OXFORD, Ohio - Running in what could be the final race of the season, the Miami University men's cross country team competes at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Friday afternoon at the University of Wisconsin's Zimmer Championship Course in Verona, Wis. The 10K race, the team's first 10K of the year, begins at 2:15 p.m. ET (1:15 p.m. local), following the women's race at 1 p.m. ET.
The RedHawks will be running against 29 other teams in the Great Lakes Region, including four nationally ranked teams in No. 6 Wisconsin, No. 12 Michigan, No. 20 Indiana and No. 28 Notre Dame. Miami will also see several Mid-American Conference foes at the meet, including Akron, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Ohio and Toledo, all of which the 'Hawks ran against two weeks ago at the MAC Championships.
Miami enters the Great Lakes Regional ranked No. 12 in the latest USTFCCCA Great Lakes Region Poll with the host Badgers and Wolverines claiming the top two spots in the region. Indiana, Notre Dame and EMU complete the top five, respectively. Michigan State, Butler, Indiana State, Ohio State and CMU are ranked 6-10, respectively, with Purdue just ahead of the 'Hawks at No. 11. Akron, Cincinnati and Marquette round out the 15-team poll behind Miami.
At the 8K MAC Championship Oct. 27 in Buffalo, N.Y., which was Miami's most recent race, the RedHawks tied for third with Akron with 73 points while the Chippewas edged both teams for second with 72 points. EMU won the meet for the third straight year while host Buffalo and Kent State were fifth and sixth, respectively, in the nine-team field.
Redshirt senior Steve Kiplagat (Iten, Kenya) led Miami at the MAC Championships with his fourth-place finish, earning First-Team All-MAC honors. He has been Miami's top finisher three times this year. Senior Jarrod Eick (Hartville, Ohio), who has been the RedHawks' top scorer once and was second the other three times this season, was eighth overall, while junior Dave Wing (Naperville, Ill.) claimed 10th, as both garnered Second-Team All-MAC accolades. Redshirt sophomore Daniel Garleb (Pickerington, Ohio) and freshman Joe Stewart (Naperville, Ill.) rounded out Miami's scoring five.
At last year's Great Lakes Regional in Toledo, Ohio, the RedHawks placed 17th out of 31 teams. Of the six 'Hawks who ran at last year's regional meet, the top five scorers all return to run for Miami on Friday, led by Wing, who was first for Miami a year ago in 53rd place. Eick was the second scorer in 62nd while redshirt senior Brett Wagner (Toledo, Ohio) was third for the team in 92nd. Garleb and redshirt junior Matt Marol (Evanston, Ill.) completed Miami's top five last year. Redshirt senior David Eichenberger (Plainfield, Ind.) will run in his second career regional race, as he was 112th in 2010 but missed last year's meet with an injury. Kiplagat and Stewart are two of Miami's four newcomers to the Great Lakes Regional along with freshmen Zack McBride (Painesville, Ohio) and Matthew Pelletier (Burton, Ohio).
The top two teams at each of the nine regional championships automatically earn a spot in the NCAA Championships, which are held Saturday, Nov. 17 in Louisville, Ky. Third- and fourth-place teams at each regional are then under consideration for one of 13 at-large berths to the NCAA meet, which are announced Sunday. The top 25 individual finishers at the regional earn All-Region honors while the top four individual finishers from non-qualifying NCAA Championship teams at the regional meet will also automatically advance to the NCAA meet. Two individual at-large berths to the NCAA Championships are also awarded from among the nine regionals as chosen by the NCAA Cross Country Selection Committee.