The men's cross country team ran into Isidore's heavy rainstorms on its way to Saturday's Iona Meet of Champions in the Bronx, New York, but it may have gone through some darker times at the meet itself.
Ball State placed one runner in the top 100 and totaled 530 points, good for 17th place out of 26 teams. Iona nipped Dartmouth 54-56 for the title. Buffalo, a fellow Mid-American Conference team, was 14th with 323 points.
"It wasn't a shining moment for us," head coach Jim Sprecher said. "This is the second week in a row we've had bad weather (on the way to a meet), and this time I think the clouds followed us, because we didn't have the meet we were looking for."
Redshirt freshman Jesse Davis topped the Cardinals' efforts for the third time this year, crossing the line in 72nd with a time of 26:27.8. Junior Steve Samuel was next, finishing the 8,000-meter race in a season-best time of 27:08.5 for 120th, five spots ahead of senior Terry Goodspeed (141st, 27:26.7).
The rest of the top seven included sophomore Steve Schilling (160th), Michael Olson (166th), Brian Runyon (185th) and Andy Tarcin (190th).
"Jesse continues to be our top consistent runner," Sprecher said. "We had a 40-second gap between our first and second runners, and that's too much. With the type of team we have, it should be more of a 40-second gap between our first and seventh runners."
The Cardinals ran again without their top returnee from last year, junior Sal Impelliterri. Assistant coach Jim Trautmann said he has recovered from his injury and will be in the Cardinals' next meet.
"Sal will debut in two weeks at the Bronco Invitational," he said. "It's important that he gets some more training under his belt before racing."
Sprecher said that while he can't fault his team's effort, the finishes haven't been as high as he hoped.
"In this sport, we should be seeing improvements during the year, but right now we're not," he said. "The effort has been there in practice and in training. The results just aren't there. We need to be able to make that connection."
The Cardinals have this coming weekend off before competing at the Bronco Invitational.