OXFORD, Ohio - Running to extend its season, the Miami University women's cross country team competes at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Friday afternoon at the University of Wisconsin's Zimmer Championship Course in Verona, Wis. The 6K race begins at 1 p.m. ET (noon CT) followed by the men at 2:15 p.m. ET.

The RedHawks will be competing against 31 other teams in the Great Lakes Region, including four nationally ranked teams in No. 6 Michigan, No. 11 Michigan State, No. 18 Toledo and No. 23 Notre Dame. In addition to Toledo, Miami will see several Mid-American Conference foes at the meet, including Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Ohio and Western Michigan, all of which the 'Hawks ran against two weeks ago at the MAC Championships.

Miami enters the Great Lakes Regional ranked No. 8 in the latest USTFCCCA Great Lakes Region Poll with the Wolverines and Spartans holding the top two spots in the region. The Rockets are No. 3 followed by Notre Dame and host Wisconsin rounding out the top five. Butler and Ohio State are just ahead Miami in the regional poll while Indiana and Ohio complete the top 10. Marquette, Purdue, CMU, Xavier and EMU are also ranked in the 15-team poll.

In the RedHawks' last race, Oct. 27, at the MAC Championships in Buffalo, N.Y., Miami earned runner-up honors in the 12-team field behind then-No. 20 Toledo, which won its third straight MAC title. The 'Hawks totaled 81 points to finish ahead of their rival Bobcats, who were third with 92 points. CMU and EMU placed fourth and fifth, respectively.

Redshirt junior Monica Fischer (Cincinnati, Ohio) led Miami at the MAC Championships for the second straight meet and second time in her career, as she took 10th to earn Second-Team All-MAC honors. Sophomore Jess Hoover (Hilliard, Ohio), who was Miami's top finisher in its first three meets this year, was the second RedHawk to finish, crossing in 15th, while classmate Elisa Frazier (Williamsville, N.Y.) was third in 17th place. Junior Erica Howes (Fairfax, Va.) and freshman Brenna Poulsen (Indianapolis, Ind.) completed Miami's scoring five.

At last year's Great Lakes Regional in Toledo, Ohio, the RedHawks placed 11th out of 33 teams, led by now-graduated Maggie Bingham, who was 37th. Of Miami's seven runners from last year's regional meet, only two will be running again on Friday, paced by Hoover, who was Miami's second finisher and was 70th overall last year. Fischer was the RedHawks' fifth scorer a year ago in 96th place. Running in their first NCAA regional meet for Miami Friday will be Frazier, Howes and Poulsen as well as redshirt sophomore Melissa Girgis (Worthington, Ohio), sophomores Amanda Hancock (Lexington, Ky.) and Anna Lamb (Granville, Ohio) and freshman Julia Valencia (South Lyon, Mich.).

The top two teams at each of the nine regional championships automatically earn a spot in the NCAA Championships, which are held Saturday, Nov. 17 in Louisville, Ky. Third- and fourth-place teams at each regional are then under consideration for one of 13 at-large berths to the NCAA meet, which are announced Sunday. The top 25 individual finishers at the regional earn All-Region honors while the top four individual finishers from non-qualifying NCAA Championship teams at the regional meet will also automatically advance to the NCAA meet. Two individual at-large berths to the NCAA Championships are also awarded from among the nine regionals as chosen by the NCAA Cross Country Selection Committee.

--MURedHawks.com--