After finishing fifth last year in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) tournament, Ball State has attempted to perform with high standards and motivation this season. Today, that goal helped the Cardinals defeat Buffalo 155 - 145 in their second meet of the season.
“This is a huge win for the program,” Agnew said. “Buffalo has traditionally been number one or two at the MAC Championship meet for the last five years, so to take a bus trip up and get a win is a good statement for the progress our teams made.”
Agnew believes that this MAC win is not only significant because of who it was against , but also because it showcases that the Cardinals have everything they need to compete at the highest level.
“These guys just picked up the torch and our team has been scrappy and hungry,” Agnew said. “We’ve been improving every year…It's just exciting to see the grit and determination that they've owned.”
One of those freshmen, Alexa Von Holtz, has done well for Ball State. Last week, she placed second in the 100 butterfly and today, she won the first spot in the same event with a time of 56.42. Von Holtz also participated today in the 200 butterfly and the 200 IM, winning both.
“This fuels us to want to train harder to be able to do bigger and better things once it comes time for MAC,” Von Holtz said. “Personally, I'd love to see us place third or higher.”
Another freshman who shined in this meet was Kayla Newman who swam the 500 and 1000 freestyle today. Newman won both of those events, securing the win for the Cardinals.
“I just want to put my name out there because that's really my goal,” Newman said. “I mean, with my times, I think it's possible.”
Sophomore Payton Kelly is another swimmer who has succeeded early on this season. At their previous meet last week, Kelly had two first place individual-finishes in the 100 and 50 freestyle races. Kelly also grabbed a second place finish in the 200 freestyle relay.
This performance earned her the title of MAC swimmer of the week.
In today's meet, Kelly anchored in the Cardinals victorious 400 yard freestyle relay and 200 freestyle relay teams. Along with her relay performances, Kelly again won both the 100 and 50 freestyle events.
“I think I'm 20th right now out of all Division One swimmers in the 50 freestyle in the nation,”Kelly said. "So it's been really great to have confidence building pieces so early in the season. I'm not just another underdog this season. I want to come in and I want to play hard, so I'm gonna show the MAC what I'm made of.”
Junior Lilia Newkirk continued to perform well alongside her teammates. Newkirk came off two second place performances last week, in the 100 backstroke and as a participant in the 200 medley relay. Today, she helped lead her relay team to a victory.
Newkirks relay squad partner, senior Laura Wright, took first in the 100 breaststroke last week. Today, she won the event again, with a time of 1:04.68.
Kelly, along with Newkirk, Von Holtz, and Wright are all currently ranked in the MAC top 16.
“This year we just came in with so much heart and enthusiasm…none of our success can happen without little things along the way,” Kelly said. “Every person contributes so much and I feel like we all really encourage that. I think that's what's helping us get so much farther.”
Newman echoed this, saying that as a freshman, she could not ask for a more welcoming and supportive team.
“I remember like my first time stepping on deck as an actual Cardinal,” Newman said. “Getting in and really feeling the energy… We're ready.”
Ball State will celebrate senior night when it hosts IUPUI Friday, November 3rd at 5 p.m.
Contact Trinity Rea via email at email@example.com or on X@thetrinityrea.