FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Brittni Hutton won the women's 5K event with a time of 18:22.54 and George O'Connor crossed the finish line first in the men's 8K with a time of 27:14.9, as the Oakland men's and women's cross country teams competed in the IPFW Invitational Saturday afternoon. It marks the second wins on the season for Hutton and O'Connor as they both finished first in the Golden Grizzly Invitational last weekend.
"It was a very exciting day for both teams," said head coach Paul Rice. "The women did a nice job of following a plan today and for the men we talked about pack running up front and closing strong and I think they did that very well."
The women took on Fort Wayne, Ball State and IUPUI and earned victories over all three teams. Jami Rodes followed up a strong performance last weekend with a third place finish as she crossed the finish line with a time of 18:38.81, only 16 seconds behind Hutton. Oakland also earned top-15 finishes from Lia Jones (13th, 19:28.41), in her first race of the season, Hannah Scherer (14th, 19:36.70) and Miranda Haas (15th, 19:39.69)
"Sweeping all three wins for the women is great," added Rice. "Ball State is typically a real good team in our region as we haven't beaten them very often. We talked about getting out smart and really closing well the last 2,000 meters and we definitely had five of the strongest athletes during that part of the race."
The men's team only took on Fort Wayne and earned a victory with a score of 19-38. OU took home the top-three finishes as Michael Cox followed O'Connor with a time of 27:33.67 and Philip Palomino crossed the finish line third with a time of 27:38.88. Oakland earned top-10 finishes from Anthony Sterzick (6th, 28:26.88), Alex Katona (7th, 28:33.77) and Pat Cassady (9th, 28:36.86).
"To see two freshman up front is very exciting," said Rice. "George (O'Connor), Michael (Cox) and Phil (Palomino) were together through the first 7,000 meters and then the young guys showed their speed. This weekend sets up great for us next weekend at Michigan State."
The Golden Grizzlies will travel to East Lansing, Mich. next Friday to compete in the Spartan Invitational at Forest Akers Golf Course.
Oakland Women Finishers - 5K
1. Brittni Hutton - 18:22.54
3. Jami Rodes - 18:38.81
13. Lia Jones - 19:28.41
14. Hannah Scherer - 19:36.70
15. Miranda Haas - 19:39.69
25. Autumn Cleverley - 20:12.63
28. Sarah Oren - 20:29.82
29. Cassandra Peterson - 20:31.25
31. Morgan Bridgewater - 20:47.71
33. Leigh Bravender - 20:52.43
35. Emma Claucherty - 21:30.94
38. Jenae Curley - 22:36.26
39. Christine Lindsay - 23:11.41
40. Devon Mahieu - 24:46.21
41. Rachel Mendoza - 25:18.46