MINNEAPOLIS – After one of the more impressive sophomore campaigns in Sun Devil history last year, Shelby Houlihan showed there’s no signs of regressing in 2013 as she won the 28th Annual Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday in Minneapolis, Minn. The No. 29 Arizona State men posted an exceptional third-place finish at the Les Bolstad Golf Course, as well.
Houlihan became the third Sun Devil to win an individual title at the Griak, clocking a time of 20:35.45 to defeat the rest of the field by about 13 seconds. She joined Kari Hardt (2008) and Amy Hastings (2005) as the only other Sun Devils to win in Minneapolis.
Houlihan’s time was the second-fastest winning time of all time on a 6,000-meter course behind only Lisa Aguilera’s victory the 2000 NCAA West Regional Championships in Fresno, Calif., in 20:25.0.
Head coaches Ryan Cole notes that even with the victory, Houlihan still has work to do – a great sign of things to come this season for the Sioux City, Iowa, native.
It was the second victory of the junior’s career after winning the George Kyte Classic in Flagstaff, Ariz., last season. The victory was made more impressive when you consider Houlihan was racing against the likes of seven nationally ranked programs, including eventual team champion No. 5 Arizona, No. 12 Michigan State, No. 19 Minnesota, No. 20 Vanderbilt, No. 21 North Carolina, No. 26 Iowa State and No. 29 Butler.
The women were 10th overall in the competition with Adriana Olivas running perhaps the best race of her life with a 30th-place overall finish in 21:45.30.
A trio of freshman rounded out the coring for ASU with Kala Stone, Jenna Maack and Chelsey Totten finishing 76th, 82nd and 94th, respectively.
The men showed that they deserve mention among the nation’s best with a solid third-place finish in a field that included three ranked teams and several other teams that earned votes in the recent USTFCCCA Coaches Poll.
Senior Garrett Seawell had the best race of his Sun Devil career, pacing the men with an 11th-place finish in 24:42.2 over the 8,000-meter course – less than 20 seconds behind race winner Tyler Thatcher of No. 4 BYU.
Despite suffering a slight sprain earlier this week, sophomore Ryan Herson continued to look impressive as he finished 27th overall in 24:57.1 just ahead of freshman Bernie Montoya, who was 28th in 24:58.8 – despite running a relatively conservative race according to men’s coach Louie Quintana.
Steven Schnieders and Garrett Baker-Slama rounded out the scoring for ASU in 36th and 37th overall in 25:05.7 and 25:06.2, respectively.
The Sun Devils next set their sights on the low-key Mesa Thunderbird Classic next weekend before what could serve as a national championship primer at the Wisconsin Invitational on Oct. 19 in Madison.