The men and women cross country teams ran away with valuable
points towards nationals this weekend at the Roy Griak Invitational
at the University of Minnesota.
The men finished third overall and the women seventh in the most
important meet of the young season.
The Griak featured many of the nation’s toughest individual
runners and a host of the top national programs.
Wisconsin won the men’s field with 89 points and three of the
top six individual finishers.
Austin Vigil led the Rams, finishing fifth overall in a time of
24 minutes, 24 seconds. Bill Michel (10th, 24:33) and Josh Glaab
(14th, 24:36) joined Vigil among the top 15.
“I’m very, very proud of our performance,” coach Del Hessel
said. “We did a very fine job in carrying out the race plan.”
The three upperclassmen completed the Rams’ strategy to near
perfection. Vigil and Glaab ran with the top 15 throughout the race
and Michel slowly challenged from further back.
“Josh and Austin ran incredible; they did all the work,” Michel
said. “I just felt stronger as the race progressed. When the field
slowed at the hills I sped up and fed off that.”
Mike Nicks (37th, 25:02), Matt Ciencuilli (86th, 25:39), Paul
Michel (88th, 25:39) and Paul DiGrappa (100th, 25:46) rounded out
the men’s runners.
Unfortunately for the Rams, Ciencuilli and DiGrappa became ill
before the race and had to be isolated in an effort to keep the
With a fully healthy team the Rams “could have run better, but
every team thinks we could have done this or that, but you’re at
where you’re at,” Hessel said.
With the top five runners factoring into the team score, a
better finish by a fifth runner likely would have propelled CSU
past runner-up BYU. The Rams finished with 152 points, the BYU
Cougars with 131.
With a third place finish the men garnered an important standing
in the national scene.
“We made a statement that CSU is certainly a national-caliber
program,” Hessel said.
The women finished strong, but slightly below high expectations.
They ended in seventh place, just outside their goal of being in
the top five.
For Hessel, the race displayed an improving women’s team.
“I am absolutely sure this women’s team will get better,” Hessel
said. “We beat some good teams and still have a chance to
Nicole Feest finished 27th overall, in 21:38, to lead the
cluster of Rams behind her. Michelle Carman (42nd, 21:53) Colleen
Blair (44th, 21:54) and Crystal Clark (46th, 21:54) crossed the
Jen Kintzley (62nd, 22:09) Katie Yemm (64th, 22:10) and Sarah
MacKay (67th, 22:11) all ran well for CSU.