OXFORD, Ohio – While the majority of the Miami University women’s track and field team will stay at home this weekend for Miami’s own RedHawk Invitational, the second and final home meet of the year, nine RedHawks will travel to Des Moines, Iowa for the famed Drake Relays. The Drake Relays run Thursday to Saturday at Drake Stadium while the RedHawk Invitational, held at George Rider Track, is only on Saturday.

The RedHawk Invitational begins at 11 a.m. with the women’s hammer throw and long jump, while action on the track begins at noon with the 5000m run. The javelin at 2:30 p.m. is the final women’s field event to start while the meet concludes at 3:20 p.m. with the 4x400m relay. Admission to the meet is free and fans are encouraged to park in the West Millett Parking Lot, though accessible parking is located around Yager Stadium. Heat sheets will be available for fans at no cost.

A total of 16 men’s and women’s teams will descend on Oxford Saturday for the RedHawk Invitational, including nine women’s squads. Among the teams attending are local rivals Cincinnati, Dayton and Wright State, as well as Mid-American Conference rival Ohio. No. 24 Kentucky out of the SEC will also be competing, as will Valparaiso and Division II schools Kentucky State and Southern Indiana.

The Drake Relays, which actually began Wednesday with the heptathlon and decathlon, though no RedHawks were entered, runs through Saturday. Miami has three runners entered in the 10,000m run Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. CT while RedHawks will participate in three events Friday and at least two on Saturday, though more could run if they make the finals of their event. Below is a list of Miami’s competitors at the Drake Relays:

Melissa Girgis, Amanda Hancock, Anna Lamb (10,000m run) – 8:30 p.m. ET Thursday
Layne Baggett (100m hurdles prelims) – 10:32 a.m. ET Friday (finals are 3:38 p.m. ET Saturday)
Diona Graves (100m dash prelims) – 1:15 p.m. ET Friday (finals are 3:23 p.m. ET Saturday)
Tori Paterra (Javelin) – 3 p.m. ET Friday
Samantha Gable (Hammer Throw) – 10 a.m. ET Saturday
Elisa Frazier, Erica Howes (3000m Steeplechase) – 11:25 a.m. ET Saturday

At the Drake Relays, the RedHawks will be competing against teams from all over the country, including several Big Ten and SEC schools. MAC foe Eastern Michigan will also have athletes entered in the same events as Miami.

In the latest USTFCCCA regional rankings, Miami is No. 12 in the Great Lakes Region Poll, just in front of the three MAC Michigan schools, as Eastern, Central and Western Michigan claim spots 13-15, respectively. Kent State and Akron are the highest-ranked MAC schools at No. 5 and 6, respectively, while Miami is third among MAC teams. The Bearcats, who come to Oxford Saturday, are No. 10 in the regional poll.

Last week, most of the RedHawks had an off weekend but three throwers competed at the Jesse Owens Track Classic, hosted by Ohio State in Columbus. At the meet, freshman Amelia Strickler (Bay Village, Ohio) posted personal bests in all three events (discus, hammer and shot put), including placing sixth in the shot put with a mark of 14.35m/47-1, which ranks her fourth in school history. Gable (Greenfield, Ind.), a senior, led the way in ninth in the hammer, while she was eighth in both the shot put and discus, claiming a personal best in the discus.

In Miami’s last full outing as a team two weeks ago, the team combined to break or tie five school records in two days, led by Graves (Fenton, Mo.), who set the 100m dash (11.62) and 200m dash (24.03) records at the Sea Ray Relays while finishing in the top four in both races. Baggett (Pittsburgh, Pa.) won the 100m hurdles at the meet as well, while tying the school record with a clocking of 13.31. Graves and Baggett also helped set a school-record time of 3:39.82 to win the 4x400m relay. The same weekend at the All-Ohio Championships, Paterra (Elizabeth, Pa.) topped her own school record in the javelin with a heave of 50.51m/165-8 to win her event while Howes (Fairfax, Va.) won the 3K steeplechase in 10:40.85, which ranks her third in school history.

The only RedHawk to have competed at the Drake Relays previously is Paterra, as she placed 11th out of 23 in the javelin (43.75m/143-6) last year, but she was the top MAC finisher among the three in the event. At last year’s RedHawk Invitational, sophomore Adaora Anunike (Galena, Ohio) won the shot put with a personal-best throw while junior Erin Riley (Avon Lake, Ohio) claimed the 800m run as Miami’s only other event winner. Sophomore Taylor Wickware (Geneva, Ill.) earned runner-up in the 1500m run, as well.

With just two weeks until the MAC Championships, several RedHawks rank near the top of the league in an event. Graves holds the top 100m time with her school record while her 200m time ranks third. Baggett also boasts the fastest 100m hurdles time after her showing at the Sea Ray Relays while Miami’s 4x400m relay team’s school-record time is also first in the MAC. Freshman Kala Allen (East Amherst, N.Y.) is fourth in the 400m dash (55.63) while senior Katie Scannell (Cortland, Ohio) is fifth (55.73). Freshman Laura Bess (Brownsburg, Ind.) sits seventh in the 1500m run (4:33.33) and ranks eighth in the 800m (2:11.88), while Howes is third in the steeplechase with her time from the All-Ohio meet. Lamb (Granville, Ohio) ranks fourth in the 5K (16:51.18) and third in the 10K (35:05.76) in the league, while Girgis is seventh in the 10K (36:39.05).

In field events, Paterra holds the top javelin throw in the MAC with her school-record mark from the All-Ohio Championships while redshirt junior Ashley Zaper (Whitehouse, Ohio) ranks third in the heptathlon (4,819 points). Paterra’s throw also ranks fourth in the East Region and 10th nationally while Zaper sits 22nd in the region. Baggett ranks 10th in the 100m hurdles in the region and 18th nationally, while Graves’ 100m dash time is 33rd in the East Region. Lamb is 40th in the 10K in the region and Howes is 50th in the steeplechase. The 4x400m relay team ranks 25th in the region and 55th nationally.

Live results for both meets this weekend will be available on MURedHawks.com. Following the Drake Relays and RedHawk Invitational, Miami will have one final tune-up before the MAC Championships as the RedHawks head to the Billy Hayes Invitational, hosted by Indiana University on Friday, May 3 in Bloomington. The MAC Championships are set for May 9-11 in Akron Ohio.

--MURedHawks.com--