Led by Thatcher, Cougars win Griak Invitational

(Photo by BYU Photo)

MINNEAPOLIS--Tylor Thatcher used late surge and won by a half step to take first overall, leading the No. 4 BYU men’s cross country team to victory at the Griak Invitational Saturday at the University of Minnesota.

“We got a really nice effort by Thatcher for the win,” head coach Ed Eyestone said. “He was leading or on the shoulder of the leader the whole way and had three guys right there with him at the end of the race. He just kicked it into another gear and leaned at the end to win it.”

Thatcher was passed with around 200 meters to go by Kevin Batt of Adam’s State, but regained the lead and didn’t give it up.

“I decided with to try and pass him and got to him with about 20 meters left.” Thatcher said. “I ended up winning by no more than half step. We got great races from everyone else too. (Jason) Witt has been consistently running well and did it again today.”

The Cougars ended with 62 points to beat second-place Colorado State, who scored 74 points. Thatcher finished the 8k course in 24:26. Jason Witt was the next Cougar to finish, taking seventh place with a 24:34 time. Aaron Fletcher finished in 24:46 and Thomas Gruenewald in 24:47 for 15th and 17th place, respectively. Jonathan Nelson was the last scoring runner for BYU and finished in 22nd place in 24:51. Steve Flint finished in 23rd place and Spencer Gardner in 29th place.

“I thought it was an excellent team effort,” Eyestone said. “We had a gap of only about 25 seconds between our first and fifth man. We got big time performances from Aaron Fletcher and Tommy Gruenewald as well.”

BYU has won all three of the races it has participated in this year and this was Thatcher’s second consecutive individual victory.

No. 29 Arizona State took third place with 139 points and top-ranked DII squad Adam’s State took fourth with 147 points. Oklahoma finished with 152 points to round out the top 5.

Full results from the Men’s DI Griak Invitational can be found here.

The Cougars return to action when they travel to the Wisconsin adidas Invitational on Oct. 19 before the West Coast Conference Championships on Nov. 2.