Kieffer, Nasers Pave The Way In 2003

Kristie Kieffer was the Mid-Continent Conference champion and Athlete of the Year for Oakland.

Oaklandís womenís cross country enjoyed another strong season in 2003, continuing to keep its name among the top teams in the Mid-Continent Conference. Oakland success in the 2003 season can be squarely placed on one personís shoulders, those of senior Kristie Kieffer, who turned in one of the most impressive individual seasons in Mid-Con history.

After redshirting during the 2002 campaign, Kieffer blazed through her senior season in impressive fashion, getting named the Mid-Conís Athlete of the Year after dominating the conference all season long. She won her second Mid-Con individual title, was named the Mid-Con Athlete of the Week five times and became Oaklandís first Division I qualifier to the NCAA Championships.

After starting the season finishing second to teammate Melissa Nasers by one second at the Motor City Classic, Kieffer showed she was ready to put together an impressive final season by winning the next two races. In fact, she and Nasers proved to be an unbeatable combo in those three events, as the duo switched positions in the second and third races of the season to finish 1-2 in those races and lead the Golden Grizzlies to third place finishes as a team.

Melissa Nasers was a first team All-Mid-Con performer and recorded six top-10 finishes.

During the course of the regular season Kieffer finished no lower than fourth just once, in a strong field at the Notre Dame Invitational in poor weather conditions where she came in 18th. After that she reeled off two more individual titles, taking the Bronco Invitational in 17:03, a time that stood as the best 5K mark in the Mid-Con by 36 seconds during the season.

At the Mid-Con Championships it was Kieffer and Nasers that led the way for Oakland, as the Golden Grizzlies moved up to a second-place finish from fourth a year ago, fueled by Kiefferís title and Nasersí third-place finish, earning both first team All-Mid-Con honors.

At the NCAA Great Lakes Regional meet, Kieffer put together her best effort of the season, running a 21:10.7 over the 6K course, the best 6K time in the Mid-Con by 41 seconds over teammate Nasers. Her time placed her 13th in the field of 252 runners, earning her at at-large bid to the national championship race. At nationals Kieffer capped off her career with a time of 21:33.4, placing her 150th in the field.

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