Cross Country prepares for Dayton Flyer 5K Challenge
Published: Thursday, August 29, 2013
Updated: Thursday, August 29, 2013 22:08
Miami University men’s cross country head coach Warren Mandrell said he is both excited and curious as the men’s season gets underway with the Dayton Flyer 5K Challenge Saturday morning in Kettering, Ohio.
“(It’s) fun opportunity for some of the freshmen runners to run a course they’re familiar with, and that some ran in high school even,” Mandrell said.
The 5K race, which is 1.9 miles shorter in distance than regular meets, will serve as a good warm-up to the runners who have only practiced three times since returning to Miami from summer break. The race is a great chance for younger runners to get acclimated to the new pace of the races while not having to run a longer distance than they’re used to.
Miami had runners place first and second at the event last year, but both have had their eligibility expire. Other than seniors Matt Moral and Dave Wing, Mandrell said it is unclear where everyone else on the team will finish.
“I’m way up in the air about the order of the finish,” Mandrell said. “We haven’t even had any time trials yet, and it’s looked pretty balanced in our three practices.”
The race will serve as an early indicator as to how the rest of the season will go. It should also wake the runners up so to speak, who haven’t run competitively since May.
The race itself counts the same as any other meet they run would. It features some good competition in the University of Dayton, and Ohio State University. In fact, Ohio State managed to beat Miami last year by a narrow margin of three points, 39-36. It was a rare defeat for the RedHawks, who have managed to win the race eight times in the last ten years.
This will be Wing’s third time running the race, so he’s counting on his familiarity with the course to give him an edge. However, despite his confidence, he said the meet has become somewhat nostalgic at this point, and he does not really know how that will affect him.
“It’s definitely going to be weird for me running this course for the last time after running it so much in my career,” Wing said.
The primarily grass course set in Indian Ripple Park is a classic cross country course, but is by no means any easy race. There is a half mile wooded section, as well as a large hill that everyone has to go over twice. After coming over the hill for a second time, the course is flat for 1000 meters into the finish, which leaves the door open for another neck and neck finish like last year’s.
With big name regional schools like Wright State University, Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati expected to be competing at the meet, a great race is likely in store.