Jayhawks Head North to Roy Griak Invitational

Sept. 21, 2006


The University of Kansas cross country teams hit the road to compete in the Roy Griak Invitational Saturday in Minneapolis, Minn. The men’s team, which was recently ranked No. 10 in the USTFCCCA National Preseason poll will be led by senior Benson Chesang, who finished second at the prestigious event last season, while the women look to improve upon their 26th-place finish last season.

The Roy Griak Invitational is one of the premier cross country races in the nation. This year’s event will feature over 350 schools and 4,000 student-athletes. Joining the Jayhawks at the event will be a host of highly rated teams. The men will be competing against several preseason top-10 squads, including defending NCAA champion Wisconsin (first) and Arizona (eighth). Competing against the women will be highly rated foes, including Arizona State (ninth) and Minnesota (16th).

On the men’s side, the team returns its top-five finishers from the event last year. Joining Chesang will be juniors Colby Wissel (22nd) and Paul Hefferon (39th) and senior Erik Sloan (86th) and Tyler Kelly (98th). The 8k race is slated to begin at 11:20 a.m. at Minnesota’s Les Bolstad Golf Course.

At its last meet, the men’s team repeated as champions at the Kansas State Wildcat Invitational, defeating in-state rival Kansas State, 25-30. Leading the charge for the Jayhawks was Wissel, who repeated as the event’s individual champion, running the 5k race in a blistering 14:57.2. For his effort, Wissel was named Big 12 Runner of the Week, becoming only the third Jayhawk in Big 12 history to receive the honor. Junior Patrick McGowan followed Wissel, finishing second in 15:30.3, a 90 second improvement from his performance at the meet last year.

Due to its performance at its first two competitions, the men’s squad came in ranked No. 10 in the USTFCCCA Preseason rankings. The Jayhawks join three other Big 12 schools in the top 10: Colorado (third), Texas (fifth) and Oklahoma State (ninth). In the initial Midwest Region poll, the Jayhawks rank second, trailing only Oklahoma State.

For the women, the Roy Griak Invitational provides an opportunity for the team to test its depth against Division I opponents after winning both the Bob Timmons Invitational and the Kansas State Wildcat Invitational.

At the dual with Kansas State, junior Alicia McGregor was the team’s top finisher, placing third in the 5k race in a time of 18:50.2, an improvement of over 90 seconds from her performance at last season’s race. Junior Lisa Morrisey followed closely on her heels, placing fourth in a time of 18:58.6. The women edged Kansas State, 28-29, to win the event for the second-straight year.

Stay tuned to kuathletics.com for all the results from the Roy Griak Invitational.