OXFORD, Ohio - A picturesque setting will provide the backdrop for the Miami University women's cross country team Saturday when it runs in the 40th annual Sean Earl Lakefront Invitational, hosted by Loyola University in Chicago. The 5K race begins at 12:45 p.m. ET (11:45 a.m. local) at Montrose Beach along the shores of Lake Michigan.
The RedHawks will face a field of over 50 teams, including Big Ten foes Wisconsin, Northwestern and Purdue. Mid-American Conference members Northern Illinois and Western Michigan will also be in attendance along with Division I schools Chicago State, IUPUI, Northern Iowa, Southeast Missouri, Southern Illinois, UAB and Illinois-Chicago (UIC), as well as the host Ramblers. Several Division II and Division III teams will also be running, as will multiple Canadian schools such as Toronto, Western Ontario and Windsor.
The Badgers enter the meet ranked 29th nationally in the latest USTFCCCA Poll and sixth in the Great Lakes Region. The RedHawks sit 11th in the Great Lakes Region Poll, one spot behind No. 10 Purdue, which is the only other team competing Saturday ranked in the Great Lakes Region. Northwestern is fifth in the Midwest Region Poll while host Loyola is ninth.
At Miami's last meet on Sept. 14, the RedHawks ran at the 6K Spartan Invitational, hosted by Michigan State. Team scoring was not kept, though Miami likely would have been fifth behind Michigan, Michigan State, the same Northwestern squad they'll see Saturday, and Ohio State. Western Michigan was also at the Spartan Invite two weeks ago while a total of 28 teams were represented. Sophomore Jess Hoover (Hilliard, Ohio) was Miami's top finisher in 14th place in 21:45. Redshirt junior Monica Fischer (Cincinnati, Ohio) and freshman Brenna Poulsen (Indianapolis, Ind.) were Miami's next two finishers, crossing together in 22:25 in 37th and 38th place, respectively. Sophomores Elisa Frazier (Williamsville, N.Y.) and Anna Lamb (Granville, Ohio) rounded out the RedHawks top five in 52nd and 54th place, respectively.
The Sean Earl Lakefront Invitational, which Miami is running in for the first time, is the second 5K this year for the 'Hawks, as Miami took second at the season-opening Flyer 5K Challenge Sept. 1. Hoover and Frazier were the top two finishers for Miami at that race. The RedHawks are running in Chicago in place of the All-Ohio Championships, which Miami won last year, but head coach Kelly Phillips wanted her squad to face tougher competition this weekend.
Saturday's meet is Miami's final 5K of the year as the RedHawks next run Saturday, Oct. 13 at the 6K Pre-Nationals in Louisville, Ky.