Detroit Mercy - Detroit Men Victorious At 27th Annual Running Fit-Detroit Titan Invitational

Detroit Mercy - Detroit Men Victorious At 27th Annual Running Fit-Detroit Titan Invitational

Provided by Detroit Mercy

NORTHVILLE, Mich. (9/7/2013) -- Senior Martin Nelkie held off a teammate for his first career win as the Titan men made some history on Saturday as the University of Detroit Mercy hosted the 27th Annual Running Fit-Detroit Titan Invitational at Cass Benton Park in Northville.

"Great to be back in the winner's circle and a special bonus of a surprise win on men's side," said Director of Track and Field & Cross Country Coach Murray. "After last week, we were just hoping to get a bit closer to Oakland and make steady progress and we have not beaten Wayne State in a long while so it was great to get the win."

The men's history came as a team as the Titans won an event for the first time in school history with Detroit posting 37 points in the collegiate 4-mile, besting Oakland by 10 and the Wayne State Alumni squad by 11.

Three Titans were in the top 10 as Nelkie won the event in 20:44, just ahead of junior teammate Ryan Hofsess (20:49), while senior Sam Felton was sixth in 21:10.

Nelkie's triumph also represented the second Titan to ever win the event following Chris McPhee in 1999 and 2001. McPhee's effort was also the last time a Titan won a race. Nelkie set a personal record by 18 seconds and put his name in the record books as the fourth best Titan time at Cass Benton.

"Marty has made steady progress through his career and is a consistent runner so we can build and key off Marty," added Coach Murray.

Hofsess actually had the lead early on, but Nelkie was able to overtake him midway through the race and the tandem was 1-2 coming down the final mile. Hofsess did end up with a personal record by a minute and the sixth best time by a UDM harrier at Cass Benton, while Felton set a career mark and the 11th best time in school history on the course.

"Ryan put in a lot of miles this summer and is really ready for a breakthrough season," said Coach Murray. "It was a great run for Sam and he really has his senior season off to a great start."

Sophomore Austin Wigent was part of the scoring crew finishing 14th in 21:43 and sophomore Derek Gielarowski claimed a spot in the top 20 earning 16th in 21:47.

"Austin is off to a great start and the way we hoped after his redshirt year," said Coach Murray.

Junior George Holman secured 29th in 22:36 and junior teammate Ylli Alla was close by finishing 37th in 22:53. Freshman Ryan Leahy and sophomore Joshua Carolin rounded out the Titan runners taking 46th (23:13) and 51st (23:56), respectively.

The day began with the annual high school and open men's and women's 5k races with one of the largest turnouts in the 27-year history of the event. It was also the fourth year of the 1.5-mile middle school race with its largest field and of course, the annual Tommy Titan Future Legends kid's race as children 9 and under ran the final hill for about 200-meters.

One of the biggest surprises in the open races came in the men's 5k as Matt Fecht was going for five wins in a row, but was denied as Jon Rock took the title in 15:37, 18 seconds ahead of the runner-up Fecht, a 2012 U.S. Olympic Men's Marathon trials qualifier.

"This was a great day with one of our largest turnouts ever. The middle school race was triple the size of past year. This is a true team effort to pull together as the track & field team did an excellent job as the volunteer crew making sure all goes well," added Coach Murray.

Detroit will be back in action in two weeks when the Titans make their annual trip to South Bend, Ind., for the running of the National Catholic Championships on Sept. 20.