Keeping their heads up and feet on the ground

It’s easy to say that it’s been a good couple of weeks for the men’s and women’s cross country team as the Wolverines took another stride to the finish line at the Roy Griak Invitational last Saturday.

This isn’t the first time the Wolverines stepped foot into Minneapolis as the University of Minnesota hosted its 27th annual Roy Griak Invitational at the Les Bolstad Golf Course in Falcon Heights.

“It was a great meet,” said head coach Scott Houle. “The Roy Griak Invitational puts on one of the best meets around. The competition is always really strong and our team did a pretty good job.”

As Utah Valley competed against other schools across the country, both the men’s and women’s team finished with a 10th place win.

Individually, Junior Cliff Nielson took the lead for UVU men placing 13th overall with teammates Macy Butterfield and Mike Felix right behind him. Freshman Darian Sharp placed a 37th finish for the women with Krystal Harper and Ivie Gonsalves not far behind.

“Both kids [Nielson and Sharp] did a great job getting out there, racing well and placing high,” Houle said. “It was Darian’s first 6k ever and that’s a big difference going from a 5k to a 6k, so she really got her feet on that race.”

The University of Minnesota took first for the men’s with 67 points while the Wolverines placed 10th with a score of 220 points. Iowa State won the women’s meet with a score of 47 while the women Wolverines placed 10th with 279 points.

“It was nice to have some insight on a longer race because that’s the longest race I’ve ever done,” Sharp said. “I’m excited for our next meet. Our team’s excited because it’s short, fast and we’ll come out with pretty good times if we do well.”

UVU jumped back into its home state this weekend as they competed against more teams at the SUU Invitational in Cedar City.

“This meets a little more unique,” Houle said. “Both schools are going to hold out. That gives the kids an opportunity to step up and run a little bit better and see what they can do when they become the leaders.”

As there’s always room to improve, nothing has stopped these runners as they have gone throughout the season with high energy and optimism.

“There are some things they can work on and get a little bit better but I look forward to see what we can do with that in the next couple weeks,” Houle said.

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