OXFORD, Ohio – Following a successful 2013 season, Miami University head women’s cross country coach Kelly Phillips was named Ohio Cross Country Division I Coach of the Year. Shawnee State head coach Eric Putnam announced the recipient of the award Thursday afternoon.
In her fifth year as head coach of the women’s cross country program, Phillips guided the RedHawks to victory at the 2013 MAC Championship, beating the three-time defending champion Toledo Rockets, who had been favored to win the meet a fourth time.
The RedHawks ran a flawless race, placing four of their five scorers in the top ten. Despite all five of the Rockets’ scorers finishing the race before the RedHawks’ top five, Miami nabbed the MAC title with a score of 45 points, three points less than Toledo’s 48-point finish. Through her impressive leadership throughout the 2013 season into the conference championship, Phillips was named MAC Coach of the Year.
Phillips also led her team to a strong 11th-place finish at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship Nov. 15, despite some unforeseen circumstances that had rocked her team’s concentration before the race. Through her inspiring guidance, Phillips rallied her team through its final race of the season, coming in as the third MAC team to finish the meet behind Toledo and Central Michigan.
Besides these outstanding finishes to close the 2013 season, Phillips guided Miami through its regular-season, beginning with its home opener, The Miami Invitational on Sept. 7. The RedHawks earned the top three spots in the meet against Ohio, Shawnee State, and Capital, and would have won the meet if there had been team scoring.
Phillips’ then led her team to an impressive third-place finish at the Wake Forest Invitational against a strong 6-team field, including nationally ranked Florida State and MAC foe Ohio. Florida State won the meet with 19 points, while Ohio earned second with 59 points. Miami beat out Wake Forest, Clemson, and Shawnee State with 84 points.
The Red and White continued to progress under Phillips’ coaching, placing fourth out of 42 teams with 137 points at the All-Ohio Championship, Oct. 4. The RedHawks then finished fifth a day later at the Greater Louisville Classic, racing against a 32-team field that included both regional teams and nationally ranked Vanderbilt.
In its final race before the conference championship, Phillips helped her team to a 24th-place finish at Pre-Nationals against runners from 48 nationally and regionally ranked teams.
With a crowded 340-runner field, Miami had a difficult time keeping up with Toledo, which finished 14th. However, with two more weeks of training and perfect performances by the team’s five scorers, the RedHawks were able to defeat the Rockets in the 2013 MAC Championship.
This is the first time Phillips has received this award. She had earned MAC Coach of the Year during her first year at the helm of the women’s cross country program when she led the RedHawks to their second-consecutive MAC Championship title in 2009. Under her watch, Miami alumna Rachel Patterson earned a berth to the NCAA Championship in 2010, and later qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship in 2011. Phillips has also had major success with the women’s track and field program, which has earned All-Academic honors by the USTFCCCA her past four seasons as head coach.With the cross country season at an end, Phillips now turns to her track and field team. Women’s track and field opened its indoor season Dec. 7 at the IPFW Mastodon Opener, and will return to action Jan. 17-18 for the Kentucky Invitational in Lexington, Ky.