The Oakland University cross country teams should look into relocating to the Thumb.
Between the men’s and women’s teams, there are 10 former Blue Water Area athletes competing for the Golden Grizzlies. With five on each team, there are enough area runners to give a full team score to Oakland in each meet.
Competing for the men this season are Marlette’s Bowman twins, Andrew and Jacob, Croswell-Lexington’s George O’Connor, and Port Huron Northern’s Tyler DeLange and Brad Mallory.
Competing for the women are Northern’s Lindsey Bellinger, Deckerville’s Kendra Colesa, Yale’s Alana Koepf, Marysville’s Kailey Weingartz and St. Clair’s Lauren Zens.
For the men’s team, area runners have done their share of leading the pack. Jacob Bowman has been the Grizzlies’ No. 1 runner, winning the Golden Grizzly Open in early September, and taking fifth at the Greater Louisville Classic. His brother won the Short Course Dual this past Friday against Central Michigan, and DeLange was Oakland’s top runner at the Running Fit-Detroit Titans Invitational.
As for their best 8K times, Jacob Bowman has clocked in at 24 minutes, 48.91 seconds, Andrew at 25:13.29, O’Connor at 25:10.62, Mallory at 25:57.53 and DeLange at 26:18.69.
The top place for area women this season was Zens’ second-place finish at the Glen Oaks Community College Viking Invitational. Weingartz placed fourth at the Golden Grizzly Open.
Most of the women’s races to this point have been at the 5K distance. Coles has run 19:22.12, Koepf 19:36.94, Weingartz 19:17.89 and Zens 19:44.4. Bellinger has not run this season.
The Grizzlies have four meets remaining on their schedule, including the three biggest. They’ll be at the Bradley Pink Invitational on Friday in Peoria, Illinois, then travel to the Horizon League Championships Oct. 31 at Cedarville, Ohio; the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Nov. 13 at Madison, Wisconsin; and, if they qualify, the NCAA Championships Nov. 21 at Louisville, Kentucky.