Golden Grizzlies Hungry for Title

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2000 Mid-Continent
Conference
Runner of the Year
Kristie Kieffer

The Oakland University cross country teams have many similarities. Besides being anchored by head coach Paul Rice, they share a common dream that has been etched in their minds since OU entered into Division I. That dream has converted into a goal, and now that goal is reality. OU would like nothing more than to win a Conference Championship.

The time for victory is each week as they try to improve on individual performances. If improvement continues throughout the season, the Golden Grizzlies will be in place to make a charge for the Mid-Continent Conference championships.  A top finish in the region is another goal the Golden Grizzlies have set their eyes on.

“Our main goals for this season for both men and women are to win the conference and finish in the top 15 in the region,” said head coach Paul Rice.

Like past years, staying healthy and execution are the keys to a successful season. Oakland will face a steep challenge as they travel to Southern Utah for the Conference Championship.

“One weakness that I am concerned about is the conference championship being held at Southern Utah, “ said Rice. “We need to prepare for the altitude in Utah and adapt quickly once we are there.”

Dsc000121.jpg (55750 bytes)Oakland boasts the Mid-Con Runner of the Year on the women’s side in Kristie Kieffer (Sterling Heights/Utica). She will lead the Golden Grizzlies and will be closely followed by senior Jennifer Kunst (Port Huron/Port Huron) and newcomer Melissa Nasers (Battle Creek).

“Hands down Kristie is the best woman’s runner that we have ever had at Oakland” said Rice. “I am very confident in my top three runners.”

The men have a competitive season ahead of them as Rice waits for a front-runner to emerge from a talented pack of runners. Going as deep as five, Rice’s main concern is the gap between the first and fifth runner.

“ We really have five guys who will battle it out each week for the top spot” said Rice.  "We need one of them to secure that top spot and push the other runners to follow suit."

The top five include Kurt Brinker (China/ St.Clair), Brandon Fisk (Shelby Township/ Eisenhower), Jason Bruscha (Sterling Heights/Eastern Michigan), Adam Frezza and John Cook (St.Clair/St.Clair).

Rice sites youth and inexperience as obstacles for the Grizzlies as well as injuries that can occur and cause major setbacks.

OaklandCelebrating.jpg (26504 bytes)“As long as we stay healthy and focused we should do very well ” said Rice.   "Unfortunately that has been a hinderance for us in the recent past.   Hopefully this year we can keep everyone healthy and on the right track towards our goals."

OU will face off against tough competition to prepare for their destiny. Sweat, hard work and perseverance will be the key ingredients as OU prepares for the conference cook off. They are hungry and ready to add some hardware to Oakland’s trophy cases on their behalf.

"After being runner-up at last year's Mid-Continent Conference championship, we are hungry for the top spot.  That is our focus this season” said Rice. 

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