From left to right: Isabella Jacobsen, Sam Scott, Ali Weimer, and Charlie Power Theisen, your 2021 Roy Griak Winners
The Roy Griak is the one huge meet in Minnesota that brings in elite competition from out of state. This year we had elite out-of-state teams such as Sioux City North, Olathe West, Middleton, and Dowling Catholic to compete against some of the best teams and runners Minnesota has to offer.
The out-of-state teams dominated in the team races, taking four of the top six spots in the boys and girls gold races and maroon races. On the individual side, three of the individual champions were from Minnesota, while one was from Wisconsin.
This year it was a combination of that out-of-state talent, and Minnesota runners, that made the 35th Roy Griak one to remember this year!
Boys Gold Race
Minneapolis Southwest's Sam Scott was the boy Gold race winner
Going into the boy's race it was determined to be a two-runner race between 25th ranked MileSplit50 runner Micah Blomker and MileSplit50 honorable mention Sam Scott. And it did not disappoint! The lead pack of boys consisting of Blomker, Scott, Gilles, Vanacker, Lindseth, and Keller; went through the mile mark and 3000m mark all grouped together, but at 4000ms, Scott and Blomker were able to create some separation from the pack. Scott was able to hold off Blomker on the final stretch to win by 7 seconds over Blomker with a time of 15:49.30. This was Scott's fifth straight win of the season and his second 15:xx performance of the week. Scott and Blomker were the only boys to run a sub 16:00 minute 5K.
If their teams return next year, the top three returners from this year, Micah Blomker, Sam Scott, and Nick Gilles; will all be back next year to try and take the Roy Griak title. In all, over half of the top 20 finishers, might return next year.
Sioux City North's 'Stache Power Leads To Win
In the team race, Sioux City North (Iowa) led the team race at all the checkpoints (mile, and 3000m marks), to narrowly finish in 1st place ahead of in-state rival Dowling Catholic (Iowa) by a margin of only 7 points. Sioux City North was led by Will Lohr and Natnael Kifle with top-ten finishes and employed a 16:48 scoring average to narrowly take the win. Behind them, Wayzata finished as the top school from Minnesota, 67 points behind Dowling Catholic. They had a very impressive split of 13 seconds for their scoring runners, the lowest split in the field.
The biggest team surprise in this race was the Rosemount boys who were projected for a 16th place finish in our virtual meet, they ended up finishing in 5th overall with 294 points.
Girls Gold Race
Ali Weimer Uses Griak Experience To Power Win
Ava Parekh was the leader at the mile and 3000m marker, but it was Ali Weimer who was able to come away with the win after outkicking Parekh in the last 1000m. Weimer was able to finish with a time of 17:48.50 to beat Parekh by 10 seconds. She is now undefeated on the season with two big wins at St. Olaf and Roy Griak. She becomes the first Minnesota winner since Emily Covert in 2018. She also announced her commitment to the University of Minnesota while being interviewed by us (see video above).
It will be a different looking Roy Griak for the next year, as six of the top ten finishers graduate, and the rest of the top ten run for out-of-state schools. The top Minnesota girls returners are Chanhassens Marissa Long and Forest Lakes Norah Hushagen.
Olathe West Passed Enough Runners To Win
Just like the boy's face, it was a couple of out-of-state schools to finish 1st and 2nd, with a Minnesota school finishing third. Olathe West (KS), powered by a strong team pack finish, was able to hold off Middleton (WI) to take the win by just 6 points! Olathe West had a strong 45-second split, compared to Middleton 2:47 second split. It really shows the two sides of cross country racing on how different kinds of teams can win meets.
St. Paul Highland Park was the third-place finisher, beating out seven Minnesota coaches ranked Class AA teams in the process. They were led by a strong 10th place finish from Molly Moening and were probably the deepest team in the race, putting all 7 varsity girls in the top 100.
Boys Maroon Race
Charlie Power-Theisen's Takes Maroon Race Win
Girls Maroon Race
Mounds View's Maroon Win Marks Turning Point
The girl's maroon race was highlighted by the only non-Minnesota runner to win an individual race. Menomonie's Isabella Jacobsen was crowned the individual champion by outrunning Albany's Olivia Goebel for a time of 18:42.40 to beat Goebel by about 3 seconds. Brandon Valley Eighth-grader Adison Scholten finished third with a time of 19:11.30.
There weren't many seniors in the girls maroon race field, only 5 in the top 25, so if the majority of these teams return next year, I'd expect to see many familiar faces.
The Mounds View girls were able to beat out South Dakotas Brandon Valley to win by a score of 125-154. The Brandon Valley girls on average were faster than Mounds View, but Mounds view had a split that was almost 50 seconds faster, therefore they were able to score fewer points. The Mounds View girls were able to beat out the 8th ranked Class AAA team in Minnesota, Champlin Park, by 79 points.