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Women's Cross Country/Track and Field

July 09, 2007

Ballinger transfers to USI

EVANSVILLE, Ind.The University of Southern Indiana women's cross country/track and field team announced that sophomore Mary Ballinger (Chesterton, Indiana) is transferring from Indiana University/Purdue University-Ft. Wayne to run for Head Coach Mike Hillyard's Screaming Eagles in 2007-08.

Ballinger was IPFW's top cross country runner at the NCAA Division I Great Lakes Region Championships when she finished 32nd with a season-best 6k time of 22 minutes, 15.38 seconds. She was just 17 seconds and seven places shy of qualifying for the NCAA I National Championships as a freshman.

In the fall, Ballinger recorded three top-10 finishes and was the Mastodons' number two runner in six of the eight meets they competed in. She finished third overall to help IPFW to a first-place finish at the University of Dayton Flyer 5k.

On the track, Ballinger excelled in the 3,000-meter steeplechase during her freshman year in 2007. She finished first at the Early Bird Relays and was second at the Butler Twilight with a school-record steeplechase time of 10 minutes, 59.51 seconds.

"Mary will make an immediate impact on the national scene in Division II," Hillyard said. "The last female athlete we had at USI with her type of high school credentials was Heather Cooksey, and she ended up a national champion and 10-time All-American."

Ballinger graduated from Chesterton High School (Chesterton, Indiana) where she was an eight-time All-Conference selection in cross country and track, as well as a seven-time All-State performer in cross country and track.

"With the return of three-time All-American Allie Shafer (Plainville, Indiana) in addition to senior Katy Simutis (Mt. Vernon, Illinois), who was fourth in the GLVC last fall, we should have the best one-two-three punch in the conference, if not all of Division II," Hillyard said. "Mary will fit in well with our girls. She is simple in her approach to the sport and just wants to work hard and have the opportunity to be successful."

Ballinger joins incoming freshmen Holly Bartelt (Huntingburg, Indiana), Allison Laird (Greenville, Indiana), and Kristi Vest (Pekin, Indiana) on USI's list of newcomers for the 2007-08 campaign.

Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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