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Women's Cross Country/Track and Field

November 17, 2007

Ballinger earns All-America honors as Eagles finish 19th

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Mary Ballinger

JOPLIN, Mo.Sophomore Mary Ballinger (Chesterton, Indiana) finished 17th to lead the University of Southern Indiana women's cross country team to a 19th-place finish at the NCAA II Championships Saturday.

The Screaming Eagles finished the race with 421 points in their return to the national stage.

Ballinger's performance lifts her to All-America status, marking the second straight year and third in the last four seasons that USI has had a competitor earn All-America honors in women's cross country. Ballinger, who becomes the sixth competitor in the program's 19-year history to earn All-America honors, finished the 6k race in 21 minutes, 20.10 seconds.

Her time also lifts her into third place on USI's all-time performance list.

"Mary ran, in what I'd estimate as, her best race of the season," Head Coach Mike Hillyard said. "The mark of a great athlete is to do their best on the biggest stage, and that is what Mary did today. Mary has been an outstanding role model for the rest of the girls and I'm excited to have her around for the next two years."

Freshman Leslee Getts (Corunna, Indiana) finished 97th with a 6k time of 22 minutes, 53.30 seconds, while senior Meagan Scheidler (Terre Haute, Indiana) was 122nd with a time of 23 minutes, 20.20 seconds. Sophomores Lacy Williams (Haubstadt, Indiana) and Sarah Whiteman (Bloomington, Indiana) rounded out USI's top five with 127th and 136th-place finishes, respectively.

Freshman Holly Bartelt (Huntingburg, Indiana) finished 143rd and sophomore Sarah Baysden (Shelbyville, Indiana) was 147th to round out USI's line up.

"I'm really proud of how our ladies responded this year," Hillyard said. "Of the seven girls that started for us today, only Meagan Scheidler had any national meet experience.

"I thought we ran as good as we did all year and to do that with virtually no experience and with all the adversity we have gone through this season, makes me proud of the way they came through," Hillyard continued. "It really sets the table for what should be an outstanding season next year."

Dan McDonnell,
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