With the firing of the starting gun — once at 10 a.m. and again at 10:30 a.m. — the Miami University men’s and women’s cross country teams ran in their first home meet since 2006.
While the women’s team did not run their starters in order to prepare for the Spartan Invitational Sept. 17, the men’s cross country team placed first, continuing their home meet winning streak from five years ago.
For the women’s cross country team, the Miami Invitational was a chance for the girls who had not raced at Dayton Sept. 4 to show what they were made of. Head Coach Kelly Phillips had recruited girls from the track team to run the invitational as well. The purpose was to see how girls who normally run half miles in track meets would do racing in a 5K cross country race.
“This was the first race for a lot of girls,” said junior Tory Paez, who placed first for Miami at the invitational. “It was a solid race. It wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t terrible either. We went out well as a group, but the last part of the race is what we need to work on.”
Although the women’s team did not place first at their home invitational against Dayton, Cedarville and Evansville, the team’s main focus is to rest up and bring home the title at the Spartan Invitational next Friday.
The men’s cross country team took a different approach Saturday morning, running their starters and using the meet as that day’s team workout. Just like in the Dayton Invitational last weekend, the men’s team ran as a pack throughout their 8K race and had five runners finish in the top six positions. Sophomore Jarrod Eick, who had finished first for Miami at the Dayton 5K, placed first for Miami and took home the invitational title. Senior Michael Perry finished only a second behind Eick, freshman Matt Marol placed fourth and sophomore David Eichenburger and senior Robbie Fisher placed fifth and sixth.
“It was exciting to have a home meet,” freshman David Wing said. “Our goal was to stick together for the first 5K and use this as more of a workout.”
Wing finished eighth for the RedHawks, but he is optimistic about the rest of the season.
“I wasn’t real happy about the race, but I have to start somewhere,” Wing said. “When you get closer to our pack, you feel closer to the team, and that is my goal this season.”
The RedHawks ran against Evansville, Cedarville and Urbana in the Miami Invitational, earning the victory with a total of 18 points. The Miami Invitational is the team’s second consecutive win this season, and they hope to keep the momentum going Sept. 17 when they travel to East Lansing, Mich. to race in the Spartan Invitational.