Three weeks after its meet in East Lansing, Michigan, Ball State Cross Country returned to compete in the Louisville Classic where they finished 14th out of 39 teams. 

The top finisher for the Cardinals was senior Maritza Rodriguez who placed 16th overall in a race including more than 300 athletes. Rodriguez also set a new personal record in the 5k with a time of 17:33. Her previous best was 18:12, which she ran in the same event last year.

“Maritiza took a chance and ran fearlessly today,” assistant distance coach Rachel McFarlane said. “She has shown that her training has been paying off.”

Additionally, Ball State improved its team performance from last year at the Louisville Classic. In 2018, the team finished 21st out of 26 teams.

The Cardinals have made improvements this year in team placement. Already this season, the Cardinals have finished third in their previous two meets.

“We knew it would be a special year,” McFarlane said. “Our outlook toward things are totally different than last year.

“The goal is to prepare for the race model that conference will be like.”

Other performances for the day were run by freshman Vivian Van Eck (77th, 18:14), senior Peyton Kneadler (100th, 18:25), freshman Juilana Stogsdill (107th, 18:29), sophomore Emma Cunningham (115th, 18:32), sophomore Karleigh Conner (147th, 18:46), redshirt freshman Meghan Hendrick (196th, 19:05) and sophomore Maddie Aul (263rd, 19:33). 

“Overall as a team, we were solid,” McFarlane said. “It’s cool to see these girls following in their race plans.”

Looking ahead, Ball State will host the Cardinal Classic at Elks Country Club Oct. 18. 

Contact Zander Lichosik with any comments at zglichosik@bsu.edu or on Twitter @Lichosik_BSU