Detroit Mercy - Coppola Wins Golden Grizzly Open

Detroit Mercy - Coppola Wins Golden Grizzly Open

Provided by Detroit Mercy

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (8/30/2013) -- Louisa Coppola picked up right where she left off last season as the senior University of Detroit Mercy women's cross country runner started the 2013 campaign with a bang by winning the 4k Golden Grizzly Open on Friday evening, hosted by Horizon League rival Oakland.

"I didn't think it was going to happen," said Coppola. "I thought I went out too fast and at the end, I didn't think I was going to make it, but it worked out well at the end. I didn't really know who else was running so I was just running to see where I am."

The win was the first by a Titan female since former standout runner Kim Hemstreet won the Horizon League Championship in 2002.

"Louisa and Marty (Martin Nelkie) both showed their veteran presence today and ran their pace and their race," said Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Guy Murray. "Louisa knows what she needs to do and she is a good kicker and we saw that today."

Coppola - a First Team All-Horizon League performer as a junior - was among the leaders right from the opening mile as she finished in a time of 15:17. Last season, Coppola started the year with an injury and did not run in the first two races of the season.

"I was very happy with the way the opener went for both teams," said Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Guy Murray. "We didn't want to do too much out here, but I thought we ran two smart races."

Three newcomers were up next for Detroit as freshman Devon Sutton earned 11th in 15:58, while senior Ciara Curley-Poppe made her cross country debut finishing 16th in 16:26 and freshman Samantha Zakalowski took 17th in 16:43.

Overall, the women claimed second place with 43 points.

"I was very happy with the performance of the team," said Murray. "We had some young people run their first races and they ran well and some veterans ran their race so we will look to improve as we head into next week."

The Titans will return to action next week as they host the Running Fit-Detroit Titan Invitational at Cass Benton Park in Northville. The day will start with an open 5k for the men and women at 9:30 a.m., with the annual middle school race and Tommy Titan future legends race also on deck. The collegiate races will start at 11:15 a.m., as the women run a 5k and the men a 4-mile.