Detroit Mercy - Cross Country Continues Annual Tradition With A Visit To Notre Dame

Detroit Mercy - Cross Country Continues Annual Tradition With A Visit To Notre Dame

Provided by Detroit Mercy

DETROIT (9/19/2013) -- The University of Detroit Mercy cross country teams will be back in action this Friday as the Titans battle it out with a number of religious institutions in the 34th Annual National Catholic Championships, held at the University of Notre Dame's Cross Country Course.

The schedule will have a junior varsity race start things off at 3:30 p.m., followed by the women's collegiate 5k at 4:15 and the men's 8k at 5:00. A total of 34 teams – 13 from Division I – and 879 runners will compete in the three races.

The Titan men and women last competed on Sept. 7 at the 27th Annual Running Fit – Detroit Titan Invitational, with the men winning the 4 mile for the first win in the history of the program. Senior Martin Nelkie was also a winner in 20:44, edging out junior teammate Ryan Hofsess (20:49).

For the women, the Titans earned third as senior Louisa Coppola won her second-straight race taking first in 18:38, 17 seconds ahead of the runner-up. She actually made her debut as a Titan at last year's National Catholic Championship, finishing 85th in 19:17.

The event originally started in 1980 as a men's race with 18 teams taking part and the Titans claiming sixth, led by Gary Servais' 13th-place time of 25:25. The women's collegiate race started in 1984 with 14 teams and Detroit finished 10th led by Lisa Salyers 39th-place effort in 20:12. The first six years of the women's race was 3.2 miles before moving to the standard 5k format.

Besides the team competing, Director of Track and Field & Cross Country Guy Murray has been to 31 of the first 33 races, missing the event in 1989 and 1994. He was the Titans' top runner in 1988 with a 68th-place finish in 27:00.

Detroit has had one winner at the National Catholic Championships as Kim Hemstreet was victorious in 2002 with a time of 18:00. As a team, the highest Detroit has ever finished on the women's side was a share of second with Marquette in 1993. A few other top-10 finishes include third in 1997, fourth in 1994 and 1999, fifth in 1987, 1995 and 1998, and seventh in 1991, 1992, 2000 and 2002.

The men have posted top-10 totals in six of the last nine years, including sixth in 2008 and 2009. The highest the UDM men has ever placed at the event was fifth in 1997, while the highest a Detroit harrier ended up was fifth by Ken Dubois in 1986 and Chris McPhee in 1999.

Full results of the races will be posted as soon as they are known.