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Cross Country Takes on All-Ohio Championship

Photo by Kim Parent
Photo by Kim Parent

By Grace Remington, For The Miami Student

Both of Miami University's cross country teams return to action Friday in the All-Ohio Championships, hosted by Cedarville University.

The women's team is coming off a solid finish at the Roy Griak Invitational. However, the usual starting top seven will not be competing this week. Head coach Kelly Phillips wants to give them some time to rest.

"I still expect our team to do very well without our top runners and even get the top three," Phillips said.

Senior Jess Hoover agreed with her coach. With consistent top places this season, Hoover will be sharing in the well-deserved break. Nevertheless, she and other teammates are still traveling to Cedarville to cheer on the team.

"This meet is important because it gives our girls who aren't on varsity a chance to compete and travel," Hoover said.

Senior Amanda Hancock, junior Julianna Ballog, sophomores Jackie Mullins and McKenna Kiple, freshmen Alesha Vovk, Maria Scavuzzo and Sarah Starrett will represent the 'Hawks.

For senior Amanda Hancock, this is one of her final opportunities to showcase her skills.

"As a senior, I know it's coming to the point where I only have a few races left," Hancock said. "It's a wakeup call. I really want to show what I can do."

This is Hancock's fourth time racing at this course. She and her six fellow runners are entering the meet with positive attitudes, excited to "dust the cobwebs off from the summer" and see the fruits of their hard work.

"It's the middle of the season. That's when you really want to put in good times, work together, and get those good results," Hancock said. "There will be more competition and more girls running, so it'll be a gauge of where we are at."

The men's team, on the contrary, is starting seven of their usual top 10.

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The last meet the RedHawks ran was Sept. 20 at the Woody Greeno Invitational in Nebraska. Head coach Warren Mandrell does not think the short break from competition will have an effect.

"I wouldn't even call it a break," Mandrell said. "Even though you don't have a race, you can still work very hard. We've had strong workouts, and hopefully it'll carry into the race."

Miami's top seven finishers at Woody Greeno are the ones to compete on Friday.

This meet will be similar to the Woody Greeno Invitational in terms of size. About 45 teams will be at the starting line, including a few large powerhouse schools and many smaller schools. This means 30-40 more bodies will be crowding the course.

Despite the increased number of runners, Mandrell is not worried about the course itself.

"It won't be like the Woody Greeno course," Mandrell said. "This one has a long straight-away start. There's 1,000 meters before the first turn and it's wide the whole way. When it finally narrows down, it's still 20 meters wide across. It's a very fair course."

Both the men's and women's teams are familiar with the turf; they've been competing on it for the last few years.

The women's race begins at 2 p.m., and the men start at 2:45 p.m.

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