Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's and
women's cross country teams will help support one of their own in
an important cause later this month.
The Bulldog teams will hit the road and participate in a Benefit 5K Run/Walk on Aug. 28 in Scottville (Mich.) in honor of former Bulldog women's cross country/track and field standout Leanna (Wolf) Geers, who has been diagnosed with cancer and is presently undergoing aggressive chemotherapy treatment. The event will be held starting at 11 a.m. (ET) at Riverside Park in Scottville with a spaghetti lunch to follow at Mason County Central High School.
"This is an opportunity to support Leanna and her family in their time of need," said FSU head coach Steve Picucci. "I personally was able to compete with her at Ferris during my career and I'm thankful our teams will be there as well for this important event."
There will be no entry fee for either the race or the dinner, however, donations will be accepted and all proceeds will go to Leanna and her husband, Eric, to help offset the costs of treatment. Every participant will also receive a wrist band and water bottle.
"We know how much Leanna loved Ferris and running for the Bulldogs while in college," said event organizer Stacy Wallach. "It would be awesome to see those coming out to run wearing a Ferris jersey or shirt as a way to help stand out and support Leanna."
The opportunity for the Ferris State cross country teams to support this worthy cause was made possible by a generous donation from General Mills in Reed City, which will help provide transportation for the Bulldog teams.
A former graduate of Mason County Central, Leanna was a two-time All-American on the track during her Bulldog career as a member of the school's record-setting distance medley relay team, which captured NCAA Division II Indoor All-America laurels with back-to-back eighth place national meet finishes in 2004 and 2005.
Individually, the Fountain, Mich., native placed third as a senior at the 2006 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Outdoor Championships in the 800 meters (2:13.63) while meeting the NCAA-II National Provisional Qualification standard. She also took third place in the 800 meters (2:13.61) at the 2005-06 GLIAC Indoor Championships during her final season.
The former All-GLIAC honoree attained GLIAC All-Academic Team recognition in women's cross country, indoor track and outdoor track in her final season. She was a four-year Bulldog letterwinner in both cross country and track from 2002-06 and received United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic Team recognition in 2006.
Leanna and her husband recently welcomed the birth of their first daughter, Ava, in February of 2010.
The Ferris State cross country teams will report for fall practice the week leading up to the benefit run in preparation for their season opening event at the Northwood Open on Friday, Sept. 3.