Joseph Hovey | Posted: 24 Sep 2021 | Updated: 25 Oct 2021

Mantz, Cougars take first at Griak Inviational

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BYU men's cross country at the finish line
Conner Mantz runs at 2021 Griak Invitational. Credit Craig Lassig/University of Minnesota Athletics

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Conner Mantz led No. 3 BYU men’s cross country to its second-straight meet title at the 35th annual Roy Griak Invitational at Les Bolstad Golf Course on Friday.

Mantz and Wesley Kiptoo of No. 10 Iowa State remained neck-and-neck for much of the men’s 8K and finished within one second of each other after a final burst from Mantz as the two All-Americans approached the finish.

"Conner is very competitive and had a well-timed kick to take the win," said BYU head coach Ed Eyestone.

Mantz seized first place from Kiptoo with an 8K time of 23:53.9. The reigning individual national champion has now recorded four consecutive first place finishes and eight for his career.

Three more BYU runners accompanied Mantz in the top-10, powering the Cougars to a first-place finish with 34 points.

Casey Clinger clocked a 24:37.4 to finish fourth in his first collegiate meet since the 2020 National Championships.

"It was great to have Casey back in the line-up and he didn't disappoint," said Eyestone. "He looked sharp in his first race since the Olympic Trials." 

Clinger has finished in the top-5 in five of his last six meets.

Aidan Troutner and Brandon Garnica finished within 0.2 seconds of each other at sixth and seventh place, respectively. Lucas Bons passed 21 runners over the final 3K to finish 16th and secure the team's win in just his second collegiate cross country meet.

"Bons is gaining confidence with every race and will be key if we are going to finish on the podium at nationals," said Eyestone.

Freshmen Davin Thompson and Joey Nokes made their BYU debuts in St. Paul and finished in the top-50 with times of 25:27.6 and 25.33.3, respectively.

BYU and Iowa State finished just as tight as Mantz and Kiptoo. The Cougars narrowly edged the Cyclones 34-35, while No. 26 Michigan State took third in the team standings with 86 points. BYU also overpowered host Minnesota (137) and WCC-foes Santa Clara (sixth, 178) and Pepperdine (15th, 435).

BYU men’s cross country will next compete at the FSU XC Invite/Pre-Nationals at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, Florida on Friday, Oct. 15. 


Griak Invitational Top-5 Results | Team 

Place Team Score
1.  No. 3 BYU 34
2.  No. 10 Iowa State 35
3.  No. 26 Michigan State 86
4. Minnesota 137
5.  Wyoming 175

Griak Invitational Top-10 Results | Individual

Place Name Time Team
1.  Conner Mantz BYU 23:53.9
2. Wesley Kiptoo Iowa State 23:54.9
3. Morgan Beadlescomb Michigan State 24:18.5
4. Casey Clinger BYU 24:27.8
5. Thomas Pollard Iowa State 24:37.4
6. Aidan Troutner BYU 24:38.9
7.  Brandon Garnica BYU 24:39.1
8. Gable Sieperda Iowa State 24:47.5
9. Ryan Ford Iowa State 24:49.0
10. Alec Basten Minnesota 24:51.1

Griak Invitational | BYU Individual Results

Place Name Time
1. Conner Mantz 23:53.9
4. Casey Clinger 24:27.8
6.  Aidan Troutner 24:38.9
7. Brandon Garnica 24:39.1
16. Lucas Bons 24:59.0
30. Zac Jacklin 25:16.0
32. Creed Thompson 25:20.4
41. Davin Thompson 25:27.6
46. Joey Nokes 25:33.3
52. Adam Wood 25:42.9
55. Zack Ericksen 25:43.9
58. McKay Johns 25:47.1
59. Justin Hartshorn 25:49.2

*Photo Credit Craig Lassig/University of Minnesota Athletics

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