OXFORD, Ohio – After a strong season-opening performance last Saturday at the 2013 Miami Invitational, the Miami University women’s cross country team will face a slew of conference competitors Friday night at the Mel Brodt Collegiate Invitational in Bowling Green, Ohio.

The 5K race will begin at 7:10 p.m. at the Forrest Creason Golf Course with the finish line just east of Bowling Green’s Doyt Perry Stadium. This will be the RedHawks’ first look at the course before returning in November for the 2013 Mid-American Conference Championships.

Friday will also be Miami’s first opportunity to race against MAC foes Bowling Green, Ball State, Eastern Michigan and Toledo since last season’s NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship. The RedHawks finished 10th out of 31 teams at the regional, and were second among the 10 MAC teams that ran in the regional race.

In both the 2012 Regional Championship and the 2012 conference meet, the RedHawks found themselves runner-up to Toledo, which won the conference title for a third consecutive year last season. The 81 points the RedHawks totaled at the 2012 MAC Championship wasn’t enough to defeat the Rockets, who dominated the meet with a league-record 24 points.

Toledo and Miami are expected to again take the top two spots, even in this season’s MAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll, where the Rockets were predicted to win the conference title for a fourth straight year with Miami in a close second. The RedHawks will make their first attempt to change that prediction this weekend at the Mel Brodt Invitational.

The Miami women made their season debut at home last weekend at the 2013 Miami Invitational, welcoming runners from Capital, MAC rival Ohio and Shawnee State. Competing on the brand new Miami Cross Country Course, junior Jess Hoover dominated the race from start to finish, winning the invitational in a personal-best 17:13.6.

Junior Anna Lamb took second overall, crossing the finish line 10 seconds behind Hoover in a career-best 17:23.2. The Red and White took the top three spots at the invitational after redshirt junior Melissa Girgis took third in 17:29.5. Sophomore Laura Bess placed fourth for the RedHawks after finishing eighth overall in 17:40.9, followed by senior Erica Howes, who rounded out the RedHawks’ top five, finishing in 17:50.5. Howes would have been Miami’s final scorer if there had been team scoring at last weekend’s meet.

Following the Mel Brodt Invitational, the RedHawks will travel to Winston-Salem, N.C. Friday, Sept. 20 for the Wake Forest Invitational.