Rangers impress at Griak

Saturday’s Roy Griak Invitational at the University of Minnesota provided a good gauge for the Ranger girls cross country team.

To outsiders, Saturday’s ninth-place showing out of 50 squads in the top heat showed how Forest Lake stacked up against multi-state competition. To coach Eric Kaluza, it showed the strides his athletes are making during practice.

“The Griak is an immensely important race within the season as it is a barometer of how the training has gone,” he said. “I’m impressed with their results and am confident times will drop over the next month.”

Wayzata won the race, followed by four out-of-state schools. Edina tied for sixth, followed by Eagan. The Rangers beat out conference rivals Mounds View (11th) and White Bear Lake (13th).

Sophomore Emma Benner led the way in 16th with a time of 19 minutes flat on the 5K course. Eighth-grader Caroline Schoessow came in 23 seconds and 11 places later. Kaluza praised Benner’s ability to change gears during the race, and noted that Schoessow cut her time from last year’s race by 90 seconds.

Ninth-grader Allie Bartlett took 82nd in 20:14. Ninth-grader Amanda Fortili (127th, 20:43) and Miranda Valentin (155th, 20:58) closed the scoring.

The Rangers take part in the Swain Invite in Duluth on Saturday.