Melissa Maykut, Staff Writer

The Miami men’s cross country team starts off their race at the Pre-NCAA Invitational Oct. 17, 2009. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

In a word, the Miami University men’s and women’s cross country teams are looking solid. In Kettering, Ohio Sept. 4, both teams raced to victory in the Dayton Flyer 5K Invitational.

At 10:45 a.m. on a cool Saturday morning, 12 men’s teams laced up to race the Dayton Flyer 5K. In 2003, the RedHawks ran their way to victory in the invitational and won the season-opener for another four consecutive years. In the 2009 season, the men’s team ran a close race, finishing second behind the Dayton Flyers. Then, on Saturday, the Red and White took back the Dayton Flyer 5K title, earning 28 points, six points less than the Dayton University men’s team, and placing six men in the top 11 positions.

“We ran a very solid race,” Head Coach Waren Mandrell said. “The guys ran very maturely and were very patient. Our key strength was that we had a pack of six guys who were within a 20-second spread of each other. We’re right on track.”

Sophomore Jarrod Eick finished first for the RedHawks and third overall with a time of 15:14. Senior Robbie Fisher placed fourth overall and sophomore David Eichenberger followed a second behind Fisher, placing fifth. Senior Michael Perry finished seventh and freshmen Blake Dirckson and Matt Marol placed 10th and 11th.

“It feels good to have finished first for Miami,” Eick said. “But it’s also nice that there are five other guys who can be in my spot. We went out as a pack, and we’ve been working a lot better as a team.”

At 11:15 a.m. at Indian Riffle Park, the women’s cross country team raced to their fourth consecutive victory in the Dayton Flyer 5K. With 16 teams at the starting line, the RedHawks clinched the first place spot and placed seven runners in the top 11.

“We are a very different team this year,” Head Coach Kelly Phillips said. “The girls weren’t afraid to get out hard. They ran hard from the start, ran as a pack and held it.”

Senior Rachel Patterson placed first overall with a course record time of 17:25. Following Patterson was fellow senior Amanda Mirochna, who placed third overall. Junior Maggie Bingham placed fifth, junior Kelly Miller finished sixth and senior Katie Lenahan finished ninth. In her first race for the RedHawks, freshman Katie Carter finished in 10th place and redshirt sophomore Jillian Dickman placed 11th. Phillips was also impressed with freshman Lauren Taylor, who raced very well but did not place in the meet this past weekend.

“The girls were really solid,” Phillips said. “We need to stay healthy and get ready for Michigan and Michigan State in the Spartan Invitational in two weeks. It’ll be a good test to see where the team is at.”