bloch and Jonah Heng also ran great races, as Bloch placed 87th (25:41) and Heng finished 88th (25:43) respectively. Senior co-captain Jarren Heng continues to ease into competition after battling through injuries prior to the beginning of the season; Heng placed 98th with a time of 25:48.
Leading the women’s team was senior co-captain Isabel Andrade. Andrade, a California native placed 105th with a time of 22:45 in a 6k. Junior co-captain Sarah Larson was the second Husker to finish in the women’s race, placing 143rd overall with a time of 23:22.
Harris thought the Husker women’s team ran well at the end of the race, but said the NU runners need to have better starts in the opening 1000 meters.
“The women are opposite of the men, the women don’t get out of the race as fast. They don’t seem to be able to make that initial push in the beginning of the race and get a position.” Harris said, “We are starting our races from the back half and we got to get some more people up front in those beginning 1000 meters.”
The Nebraska cross country team will next compete at the South Dakota Invite in Vermillion, S.D., on Oct. 19.