MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. - On an extremely warm day, the Duke men’s cross country team pushed through to finish in seventh place out of 14 teams at the Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday morning in Minneapolis, Minn.
Duke finished with a team score of 181, 14 points behind sixth place Navy. Colorado State took the title with 45 points. Overall, Duke now has a 15-6 record this season and is 1-0 in the ACC.
For the second straight week, junior Nikhil Pulimood finished as the Blue Devils’ top runner. Pulimood finished in 18th place, clocking a time of 25:50 on the eight-kilometer course.
“Pulimood had a very good day, and despite the heat, he ran better here than he did last year,” said head coach Norm Ogilvie. “It says something that he was in the top 20 and earned an individual award.”
Finishing second for Duke was freshman CJ Ambrosio who had a time of 26:16 to come in 31st. Junior Stephen Garrett (26:33) and sophomore Cole Hoff (26:50) scored for the first time this season for Duke as they finished in 38th and 46th place respectively. Rounding out the top five for the Blue Devils was freshman Josh Romine who earned 48th place thanks to a time of 26:54.
"Ambrosio continued to prove he’s one of the better freshmen around,” Ogilvie said. “It was also a solid race for Garrett. Hoff and Romine also improved on their performances last week.”
Seniors Alec Kunzweiler and Jordan Burton were the sixth and seventh finishers for Duke, as Kunzweiler clocked a time of 27:00 to finish in 51st place while Burton ran the course in 27:14 to come in 58th.
“We’ve made really great strides in the last five week, and now we have another five week period until the ACC Championships,” Ogilvie commented. “We needed to let these guys compete and they got that chance today. This is real Division 1 running on a tough course, on a hot day. This course is always challenging but with the heat, it was brutal today. I’m very proud of the guys that stepped up in those conditions.”
The Blue Devils will have a few weeks off from competition before running at the ECU Pirates Invite on Oct. 13.