OXFORD, Ohio – After a week off from competition following its win at the Tom Wright Classic Jan. 24, the Miami University women’s track and field team is back to heat up the Akron Invitational Friday and Saturday, hosted by the University of Akron at the Stile Athletic Field House.
The Red and White have a tough meet ahead, facing a field of 500 competitors from 17 teams, including four Mid-American Conference (MAC) foes. Leading the invitational entrees is Kent State, who is ranked 16th nationally and 7th in the Great Lakes Region. Miami will also face off against host Akron, who is ranked ninth regionally, as well as Central Michigan and Bowling Green, who hold the 14th and 15th regional spots. Miami will also compete with neighboring teams Wright State and Dayton, as well as Radford, Bucknell, Ashland, IPFW, and Louisville, among others.
The invitational will kick off Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. with the pole vault. Four RedHawks will represent Miami in the opening event, including senior Kori Tatman, juniors Taylor Brown and Jasmine Watts, and freshman Hope Turner. The RedHawks are scheduled to compete in the distance medley relay at 8 p.m., and will conclude Friday night’s action with the 5000m gold division race at 8:45 p.m. Juniors Melissa Girgis and Mattie Moncayo will represent Miami in the distance race. The 3000m gold race will open Saturday morning’s competition at 9 a.m., while gold invitational field events are scheduled to begin at 3 p.m, followed by the gold running events at 3:30 p.m. The 4x400 relay will conclude the Akron Invitational at 6 p.m.
Two weeks ago, the RedHawks competed in the Tom Wright Classic, hosted by Bowling Green State University. Facing all conference teams, including Ohio, Toledo, and host Bowling Green, Miami ran away with the meet victory, winning nine events and totaling a 132 points. Tatman paved the way for the RedHawks, winning the pole vault with a clearance of 3.50m. Sophomore Amelia Strickler then earned Miami’s second and final event victory of the night in the shot put with a personal-best throw of 15.04m.
The Red and White dominated the running events, beginning with the 60m hurdles and 60m dash. Freshman Alexus Jimson-Miller won both races, winning the 60m hurdles in 8.90 and outpacing the competition in the 60m dash with a time of 7.91. Sophomore Kala Allen added another sprint victory to the list, winning the 200m dash in 26.10, while junior Charlotte Myers won the 600m run in 1:34.62. Junior Taylor Wickware earned Miami’s sixth victory of the meet, dominating the 800m run in 2:14.05, and junior Anna Lamb rounded out the individual event victories in the 5000m run with a time of 17:01.35. The RedHawks then clinched the invitational with a win in the 4x400m relay.
At last year’s Akron Invitational, the RedHawks won the gold invitational 5000m run with Lamb’s top finish of 17:04.68. Girgis took second in the event in 17:16.67, followed by now-graduated Monica Fischer who placed third in 17:34.23. Miami also finished strong in the 3000m gold division race, with senior Erica Howes taking second in 9:56.47. The RedHawks also earned a couple field event victories, first in the blue division pole vault where Tatman won with a clearance of 3.51m. Alumna Alexandra Roberts had the other field event victory of the meet, winning the gold division shot put with a throw of 14.67m.
With the conference meet a few weeks away, six RedHawks already hold MAC qualifying times in their respective events. Myers ranks second in the MAC in the 400m dash with her time of 55.85, while Wickware ranks 6th in the 800m run with her automatic qualifying time of 2:21.53. Bess rounds out the top nine qualifying times for the mile with her mark of 4:56.76, while Jimson-Miller is third in the MAC for her 8.69 time in the 60m hurdles. Lamb is ranked in two distance events, including the 3000m run (9:54.17) where she is ranked eighth, and the 5000m run (16:53.59) where she is ranked second. Strickler is the only RedHawk thus far to hold a qualifying marker for field events, ranking seventh in the shot put for her throw of 15.04m.
Following the Akron Invitational, the RedHawks will travel to Allendale, Mich. for the GVSU Big Meet Feb. 14-15.