Freshmen twins set for Roy Griak meet

The cross country teams compete in the Invitational this weekend.

Alyssa Hodenfield

With six collegiate races and four high school races, the Roy Griak Invitational — which takes place at the University of Minnesota — has long been a staple in the cross country world.

Attending the meet for the first time will be extra special for Minnesota twin freshmen runners Bethany and Megan Hasz.

The sisters, originally from Alexandria, Minnesota, made the University a priority while choosing where to attend college.

“We definitely knew that we would go to the same school; that wasn’t really a question,” said Bethany Hasz. “We have awesome coaches and lots of resources, and it’s somewhat close to home. I just love everything about [Minnesota].”

Head coach Sarah Hopkins said Megan and Bethany are the kind of twins who like to stick together.

Although Bethany has a little more natural speed and Megan has an edge in endurance, when it comes to training, the two match up well, which makes them even stronger competitors.

“They’ve obviously trained together their whole running careers, and just being able to keep that is a really nice advantage for them because there’s other freshmen that have to come in and start completely from scratch with all new training partners,” Hopkins said. “I think that’s maybe what made the transition a little smoother than it might have been otherwise. They really are remarkably similar.”

The new runners have adjusted to collegiate cross country impressively. Both placed in the top six at the Oz Memorial Run earlier on in the season.

The two also took the second and third spots in the team’s intrasquad meet, which featured 25 other teammates. Megan came in second while Bethany finished just a few seconds behind to claim third.

“For being true freshmen, everything they do at this point has been awesome. It’s hard to get to college and adjust to training, new teammates, new classes and living away from home, and they really haven’t missed a beat,” Hopkins said. “They’ve just done a remarkable job coming in and keeping the ball rolling from what they accomplished in high school.”

The Roy Griak Invitational this weekend will be a new experience for the Hasz sisters — neither ran the meet while in high school.

The Jack Johnson Women’s Gold Race at the invitational should be a good test for the No. 25 Gophers. The race features 36 teams, nine of which are nationally ranked.

“Individually, I haven’t thought about it much because it is a bigger meet than I’m used to, and there’s going to be a lot of competition there,” Megan Hasz said. “I don’t want to overthink it and get too nervous about it.”

The anticipation leading up to the meet doesn’t faze the newcomers. If anything, the buildup makes the duo more excited.

“I guess I’m just pretty excited to run my first big collegiate race, be in the Gophers uniform and represent the team the best that I can,” Megan Hasz said.