The Ball State University men's swimming team faces a tall order when it plays host to Grand Valley State University and Findlay University at the Doug Coers Invitational this weekend. Simply put, Grand Valley State has them outnumbered.
"Grand Valley has about 10 more people than us," coach Bob Thomas said. "So beating them is a tough task, but last year it came down to the last event, and we'd like to bring it down to the wire again."
--Through their first two competitions, the sprint team has excelled, Thomas said. Austin Laska, Ben Battjes and Devon Hill have been the most consistent performers on the team and must produce for Ball State to win the tournament this weekend. --Gavin McNeeley has also been a top performer for the Cardinals, posting a 1:00.23 on the 100 breaststroke at the IUPUI House of Champions last weekend.
Although it is early in the season, two players are emerging as leaders for the Ball State team, Thomas said.
"Ryan Misener has been an outstanding leader for us," Thomas said. "He's well-spoken, highly respected by his teammates and takes control when the time comes."
The other leader on the team may not be as obvious to the outside world, but his presence is not lost on the coach or his teammates.
"Ben Karwoski is a behind-the-scenes leader for this team," Thomas said. "He may not be as loud as other swimmers, but he's willing to take someone aside and get them pumped up."
The Cardinals start competition at 6 p.m. on Friday and continue at 9 a.m. Saturday. Although they are outnumbered, Thomas said it would be a mistake to count his team out already.
"I expect to win every match," he said. "And they may have numbers, but this is our pool."