Women stagger to 3rd in Oxford

Ball State women's cross country coach Sue Parks had hoped her team would make a statement to the Mid-American Conference foes at the Miami Invitational.

Instead, Parks said the Cardinals "just didn't run well at all."

Even though Ball State finished third out of six teams with 71 points, the two teams Parks wanted to beat - Miami (22) and Central Michigan (45) - took the top two spots. Cincinnati (104), Northern Illinois (131) and Northern Kentucky (147) also competed.

"The only statement we made was that maybe were not as good as we thought," Parks said. "We were poor across the board. We were flat and not competitive.

"I thought Jill (Scully) had a decent race, but there were still four Miami runners ahead of her. If we're going to talk about contending for the MAC (title), we need to be more competitive."

Scully finished as the Cardinals' top runner, finishing in seventh with a time of 18:33, one second ahead of teammate Katie Nowak, who was eighth. Rounding out the top five for Ball State were Sarah Huddleston (15th, 19:01), Linda Stebbins (20th, 19:13) and Crystal Meeks (27th, 19:34).

Despite her team's subpar race, Parks is far from despair regarding the season.

"We're not panicking, because a lot can change," she said. "Once we get (All-American) Stacey (Ritz) back, and Katie and other top people running better, things should fall into place.

"I still think we have a very good team, and I have confidence in them."

The Cardinals have this weekend off before competing in the Indiana Intercollegiate on Sept. 20.

"I think the week off will help," Parks said. "We've been training hard and it's taken its toll, but we've still got to come out and compete better. Hopefully we got our bad race out of the way and we'll show improvement from here on out."


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