Cross Country Set to Run in Griak Invitational
Tyler Morse
Tyler Morse

Sept. 28, 2012

Meet Information

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The Illinois State men's and women's cross country teams head north to run in the 27th annual Roy Griak Invitational at the Les Bolstad Cross Country Course Saturday afternoon. The men's team will compete in the 8K Merrill Fischbein Gold Competition at 12:20 p.m. CT, followed by the women in the 6K Jack Johnson Gold Competition at 1:10 p.m.

A well-known cross country course in the Midwest, the Les Bolstad Cross Country Course is a challenging test of endurance as it features differing terrain throughout the course of the race. It also showcases a variety of twists and turns, with some major hills in the mix. The course should provide a tough competitive atmosphere for those involved in the meet.

The men's 8-kilometer race will feature 13 NCAA Division I teams, including Illinois State. Among the 13 teams, the Redbirds will head to the start line against three conference champions from a year ago, including NCAA sixth-place finisher Augustana (S.D.). Other teams include Boise State, Central Michigan, Connecticut, Drake, Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota, South Dakota, South Dakota State, Utah State, Utah Valley and Weber State.

The women's 5-kilometer race will feature much of the same teams, but will add three additional ones to the starting box (Baylor, James Madison and Portland). The teams will feature six conference champions from 2011, and two top-10 finishers at the NCAA Championships, including national champion Augustana (S.D.), who returns four all-conference and three all-American runners from that winning team.

The Redbirds line up against a very competitive field, after taking a two-week hiatus to recover and rebuild after their home meet on Sept. 14, where Ryan Rutherford and Rachael Brewer crossed the line as the No. 1 runners for Illinois State. Rutherford claimed second overall in the 8-kilometer race, finishing with a personal-best time of 24:25. In her 2012 debut, Brewer ran to a third-place finish, posting a career time of 17:22.



Along with Rutherford, the men's team will showcase seven other runners. Junior D.J. Taylor will be making his third appearance in an Illinois State uniform, holding a season-best time of 26:15 at the 8-kilometer distance. Sophomores Griffin Nykaza, Andrew Sandoval and Sean Senf will also be starting in their third race of the season, holding season top-times of 27:09, 27:05 and 26:15, respectively.

Rounding out the starting eight will be freshmen Aidan Askin, Scott Janusick and Tyler Morse. Morse has been the No. 2 runner for the Redbirds this season, running a personal-best time of 25:36 at the Illinois Intercollegiate Cross Country Championships (Sept. 14) Askin and Janusick have been steady contributors throughout the year, running season-best times of 26:39 and 26:41, respectively, at the 8-kilometer distance.

Joining Brewer on the women's side will be senior Elise Sigg who is coming off a 10th-place finish at the Illinois Intercollegiate Cross Country Championships, where she ran a time of 17:49 in her 2012 debut at the 5-kilometer distance. Juniors Sarah Castel, Shannon Nemetz and Kristen Zillmer and sophomores Kimberly Christensen and Ashley Kamin are also slated to start for the Redbirds in the Griak Invitational.

Freshmen Ellen Devereux, Kelly McShea, Jackie Mink and Kaley Ummel are also expected to take to the starting line, continuing their transition into collegiate running.

Fans can follow the Redbirds throughout the course of the meet on and on Twitter via @ISU_Track_XC. Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, TRC gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.