Ball State headed north to South Bend, Indiana, for what was statistically its toughest competition of the year: a quad meet with No. 19/21 Notre Dame, Michigan State and Indiana State.
The Cardinals lost the meet, with the men falling 219-78 to Notre Dame and the women losing 212-81. The loss brought Ball State’s record to 2-3 for the men and 5-4 for the women.
Going into the meet, head coach Jeremy Agnew had referenced it as a chance to see how the team measured up to elite competition. This was also the last meet scheduled to prepare for the Mid-American Conference Championship next month, and some of the swimmers would be competing in new events Saturday to see where they may be for that event.
“I like that no matter what’s going on around them, they were focused on what they could do with their race,” Agnew said. “We got some spots where we felt like we could compete at a really high level, and then it also shows some holes and gaps that we have in our lineup that we’ve go to get better and improve moving forward.”
The Cardinals were unable to win any events on the night, but they were not the only team that struggled to win, as Notre Dame won all but seven of the 33 events on the day. Top individual finishes for Ball State were a second place for freshman Jared Holder in the men’s 100 backstroke and third for sophomore Alex Bader in the women’s 100 breaststroke.
The Cardinals finished the event strong with second-place finishes in both the men’s and women’s 200 free relays. Those teams were made up of Bader, seniors Peighton Gilbert and Anne Vormohr and freshman Apsara Sakbun for the women and freshmen Owen Chaye and Jack Wolfred, sophomore Duncan McLarty and senior Ben Andrew for the men.
“They showed a lot of grit,” Agnew said. “They weren’t afraid to race, they certainly weren’t intimidated by anybody and threw down what they could.”
The next competition for the Cardinals is the MAC Championship, which will start March 4 and will continue through March 7. The event will be hosted by Southern Illinois in Carbondale.