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RedHawk runners dominate at home, away

By Ben Blanchard, The Miami Student

Some runners shined in California, others back in Oxford. The Miami University men's and women's track and field teams gained confidence for the rest of the outdoor season at two meets this past weekend.

Miami's top distance runners - junior Andrew Dusing and seniors Joe Stewart, Zack McBride, Laura Bess and Megan Beaver - traveled to the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif. late Thursday. The meet included both professional and collegiate athletes, giving the RedHawks stiff competition in the first outdoor meet of the year.

Stewart turned in a personal best of 29:03.79 in the 10,000-meter Friday night, good enough for 11th overall in the race and third among college runners. It is the fastest time of any Mid-American Conference runner this season and the second fastest time ever by a Miami athlete. Stewart now ranks fifth in the NCAA.

"I was a bit more nervous than usual, being across the country and going against a lot of really top guys," Stewart said. "But I was excited to race against guys who I'll hopefully see in the postseason, and I always try to focus on staying relaxed."

Bess ran her first career 5,000-meter on the track Friday, turning in a time of 16:40.95, the fastest time in the MAC this season. In the stacked race, Bess finished 15th overall, but her time was the fifth fastest time in Miami history.

In the men's 5,000-meter, Dusing ran a 14:24.68 time for 19th place. It is the third fastest time in the MAC and automatically qualifies Dusing for the MAC Outdoor Championships in May.

McBride competed in the 10,000-meter with Stewart. He clocked in at 31:07 to finish 39th overall. This is the fifth fastest MAC time this season.

Beaver ran the 1500-meter in 4:46.36, placing 14th.

Back in Oxford, Miami hosted the Miami Duals meet Saturday afternoon at the George L. Rider track. Though the meet was cut short due to heavy wind and rain, the Red and White dominated before the cancellation occurred.

Senior Kathie Wollney chased down first place in the 400-meter hurdles with a personal best of 1:02.08. It is the fastest time in the MAC.

"I felt really good, even though there was a lot of wind coming down the backstretch," Wollney said. "I went in with the mentality that everyone was racing under the same conditions, so I just needed to go out and run like usual, regardless of conditions."

In the women's 3000-meter race, Miami swept the top three spots, with sophomore Alesha Vovk leading the way with her 10:01.1 time. Not to be outdone, the men's team swept the top five spots in their 3000-meter race. Sophomore Ryan Pitner narrowly outran fellow sophomore Jake Brumfield by .24 seconds to win the race.

Freshman Alexis Szisan won the 1500-meter in 4:45.59, a personal best. Senior high jumper Peter Stefanski took second in the high jump with a leap of 6-4.75.

Because the meet was cut short, there were no official team scores.

"Even though we didn't officially win the meet, I think the team feels great," Wollney said. "It's always fun to race at home, and so many people turned in great performances today in spite of rough conditions. I'm proud of our performance and toughness as a group."

The RedHawks return to action next weekend at the Hilltopper Relays hosted by Eastern Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Ky.