Heat bakes Bay College in cross country debut

MINNEAPOLIS — It was baptism under fire for the Bay College cross country teams as they struggled in the heat during their debut at the University of Minnesota.

The Norse had four men’s and three women’s finishers in Division III race of the Roy Griak Invitational, but it wasn’t enough for a team score.

“It was real hot,” said Bay coach Jim Murtha. “Temperatures were in the mid 80s. They moved up the times and combined races to get the meet done before it got too hot. A lot of people didn’t make it across the finish line. We were slower than we hoped.”

Wisconsin-Oshkosh was crowned D-III men’s champ with 35 points, followed by North Iowa Community College 80 and Hawkeye Community College 83.

North Iowa’s Brian Jacques won the eight-kilometer (five-mile) race in 27 minutes, 7.2 seconds. He was followed by UW-Oshkosh’s Lucas Weber (27:49.4) and Hamline’s Kyle Mehrhof (28:02.2).

Nick LaRose of Gladstone was Bay’s pacesetter in 73th (35:48.1), followed by Steve Maguson of Cheboygan (38:53.9), Kevin Brazeau of L’Anse (47:43) and Dominic Mancini of Gwinn (50:16).

The Carelton women won with 26 points, followed by St. Thomas (Minn.) 67 and UW-River Falls 82.

Oshkosh’s Cheyenne Moore took the 6-K (3.7-mile) race at 22:54.32, followed by Carelton’s Emily Kaegi (22:56.24) and River Fall’s Abigail Fouts (23:30.31).

Caitlyn Havelka of Stephenson led the Norse in 116th (28:38.53). She was followed by Gladstone graduates Zoie Berg 124th (28:53.13) and Rhyan Murtha 146th (31:30.81).

“This was a tremendous learning experience,” said coach Murtha. “We saw a lot of top-notch teams and athletes. The kids know they’ll do better in our next meet. There were a lot of people out there. We had to pretty much jockey for position. I told everybody ‘now you have a starting number. Our goal is to improve.’ We went to the Mall of America Friday and did some team bonding. Everybody enjoyed the trip.”

The Norse host their first invitational Saturday at 10 a.m. at Beauchamp’s Grove in Flat Rock.