This weekend the cross country team will be traveling Minneapolis to compete in the prestigious Roy Griak Invitational at Minnesota’s Les Bolstad Golf Course. This year marks the 22nd year of the invitational, with Virginia returning from last year’s finishes in 3rd place in the men’s race and 6th place in the women’s. The Cavaliers will look to pick up valuable inter-regional points as they continue to push towards a return to the NCAA Championships.
The Men’s Gold 8K race will begin at 12:10 pm. The Cavaliers will be competing against four nationally ranked teams, including top-ranked Wisconsin, Minnesota (18), Northern Arizona (19), and Michigan State (23). The men’s team, ranked 28th nationally, is led by All-American and ACC champion Jan Foerster, who finished 15th in this event last year with a time of 24:59.20. Andy Biladeau finished 23rd in 2006 with a time of 25:13.75. Taylor Smith and Andrew Jesien also competed in the 2006 Invitational, finishing with times of 25:54.50 and 26:00.40 respectively.
The 10th ranked women’s team will begin the Jack Johnson Gold 6K race at 12:55 pm. The women will also be competing against four ranked schools, all within the top ten nationally, including Wisconsin (5), Arizona State (6), Minnesota (8), and Michigan State (9). All-American Emily Harrison finished 5th at the Invitational last year with a time of 21:21.60. Kara Scanlin finished 17th, with a time of 21:50.10, and Katie Read finished 21st with a time of 21:57.20. Lauretta Dezubay, Sara Casscells, and Jen Dolson competed in last year’s Invitational as well. Virginia will be the only team competing from the Southeast region as the women continue to be the top-ranked team in the Southeast.
Thus far this season the Cavaliers have competed in the Lou Onesty Invitational in Charlottesville. Andy Biladeau won the men’s 8K race, while Emily Harrison led the women to a first place finish in the 5K race. As a result of their performances at the invitational, Andy Biladeau and Emily Harrison were named ACC Runners of the Week September 11th.
Virginia will also send runners to William and Mary to compete in the Tribe Inter-Regional competition on Saturday.