Ball State cross country competed in its final meet at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional. The Cardinals placed 23rd out of 32 teams, scoring a total of 641 points.
To move onto the NCAA championship meet in Charlottesville, Ball State needed to place somewhere in the top four teams.
“I think anytime you have an opportunity to come to the regional championship and compete against other teams that you may have not seen throughout the season, it's always fun,” Head Coach Adrian Wheatley said. “So, overall, I think it was a successful meet and a good opportunity to end our season.”
To the runners, the meet was much better than their Mid-American Conference meet.
“I think that a lot of us had a bit of a rough time at the conference meet,” Junior Sarah Mahnensmith said. “So this was a good last meet to just go for it and have fun. There was no pressure today. So I think that really helped all of us.”
Junior Sarah Mahnensmith led the Cardinal pack, taking 71st place with a time of 21:47.1. Sophomore Carly Spletzer followed closely, placing 82nd with a time of 21:58.4.
Juniors Shelby Christman and Jessica Velez placed 126th and 170th, respectively Sophomore Ella Fullmer and freshman Maci Hoskins rounded out the Cardinals, placing in 197th and 215th.
Mahnensmith emphasized that she and the rest of the Cardinals will continue to build up Ball State during the off-season.
“We've definitely learned a lot as a team just where some of our weaknesses are and that we need to keep building on top of that for the next season,” Mahnensmith said. “We just take what we can learn and find improvements to build upon for the next season.”
For Spletzer, who battled injuries last season, competing at the regional meet was a moment she was thankful for.
“It makes you more grateful for every opportunity because it's not just handed to you,” Spletzer said. “So putting in all the work just makes it special to have those pieces come together at the end of the season. We might as well just give it all that we can.”
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