Detroit Mercy - Coppola Wins Her Second-Straight Race

Detroit Mercy - Coppola Wins Her Second-Straight Race

Provided by Detroit Mercy

NORTHVILLE, Mich. (9/7/2013) -- What a way to begin a season as senior Louisa Coppola won for the second week in a row and made some history in doing so as the University of Detroit Mercy cross county program hosted the 27th Annual Running Fit-Detroit Titan Invitational on Saturday morning at Cass Benton Park in Northville.

"As a team, this was a good race over the 5k distance and I think we will continue to improve each week," said Director of Track and Field & Cross Country Guy Murray. "We are working hard taking a patient approach and working to stay healthy and be at our best at the championship part of the season and thus far, we are on that pace."

Coppola continued her strong start following her win at Oakland last week as she cruised to a 17-second victory with a time of 18:38 in the collegiate 5k, becoming just the second Titan to ever win the annual race and the first since Angie Lefere in 1997. Her run is also the fourth-best ever by a Titan at Cass Benton and with her two wins on the season, she is now just two short of Kim Hemstreet's school record of four set in 2002.

"A very nice run for Louisa," said Coach Murray. "Her year is off to a great start and she is capable of being the very low number we need in every race."

Coppola wasn't alone in the top 10 as freshman Devon Sutton was the second Titan to cross the finish line for the second-straight week as she was sixth in 19:17. Her performance was the third best by a Titan rookie – behind Lefere's winning time of 18:50 in 1997 and Stacey Lenard's 18:40 in 1995 - and 13th overall at the hilly Cass Benton course.

"Devon had a very good race and has been a great addition in all aspects," said Coach Murray. "She has a bright future."

The Titans had three runners in a row in the late 20's as senior Ciara Curley-Poppe was 27th in 20:13, while junior Zeinab Baydoun was 28th in 20:18 and senior Rachel Hofsess took 29th in 20:29.

Freshman Samantha Zakalowski claimed 34th with a time of 21:00 flat, while senior Torrie Eger clocked a 21:14 for 38th, and junior Sara Taylor placed 48th in 21:50.

As a team, Detroit was third tallying 72 points, trailing only Wayne State (35) and Oakland (39).

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.