VERONA, Wis. - Running its final race of the season, a young and inexperienced Miami University women's cross country team earned 10th place Friday afternoon at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship, held at the University of Wisconsin's Zimmer Championship Course.
The RedHawks totaled 306 points in the 6K race, competing against 31 other teams in the Great Lakes Region, as Miami improved one spot from its 11th-place finish at last year's regional meet. No. 6 Michigan won the race with 41 points while No. 11 Michigan State was second with 77. No. 23 Notre Dame was third (89 points) while Butler (144) and No. 18 Toledo (162) completed the top five.
Miami, which entered the meet ranked No. 8 in the Great Lakes Region, was second among the 10 Mid-American Conference teams at the meet after earning runner-up at the MAC Championships two weeks ago, finishing behind the Rockets then as well. Eastern Michigan was just behind the 'Hawks in 11th Friday with 345 points while Ohio, which was third at the MAC meet, took 12th with 373 points. Big Ten foe Purdue was just ahead of Miami in ninth with 267 points.
Four of Miami's scoring five were freshmen or sophomores led by sophomore Jess Hoover (Hilliard, Ohio), who was one of just two RedHawks with NCAA regional experience. Hoover was Miami's top finisher for the fourth time this year as she placed 39th in a 6K personal-best 21:26 after finishing 70th at last year's regional race. Redshirt junior Monica Fischer (Cincinnati, Ohio), who was the other RedHawk with regional experience, was Miami's second scorer in 51st place in 21:34.
Sophomore Elisa Frazier (Williamsville, N.Y.) crossed in third for Miami, earning 67th place in 21:48 while a pair of freshmen rounded out the RedHawks' scoring five. Brenna Poulsen (Indianapolis, Ind.) placed 73rd while clocking a 6K personal-best 21:54, as she broke the 22-minute barrier for the first time. Classmate Julia Valencia (South Lyon, Mich.) was right behind in 76th, also recording a personal-best time of 21:56.
Michigan and Michigan State both clinched automatic berths to the NCAA Cross Country Championship Nov. 17 by finishing in the top two spots while Notre Dame, Butler and Toledo are up for at-large bids, which are announced Sunday. Ohio's Julie Accurso, who won the MAC individual title, also won the Great Lakes Regional title in 20:07, clinching herself a spot in the NCAA Championship as the top four individual finishers from non-qualifying teams also advance to the NCAA meet. Butler's Katie Clark was second in 20:10.
With no RedHawks qualifying for the NCAA Championship, Miami's 2012 cross country season is complete. The RedHawks begin indoor track season Dec. 1 at the IPFW Mastodon Opener.