Women's Cross Country Heads to Cowboy Jamboree

Oct. 2, 2008

Rita Arndt-Molis

OXFORD, Ohio - Currently ranked sixth in the Great Lakes region, the Miami University women's cross country team will compete in the 72nd annual Cowboy Jamboree this Saturday, Oct. 4 at 8 a.m. CT in Stillwater, Okla.

Competing in the nation's oldest consecutively-run cross country race, the RedHawks will be up against nationally-ranked Texas Tech (no.21) and Northern Arizona (no. 24). Also in attendance will be Indiana, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas Christian and ranked NCAA Division-II teams Missouri Southern State and Harding.

Miami first-year head women's cross country and track and field coach Rita Arndt-Molis commented on the RedHawks' trip to the Sooner State.

"This a great opportunity for us to get away from the familiarity of Great Lakes competition and run against some teams out of our region," said Arndt-Molis. "The meet has some solid programs. Texas Tech (ranked 21st nationally) and Northern Arizona (ranked 24th national) will certainly be the meet favorites. There are also a number of teams that are in the top five-or-six of their region which will give us some pressure and I am looking forward to that as well."

"I think the women are anxious to get to the meet and to let it out a bit. It'll be fun," added the Miami coach.

The RedHawks last competed on Sept. 12 in East Lansing, Mich. in the Spartan Invitational where they had four runners in the top-15 and five in the top-20 against some of the toughest programs in the region.

While host Spartans took first, second and third, Miami junior Laura Neufarth was close behind in fourth with a time of 21:45. Also finishing in the top-10 for Miami were sophomore Rachel Patterson in ninth and Kelsey McHugh in 10th, with times of 22:01 and 22:02, respectively.

Laura Neufarth

Junior Amanda Mirochna rounded out the top-15 finishers for the RedHawks when she finished 14th in 22:22. Freshman Maggie Bingham took 19th with a time of 22:36. Arndt-Molis continued to speak about the Cowboy Jamboree.

"I am hoping this weekend will help us learn the balance of applying race pressure in a reasonable, pragmatic manner but also getting absolutely caught up in the excitement of competition. After all, exploration should be a very fun process."

"I am very excited to see these girls compete," said Arndt-Molis. "They have been working so hard and it will be nice to see them engage in the competition."

The RedHawk head coach also commented on the improvements she has seen in the Miami runners since the Spartan Invitational.

"I am really, really pleased with how this group of women has stayed on task and really been diligent with their training over the past three weeks. You forget how hard it is to not to compete. I mean, that's the best part."

"We have grown up a lot in just three weeks time and it almost feels like we're restarting the season," stated Arndt-Molis. "This time we are competing with a little more knowledge, a little more fitness, a better idea of where we want to end up, and some confidence to get there - which may be the most important piece.

When it comes to the team's strategy and goals, Arndt-Molis spoke about her vision for the RedHawks' evolving competition style.

"I think we will have a really tight pack from one-to-six and we have got to gain some strength from six-to-10 and bring that group up. They have been a solid pack in our workouts and have really demonstrated a commitment to not just upholding their end of the training, but also to elevating their teammates' in the process," ended Arndt-Molis.

"It is imperative that they behave like a pack of ten, not one. They are capable of that and it is time to apply it in competition."

Rachel Patterson

Miami will have two weeks of home preparation after this weekend's meet before they travel to Terre Haute, Ind. on Oct. 18 for the Pre-NCAA Invitational. The gun will sound that Saturday at 8 a.m.