Detroit Mercy - NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship Has Titan Harriers In Wisconsin

Detroit Mercy - NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship Has Titan Harriers In Wisconsin

Provided by Detroit Mercy

DETROIT (11/13/2013) -- The University of Detroit Mercy men's and women's cross country teams will be back in action this Friday as the Titans run with the best teams in the region at the Annual NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship, held at the University of Wisconsin's Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course.

The event will begin with the men's 10k at 1:00 p.m. (ET) with the women's 6k at 2:15.

The top 25 runners will be named All-Region, while a total of 31 teams will move onto the NCAA DI Championships with 18 automatic bids (top two teams in each region), and 13 at-large bids. After teams have been determined, 38 additional individuals per gender are selected to compete at the NCAA Championships. From those teams not selected already, the top four finishers at each regional are automatically selected, but they must finish within the top 25 of the region.

The Titan women will look to improve on last year's 28th-place effort as they are coming off a fourth-place finish at the Horizon League Championship.

"We are looking to run well and a lot of teams are coming on this time of the year," said Director of Track & Field/Cross Country Guy Murray. "The group is experienced and we have run a 6k before so I believe it will be a pretty good race."

Senior Louisa Coppola – who was third at the HL meet and All-Horizon League First Team for the second-straight year – was 75th at last year's race for the 12th best finish in school history. Earlier in the year at the Penn State National Invitational, she set a personal record with a run of 21:52, the seventh fastest 6k time in school history.

Senior Ciara Curley-Poppe was 16th at the league meet and ran a 23:25 in her only 6k race she has appeared in as a Titan at Penn State, while junior Sara Taylor was right with her at 23:37 at PSU, and was 182nd last season in the GLR in 23:53.

"I am looking for Louisa to give us a low number and that will give us a great start," said Coach Murray. "Ciara has been running really well and consistent and I think the weather will help Sara stay up there with Ciara. Devon (Sutton) has been hanging in there and Zeinab (Baydoun) improved her last time out so I am looking for five to give us a really solid race."

The Titans best finish at the GLR was 16th in 1997, while the best individual performance was Kim Hemstreet's 12th-place run of 21:45 in 2002. She then qualified for the NCAA DI Championships and is the only Titan to ever compete in that event.

The women's field will feature 34 teams and over 300 runners, with nationally-ranked squads in Michigan State (6), Butler (9), Michigan (14) and Notre Dame (22).

For the men, Detroit captured its first-ever Horizon League title totaling 33 points as five Titans were in the top 11 for All-League accolades. Senior Martin Nelkie and junior Ryan Hofsess led the way earning third and fourth, respectively, for All-HL First Team. Also on the first team was junior George Holman as he took seventh, while sophomores Austin Wigent (8th) and Derek Gielarowski (11th) picked up second-team honors.

"We finally put together the good race at the Horizon League Championship and the guys have been training hard," said Coach Murray, the 2013 HL Men's Coach of the Year. "We talked in the beginning of the season that this team could be a top 20 team and that is definitely in our reach. I think we have five guys capable of getting top 100 and that would put us below 500 points and in the top 20."

Nelkie was 122nd last year in a career-best 33:39, while Holman was 133rd in 33:58 and Hofsess 152nd in 34:30.

"I think a lot of our guys are suited to run a 10k," added Coach Murray.

The men were 24th at the 2012 GLR, but the red, white and blue have posted six top-20 finishes at the regionals in their history, with Detroit's best finish taking 16th in 1985. That year's squad was led by Titan Hall-of-Famer Ken Dubois, whose 23rd-place performance is still the best in school history. The last Titan in the top 100 was Pat Liederbach placing 41st in 2010, while the last time UDM had multiple runners in the top 100 was just one year before as Liederbach was 60th and Alex Harris claimed 81st.

Detroit will face 30 other programs, with ranked teams Indiana (12), Michigan (16), Wisconsin (19) and Notre Dame (22) all in the line-up.

Results of the race will be posted as soon as they are available.