Women’s: Roy Griak Invitational is first big test for women’s cross-country
ASU’s women’s cross-country team has fared well in its first two meets of the season, but the season’s first real test will come this weekend in Minneapolis at the Roy Griak invitational.
The Griak is the season’s first qualifying meet for the NCAA championships and is where the journey to the title begins for many teams.
ASU is one of of those teams.
Women’s cross-country coach Ryan Cole seems optimistic about his team’s chances this weekend based on the performance of some of his more less-seasoned runners.
Cole said the veterans and the freshmen are starting to show confidence in their ability to run together.
“We’re starting to see some consistency as far where our top group is and how are grouping up will go throughout the season,” he said.
Cole said the ability to incorporate new runners onto the team with such ease will prove beneficial to the success of the team’s season.
The team’s top runner junior Shelby Houlihan ran unattached in Tucson last weekend and is in top form going into the big test for the team.
“(Houlihan) is more fit than she’s ever been in her life,” Cole said. “Next weekend is a big opportunity for her and the team.”
Cole said one challenge that the team must overcome is the ability to focus on its strategy and not losing composure with such a big field running at the same time.
ASU will be competing against top-ranked teams, such as No. 4 ranked BYU and Division II top-ranked Adam State.
Men’s: ASU’s men’s cross-country has high expectations this weekend at Roy Griak
Men’s cross-country has rested most of its top runners leading up to the most important meet of the young season at the Roy Griak Invitational.
Men’s coach Louie Quintana said the team is in top fitness form but will need to work on execution of the strategy and having composure throughout.
Quintana said he plans on starting freshman Bernie Montoya this weekend among the top runners on the team and that although Montoya’s first meet in Flagstaff resulted in a top-10 finish for the freshman, Montoya was upset and felt he could have done better.
“People were very critical of his first race. It didn’t match up to his expectations,” he said.
Quintana said it was important to get Montoya a run regardless of the result. In the three weeks since Flagstaff, Montoya has refocused and is ready to go at the Griak Invitational, Quintana said.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @lorenzozazueta