The 18th annual Roy Griak Invitational was one to remember for both the Colorado State men’s and women’s cross county teams. The meet, which had a total of nearly 2,900 high school and collegiate racers proved to be a showcase for the No. 22 ranked men.
CSU junior Jefferson Abbey took first place in his field of more than 200. The Fort Collins native clocked a time of 24:52 in the 8-kilometer race. He was followed by his sophomore teammate Jerrell Mock, who took second place with a time of 24:56.
It was not the first time the pair finished one after the other, as Mock took 11th place overall at the Mountain West Cross Country Championships last season, while Abbey crossed the finish line in 12th place.
“They’ve been working together all year and the last few years,” head coach Art Siemers said. “They were talking to each other, they made a move together, they broke the pack together. It was fun to see.”
After the race, Abbey was in awe of his accomplishment.
“That’s one of those things that coming into college I thought I would never do,” Abbey said. “It made it even better, going 1-2 with Jerrell. Being in the last (kilometer) together was so awesome. I’ll probably remember that forever.”
A pair of freshmen for the CSU men also found themselves in the spotlight as redshirt freshman Carson Hume snuck into the top-30 with a time of 25:40. True freshman Eric Hamer impressed finished 31st clocked at 25:42.
The women’s team took a major step in the right direction, finishing sixth in the overall team standings, and three Rams were able to finish in the top-35. True freshman Ali Kallner breezed through the 6-kilometer with a time of 22:16 to finish 24th. Kallner was chasing a big pack that included CSU junior Janelle Lincks, who took 20th with a time of 22:12. McKenna Spillar finished in 34th place overall with a time of 22:30.
Though Siemers was a little disappointed in the overall finish of the men, CSU’s top seven runners finished in the top-50. The top seven of 2014 only managed to place in the top-100. The women were able to improve by ten places from last year’s invite. The team’s top seven finished in the top-75 out of 400 runners.
Up next, both the men and women will compete Friday in the Notre Dame Invitational Friday. The following day, CSU will send a small group to Boulder for the Rocky Mountain Shootout.
Collegian Sports Reporter Eddie Herz can be reached by email at email@example.com.