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August 19, 2014

Running with the ‘Grizzlies’

Former Utica track runner, Scott, concluded NCAA Division I sophomore season as an event champion

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Pictured, front, is Oakland University track runner Chris Scott, who was a champion in two races during his sophomore season with the Golden Grizzlies.

As a runner at Utica High School, Chris Scott’s accomplishments included being selected All-County and All-Conference, as well as being part of an All-State relay team.

He also earned All-American honors at the USATF Junior Olympics in the 4x800-meter relay and was a four-year letterwinner.

Despite his achievements at Utica, Scott discovered what so many other athletes have — making the transition from high school to NCAA Division I athletics can be a daunting challenge.

After graduating from Utica, he earned the opportunity to run for Oakland University. Despite the excitement he may have had being part of a Division I program, Scott’s freshman season with the Golden Grizzlies didn’t go as well as he would have liked.

While the easy thing to do may have been to sulk, he decided to take some action. Scott opted to run cross country for Oakland, and credits that decision for helping to prepare him for his sophomore track season.

Whatever the reasons, Scott came away from his sophomore campaign with some impressive achievements, as he finished first in the 800 at the Horizon League Championship in both the indoor and outdoor season. He also had runs in the 800 and 1,500 that rank fourth in the history of Oakland’s program. Although he didn’t get off to the kind of start he may have preferred his freshman season, according to Scott, he didn’t want things to come too easy.

“It was a little frustrating,” he said of his freshman season. “Looking back, I think it was a good opportunity for me to let it click in my mind that, ‘now, you have to work harder. Now you know what it takes, and now you know what the competition’s like.’ It turned out to be harder than I thought it would be, but at the same time, I didn’t want it to be any less hard, because that’s not what college at the Division I level’s supposed to be like. I almost wanted it to stay that hard, and eventually I would grow with the competition. I think it’s turning out that way, so far.”

Scott’s twin brother, Glen, also runs track for Oakland. The two were also teammates at Utica, and both have selected health sciences as their major at Oakland.

Not a lot of college athletes receive the opportunity to have their twin brother as a teammate at both the high school and collegiate level.

“We have a friendly rivalry,” said Scott, who acknowledged support he has received from his family. “If he’s out running and I don’t feel like running today, ‘well great, I can see my brother, another Oakland teammate out there running — I should go for a run then.’ If he wins an event, ‘I see you. I’ll come out next meet — try and beat you this time.’ It’s fun. I don’t think about it too often. I think it’s something that I’ve become used to. Sometime I’ll get the chance to step back and realize that, ‘oh, this is really cool.’”

Scott’s future goals at Oakland include making it to the regional and NCAA Championship meet. Although Scott may not know exactly how things will play out during his remaining time at Oakland, just getting the chance to compete at the Division I level doesn’t seem to be an opportunity he has taken for granted.

“Love it,” said Scott, who cited patience, even when positive results don’t come immediately, as a life lesson learned through athletics. “In terms of being a student-athlete, we’re really privileged. I love doing this for a Division I school. Going into my junior year, and I’ll probably stay for a fifth year. If I’m able to achieve two titles as a sophomore, I have no idea where I’ll be able to go in these next three years. I can’t wait.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.