Ball State track and field competed in events at the Raleigh Relays today and the Oliver Nikoloff Invitational. Although the team was split up this weekend, head coach Brian Etelman saw improvement at both competitions, even though he could only attend one.
The runners who competed in the Raleigh Relays had a pair of personal records the first day and had their highest finish of 17th place by sophomore Maritza Rodriguez.
“Individually, the Raleigh girls got the opportunity to race against high level competition early on in the season," Etelman said. "I feel they did a solid job of handling the task and as a product of their work this weekend, I expect them to be more race confident as the season goes on.”
For the athletes that went to Cincinatti for the Oliver Nikoloff Invitational, things went even better. The team finished second in the team score, along with strong individual scores as well.
“We had a great team effort and that was reflected in the final score.," Etelman said. "For us to score 100 plus and do it without some key event areas really shows how hard we've worked to improve our depth and quality. Every time we compare, I reflect upon our effort within the scope of what happened that meet and how it fits into the big picture of the rebuilding of our program. This weekend really checked all the boxes necessary from a performance standpoint. We haven't looked this good this early since I've been here. So, I'm really excited.”
Putting the strong team score aside, the individual scores resulted in solid performances that resulted in new records.
“Byrd and Regan stole the show," Etelman said. "Regan's mark will qualify for the first round of the NCAA championships, which is a huge accomplishment. Competing in the NCAA post-season is always a goal of ours and we took care of that today. Byrd looked phenomenal in her 200. The conditions were really tough with temperatures in the 50s and 20mph winds. She’s now fourth all time at Ball state in the 200.”
The freshmen are also stepping up to the challenge and making themselves known against some of the other Mid-American Conference competition, that also competed in the Oliver Nikoloff Invitational this weekend.
“Hailley Peters is currently second in the MAC high jump and Princess Carter is in scoring position in the discus as well," Etelman said. "Our freshmen are doing really well and I'm proud to see them grow so quickly under such competitive pressure."
This weekend was a step in the right direction, and a big one at that. Ball State will not be competing next weekend at Ohio State because Etelman wants his runners to “stay home and rest up before we really get after it during the middle and end parts of April.”
The throwers will be the only competitors that attend the Ohio Cherry Blossom Invitational on April 7.