ORLANDO, Fla. - With a limited travel squad, the Miami University women's track and field team kicked off its 2013 outdoor season under warm, sunny skies at the Black and Gold Challenge, hosted by Central Florida at the UCF Soccer and Track Complex Saturday, winning one event in its debut meet. The RedHawks combined to post eight top-five finishes, as well, despite sending just nine competitors to the meet.

Although it was a small field, Miami faced tough competition at the season-opening meet, including the host Knights and Michigan, both of which are ranked nationally and finished in the top 15 at the NCAA Indoor Championships last weekend. Also in attendance was St. John's (N.Y.) and in-state schools Florida International and Jacksonville.

The RedHawks captured three of the top four spots in the 1500m run with junior Erica Howes (Fairfax, Va.) winning the race with a time of 4:37.96 for her first collegiate win. Senior Monica Fischer (Cincinnati, Ohio) crossed in third in 4:43.53 while sophomore Jess Hoover (Hilliard, Ohio) was right behind in fourth in 4:44.06 in the 12-person field.

In the 200m dash, senior Layne Baggett (Pittsburgh, Pa.) finished third out of 16, clocking a 2013 season-best 24.88. Freshman Kala Allen (East Amherst, N.Y.) crossed in seventh in the 100m dash in 12.49 in her Miami outdoor debut.

Making their competitive return to the track for the first time all year and since being injured during the 2012 outdoor season, seniors Katie Scannell (Cortland, Ohio) and Diona Graves (Fenton, Mo.) claimed fifth and seventh, respectively, in the 400m dash in 57.75 and 58.19.

Allen, Baggett, Scannell and Graves then teamed up to grab third place out of seven in the 4x400m relay, combining for a time of 3:46.55, which was two seconds faster than any indoor 4x400m relay Miami ran this past season.

Miami's only competitors in the field events were throwers, led by redshirt senior Samantha Gable (Greenfield, Ind.), who was the runner-up in the shot put with a heave of 13.92m/45-8. She also took fourth in the hammer throw with a toss of 51.80m/169-11 and eighth in the discus (41.38m/135-9). Freshman Amelia Strickler (Bay Village, Ohio) claimed seventh in the shot put with a personal-best throw of 12.79m/41-11.5, while she was also 11th in her first collegiate discus competition (39.04m/128-1).

The RedHawks return to action next weekend when they will once again head south to the Vanderbilt Black and Gold Invitational in Nashville, Tenn., where the rest of Miami's team will make its season debut March 22-23.