Funky scheduling weakens Griak field

Other universities are hosting big meets on the same day.

by Drew Claussen

Thanks to some funky scheduling, this year’s Roy Griak Invitational won’t have as strong of a field as in the past.

“It’s a screwed-up calendar this year, and there’s seven pretty major races on this same day,” Gophers head women’s coach Gary Wilson said.

Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Louisville, Oregon and Kansas are all hosting events this weekend. The race at Louisville is the same course that is featured at nationals, which caused many schools to go there.

“It’s really too bad because every single meet has got less teams than it usually has,” Wilson said.

Soft field aside, the Gophers runners are still using this weekend as a benchmark for their season.

“It’s exciting because [the Griak] will kind of tell us where we are since it is a bigger meet,” sophomore Molly Kayfes said. “There’s more competition that’s a little better.

“I love the Griak. I’m super excited,” she said. “I feel like this is kind of our big deal for once a year, so it’s really fun.”

The Griak is an important event for the men, too, but head coach Steve Plasencia said the team’s ultimate goal is to run its best at the end of the season.

“We don’t mortgage the farm for the Griak Invitational,” Plasencia said. “Our biggest goals are still in November.”

Plasencia said that since the Gophers have never won their home tournament, it would be nice to come out on top this year.

The men will race 8,000 meters, a step up from their last meet, while the women will race 6,000.