Posner, Kunkel impress at Griak

Junior Sam Poser (26:04.2) finished fifth out of 296 competitors and senior Danielle Kunkel (22:36.13) finished third out of 412 runners, representing the University of Wisconsin-Platteville men’s and women’s cross country teams at the Griak Invite Sept. 28.

Poser was named WIAC Men’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week and Kunkel was awarded WIAC Women’s Cross Country Athlete of the Week

As squads, the men finished fifth and the women finished 19th.

The Griak Invite has been around for 28 years and attracts some of the best competition in the nation.

Entry numbers have risen every year since its inception.

With this year’s numbers climbing to over 4500 competitors across all college divisions and high schools, this year’s meet was the biggest in Griak history.

The invite is an all-day event with ten separate races starting early in the morning and finishing in the late afternoon.  The Griak is also the first meet during the season that many athletes get to run with competitors of a higher level, making the competitiveness of this invite fierce.

“The Griak is mainly special to us because of the competition factor and historically we as a team have always done well there,” assistant head coach Andres Young said.

Along with the high-level competition, the course itself plays a role, especially with the rain that hit the Les Bolstad Golf Course in Falcon Heights, Minn. where the meet is held.

“With this meet being the first of the season with national competition, we pulled back a little bit in practice to be more fresh,” Young said. “We also focused on which teams will be top competitors (for UW-Platteville) and made sure it was clear to be competitive and run with them.”

The Pioneer cross country teams will run Friday at the Blugold Invite, hosted by University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.