UMD Women Runners Win

Individual champion Morgan Place led No. 10-ranked Minnesota Duluth to the Division II women’s title in Saturday’s 24th Roy Griak Invitational at the Les Bolstad Golf Course in Falcon Heights, Minn.

Place, a sophomore from Ellsworth, Wis., won a second straight Griak championship in 21 minutes, 55.3 seconds for six kilometers. Grand View sophomore Obsie Birru was second in 22:09.

“It feels unbelievable,” Place said of her consecutive wins. “Last year was an unbelievable year and I surprised myself so much. I just wanted to come back stronger and just try and keep getting better and make small improvements.”

UMD’s first Griak team title, among 22 entries, was aided by sophomore Rachel Stack, 16th; junior Carrie Wardell, 20th; junior Bridget Hines, 23rd; and junior Whitney Hines, 28th.

r The UMD men placed 12th as sophomore Nick Nygaard was 58th in 27:32 for eight kilometers. In the Division III men’s race, Wisconsin-Superior freshman Scott Behling of Duluth was 39th in 26:57.5, while St. Scholastica senior Nick Mangan was 44th in 27:05.1.

r In the Division III women’s race, St. Scholastica senior Katelyn Meger was 17th in 23:19.3 and UWS senior Jenna Halverson was 178th in 25:54.3.

      Also, in Saturday’s Birkie Half-Marathon Trail Run in Hayward, Wis., Jakob Wartman, 23, of Duluth led a field of 140 in 1:17:33.9 for 13.1 miles, followed by former U.S. Olympic Nordic skier John Bauer of Hayward in 1:18:09.5. Maria Grossi, 21, of Hayward was the first woman in 1:27:12.9.