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Sept. 22, 2016

Columbus, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s cross country team will have a plethora of opportunities to knock off quality opponents on Saturday when they compete at the Roy Griak Invitational. The race will be hosted at the Les Bolstad Golf Course in Falcon Heights, Minn.

The Roy Griak is an all-day affair featuring 10 races throughout the day varying in skill level. The Buckeyes are slated to run the premier women’s race of the day at 2:35 p.m. ET and a live stream of the race will be featured on FloTrack (subscription required).

Ohio State will be running its second 6K race of the season, and while this race will provide an opportunity to compete against some high caliber teams, it will also prep the Buckeyes for another race later in the season.

“This race holds a lot of importance for us because this is where the Big Ten Championships will be hosted as well,” assistant coach Sara Vergote said. “It’s a bit of a complicated course and it will be nice for us to get a preview of it before we run it at conference.”

The event will feature nine teams ranked inside the top 30 of the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll including No. 6 Boise State; the race also features eight other Big Ten schools.

“This will be the biggest race we compete in this year aside from Pre Nationals in terms of quantity,” Vergote noted. “There are probably going to be about 400 women in this race. For us, it’s a matter of just sticking with the race plan and utilizing each other to move through the course.

“We will see nine nationally ranked teams this weekend, and as a squad, we believe that we’re a team that can be nationally ranked. So for us, to continue to go head to head with these teams and prove that to ourselves and everybody else is what we are looking to do.”

The Buckeyes are coming off a solid meet last weekend in Nashville, Tenn. The Scarlet and Gray placed eight runners inside the top 50 in a field of over 250 athletes and knocked off two top-30 teams at the Commodore Classic.

Sophomore transfer Sarah Kanney led the way with a 5K time of 17:28.4 to take 13th place. Emily Stoodley (15th), Lilly Saniel-Banrey (16th), Abby Nichols (21st) and Lainey Studebaker (22nd) were the next four to finish. All of the Buckeyes top seven finishers at the Commodore Classic were underclassmen and the whole team continues to thrive.

“At this point in the year, we are exactly where we need to be,” Vergote said. “In my four years here, this is by far my most cohesive group of women we had. Just in terms of working together, and as the competition of the meets have been getting stronger, I feel like we keep rising to the occasion.”

The Buckeyes will look to take advantage of the opportunities presented this weekend.