MADISON, Wis. – The Miami University women’s cross country team finished its 2013 season with an 11th-place finish at the NCAA Regional Championship Friday afternoon. The regional meet was hosted at the University of Wisconsin’s Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course.
Similar to the men’s cross country team, the Miami women were the third MAC school to complete the regional meet, placing behind Toledo and Central Michigan. Miami totaled 328 points to put them in 11th, while Toledo finished eighth with 227 points and Central Michigan placed ninth with 263 points. After winning the 2013 MAC title two weeks ago, Miami entered today’s regional ranked eighth in the Great Lakes region, followed by Toledo, which was ranked ninth and Central Michigan, which sat in 10th.
No. 14 Michigan ran away with the regional championship, winning the meet with 48 points. Butler finished behind Michigan with 67 points, while No. 6 Michigan State placed third with 73 points. No. 21 Notre Dame took fourth with 134 points, while the host team, Wisconsin rounded out the top five with 136 points. Indiana, Ohio State, Toledo, Central Michigan, and Xavier rounded out the meet’s top ten finishers.
"In short, it was a tough day at the office," head coach Kelly Phillips said. "It went from bad to worse, and you know, some days it's just not in the cards and that day was today for us."
While the Miami women were ready physically for the regional meet, they struggled throughout the 6K race.
Junior Jess Hoover set the pace for the RedHawks throughout the meet, running her second fastest 6K of the season. Finishing 32nd overall, Hoover was Miami’s top scorer in 21:11. Redshirt junior Melissa Girgis went out with Hoover during the first portion of the race, and ultimately finished 48th in 21:35.
Sophomore Laura Bess was Miami’s third scorer at the regional, but was pushed by teammate Julia Valencia at the very end of the race. Bess got out eight seconds faster than Valencia at the start of the meet, but by the final stretch of the race both RedHawks were even with each other. Bess managed to snatch 77th in 22:06, coming in ahead of Ohio State’s Sakiko Minagawa who was also clocked at 22:06 at the finish line. Valencia then came in as Miami’s fourth scorer in 79th with a time of 22:07.
Despite a tough finish at the regional meet, the Miami women undoubtedly had a successful season.
"It was a great season," Phillips said. "I mean, you can't be disappointed when you're conference champions, so it was by far our best season in a long time so it's been a great year."
Michigan and Butler automatically move on to the 2013 NCAA Cross Country Championship Saturday, Nov. 23 as a result of earning the top two spots in the Great Lakes Regional. Michigan State and Notre Dame have the opportunity to earn an at-large berth to the NCAA Championship because of their third- and fourth-place finishes this afternoon. Ohio’s Juli Accurso won the regional’s individual title, finishing the 6K in 20:00, while Michigan’s Erin Finn placed second in 20:09.
The women’s 2013 cross country season comes to a close with the conclusion of the NCAA Regional Championship.