Ball State track and field will travel to West Lafeyette to compete in the Fred Wilt Open this weekend. 

Even though nobody from the Track and Field Hall of Fame has coached the Cardinals like Fred Wilt did at Purdue University, head coach Brian Etelman still thinks his team will excel in this weekend's meet, especially sophomore distance runner Peyton Stewart.

“Peyton for sure will excel this week in the 60," Etelman said. "That was her first short race of the year so it was a good start."

However, Stewart is not the only Cardinal to look out for this weekend. Etelman is expecting quality performances from junior Jazmin Smith, sophomore Brooke Talhelm and freshman Haley Peters.

"Jazmin did really well in the 60 which is not her primary event so that’s a pretty good indicator of our foot speed for the hurdles," Etelman said. "Brooke Talhelm in the 1000, that’s not really an event you run that much, but Brooke looked really good. Someone that didn’t win their event and looked really good was Haley Peters, our high jumper, freshman."

Peters performance in the high jump last weekend was a career personal record for her, as she jumped for 1.65m. 

Smith, who competed in the 60 meter dash last weekend, ran that race instead of her usual 60 meter hurdles. However, she will return to hurdles this weekend.

“My confidence level is a little bit higher, especially from last week,” Smith said. “We took a little break from hurdles, since I didn’t run them last week. But to jump back into it this week, I feel like having my legs fresh will give me a better chance to run the times I should be around this time of the year.”

One thing Etelman would like to see his team improve on is its intensity at the meets. He has made this a goal for February.

“We have to compete a little bit better," Etelman said. "We have to have a little more intensity and a little more aggression. I think at this point we have been really good, but if you look at our average, it is just not that impressive. We do not have the time in February to not be intense and not be aggressive, because of the quality of competition."

Even though Etelman knows his team will face challenges this weekend, Smith is ready to head into the contest with confidence.

“I feel like the team will do fine, especially when we are going against bigger teams like Purdue,” Smith said. “But, when we are going against higher competition, it is kind of hard to tell other people, like the freshman, to not let them intimidate you because of the name on their chest. Everyone’s adrenaline will be going, everyone will run the times they want, and I feel like at the same time everyone is going to have fun doing it.”

Overall, the team and coaches are ready to pick up the intensity as Ball State faces an in-state Big Ten foe in Purdue. 

The two-day meet will be at Purdue University and is slated to start at 10 a.m. on Friday.

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