RedHawks' running at Regionals
The Miami University men's and women's cross-country teams will be going to Madison, Wis. this Saturday for the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Meet.
Women's Head Coach Kelly Phillips hopes for a finish better than last year's 11th place and admits that the team's youth could be problematic.
"Last year we were terrible, this year we're ranked eighth," Phillips said. "[The team] doesn't have a lot of race experience. If we could finish higher that would be great."
Phillips set a goal for the women to finish closer together and their spread has improved from 2:27 at the Spartan Invitational to 24 seconds at the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Championships.
Redshirt junior Monica Fischer placed tenth overall at the MAC Championships as the 'Hawks took second place and has been the RedHawks' top finisher in the last two meets. Phillips expects Fischer to continue her success.
"The thing about Monica is you can't count her out," Phillips said. She doesn't care who she is running against, she'll run hard."
Phillips also said sophomores Jess Hoover and Elisa Frazier have been running well.
The RedHawks will be up against tough competition, as four teams in the Great Lakes Region are nationally ranked. The University of Michigan is ranked sixth, Michigan State University is 11th, the University of Toledo is 18th and Notre Dame University is 23rd.
Phillips wants the women to run hard on Saturday.
"We should walk away with personal records, [but] our region is pretty tough," Phillips said.
"There's room for improvement and we can slide up [higher than eighth]."
The men hope to carry their momentum from a third place finish in the MAC Championships. Head Coach Warren Mandrell is looking forward to seeing familiar opponents.
"We are running against teams we have faced previously," Mandrell said. "We get a second chance."
Mandrell hopes to finish in the top 15th this year after finishing 17th last year.
The Red and White will face nationally ranked teams in regionals. Defending national champion University of Wisconsin is ranked sixth. Michigan is 12th, Indiana University is 20th, and Notre Dame is 28th.
Mandrell hopes senior Jarrod Eick, redshirt senior Steve Kiplagat and redshirt sophomore Dave Wing will lead the way for the 'Hawks.
"Our front end guys have been running better all year," Mandrell said.
Mandrell noted that cross-country is one of the tougher sports to compete in because only 31 teams will compete in the National Championship, compared to 64 in basketball.
"The top four or five teams in our region will get out," Mandrell said.
Runners who are not on the teams that advance can also compete individually at the National Championships. The top four runners who are not on a team that advanced are able to compete individually.
"Steve and Jarrod have a chance to advance if they run well," Mandrell said.
The Great Lakes Regionals are set to start 1 p.m. Saturday.
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