Runners impress again, finish strong
Published: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 01:10
The Miami University men’s and women’s cross-country teams delivered again Saturday in their third meets of the year, placing second and third in the All-Ohio Championships and the Sean Earl Lakefront Invitational, respectively.
Junior Dave Wing led the way for the RedHawks for the first time this year, placing 8th. Head Coach Warren Mandrell was impressed with Wing’s performance, which was 22 seconds better than his last meet.
“[This meet] was very big for him,” Mandrell said. “[Senior Brett] Wagner had a great race too.”
Wagner finished 15th at 25:07.31, a personal best, while sophomore Daniel Garleb, freshman Joseph Stewart and redshirt senior David Eichenberger rounded out the top five for the Red and White.
Mandrell was most impressed by Eichenberger, who ran 51 seconds better than his last meet.
“David Eichenberger had a very nice race,” Mandrell said. “He had been injured one thing after another for a year. He can be a real difference maker and he improves the team’s depth.”
Seniors Jarrod Eick and Steve Kiplagat, the team’s top runners, did not race due to minor injuries, according to Mandrell.
“We needed to take care of it early; it was a conservative move,” Mandrell said.
With Eick and Kiplagat out of the lineup, the RedHawks still managed their third second place finish of the year.
“They would’ve ran if it had been a conference championship, but better safe than sorry,” Mandrell said.
Meanwhile, the women placed all seven runners in the top 50, and only 32 seconds separated the ’Hawks’ first and last runner. Miami finished third as a team with 121 points.
Sophomore Jess Hoover paced the Red and White for the third time this season, finishing 13th in a field of 514 runners, notching a 5k personal-best time of 17:58. Her time was 38 seconds better than her 5k time in the team’s first meet this year.
Hoover and Head Coach Kelly Phillips said the goal Saturday was to run better as a team.
“We definitely achieved the goal,” Hoover said. “We did a lot better as a team.”
Freshman Julia Valencia finished 14th overall, and sophomores Alex Chitwood, Elisa Frazier and Anna Lamb rounded out the RedHawks’ top five. Valencia improved her personal best by 56 seconds.
Despite her top 15 finish, Hoover said she was not feeling her best.
“I didn’t have the best day; I fought through it,” Hoover said. “I was really feeling my workouts. The course was tough; there were a lot of bumps and curves and three big hills.”
All seven women improved their 5k times Saturday.
“I’m happy with how we did as a team; I’m glad we beat Purdue [University] and Northwestern [University],” Hoover said.
The team raced much closer than it has at previous meets. The difference between first and last at the Dayton Flyer 5k Challenge was 1:59 and 2:27 at the Spartan Invitational. Hoover was optimistic following a 32 second spread Saturday.
“This meet was definitely a step in the right direction,” Hoover said. “We add a new step every week. We’re putting it all together.”