Sophomore Omet Kak finished 69th to pace Drake at the Roy Griak Invitational in Falcon Heights, Minn., on Saturday. The Bulldogs finished 17th overall in the 8,000-meter race.
The last time the Drake men’s cross-country team competed at the Les Bastad Golf Course on the University of Minnesota campus was two weeks ago, and the Bulldogs came away with a first-place finish. That finish propelled the squad to a ranking of 13th in the Midwest region according to the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, but Drake entered into this past weekend’s invitational with a ranking of 11th in the region.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, their ranking of 11th was put to the test by many other nationally ranked teams from outside the Midwest. Two powerhouses from the Southeast region took the top spots at the meet, with Duke and North Carolina State taking first and second, respectively. Drake, the only Missouri Valley Conference team at the meet, beat out Loyola-Chicago, another team ranked in the region, but finished two spots behind South Dakota State University, ranked 12th in the region. Drake’s 11th place ranking may be taken over by the Jackrabbits on Sept. 27, when the next regional ranking release is published.
The Bulldogs were once again led by their young talent, with Kak and freshman Brogan Austin finishing in the top spots for the squad. Kak’s final time was 25 minutes, 45 seconds. Just 15 seconds behind him was Austin, who finished in 80th place. Junior Ben Jaskowiak once again raced well for the Bulldogs, finishing just outside the top 100, yet inside the top half to come in third for the Drake squad.
“This was the first time our newcomers had ever run an 8,000-meter race and I thought they adjusted well against a very strong field,” Drake Head Coach Dan Hostager said in a Drake press release.
Sophomore Tim Cornish, freshman Doug Brady, junior Colin Hagan and senior Mike Bumgarner all placed in the top 125 in the meet.
There were over 200 runners competing at the meet.
Drake returns to Des Moines for next week’s race, as Grand View hosts the Grand View Invitational on Friday.
Many of the runners on the Drake women’s cross country team improved their times from last year’s Roy Griak Invitational to place Drake in 22nd place at this year’s meet. The 2009 meet brought only 191 runners from across the nation, while this year 300 runners competed in Falcon Heights, Minn.
Senior Casey McDermott once again finished first for the Bulldogs, with a time of 22 minutes and 44 seconds, which was six seconds faster than her time at the meet last year. McDermott was the only runner for Drake to finish in the top 100, coming in at number 88.
Seniors Tara Scieszinski and Meredith Bell both improved on their times from last year, with Scieszinski placing second for the squad, and Bell finishing sixth. Scieszinski ran a 23:38 to place 139th while Bell finished with a 24:09, good for 160th. Freshman Erin Poss and seniors Lindsay Smith and Katie Coomer finished third through fifth. Freshman Amanda Marwitz was the final runner across the finish line for Drake, placing 178th, running the course faster than over 100 other runners.
Drake was the only Missouri Valley Conference team at the meet. The winners of the Bulldog Classic, Iowa State, placed third, two spots lower than their first-place finish at last year’s meet.
The team will return to action on Friday at the Grand View Invitational in Des Moines.
Roy Griak Invitational Results
Drake: 17 out of 22
69. Omet Kak, 25:45
80. Brogan Austin, 26:00
103. Ben Jaskowiak, 26:19
111. Tim Cornish, 26:40
117. Doug Brady, 26:48
121. Colin Hagen, 26:52
122. Mike Bumgarner, 26:56
Drake: 22 out of 29
88. Casey McDermott, 22:44
139. Tara Scieszinski, 23:38
143. Erin Poss, 23:48
151. Katie Coomer, 23:59
160. Meredith Bell, 24:09
178. Amanda Marwitz, 24:52
Compiled by Matt Moran