MADISON, Wis. – The Miami University men’s cross country team finished its season on a high note after placing 12th out of 31 teams at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Friday afternoon at the University of Wisconsin’s Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course.
The RedHawks entered today’s meet ranked 14th in the region after a disappointing sixth-place finish at the MAC Championship two weeks ago. Totaling 392 points, Miami was the third MAC team to finish the 10K race behind Akron and Eastern Michigan, but placed ahead of both Central Michigan and Ohio who had finished third and fourth at the conference championship.
All four nationally ranked teams took the top four spots in today’s race with No. 16 Michigan running away with the win with 70 points, ending No. 19 Wisconsin’s 11-year reign at regionals. Wisconsin placed second with 73 points, just inching out No. 22 Notre Dame, which placed third with 74 points. It was also a one-point difference between the third and fourth-place spots as No. 12 Indiana finished right behind Notre Dame with 75 points. Michigan State rounded out the top five with 151 points, and Butler, Ohio State, Purdue, Akron, and Eastern Michigan completed the meet’s top ten.
"One thing that was nice was we ended up beating the third-place and fourth-place teams from the MAC, and running a lot closer to what our potential was before everybody got hurt," head coach Warren Mandrell said.
Despite some injuries late in the season, all seven of Miami's runners ran solid races in this afternoon's meet.
Senior Dave Wing paced the Redhawks for one final time in his Miami cross country career, going out hard and finding himself in the leading pack through the first 4K of the race. While unable to continue his pace from beginning to end, Wing beat his 32:15 time from last season’s regional, placing 47th overall in 31:39.
Sophomore Joe Stewart also had a notable run, finishing his second and final race of the season with a personal-best regional time. Improving five spots from last year's finish, Stewart took 59th overall in 31:53.
"He had a tremendous race," Mandrell said. "He wanted to go out real conservative and not get into trouble because he just didn't know where he would be fitness-wise. He just kept picking people off the whole race and moving through."
Junior Daniel Garleb and senior Matt Marol rounded out Miami’s third and fourth scorers, with Garleb placing 84th in 32:34. Marol, who struggled through the MAC Championship as a result of an injury, finished strong this afternoon in 89th with a time of 32:46.
In his first regional meet as a RedHawk, freshman Stephen Biebelhausen rounded out Miami’s scoring five, finishing 113th in 33:15. Sophomores Matt Stewart and Zach McBride were the team’s sixth and seventh finishers in today’s meet.
Michigan and Wisconsin automatically advance to the NCAA Cross Country Championship Saturday, Nov. 23, while Notre Dame and Indiana are up for at-large consideration. Indiana State’s John Mascari won the individual title in 30:05, while Purdue’s Matt McClintock took second in 30:07.
With a 12th-place finish at regionals, Miami’s 2013 cross country seaon is now complete.