Ball State Track competes at annual two-day “We Fly” event

Freshman Lauren Graham lines up for the 100 meter hurdles during the We Fly Challenge March 12 at Briner Sports Complex. Graham ran a personal record time of 14.37. Kate Tilbury, DN
Freshman Lauren Graham lines up for the 100 meter hurdles during the We Fly Challenge March 12 at Briner Sports Complex. Graham ran a personal record time of 14.37. Kate Tilbury, DN

Ball State Track and Field hosted its annual “We Fly” home meet Friday and Saturday. 

The event featured athletes from different participating Indiana and Illinois schools including Goshen, Purdue Fort Wayne, Bowling Green, Indiana Wesleyan, Taylor, Bethel and more. 

Each school participated in various track events, including sprints and distance races and field events, like the high jump and discus. These events took place throughout each day of the event.

For Ball State, the event held extra importance as it was the team's last/only home meet of the year and acted as the Cardinal's senior day. Ball State honored seniors Shelby Christman, Ashley Craycraft, Jennah and Jennelle Rogers, Makayla Sumrall, Alexis Thigpen and Aaleiah Winford.

Track Events:

The Men's and Women’s 5,000 Meters were the first race of the day. Ball State had three participants in the Women’s race, junior Jessica Velez led the charge alongside freshmen Autumn Spence and Kendyl Thrasher.

Velez and Spence took the top spots for the Cardinals, at 7 and 9 respectively. Thrasher followed close behind at 11. 

Women’s 3,000-meter Steeplechase was next, with junior Shelby Christman and Craycraft participating. They took second and fourth respectively.

Women's 4x100m Relay followed, with the Cardinals relay team composed of Sumrall, sophomore Alana Springer and juniors Moriah Johnson and Jenna Oriani taking first overall. 

“I felt like the entire week I was gonna run a pretty decent time,” Sumrall said. “I kept saying all week I was going to PR.”

Sumrall picked up a PR in the 100 meters and set a season-best in the 200 meters today, something she attributed to the home crowd and encouragement from the team. She said without her teammates, she wouldn’t have been able to achieve this. 

“Just knowing you have the crowd cheering you on you have to use it to your advantage,” Sumrall said. “It's a lot of commotion but using that to fuel you helps a lot.”

Women’s 800 Meters followed, with juniors Sarah Mahnensmith and Ella Fullmer participating alongside freshmen Evie Noel and Maci Hoskins. Mahensmith and Noel placed 4 and 7 overall, with Fullmer and Hoskins coming in 15 and 18. 

Senior Jenelle Rogers lands during 100 meter hurdles in the We Fly Challenge March 12 at Briner Sports Complex. Jenelle Rogers finished first at a time of 13.93. Kate Tilbury, DN

Women’s 100m Hurdles followed, with both Rogers placing high, with Jenelle placing first and Jennah placing third overall. 

Freshman Lauren Graham placed sixth and freshman Kendra Keesling placed 16. Sophie Daugard and junior Makensie Kramer also participated in the race.

The Women’s 400-meter race featured Thigpen, freshman Mikayla Mimnaugh and sophomore Maci Easton. Thigpen finished 9 out of 48 participants. 

Next was the Women’s 100 meters, with Sumrall and Springer placing first and third overall, while Oriani took ninth out of 61 participants.

Women’s 400-meter hurdles featured sophomore Lindley Steele and Graham at the 7 and 8 spot, while freshman Ashley Pernecker took 12. 

In the Women’s 200 meters, Jenelle Rogers placed third overall, with Springer placing fourth. Rogers was less than half a second away from placing second. 

The Women’s 1500-meter race followed, with junior Sarah Mahensmith and Spletzer taking fourth and fifth overall. Fullmer was close behind with a finish at eighth out of 48 participants. 

To close the night, the Women’s 4x400 meter relay commenced. Ball States group consisted of Noel, Hoskins, Spletzer and Christman. Out of nine participating schools, Ball State placed eighth.

Field Events:

Men’s and Women’s Discus opened the track events, with Ball State having participants in two flights. Freshman Sydney Miller placed the highest out of all participants, with ninth overall out of 47 participants. 

Next was the Men’s and Women’s high jump. The Cardinals freshman Malina Miller win the event with a 1.65m mark out of 27 participants. 

Women's long jump concluded with two Cardinals in the top ten. Jenelle Rogers placed second, with her teammate Steele coming in tenth.

Women's triple jump saw a similar outcome with again, two Ball State players in the top ten. Junior Mckenna Cinotte placed fourth with sophomore Brenna Lehrke placing sixth.

Fellow freshman Sydney Miller and sophomore Malena Higgins participated in Women’s Hammer, placing 19 and 32 respectively. 

Women's Javelin rounded out the track events, with Keesling placing eight overall.

Sophomore Malena Higgins spins during hammer throw during the We Fly Challenge March 13 at Briner Sports Complex. Higgens was marked at 37.35 meters. Kate Tilbury, DN

Assistant Coach Angelina Ramos said she’s proud of her team's performance today, noting their ability to adapt and perform in non-traditional events to each runner's skillset. She said the ability to play at home benefited the team.

“You know, they really care about each other,” she said. “They want to fight for each other. And I think having a home meet where all of those support systems can come and really stand behind them and show up for them is so meaningful.”

In terms of the fact it was senior night, Ramos said that the leaving senior class has done an immense amount of work in helping create the collective family environment she sees today amongst her team. She said their ability to overcome will always be remembered.

Janelle Rogers echoed this and said that although her senior class had to overcome a lot, they did it together, making this meet even more special.

“It was very sentimental,” she said. “It’s kind of a sad but also happy moment seeing how far the teams come.”

Ball State Track and Field returns to the road in one week to participate in the Ohio State University Jesse Owens Classic. 

Editors note: Zach Carter contributed to this article.

Contact Trinity Rea via email at or on X @thetrinityrea.


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