On Sept. 1, SVSU’s two cross country teams hit the road for the first meet of the year. Both squads were hoping to start off the year hot and carry momentum into the 2017 season at Oakland University’s Golden Grizzlies Open.
The ladies had a high-quality start with senior veteran runner Allison Dorr, who ran unattached, placed third in the 4K with a time of 14:27. She was followed by freshman runner Maggie Pawelcyk, with a time of 14:48, which was good enough for seventh place. The women were rounded out with freshman Morgan Fuerst, junior Sophia Bradley and senior Alicia Tomlin all finishing in the top 15.
Of the 103 total runners, SVSU women finished second overall behind Oakland. Coach Rod Cowan credited women’s distance coach Angelina Ramos for the women’s high-quality performance.
“What you saw from the results were the fruits of Angelina’s labor in recruiting,” Cowan said. “She was able to get out there and get some really talented freshmen.”
One of those freshmen was Pawelcyk, the GLIAC Women’s Athlete of the Week.
Tomlin, one of the team’s veteran runners, has also seen an influx of talented youth enter the women’s program over the year.
“The biggest difference is that we had a lot of freshmen come in,” Tomlin said. “I think that’s good for us because we haven’t had that in the past. I thought they did really well; a lot of them came out and performed really well.”
On the men’s side, there were strong finishes individually as well as a second-place team finish. They were led in the 6K by sophomore Austen Mandernach, who finished in seventh place at a 5:14-mile pace. Trailing behind him was Branden Bohling at 19:44.Senior Thomas Kean, sophomore Tellis Donjanowski, and sophomore Kavi Kulkarni rounded out the top 20 SVSU finishers. Oakland, once again, took first place in their home meet.
“Well, the guys, we were just really running some of our guys who didn’t get an opportunity to race last year,” Cowan said.
Last week’s meet featured multiple schools from every level of collegiate athletics. This ranged from Oakland, a Division I program, all the way down to Mott Community College. That, however, does not take away from the importance of the event, as it prepares runners for the season to come.
“You’re not necessarily scheduling because of the other teams, you’re scheduling because it works out well with your training and where you’re at with your team,” Cowan said. “That was a meet that allowed us to get off to a good start.”
Saginaw Valley State resumes their seasons on Friday, Sept. 15, at the Michigan State Spartan Invitational.
The meet begins at 11 a.m.