Junior distance runners Jessica Bryzek and Kitty Taylor compete in the women's 5,000-meter run at the Ball State Challenge at the Briner Sports Complex on April 16. The track and field team will host the Ball State Tune-Up, the team's first and only home indoor meet of the season, on Feb. 17 against IPFW, MAC-rival Western Michigan and Wright State of the Horizon League. Allye Clayton // DN File
PREVIEW: Ball State track and field hosts only home meet of indoor season
Ball State track and field will host its only home indoor meet of the season Friday in its last meet before the Mid-American Conference Championships.
The Ball State Tune-Up will include three other schools: Fort Wayne, MAC rival Western Michigan and Wright State of the Horizon League.
The Cardinals have seen all three schools at some point this season, including an 81-58 loss at Western Michigan Jan. 7. Ball State opened its season at the Mastodon Opener on Dec. 3, 2016 in Fort Wayne, where Ball State walked away with a season-high five event wins. Fort Wayne also competed against the Cardinals in the Chipotle Marshall Invitational Feb. 10-11.
Ball State head coach Brian Etelman said he's been impressed with the team’s progression throughout the season, and is confident the Cardinals will perform better than they did earlier in the season.
“We’re actually significantly better than we were five or six weeks ago,” Etelman said. “If you were to project the score of the conference meet right now, we should beat [Western Michigan, but that] doesn’t mean that we will. We still got to get after it.”
Last week at the Chipotle Marshall Invitational, freshman Peyton Kneadler set a personal best in the mile, running a 5:03.72 to win the event. It was one of three event wins on the weekend. The others came from freshman Brooke Talhelm, who posted a 2:14.08 in the 800-meter run, and sophomore Peyton Stewart with a time of 7.52 seconds in the 60-meter dash.
“I did the mile for the first time [last weekend] and there was these two girls that were ahead of me, so I just stayed with them the whole time, and having [that] competition really helped push the pace,” Kneadler said. “Conference is going to be like the top people, so I think that will help push me to do better in the upcoming weeks too.”
Talhelm’s 800-meter time last weekend was a personal record as well. She commented on how she has been preparing for Friday.
“Just staying engaged in every single practice, carrying a positive mindset and knowing that you just got to keep doing the little things to stay healthy because everything just builds up to conference,” Talhelm said.
This will be the final meet for all four schools before their respective conference tournaments. The Cardinals and Broncos will meet again at next week's Mid-American Conference Championships Feb. 24-25 at Eastern Michigan University.
The Ball State Tune-Up starts Friday in the Field Sports Building, with the field events taking place at 5 p.m. Running events start at 6:30 with the 60-meter hurdle prelims. The last event, the 4x400-meter relay, is scheduled to begin at 7:50 p.m.