Golden Grizzlies Set the Stage for Future Success With Solid Season
It was a season of emerging stars for the Oakland University women’s cross country team. With the loss of 2003 Mid-Continent Conference Athlete of the Year Kristie Kieffer and the decision to redshirt All-Mid-Con runner Melissa Nasers, others would need to step forward and lead the team. By the end of the season those runners were found, giving the Golden Grizzlies a boost that should carry over into the 2005 season.
Sophomore Dayna Cline was OU's top finisher in the first five races of the 2004 season.
In her first five races as a Golden Grizzly
Dayna Cline (Hartland, Mich.) proved
to be a valuable addition to the team, leading the way for the Oakland
squad. Cline, who transferred from Lake Superior State, had three top 20
finishes in those five outings, including a third place finish at the
Golden Grizzly Open. Cline timed in at 19:28 for the Detroit Titan
Invitational where she placed 12th in a field of 92, and later she
recorded her best 5K time of the season with a 19:05 at the Loyola
Invitational. At the Michigan Intercollegiate, Cline was the first Golden
Grizzly to cross the finish line for a fifth consecutive event, finishing
10th. Her best outing on a 6K course was at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional
where she turned in a 22:43.
Laura Fisher (Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.) also had a very strong 2004 campaign for Oakland, but in a different way. While Cline opened the season leading the Golden Grizzlies, it was Fisher who closed out the year with her best performances. She had two top 20 finishes in the final three races, and led the team in the final two events. At the Mid-Con Championship she placed 11th with a team-best time of 24:07, helping Oakland to a sixth-place finish and earning second team All-Mid-Con honors. At the final outing of the year she again led the Golden Grizzlies, this time at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional with a personal-best 6K time of 22:01
Like Fisher, Kim Schultz (Vermilion, Ohio) was able to improve as the season went on. Schultz set a personal-best 6K time at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional with an effort of 22:10, placing 90th out of 203 runners. At the Mid-Con Championship she finished second on the team and 13th overall, covering the course in 24:16 to join Fisher in garnering second team All-Mid-Con accolades. Schultz competed in six events, finishing no worse than third on the team in any of them. Her best time in the 5K was at the Loyola Invitational, where she crossed the line in 19:25.
With the return of Nasers and the continued improvement of Oakland’s young athletes, the Golden Grizzlies will look to accomplish what nobody has ever done before in 2005; to defeat Southern Utah and wear the Mid-Continent Conference cross country crown.