Ball State track travels to Ohio for Indoor MAC Championship
Ball State track and field will travel to Bowling Green, Ohio, to compete in the Indoor Mid-American Conference Championship meet Friday and Saturday.
Coming off a successful end to the regular season, head coach Brian Etelman has high hopes for his team in this weekend's competition.
“We had three really good meets in a row with Purdue, Akron and Vanderbilt,” Etelman said. “It is a good thing that last weekend was our average weekend, rather than it be in six days at the conference meet.”
Because the Cardinals had their “average week” last weekend, Etelman thinks that this week will be better, despite how some competitors are seeded.
“Right now, Regan, Jazmin, Peyton, our 4x400 team and our DMR are all in scoring position," Etelman said. "We are going to rely heavily on them. Bryeana Byrdsong needs to step up and I know she will. How she is seeded on paper is not how she is going to run. She is going to be significantly better."
This conference meet will give a number of Ball State's athletes the opportunity to step up and place better than where they are predicted to place.
“Maritza Rodriguez in the 5K kind of has an outside shot," Etelman said. "If she has a really good race and things go her way, she could sneak out some points which will be phenomenal for her and great for our team. Our 4x400 does have a chance to run significantly better than we’re seeded as well. Just because the throwers did so well on Friday, they have good momentum going into this week. I expect Adrienne and Jada to really make a difference this weekend.”
Etelman and the team are approaching the Indoor MAC Championships with confidence and have no doubts as they prepare to compete against the other 11 teams in the conference.
“Where we have people is where we are going to score points," Etelman said. "I don’t think we’ll struggle, the challenges are mentally, so people will have to deliver. We don’t have a big margin for error. We can either perform pretty well or amazing, but if we don’t do what we’re supposed to, we have the potential to have a disappointing ride home. I just have an incredible amount of people on my team when it comes to championships. They’ve never let us down before and I know they won’t this time either.”
When it comes to the competitors, Eastern Michigan, Kent State and Akron have separated themselves as the top teams in the MAC this season. While every team will be a challenge, Etelman has a goal in mind.
“I can envision us having an amazingly, ridiculously, awesome meet and getting fifth, which would be phenomenal for us because of how bad we were before I got here," Etelman said. "I think fifth would be our highest finish since like 2005. However, we have a goal to be top seven and that would be significantly better than last year. Through the last three years, it shows, we have just gotten better and better, so it will be a tight one."
The Cardinals will look for a higher finish than ever before as they look to put everything they've worked on in in the regular season to work in the postseason.
“Qualifying is not the standard here," Etelman said. "We need to score points. That is what we are focusing on ... our people that are in position to win, just keeping them prepared and then trying to sneak out some points with the people that are seeded 10th or 11th, which we have a fair amount of those as well.”
Ball State will look for the best finish its had since Etelman has been head coach. The team will compete in the two-day Indoor MAC Championship meet Friday and Saturday.
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