A new leader will have to arise for Ball State’s cross country team.

The team’s fastest and most consistent runner, MaryKate Mellen, left the team due to graduation, leaving a hole in team leadership. Many teammates declared Mellen the unofficial captain.

Without Mellen, Ball State will be looking for a new leader in 2013.

Esther Tirado is the only senior on the team, and would be a natural source of leadership for freshmen Erika Rinehart and Jordan Timmons.

With just 10 runners on the roster, Ball State can’t rely solely on its veterans. The team will need both Rinehart and Timmons to step up and contribute in order for the team to continue making progress.

However, all eyes could be on sophomore Katelyn DeVries. DeVries was often right behind Mellen despite her youth, and could be the Cardinals strongest runner this season.

DeVries will be pushed by junior duo Courtney and Caitlynn Edon. The twins broke many of their personal bests a season ago and could be mentors for the underclassmen.

Coach Randy Heisler will have a mix of experience on his team. The squad contains two freshmen and three sophomores to go along with four juniors and the lone senior.

Ball State’s first meet will be the Miami Invitational in Oxford, Ohio on September 7.