MINNEAPOLIS---The Bay College Norse are back, after a 40-year hiatus.
The college's first sports competition since the 1970's saw the Norse cross-country teams compete at a large invitational Saturday at the University of Minnesota.
The Ray Griak Invitational included hundreds of runners from schools big and small from around the Midwest. It is the 32nd year for the event, one of the largest in the country. It was held under hot conditions on the U-M golf course.
"The conditions were absolutely brutal," Bay College Coach Jim Murtha said. "There were so many kids struggling just to get across the finish line. I've never seen so many kids not be able to finish, and they combined races, so it was even hard to see the finish line."
Bay College did not have a team score, because two girls and one boy could not finish the race. You have to have five runners finish in order to have a team score.
"Overall, I would say it was a great experience for everybody," Murtha said. "We saw a lot of top-notch teams there, and it is one of the premier events in the country. It was fun. We learned a lot."
Bay's top runner in the Division Three men's 8-K race was Nick LaRose, who finished the marathon in 73rd place, with a time of 35 minutes, 48.1 seconds.
Norse teammate Steven Magnuson was one spot behind, in 74th place, with a time of 38:53.9. Kevin Brazeau finished in 75th spot, running in 47:43, and Dominic Mancini was 76th, with a time of 50:16.0.
Giovanni Mancini also ran, but did not have a final score.
The women's race is shorter than the men's race (6-K), and more than 180 women were entered in Division Three.
Bay's top runner was Caitlyn Havelka, who finished in 116th place with a time of 28:38.53. Teammate Zoie Berg was 124th overall, crossing the line in 28:53.13.
Freshman Rhyan Murtha finished 146th, with a time of 31:30.81. Norse runners Katy Combs and Brittany Judson also competed, but did not have final scores.
Bay College hosts its only home meet of the season next Saturday at the Beauchamp Farm in Flat Rock. That meet will include Northern Michigan, Michigan Tech, Lake Superior State, and Sault (Ontario) College.
-Jack Hall - RRNSports.com