OXFORD, Ohio – After a month and a half off from competition, the Miami University women’s track and field team returns Friday and Saturday for its second indoor meet of the season at the Kentucky Invitational, hosted at the University of Kentucky’s E.J. Nutter Field House.
Competition kicks off Friday at 5 p.m. with the weight throw, and day one of the invitational will conclude at 8:30 p.m. with the distance medley relay. Saturday’s action heats up with the high jump, long jump and pole vault at 9 a.m., followed by the shot put at 11 a.m. The first track event of the day is scheduled for noon with the 60m hurdles, and the invitational will conclude at 4:35 p.m. with the 1600m relay.
The RedHawks had a strong start to their indoor season Dec. 7, winning two running events and one field event at the IPFW Mastodon Opener. Junior Elisa Frazier won the mile in 5:15.63, while freshman Jackie Mullins earned her first victory of her collegiate career in the 3000m race in 10:45.07. Senior Kori Tatman had the lone field victory for the Red and White, taking first in the pole vault with a mark of 3.34m.
Miami faced a small field of competitors at the Mastodon Opener, including IPFW, Butler, Valparaiso, Oakland and Indiana Tech, but will compete against a much larger and challenging field of athletes this weekend at Kentucky. Besides No. 6 Kentucky, Miami will compete against 19 other schools, including No. 2 Florida A&M, Ohio State, Wake Forest, Xavier, Dayton, and Western and Eastern Kentucky.
Following a disappointing eighth-place finish at the 2013 MAC Indoor Championships, the RedHawks are looking to have a stronger year despite losing several key players from last season.
Alumna Layne Baggett led the RedHawks at last year’s indoor conference championships, placing fourth in the 60m hurdles in 8.50 seconds. She later went on to win the 100m hurdles at the MAC Outdoor Championships for the third time in her career, then helped Miami win the 4x100m relay in a school-record time of 45.29. Baggett was named First-Team All-MAC three times in her career as a RedHawk, and competed at the NCAA Quarterfinals in the 100m hurdles.
Miami also said goodbye to sprinter Diona Graves who won the 100m dash at last season’s outdoor conference championships, earning her First-Team All-MAC. She also aided Miami in winning the 4x100m relay, and made it to the NCAA Quarterfinals in the 100m dash.
Despite losing two top-notch runners, the RedHawks have a lot of young, talented racers this season, according to head coach Kelly Phillips.
Junior Anna Lamb returns this season following an impressive sophomore year. Lamb won the 10K title at the 2013 Outdoor MAC Championships, qualifying for the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds. While she was unable to advance to the quarterfinals, Lamb finished the semifinal race in 35:14.11, the sixth-fastest time in school history.
The RedHawks are also welcoming back sophomore Kala Allen and junior Charlotte Myers who were the two other racers alongside Baggett and Graves in the 4x100m relay at last season’s outdoor conference championships. Myers has already gotten her junior year off to a fast start, taking second place in the 800m run in 2:16.48 at the Mastodon Opener.
Miami is also returning several experienced athletes to the field events this season, including senior Tori Paterra, who qualified for her third NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships last season. Despite suffering from a back injury, Paterra earned Honorable Mention All-America at the NCAA Championships after placing 21st overall.
Tatman, junior Adaora Anunike and sophomore Amelia Strickler are also ready to compete this season, following strong finishes at this year’s indoor season opener. Tatman won the pole vault, while Strickler and Adaora went two-three in the pole vault. Strickler also brings some NCAA Championship experience to the team this year after qualifying for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships last season.
While the RedHawks have many members of last season’s team back and ready to compete, they are also welcoming some new talent who are already making an impact this season. Freshan Alexus Jimson-Miller had a quick start to her career at the Mastodon Opener, taking fifth in the 60m hurdles, while freshman McKenna Kiple placed sixth in the 800m run.
Following the Kentucky Invitational, the Red and White will return to the track and field Friday, Jan. 24 for the Tom Wright Classic in Bowling Green, Ohio.