FALCON HEIGHTS, Minnesota—Gig Harbor HS graduate Brenna Peloquin (left/photo by Mike Scott) emerged victorious in the Jack Johnson women’s Gold race for Division I schools at the prestigious Roy Griak Invitational hosted by the University of Minnesota and put herself in the conversation as a possible NCAA title contender in two months.
The sophomore put herself at the front, going through the mile in 5:23 alongside Michigan’s Erin Finn, before taking command after the halfway mark.
Peloquin extended her lead over Finn after the 3k mark, racing away to a winning time of 20:50, eleven seconds ahead of the Michigan runner.
Eastern Washington’s Sarah Reiter finished seventh to lead the Eagles to a 27th place finish, and put herself in a strong position to qualify for her second NCAA championship.
Reiter ran 22:02, 72 seconds behind Peloquin.
Eastern’s scorers were Paula Gil-Eehevarria (146, 23:51); Kaili Keefe (180, 24:16), Kari Hamilton-Scharnhorst (195, 24:25), and Carli Corpus (244, 24:54).
One of the biggest stories of the women’s race was the strong performance by the University of Portland, which upset a slew of nationally ranked teams to win the women’s team title, placing three runners in the top ten.
Sophomore Courtney Cox of the Pilots from Walla Walla HS was the team’s seventh runner, finishing 98th in 23:24.
On the men’s side, Portland showed that they will be a force on the national scene this season as they won the Merrill Fischbein team title by a 69-97 count over runner-up Iowa State.
Redshirt sophomore Nick Hauger from Spokane’s Shadle Park HS was the Pilots’ second runner across the line, finishing 11th in the 8k race in a time of 25:24.
Two spots behind Hauger was Edmonds-Woodway grad Miler Haller, a redshirt freshman from Boise State, who clocked 25:28.
Eastern Washington finished 26th in the 29-team field with a final score of 777 points, led by Steaven Zachman, who ran 27:07 to finish 153rd.
The Eagles’ other scorers were James Breen (186, 27:30); Isaac Kitzan (196, 27:37); Matthew Hommel (202, 27:41); and Logan Stahl (211, 27:47).
In the Division II Maroon mens’ 8k race, the #14 ranked Vikings of Western Washington finished fifth, led by a pair of top ten finishes by Isaac Derline in 6th (26:19), and Andrew Wise in 10th (26:28).
Augusta of South Dakota took the team title with 88 points, as Western Washington scored 154 for fifth.
The Division II women’s Maroon 6k race saw the Vikings finish sixth, led by Brittany Grant’s 15th place finish in 23:30.
The University of Mary won the women’s team title with 93, with the Vikings scoring 210 points in 6th.
NOTE: The sports information offices of Boise State, Eastern Washington, Western Washington, Portland, and the University of Minnesota contributed to this report.