OXFORD, Ohio – After select RedHawks opened the outdoor track and field season last weekend in Florida, the entire Miami University women’s track and field team will begin the season this weekend as the RedHawks head south again, this time only to Nashville, Tenn., to the Black and Gold Invitational, hosted by Vanderbilt Friday and Saturday.

Action at the Vanderbilt track and field complex begins at 5 p.m. ET/4 p.m. CT with several field events, including the women’s shot put, while the hammer throw and triple jump will take place after the men’s version of the event. The lone races Friday are the 1500m invitational run at 7:15 p.m. ET and the 3000m invitational run at 7:45 p.m. ET, in which sophomore Melissa Girgis (Worthington, Ohio) will run.

The meet resumes Saturday at 11 a.m. ET with the discus followed by several other field events at noon ET. The track heats up at noon ET, as well, with the men’s 3000m run followed by the women’s race. The invitational concludes at 6:15 p.m. ET with the 4x400m relay.

The RedHawks will be competing against several regional teams at the meet, including Michigan, DePaul, Louisville, Bradley, Southern Illinois, Loyola (Ill.) and Western Kentucky, as well as several schools in Tennessee, including Memphis, Belmont, Austin Peay, Middle Tennessee State and Lipscomb, along with the host Commodores.

Last weekend, Miami opened the outdoor season at the Black and Gold Challenge, hosted by Central Florida in Orlando. A total of nine RedHawks competed, mostly on the track, as the team posted eight top-five finishes against a small field that included the Wolverines and nationally ranked UCF. Junior Erica Howes (Fairfax, Va.) led the way, picking up her first collegiate win by crossing first in the 1500m run in 4:37.96. Senior Layne Baggett (Pittsburgh, Pa.) also had a strong showing in the 200m dash, taking third in 24.88. Both Howes’ and Baggett’s times rank third in the MAC so far this year. Seniors Diona Graves (Fenton, Mo.) and Katie Scannell (Cortland, Ohio) both made their season debuts, as well, as Graves did not have indoor eligibility remaining and Scannell was recovering from injury. In the throws, senior Samantha Gable (Greenfield, Ind.) was runner-up in the shot put.

At last year’s Black and Gold Invitational, Kelley Miller broke the 1500m school record and Alexandra Roberts bested her own shot put school record, though Miller graduated last year and Roberts does not have outdoor eligibility remaining. Current junior Tori Paterra (Elizabeth, Pa.), who was a First-Team All-American last year, won the javelin and set the meet record in the process. Baggett was the runner-up in the 200m dash while Graves took third in the 400m dash. Graves will run the 100m dash this year, however, and Baggett will run the 100m hurdles rather than the 200m dash this weekend.

Following this weekend’s meet, Miami stays closer to home as the RedHawks take part in the Oliver Nikoloff Invitational, hosted by the University of Cincinnati, Friday and Saturday, March 29-30, just an hour down the road from Oxford.