Miami Women's Cross Country Battles Nation's Elite at Pre-NCAA Invitational Kristen Proach and the RedHawks travel to Indiana State this weekend. Kristen Proach and the RedHawks travel to Indiana State this weekend.

Oct. 12, 2004

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Toughest Competition Yet: The RedHawk women's cross country team gets racing again this weekend after it finished a 19-day break with the All-Ohio Championships. This time, the Pre-NCAA Invitational at Indiana State comes calling, a race that will prove to be Miami's biggest test of the season to date. A total of 87 teams are scheduled to attend, including MAC foes Ball State, Kent State, Northern Illinois, Ohio and Toledo as well as in-state rivals Ohio State, Dayton, Cincinnati and Wright State. Teams are coming from all over the country to compete, with squads from places as distant as the Universities of Washington and Florida slated to run. Miami will race at either 11 a.m. or 11:35 a.m. CT depending on its assignment to either the Blue or White race.

Recapping Miami's Last Time Out: For the first time in its four races this season, the RedHawks did not leave the course as meet champions. Miami finished fourth at the All-Ohio meet after winning the competition last year. The Red and White's squad, with all five runners in their first year of collegiate competition, finished with 138 points, one behind Malone College and 25 points short of first-place Kent State's 113. Ohio State finished second with 115 points. For the third time this year, Carol Eckerly was the first Miamian across the tape, finishing seventh overall in 18:32.9. Race winner Ruth Limo of Cincinnati completed the 5K course in 18:08.8.

Ranked RedHawks: Miami remained in the Great Lakes Region Rankings sponsored by Mondo and the Women's Intercollegiate Cross Country Coaches Association, standing in 14th place inthe Oct. 10 rankings.

Best in the Miami Valley...Again!: Just as at Sept. 4 at the Dayton Invitational Flyer 5K, the Miami women's cross country team took advantage of the chance to prove itself best in Southwest Ohio on Oct. 8 at the All-Ohio Championships. On both occasions, the Red and White finished ahead of Dayton, Wright State, Cincinnati and Xavier, winning the informal title of top Division I program in the Miami Valley.

Milestone Victory: After 21 seasons of Miami women's cross country, the 2004 edition recorded the program's 1,500th victory at the All-Ohio Championships on Oct. 8. Throughout 167 meets big and small, the RedHawks have now left 1,509 teams in their wake.

Ready to Go a Little Longer?: The RedHawks will run their first 6K race this year after four 5K races when they go to the Pre-NCAA Inviational on Saturday. It will become a familiar distance, as the NCAA Regional at Eastern Michigan and NCAA Championships at Indiana State use the same distance, though the MAC meet at Toledo uses the 5K length.

Who Knew?: Miami was chosen sixth in the MAC Preseason Poll released Aug. 16. Toledo was chosen first, with Akron, Ball State, Toledo and Western Michigan and Kent State finishing ahead of Miami. The MAC announces only the top six finishers in the poll. Selectors undoubtedly wondered about the team's makeup this year after finishing fifth last season with Kremer in the lineup and taking so many untested freshmen into 2004.

Tracking the MAC: While five MAC foes race at the NCAA Pre-Invitational along side Miami, no school is scheduled to take the weekend off. Marshall races in Eastern Kentucky's Invitational on Friday, while Bowling Green hosts Central Michigan in its own invite. Akron and Buffalo travel to the Penn State Invitational, while Western Michigan goes south to compete at the Chili Pepper Invitational at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.