OXFORD, Ohio - With races in five different states, the 2012 Miami University men's cross country schedule was released Wednesday by head coach Warren Mandrell. The slate features at least six meets, including two in the state of Ohio.
"We have a very tough schedule this year. We'll see good competition early, especially teams from the SEC at the Commodore Classic, and several of the top teams in the country at Pre-Nationals," Mandrell said. "We have our whole team returning from last year plus a strong recruiting class so we tried to schedule high-level competition during the regular season in preparation for the MAC and regional championships."
The RedHawks open the season Saturday, Sept. 1 at the Flyer 5K Challenge, hosted by the University of Dayton in Kettering, Ohio, for the 10th straight season (since 2003). Miami has won the meet each of the last two years and eight of the last nine renditions of the race. The race is the team's lone 5K of the season.
Miami then heads south to Nashville, Tenn. for the Commodore Classic Saturday, Sept. 15, hosted by Vanderbilt University. It will be the RedHawks' first time running in the meet, which will be run on the same course as the 2012 SEC Championships. Miami competed at an SEC-school meet last year as well as the 'Hawks won the LSU Invitational in Baton Rouge.
Two weeks later Miami returns to Ohio for the All-Ohio Championships Saturday, Sept. 29. The race will be held in Cedarville and hosted by Cedarville University, as it has been each of the last two years when the RedHawks took part in the meet. The 'Hawks placed sixth out of 45 teams at the race last year but won the meet in 2010.
On Saturday, Oct. 13 Miami makes its first trek to the state of Kentucky as the RedHawks will run in the Pre-Nationals meet at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville. The race serves as a preview for the NCAA Championships as the University of Louisville will also be hosting the NCAA meet. The 'Hawks last ran at Pre-Nationals in 2009 while the meet also serves as a final tune-up before the MAC Championships Saturday, Oct. 27. Miami will be looking to improve on its eighth-place showing at last year's MAC meet as the 2012 MAC Championships are hosted by the University at Buffalo in Buffalo, N.Y.
The RedHawks travel to Wisconsin for their first 10K of the season as they run in the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship Friday, Nov. 9 in Madison, home of the University of Wisconsin. Miami will be looking to qualify for the NCAA Championship at the regional after placing 17th out of 31 teams a year ago. To clinch a spot at the NCAA Championship, which is slated for Saturday, Nov. 17, the 'Hawks would need a top-two team finish at the Great Lakes Regional while 13 at-large teams among the nine regionals also qualify for the NCAA meet. The top five individuals at each regional not on a qualifying team also advance to the NCAA meet.
Miami brings back its entire team from a year ago, led by rising senior and First-Team All-MAC performer Jarrod Eick, who was fifth at the 2011 MAC Championship. Rising junior Dave Wing will also be counted on heavily after scoring first or second for the RedHawks in every meet he ran last year. Rising redshirt senior David Eichenberger and rising redshirt junior Matt Marol also provide depth and experience for the RedHawks after scoring in the top three in several meets last season.