Toroitich, Poltavska take men's, women's titles in Cellcom Green Bay Marathon

The University of Minnesota runner and former Valders cross-country and track star celebrated turning 19 in style Sunday, winning the Cellcom Green Bay half marathon in 1 hour, 12 minutes, 30 seconds and taking home $750 in winnings as a present.

It was the second time Griepentrog has run Cellcom’s half marathon after finishing third in 2022.

He was faster by more than a minute this year, averaging 5:32 per mile during the 13.1-mile race.

His goal again was to finish among the top three, but he was feeling so good toward the end of the race he figured he’d push himself a little harder and go for the win.

Not only did he win, but he did so in commanding fashion.

Runner-up Riley Martin of Pickett finished in 1:15.27, while Kyle Peotter of Appleton was third in 1:17:08.

Griepentrog was the best of 1,195 runners competing in the half marathon.

“It went really well,” Griepentrog said. “It was beautiful weather. Can’t complain about that. Just finished up my track season, so I said I might as well use my fitness for a little fun half marathon.

“Came out this morning and had a blast.”

Griepentrog signed a letter of intent in January 2022 to compete for the Gophers in both cross-country and outdoor track.

He was one of the best high school runners in the state during a decorated career at Valders, leading his team to the WIAA Division 2 state team titles in 2018 and 2019 and a D3 championship in 2021, when he also captured the individual state championship.

Griepentrog was just as dominant in track. He won both the 3,200-meter run and 1,600 state championships as a senior, one year after winning a title in the 3,200 and finishing runner-up in the 1,600.

His older brother, Nate, runs for UW-Milwaukee.

Griepentrog and his fellow freshmen all redshirted at Minnesota this year. They competed in some area meets but did not travel with the team for road trips.

“Kind of just a year to get some big training under our belt,” Griepentrog said. “Maybe not feel the greatest, but just go out there and gain the experience and race with the big dogs a little bit and just kind of soak in your first year.

“This year was not so much like competing, competing, competing. It was get better, get used to it and mold into the university standards.”

Griepentrog already can see there is a big difference between competing in the Big Ten and what he faced in high school, but he will be ready to help the Gophers this year.

“We did race at a couple of the big meets for cross-country,” said Griepentrog, whose track season ended last week while the cross-country season starts at the end of August. “It’s definitely a different animal. Something I have to get used to. In high school, you are used to running in the front pack with a couple guys. It’s strung out.

“In college, you are just in a massive 80 people. You can’t even see where you are on the course. It takes a lot to get used to.”

posted Monday May 22nd
by Scott Venci