CLEVELAND – Coming off a runner-up finish at last year’s Mid-American Conference Championship, the Miami University women’s cross country team was picked to finish in the same position in 2013 in the MAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll released Thursday.

The RedHawks were tabbed second in the preseason poll behind Toledo, which was voted to win the MAC title. The Rockets are the three-time defending MAC champions, winning the league crown each year after Miami captured MAC titles in 2008 and 2009. The RedHawks finished third at the MAC meet in 2010 and 2011.

Behind Miami in the poll was rival Ohio, which was third in the poll and also finished third at last year’s MAC Championship. Eastern Michigan was tabbed fourth in the poll, followed by Central Michigan and Buffalo in fifth and sixth, respectively.

Akron came in seventh in the preseason poll, while Bowling Green was eighth and Kent State was ninth. Northern Illinois, Western Michigan and Ball State rounded out the preseason coaches’ poll in spots 10-12, respectively.

The RedHawks return all but two runners from their 2012 team and will be led by juniors Jess Hoover and Elisa Frazier, who were Miami’s second and third scorers at last year’s MAC meet. Senior Erica Howes will also be a strong contributor after a breakout season last year, while junior Anna Lamb looks to build on an impressive track season this past spring. Sophomores Brenna Poulsen and Julia Valencia also should improve after placing in Miami’s top six at the MAC meet as freshmen.

The 2013 MAC Championship is set for Nov. 2 in Bowling Green, Ohio, while Miami opens the 2013 season Sept. 7 at its own Miami Invitational, which will be held on Miami’s new cross country course.

2013 MAC Women’s Cross Country Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. Toledo
2. Miami
3. Ohio
4. EMU
5. CMU
6. Buffalo
7. Akron
8. BGSU
9. Kent State
10. NIU
11. WMU
12. Ball State