Josh North, For The Miami Student

Last season, the Miami University Cross Country teams had a great amount of success in both the men’s and women’s programs. This season, they will look to build on that success and push the program to new heights.

The men are coming off of a second place finish in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) last season and look to have a very nice group returning this season.

“We have finished in the top four the last 15 years,” Head Coach Warren Mandrell said. “We’re hoping to be thinking about winning the MAC championship when it’s all said and done.”

Mandrell spoke very highly of junior frontrunners David Eikenberger and Jared Eick. Eichenberger, who placed fourth in the MAC championship meet last season in the 8k race, has a chance to make the National meet this season according to Mandrell. Miami has sent a member of the men’s team to the National meet in five of the last eight years.

Mandrell also expects to get numerous contributions from underclassmen. Sophomores David Wing and Matt Marol are expected to score for the team as well as Daniel Garleb, who red-shirted last season but ran distance track for the Red and White. Mandrell also believes he has a nice crop of freshmen coming in who could help contribute to the team.

The women’s team, coached by Kelly Phillips, also is looking to continue to perform well despite the loss of many seniors including national meet qualifier Rachel Patterson. However, the team still has plenty of senior leadership to look up to.

Maggie Bingham, Jillian Dickman and Kelly Miller are all entering their senior seasons and look to lead an exciting young crop of RedHawks. Bingham and Miller are coming off second team All-MAC seasons and Bingham ranks fifth in school history in the 6k race with a time of 21:20.

“This year is going to be an interesting but fun year,” Phillips said. “We are a really young team with 10 new freshmen and we’re pretty solid up front. Those freshmen look ready to run.”

Jessica Hoover, a freshman from Hilliard Davidson High School near Columbus, Ohio, ran a sub-five minute mile in high school and is ready to step in right away. She has impressed coach Phillips with her workouts. Sophomore Kate Carter and freshmen Elisa Frazier and Alex Chitwood are also ready to step in right away.

Both teams start the season this weekend at the Dayton Flyer 5k Challenge.