Patrick Keck, The Miami Student

This weekend, junior Maria Scavuzzo will lace up her cross country spikes one more time this season for the 2016 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Indiana.

While leading Miami University’s women’s cross country team to a 12th place finish at the NCAA DI Great Lakes Regionals, Scavuzzo placed 20th individually in the six-kilometer race. Not only did Scavuzzo run a personal best for the distance, her time of 20 minutes and 32 seconds set a new school record.

“She (Scavuzzo) has really put in a lot of miles and good, consistent training,” senior teammate Lauren Hoover said. “She does all the little things and has a lot of confidence in her fitness come race day. She believes that she belongs out there and is really competitive when she races”.

Despite only running with Scavuzzo for one season, freshman Carly Davis also holds her in high regard. “She gives every workout her undivided attention and effort, and gives the same in every race,” Davis said. “She came in with a goal, to go to nationals and she accomplished it!”

Scavuzzo’s time currently ranks as the 168th fastest time in the country and is the fastest time of any Ohio female collegiate runner this season.

This championship race is wide open, as the top two runners in last year’s National Championships will not be racing this year. 2015 individual champion Molly Seidel of Notre Dame graduated and Allie Ostrander of Boise State was redshirted this season due to injury.

The frontrunners of last week’s Great Lakes regional race, Erin Finn of Michigan and Anna Rohrer of Notre Dame, will be joined by the likes of Amy-Eloise Neale and Charlotte Prouse from the University of Washington, and Charlotte Taylor from the University of San Francisco in the battle for the individual championship.

The University of Colorado comes in as the top-ranked team in the nation following a dominating victory in last week’s NCAA Division I Mountain Regional. The Buffaloes had 360 points in this week’s USTFCCCA Women’s Cross Country Rankings, ahead of NC State with 343 points and Providence with 335 points.

Also representing the Mid-American Conference will be the MAC champions Eastern Michigan Eagles, as they received an at-large bid for their fifth team place finish in the NCAA Division I Great Lakes Regional. This will be their first time competing in the national championships since 1996.

Scavuzzo says she owes her success to her “coaches, teammates, and family, mixed with hard work, dedication and the determination to never give up on what I set my goals on”.

Scavuzzo toes the line at 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 16, in box 25, next to the University of Mississippi and the University of Notre Dame.