Program Continues to Build in 2005

A mix of returning leaders and emerging underclassmen led the way for the Oakland women’s cross country team in 2005. The Golden Grizzlies started the season with a team victory at the Crusader Invitational and wrapped up the year with a fourth-place finish at the Mid-Con Championships, paving the road for future success.

A star was revealed over the course of the 2005 season, as freshman Katie Reilly (Oakland, Mich.) emerged as one of the Oakland’s top runners. She and the Golden Grizzlies began the season Golden Grizzly Open, which was not team scored. But Reilly didn’t overlook the opportunity to shine, leading all Oakland runners and finishing second overall. Earning another top 10 finish, Reilly ran an 18:40 at the Central Collegiate Championship two weeks later to place eighth overall, just one second behind teammate Dayna Cline (Hartland, Mich.). Reilly led her teammates for the second time this season with a 19:06 mark and 12th-place finish at the Western Ontario Invitational the following week.

After establishing herself as one of the team’s strongest competitors last year, Cline once again proved to be a top runner this season, leading the squad in three of her seven races. In Oakland’s first scored meet and Cline’s first race of the season, the junior led the team to a title at the Crusader Invitational with her time of 23:23 in the 6K race to earn fifth place. With an 18:39, Cline then edged out Reilly by one second at the Central Collegiate Championships to earn seventh place and lead the Golden Grizzlies to a third-place team finish. Cline then placed 33rd at the Western Ontario Invitational before returning to the front of Oakland’s pack at the Michigan Intercollegiate Championships on the friendly confines Katke-Cousins Golf Course. In the home 4K race, she finished in 14:37.6 to earn 12th place overall to help Oakland place fourth as a team.

Preparing for regional competition, the Golden Grizzlies then traveled to Terre Haute, Ind. for the Pre-Nationals meet to face off against nation competition. Laura Fisher (Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.) assumed a position she would hold for the remainder of the season, as she posted a 22:34.7, her fastest 6K time of the season, to earn 139th place and lead Oakland to a 33rd-place finish. Two weeks later, Fisher continued to be the fastest Golden Grizzly, placing 10th at the Mid-Con Championships to help Oakland to fourth place and also earn Second Team All-Mid-Con honors. To wrap up the 2005 season, Fisher once again ranked first among her teammates at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional with a 23:24.1 to earn 95th place out of 220 runners and help the Golden Grizzlies place 25th.

A handful of seniors will said goodbye to Oakland cross country after concluding the 2005 season. Heading the graduating class was Kim Schultz (Vermillion, Ohio) who was consistently one of the top Golden Grizzly runners throughout the season, performing her best when it counted most. Schultz posted a season-best 6K time of 23:02.4 at the Pre-Nationals meet and followed that performance with a 23:07.8 mark to earn 16th place at the Mid-Con Championships. Melissa Nasers (Battle Creek, Mich.) had trouble finding her stride after being redshirted in 2004. Her best outing came at the Mid-Con Championships, where she ran a 24:02.9 to finish 27th overall. Providing depth for the Golden Grizzlies, Amber Nagel (Napoleon, Ohio) was steady force, routinely finishing as a scoring runner for the team, with her best race coming at the Crusader Invitational where she posted a time of 23:39. Sarah Kane (Sterling Heights, Mich.) also returned from a redshirted season in 2004, competing in three races for Oakland, including a 45th-place finish at the Mid-Con Championships with a time of 25:23. A consistent performer for the team, Julie Austin (Rochester Hills, Mich.) ran in five meets for the Golden Grizzlies, with her best performance being a 42nd-place finish at the Crusader Invitational.

With Cline, Fisher and Reilly returning to lead a group that earned a wealth of experience this season, the Golden Grizzly women’s cross country team is ready to step its way up the rankings of the Mid-Con in 2006.

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