By Coburn Gillies, For The Miami Student
The Miami University cross country team travels to Louisville, Kentucky Saturday for the NCAA Pre-Nationals meet.
At last season's Pre-Nationals in Terre Haute, Indiana, the women's team finished 27th. MU returns three of seven scorers to the competition. The men placed 15th in last season's competition, including a sixth overall finish by Joe Stewart. They return four of seven top finishers this season.
"We want to be top-3 at the MAC meet," junior Stephen Biebelhausen said. "So, this race is an important step … we need to beat as many teams as we can. There will be many teams we usually don't get to see, so it's important that we get some confidence heading into the MAC meet."
Senior Brenna Poulsen shared the sentiment.
"We always have high expectations," senior Brenna Poulsen said, "Personally, I'm looking to have a good time so our team can finish well."
The men's squad faces Mid-American Conference rivals Bowling Green University, Central Michigan University and Ohio University along with local rivals University of Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky University and Xavier University. The women's team competes against MAC foes Akron University, Ball State University, University of New York at Buffalo, CMU, OU and Western Michigan University. They will also face local rivals UC, NKU and Xavier.
"A lot of quality teams will be there Saturday," Biebelhausen said. "I know for a fact that Ohio University and Central Michigan will be there so it will be interesting to see how we look against them."
The Pre-National meet is hosted at the National Championships site every year two weeks before conference championships weekend. This year, it's at Tom Sawyer State Park.
"They changed up the course a little bit. However, the course should still be fairly fast if you attack it," Biebelhausen said.
Last week, in the women's race, the RedHawks had three runners place in the top-10 at the All-Ohio Championships.
"I think it's possible to have three girls in the top-10 again this week," said Poulsen, who was one of those three runners.
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Poulsen finished fourth overall, and senior Laura Bess took third place.
Senior Joe Stewart won the All-Ohio meet, helping the 'Hawks to a third place finish.
This week's runner to watch is junior Andrew Dusing, who turned in a 25:03 time at the All-Ohio race to make 18th place. On the women's side, it's sophomore Alesha Vovk, who earned 26th place with a 22:23 time.
The men's team begins the 8,000-meter race at 9:30 a.m., while the women's 6,000-meter race starts at 10:15 a.m.