Ritz to run in Friday's meet

"We're looking a lot better than two weeks ago," Parks said. "Maybe that poor showing at Miami (where the Cardinals finished a distant third to Mid-American Conference foes Miami and Central Michigan) was a wake-up call for us.

"With this past week off, we've been able to get rid of little injuries and illness. We're not at 100 percent yet, but we're getting healthier, and that will help us."

One runner who is healthier is senior All-American Stacey Ritz. Injury has kept Ritz out of racing so far this year, but Ritz said she will run Friday, after she and Parks made a decision during Wednesday's practice.

"I'm definitely not 100 percent, because I've only been running a week and a half," Ritz said. "I'll take this meet and next as a workout and go from there, so I can do well at MAC and regionals."

"Jill Scully and Sarah Huddleston (both sophomores) have really stepped up and are ready for breakout performances," Parks said. "With those two, Stacey and (senior and 2000 All-American) Katie Nowak, we have a good top four. The thing is getting a consistent fifth runner to step up, and we have a number of runners who could."

Scully and Nowak finished seventh and eighth, respectively, to lead Ball State's efforts at the Miami Invitational.

This meet will feature one race with separate scoring for the Division I and smaller schools.

"They run the state (high school) meet here," Parks said. "A lot of team's members, including ours, are primarily from Indiana, so they get to run against high school rivals. It's always an interesting meet.

"It'll be good, tough competition. Indiana's got a good young team, Purdue's tough and there's good individuals in the small schools. Obviously we want to go in and win, but we have to focus on what we're doing out there, getting consistent and better. We'll let the team score take care of itself."

The Cardinals were victorious at the meet two years ago, and last fall were runners-up behind Purdue.


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