UCSD travels to Minn. for Roy Griak Invitational

UCSD cross country came away from the 18th annual Roy Griak Invitational in St. Paul, Minn., with 10 top finishes for the men’s and women’s teams last weekend, leaving the University of Minnesota’s Les Bolstad Golf Course after placing seventh on the women’s side and ninth in the men’s competition.

Guardian file photo

The nationally 12th-ranked UCSD women, coming off a sixth-place finish last week at the UC Riverside Invitational, placed seven runners. They were led by All-American Audrey Sung’s 18:40.9 on the six-kilometer course, which was good enough for 10th overall among 233 runners from 24 Division II programs.

Lillian Gardiner followed in 35th place, Meghan Bellotti in 44th, Erin O’Donnell in 49th, Kathy Read in 52nd, Lindsay Stalker in 54th and Bailey Kennedy in 58th.

Northern Michigan, which finished sixth at last year’s National College Athletic Association Division II Championships, handily won the team title with 60 points, followed by Wartburg College of Iowa, which had 128 points, and North Dakota, which finished with 130 points. UCSD tallied 181 points in its fourth top-10 finish in four meets this year.

Sung, Stalker, Gardiner, Julie Pope and Lindsey Young return as last year’s placers on a team that took fifth at the California Collegiate Athletic Association Championships and 12th at the West Regional, falling short of the top-four finish required to reach the national meet.

Carl Lostrom was the top runner for the men, finishing 43rd out of 333 runners in the eight-kilometer race, which was composed of both Division II and III programs. All seven Tritons who placed finished in the top third of the meet — Lostrom, Neil Kalra (45th), David Dunbar (56th), Alan Shapiro (81st), Devin Callister (83rd), Stephen Martin (91st) and John Morrison (98th).

The Tritons had 298 points, but finished well behind the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, which won the event with 88 points. The Eagles, who are the defending Division III cross country champions, edged Wartburg College’s Knights, who had 95 points.

Kalra, Dunbar, Shapiro, Martin, Morrison, Grant Guenther and Julian Nahan were all runners from last season’s squad that made a run at the national championship. They return this year in hopes of an improvement over last year’s 15th place national finish. The team’s run last season included a third-place finish at the CCAA Championship meet and fourth place at the West Regional.

The Tritons will head to Salem, Ore., next weekend for the Willamette University Invitational before returning home for the UCSD Triton Invitational on Oct. 12. Both are tuneups for the CCAA Championships at Cal State Bakersfield on Oct. 26. Provided they finish above the team cutoff marks, the Tritons will advance to the NCAA West Regional Championships on Nov. 9. The season culminates at the NCAA Division II National Championships in Ashland, Ohio.