By Grace Remington, For The Miami Student
The Miami University women's cross country team opened the season on the right foot after placing first at the Ohio Invite in Athens, Ohio on Friday.
The RedHawks narrowly defeated Ohio University by a margin of just one point.
Senior Jess Hoover led Miami with a first place finish and a time of 22:36. Fellow senior Anna Lamb took second with a time of 22:43.
Junior Brenna Poulsen placed sixth, junior Laura Bess took eight and senior Mattie Moncayo rounded out the scoring with by placing 13th.
"It boosts our confidence to start out with a win," Hoover said. "But at the same time, we don't put too much weight into these first meets because it is early, and we have to go through November."
Even with the win, the 'Hawks believe they could have performed better.
"It's not really something we're jumping up and down about," Hoover said. "Everybody knows that we're much better than OU, so it's not too great to finish by only one point ahead of them. But a win is a win."
Hoover thinks the weather played a role in the runners' mediocre performances.
The race occurred in the late afternoon of a 93 percent humidity and 95-degree day.
"That was one of the toughest races I've ever ran," Hoover said. "When it's hot, you have trouble breathing and you can't relax your muscles."
Head coach Kelly Phillips agreed.
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"It was just not a good situation," Phillips said. "We didn't run what I thought we could run. I underestimated how hot it would be for them. It was ugly, but they did it and we'll only get better from here."
Extreme heat is not something to which Miami is accustomed because of its morning practices. Ohio, on the other hand, holds practices in the afternoon.
Hoover thinks this is why the rival was able to have a better response.
"Normally when you're racing you don't have many thoughts," Hoover said. "But I remember thinking 'Okay, just one foot in front of the other' and 'Just cross the finish line.' It was definitely tough mentally. I was just relieved to finish."
Despite the heat, freshmen Alex Cameron and Sarra Taylor had strong debuts, finishing 14th and 15th respectively.
"Alex is from Georgia, so she didn't think the weather was that bad," Phillips said.
Both Hoover and Phillips said the entire class of freshmen was nervous about their first race.
However, they also agreed that it was important for the new team members to get their initial competitive experience out of the way in a smaller setting.
"We're super proud of the freshmen so far," Hoover said. "I've been really impressed by their want to be in the top seven and their ability to contribute to the team."
Phillips has also been pleased with their work ethic.
"The fact that they went out there and still did really well despite the heat is great," Phillips said.
The 'Hawks continue their season Saturday in the only home meet of the season, the Miami Invitational.