MUNCIE, Ind. - The Ball State cross country team will be travelling to Toledo, Ohio, on Saturday to compete in the Great Lakes Regional at Ottawa Park. The men's 10K race will begin at noon, and the women's 6K race will begin at 1:15 p.m.
The Great Lakes Regional includes 34 women's teams, with four of those squads ranked among the top 30 nationally. The men's race is comprised of 31 teams, including four nationally ranked teams with one being No. 1 Wisconsin.
The Cardinals will be racing for a chance to make the upcoming NCAA Championships which will be at Terre Haute on Nov. 21 at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center. The top two teams and the top four individual runners from a non-qualifying team at the regional meet advance to the NCAA Championship.
Ball State had three runners compete last season in the Great Lakes Regional at Rochester, Mich., but failed to have any individuals qualify. Then-senior Ali Bishel was the closest to qualifying, coming in 46th place with a time of 21:47.59.
At the 2011 MAC Championship meet, the Cardinals were led by junior MaryKate Mellen who placed 32nd overall with a career-fast 6K time of 22:16.3. The effort knocked a little over 25 seconds off her previous career-best 6K time of 22:41.8 set at the Ball State Invitational.
Redshirt junior Christine Talhelm was BSU's second-best runner at the meet, placing 35th overall with a career-best 6K time of 22:30.7. Senior Madeline Goheen rounded out Ball State's top three performers, taking home 40th with a career-fast time of 22:41.1.
Overall, the Cardinals top five runners combined for a time of 22:51.8, knocking off over five seconds from the team's combined effort at the 2010 MAC Championships. BSU's combined score of 227 was also 47 positions better than a year ago, which helped the Cardinals climb two spots in the team rankings from 10th to eighth.Also running for the Cardinals at the 2011 MAC Championships were Allison Blanck (67th; 23:58.2), Courtney Edon (73rd; 24:42.8), Caitlynn Edon (24:46.8) and Madelyn Webster (25:00.5).