CLEVELAND - The Miami University women's cross country team was picked to finish fourth at the 2012 Mid-American Cross Country Championship, the league office announced Wednesday when it revealed the preseason poll voted on by the MACs head coaches.

The RedHawks have finished third the last two years at the MAC Championship after winning back-to-back MAC titles in 2008 and 2009, the first two in school history.

Toledo, who is ranked 23rd nationally in the preseason USTFCCCA Poll, was selected to repeat as MAC champions after winning each of the last two league titles. Ohio, who was just behind Miami at the 2011 MAC meet, was chosen right behind the Rockets in second. Central Michigan landed third in the poll after earning runner-up honors a year ago.

Behind the RedHawks in the poll is Eastern Michigan in fifth, the same spot the Eagles finished in 2011, followed by Western Michigan in sixth. Akron was tabbed seventh in the poll with Northern Illinois eighth and Buffalo ninth. Kent State, Ball State and Bowling Green round out the poll in tenth through 12th, respectively.

Miami returns just two scorers from the 2011 MAC Championship in sophomores Jess Hoover (Hilliard, Ohio) and Alex Chitwood (Carmel, Ind.). Hoover earned Second-Team All-MAC honors by finishing 12th overall while Chitwood was 19th. The RedHawks return their sixth and seventh finishers from the MAC meet as well in junior Kate Carter (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and redshirt junior Monica Fischer (Cincinnati, Ohio). In addition to returning 14 harriers from a year ago, head coach Kelly Phillips brought in a talented class of seven freshmen.

The 2012 MAC Championship will be hosted by the University at Buffalo on Saturday, Oct. 27. Miami opens its season Saturday (Sept. 1) at the Dayton Flyer 5K Challenge in Kettering, Ohio.

MAC Women's Cross Country Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Toledo
2. Ohio
3. Central Michigan
4. Miami
5. Eastern Michigan
6. Western Michigan
7. Akron
8. Northern Illinois
9. Buffalo
10. Kent State
11. Ball State
12. Bowling Green

--MURedHawks.com--