Women third at Griak Invitational

Eric Hammond

The ninth annual Roy Griak Invitational took place at Les Bolstad University Golf Course on Saturday, and results were mixed for Minnesota. On the women’s side, the 23rd-ranked Gophers looked much better than their ranking showed, thanks to a third-place finish behind Arizona State and Brigham Young.
“I thought when we came off the course that we were going to be fifth or sixth,” Minnesota coach Gary Wilson said. “But I wasn’t surprised with the good finish.”
The Gophers put five runners in the top 55 on their way to a score of 165. The Sun Devils won with a total of 53.
Junior Corrine Nimtz led Minnesota with an eighth-place finish in a time of 17:57.
“I felt really good, but I didn’t expect to place that high,” explained Nimtz, “I did want to be under 18:00 though.”
Junior Elaine Eggleston finished 24th despite battling the flu and almost not running Saturday.
“I told Elaine that she didn’t have to run, but she went out there and had a great race,” said Wilson.
Victoria Moses, Christine Eid, and Rasa Michniovaite rounded out the top five finishers for the Gophers.
“Lots of kids stepped up for us,” Wilson said. “Moses ran well, and Nimtz ran a tremendous race.”
The only negative for the women’s squad might have been the finish of 1998 All-American Michniovaite. Michniovaite couldn’t defend her 1998 individual championship, dropping to 54th individually.
“Rasa had too much publicity, it got to her,” described Wilson. “She was thinking instead of running, but she’ll be back.”
With the third-place finish, the Gophers are hoping for a much better ranking this upcoming week.
“I knew we are better than our ranking and we proved it today,” said Wilson. “Our kids are excited, they finally figured out how good they really are.”

Men’s Cross Country
Contrary to the strong running of the women’s team, the 13th-ranked Minnesota men’s cross country team finished in a disappointing 14th place.
“I think we are high at 13 in the polls, but we needed to prove we are a top-25 team,” said Coach Steve Plasencia.
Senior Eric Pierce was the highest finisher for the Gophers, in at 18th with a time of 25:03.
“Pierce had a good day, not a great day,” Plasencia said.
“I was hoping to be up a little higher in the race,” Pierce said. “I also wanted to be under 28:00.”
It was a long drop-off after Pierce — sophomore Joey Corr finished in 51st place. The next Minnesota finisher was Andrew McKessock, who crossed the line 92nd.
Josh Brang and Jason Owens rounded out the top five for the Gophers. Minnesota finished with a total score of 361.
The final standings left Plasencia questioning his team — a team that should have finished better.
“Right now I am searching for answers,” said Plasencia. “We need to find out why we’re not running up to our standards.”
The head of steam that the Gophers had the past two years — with strong finishes at the Big Ten and NCAAs — might be on the way down.
“The last few years we have been on the rise, but now we aren’t running near that level,” Plasencia said. “We need to make a step up, not a step back.
“We need to put this meet behind us and just believe that there will be better days.”