The men's and women's track teams had two completely different experiences at the Indiana Relays this weekend.
Both teams traveled to Bloomington Friday for the two-day, unscored event. The goal in two-day events such as these is to advance as many athletes as possible from the preliminaries to the finals. The men did an excellent job of that; the women, however, struggled.
"We had sixteen athletes go back Saturday for the finals. That may have been the most out of anybody there," men's head coach Jim Sprecher said.
Women's head coach Sue Parks, however, was less than pleased with her team's first day effort.
"The team showed a lack of competitiveness -- a lack of effort," Parks said. "(When) you get against this type of competition, you need to rise to the occasion. We didn't do that at all."
After Friday's trials, it was on to Saturday's finals. Sprecher's goal was to place as many people in the top four as possible.
"We did okay there, but most of our guys came in fifth through eighth," Sprecher said. "But there was only one event of 18 that we didn't score in, so there were really no weaknesses."
Another impressive performance was mustered by thrower Zach Riley, who improved on his own school record in the weight throw, with a toss of 64 feet 4 3/4 inches. Other high finishes were senior Matt Bliss, with a second place in the open mile, and senior Corey Elom, who came in second in the long jump.
On the women's side, Parks said Saturday's performances were made worse by Friday's struggles.
"We didn't even put ourselves in position to compete on Saturday," she said.
Parks recognized a few women who did do well. Sprinter Tambra Stewart ran a personal best of 7.59 seconds in the 60-meter dash. Janee Langhorne set a Ball State record in the weight throw and notched a fifth-place performance. The distance medley team earned the women's only victory of the meet.
From here, both teams will start to work toward the Mid-American Conference Championships to be held in three weeks in Bowling Green, Ohio.
"The hard practices are behind us," Sprecher said. "Now we are just sharpening things as we get closer to MAC championships."