LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Miami University men’s cross country team faced a tough test Saturday morning at the Bluegrass Cross Country Invitational, hosted by the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Competing in its first 8K of the 2013 season, Miami finished ahead of Mid-American Conference (MAC) foe Akron and rival Cincinnati, taking fifth overall.

The RedHawks ran against their hardest competition yet this season at Masterson Station Park, racing against nationally ranked teams Oklahoma State and Eastern Kentucky. Eastern Kentucky, which is ranked 11th in the country, won the invitational with 34 points, followed by No. 1 ranked Oklahoma State as the runner-up with 47 points.

Miami’s 136 points earned it fifth place behind Louisville, which placed third with 72 points, and the host Wildcats, who finished fourth with 111 points. The RedHawks finished ahead of league rival Akron (139), which was sixth, and the Bearcats, who were seventh (179).

“I thought they had a very solid race,” head coach Warren Mandrell said. “One of the things we were teeing on going in was the University of Akron was there, and they were picked third in the preseason poll and we were picked fourth, and last year we were very close to them. So that was kind of what we were using as a little bit of a gauge to see where we are right now.”

Senior Dave Wing paced the RedHawks in the Bluegrass Invitational, finishing in 11th place in a career-best 24:17.21. Wing shattered his best 8K time from last year when he paced the RedHawks at the All-Ohio Championship in 24:52.80.

Senior Matt Marol was Miami’s second finisher for the third consecutive time this season, taking 23rd overall in 24:48.60. Freshman Stephen Biebelhausen ran an impressive race for his first 8K as a RedHawk, taking third for Miami in 25:11.91 to place 31st.

Junior Daniel Garleb was Miami’s fourth finisher, scoring for the first time this season in 35th place overall in 25:22.21. Sophomore Matt Stewart rounded out the Red and White’s five scorers with a personal-best 25:33.12 to claim 41st.

“It was a pretty loaded meet as we knew coming in with a couple nationally ranked teams and a couple of the BCS-type schools, but I thought the guys competed well and it was a pretty good experience for them,” said Mandrell.

The RedHawks will spend the next couple weeks training, then will compete at the All-Ohio Championships Friday, Oct. 4 in Cedarville, Ohio. The race will begin at 4 p.m.