Cross Country ready for big weekend
Published: Thursday, October 3, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 3, 2013 22:10
The Miami University men’s and women’s cross country teams are back in action this weekend with two of its biggest races of the year thus far. The men’s team will be racing at the All-Ohio Championship. The women’s team is dividing into two teams, one of which will travel to the All-Ohio Championship, and another that will be travelling to the Greater Louisville Classic.
With both teams enjoying time off from racing, each were able to put in some hard training and recuperate ahead of what men’s coach Warren Mandrell calls the “racing half of the season.”
Mandrell also said he is confident entering the race this year after seeing his team nearly take the top prize last year, even while resting their top two runners. Miami narrowly lost to the University of Cincinnati, but look to avenge that this year with the help of its current top runners; senior Dave Wing and redshirt senior Matt Marol.
“The expectations are the same as last year, but with our top two back now, we definitely expect to win this go around,” Mandrell said.
The race will be the biggest in terms of size for the men. Anywhere between 40-45 teams are expected to show up. With much of the races for the remainder of the season this size, Mandrell said it is imperative his younger racers learn how to not get clogged up in the beginning where the race is so packed.
The RedHawks are hoping to finish ahead of schools like Cincinnati, the University of Akron, and Kent State University now that races start to count towards qualifying for nationals. Miami was able to finish ahead of both Cincinnati and Akron at its last meet.
Mandrell said he is excited about younger runners getting to experience the carnival-like atmosphere that the race brings. Mandrell said he is expecting big things from freshmen Stephen Biebelhausen and Kent Ford, as well as redshirt sophomore Ryan Moncrieff.
The women’s team is bringing six girls to each race and head coach Kelly Phillips will be coaching at both events.
She also noted the only reason she is able to make this split is because of the depth on the team. Phillips is excited at the prospect that both groups will have a chance to score now too, which is not always the case.
Phillips is hopeful her girls going to the All-Ohio can take the top prize, but she admits winning at the Louisville Classic would be a tall order, even with junior Jess Hoover running as well as she is.
Phillips said she expects senior Erica Howes, junior Elisa Frasier and sophomore Julia Valencia to all finish near the top at the All-Ohio meet against the likes of Xavier University, Ohio State University, and the University of Dayton.
The Louisville meet will feature a massive 50 teams, with several ranked in the top 10 nationally. Phillips says RedHawks’ main goal is to beat region teams. She wants this because the more they beat, the better their odds of going to nationals are.
Phillips said she is hopeful of her team’s chances, and can’t wait to get back into racing.
“We’re very prepared, very fit, everyone is healthy, and were just ready to go,” Phillips said. “It should be a great weekend; everything only gets bigger from here.”