OXFORD, Ohio – Highlighted by the unveiling of its new cross country course, Miami University head women’s cross country/track and field coach Kelly Phillips announced the RedHawks’ 2013 cross country schedule on Tuesday. The fall slate features at least eight meets, including one at home, with Miami running four meets in Ohio, two or three in Indiana and one each in Kentucky and Wisconsin.
“With the majority of our team returning, we have high expectations for the upcoming season,” Phillips said. “We are going to some different meets early in the season than we have the past few years, but I think this will help prepare the team for the championship season later in the year. We’re excited to show off our new home course to open the year and will run in some very challenging meets leading up to our ultimate goal of winning the MAC Championship.”
The RedHawks open the 2013 campaign on Saturday, Sep. 7 with their own Miami Invitational. The meet is Miami’s lone home meet of the year, its first since 2011, as the team’s old course was under construction last year. The 5K race will mark the first time the RedHawks compete on their newly constructed course, located off of Bonham Road.
Less than a week later, Miami runs again at the Mel Brodt Collegiate Opener, hosted by Bowling Green State University on Friday night, Sep. 13. The ‘Hawks are attending the meet for the first time in Phillips’ tenure. The 5K race serves as a prelude to the MAC Championship, which will also be hosted by Bowling Green, giving Miami a sense of familiarity with the course.
The RedHawks then travel to South Bend, Ind. on Friday, Sep. 27 for the 5K Notre Dame Invitational, which will also mark the first time Miami has run the meet in the five years with Phillips at the helm. Each of the previous four years under Phillips, Miami had opened with the Flyer 5K Challenge, hosted by the University of Dayton, and also ran at Michigan State’s Spartan Invitational, but neither are on this year’s docket.
The following weekend, Miami will split its squad, running half the team at the All-Ohio Championship on Friday, Oct. 4, while the rest of the team will compete at the Greater Louisville Classic the next day. The 5K All-Ohio meet, which the RedHawks skipped last year, is hosted by Cedarville University, 25 miles east of Dayton. Miami won the All-Ohio Championship in 2010 and 2011. The Greater Louisville Classic, also a 5K race, is hosted by the Louisville Sports Commission at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park, which was home to last year’s NCAA Championships.
The RedHawks then tune up for the Mid-American Conference Championship at the Pre-Nationals meet on Saturday, Oct. 19 in Terre Haute, Ind. The 6K meet, which features teams from all over the country, is hosted by Indiana State University at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center, the same course that will host the 2013 NCAA Championships. Miami was 22nd out of 65 teams at last year’s Pre-Nationals meet.
Miami returns to Bowling Green for the MAC Championship on Saturday, Nov. 2. The RedHawks will be looking for their third title in the last six years, winning the program’s first two titles back-to-back in 2008 and 2009, with the latter coming in Phillips’ first year. Last year, Miami was runner-up at the MAC Championship and will look to dethrone three-time defending champion Toledo this year. The MAC Championship is a 6K race.
The NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship follows the MAC meet on Friday, Nov. 15 in Madison, Wis. as the RedHawks look to qualify for the NCAA Championship. The University of Wisconsin is hosting the 6K race for the second straight season, where Miami finished 10th out of 32 teams last year. To clinch a berth at the NCAA Championship, which are slated for Saturday, Nov. 23 in Terre Haute, the 'Hawks would need a top-two team finish at the Great Lakes Regional while 13 at-large teams among the nine regionals also qualify for the NCAA meet.
The RedHawks bring back their entire team from last year except for Second-Team All-MAC performer Monica Fischer, who was Miami’s top finisher and was 10th overall at last year’s MAC Championship. Highlighting Miami’s returners are rising juniors Jess Hoover (Hilliard, Ohio), who was 15th at the 2012 MAC meet and the team’s top scorer at regionals, Elisa Frazier (Williamsville, N.Y.), who was third on the team at both the MAC and Great Lakes Regional Championships, and Anna Lamb (Granville, Ohio), who has had a stellar track season, winning the MAC 10,000m title outdoors and taking second in the 5K. Along with this year's freshman class having a year under its belt, other contributors include rising senior Erica Howes (Fairfax, Va.), who came on strong at the end of last year’s cross country season and has performed well this spring on the track, and rising redshirt junior Melissa Girgis (Worthington, Ohio), who should be healthy in the fall after missing most of this past cross country season.