Ball State cross country will travel to Miami University this weekend for the Mid-American Conference Championship.
Last year, the team placed top 10 for the first time in 14 years and distance coach Raynee DeGrio is confident that they will do even better this year, as the team is familiar with the course.
“We feel good have seeing the course earlier in the year,” DeGrio said. “It is going to be a little different circumstance though seeing how it was 90 degrees and hot earlier and will now be 45 and raining this weekend, so the course is going to look a lot different.”
Redshirt sophomore Hannah Cummings will be racing in the MAC Championship for the first time in her career.
“This year I am just really excited to see what the environment is like and get after it because it is my first time racing in the MAC,” Cummings said. “I am a little nervous, because this is like a four or five month process and now it is here and we are ready to show ourselves off.”
Even though she is nervous, her and the team are ready for it because they have seen the course before and know what to fix from the previous time they competed on the course.
“I was really happy with the course in Miami, I really like it and I definitely know the ins and outs of this course,” Cummings said. “It will definitely help me knowing that I have raced there before. When we hit the 4K, we need to know that it will hurt but we need to fight for it.”
DeGrio is pleased with her team’s regular season performance, but would like to see it close the gap and stay relaxed during the race.
“We are as deep of a team as any, but we just need Hannah and Maritza to step up a little more and have the other girls close the gap between them,” DeGrio said. “Everyone knows they need to step up their game and stay relaxed and focused going up to the line this weekend.”
This meet could potentially be the last race for the Cardinals.
DeGrio said seniors Jordan Timmons and Jess Bryzek have been racing well and have been pushing themselves hard these past couple weeks as they approach the home stretch of their collegiate cross country careers.
“Jordan and Jess are just really consistent and I never have to worry about them having off days or anything like that,” DeGrio said. “They always rise to the occasion and we are just hoping that they will be able to do that one more time. I am confident that they will be able to do that because they know how to prepare and work with big races and big performances like this.”
Cummings has been with the seniors for two years now and said the team is going to give them all they have this week in the MAC Championship.
“Our seniors have pushed us so much this year and there is nothing more that I want to run for everyone on the team, but especially for them,” Cummings said. “Knowing this is our last go at it, we just have to give it all we got for them.”
Ball State will compete in the MAC Championship race Oct. 28 at Oxford, Ohio at the Miami University cross country course. The race is slated to start at 11 a.m.
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