Cross country wraps up season at Regional Championships

Christian Miller, Staff Reporter

Oakland University’s cross country teams hit the ground running for the final time this season during the 2016 NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championships at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Course on Friday, Nov. 11.

The women’s team finished 13th out of 32 teams with a team score of 364 points —a program-best—while the men’s team secured 16th out of 30 teams with a score of 445. Both teams defeated other universities, including Central Michigan University, Western Michigan University, Bowling Green State University, Wright State University and Valparaiso University.

The women’s team had seven members compete in the 6K, five of whom contributed to Oakland’s score.

Senior Miranda Haas finished 41st out of 221 runners with a time of 21:06.5. Sophomore Rachel Levy secured 48th with a time of 21:16.4, while juniors Ashley Burr and Alana Koepf finished 56th and 86th, respectively, with times of 21:25.3 and 21.56.3. Senior Lydia Stanley rounded off the final score at 133rd, completing the course in 22:37.1 minutes.

The men’s team had a total of six members compete in the 10K, five of whom helped aggregate the final score.

Junior Bryce Stroede was the first to finish for Oakland, placing 20th with a time of 30:57.9. Sophomore Connor Wuori followed with a time of 31:36.4, earning him 42nd. Sophomores Brad Mallory and Jacob Greer earned the 111th and 134th positions, recording times of 32:43.7 and 33:18.7. Senior Michael Cox documented a time of 33:24.4, earning him 138th.

The Regional Championships rose emotions almost as much as heart rates.

“It was kind of a stressful situation,” Stroede said. “I had two goals set in mind from day one: to be at regionals and to make it to nationals. It’s a really tough feat to attain, but I like to set my goals high and chase big dreams. I was able to achieve one of them, and I can’t be more happy with it, but it was definitely stressful going into it.”

Haas noted the significance of the meet.

“It was my last cross country race ever, so that was definitely playing a role with my thought process,” Haas said. “I kind of went through it just constantly saying ‘This is it, don’t stop. This is it.’ To come out with a [personal record] on that day for my last race ever was a cool feeling.”

The teams’ results were attributed to their devotion to training.

“We’ve been working since June, so it’s been a long time coming,” Haas said. “For six months we’ve put all our work in and have been working off each other all season long. We’ve been pushing each other during workouts, so if someone was having a bad day, someone would stand up and push with them to keep them going.”

Stroede noted the youthfulness on the men’s team.

“Only two of the six of our guys had run at regionals before, so we had a lot of inexperience, but we knew we had put the work in all year, so we had to go out there and have fun,” Stroede said. “When you have fun, things come a lot easier, so we had a good day because of it.”

Ultimately, the two believe in the program and envision even more success in the future.

“I think it is rising tremendously,” Haas said. “We’re going to be, I think, top 10 in the next couple years for sure and just up from there.”

Stroede mirrored Haas’s comments.

“Top 10 is something that we’ve talked about on the men’s side, and we want that to happen over and over again,” Stroede said. “We’re getting there. We were missing a few key pieces this year, but we’ll have them coming back next year, so it’ll be a strong year.”