Byrdsong wins gold for Ball State at the MAC Outdoor Championships
While cloudy skies covered the field, no athletes seemed phased.
The finals of the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Outdoor Championships were held Saturday at Ball State’s Briner Sports Complex, with Ball State winning medals in four events.
The Cardinals placed ninth overall for women’s track and field with most of its points coming from junior sprinter Bryeana Byrdsong who won the 100 meters and placed second in the 200 meters. She broke both the track and school record for the 100 meter race with her 11.51-second run.
Day three results at the MAC Outdoor Championships
Ball State - 2nd place (45.20s)
100m hurdles final:
Jasmine Harris - DNS
Maquila Norman - 4th place (53.94s)
Bryeana Byrdsong - 2nd place (23.53s)
Bryeana Byrdsong - 1st place (11.51s)
Peyton Stewart - 7th place (11.82s)
Karleigh Conner - 4th place (2:11.7min.)
Maritza Rodriguez - 9th place (17:16.96min.)
Ball State - 3rd place (3:43.65min.)
Princess Carter - 9th place (47.18m)
High Jump finals:
Regan Lewis - 4th place (1.66m)
“It feels good. [It’s] kind of a long time coming with a lot of injuries this season, and I just stayed patient in my ability and trust in God, and it just feels good with all of my hard work paying off,” Byrdsong said.
She said a stress fracture in one of her shins forced her to rest August through December, and that she also had hurt both her hamstrings.
Track and Field Head Coach Brian Etelman said Byrdsong has had time to “take care of the little things” in reference to her injury.
“It’s always tough when we transfer from indoors to outdoors because of the weather. I think as it warms up she just runs better,” Etelman said. “When you’re successful it makes you want to pay attention to stuff a little better and she’s getting better that way.”
Aside from Byrdsong, sophomore MaQuila Norman, senior Peyton Stewart, freshman Karleigh Conner and senior Regan Lewis all placed in the top eight individually.
“I wish the time would have been a little faster, but I’m happy with how I finished,” Conner said about her 800-meter race. “I definitely could have gotten out better the first 400, but [I] closed really well which is something I struggled with earlier in the season. Overall pretty happy with it.”
She said she knew the girls in first and second would take the start of the race “out pretty hard.”
“So my gameplan going in was just to sit a little but behind them and then close really hard. So, just take it one lap at a time, listen to my heart more than my head,” Conner said.
Lewis, a high jumper who placed fourth in the finals, said placing fourth was “honestly not what I wanted at all”, but she was proud of the other members of the team.
“I mean it’s just tough, being injured this whole season, but I still wanted to win,” Lewis said. “I’m still happy with placing and scoring points for the team.”
The senior athlete said being part of a team, the atmosphere and cheering for teammates are all things she will take away from her time on the team.
Ball State also placed second in the 4x100 and 4x400 meter relays.
“I felt it started off really well,” Stewart said about the 4x100 meter relay race. “We’ve been [working with it] all season, but when we finally put it together it felt good.”
All together Ball State scored 57 points at the championships which began Thursday. While the season has concluded for most Ball State athletes, some might qualify for the NCAA East Preliminary Championships being held May 23-25 at the Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida.