LOUISVILLE, Ky. - In its final tune-up for the Mid-American Conference Championships, the Miami University women's cross country team ran to a 22nd-place finish Saturday morning against a talented field at Pre-Nationals, hosted by the University of Louisville at E.P. "Tom" Sawyer Park. The course will also serve as the host for the NCAA Championships in November.
Running against eight nationally ranked teams and a total of 38 teams, all of which are ranked regionally, the RedHawks totaled 596 points in the Red Race (seeded race). In all, 65 teams took part in the Pre-Nationals meet, with 27 unseeded teams competing in the Black Race, of which Miami would have finished ahead of all 27 squads.
The 'Hawks were the top MAC team among the three in the Red Race as Ohio finished two spots back in 24th with 637 points while Eastern Michigan was 30th with 768 points. Central Michigan, Akron, Kent State and Toledo's "B team" ran in the Black Race. No. 1 Florida State won the Red Race with 72 points while No. 4 Oregon was second and No. 8 Michigan took third. Miami was third among Great Lakes Region teams behind the Wolverines and Butler, who finished 11th and is ranked fifth in the region, while a total of six teams in the region ran in the Red Race. The 'Hawks also placed ahead of Loyola (Ill.), who took 28th, as Loyola finished ahead of Miami at its home meet two weeks ago in Chicago.
Redshirt junior Monica Fischer (Cincinnati, Ohio) was Miami's top finisher for the first time in her career, crossing in 85th in a 6K personal-best 21:27.7 , shaving over 40 seconds off her previous-best 6K time. She was Miami's second scorer in the RedHawks' other 6K, the Spartan Invitational, earlier this year. Sophomore Jess Hoover (Hilliard, Ohio), who had been Miami's top finisher in the first three meets of the year, was the second RedHawk to finish, placing 97th in 21:33.4.
Sophomore Elisa Frazier (Williamsville, N.Y.) was Miami's third finisher in 116th place, clocking 21:43.7, also a 6K personal best. Frazier has now been in the RedHawks' top five in all four meets this season. Freshman Julia Valencia (South Lyon, Mich.) was 146th in 21:57.4, a minute faster than her first 6K, while sophomore Anna Lamb (Granville, Ohio) rounded out Miami's scoring five in 152nd with a time of 21:58.3, another 6K personal best. The RedHawks' top five finishers were all within 31 seconds of each other.
Freshman Brenna Poulsen (Indianapolis, Ind.) took 164th place in 22:06.8 while sophomore Alex Chitwood (Carmel, Ind.) was Miami's seventh and final finisher in the Red Race in 189th place in 22:25.7. A total of 265 runners competed in the seeded race with Wichita State's Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton winning in 19:43.9.
The RedHawks now have a week off before heading north to Buffalo, N.Y. for the MAC Championships Saturday, Oct. 27 at the University at Buffalo.