By Grace Remington, For The Miami Student
The Miami University men's cross country team opened its 2014 season Saturday at the Flyer 5K Challenge in Dayton, Ohio.
The team finished with 79 points, putting them in third place behind University of Louisville and Ohio State University. Dayton University, Northern Kentucky University and Wright State University followed in fourth, fifth and sixth place, respectively.
Junior Matt Stewart blazed the way for Miami with a time of 16:06, earning him 10th place.
"He had a very nice race," head coach Warren Mandrell said. "It's the first time he's been a top runner, and the highest he's ever finished on the team."
The rest of the RedHawks' top runners did not run as well as Mandrell had hoped. Going into the season, all eyes were on senior Daniel Garleb (16:27), but he placed 30th. Junior Zach McBride came in 34th place with a time of 16:31. Junior Joe Stewart wasn't able to run after re-aggravating an injury from the summer.
"We could have done better, but we also certainly could have done worse," Mandrell said. "We had some that ran very well and some that were a little off, which is pretty normal early on. People are going to be a little rusty. So this kind of thing is expected."
Mandrell thinks part of the reason for some of the runners' poorer performances may be because of their workout Wednesday. He says the pace was "pushed a little too hard," and the runners probably felt the effects Saturday.
However, the team's young sophomores were able to capture some points for Miami. Redshirt Patrick Santino finished 13th in his debut race with a time of 16:12. Matthew Dietrich, Stephen Biebelhausen and Andrew Dusing each ran a time of 16:22.
Mandrell was impressed with their performances.
"Hopefully that'll translate into always being able to have someone," Mandrell said. "When our top guys aren't doing well, we'll have someone able to take their place."
As for now, Mandrell wants his players to "keep doing what they're doing" in order to prepare for the next race.
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"They've been working hard and I'm sure they'll continue to do so," Mandrell said. "Our only home meet is in a couple weeks, and that'll give us another opportunity to get into racing mode."
The men's squad will continue its season in Oxford at the Miami Invitational Saturday, Sept. 13.