Ava Parekh all smiles after competing in the vaulted Roy Griak Invitational Friday afternoon
Les Bolstad Golf Course; Falcon Heights, MN
Prior to the start of the meet, the scouting report on one of the nation's top overall cross country invitationals had a bit of a "Minnesota twang" to it. Rightfully so, the Gopher State has produced many great and/or productive distance runners over the years.
The girls side of the game has always been well represented in the land of a thousand lakes. Back in 2018, Illinois went 1,2,3 in the team standings (Gold division) and that sent shockwaves through the national consciousness.
"Speak softly and carry a big stick" is the anthem of many humble distance runners. Ava Parekh (Sr., Chicago Latin) is one of those runners. Parekh does not have any social media pages yet she knows the scouting report of her opponents. And that of course she knew who the nationally ranked Ali Weimer (Sr., St. Michael-Albertson, MN) and Lauren Pansegrau (Sr., Middleton WI) were. Parekh as she usually does bolt to the front of the pack and set a strong pace.
Parekh opened the first mile with a five-second lead in 5:19 over Weimer and Pansegrau. Through the second mile in approximately 10:58, the lead was six seconds over Weimer and 45-seconds ahead of Pansegrau. The future U of Minnesota Weimer knew this course well, having run on it many times, made her move with a surge in the hilly final two kilometers to catch a tiring Parekh. The final result was a resounding victory for Weimer in 17:48 (5K). Parekh took second in 17:58. Both runners moved into the meet's all-time list. Weimer checks in at #5 and Parekh grabs the #11 spot.
Naperville North and Yorkville competed in the championship elite level gold division and made their presence felt. The Huskies earned another top five finish in fourth with 193 points (just 21 points behind the winner). Without #2 runner Logan Brennan, Naperville North battled from a sluggish 1st mile in 12th place. Lucy Westlake (Sr.) led her team in 18th place with a time of 19:15.
Yorkville continued its surge back to the state's elite corps, placed fifth with 233 points. Anna Hunter (Sr.) led the way in 14th place with a time of 19:05. The boys placed 18th in the gold race tallying 591 points. Brody Ferko (Sr) finished in 78th place.
The Class A #2 Latin boys also made the trip and placed 23rd with 667 points. Ryan Hardiman (Sr.) was 16th in 16:33.