This weekend, a select squad of the Ball State cross country team will head to Purdue to compete at the Indiana Intercollegiate Championship meet.
Distance coach Raynee DeGrio decided to leave the Cardinal’s top nine runners at home this weekend, to allow other runners to compete against schools like Indiana University, Purdue and other in-state rivals.
DeGrio is confident in the portion of the team she chose to compete this weekend and hopes they take full advantage of the opportunity.
“This will be a good opportunity for them to get out and get a little competitive effort in,” DeGrio said. “We are not putting too much emphasis on the team score this week, just because we are not running our full line-up.”
Because the full line-up will not travel to Purdue, the women chosen to compete plan to go into the meet with fresh legs as they take on new challenges.
“We are looking to see how these individuals do and how they stack up and hopefully run a little bit quicker than what they have in the past,” DeGrio said. “For some, it will be their first chance at a 6K race distance, so it will be a little bit of a change for them.”
The Cardinals competed at the Illinois State Invitational last weekend. Ball State’s five scored runners combined for an average time of 18:48 and finished with 159 points to place sixth among the nine teams at the invite.
DeGrio said she will be directing her focus on the individual scores this weekend, rather than the team score.
“We are basically looking at the individual scores of our athletes and how they are competing,” DeGrio said. “Hopefully they can represent us well and have a good showing and get another race under their belts.”
DeGrio has high hopes for senior Jordan Timmons as she assumes she will earn the number one spot for the Cardinals, while spot two and three will be up for grabs.
“We are expecting Jordan Timmons to lead the team this weekend and we are trying to give her a lot of opportunities to compete this season seeing how this is her last season in the uniform,” DeGrio said. “We do not really know who our number two and three will be, you would think it will be Kitty and Meliza, but this group is really interchangeable.”
Senior Kitty Taylor and sophomore Meliza Rodriguez are among the group chosen to compete on Friday. DeGrio has emphasized the importance of always competing, no matter the circumstances.
“Every time we put on a uniform and step out on the starting line, we always want to compete to the best of our abilities no matter who is in the uniform or who we are competing against,” DeGrio said.
Ball State will travel to West Lafayette to compete in the Indiana Intercollegiate Invitational at the Purdue cross country fields at 3:30 p.m.