This weekend, Ball State track and field went to Illinois to compete in Illinois University’s Illinois Twilight meet. The Cardinals had nine top five finishes and six career-best performances.
Senior Danielle Dahl led the charge in the second to last meet going into the Mid-American Conference Championship.
Dahl placed third in the 400-meter with a time of 58.09. Dahl ran a season’s best and a lifetime personal best, assistant coach Raynee DeGrio said.
“She is really good at stepping down a distance and still performing well,” DeGrio said.
Despite having foot surgery in the summer, Dahl is still competing at the high level even though DeGrio said the coaches didn't want to push anything.
5) Bryeana Byrdsong - 12.15
5) Peyton Stewart - 24.96
3) Danielle Dahl - 58.09
9) Gabby Sims - 59.55
3) Brooke Talhelm - 2:14.04
8) Emily Tromp - 2:16.87
9) Peyton Kneadler - 2:16.90
18) Hannah Cummings - 2:21.49
6) Jordan Timmons - 4:56.29
9) Maritza Rodriguez - 4:59.50
16) Stephanie McElhaney - 5:03.23
18) Kitty Taylor - 18:19.24
19) Jessica Bryzek - 18:34.38
7) Anna-Kay West - 14.77
2) Olivia Ashba - 1:03.22
3) Kassidy Swenson - 1:03.41
1) Olivia Ashba, Amber Jones, Bryeana Byrdsong, Danielle Dahl - 3:55.62
3) Peyton Kneadler, Hannah Cummings, Emily Tromp, Brooke Talhelm - 4:01.81
2) Regan Lewis - 1.69m
13) Kelsey Walters - 12.19m
7) Adrienne Mayfield - 42.42m
"We knew that she would come back and have some big performances,” DeGrio said. “We expect a lot of things from Dani and she responds well to it. She is training and competing well too so all things are pointing that she will do well in her final MAC Championship.”
Seniors Olivia Ashba and Kassidy Swenson went second and third in the 400-meter hurdles. Ashba ran a season-best that landed her in second with a time of 1:03.22. Swenson scored a time of 1:03.41, less than .2 seconds behind her teammate.
Freshman Brooke Talhelm competed in the 800-meter, placing third. She ran a time of 2:14.04.
“The time was not what we were hoping for,” DeGrio said. “But she raced really well and has been looking good and consistent these past few weeks.”
The 4x400-meter relay team took an event win to finish out the night. Ashba, junior Gabby Sims, freshman Bryeana Byrdsong and Dahl finished with a time of 3:55.62.
Sophomore Peyton Stewart was third in the 200-meter, finishing with 24.96.
DeGrio was pleased with Stewart's performance even though it was her first time running in the 200-meter outdoors.
"It was really good for her to step up in distance and compete well," DeGrio said. "She is usually a 100-meter runner, so it shows that she has been working really hard and her talent level.”
DeGrio said overall the Cardinals had a good meet.
"The times weren’t super great for people, but when you go into the meet where it is pretty cold and pretty windy that is kind of expected,” DeGrio said.
After this weekend, the Cardinals have one more weekend of meets before the MAC Championship.
“We have a really competitive group of athletes,” DeGrio said. “The girls that have already qualified are still trying to better their times and they know they can’t let off the gas at all if they want to get on the podium in the MAC.”
Next weekend, the team will separate, with some members going to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to compete in the Southern Miss Open and others heading to Hillsdale, Michigan, to compete in the Gina Relays.