ROCHESTER, Mich. – The SVSU men's and women's cross country teams traveled to the Golden Grizzlies Open, held by Oakland University on Friday (Sept. 1). With 103 athletes competing in the respective meets, the teams both managed to finish second overall.
Women's Team Recap: Second Place – (56)
"I was happy to see our young girls running aggressive up front," head coach Rod Cowan said. "It's the best they've ever done achieving pack running on the women's side, and that was even with leaving some incredibly strong runners back home to open up later in the season on both sides."
The women's team recorded four top 15 runners, with freshman Maggie Pawelczyk leading the pack at running a 14:48.6, earning a seventh place finish. Pawelczyk helped guide Team Michigan to a first place finish as a scoring team member in high school at the Mid East Meet of Champions and is continuing to show promise at Saginaw Valley with her top ten finish at today's meet.
"SAAC rep and sophomore leader Sydney Kreger and Maggie worked out together all summer together because they live 15 minutes away from each other and her leadership all summer really helped Maggie transition well and come in understanding the level she could run at. Maggie ran at this same course last year and ran 15:24; today she ran 14:48 on the same course," Women's distance coach Angelina Ramos said. "Sydney's leadership was a huge part of that. Sydney stepped on a root in a way that irritated her tendon, or else Sydney will be in that top pack as well. Maggie's performance represents how tough of a racer she is but also reflects on Sydney's leadership all summer."
Freshman Morgan Fuerst finished with a 14:56.0 (9th). She was followed by Sophia Bradley 14:59.7 (11th) and Alicia Tomlin, with her new PR of 15:11.8 (14th). Sydney Kreger finished 33rd overall with a time of 16:07.3.
Men's Recap: Second Place – (67)
"I was very impressed with Branden Bohling's contributions and improvements today," Cowan said. "In high school, Branden ran 16:25 as his best ever 5k time (5:17/mile). Today he opened up at 5:17/mile pace exactly at 19:44 for 6k holding that same pace for a full 6k race and off of them not having done any speed work yet, just strength over summer. It's a testament to the fact that he isn't scared to do the work and grind out the miles to improve."
The men's team recorded three top fifteen runners, with sophomore Austen Mandernach leading the pack at 19:29.2, earning a seventh place finish. Branden Bohling, 19:44.8, recorded a ninth place finish. Mandernach and Bohling trained this summer in Colorado together at a very high altitude and today it truly showed a newfound top ten performance in the coaches eyes.
These two men were followed by senior Thomas Kean, finishing with his personal best at 20:01.2 (14th).
Next meet for SVSU will be Friday, Sept. 15 at the MSU Spartan Invitational. First race is set for 11:00 a.m.