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Tiger-Grizz Invitational Draws 40-Plus Teams
One of Idaho's largest cross country meets of the year is Friday
Published: 9/9/2021 4:49:41 PM
Marlowe Hereford
Contributing Writer


The annual Tiger-Grizz Invitational returns to Idaho Falls' Freeman Park on Friday with an impressive turnout.

As of Thursday afternoon, 45 teams are registered for the meet, which is one of the largest in eastern Idaho every cross country season. The deadline for entries was Tuesday evening.

While eastern Idaho teams make up the majority of the entries, there are five District 3 teams registered: Bishop Kelly, Middleton, Nampa Christian, first-year school Owyhee and Rocky Mountain.

"We usually get a pretty good turnout of District 5 and 6 teams," said co-meet director and Idaho Falls head coach Alan McMurtrey. "The Boise ones didn't use to come unless state was over here. It's nice that we got a few that want to come over. Most of us (in eastern Idaho) will go that way for Bob Firman (next weekend at Eagle Island State Park)."

Due to the high turnout, the meet will have some modifications.

Prior to the arrival of COVID-19, Tiger-Grizz had runners in both the varsity A and varsity B races start at the same time and compete on the course at the same time. COVID-19 protocols prompted last year's meet to be divided across two days and with separate start times for the varsity A and B races.

While the meet returns to a Friday only schedule this year, there will again be separate start times for the varsity A and B races to prevent overcrowding at the starting line. Varsity A races are for 5A and 4A schools while varsity B races are for 3A, 2A and 1A.

"Last year, COVID made us do things differently," said co-meet director Sean Schmidt of Skyline. "This year, numbers made us do things differently."

McMurtrey said the largest race of the day will be JV A boys with 360 participants.

"The most we can have on the line is 400," McMurtrey said. "Once it starts getting above 350, we have to start looking at (separate start times)."

While the course has been modified a few times, it has for the most part remained the same course that Bonneville athletic director Tyler Johnson designed when Freeman Park hosted the state meet in 2013. There will be a total of eight high school races and four middle school races at the meet. The first race of the day is at noon--JV B girls--and the first high school race will be varsity B girls at 2:50 p.m. Vector Timing will again be providing results for the meet.

The Salmon boys and Soda Springs girls are defending varsity B champions while the Idaho Falls boys and Skyline girls are defending varsity A champions. Three of the four defending varsity individual champions have graduated: Salmon's Johnathon Simmons (varsity B boys), Raft River's Karlee Christensen (varsity B girls) and Madison's Will Dixon (varsity A boys). Bonneville's Alivia Johnson won last year's varsity A girls individual title as a sophomore.

The complete meet schedule is below, in chronological order:

Junior varsity B girls 5K, noon
Junior varsity B boys 5K, 12:45 p.m.
Junior varsity A girls 5K, 1:30 p.m.
Junior varsity A boys 5K, 2:10 p.m.
Varsity B girls 5K, 2:50 p.m.
Varsity A girls 5K, 3:25 p.m.
Varsity B boys 5K, 4 p.m.
Varsity A boys 5K, 4:30 p.m.
Middle school JV girls 2,600 meters, 5 p.m.
Middle school JV boys 2,600 meters, 5:30 p.m.
Middle school varsity girls 2,600 meters, 6 p.m.
Middle school varsity boys 2,600 meters, 6:30 p.m. will provide live coverage of the four varsity races, beginning at 2:45 PM.

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